Songs for impending heartbreak.
July 18, 2005 8:52 AM   Subscribe

Help me compile the soundtrack for my impending heartbreak!

I'm in Melbourne, Australia, and am three months into a lovely romance with a boy from London. The good news: he is totally ace, and I'm smitten; the bad news: he's going back home in about two weeks. Realistically, I imagine that will be the end of the relationship (although I'd like very much to be wrong).

In Warner Bros cartoons, when a character - let's say, Wiley Coyote - accidentally runs off the edge of a cliff, he runs in mid-air for a while. And then in time, he falters, his pedalling legs hesitate, and he glances down at the canyon over which he's hovering. Well, right now, that's me: running in mid-air, refusing to look down, trying to postpone the inevitable moment when the (temporarily suspended) laws of physics suddenly re-apply, and gravity re-asserts itself. I'm trying to plan ahead. In a fortnight, I'm going plummet into the ravine. Naturally I'll need a mix-tape to plummet by! (I'll probably also make a copy for the boy to listen to on the plane.)

I suppose I'm looking for sad or wistful songs about long distance, lost, or transient love. So far, I have 'Tallahassee' by the Mountain Goats, 'I'm Looking For a Girl' by Jens Lekman, and 'The Chapter in Your Life Entitled San Francisco' by the Lucksmiths (especially apt since we were introduced by a member of the Lucksmiths). What other songs should I consider?

(Oh, and general advice for dealing with break-up situations like this are also welcome!)
posted by hot soup girl to Human Relations (40 answers total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
For you: "I will Survive" by Gloria Gaynor
For him: "It's Raining Men" by the Weather Girls
posted by dong_resin at 9:06 AM on July 18, 2005

Sorry to hear about your impending break. To start with, previous break-up soundtrack request threads include this one, this one, and this one.

I think there are plenty more threads where those came from if you dig around. If Ask MeFi is any indication, break-ups are a reliable windfall for the recording industry.

On preview: It appears Dong has given you everything you need. Set iTunes on "repeat" and just sit back as the sorrow melts away.
posted by TPIRman at 9:12 AM on July 18, 2005

I'm such a wuss. Gimmie some Dashboard Confessional and I well up and get all mushy.
posted by lemonfridge at 9:14 AM on July 18, 2005

Maybe that URL could be added to the advice on the "Post a new question" page.
posted by fire&wings at 9:19 AM on July 18, 2005 [1 favorite]

Yeah, can we have a front page link to those requests -- I was kind of astounded to see the same question asked, who knew listening to sad music was so important during break-ups?
posted by Big Fat Tycoon at 9:20 AM on July 18, 2005

Response by poster: For you: "I will Survive" by Gloria Gaynor
For him: "It's Raining Men" by the Weather Girls


(And yes, I agree. Even minutes later, I cannot believe I posted this unbelievably predictable, sappy question. It would seem that my brain has fallen out. Bah. Carry on.)
posted by hot soup girl at 9:21 AM on July 18, 2005

From a similar mix I once made for myself (see! You're not alone!):

"Look for Me (I'll Be Around)" - Neko Case
"Telephone" - The Januaries (which would be my first recommendation for this)
"I Love the Unknown" - Clem Snide
"Hey, That's No Way to Say Goodbye" - Leonard Cohen
"You're Still My Baby" - Otis Redding
"Ocean Song" or "Pour Me Down the River" - Rachel McCartney
"Bottomfeeder" and "Communist Love Song" - Soltero
posted by occhiblu at 9:24 AM on July 18, 2005

The Cure "Boys Don't Cry"
posted by k8t at 9:30 AM on July 18, 2005

Lost Love Standards

"The Day You Walked Away" by Joel Plaskett ("The day you walked away / I didn't see it coming)
"Don't Get Down" by Hayden ("Don't get Down / Don't waste time on things you can never change")
"At My Window Sad and Lonely" from Billy Bragg and Wilco ("Did you ever think of me my darling / as you sailed the ocean blue")
"Cannonball" by Damien Rice ("Still a little bit of your taste / in my mouth")
"Ugly Love" from the new Eels record ("My kind of love is an ugly love / But it's real, and it lasts a long, long time")
"Picture Postcard" by the Promise Ring ("Couldn't you take the second bus home?")
"Please, Please, Please, Let Me Get What I Want" by the Smiths ("...lord knows it would be the first time")
"Still In Love Song" by the Stills ("I remember it was summer/I was out of my head but you weren't)
posted by Quartermass at 9:32 AM on July 18, 2005

Ben Folds Five: Don't Change Your Plans.
posted by hamster at 9:33 AM on July 18, 2005 [1 favorite]

"Transatlanticism" - Death Cab for Cutie
posted by patgas at 9:34 AM on July 18, 2005

Oh man. Merrie Amsterburg's Season of Rain.
posted by Specklet at 9:54 AM on July 18, 2005

This maybe doesn't quite apply to breakups, but when I had a long-distance relationship (5000 miles) I used to make soundtracks for the time we'd be together - that way when she was gone and there was this void, the canyon you'll be hovering over, I had music which would take me back to being with her and so made the "fall" significantly less... abrupt.

Oh, and anything by Nick Drake will pretty much appease your tortured mind :-)
posted by forallmankind at 10:02 AM on July 18, 2005

"Nevada, California" by the Jayhawks.
posted by jeffmshaw at 10:10 AM on July 18, 2005

"It Happens Everyday" by Dar Williams will kill you. Don't check out the lyrics first, just get the song. The effect will be more, um, shattering.

And I've found all break-up advice to be perfectly meaningless to me (unless you're actually planning on moving on), but I'm sure you can find plenty of helpful comments in the Ask MeFi archives, too.
posted by mumble at 10:31 AM on July 18, 2005

While many of the songs may not apply to your particular situation, Pet Shop Boy's "Behavior" has a slew of "breakup" pop songs, many quite cathartic - To Face the Truth, So Hard, The End of the World...

The only other song I can think of that deals with the long distance thing is "Faithfully" by Journey, but I don't see how listening to this could possibly be a good thing.
posted by hellbient at 10:40 AM on July 18, 2005

"It Can't Rain All the Time" - Jane Siberry
posted by papercake at 10:41 AM on July 18, 2005

I would just go with all of the Mountain Goats catalogue, but then, I'm a purist.
posted by OmieWise at 11:13 AM on July 18, 2005

occhiblu freaking nailed it.
posted by cyphill at 11:19 AM on July 18, 2005

Here are all the sad songs of loss currently on my computer not already mentioned by someone else.
The Movement of a Hand, Bright Eyes.
Cat Power's version of Still in Love.
Company Calls Epilogue, Death Cab for Cutie, not about what you want exactly but devastatingly sad.
Goner/ with Souvenir, Richard Buckner
Everything Remind me of Her, Elliot Smith, not his best song but may work for you, hell anything but Smith is bound to be sad.
The Most Depressing Song, The Get Up Kids.
Do You? Jolie Holland.
God Only Knows, Beach Boys, not sad out of context but in your circumstance, maybe.
La Familla, Mirah.
When Ever You Breath Out, I Breath In, Modest Mouse.
Cat Power's version of Still in Love.
Naomi, Neutral Milk Hotel.
Goner/ with Souvenir, Richard Buckner
posted by iwouldificould at 11:55 AM on July 18, 2005

Err, if I am allowed to be a little corny for just a second (I think I am, aren't I?)
"Leaving on a jet plane" ?
The Chantal Kreviazuk one, or the John Denver version. Whatever turns your boat around.
posted by wannabehippie at 12:03 PM on July 18, 2005

"Ruby's Arms" - Tom Waits. This song kills me and it seems to fit your situation quite well.
"Who Loves the Sun" - Velvet Underground.
"Please Do Not Let Me Go" & "Call Me on Your Way Back Home" - Ryan Adams.
"Lover, You Should've Come Over" - Jeff Buckley.
"Am I the Only One (Who's Ever Felt This Way)" - Maria McKee.
"At This Moment" - Billy Vera & the Beaters. A bit cheesy and over the top, but sometimes you need that when you're heartbroken.
posted by JT at 12:04 PM on July 18, 2005

How about "Satan Is In My Ass" by Evil Superstars?

Seriously though, I'm kinda creeped out by the sentiment of the question. Are you actually sad about the impending breakup? Or, deep down, do you realise that it would be unrealistic to expect it to go on any further, and you're both secretly glad to be parting, free of any commitments?

Or is a mixtape the most important thing?

Is moving to London an option? It seems quite easy for Australians to do, immigration-wise (at least judging by the number of your young countrymen / women that are here).

I'm really sorry if this all comes across as mean. I'm kind of a sour, mean person to be honest. And I don't know you at all, so it really isn't personal. I'm relatively new here, and would hate to think that AskMeFi is becoming some kind of Livejournal style "cry for help" forum. :|

Ah I'm just an idiot.
posted by coach_mcguirk at 12:05 PM on July 18, 2005

Aww, wannabehippie ... "Leaving on a jet plane" was my parents' song when they were doing the long-distance thing when my dad was in college; I once put it on the record player and my mom burst into tears because it brought back such bittersweet memories. It was so great to see how much love and longing there was between them, even after 25 years of marriage. What a sweet memory for me this morning...

(And thanks, cyphill!)
posted by occhiblu at 12:10 PM on July 18, 2005 [1 favorite]

Oh! How could I forget, "Both Hands" by Ani DiFranco.
posted by JT at 12:10 PM on July 18, 2005

"Martha" by Tom Waits might be good.
posted by ScottUltra at 12:59 PM on July 18, 2005

Heh. I dated a girl from Spain on a similar schedule once. It was pretty great. I mean, not as great as my current girlfriend, but still one of the better ones.
Anyway, here are some songs that should help pick you back up:
Encrypted- The Dirtbombs
Morning Afters- Dabenport
Theme from a Motel 6- Yo La Tengo
The KKK took my baby away- The Ramones
I love you, you big dummy- The Buzzcocks
Sugar Kane- Sonic Youth
A Love Supreme- John Coltrane
Now That You Know Me- Grant Hart
I Can't Give Back The Love- Rita White
Things Could Be Better- Ernie and the Top Notes
Children Don't Worry- Booker T. and the MGs
Really Thru- Superdrag
Girl, Kill Your Boyfriend- The Figgs
Let's Make Love At Home Sometime- The Escorts
Leavin' Here- The High Numbers (aka The Who)

(Don't forget to just listen to some regular power pop. That salve cures all wounds).
posted by klangklangston at 1:12 PM on July 18, 2005

"Long, long time"--Linda Rondsadt

"Oh Lonely Soul, It's a Hard Road"-Mary's Danish
posted by sourwookie at 1:37 PM on July 18, 2005

Try Bob Dylan's "You're Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go" -- I also like the Shawn Colvin cover. And holy crap, Rufus Wainwright's "Go or Go Ahead" from his album Want One is a beautiful, beautiful orchestrated ballad about loss (though technically it may be about drug addition, but still, please go listen, is beautiful) "Thank you for this bitter knowledge, Guardian angels who left me stranded, It was worth it feeling abandoned, Makes one hardened but what has happened to love?" The orchestra kicks in halfway through the song and the hairs on your arms will stand up and dance around.

Also if you're a little bit annoyed that he'd go back off to London, try Tom Petty's "You Got Lucky," ("So go, but remember, good love is hard to find, you got lucky babe when I found you").
posted by onlyconnect at 1:50 PM on July 18, 2005

Oh, and also -- sorry about your guy, hot soup girl. Hope things work out for you.
posted by onlyconnect at 1:59 PM on July 18, 2005

My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean.

sorrysorrysorry (something from elementary school just popped into my addled head)
posted by PurplePorpoise at 2:25 PM on July 18, 2005

Almost anything by the Magnetic Fields will do. 69 Love Songs seems a likely starting place if you're not familiar with their work.
The entire Third/Sisterlovers album by Big Star is quite possibly the best album in the world for dark times. Bear in mind that it might be too potent for mere heartbreak.
posted by willpie at 2:46 PM on July 18, 2005

"Le Desesperes" - Jacques Brel
"The Taxi Ride" - Jane Siberry
"I've Been A Mess" and "Blue and Grey Shirt" - American Music Club
"Lonliness Finds Her Own Way" - Clem Snide
"Lost Cause" and "The Golden Age" - Beck
"59 Times the Pain" - Husker Du
"Leave Me Be" and "I Want You Back Again" - The Zombies
"When Joanna Loved Me" - Scott Walker
"Left and Leaving" - The Weakerthans
posted by black8 at 2:54 PM on July 18, 2005

"I dont know how to say goodbye to you" Sam Phillips
"I will remember you" Amy Grant (not the sarah mcl song, which is even depressinger)
"cheers darlin" by damien rice
"patience" by guns 'n' roses, sorta
posted by softlord at 5:42 PM on July 18, 2005

"Where Do You Go To My Lovely?" by Peter Sarstedt
posted by madstop1 at 5:47 PM on July 18, 2005

Response by poster: Thanks for the suggestions, everyone!


Fair questions. Whenever I see a question like this on AskMe, I too wonder if the song request is really just an excuse to bask in public sympathy (there's undoubtedly some truth to that: I certainly hesitated before posting). However, mix-tapes are something this community is good at, and I was stumped as to songs addressing this particular 'finite love' situation.

And yes, I am terribly sad about the boy going home, but it's beyond my control, and I'm postponing my falling apart until he leaves so as not to ruin the remaining time we have together. (I wish I were so impervious that I saw each relationship merely as a mix-tape opportunity!) I figure there's plenty of time for abject grief after.

And moving to London isn't a viable option, unfortunately, since I've missed the cut-off age for a work visa. I might take a holiday, though.

Okay, I'm done spilling my guts in public. Quick, someone hit me in the head with a shovel.
posted by hot soup girl at 6:54 PM on July 18, 2005

There are tears running down my cheeks as i write this because of "leaving on a jet plane" (and I don't even have a copy here to get this out of my head)...and as i wrote my AskMe post about breaking up...

I like:
Landslide - whatever version you fancy
Trouble - Cat Stevens
Anything by the Magnetic Fields

Watch Harold and Maude and cry yourself to sleep...repeat as necessary.

Good luck.
posted by schyler523 at 8:04 PM on July 18, 2005

"Last Goodbye" - Jeff Buckley (*sniff* *sniff*)
"Tampa to Tulsa" - Jayhawks
"Something" - Beatles
"Ten Second News" - Son Volt
posted by awegz at 8:53 PM on July 18, 2005 [1 favorite]

For now: "Nothing Is Over, Not Yet" - Clem Snide
For later:
"When We Two Parted" - Afghan Whigs
"Where I End And You Begin" - Radiohead
"Too Bad About You" - Eleni Mandell
posted by cali at 12:28 AM on July 19, 2005

Aww - I made a mix similar to this a year ago, with "Tallahassee" as its centerpiece. A few others that seemed to fit with it:

"Cold Cold Water" - Mirah
"Modern Romance" - Yeah Yeah Yeahs
"Watch Her Disappear" - Tom Waits
"100,000 Fireflies" - Magnetic Fields
and seconding "Both Hands" by Ani DiFranco
posted by brookedel at 4:54 AM on July 19, 2005

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