So you were in love, you were flying high - and now the heartbreaking jerk’s gone and left you and suddenly you’re crashing. We’ve all been through heartbreak and there’s no shame in the game. You might want to put yourself out there right away or dive into a routine to distract yourself from the pain, but don’t forget the most important first step to truly being able to move on: wallowing. Allow yourself to be in your feelings. Grab some pizza and watchThe Bodyguard. Be sad. Be angry. Feel whatever you gotta feel to come out on the other side brighter and better.
And your best friend during this time? Music. The sad, the angry, the whatever you’re feeling - these songs will join you in the depths of your wallowing and be the soundtrack to your breakup you never knew you needed.
Judy Garland - “The Man that Got Away”
Let’s start this off with a throwback to a true classic from the deep, moving voice of Judy Garland herself from the 1954A Star is Born. “The night is bitter/The stars have lost their glitter/The winds grow colder/Suddenly you’re older/And all because of the man that got away.” GOOSEBUMPS. We’ve all been there.
Gin Blossoms - “Til I Hear it from You”
For when your wallowing still has tinges of denial to it and your heart can’t quite let go. “Still thinking about not living without it/Outside looking in, 'til we're talking about/Not stepping around it.”This sad, alternative, and somehow defeated yet accepting ode to refusing to fully let go of someone has been worming its way into the wallowing scene since 1995.
Arctic Monkeys - “Cornerstone”
There’s just something about Alex Turner’s soulful crooning on about a recently ended relationship, seeing her face everywhere and refusing to believe she’s gone for good. He holds on to that hope “I let him go the long way round/I smelt your scent on the seat belt… I’m really not supposed to but yes/You can call me anything you want” At this point, we’re not ready to let go of the idea of that lost love but we’re working our way through it.
Jewel - “You Were Meant for Me”
The ethereal voice of Jewel is perfect for a song about picking up the pieces in the aftermath of a breakup, going back about your life and yet still thinking wistfully back. “Dreams last so long, even after you're gone/I know that you love me/And soon you will see, you were meant for me/And I was meant for you.” Even if you know it’s over, you can’t quite quit that melancholic nostalgia to happier times, even as you know that one day soon you’ll be doing just fine once more.
The Shins - “For a Fool”
James Mercer & crew are poets both lyrically and musically, and there’s something about their melodies and words that manage to pick at those little loose threads in your heart until you unravel in a way satisfyingly melancholic. Do you want understanding of heartbreak? “If I still fight/It’s just that I’m afraid I’ll slide under that spell again/Taken for a fool/Yes I was because I was a fool/The way we used to carry on/Is stuck in my head like a terrible song.”
Natalie Imbruglia - “Torn”
The ‘90s aren’t just back in fashion - those timeless songs that were the soundtracks to the intellectually and emotionally evolved breakup are back, too. “Illusion never changed/Into something real/Wide awake and I can see the perfect sky is torn/You're a little late/I'm already torn” croons Natalie Imbruglia, perfectly encapsulating the feelings of loss, confusion, and nostalgic melancholy that hit us like a wave.
Fleetwood Mac - “Never Going Back Again”
Truly the epitome of breakup iconography, this song was famously written by Lindsey Buckingham following his torrid breakup with Stevie Nicks. If the hauntingly simple melody doesn’t stir you, the straight-to-the-heart lyrics, “Been down one time/Been down two times/I'm never going back again,” surely will.
Oasis - “Little by Little”
Another song written as a direct response to a nasty breakup (this time by Noel Gallagher about his recent ex-wife), this darkly melodic tune is at once a dig at the one who hurt you, a requiem for wasted love and an anthem to being better than them. “As little by little we gave you everything you ever dreamed of/Little by little the wheels of your life have slowly fallen off/Little by little you have to give it all in all your life/And all the time I just ask myself why you're really here?” Bitter, yes, but also, like, poetry.
Amy Winehouse - “Back to Black”
After the initial shock - and perhaps anger - we all come crashing back to feeling those bitter blues. With a timeless voice singing a timeless a story, Amy Winehouse’s bluesy depth captures the need to ride out the hurt and to miss someone so strongly. “We only said goodbye with words/I died a hundred times/You go back to her/And I go back to… Black.”
Yazoo - “Only You”
And here we come to it: the resignation to the end of a relationship. The times together may have been tumultuous, passionate in ways both good and bad and yet now it’s over - the good and the bad, there, as well. “Looking from a window above, it's like a story of love/Can you hear me/Came back only yesterday/I'm moving further away.” The lyrics, the vocals, the melody - all of it gives you those post-relationship chills.