A break-up song for every mood. All in one place
Dr Annemieke van den Tol from De Montfort University led two studies, involving around 450 people, looking at the listening habits of people going through a range of emotions and circumstances. The research found that while many people enjoyed happy music more, it was the sadder, emotional tracks that they opted for to help process emotions, have a good cry and deal with grief.
Dr Van den Tol said: “Sadness often involves emotional loss, which is not a problem that can be solved or reversed. The only real way to move on and feel better is by accepting the situation, and we found that people were able to do this by listening to sad music, but not so much by listening to happy music.
“By connection to the sad emotions in the music, they are able to turn negative emotions into something more peaceful, allowing them to move on and accept these.”
But when it comes to break-ups in particular, we know that one person’s mosh-pit anthem is another’s tearjerker, so we’ve compiled a break-up song for every mood and taste – all in one place. Because a break-up really is a rollercoaster of emotions, and chances are, you’re going to be transitioning – from the same-hoodie-for-five-days phase, into a woman of fury, empowerment and passive aggressive emojis – all within the space of a few weeks. Sounds emotional, doesn’t it? Which is why we’ve created a playlist for it. We should have called this one ’50 shades of a break-up’ but we don’t have 50 songs. We have 16.
Here’s our definitive list of break-up songs in order of weepy to angry to empowered.
6. Don’t Speak – No Doubt
No Doubt bandmember. All the lyrics in this are amazing, as is the climatic ending to the track.
Best line: ‘As we die/Both you and I/With my head in my hands/I sit and cry’
8. Somebody That I Used To Know – Gotye
The 2012 hit from Gotye is a tale of a cold, cold break-up. You know, when somebody completely cuts you out by deleting you, changing their number and making a clean break for it in order to end things once and for all.
In fact, there’s a new term for it – Ghosting. Harsh, but then again, it’s sometimes needed.
Best line: ‘Now you’re just somebody that I used to know. Somebody…’
9. Survivor – Destiny’s Child
One of the fiercest ‘don’t need no man’ tracks ever written. The strings alone are enough to send a lightning bolt of aggression and determination through us. And then when the chorus drops…
Best line: ‘Thought I wouldn’t breathe without you/I’m inhaling’
10. Fuck It – Eamon
11. Caught Out There – Kelis
12. Good Riddance (Time Of Your Life) – Green Day
With an upbeat tempo and acoustic guitar, this chilled out track from the American pop-punk trio is bitter yet insouciant. Perfect for when your head’s a littler clearer.
Best line: ‘It’s something unpredictable/but in the end is right/I hope you had the time of your life.’
12. Smile – Lily allen
Who remembers when Lily burst onto the scene with this pop-reggae blast track in 2006? This one’s perfect for when the anger has dissipated and all the embarrassing/irritating/silly memories of a long-gone ex just bring a big old smile (or smirk) to your face.
Best line: ’Now you calling me up on the phone/So you can have a little whine and a moan/It’s only because you’re feeling alone’
13. We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together – Taylor Swift
We all know that Taylor Swift has a penchant for creating songs about lost love that manages to resonate with just about everybody. And because they’re often about famous exes – she always has the last laugh – as will you when you’re dancing around the room to this, remembering why you’re NEVER getting back with whats-his-name.
Best line: ‘You go talk to your friends/talk to my friends/talk to me/but we are never ever ever ever getting back together’.
14. Cry Me A River – Justin Timberlake
15. Irreplaceable – Beyoncé
There’s something incredible about Beyoncé’s uncanny ability to mine her own confidence to inspire women all over the world to love themselves. This is undoubtedly one of her best break-up tracks (of which there are actually so many).
Best line: ‘To the left, to the left/everything you own in the box to the left.’
16. I Will Survive – Gloria Gaynor
Which songs would you recommend for a break up? Tweet us: @marieclaireuk