I want suggestions for really depressing break-up songs!
November 8, 2004 3:08 PM   Subscribe

Best breakup music? Not to get over it and cheer one up, but to wallow in the misery and pain of loss. After all, there are only a few times in ones life when those love songs really hit home, so why not get something out of it.

So far we're thinking things like Elvis Costello's I want You, The Cure's Lullaby, John whatsisface's I Saw A Stranger With Your Hair.

What's on your I'm Blue My Baby Done Gone Left Me mix CD?
posted by bonaldi to Media & Arts (131 answers total) 18 users marked this as a favorite
Blood and Chocolate (EC) has more of this genre on it, but I can't think of the specifics--love the disc.
posted by ParisParamus at 3:12 PM on November 8, 2004 [1 favorite]

One of the saddest songs I know (which, thankfully, is about a breakup so I can mention it here) is "Street Car" by Hayden.
posted by Johnny Assay at 3:12 PM on November 8, 2004

Nine Inch Nails: Something I Can Never Have.
posted by karmaville at 3:16 PM on November 8, 2004

Elvis Costello - I Want You
On preview: Oh You got that one...
FIona Apple - Get Gone
Bob Dylan - If You See Her, Say Hello
Pink Floyd - Nobody Home
Cake - Friend Is A Four Letter Word
posted by Tenuki at 3:18 PM on November 8, 2004

Oh, and Elvis Cosello's version of "A Good Year For The Roses"
posted by Tenuki at 3:22 PM on November 8, 2004

I recently made such a mix for a friend with an mp3 collection that was as small as she was depressed (honestly -- wasn't for me!). Here are some of the tracks. Hey, if you want a copy, send me an email.

Guster - Amsterdam
Beulah - Popular Mechanics for Lovers
Stars - Life Effect
Gord Downie - Chancellor
The Walkmen - We've Been Had
Radiohead - Knives Out
David Gray - Babylon
Rufus Wainwright - Foolish Love
Stars - Your ex-lover is dead

And as Johnny said -- Hayden can be one of the most depressing singers out there. Ooh, and I'm seeing him in concert next week!
posted by krunk at 3:26 PM on November 8, 2004

The Hurting, by Tears for Fears (whole album).
All of My Heart, by ABC.
It's All Right with Me, either the Sinatra version or the Tom Waits version.
And, if you like country, Years by Barbara Mandrell.
posted by JanetLand at 3:28 PM on November 8, 2004

Love Will Tear Us Apart - Joy Division
posted by thomcatspike at 3:30 PM on November 8, 2004 [2 favorites]

Fur Patrol - Lydia.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 3:30 PM on November 8, 2004

Chris Isaak, "Somebody's Crying" and "Go Walking Down There" off of Forever Blue

Holly Cole, "The Briar and the Rose" and "Falling Down" and others off Temptation (see also Tom Waits for the original versions)

Tom Waits, "Cold, Cold Ground" (the live version from Big Time or Beautiful Maladies)

Dead Milkmen, "Life is Shit" and "The Guitar Song" from Beezlebubba

King Missile III, "Failure" from Failure

And it looks like the SO has a sheaf of songs from her radio show days. So I'll turn the rest over to her (rumor of new signups this week has not manifested yet).

Spinanes, "Hawiian Baby" from Imp Years

Cure, "Letter to Elise"

Trembling Blue Stars, "Never Loved You More" from Lips That Taste of Tears

Spain, "Untitled #1" from Blue Moods of Spain
posted by robocop is bleeding at 3:30 PM on November 8, 2004

but to wallow in the misery and pain of loss

The Smiths, of course . . . even if you aren't 15 anymore.
posted by sixdifferentways at 3:44 PM on November 8, 2004

For many years, there was really only one ultimate breakup song for me -- "So. Central Rain" by R.E.M. God, it still makes me tremble a little, just thinking of the "I'm sorry / I'm sorry" chorus...

Aside from that, my mind inevitably goes to Paul Weller tunes -- particularly "Sunflower," "Time Passes" "You Do Someting to Me" and "I Should Have Been There to Inspire You" -- all from various albums, but at least a couple of them are on his best-of, Modern Classics. (Also, for the other fanatics out there -- and I know I can't be the only one! -- his cover versions of "I'd Rather Go Blind" and "Ain't No Love in the Heart of the City" from his B-sides and rarities collection Fly on the Wall are great too.)
posted by scody at 3:45 PM on November 8, 2004

And I wasn't going to mention this one, because it's soooooo unhip, but . . . . Even Now, by Barry Manilow. Makes me cry every time.
posted by JanetLand at 3:47 PM on November 8, 2004

Death Cab for Cutie was my breakup music of choice recently.

Specifically the songs "Stability" and "Passenger Seat."
posted by slhack3r at 3:47 PM on November 8, 2004

"Next Time That You Leave" or "Thumbtack" by Bob Mould.
posted by whatnot at 3:49 PM on November 8, 2004

Tom Waits: Who Are You

it's track 5 on Bone Machine
posted by scarabic at 3:50 PM on November 8, 2004

I don't know why you'd want to choose songs like that, but yeah, ok,

"Dilate" by Ani Difranco, and her other song "Reckoning".
you can doubt anything if you think about it long enough.
cause what happened always adjusts
to fit what happened after that.

and it's hard to feel like you are free.
all you seem to do is referee.
i remember when it was just you and me
steppin' up to bat.

we thought we left possession behind.
the truth is i was yours
and you weren't mine.
i've replayed a thousand times
exactly what was said.

cause nothing is as it appears.
and the fun house mirrors of your fears
on a roller coaster of all these years
with your hands above your head.

and you know i don't care how fast you run
just tell me baby that when you're done
with your little marathon
that you still have cab fare home.

cause the finish line is a shifty thing
and what is life but reckoning?
and baby you are still the song i sing
to myself when i'm alone.
posted by holloway at 3:53 PM on November 8, 2004 [1 favorite]

I can't believe no one's mentioned Richard Thompson. Jennie (the version on Watching the Dark; I haven't heard the studio version but the full-band live versions I've heard are naff), She Twists the Knife Again, Love in a Faithless Country, When the Spell is Broken, Small Town Romance, Uninhabited Man, I Still Dream, First Breath, I've Got No Right to Have It All, I Misunderstood, Don't Renege on Our Love, Walking on a Wire, Did She Jump, Don't Let a Thief Steal Into Your Heart, Dry My Tears and Move On, "That's All, Amen, Close the Door"... And more, dear sir, many more.

Not all on the list are equally good--Jennie, Small Town Romance, and some live versions of When the Spell is Broken are all top-flight, though.
posted by kenko at 3:57 PM on November 8, 2004

Superchunk "Foolish"
Matthew Sweet "Girlfriend"
posted by trbrts at 3:59 PM on November 8, 2004

Oh! and Cake's "She'll Come Back to Me" - especially if she won't, and extra-especially if you lost her to another guy. If he's got an italian leather sofa you might as well kill yourself.
posted by scarabic at 4:00 PM on November 8, 2004

Radiohead - Knives Out

As far as I can tell, Amnesiac is a breakup album (and a very bitter, angry one at that). This song, "Morning Bell", "Like Spinning Plates", "Pyramid Song", "Life in Glasshouses".... The whole thing is very painful and cathartic, I think.

There's also The Mountain Goats' Tallahassee: an entire album about a dying relationship. "No Children" is especially bitter.

And I was just listening to Slint this morning when it occurred to me that, with it's "I'll make it up to you/I miss you" climax, "Good Morning, Captain" is probably a breakup song (framed by a shipwreck metaphor, of course). That's a helluva song.

Sleater-Kinney's "One More Hour" (on Dig Me Out) is very touching. Sad, and just a little angry.

Liz Phair's "Divorce Song" is more angry that sad probably. But still sad.

How about a classic: Leonard Cohen's "Everybody Knows" (especially if there was cheating involved).

On preview: scarabic, that's one of my favorite Tom Waits songs. Good call.
posted by mr_roboto at 4:06 PM on November 8, 2004

I'll second "Foolish" and offer up Rehab's "It Don't Matter."
posted by Otis at 4:08 PM on November 8, 2004

Cheesy as all hell but, Deborah Conway, "White Roses".
posted by arha at 4:12 PM on November 8, 2004

The Bob Mould reference reminds me to mention Sugar's Copper Blue, which I've always assumed is (or at least experienced as) a breakup album -- "Changes," "Helpless," "Hoover Dam" "If I Can't Change Your Mind," "Fortune Teller"... yep. Breakup City.
posted by scody at 4:21 PM on November 8, 2004

Oh! Just remembered a breakup song in a completely different vibe, but one that chokes me up no matter what -- "Letter to Hermione" by David Bowie (on Space Oddity).

...They say your life is going very well
They say you sparkle like a different girl
But something tells me that you hide
When all the world is warm and tired
You cry a little in the dark
Well so do I
I'm not quite sure what you're supposed to say
But I can see it's not okay...

posted by scody at 4:23 PM on November 8, 2004

lots of American Music Club
posted by thebigpoop at 4:32 PM on November 8, 2004

Joy Division's Atmosphere.

Arab Strap, "The Night Before the Funeral" or most of their live album "Mad for Sadness".

Tear Garden - Ascension Day.

Lots of folk or other traditional songs. Bogie's Bonnie Belle (aka As I Came By Huntley Town), eg. There's a Stanley Brothers album of live performances at the U of Chicago folk festivals in 1961 and 1965 with a great rendition of "Rank Stranger". There is also undoubtedly a wealth of relevant country and blues songs.

Mirah - Pure

Nico - Nibelungen

Sam Cooke - Lost and Lookin'

Smog and Cat Power, no doubt.

Robert Johnson - Drunken Hearted Man, Love in Vain (the Rolling Stones version is good too).

Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds - People Just Ain't No Good (or something like that, that might not be the right title).

Beck's Lonesome Tears, or Nobody's Fault but My Own.

David Sylvian - The Heart Knows Better.

Einstürzende Neubauten - Sehnsucht (if you think cathartic noise is in order, this is thematically appropriate.)

Fog - WallpaperSinkOrSwim

I don't believe Tom Waits' Martha has been mentioned yet.

Frank Sinatra - I Get Along Without You Very Well

John Cale - I Keep a Close Watch and Chinese Envoy.

Also, instrumental music and classical songs are good. Die schöne Müllerin, or something.
posted by kenko at 4:32 PM on November 8, 2004

Painted from Memory--pretty much the whole album. And of course, Nina Simone singing Love Me or Leave Me--"I'd rather be lonely without you than happy with somebody else" must be the ultimate wallowing-in-breakup-misery line.
posted by adamrice at 4:35 PM on November 8, 2004

The Handsome Family - Passenger Pigeons. Something about this song just kills me everytime.
posted by elwoodwiles at 4:37 PM on November 8, 2004

Both Michael Penn and Richard Buckner's entire oeuvre is about breaking up with women! (Save Buckner's Spoon River record, "The Hill.") Michael Penn especially is great at making it sound simultaneously like you've lost the worst and best things in your life ;) Seek: Free-for-all (Penn), Resigned (Penn), Since (Buckner) but please don't hurt yourself when listening to the Buckner.
posted by neustile at 4:38 PM on November 8, 2004

Scott Walker's first solo album, Scott.

I haven't cried since I was 9 years old, but the closest I've come is listening to 'Always Coming Back to You' in the dark, alone. Highly recommended!
posted by nylon at 4:40 PM on November 8, 2004

Roy Orbison - Your Baby Doesn't Love You Any More
posted by mr_crash_davis at 4:46 PM on November 8, 2004

What Becomes of the Broken Hearted -- Jimmy Ruffin.
posted by JanetLand at 4:50 PM on November 8, 2004

David Gray - "This Year's Love" It didn't last. Thanks, Dave.

Ella Fitzgerald singing "I've Got It Bad (And That Ain't Good)"

Belle & Sebastian - "Don't Leave the Light On, Baby" and "I Don't Love Anyone"

Cheesy and I haven't listened to this band since high school, but The Spin Doctors - "How Could You Want Him When You Know You Could Have Me?"

Lightnin' Hopkins - "Have You Ever Been Mistreated?" That's also on Eric Clapton's album "From the Cradle."

Have you ever been mistreated?
You know just what I'm talkin' about
Have you ever been mistreated?
You know just what I'm talkin' about
I worked five long years for one woman
She had the nerve to put me out

posted by emelenjr at 4:51 PM on November 8, 2004

Aimee Mann - 'Deathly'

Now that I've met you would you object to
never seeing each other again
cause I can't afford to climb aboard you
no one's got that much ego to spend

Cause I'm just a problem for you to solve and
watch dissolve in the heat of your charm
but what will you do when you run it through and
you can't get me back on the farm

You're on your honor cause I'm a goner
and you haven't even begun
so do me a favor if I should waver
be my savior and get out the gun

Just don't work your stuff
because I've got troubles enough
no, don't pick on me
when one act of kindness could be
deathly, deathly, deathly

And the entirety of 'Achtung Baby' by U2 - It's a divorce album. A lot of Cure stuff.
posted by eljuanbobo at 4:52 PM on November 8, 2004

Via #mefi:

Joy Division's Atmosphere (as mentioned), and She's Lost Control
Tom Jones or Depeche Mode singing Motherless Child
Nick Cave's From Her to Eternity
Tim Buckley I Must have been Blind
most songs by This Mortal Coil
Brendan Perry death will be my bride
posted by mr_crash_davis at 4:53 PM on November 8, 2004

Prince, "Nothing Compares 2 U"
Dire Straits, "Hand in Hand"

Maybe the soundtrack to High Fidelity:
What came first, the music or the misery? People worry about kids playing with guns, or watching violent videos, that some sort of culture of violence will take them over. Nobody worries about kids listening to thousands, literally thousands of songs about heartbreak, rejection, pain, misery and loss. Did I listen to pop music because I was miserable? Or was I miserable because I listened to pop music?
posted by kirkaracha at 5:02 PM on November 8, 2004

"Beeswing" by Richard Thompson
"Romeo and Juliet" by Indigo Girls

lots of good recommendations. Gives me the urge to close my office door and wallow and sulk like I was a teenager again.
posted by rks404 at 5:02 PM on November 8, 2004

From the world of theatre:

There's a Fine Fine Line from Avenue Q
Be On Your Own from Nine
Under Separate Cover from A Class Act
Could I Leave You? from Follies
posted by sueinnyc at 5:04 PM on November 8, 2004

"I Don't Love Anyone" is pretty upbeat, really.
posted by kenko at 5:05 PM on November 8, 2004

The Reverend Horton Heat - Loaded Gun
(but first, make sure you do not have access to a loaded gun)

My right hand holds a cold corona bottle
My left hand holds a half a fifth of Gin
My right arm reaches out for her love only
But my left still embraces a life of sin

We had ourselves the sweetest little family
We laughed and sang and had a lot of fun
But I drowned it in a sea of stinkin' whiskey
And now the only little love that's left is a loaded gun

My right hand holds a vile of trainqualizers
My left hand holds a loaded .38
I've got a young girl who's anticipating romance
But it's looking like she will have to wait

We had ourselves the sweetest little family
We laughed and sang and had a lot of fun
But I drowned it in a sea of stinkin' whiskey
And now the only little love that's left is a loaded gun
And now the only little love that's left is a loaded gun
posted by blindcarboncopy at 5:15 PM on November 8, 2004

"No Distance Left to Run" by Blur

"Busby Berkeley Dreams" by The Magnetic Fields

And I echo the votes for Radiohead, the Smiths, the Cure, etc.
posted by buddha9090 at 5:20 PM on November 8, 2004

Every Song I Write is for You, by Dale Watson. The entire album.

He recorded it shortly after his long-time girlfriend was killed in a car wreck. Also, most of his album I Hate these Songs. What is it about country music that's so amenable to wallowing?
posted by stet at 5:21 PM on November 8, 2004

From by biography:

"Human Hands", "All the Way Down" Elvis Costello
"Avalon", "More Than This" Roxy Music
"Home" Talking Heads
"Positively 4th Street" Bob Dylan
"Sea and Sand", "Love, Reign O'er Me" The Who
"Flying", "I'm a Loser" The Beatles

among many others. Great question!
posted by crunchburger at 5:22 PM on November 8, 2004

"Return to Cinder" by The Grifters. Goddamn, I think I'm gonna go get drunk now.
posted by aramaic at 5:30 PM on November 8, 2004

My last breakup, I was the dumper, and "Break Your Heart" by Barenaked Ladies fed my guilt just fine. Live version on Rock Spectacle.

"Its not cause I'll be missing you that makes me fall apart, its just that I didn't mean to break your heart"
posted by BigVACub at 5:37 PM on November 8, 2004

Listen to Jeff Buckley doing Leonard Cohen's Hallelujiah. Yeah, I know, it's ruined now that everybody knows about it from the Shrek soundtrack, but whatever.
posted by weston at 5:40 PM on November 8, 2004

OK, I can't believe I forgot this one:

Damage by Yo La Tengo, from I can hear the heart beating as one

...good thing I'm already halfway drunk.
posted by aramaic at 5:45 PM on November 8, 2004

"Wicked Game" Chris Isaak
"My Baby's in Love with Another Guy" Robert Palmer
"Gone Forever" Paul Williams
"Alone Again, Naturally" Gilbert O'Sullivan
"50 Ways to Leave Your Lover" Paul Simon
"Against All Odds" Phil Collins
"As Tears Go By" Rolling Stones
"Ballad of Spider John" Willis Alan Ramsey
"Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain" Willie Nelson
"Born to Lose" Ray Charles
"Bye Bye Love" Everly Brothers
"Crying Time" Ray Charles
"Sweet Dreams" Patsy Cline
"Diary" Bread
"Dust in the Wind" Kansas

I said I'd stop at 15 and I couldn't even make it through the D's on my iPod.
posted by joaquim at 5:47 PM on November 8, 2004

...and "In Spite Of Me" by Morphine.
posted by aramaic at 5:47 PM on November 8, 2004

Stretch Princess's first, self-titled album.
posted by SpecialK at 5:48 PM on November 8, 2004

RENT (Gary Larson) - Goodbye Love
Warrant - Red
posted by jmd82 at 5:48 PM on November 8, 2004

Oh! Leonard Cohen's "Famous Blue Raincoat".
And Jewlia Eisenberg's "Guinea Tea" and "Social Contract". (There's another song on that album, Trilectic, whose lyrics are "I can be here in your bed. I can go to a café. But I can't be in your bed and go to a café—that's too serious.".)
posted by kenko at 5:52 PM on November 8, 2004

Her favorite love songs. Her favorite bands. The songs she used to hum. That will make you depressed.
posted by swift at 6:05 PM on November 8, 2004

Gutbucket country. Power Ballads.

Have plenty of booze handy.
posted by jonmc at 6:09 PM on November 8, 2004

Cheesy pop like:

Bee Gees - To Love Somebody
Bill Withers - Ain't No Sunshine
Cranberries - Linger
Rose Royce - Love Don't Live Here Anymore
Descendents - Cameage or Clean Sheets or Sour Grapes

And I will second and third Chris Isaak's 'Wicked Game'. That used to kill me.

Wish I wasn't at work... I've been waiting for this aksme. boo
posted by bdave at 6:19 PM on November 8, 2004 [1 favorite]

"I Should've Known", by Aimee Mann. "Fly" by Moxy Fruvous.
posted by Zonker at 6:27 PM on November 8, 2004

I think that someone resourceful should make a torrent of these. For us (very) recently separated peoples.
posted by adampsyche at 6:34 PM on November 8, 2004

What, no Derek and the Dominos? This album has seen me through every breakup I've had: "I Looked Away," "Bell Bottom Blues," "Why Does Love Got To Be So Sad?" and of course the immortal "Layla" will rip your heart out and leave you sniveling into your alcohol, guaranteed.

Also, I second kenko's recommendation of the Stones' "Love in Vain"; I'll add Richard and Linda Thompson's "Shoot Out the Lights" and (for when the rage and grief has burned down to ashes) Mingus's infinitely slow, infinitely sad version of "Memories of You."
posted by languagehat at 6:38 PM on November 8, 2004

"Still Be Around", Uncle Tupelo. It's from the POV still *in* the relationship, but the answer to the questions is "no".
posted by notsnot at 6:45 PM on November 8, 2004

Languagehat, do you mean the song or the album? It's a great song but I think Walking on a Wire, Don't Renege on Our Love and Did She Jump are more for wallowing.
posted by kenko at 6:56 PM on November 8, 2004

Not as much indie cred as many other suggestions here but the first thing I thought of is "Ordinary World" by Duran Duran. Sad yet hopeful in a way that kills you if you're not ready to be hopeful yet.
posted by Tubes at 7:20 PM on November 8, 2004

There's some shiny happy frickin' music on this page.

I'd suggest Black Tape for a Blue Girl, "As One Aflame, Laid Bare by Desire." Pompous, over-sentimental, very depressing.
posted by ikkyu2 at 7:27 PM on November 8, 2004

Jane Siberry "Love Is Everything"
New Amsterdams "Goodbye"
Bjork "Undo"
Ryan Adams "Come Pick Me Up"
Elvis Costello "So Like Candy"
oh, and hello, Elliott Smith! esp. Waltz#2, Bottle Up and Explode, and Everything Reminds Me of Her...actually, just about anything from any of his records.
posted by obloquy at 7:31 PM on November 8, 2004

As always, Blue Rosebuds by The Residents.
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 7:32 PM on November 8, 2004

Actually, scratch David Sylvian's "The Heart Knows Better" and substitute the entire album Blemish, especially the title track.

Derek Bailey plays on two tracks on it!
posted by kenko at 7:42 PM on November 8, 2004

Pick yourself up a copy of Rent by Jonathan Larson, not Gary Larson. My favorite wallowing in lost love song is Without You. (wmv) (rm)

There are numerous songs which will get waterworks going, but that's the one that does it for me.
posted by sequential at 7:43 PM on November 8, 2004

Three Degrees, "Maybe"
Fiona Apple, "Love Ridden"
Bill Withers, "Ain't No Sunshine"
Sarah McLachlan, "When She Loved Me"
Ani Difranco, "When U Were Mine" (cover)
Benny Goodman, "Smoke Gets In Your Eyes"
Tom Waits, "Hold On"
Skunk Anansie, "Secretly"
Elton John, "I Guess That's Why They Call It the Blues" (what??!)
Sheila Nicholls, "Fallen For You"
Prince, "The Beautiful Ones"
Radiohead, "True Love Waits"
Pete Yorn, "Lose You"
Lauryn Hill, "Ex Factor"
Janet Jackson, "Come Back to Me" (I said WHAT??)
Lou Rawls, "You'll Never Find Another Love Like Mine"
Yann Tiersen, "Thème Principale" (Amélie)

... and also, "Busted" by the Isley Brothers. On repeat.
posted by grrarrgh00 at 7:46 PM on November 8, 2004

*waiting for Dobbs*
posted by bdave at 7:51 PM on November 8, 2004

Response by poster: You people are wonderful. My friends at Apple send their thanks.

Now playing: In the wee small hours, Frank Sinatra.
posted by bonaldi at 7:53 PM on November 8, 2004

"Visions of Johanna", by Bob Dylan (and most of "Blonde on Blonde")

"One of These Days", by Camper van Beethoven

The entirety of Slint's album "Spiderland"

"Going South", by The Monks of Doom

"Sunrise", by The Who

This album by Granfaloon Bus

...and at the risk of exposing my sensitive teenagerly self to ridicule, the ENTIRE OEUVRE of Rollins Band (especially "Hard Volume") helped me a great deal when I was fifteen and going through a horrible breakup.

At first, Rollins Band sounds really self-affirming. After multiple listenings, though, Rollins's message becomes clear (if you're a shit-for-brains fifteen-year-old who's apparently slow on the uptake): get the fuck over it, and stop feeling sorry for yourself; you are the source of your own unhappiness. All of this yelled at you sarcastically over really violent music.

Still, there's nothing like wallowing. Do it well, and remember it always. And good luck! I hope this isn't too horrible for you.
posted by interrobang at 8:12 PM on November 8, 2004


Type O Negative's "I Know You're Fucking Someone Else" and Guns 'n' Roses' "November Rain"

Also, the band Converge released an album called "Jane Doe" a few years ago, which is essentially the story of the singer's breakup with his long-term girlfriend. Collectively, it's an incredibly harsh, but amazing, piece of music; it's absolutely dripping with the rawest conceivable pain and pathos. It may be incomprehensible to anyone that doesn't listen to hardcore already, but it's amazing if you can listen to it (I, personally, love it).
posted by The Michael The at 8:16 PM on November 8, 2004

grrarrgh00 , I totally agree with 'I Guess That's Why They Call It The Blues' by Elton John.

Time on my hands could be time spent with you...

And most of Blonde on Blonde... whoo, good one interrobang, forgot that album.

And oh yeah- good luck Bonaldi.

On preview- The Michael The- November Rain... ouch

I love this thread. I will be back.
posted by bdave at 8:23 PM on November 8, 2004

And Frank Sinatra - I'm A Fool To Want You..

I'm a fool to want you
I'm a fool to want you
To want a love that can't be true
A love that's there for others too

I'm a fool to hold you
Such a fool to hold you
To seek a kiss not mine alone
To share a kiss that Devil has known

Time and time again I said I'd leave you
Time and time again I went away
But then would come the time when I would need you
And once again these words I had to say

Take me back, I love you
...I need you
I know it's wrong, it must be wrong
But right or wrong I can't get along

Without you

posted by bdave at 8:25 PM on November 8, 2004

for stars - their self titled album
cat power - moon pix
beck - sea change
posted by callicles at 8:26 PM on November 8, 2004

Wow, this thread is big.

When I went through this a while ago, I watched the movie Magnolia like 20 times. That movie makes me feel like cutting my wrists. Thus - the Aimee Mann songs "Wise Up" and the cover of "One." Man, I was wallowing then ...

Other songs that fucked me up during that dark time

"Lover, You Should Have Come Over" and "Last Goodbye" by Jeff Buckley.

"Walk Away" by Ben Harper (which is, in all seriousness, the only song I can stand by him - but this song is really special).

"You Won't See Me" - probably the most depressing Beatles song for me.

"Lost Cause" by Beck

But most of all - for some reason - I listened to "Pet Sounds" and "Wood/Water" by the Promise Ring over and over and over again. These two album instantly transport me to that time and place.
posted by Quartermass at 8:36 PM on November 8, 2004

No Doubt - Don't Speak. I think one of the best pop songs ever written. But I'm a geek.

Neil Diamond - Love On The Rocks
Brook Benton - Rainy Night In Georgia
Roy Orbison - Crying
Gordon Lightfoot - If You Could Read My Mind
Hank Williams - I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry
The Skyliners - Since I Don't Have You
Righteous Brothers - Unchained Melody and especially You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'
Kid Rock & Sheryl Crow - Picture !?!
Little Anthony & The Imperials - Tears On My Pillow

Must. Stop.
posted by bdave at 8:39 PM on November 8, 2004

Elvis Presley - Separate Ways
posted by bdave at 8:41 PM on November 8, 2004

So Make It One For My Baby...And One More For The Road...

- Frank Sinatra -- arguably the ultimate breakup song.
posted by davidmsc at 8:41 PM on November 8, 2004

Another one, from an album full of divorce songs

Ben Folds, "Gone"

I thought I'd write, I thought I'd let you know
That the year since you've been gone I've finally let you go
And I hope you find some time to drop a note
But if you won't then you won't

And I will consider you gone

I know that you went straight to someone else
While I worked through all this shit here by myself
And I think that you should spend some time alone
But if you won't, then you won't
And I will consider you gone

I wake up
In the night
All alone
And it's all right
The chemicals are wearing off
Because you've gone

The days go on, the lights go off and on
And nothing really matters when you're gone
If you think that you feel nothing at all
If you don't then you don't. If you won't then you won't
Then I will consider you gone

posted by emelenjr at 8:42 PM on November 8, 2004

The Doors - The End

I really need to do some work
posted by bdave at 8:43 PM on November 8, 2004

More belated random thoughts:

Split Enz, "I Hope I Never" ...and speaking of those Fabulous Finn Brothers, Neil Finn's "Last To Know" as well as Crowded House's "Don't Dream It's Over" (hey now, hey now...) and "Better Be Home Soon"

"Stick in the Mud," the Jayhawks (this one made me pull over to the side of the highway and sob/scream/pound my head into the dashboard for about a half hour when I was going through my divorce)

Pretty much all of Third/Sister Lovers by Big Star (warning: remove any weapons and drugs from the house ahead of time for your own safety)

David Ruffin, "My Whole World Ended (The Moment You Left Me)"

"Easy as Sayin' 1-2-3," Timmy Willis (rare deep soul classic that's on one of the Kent northern soul compilations. Lots of great, heartbreaking '60s soul to be found on any of the Kent records, by the way!)

Marlene Dietrich singing any mournful cabaret songs. Oh my god. So husky. So sexy. So fucking tragic.

"Rainy Night in Soho," the Pogues (try to find the original Poguetry in Motion mid-80s version if possible, rather than the somewhat overproduced version that they re-did in recent years for the "Best Of" compilation)

"Disappointment," the Connells

"Bottles & Bones (Shade & Sympathy)," Califone (I don't think it's necessarily a breakup song -- it's hard to tell what most Califone songs are about, frankly -- but the chorus hinges on the line "this is the longest goodbye.")

I also second Duran Duran's "Ordinary World," U2's Achtung Baby ("Love is Blindness" is pretty goddamn wrenching), the Tom Waits and Willie Nelson suggestions, Beck's Sea Change, and anything by Michael Penn, esp. Free For All.
posted by scody at 8:43 PM on November 8, 2004

Dammit, more.

You Am I - Heavy Heart

Been watching so much TV
I'm thinner than I should be
I'm like a waterlogged ball
That no-one wants to kick around anymore
An all day morning hair-do
That no comb can get through
It's all granola and beer
A calling card and a silk cut souvenir
I miss you like sleep
And there's nothing romantic about the hours I keep
The morning's when it starts
I don't look so sharp
Now I got a heavy heart

I talk a lot about football
And girls I kissed in Grade 4
I piss off my friends
I'm digging a hole just staring at the floor
Now every t-shirt's got a wine stain
I'm loving cigarettes again
I know every tune about guys and girls
and hurts and hearts and moans

(Disclaimer- I hate this band but it's a hella breakup song)

And I support scody's addition of Split Enz - I Hope I Never
posted by bdave at 8:48 PM on November 8, 2004

Golden Age, by Beck
posted by docpops at 8:55 PM on November 8, 2004

You're a no good heartbreaker
You're a liar and you're a cheat
And I don't know why
I let you do these things to me

My friends keep telling me
That you're no good
But they don't know
That I'd leave you if I could

I guess I'm hooked tight
And I'm stuck like glue
Cause I ain't never
I ain't never
I ain't never, no no
Loved a man
The way that I
I love a you

Aretha Franklin, I Never Loved a Man.

The gender's wrong for bonaldi but holy smoking Jesus is that wallow-rific. I'm going to go cry now.
posted by TimeFactor at 8:57 PM on November 8, 2004

When I was 16, it was Sinatra's Swinging Down the Lane.
posted by muckster at 9:02 PM on November 8, 2004

Lift Your Skinny Fists Like Antennas To Heaven (the whole album)- Godspeed You Black Emperor

Goddamn The Sun - Swans

Love Will Tear Us Apart (cover) - Jarboe

Sometimes - My Bloody Valentine

Sportscar - Wedding Present

And just about everything Low has ever recorded.
posted by cmonkey at 9:03 PM on November 8, 2004

"Sunrise, Sunset" by Bright Eyes (on "Fevers & Mirrors"):

"The sunrise, the sunset, you're hopeful and then you regret
The circle never breaks
With a sunrise and sunset, there's a change of heart or address
Is there nothing that remains?
For a sunrise or a sunset, you're manic or you’re depressed
Will you ever feel ok?
For a sunrise or a sunset, your lover is an actress
Did you really think she'd stay?"

Despite being young and fabulous and dating Winona Ryder, poor Connor Oberst is always getting his heart broken or wallowing in misery. I'd recommend pretty much any of the Bright Eyes stuff.
posted by gokart4xmas at 9:13 PM on November 8, 2004

All the other songs off of Chris Isaak's Forever Blue not mentioned above. Also Blue Spanish Moon.

Where Are They Now by Al Stewart, which is just brilliant.

Green Fields by the Brothers Four.

I Can't Sleep If I Can't Sleep With You by Floyd Brown.

Solo by Emmanuel.

Tell Me I Was Dreaming by Travis Tritt.

She's Crazy For Leaving by Rodney Crowell.

In A Week Or Two by Diamond Rio.
posted by rushmc at 9:14 PM on November 8, 2004

Doh, it's Blue Spanish Sky, of course, not Moon.
posted by rushmc at 9:15 PM on November 8, 2004

Oh my god, I can't believe I forgot pretty much all of Chet Baker Sings (even the love songs are mournful), but most particularly "There Will Never Be Another You." You can actually hear your heart breaking into a million pieces if you listen to this at the right moment late at night with a drink in your hand. Actually, plenty of his instrumental stuff from his heyday is perfect, too. Deep in a Dream is a good compilation of vocal and instrumental tracks.

okay, seriously, I've got to stop now.
posted by scody at 9:17 PM on November 8, 2004

But just one more line to say I'm sorry, bonaldi, that you're hurting. I hope you'll get some really good catharsis out of all this! Hang in there.
posted by scody at 9:25 PM on November 8, 2004

arab strap yeah. red house painters (especially the earlier albums). kristin hersh..."spain," "the letter" perhaps. jets to brazil's "sea anemone" and "i typed for miles." field mice and trembling blue stars ("with every story," "little gunshots," "the ghost of an unkissed kiss," her handwriting in its entirety)--bobby wratten was described as creating a new genre, "stalker pop"...heh. joe pernice's solo album has some bitter break up songs, and sometimes the pernice brothers records do too ("i hope this letter finds you crying/it would feel so good to see you cry/under the same lifeless sky/how is it i can find no peace/i hope someday we meet both broken/so take this my backstabbing payback number/you were my lifesucking power monger/even still, you were mine" from "number two" comes to mind).

spiritualized has some really heartbreaking it's-over-and-i'm-screwed songs.
posted by ifjuly at 9:35 PM on November 8, 2004 [1 favorite]

oh, and mogwai's cover of guns n' roses' "don't cry." yowza.
posted by ifjuly at 9:38 PM on November 8, 2004

i can't stop! eek. but i must say: holy shit, good call on yo la tengo's "damage." it's the evocative yet mundane details in that song that just kill me. ouch ouch.
posted by ifjuly at 9:42 PM on November 8, 2004

Elvis Costello. Lots and lots of Elvis Costello. (I mean, the guy once characterized his entire oeuvre as songs of "guilt and revenge.")

I first thought of "I Want You", but there's also:
"Complicated Shadows"
"Starting To Come To Me" (preferably the live, slower version)
"I Want To Vanish"
Anything on Almost Blue
"Busy Bodies"
"Two Little Hitlers"
"This Year's Girl"
"The Beat"
"Lipstick Vogue"
"All The Rage"
"Riot Act"
"So Like Candy"
"I'm Not Angry"
"Deep Dark Truthful Mirror"

And yes, scody, the Connells! (Love 'em.)

And Tom Waits, and anything by Leonard Cohen, and the Superchunk album Foolish.

And on preview: scody nailed it again with Chet Baker.
posted by Vidiot at 9:44 PM on November 8, 2004

Always been a fan of Fiona Apple's "Criminal"
posted by jmd82 at 9:46 PM on November 8, 2004

Billy Bragg's "Wish You Were Her"
Elvis Costello's "Almost Blue" (or for extra sobbing, Chet Baker's version)
Dire Straits' "Romeo and Juliet"
Bruce Robison & Kelly Willis' "Angry All The Time"
Bonnie Raitt's "I Can't Make You Love Me"
Ben Folds' "Give Judy My Notice"
only some of you will know how truly nerdy this is, but Michelle Branch's "Goodbye To You"

and then when you're ready to face life again Bob Mould's "I See A Little Light".
posted by nicwolff at 10:08 PM on November 8, 2004

Del Amitri, "Always the Last to Know"
But now you're living up behind the hill
And though we share the same city and feel the same sun
When your winter comes
I'll be the last to know
Also, the excellent album Copper Blue, by Sugar.
posted by kirkaracha at 11:00 PM on November 8, 2004

Kate Bush's "You're the One":

It's all right I'll come 'round when you're not in
And I'll pick up all my things
Everything I have I bought with you
But that's all right too
It's just everything I do
We did together
And there's a little piece of you
In whatever
I've got everything I need
I've got petrol in the car
I've got some money with me
There's just one problem

You're the only one I want.

Damn, bonaldi, feel better soon.
posted by melissa may at 11:24 PM on November 8, 2004

"Letter to Hermione" by David Bowie

w00! yes - scody - God knows you're good!
posted by scarabic at 1:22 AM on November 9, 2004

I'll second "Break Your Heart" by Barenaked Ladies. Forget about all their new albums; Born on a Pirate Ship is beautiful, depressed, transcendent pop.
posted by Tlogmer at 2:37 AM on November 9, 2004

You want classic country. Some good choices:

Merle Haggard, "Tonight the Bottle Let Me Down"
George Jones, "If Drinkin' Don't Kill Me"
Hank Williams, "I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry"
Ernest Tubb, "Two Glasses Joe"
Loretta Lynn, "After the Fire is Gone"
Willie Nelson, "Whiskey River"
posted by maurice at 3:57 AM on November 9, 2004

Sun Kil Moon - Carry Me Ohio
posted by damnitkage at 4:25 AM on November 9, 2004

Can't believe that no one has mentioned the rock classic:

Led Zeppelin - Dazed and Confused

There's a whole lotta pain in that song - enough to swim in for a few days at least with accompanying medication.
posted by elphTeq at 4:43 AM on November 9, 2004

From back in high school, when "wallow in the misery and pain of loss" was a favorite pastime, it's Disintegration by The Cure in a landslide.

Especially "Pictures of You", "Disintegration", and "Same Deep Water As You".

Disintegration is the best album ever.
posted by jmcmurry at 5:09 AM on November 9, 2004

Languagehat, do you mean the song or the album?

Sorry, you're right of course, I meant the album, and the songs you mentioned. This topic short-circuits the careful, rational part of the brain.
posted by languagehat at 5:40 AM on November 9, 2004

Modest Mouse - The Moon and Antarctica, "Breakthrough" from This Is a Long Drive for Someone with Nothing to Think About
The Sisters of Mercy - First and Last and Always, Floodland This is excellent goth music, always terrific for moping
Bobby Womack - "Across 110th Street"
Bonnie 'Prince' Billy - I See a Darkness
Palace Music - Viva Last Blues
Leonard Cohen - Songs from a Room

Also, try old Motown singles - "Heat Wave", "You Can't Hurry Love", "This Old Heart of Mine (Is Weak for You)", "I Heard it through the Grapevine" - both Marvin Gaye's version and Gladys Knight and the Pips' version.
Smokey Robinson and the Miracles - "Ooh Baby Baby" and "Fork in the Road" are excellent too.
posted by rocketman at 6:07 AM on November 9, 2004

Also, off Pet Sounds, try "God Only Knows", "Wouldn't It Be Nice?", and "Caroline No".

Another great melancholy Beach Boys single: "Don't Worry Baby"
posted by rocketman at 6:09 AM on November 9, 2004

Bonnie 'Prince' Billy - I See a Darkness

Yes... Yes... Yes...
posted by Quartermass at 6:30 AM on November 9, 2004

Languagehat nails it - Layla (the album) by Derek & the Dominos, hands down. That album got me through the worst breakup funk of my life.
posted by Pressed Rat at 6:49 AM on November 9, 2004

Alice In Chains, "Down in a Hole"
Charlie Robison, "Sunset Boulevard"
Bruce Robison, "End Like That"
Freddie Mercury's version of "The Great Pretender"
Steve Warner, "Some Fools Never Learn"
Doug Stone, "Better off in a Pine Box"
posted by Cyrano at 7:09 AM on November 9, 2004

man, what a sad bunch. I thought of some more last night.

"Fascination" by Everything But The Girl
"Cuts You Up" by Peter Murphy
"Why Don't You Love Me Like You Used To Do" by Hank Williams
"Stormy Weather" by Billie Holiday
"Rain" by Patty Griffin
"The Difficult Kind" by Sheryl Crow

Seconding the Bill Withers, Elliot Smith, Chet Baker and Beck references. Isn't Sea Change a breakup album?
posted by whatnot at 7:14 AM on November 9, 2004

Ah, I just made this mix-tape for this very occasion

Hank Williams - Oh, Please Don't Let Me Love You
Al Green - For the Good Times
Old Crow Medicine Show - We're All in this Together
Sufjan Stevens - Flint
David Bowie - Five Years
Radiohead - No Surprises
Troubled Hubble - Where raccoons Don't Live
Arcade Fire - Neighborhood #1
Dismemberment Plan - Crush
The Wrens - Happy
Rouge - Happy Together
Aimee Mann - Wise Up
Rilo Kiley - Does He Love You
Phantom Planet - California (NOTE: only when used in conjunction with the previous song)
Elvis Costello - I Want You
Dream Academy - Please, Please, Please, Let Me Get What I want
posted by eschewed at 7:18 AM on November 9, 2004

rushmc, a c&w fan?

congratualations, my man, you still possess the power to surprise me.

Oh, and "Cry Baby" by Garnet Mimms, any version of "The First Cut is The Deepest", Hank Williams' "Lovesick Blues," "Always See Your Face" by Love, "One Of Us Must Know" & "You Go Your Way and I'll Go Mine" by Bob Dylan and yes, I admit it, "What It Takes" by Aerosmith.
posted by jonmc at 7:23 AM on November 9, 2004

It's going waaaay back, but there's little to match the break up anguish in Eric Carmen's "All By Myself." If the chorus doesn't get you, then you're over it.
posted by frallyth at 7:30 AM on November 9, 2004

Aimee Mann - "Ray"
Alicia Keys - "If I Ain't Got You"
Badly Drawn Boy - "A Minor Incident"
The Blue Nile - "From A Late Night Train"
The Cardigans - "Couldn't Care Less"
Crowded House - "Better Be Home Soon"
Elbow - "Powder Blue"
Everything But the Girl - "Downtown Train" (cover)
Everything But the Girl - "Walking to You" (actually, most of the album "Amplified Heart")
Genesis - "Open Door"
Michael Penn - "Cupid's Got A Brand New Gun"
Peter Gabriel - "Washing of the Water"
The Posies - "I May Hate You Sometimes (But I'll Always Love You)"
Sade - "By Your Side"
Sting - "I Burn For You" (live)
Tim Easton - "I Would Have Married You"
posted by papercake at 7:38 AM on November 9, 2004

"When Somebody Loved Me" by Sarah McLachlan, from the Toy Story 2 soundtrack. Even if the lyrics don't match.

Also "Can't Say Goodbye to Yesterday", but I don't remember who sang that.
posted by casarkos at 7:44 AM on November 9, 2004

Another good Hank Williams song is "Weary Blues". Some of the verses match up well with the Smiths' "Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now": "Through tears I watch young lovers as they go strolling by"; "young lovers in entwined pass me by and heaven knows I'm miserable now". The version by The The on Hanky Panky's pretty good.

You could also check out the sad violin music thread from a week or two ago.
posted by kenko at 7:49 AM on November 9, 2004

Faun Fables - Ode to Rejection
posted by kenko at 7:54 AM on November 9, 2004

whatisface is John Gorka, and he's replete with sad breakup songs...several on the same album as that song: Land of the Bottom Line.

Also, Bonnie Raitt's My First Night Alone Without You.
posted by hsoltz at 7:59 AM on November 9, 2004

The Police, "Every Breath You Take," a seriously creepy song if you read the lyrics.
posted by kirkaracha at 9:26 AM on November 9, 2004

rushmc, a c&w fan?...congratualations, my man, you still possess the power to surprise me.

As I've noted before in other contexts, I hate labels and laugh at boundaries.

Some more alternatives to the flavors offered in this thread:

Always - Saliva
Life Is A Lemon And I Want My Money Back - Meat Loaf
How Can You Mend A Broken Heart - BeeGees
Just When I Needed You Most - Leo Sayer
Things - Bobby Darin
Lonely Blue Boy - Conway Twitty
A Thousand Miles From Nowhere - Dwight Yoakam
Jezebel - Frankie Laine
posted by rushmc at 9:56 AM on November 9, 2004

Inevitably, I woke up thinking of more.

First, I am ashamed of myself for blathering about Paul Weller and neglecting his pre-solo material -- so to that end, ladies and gentlemen, I offer you "The Bitterest Pill" by the Jam and "Long Hot Summer" by the Style Council.


"St. Swithin's Day" - Billy Bragg

"Golden Blunders" - The Posies

"I'm Only Dreaming" - The Small Faces
posted by scody at 10:35 AM on November 9, 2004

PJ Harvey and Thom Yorke, "This mess we're in".
posted by dazed_one at 11:16 AM on November 9, 2004

Oh, crap, and Elliot Smith, "Somebody that I used to know".
posted by dazed_one at 11:18 AM on November 9, 2004 [1 favorite]

Slaid Cleaves - "Broke Down", "Horseshoe Lounge"

Cowboy Junkies - "Dreaming My Dreams With You"
posted by bradhill at 12:14 PM on November 9, 2004

All of Nine Inch Nails' Broken.
Gave up trying to figure it out
My head got lost along the way
Worn out from giving it up
My soul I've pissed it all away
Still stings these shattered nerves
Pigs we get what pigs deserve
I'm going all the way down
I'm leaving today
Do us a favor and lock up the knives and guns first, okay?
posted by NortonDC at 2:08 PM on November 9, 2004

Bright Eyes - "It's Cool, We Can Still Be Friends." More poignant, of course, if you are trying to do that 'just be friends' thing. Conor's screaming "I guess that your truth is just the ghost of your lies!" for some reason makes perfect sense in the throes of an angst-ridden breakup.

And I'm with gokart4xmas -- pretty much the entire bright eyes catalog is designed for breakups. And if your goal really is not to get over your ex, you can't go wrong with "I Don't Want To Get Over You" by the Magnetic Fields.
posted by pokeydonut at 11:51 PM on November 9, 2004

Friend of mine swears by Stina Nordenstam's So this is goodbye.
posted by monkey closet at 1:14 AM on November 10, 2004

As I've noted before in other contexts, I hate labels and laugh at boundaries.

Don't get me wrong. I love country music, myself. It just seems out of character. The sentimentality and stuff just seems at odds with your MeFi persona is all.
posted by jonmc at 9:57 AM on November 10, 2004

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