Recommend some music for the heartbroken.
September 30, 2004 10:55 AM   Subscribe

Music for the Heartbroken (MI)

A dear friend’s fiance is no longer her fiance, and she’s having a bit of a rough time – As a small token, I wanted to make her a fun CD with tunes of strong women shedding the ogres in their lives, but I’m a bit stumped beyond a kick-ass Sleater-Kinney track or two. Any songs you can suggest would be greatly appreciated. Any genre is fine.
posted by jalexei to Media & Arts (56 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Whatever you do, please avoid "I Will Survive"

(on preview: I have your CD from the last MeFi swap, so I know avoiding "I Will Survive" shouldn't be a problem!)
posted by Robot Johnny at 11:04 AM on September 30, 2004

If he was the abusive type "Goodbye Earl" by the Dixie Chicks could work. "You Suck" by the Murmurs is nice, too.
posted by jonmc at 11:08 AM on September 30, 2004

When my Dad left my Mom, pretty much anything involving chicks screaming seemed to bring a smile to her face, including Regarding I, Fisticuffs Bluff, and that Yeah Yeah Yeahs song 'Art Star'.

Unfortunately, I'm unable to vouch for any actual 'strong woman leaving ogre' lyrical content, because I'm unable to understand about nine tenths of what's being screamed (scremt?). But I can vouch for its awesomeness.

Also, you might look into some PJ Harvey.
posted by saladin at 11:11 AM on September 30, 2004

Poe's Haunted has a few tracks akin to what you're looking for. "Control," "Walk the Walk," and "Lemon Merangue" are decent options.

Being a guy, most of the breakup music I own is more inducive to morose drinking (Tom Waits, Preacher Boy, Chris Isaak) so outside of aforementioned Sleater-Kinney, I'm at a loss. I'll ask the lurking SO if she has anything to add.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 11:12 AM on September 30, 2004

Check out Stretch Princess's first album, it's the self-titled one. That is my breakup CD; the whole album has that slightly melancholy "love hurts, but you'll get over it" tone to it.
posted by SpecialK at 11:17 AM on September 30, 2004

How about Ani Difranco "Untouchable Face" and PJ Harvey "Who the Fuck?"
posted by batboy at 11:20 AM on September 30, 2004

(Melancholy, thoughtful, "Love hurts, but you'll get over it" tends to be more condusive to long-term healing than punk chicks bellowing "GUYS ARE FUCKING JACKASSSSSSEESSSSSSS" into microphones, IMHO. Your mileage may vary, but keep in mind that you'd like to have her get over it someday as opposed to the "turn into a lesiban and join a commune" result that I've seen some chicks go through. Like my own ex. :-P)
posted by SpecialK at 11:21 AM on September 30, 2004

ILM: 100 great breakup songs.
posted by mr.marx at 11:22 AM on September 30, 2004 [1 favorite]

Yeah, there aren't a lot of fun breakup tunes from a female break-up-ee's perspective. Almost everything that comes to mind is tinged with, at the least, affection for the "ogre." If he really was a bastard, as in abusive, that's a whole other genre, but that's not the vibe I'm getting from you. If you want "I can't believe you left me/ You asshole/ The best rebound sex of my life/ Begins today" ... I just can't think of a lot of songs in that vein.
posted by blueshammer at 11:25 AM on September 30, 2004

Mary Martin singing "I'm Gonna Wash That Man Right Out Of My Hair" from the musical South Pacific, is a great song, and fun - it'll break up the bleakness a little. The Weather Girls do a song with the same name, not sure if it's the same song.
posted by iconomy at 11:26 AM on September 30, 2004

batboy's suggestion of "Untouchable Face" is a good example. Ani has a lot of great breakup songs, but they're all predicated on this same basic idea ...

think i'm going for a walk now
i feel a little unsteady
i don't want nobody to follow me
'cept maybe you

i could make you happy, you know
if you weren't already
i could do a lot of things
and i do

tell you the truth i prefer the worst of you
too bad you had to have a better half
she's not really my type
but i think you two are forever
and i hate to say it but you're perfect together

so fuck you
and your untouchable face
fuck you
for existing in the first place
and who am i
that i should be vying for your touch
who am i
bet you can't even tell me that much

It goes on, quite successfully, but it's not really a yea-rah thing. Most songs on this topic aren't.
posted by blueshammer at 11:27 AM on September 30, 2004

Go Away by The Raincoats

You Twist, I Shout by 8 Eyed Spy (Lydia Lunch vocals)(okay maybe that's saying something like "See, things could be a lot worse")

Not the original version of I Will Survive, but Dame Edna does a terrific and hilarious cover

Oh, and my all purpose "love is the greatest/worstest thing in the world" song doesn't feature any ladies, but I must suggest it: Blue Rosebuds by The Residents
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 11:28 AM on September 30, 2004

Lucinda Williams did two covers that might fit the bill: "Changed the Locks" and "Positively Fourth Street." Both capture the angry part, but I'm not sure I would describe them as "kick ass."

nb:I'm a big fan of old Lucinda Williams, before Car Wheels on a Gravel Road (passable) and the downright awful Essence. Your Mileage May Vary.
posted by Verdant at 11:41 AM on September 30, 2004

My heart was broken last week. I just can't seem to find the right songs in my music library to make me feel both better and lucky to be on my own again. Can I have a copy of the cd too?
posted by Juicylicious at 12:01 PM on September 30, 2004

something by p j harvey? migt be difficult to find something positive, but she must rate pretty highly on the "woman battling through craziness, but still alive and rather annoyed by it all" stakes.
posted by andrew cooke at 12:04 PM on September 30, 2004

Since I left you, I found the world so new.

I won't share you, With the drive and the dreams inside, This is my time.
posted by four panels at 12:09 PM on September 30, 2004

I heard one of the all time best breakup song on NPR this week - soprano Audra McDonald did songs for all the deadly sins and ANGER was covered in a song called "the Christian Thing To Do." It's a woman singing about how forgiveness is the Xian thing to do, and how she forgives the lousy creep - it starts quiet and gets v funny. You can hear it here .(Go to minute 8:30 of the first hour.)
posted by CunningLinguist at 12:14 PM on September 30, 2004

She's Leaving Me (Because She Really Wants To) by Lyle Lovett - sung from a dumped guy's POV, but should still help to cheer her up as he goes into great detail about all the fun things she's going to be doing without him.

All Cried Out by Alison Moyet - the ultimate belt-it-out got-over-heartbreak-and-now-I've-found-someone-better song that doesn't suck (ie, I Will Survive).

I'm Gonna Be Strong by Cyndi Lauper - another belt-it-out song about, well, being strong through a break-up. A little emotional, but very cathartic in the belting-out part.

Fly by the Dixie Chicks - might be a little too emotional - it's about struggling to 'let him fly' and finally getting to the point of understanding that it's a good thing.
posted by widdershins at 12:16 PM on September 30, 2004

Mercy Fuck by Mary Prankster
posted by oh posey at 12:24 PM on September 30, 2004

The cover of "I Will Survive" by Cake is also cool, as is their "Sad Songs and Waltzes". I personally love "Enid" by the Barenaked Ladies but somehow think it would be a bit juvenile for most of the people here. Lots of Bob Dylan and Ben Folds/Ben Folds Five. Not many breakup songs from women that I really care for.
posted by dagnyscott at 12:27 PM on September 30, 2004

I'm going to recomend the entire album "Foolish" by Super Chunk. It's a great breakup album for a number of reasons:
1) The album chronicles the break up of Mac (the lead singer) and Laura (the bass player) from Mac's perspective. I always wondered what it must have been like for her playing these tracks knowing that they are all about her.
2) It's the perfect mix of broken hearts and pop hooks.
3) It is just super kick ass.

i held the letter stuck
on the end
of a stick over the pool
and you dove in after trusting me
trusting me

like a fool

posted by trbrts at 12:35 PM on September 30, 2004

Yeah I also like dagnyscott's suggestion. Some Ben Folds Five "Brick" or that give me my money back give me my money back you bitch song would be good.
posted by trbrts at 12:39 PM on September 30, 2004

I second "Enid" only because it is so juvenile. You can't help but smile at that song...and dagnyscott, we muct listen to the same stuff since I was going to suggest Cake's "Open Book" from Fashion Nugget:

She's writing she's writing she's writing a novel
She's writing she's weaving conceiving a plot
It quickens it thickens you can't put it down now
It takes you it shakes you it makes you lose your thought
But you're caught in your own glory
You are believing your own stories
Writing your own headlines
Ignoring your own deadlines
But now you've gotta' write them all again.
You think she's an open book
But you don't know which page to turn to...

And so on. Great breakup song- "See, he never understood you anyway" kind of stuff.
posted by oflinkey at 12:42 PM on September 30, 2004

Uhm, I'm gonna go out on a limb here and suggest an odd song for a breakup: The Other Shoe, by the Old 97s. It's from a guy's perspective of dealing with a cheater, but I don't think it's gender specific. Genius song, at any rate. By the way, the earlier sad song discussion had a lot of gems in it. Sad is different than breakup, I know. But to me, it blurs together. From that thread: I've really taken a liking to "Last to know" and "Already gone," both by Blue Rodeo. Thanks to Jaybo for the recommendation.
posted by Happydaz at 12:55 PM on September 30, 2004

There are a couple good ones on The Gilded Palace of Sin by the Flying Burrito Brothers (don't laugh!). Specifically, "Hot Burrito #1". "Christine's Tune" is more guy-oriented, but may work. Other songs on there are grievous, but may not exactly fit the situation.
posted by LionIndex at 1:03 PM on September 30, 2004

Cool recommendation, but do we want to encourage people to hide under the bed with a gun? You'll wind up with mattress spring prints all over your face.
posted by yerfatma at 1:03 PM on September 30, 2004

Not really from the female point of view, per se, but I think Chris Smither's Winsome Smile is one of the better "Love hurts, but you'll get over it" songs I've heard.

DiFranco's "Untouchable Face" is brilliant, but I always heard it as more an unrequited love story than a breakup song.
posted by tdismukes at 1:04 PM on September 30, 2004

"Break Your Heart" by Barenaked Ladies has this in the middle:

"And you said
What'd you think that I was gonna do,
Curl up and die just because of you?
I'm not that weak, you know
What'd you think that I was gonna do,
Try to make you love me as much as I love you?
How could you be so low?
You arrogant man,
What do you think that I am?
My heart will be fine
Just stop wasting my time"

Oh and a book recommendation - Against Love: A Polemic by Laura Kipnis.
posted by terrortubby at 1:23 PM on September 30, 2004

Wow - great suggestions so far - I can't thank everyone enough. SpecialK, I don't want to drive anyone to lesbianism (unless they want that, of course) so I think I'm going to structure the opening songs along the lines of a Nancy Sinatra These Boots Are Made for Walking, "Fuck You" kind of vibe, and move into a more general (even non-gender-specific) uplifting feel.

Also, the mentions of cheating and abuse made me realize I shouldn't include those types of songs, as, to my knowledge, neither occured in this situation (just a case of ultimately not being able to commit) and I'd hate to imply they did, and I might have included such songs had I not seen all the excellent responses here.
posted by jalexei at 1:30 PM on September 30, 2004

"She's Fucked Again" by the Gear Daddies is not exactly triumphant, but it is wonderfully angry and on topic.
posted by jonmc at 1:34 PM on September 30, 2004

Sunny Came Home by Shawn Colvin. Not sure if it's a breakup song or not, but the protagonist is sure shedding some baggage.

Get Out of My House by Kate Bush. More of a screech than a song.

Tyrone by Erykah Badu. "And you can't use my phone."

She Bop by Cyndi Lauper. Not a breakup song, more of options song
posted by joaquim at 1:38 PM on September 30, 2004

jalexei - Yeah, if I can speak from personal experience, it isn't that much fun to meet your ex's new girlfriend. ;) (Unless she's up for a threesome.)

I will say to be careful with the anger. It's a tough emotion and it isn't an attractive one in another person. The state you want to get her to is calmed melancholy, at which point you can start getting her happy again.

If I may suggest a song that works ... "Nice Thing", off of the aforementioned Stretch Princess album.

"So you learned how to love
'cuz I learned to hold on
How does it feel now we're
letting go
You think we're so good
I don't even care"
posted by SpecialK at 1:59 PM on September 30, 2004

i think your asking for the ministry "flashback"/ ben fold's gimme my money back you bitch type of thing (i don't see bitch as feminine)
but i suggest the other end for when she just needs to cry
Hayden's Skyscraper National Park
Smith's Last Night I Dreamt
RH: "i'm not here this isn't happening" --too many

rather than flood here, many suggestions on either side and old mixed discs laying around of both natures i'd happily send

i'd tend toward the biting yet peppy for when the mourning is fading and the long night begins
get me away from here i'm dying, sing me a song to set me free

also, i find it doesn't matter how crappy/great the song/medium everything hits you just the wrong way--
--then that crap pop country blahdeblah makes too much sense--
(too many comedians have said it better than me)
posted by ethylene at 2:15 PM on September 30, 2004

anyone else for the perfect illustration of dysfunction in the original stripped down "true love waits"?
alien lanes--motor away, hunting knife, game of pricks?
archers of loaf--wrong?
most of the first half of "all hands on the bad one"?
ok i couldn't resist
posted by ethylene at 2:23 PM on September 30, 2004

Silverfish "Organ Fan" Good ogre killing music.
posted by milovoo at 2:26 PM on September 30, 2004

It's a tough emotion and it isn't an attractive one in another person.

Well, maybe perpetual anger isn't attractive, but under the cirucumstances it seems to me to be perfectly reasonable and healthy to express anger. So on that note, I'd recommend a little cathartic, primal punk rock anger -- not a breakup song, really, but quite nice to yell along to -- and that is "Liar" by the Sex Pistols. "Liar lie lie lie! You liar lie lie lie! Tell me why, tell my why! Why'd you hafta lie?" (It's also quite pleasant to sneer along to the line "I think you're funny, you're funny ha-ha.")

In the more melodic vein, there's always the gloriously psychedelic, swaggering "fuck you" of the Stone Roses' "I Am The Resurrection." (Come to think of it, several of their tunes are good "fuck you" songs. "Bye Bye Badman" from the first album, especially, might fit the bill -- and it's considerably shorter than the 9+ minutes of "I Am the Resurrection.")

A great "finisher" for the very end of the mix might also be "Brand New Start" by Paul Weller -- a lovely, acoustic tune about starting over and looking forward to creating a new future for yourself. (You can listen to a sample here.)
posted by scody at 2:28 PM on September 30, 2004

Oh wait, that'll make her kill herself.
posted by holloway at 2:34 PM on September 30, 2004

santa monica by everclear:

I don't want to be your good time.
I don't want to be your fall-back crutch anymore.
I'll walk right out into a brand new day
insane and rising in my own weird way
I don't want to be the bad guy
I don't want to do your sleepwalk dance anymore
I just want to feel some sunshine
I just want to find some place to be alone.
posted by onlyconnect at 2:39 PM on September 30, 2004

"thorn in my side" vs. "right by your side (eurythmics)
ender: "i saved the world today"
big star and tim buckley covers by this mortal coil
every day i tell myself i am the cosmos--

stop me now, people

posted by ethylene at 2:39 PM on September 30, 2004

Ben Fold Five's "Brick" is not even remotely a break-up song. It is a song about abortion.

The "gimme my money back" song is called "Song for the Dumped", but it is not appropriate, unless the women in question can consider her "ex" a "bitch".

A good break-up song from Ben Fold Five might be "The Last Polka"

Well, she crept back in the house at half past three
Shook her head to see him snoring in his sleep
"If you really loved me" she said
I wouldn't have to be so mean

He's a heap of junk that pours from his top drawer
Sometimes likes to spread it out around the floor
It's evidence of what he was like
He likes to remember when...

Sha la la, sha la la lo li
The end is growing near
We're treading water now
And holding back our tears
And the day is rising
We're sinking sha la la lo li

In a minute it will all be coming down
And they know it now but no one makes a sound
Such a shame to ruin this bright, lazy sunny day...

Sha la la, sha la la lo li
The end is growing near
We're treading water now
And holding back our tears
And the day is rising
We're sinking sha la la lo li

My my, the cruelest lies are often told without a word
My my, the kindest truths are often spoken, never heard

She said, "You've been pushing me like I was a sore tooth.
You can't respect me 'cause I've done so much for you."
He said, "Well I hate that it's come to this
But baby I was doing fine. How do you think
That I survived the other 25 before you?"

Sha la la, sha la la lo li
The end is growing near
We're treading water now
And holding back our tears
And the day is rising
We're sinking sha la la lo li
posted by internal at 2:57 PM on September 30, 2004

Goodbye to You by Scandal.
posted by JanetLand at 2:58 PM on September 30, 2004

I love jaunty gal tunes with loads of moxie. No shrieking and bitter vitriol; that's not where you want her to dwell. This does not mean empowerment disco like they play at the mall in stores aimed at older ladies; thank goodness that doesn't seem to be what you mean, either.

This collection would sure put a smile on my face. It's funny and foolish and strong and supremely confident all at once -- just what your dear friend needs.
posted by melissa may at 3:01 PM on September 30, 2004

The missus has read the thread and on top of giving thumbs up to some of its indie rock cred, she recommends an entire album, The Glass Intact by Sarge.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 3:25 PM on September 30, 2004

Oh, David Gray's cover of "Say Hello, Wave Goodbye" is terrific, though from a male pov. Also, "Shine."

Also, if she is lucky enough to find it, the entire "You Got Lucky" tribute album to Tom Petty is great for breakups -- Stop Draggin my heart around ("Baby you could never look me in the eye!") is a fun one on there with female vocals; I like the title track, Insider, and Breakdown.

I also agree with the DiFranco "Untouchable Face" recommendation. Another that will work in a pinch is "Dilate." ("I learn every room long enough to make it to the door, and then I hear it click shut behind me. And every key works differently, and I forget every time, and the forgetting defines me, yeah that's what defines me.")
posted by onlyconnect at 3:25 PM on September 30, 2004

I would third (or whatever) Cake's "I Will Survive". I know the original is way cliche, but the cover is fun stuff.
I might also include "Mama's Got A Girlfriend Now" by Ben Harper, for the shear grin it gives.
posted by Inkoate at 3:38 PM on September 30, 2004

Dilate is perfect. It's what I gave to my ex to tell her that I cared for her but that I wasn't putting up with her crap anymore.
posted by holloway at 3:39 PM on September 30, 2004

The best version of Dilate is on her "So much shouting, so much laughter" album... the girls singing night cd.. stray cats!
posted by holloway at 3:43 PM on September 30, 2004

have a girl's night cheesy standard kareoke party
it's an unsober empowering free for all
and use your own lyrics, sarah vaughn did
sang "go about things my own way" and decided i liked it better

just last light i was awakened by just how sick it had gotten and just how bad it had become

posted by ethylene at 4:02 PM on September 30, 2004

Also, Cell Block Tango from the musical Chicago has possibilities.
posted by JanetLand at 7:06 PM on September 30, 2004

Here are a few from my own break up CD:

Strange and Leather by Tori Amos are good "I'm better without you" songs, as are Get Gone and The Way Things Are by Fiona Apple.

For "I need to cry songs" I must reccomend Never is a Promise or Love Ridden by Fiona, and Your Cloud by Tori.

(I swear to God I listen to other musicians, but these are the two main ones that I got through on. Just gorgeous music and voices)
posted by nelleish at 7:10 PM on September 30, 2004

Hey! Get Out of My Way by The Cardigans, perhaps, or That Awful Man by The Muffs. And I know it's a bit obvious, but why not You Oughta Know by Alanis Morissette.
posted by misteraitch at 3:06 AM on October 1, 2004

England 2, Columbia 0 by Kirsty McCall [and the rest of the 'Tropical Brainstorm' album]
posted by AwkwardPause at 3:19 AM on October 1, 2004

Anything by the band Low.
posted by swift at 6:42 AM on October 1, 2004

As far as I'm concerned, Jane Siberry has the two best just-broke-up songs.

"Red High Heels":

well, I don't care
if I'm on my own again
start alone
end alone
so my love
I guess I'm glad
I met you on the way...

And "Love is Everything" (which has also recently been covered by k. d. lang on her newest album)

first he turns to you
then he turns to her
so you try to hurt him back
but it breaks your body down
so you try to love bigger
bigger still
but's too late

so take a lesson from the strangeness you feel
and know you'll never be the same
and find it in your heart to kneel down and say
I gave my love didn't I?
and I gave it big...sometimes
and I gave it in my own sweet time
I'm just leaving
posted by dnash at 7:15 AM on October 1, 2004

Brand New Love by Sebadoh

"Follow what you feel, you alone decide what's real
Anyone can be a brand new love"
posted by fletchmuy at 7:50 AM on October 1, 2004

Happy with Myself? by Over the Rhine.
Looking for a New Love by Jody Watley.
posted by MsVader at 1:08 PM on October 1, 2004

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