The Break Up Playlist
Valentine's Day sucks. Here are five songs to help you through the most pointless holiday of the year.
Valentine's Day. If you're single, there is nary a day on the calendar that can make you feel more alone than this stupid holiday. You can make a case for New Years, but that's not what we're doing here. For those fresh out of a relationship, or for those still reeling from the effects of a break-up, Valentine's Day is a romantic sucker punch. I have spent many a Valentine's night eating Domino's, drinking wine, and watching "Bridget Jones's Diary" while rolled up in a blanket burrito avoiding social media until we were safely tucked into February 15. That's all fine and good, but we're better than that. And sometimes we need a reminder.
Here are five songs that will help you out of your Valentine's funk and remind you that you are a badass worthy of love. And maybe even that the fool who left you wasn't worth your time any way.
1. "Since U Been Gone" - Kelly Clarkson
If there is one break-up anthem from my college days that never goes out of style, it's this one. "Since U Been Gone" is a song of empowerment, detailing the dissolution of a relationship and ultimately, how the singer is better off without the loser who dumped her. The chorus is incredibly catchy. (I dare you not to sing along at the top of your lungs when that beat drops.) And the melody itself is early '00s pop music at its finest. Saccharine sweet and full of hope, this song is a definite must have on any break-up playlist.
2. "Sorry" - Beyonce
Any good break-up playlist is incomplete without an appearance from the Queen B, but "Sorry" is no "Single Ladies". If you haven't listened to "Lemonade", you are missing out on some of the greatest relationship music and poetry ever written. I know that's a tall order, but for anyone who has experienced infidelity, or for anyone in the process of reclaiming their power after heartbreak, this song hits all the right notes literally and figuratively. I listened to this album, specifically this song, on repeat after a particularly bad break-up a few years ago. The lyrics are raw and honest and gave me hope. If Beyonce could get back to being a bad bitch, so could I.
3. "Valentine" - Fiona Apple
When it comes to break-up songs, look no further than the moody music of Fiona Apple. Her new album, "Fetch the Bolt Cutters", dropped in 2020 and was met with overwhelming critical acclaim. And while it is an amazing album, "Valentine" off her 2012 release, "Idler Wheel", is what has my heart. The song details the pain of moving on from a failed relationship and attempting to reconcile the disparity between loving someone versus being in love with them. I have had plenty of experience with staying in relationships beyond their sell by date. So, this song speaks to me. Not to mention, Apple is able to craft catharsis for her listeners through her poetic lyrics and unique sound. The song is both upbeat and dark, but perfect for walking you through the forest of heartbreak out into the light.
4. "What Now" - Rihanna
Back to the pop songs! But this is a bit of a darker one from Rihanna. I was introduced to it back in 2014, and the melody of it absolutely haunted me. The song perfectly details the struggle of not being able to move on from an ex. I spent a lot of time listening to this song on repeat. Her lyrics really capture the feeling of being stuck in your emotions, or rather, feeling as though your emotions are all dried up. She leaves the listener with more questions than answers, but it is an extremely relatable song for anyone who's ever been afraid that they'll never be able to love again. Also, spoiler alert. You will be able to love again. You just have to give it time.
5. "I'm Still Standing" - Elton John
I adopted this song as my way out of heartbreak, and I strongly suggest you do too. It's happy. It's hopeful. For God's sake, it's Elton! The song is all about standing strong even after being struck down time and time again. It is the definition of an empowerment jam. And, I swear, it is IMPOSSIBLE to be sad while listening to this song. Believe me, I tried. So, put on some sunglasses, buy a boa off Amazon, and take yourself out. Or at least take yourself out for a nice strut around your apartment. You can get back to blanket burrito-ing later.
Bonus Track: "Seventy Times 7" - Brand New
Now here is a B side deep cut from the annals of the early '00s when song titles weren't just a line from the lyrics. I'm looking at you, Fall Out Boy. This song is an amazing break-up song for two reasons. One, the lyrics are absolute daggers. Two, the rich back story. Legend has it that the lead singers of Brand New (Jesse Lacey) and Taking Back Sunday (John Nolan) had been best friends since elementary school. One night, Nolan moved in on Lacey's crush, and a feud was born. Lacey wrote this song as revenge. Nolan followed up with "There's No I in Team". But I believe the men have since made up. At least, that's what it says according to Google. Either way, this song is great to get out the feels if you've been betrayed by a lover or a friend or if you just really hate the person who broke your heart. Read along with the lyrics. You'll see what I mean.
Remember, my friends, Valentine's Day is only twenty-four hours. We'll make it out alive. And maybe we'll even buy some of that post holiday discount chocolate on February 15th that the boo'd up fools bought at full price.
About the Creator
I am an educational content writer, cat lover, and Ina Garten enthusiast. My creative non fiction essays have been published on Thought Catalog and Mogul. I am also a novelist and flash fiction writer.
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