In the immortal words of Joni Mitchell, ‘I’ve looked at love from both sides now’. There is no other way of saying this: breakups are painful, and often leave you wallowing with a nearly empty tub of Ben and Jerry’s chocolate fudge brownie in hand, listening to what used to be “your song” on repeat. More often or not, you find yourself desperately holding onto now bittersweet memories, frantically asking yourself what you could have done differently; all to a soundtrack of masochistic despair.
Don’t worry – it’s completely natural to feel this way: we’ve all been there. There is definitely a breakup process and whilst every breakup is unique, the fundamental elements of a breakup are universal.
We all start off wallowing and upset, gradually moving onwards and upwards towards a place where we can put down the ice cream and start enjoying life again. So to help you on your way, here’s a playlist!
1. ‘All By Myself’ – Céline Dion
A Cheesy classic that brings back flashbacks of Bridget Jones necking bottles of wine in her pyjamas, but nevertheless embodies that isolating feeling of solitude and desolation, of being on your own. Feel free to grab a glass or two of vino for yourself.
2. ‘How Can You Mend A Broken Heart’ – Al Green
This slow, indulgent tune is perfect for some prime time wallowing. Al Green’s tender voice asks the question that, at this point in time, seems unanswerable. This is a broken man singing a broken song for a broken heart. (Did I mention you feel broken?)
3. ‘Someone Like You’ – Adele
‘Sometimes it lasts in love, but sometimes it hurts instead’… Adele, you said it all. Continuing in Wallow Mode, this is the perfect ballad for a teary sing-along and encompasses all of the difficult and conflicted emotions attached to saying goodbye.
4. ‘Dark Places’ – Gaslight Anthem
Okay, so you’ve moved past Celine’s hyperbolic proclamation of isolation, through Al Green and Adele’s woeful wallowing, and now you’re angry. Gaslight Anthem’s violent, pointed lyrics and jagged amalgamation of rock and punky guitar solos that constitute their latest album Get Hurt could not provide a better soundtrack to the indignant, angry stage of the breakup. This is the ultimate breakup album; Brian Fallon wrote this in response to the dissolution of his own marriage, so is filled with truly dark places. Turn the volume up and get angry with Brian.
5. Anything By Beyoncé – in particular ‘Irreplaceable’ and ‘Best Thing I Never Had’, ‘Survivor’ and ‘Single Ladies’.
Phew! You’ve made it through the misery, you’ve wept along to Adele, you got angry and blasted Gaslight Anthem out as loud as you can and had a good old head-bang and scream/shout… I think you’re ready for Beyoncé to come a healing now.
You’ve realised that you’re better off without that him/her anyway, things are looking up and you’re feeling positive. To paraphrase the immortal words of Queen B, they’re the best thing you never had and you are, in fact, Irreplaceable.