We’ve all been through it. Whether you’re the dumper or the dumpee, breaking up sucks — especially this time of year. After your friends have all gone home and that bottle of bourbon is definitely empty, at least music is there to ease your aching heart. Since we have officially exited the aughts, we figured we’d save you the trouble and compile a list of the top ten break-up songs from the past decade. So, without further ado, a five stages of grief-inspired mix, just in time for Valentine’s Day. Please use in moderation.
The Knife, “Silent Shout”
They say the five stages of grief begin with denial. What better way to begin your grieving process than with a track off of The Knife’s 2006 album of the same name? The throbbing bass, melodic beeps and blips and eerie vocals of the Dreijer siblings will reveal your feelings: “I never knew this could happen to me/I know now fragility…”
Band of Horses, “No One’s Gonna Love You”
You may still be reeling from the effects of denial, but there’s some bitterness starting to creep in. Grab some tissues as Ben Bridwell’s voice swoons deliriously over the shimmery, ethereal guitars in this tune off the band’s 2007 album Cease to Begin, about an unwinding relationship.
Ida Maria, “Forgive Me”
Ida Maria probably says it best in this song off her 2008 album Fortress Round My Heart: “And you had me for days and you had me for months/And I hope you enjoyed your time of fun.” Sound angry? Well, it is. This is break-up music, complete with powerful guitars and a woman on the brink.
The Walkmen, “The Rat”
At this point you are probably savoring your anger. This is a good thing, and we’ve got just the soundtrack. Off the band’s 2004 album, Bows + Arrows, the urgent drums, driving guitars, organ and Hamilton Leithauser’s wailing vocals are what you need to stew over that lost love.
Jose Gonzalez, “Lovestain”
As Jose Gonzalez says, “blood comes off easily.” Lovestains are another matter completely. Continue the cleanse with this song off of his 2003 debut album, Veneer, featuring Gonzalez’s soulful vocals, talented acoustic classical guitar skills and evocative imagery.
Bon Iver, “Skinny Love”
In 2007 Justin Vernon released an album called For Emma, Forever Ago. The rumor was that it was about a break-up. Observe his lonely pain as he uses his voice as a bruised instrument, steadied by the hushed strumming of an acoustic guitar. Does this sound like bargaining to you? “Come on skinny love just last the year.”
Feist, “Let It Die”
Off of her 2004 album of the same name, this wistful tune complete with lilting saxophones and subtle drum and organ lines, will help you move from depression to begrudging acceptance.
Oh, that your love affair were just a fairy tale! Instead of wishing, listen to this tune from the band’s 2006 album Comments of the Inner Chorus. Here, Sam Genders and Mike Lindsay joyfully finger-pick their guitars and sing about a deep, peculiar forest, where people are turned into hares and everyone agrees that they “all had a lovely time.”
Love is All, “Last Choice”
This tune, off of the band’s 2008 album A Hundred Things Keep Me Up At Night, reflects on going to a party and taking home whoever is left at the end of the night. This may not be the healthiest message, but Josephine Olausson’s energetic voice, mixed with garage rock guitars and blaring saxophones, is sure to cheer you up and help you accept your situation.
The Avalanches, “Since I Left You”
Featuring thousands of samples from disco to lazy guitar riffs to an intro to a Club Med commercial, The Avalanches “Since I Left You” — off of their 2001 album of the same name — is the perfect song to get you in the mood to move on.