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List Addicts Fridays: My Top 5 Break-up Songs

by Cris



What better way to let you in on my top 5 breakup songs than on the eve of Valentine’s Day, which coincidentally falls on Friday the 13th.

I know, Valentine’s might be a nice red letter day for young lovers, or a special post Christmas holiday/pre-Easter chocolate treat day for young kids (especially for my 6-year old son Paolo, who zipped through his valentine chocolates in less than 6 minutes). But, let’s not forget the people, who’s Valentine’s Day isn’t so much as a celebration of couple-ness, but a hurtful reminder of the relationship that was lost – never to be found again. Not to alienate members of the Lonely Hearts Club, here’s my top five breakup songs in no particular order:

1. Love Spit Love – Am I Wrong |

Once again I bring you guys a track from the 90's (you probably know how old I am). You don't have to be broken-hearted to actually love this song - it's a kind of tune that feels good when you hear it but hits really close to home if you are recovering from a lost love.

Notable lyrics - 'It's like glass. When we break, I wish no one in my place'. Yes, indeed, you might feel a tug on your heart if that's you. 

To 80's fans, you might be familiar with the voice singing. Love Spit Love was actually  Psychedelic Fur's frontman - Richard Butler's project, right after they broke up (to anyone still not familiar, they're the ones that sang the 'Pretty In Pink' song).  'Am I Wrong' was Love Spit Love's more familiar songs - the most popular one being a cover of the Smiths' 'How Soon Is Now?' (from the US movie 'The Craft' and WB's 'Charmed').

There's actually two versions of 'Am I Wrong' - the original recording and the movie version featured in the 1995 movie 'Angus'. I've posted the 'Angus' version, because - one, the movie was quite good, I liked it - you get to catch a glimpse of a pre-Dawson's Creek James Van Der Beek as a high school bully; and two, I just love that old marching band sound.

2. Guillemots - Blue Would Still Be Blue |

As I've said in an earlier post, the Guillemots know how to make their love songs. Of course they're as excellent when it comes to break-up songs too. If I do ever end up with a list of love songs that make me want to kill myself - this might be included (along with a ton of Stephin Merritt songs). It's solemn, somber and heart-wrenching. True to its title, this song will leave you blue (it might even be bluer) with a hopeless chant in your heart that blue would still be blue. Points for being a song that can totally move people , especially to tears, but still be unique enough not to be regarded as cheesy.

3. OK Go - Oh Lately It's So Quiet |

For me, OK Go isn't the band that got really popular because of their treadmill dance number on YouTube - I'll always remember them for being the band that sang one of my favorite break-up songs: 'Oh Lately It's So Quiet'. It's their intro that got me. There's just something about that nice keyboard sound at the very beginning - like the sound effect that you get when you watch films and the character either wakes up or starts to realize something important. It sort of sets the tone somehow. It's playful and has that easy going sound too - to the point of adorable. A nice 'I'm in denial' song for anyone who's ever broken up and would like to suppress the feeling that they're still in love with theperson they broke up with. It's also a nice song to bounce back up on after being severely depressed from the previous song in my list.

4. Stars - One More Night |

I've mentioned this song before, but I never posted it - so I'm doing it now. This, in my opinion is one of the most beautiful songs I've ever heard. It's about love, lust and spite. 'One More Night' might sound romantic with the smooth vocal duet from Torq Campbell and Amy Millan, and the nice touch of violins, but when you get down to the lyrics, it's anything but. A love song for those edgy types, who like to have angry breakup sex but still appreciate the beauty of romantic love - this song is one of a kind, and will definitely be on anyone's favorite list may you be the romantic or non-romantic type.

5. The Radio Dept. - Strange Things Will Happen |

Not to let everyone forget about the other song that I also adore, I've included this one on my list - saving the best for last.

'Strange Things Will Happen' is a unique gem from The Radio Dept., a band not usually known for their girl/boy duets. For me, this one is an instant classic. Very low-fi, it sounds like a song that you and your friends decided to make out of boredom one lousy Sunday afternoon and decided to record it on the spot. The unique way that the band recorded it is endearing, and despite being a break-up song it's actually quite uplifting. The best break-up is always the one where you feel like things have opened up for you instead of things crashing down. Strange things *will* happen, but then again, not all strange things are bad.

(photo credit: pattista)