Breaking up is hard to do, no matter what stage of life you’re in. And to prove it, both Morgan and I put together our Ultimate Break Up playlist to help you survive a split. While you may be tempted to listen to a single song on repeat (single being the operative word), we suggest letting several songs gently coax you through all five excruciating stages of your misery – from the manic texting of the denial phase, to the “you call this mascara waterproof?” stage of depression to the “where my girls at” relief of the acceptance phase. So here is our favorite songs to help you break up without breaking down.
MORGAN: To kick off our Ultimate Break Up Playlist, I chose “I Don’t Believe You” by Pink for the denial phase. While it’s an older song, I find it the perfect track if you’re in denial, since she’s basically saying I don’t believe you, I know you still love me and want to be with me. She can’t let go, but we all know this is the first stage of grief, she’s just fooling herself. If they’re not calling or texting you, then you will probably move quickly into the next stage.
STEPHANIE: When I think denial, my mind immediately goes to No Doubt’s “Don’t Speak.” The line “don’t tell me because it hurts” is such a poignant reminder of all the times I’ve choked back tears when a relationship began to disintegrate around me. You can ignore the signs for only so long before reality sets in, so stop delaying the inevitable. Or as Gewn Stefani says “It’s all ending I gotta stop pretending who we are…” Props to her for singing that and all the other breakup songs on Tragic Kingdom about an ex love who was also a band mate. After playing those songs over and over about 5000 times, pretty sure that poor dude was hurting as bad as she was.
MORGAN: When I think of bargaining in terms of grief, I think of telling God or the universe that you’ll do anything if they make your ex love you again, even if that means quitting your midnight snacking (which we all know you WON’T do. I didn’t, no one does). So for a song, I picked “Stay” – Rihanna. She is practically begging her ex to stay, I mean isn’t the title obvious? I’m pretty sure she’s also saying how bad her relationship was, but in the bargaining stage you don’t care. If that’s the case, I promise you’re better off. Pretty soon, you’ll realize that your bargaining didn’t work – whether that has to do with God/Universe or the fact that you ended up midnight snacking anyway, that can be your call. With this new realization, you’ve probably also realized that you’re pretty pissed off at your ex, which brings us to the next stage, anger.
STEPHANIE: For bargaining, I went with The Smiths, “Please, Please, Please Let Me Get What I Want”, which you might know from The Pretty in Pink and 500 Days of Summer soundtracks, but I know as the 9 words that perfectly sum up my college career. (Spoiler alert: I never, never, never got what I wanted.) This plaintive little prayer clocks in under two minutes, about as long as the bargaining phase itself. Face it, you can’t talk someone back into loving you and anger is way more satisfying anyway.
MORGAN: It’s hard to pick just ONE angry break up song because there are soooo many. Here are my favorite 4, all of which are different genres and they don’t really need explaining because they’re empowering and make you feel like you’re so much better off (chances are you most definitely are): 1. Best Thing I Never Had – Beyonce; She’s a bad ass in general, so all her songs make me feel better but this one is my favorite. 2. “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” – Taylor Swift; I know, basic, but hey I’ve been in an on-again-off-again relationship and for those situations, there is literally no better song than this one. 3. You Oughta Know – Alanis Morissette. This is a rock song that is verrrry aggressive. Not heavy metal aggressive but more like “And every time I scratch my nails down someone else’s back I hope you feel it” (And that’s one of the LEAST aggressive lyrics). This is more for when you’re enraged. If you’re not a rock fan then you could always go with the classic Since You Been Gone – Kelly Clarkson. Not too angry but angry enough to make you feel better.
STEPHANIE: Morgan took the words right out of my mouth with Alanis. No Ultimate Break Up Playlist would be complete without her. There are a lot of songs that can put your ex on blast, but very few that will make him feel a satisfying tinge of fear. It’s hard to believe that all that delicious bitterness and rage was inspired by the dork from Full House, but, hey, the heart wants what it wants. And when it wants to bug you in the middle of dinner, you best be sleeping with the lights on. Still, Alanis may be amateur hour compared to Beyonce’s Don’t Hurt Yourself. Only time will tell if that song will become the new angry girl anthem.
MORGAN: This stage is inevitable and comes in waves, probably mixed with the other stages of grief. So for those waves, luckily I have a song, actually two. My first choice is “The Scientist” by Coldplay. If you know anything about them, most of their songs are literally dripping with sadness, which is great sometimes, but listening to them too much when you’re sad could turn a bit dark. Don’t want to go that depressing or you just aren’t a fan? My second one choice is Bleeding Love – Leona Lewis; a timeless classic for when that break up cuts you open and you “Keep bleeding, keep keep bleeding love.” Ah, never gets old.
STEPHANIE: I didn’t even know Morgan knew about The Scientist by Coldplay, which should come with a Surgeon General’s warning, if you ask me. A lovely poignant song during the best of times, it’s agony set to music during a breakup, when all you want is to go back to the start and know you can’t. During one particularly bad split, I wore that song out, too emotionally wrung dry to even ugly cry. I just seethed pain with that song on repeat. Ultimately it’s a cathartic listen and definitely deserves a spot on our Ultimate Break Up Playlist, but as Morgan said, use in moderation. Honorable mention to Back to Black by Amy Winehouse and Someone Like You by Adele.
MORGAN: This is the best stage, for obvious reasons. For me this is the stage where I realize everything will be okay, and I really don’t need my ex. I basically feel bad ass. Here are my top 3 songs for this stage: 1. Single Ladies – Beyonce; I mean come on, it needs no explanation, its just the best. 2. Survivor – Destiny’s Child; you did it! You survived a break up and realized you DON’T need them. Good riddance! 3. It’s Not Right, But It’s Okay – Whitney Houston; this song is about being cheated on but it’s good for any type of break up really, I mean the title in itself makes me feel better.
STEPHANIE: What kind of acceptance are we talking here? Resigned, bittersweet acceptance? Go for “Hello” by Adele. Emerging from a hibernation of misery? Try “Dog Days Are Over” by Florence + The Machine. Or if you want a middle fingers up declaration of independence, Queen Bey’s got you with “Sorry.” Ugh, how did any of us survive a breakup before Beyonce?
What about you? What songs are on your Ultimate Break Up Playlist?