Don't let the door hit you... in song...
July 7, 2009 10:18 AM   Subscribe

Musical mavens of Metafilter, please recommend some upbeat break up songs.

We’ve had threads about break up music before, but I’m looking for songs that take a specific tack. I don’t want songs that contain references to beautiful goodbyes or being abondoned and heartbroken or how letting go is aaaaagony but [sob] for the best. The song should take a tone more along the lines of “don’t let the door hit you” and “I’m just going to do a happy dance around the living room for five minutes before I forget all about you and go do something interesting and worthwhile”. Examples of what I mean might be “Hit the Road Jack” by Ray Charles, “Already Gone” by the Eagles, “I’m Looking Through You”, by the Beatles, “My Lovin’ (You’re Never Gonna Get It)” by En Vogue, or even “Better Now” by Collective Soul, though it isn’t specifically a break up song.
posted by orange swan to Media & Arts (107 answers total) 39 users marked this as a favorite
I like "I Never Loved You Anyway," by The Corrs. Here's a video.
posted by sugarfish at 10:20 AM on July 7, 2009

I Will Survive (of course)
posted by bonobothegreat at 10:27 AM on July 7, 2009 [1 favorite]

Sailin' On, Bad Brains.
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 10:27 AM on July 7, 2009 [1 favorite]

Not Coming Home by Maroon 5
posted by Nattie at 10:27 AM on July 7, 2009

You're Breakin' My Heart by Harry Nilsson
posted by The Great Big Mulp at 10:27 AM on July 7, 2009 [2 favorites]

One Less Set of Footsteps by Jim Croce
posted by kimdog at 10:28 AM on July 7, 2009

Lily Allen, "Smile"
posted by infinitewindow at 10:29 AM on July 7, 2009 [1 favorite]

"Hats Off To Larry": pure sweet schadenfreude.
posted by Halloween Jack at 10:30 AM on July 7, 2009

Baby I love you - The Yahoos
Twisting - They Might Be Giants
posted by teleri025 at 10:30 AM on July 7, 2009

Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds - She's Leaving You. The song is very emotionally dissonant.
posted by prufrock at 10:31 AM on July 7, 2009

Strange Goodbye - Frank Black
posted by princelyfox at 10:31 AM on July 7, 2009

"Song for the Dumped" by Ben Folds Five, although it is more from a "man dumped by a woman" perspective. Still loud and satisfying, in my opinion.
posted by castlebravo at 10:32 AM on July 7, 2009 [4 favorites]

Also, "Tears Don't Care Who Cries Them"--I'm only familiar with the k.d. lang version off of Shadowland.
posted by Halloween Jack at 10:33 AM on July 7, 2009

Nonsense by Komeda. Couldn't find it on youtube, so: lyrics.
posted by bjrn at 10:33 AM on July 7, 2009

Single Again -- Trina.
Feel a Whole Lot Better -- The Byrds
You Ain't Got a Hold on Me -- AC/DC
Broken Hearts are for Assholes -- Frank Zappa
Don't Need You -- Bikini Kill (it's not about breaking up, but it suits the mood)
posted by tamarack at 10:34 AM on July 7, 2009 [1 favorite]

Pink - So What
Bif Naked - I Love Myself Today
posted by cmgonzalez at 10:36 AM on July 7, 2009

Nothing better by the Postal service

and don't judge me, but:
Since U Been Gone by Kelly Clarkson
posted by emyd at 10:37 AM on July 7, 2009

I always liked Live Again by Better Than Ezra, a song about the time just post-break up when you decide to get going again.
posted by jaybeans at 10:38 AM on July 7, 2009

The Waitresses - No Guilt
posted by willnot at 10:39 AM on July 7, 2009

"Your Ex-Lover is Dead", by Stars — the tone is more "nothing left and no regrets" than "good riddance", but it's still a great song.
posted by Johnny Assay at 10:40 AM on July 7, 2009 [2 favorites]

Good Luck by Basement Jaxx
posted by naju at 10:40 AM on July 7, 2009 [2 favorites]

I've always found that God Only Knows by The Beach Boys can be rather cheering and inspiring - along the lines of "damn, i never realised it, but you have been holding me back, see ya!".

Hiccup In Your Happiness by Australian band The Lucksmiths, You Never Got Me Right by Frida Hyvonen and You Can't Always Get What You Want by The Rolling Stones are all pretty good too.
posted by pipstar at 10:41 AM on July 7, 2009

Memory Lame off of Insignificance by Jim O'Rourke is vicious.

Actually, almost all of that album fits the bill for what you're looking for. It took me a long time to realize it though.

You can listen to the samplers to see if the music fits your tastes. The music is pretty reserved in most parts, but the lyrics are brutal.
posted by elder18 at 10:41 AM on July 7, 2009

Yes, Song for the Dumped by Ben Folds is such a pissed off anthem.
Kiss Off by Violent Femmes
There's No Home For You Here by White Stripes
Choice in the Matter by Aimee Mann
You Got Lucky by Tom Petty
I Don't Love You by My Chemical Romance
It's All Over Now by Rolling Stones
Love is a Battlefield by Pat Benatar
Survivor by Destiny's Child
Ex-Factor by Lauryn Hill
Go Your Own Way by Fleetwood Mac
posted by zoomorphic at 10:42 AM on July 7, 2009 [1 favorite]

Since U Been Gone - Kelly Clarkson
posted by kookaburra at 10:44 AM on July 7, 2009

Let 'Er Rip - Dixie Chicks
posted by pineapple at 10:47 AM on July 7, 2009

You Don't Know Me - Ben Folds
posted by youcancallmeal at 10:47 AM on July 7, 2009

Dixie Chicks: Let 'er Rip
posted by davejay at 10:48 AM on July 7, 2009

ah, pineapple, you have bested me again. (shakes fist)
posted by davejay at 10:48 AM on July 7, 2009

Walkin' Shoes - Tora Tora
posted by QUHZK at 10:49 AM on July 7, 2009

Squeeze - Black Coffee In Bed
posted by cali59 at 10:49 AM on July 7, 2009

I'd Much Rather Be With The Boys Than Be With You - it's a Rolling Stones song, but I prefer the Reigning Sound version myself.
posted by pdb at 10:50 AM on July 7, 2009

Change The Locks by Lucinda Williams.
posted by rocket88 at 10:51 AM on July 7, 2009

Sun Comes Up, It's Tuesday Morning (Cowboy Junkies) has their usual mix of wistful and wicked. Great song.
posted by rokusan at 10:52 AM on July 7, 2009

People in Love by Art Brut
posted by roll truck roll at 10:53 AM on July 7, 2009

Wilco Glad It's Over
posted by Majorita at 10:54 AM on July 7, 2009

On My Own - Peach Union
Shut Up and Let Me Go - The Ting Tings

and if you can tolerate boy bands:
Bye Bye Bye - NSYNC
Don't Want You Back - Backstreet Boys
posted by Metroid Baby at 10:54 AM on July 7, 2009

Irreplaceable - Beyonce
I'm Gonna Find Another You - John Mayer
Picture to Burn - Taylor Swift
Someday - Mariah Carey
posted by yawper at 10:55 AM on July 7, 2009

Oh also - January (The One With "Kid"), by Local H.
posted by pdb at 10:56 AM on July 7, 2009

Feeling Better - Sugar
posted by usonian at 10:58 AM on July 7, 2009

Sitting on Top of the World
posted by tdismukes at 11:01 AM on July 7, 2009

Rasputina: If Your Kisses Can't Hold the Man You Love
posted by JoanArkham at 11:04 AM on July 7, 2009

Cubs in Five by the Mountain Goats.
No Children by the Mountain Goats.
Too Many Fish in the Sea by the Marvelettes.
These Boots are Made for Walkin' by Nancy Sinatra.
posted by chesty_a_arthur at 11:06 AM on July 7, 2009 [1 favorite]

I've always loved the song by Magnetic Fields mastermind Stephen Merritt's side-project, the Future Bible Heroes, entitled “I'm Lonely (And I Love It):”

I'm lonely and I love it
woe is me, but I'm above it
it's the strangest thing
I'm sad and I don't care
and I'm dancing on air

I miss you and I like it
show me a mountain and I'll hike it
it's a whole new feeling never felt before
get me to the dance floor

I'm as lonely as an eagle
and I'm crazy as a loon
who would ever think I could get over you so soon?
I should be singing the blues
but I just want to croon
winter is still with us, but I'm dancing like it's june

because I'm lonely and I love it…

Relatively gay, but good old fun.

If you like a tiny bit more “fuck you” in your lyrics, you may as well try Elvis Costello's divorce record, Blood And Chocolate. The first two tracks in particular are upbeat tunes that say goodbye without really giving a fuck, and take the opportunity to relish those various things that it's so satisfying to say to another person in such a situation.

The first is the raw, barn-burning rocker of a track from which the title of the record comes, “Uncomplicated”:

Blood and Chocolate!
I hope you're satisfied what you have done
You think it's over now
But it's only just begun

The second is a slightly more poppy, slightly more bitter (this is Elvis Costello, after all) tune called “I Hope You're Happy Now.” It's more of an ‘I see you're dating someone new, hmm? Give me a fucking break’-type song:

I knew then what I know now—
I never loved you anyhow
And I hope you're happy now…

There's also a great breakup song on the second side of the record concerning the division of items that always happens afterwards and the revenge you can get by keeping something the other person really wanted; it's entitled “The Blue Chair:”

Now its my turn to talk—
And your turn to think
Your turn to buy—
And my turn to drink
Your turn to cry—
And my turn to sink

Down in the blue chair

All of these are upbeat and fun to listen to. There's one song, “I Want You,” that's slow, quiet, and a bit scary; it's not really what you're looking for. All in all, however, the record is very good as breakup records go.
posted by koeselitz at 11:08 AM on July 7, 2009 [2 favorites]

Someone Else's Trouble Now by Highway 101.
posted by not that girl at 11:09 AM on July 7, 2009

The original "Tainted Love" by Gloria Jones.
posted by Vervain at 11:10 AM on July 7, 2009 [1 favorite]

The Magnetic Fields - Long-forgotten Fairytale
posted by TrialByMedia at 11:10 AM on July 7, 2009

Sneaky Feelings "Wouldn't Cry"
The Real Kids: "All Kindsa Girls" (here)
posted by ryanshepard at 11:14 AM on July 7, 2009

Editions Of You - Roxy Music
Your Pretty Face Is Going To Hell - Iggy & The Stooges
Gilded - Arab Strap
Most of the first album by The Aliens.
posted by anagrama at 11:14 AM on July 7, 2009 [1 favorite]

"Breakin' Up" - Rilo Kiley
posted by shesbookish at 11:18 AM on July 7, 2009 [2 favorites]

Weezer - The Good Life
posted by timory at 11:21 AM on July 7, 2009

I've always been partial to 2000 Miles by Erasure.
posted by Shohn at 11:29 AM on July 7, 2009

I'll Feel a Whole Lot Better by the Byrds
posted by hector horace at 11:38 AM on July 7, 2009

"Promises," Eric Clapton
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 11:40 AM on July 7, 2009

"If You Knew" - Neko Case...maybe "Pretty Girls" too.
"Condescending You" - Julie Doiron
"The Best Thing For Me" - Julie Doiron
"I'm Not in Love" - Talking Heads. Not directly a break-up song, but perfect in this situation nonetheless.
"You're No Good" - Tami Hart
"Destroy the Evidence" - Casiotone for the Painfully Alone
"I Don't Want You Anyway" - The Bats
posted by ifjuly at 11:42 AM on July 7, 2009

The Magnetic Fields - Long-forgotten Fairytale

Isn't this more of a "goddamnit, we're getting back together" song?
posted by Dormant Gorilla at 11:46 AM on July 7, 2009

Go Away! Eisley
posted by Pennyblack at 11:47 AM on July 7, 2009

ESG - Erase You erase you! just like a drawing/erase you! flush you like my toilet!
Johnny Bristol - Love No Longer Has A Hold On Me love no longer has a hold on me/i am stronger, so much more emotionally, i am free, to be me!
Patti Jo - Ain't No Love Lost now you wanna leave me, well, ain't no love lost
Donna McGhee - It Ain't No Big Thing that you're leaving - we both needed a change of pace, so just go on. a game of charades went on too long.
Ramona Brooks - I Don't Want You Back
Ann Sexton - You're Losing Me you do me wrong then smile in my face, now someone else is gonna take your place
posted by stachemaster at 11:48 AM on July 7, 2009

Belle and Sebastian: Waking Up To Us
Matt Skiba/Kevin Seconds: Good Fucking Bye
posted by NoraReed at 11:56 AM on July 7, 2009

All-American Rejects - Gives You Hell
posted by LightMayo at 12:02 PM on July 7, 2009

Cex - "Earth-Shaking Event" is a good one.
posted by indiebass at 12:06 PM on July 7, 2009

…also, this is a very familiar theme in country music. A few good picks:

The great Steve Goodman (the guy who wrote “The City Of New Orleans”) got together with John Prine and wrote a fantastic and hilarious tune called “You Never Even Called Me By My Name,” which he purports to be “the perfect country song” since it mentions “everything in every country song I've ever heard.” It was made a hit by the country music badass David Allan Coe, which version is satisfyingly raucous and enjoyable, although, while I love me some David Allan Coe, I personally still prefer hearing Steve Goodman do it. [ 1 2 ]

And, going back a bit, one of the great early tunes is the genius Hank Snow's biggest hit, “Movin' On:”

That big eight-wheel
Movin' down the track
Means your true-lovin' daddy
Ain't comin' back,

I'm movin' on…

You had to laugh at me
So I've set you free
And I'm movin' on

Love it. Great stuff. This version by Emmylou Harris is great, too.
posted by koeselitz at 12:16 PM on July 7, 2009

While considering this a breakup song is a real stretch, the Dixie Chicks' Goodbye Earl is the cheeriest song about abuse and murder that I know.
posted by 6550 at 12:23 PM on July 7, 2009

Not upbeat, but mighty empowering:

Soul and Fire, by Sebadoh
posted by BitterOldPunk at 12:26 PM on July 7, 2009

I came in here to suggest "Since U Been Gone". Looks like I get to 3rd it.
posted by reductiondesign at 12:34 PM on July 7, 2009

Goodbye by Kristinia DeBarge, if you're a pop-loving girl. Also, if you can handle lines like "I got that new 'I'm a single girl' swag"...
posted by GarotaDaCidade at 12:39 PM on July 7, 2009

"I'm Free" by Violent Femmes?
posted by lhude sing cuccu at 12:46 PM on July 7, 2009

Also on the Violent Femmes tip: Fat, which is nasty but therapeutic.
posted by kittyprecious at 12:53 PM on July 7, 2009

All Cried Out by Alison Moyet. Definitely.
posted by widdershins at 1:05 PM on July 7, 2009

The Garbage song "Till the Day that I Die" is an interesting twist - chorus is "I will love till the day that I die" but the song ends "Farewell, farewell, I'm sure gonna leave you".

And seconding Pink's "So What" - great kick ass breakup song.
posted by witchstone at 1:16 PM on July 7, 2009

If you like western swing, try I had someone else before I had you (and I'll have someone after you're gone)
Lot's of people recorded it, the versions I know best are by Milton Brown (and his musical Brownies) or Bob Wills.
Charming lyrics:
"I had someone else before I had you
and I'll have someone after you're gone,
Now sweethearts and streetcars don't worry me,
there'll soon be another one along.
you needn't stay
go any day
I have a swinging door right in my heart and it swings either way...."
posted by snowymorninblues at 1:18 PM on July 7, 2009

Ace of Base - "The Sign"
posted by candyland at 1:19 PM on July 7, 2009

I'm amazed nobody has suggested "Every Day I Love You Less and Less" by Kaiser Chiefs.
posted by Cogito at 1:20 PM on July 7, 2009

I don't really love you anymore - Magnetic Fields

Is more a jaunty song of faux nonchalance about being dumped, but may satisfy you regardless.
posted by desuetude at 1:24 PM on July 7, 2009

Alkaline Trio - Jaked on Green Beers
posted by puritycontrol at 1:43 PM on July 7, 2009

Lush - Ciao!

(Jarvis Cocker from Pulp and Miki Berenyi take turns as a broken up couple trying to outdo swinging the door at each other's asses)
posted by bl1nk at 1:54 PM on July 7, 2009

Pamela Brown by Leo Kottke. It's about all the good things that happened to the singer because he failed to win the hand of the fair Pamela.

Hey Little Girl by Syndicate of Sound
posted by joaquim at 2:04 PM on July 7, 2009

Jacksoul Still Believe in Love
posted by ashputtel at 2:10 PM on July 7, 2009

Ben Folds Five- Song For the Dumped. Can't believe no one suggested this yet.
posted by reenum at 2:24 PM on July 7, 2009

Foo Fighters' The Last Song
posted by TheSecretDecoderRing at 2:43 PM on July 7, 2009

Descendents - Pep Talk
posted by dixie flatline at 2:47 PM on July 7, 2009

The entirety of the album Dog Problems by The Format would do this, but If Work Permits builds to a crescendo with Nate Ruess crooning "if she seems as lonely as me, left her fall"! Also from Nate Ruess: At Least I'm Not As Sad (As I Used To Be)
posted by Bleusman at 3:21 PM on July 7, 2009 [1 favorite]

Change The Locks as done by Lucinda Williams , just the ticket.
posted by readery at 3:42 PM on July 7, 2009

REM the one I love
posted by philip-random at 3:42 PM on July 7, 2009

Del Amitri: Kiss This Thing Goodbye
posted by macrone at 3:48 PM on July 7, 2009

Little Miss Can't Be Wrong by the Spin Doctors just came on Pandora and I thought of this thread. It's sort of about being glad they are not with their patronizing, good at everything ex.
posted by NoraReed at 3:49 PM on July 7, 2009

It's Not Right But It's Okay (Whitney Houston) is coming up in my iTunes queue (no, I will not admit any embarrassment -- y'all already beat me to the Kelly Clarkson, again and again, anyway!) and made me think of this thread.
posted by obliquicity at 4:05 PM on July 7, 2009

I am the Resurrection - The Stone Roses is the song for you. Lyrics include:

Don't waste your words I don't need anything from you
I don't care where you've been or what you plan to do


Cut loose, you're no use
I couldn't stand another second in your company


Stone me, why cant you see
You're a no-one nowhere washed up baby who'd look better dead

Your tongue is far too long
I don't like the way it sucks and slurps upon my every word


I am the resurrection and I am the light
I couldn't ever bring myself to hate you as I'd like

I am the resurrection and I am the light
I couldn't ever bring myself to hate you as I'd like

And then there's a triumphant jam.
posted by Cantdosleepy at 4:06 PM on July 7, 2009

Merry Happy by Kate Nash has got a great "well fuck you then, I'm moving on" vibe to it, and the melody is downright perky.

(Along a similar line, Foundations from the same album is a good "I am so done putting up with your bullshit" type song)
posted by AV at 4:09 PM on July 7, 2009

Violent Femmes - Ugly.
posted by pompomtom at 4:47 PM on July 7, 2009

Ben Folds and Regina Spektor, You don't know me. Less "good riddance", more "why the hell were we together".
posted by kjs4 at 4:53 PM on July 7, 2009

Usher's U Don't Have to Call
posted by fuse theorem at 5:37 PM on July 7, 2009

Jojo - Leave (Get Out)
posted by nooneyouknow at 5:46 PM on July 7, 2009

Paul Kelly's Every Fucking City
posted by girlgenius at 5:49 PM on July 7, 2009

Janet Jackson - Son of A Gun, Remix
posted by nooneyouknow at 6:10 PM on July 7, 2009

Kim Stockwood - You Jerk seems to fit.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 6:28 PM on July 7, 2009

"Don't Shed a Tear," Paul Carrack
posted by shallowcenter at 7:26 PM on July 7, 2009

Seconding "Since U Been Gone."

And maybe "Shut Up and Let Me Go."
posted by Gotham at 8:31 PM on July 7, 2009

The Magnetic Fields - I Don't Really Love You Anymore
The Donnas - I Didn't Like You Anyway
Lisa Loeb - I Do
posted by yellowbinder at 8:52 PM on July 7, 2009

I did Ctrl+F twice and no one has mentioned You Oughta Know by Alanis Morissette?? "Ironic" is rubbish, but You Oughta Know is an awesome EFF YOU anthem.

Also, Sleep to Dream by Fiona Apple.

I got my feet on the ground and I dont go to sleep to dream
You got your head in the clouds, you're not at all what you seem
This mind, this body, and this voice cannot be stifled by your deviant ways
So don't forget what I told you
Don't come around I got my own hell to raise

posted by like_neon at 5:26 AM on July 8, 2009

Ooh also:

Cry me a River, Justin Timberlake
Bye Bye Bye, NSYNC
Heard it all Before, Sunshine Anderson

Stronger, Britney Spears (what)
posted by like_neon at 5:35 AM on July 8, 2009

Gorilla Zoe - Echo

All night long I thought to myself
Why would I stay with you?
Realized that you were the one who had issues
So why would I miss you?

Now there's nobody to argue with
Cause I'm not home
Don't care who you're with
Don't call my phone
Or did you forget
You know you're wrong
I'm gone... And you're all alone
Hearing your own damn echoes
It's just you and your echoes
No one is near you
No one can hear you

posted by sephira at 7:11 AM on July 8, 2009

Bob Dylan, 'It Ain't Me Babe' (bonus: try the Sebastian Cabot cover)

arguably, They Might Be Giants, 'Truth In Your Words'
posted by spamguy at 7:46 AM on July 8, 2009

Want It All Back

From the awesome Cowboy Bebop soundtrack, sung by Mai Yamane, backed up by Yoko Kanno, two female forces of nature.

I used up all my money trying to please you and I want it back.
posted by unsupervised at 9:10 AM on July 8, 2009

Free Fallin' by Tom Petty.

Break My Stride by Matthew Wilder, kind of? (It's from the perspective of the guy getting dumped.)
posted by anthy at 10:06 PM on July 8, 2009

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