Top 40 - Valentine's Break Up Songs

In case you hadn't noticed, it's Valentine's Day and everyone is feeling the love. Well, not everyone. Here's a reminder of David Ames soundtrack for you if your day consists of sobbing into your lonely pillow while attempting not to care...

You can find David's full "ugly cry" playlist here.

Valentine’s Day is that special time of year when a large majority of the population comes together with chalky hearts, cheesy cards, and a greenhouse full of roses. To those people I say hurrah! Enjoy your day, enjoy your significant other—I know that I will. Sadly, a large portion of society will also be alone on the day of love and to those people I lift my glass. I’ve been there… In fact, most of us have been there before—alone, unwanted, betrayed, angry. The list of emotions is vast and numerous—all experience the breakup phase differently.

This list was pulled together from both my history with depression/betrayal/heartbreak as well as my love for all music angry and depressing. I wanted to provide a good mix of emotional music to choose from so there is everything from progressive rock to Irish folk music to metal. I hope that those of you who are happy on Valentine’s day can still find some merit in this list but, honestly, this is really meant for all of you who just want to say “fuck it” to the whole holiday. Enjoy the tunes—dance, headbang, laugh, cry, whatever. Just experience the pure raw power of the list and wallow in whatever emotion you feel.

40. Alice in Chains – “Love, Hate, Love”

Track 6 on Facelift (1990)

We should really start this list off strong with a classic 27 years in the making. There are voices in music and then there are VOICES and Layne Staley definitely falls into the latter category. This song about a relationship that is toxic and full of both love and hate is a perfect introduction to this list. By the end of the song, you fully understand what Staley is feeling. The last minute of the song not only showcase Staley’s impressive vocals but also portray the anger and hurt that can be felt in a relationship. Strap in, kids, because this is just the beginning of a very bumpy ride.

*Key Line* - “Try to understand me little girl; my twisted passion to be your world.”

39. A Perfect Circle – “3 Libras”

Track 6 on Mer de Noms (2000)

This song has always had an enormous impact on me. It brings me to tears damn near every time that I hear it. It may be the beautiful mix of acoustic guitar and strings or Maynard James Keenan’s wonderful vocals but as someone who has suffered with depression and alienation, this song speaks volumes. Although it has been stated that this song may or may not be about a threesome (I’m serious here), the message for someone who is hurting is obvious. They built someone up, made them feel wonderful about themselves, and the cared more than anything about this person only to be thrown aside without a second glance. If you are sad or feel alone and the end of this song doesn’t get to you, you are dead inside.

*Key Line* - “Apparently nothing at all. You don’t see me at all.”

38. Taking Back Sunday – “A Decade Under the Influence”

Track 3 on Where You Want to Be (2004)

This is one of those songs that starts out almost hopeful and ends desperate and bitter—you know, the perfect fuel for an anger-filled Valentine’s Day. It starts off describing a relationship that is on the verge of ending and the singer is realizing that it is going to be awful when it finally happens. Eventually, it ends and we are given great lines like, “Say you have to go. To hell with you and all your friends.” Eventually the song devolves into the singer trying to find anyone to fill the void left by the lost partner and even though he sings “anyone will do tonight,” we can tell that it isn’t entirely true. In the end, he is just screaming, “I’ve got it bad!” We feel you, buddy. Scream away, Fred!

*Key Line* - “Anyone will do tonight; anyone will do tonight. Close your eyes, just settle, settle.”

37. Have Mercy – “Two Years”

Track 2 on A Place of Our Own (2014)

Have Mercy will be on this list at least three times because their music is the perfect embodiment of hurt and pain. This song was the first I had ever heard from them and it made an immediate impact. You can truly feel the pain in his voice when he says “I had a life and I had friends and I miss all of them.” This song hit especially hard for me because a friend of mine left home after the destruction of a relationship and he continuously talks of how this song resonates perfectly with him because it describes exactly how he feels. The singer had to leave everything he loved behind because he couldn’t stay where he was and survive emotionally or mentally. It is a wonderful edition to the breakup list.

*Key Line* - “I had a life and I had friend and I miss all of them.”

36. Bush – “Cold Contagious”

Track 5 on Razorblade Suitcase (1996)

Once again, we get to see Bush in all their 90’s glory, talking about the destruction of a relationship. Gavin Rossdale backtracks through the entire relationship to try and find where they went wrong: “Slowly move on, how did we get to here?” You can feel his anger and bitterness at the end, screaming “You will get yours!” It is one of those great 90’s breakup songs and it fits so perfectly on this list.

*Key Line* - “What you save is what you lose out in the end.”

35. Johnny Cash – “Hurt”

Track 2 on American IV: The Man Comes Around (2002)

This song may be the best cover ever recorded. I LOVE Nine Inch Nails and the original version of this song is incredible. To me, they are completely different songs. Cash’s version was released immediately after the death of his wife and was soon followed by his own death. It is painful and the use of acoustic and piano really adds a darkness. His deep, gravelly voice pulls the emotion out of the lyrics. You can really feel the pain in his voice. While Reznor is also incredibly emotional (and in the context of The Downward Spiral, incredibly brutal and depressing), for my money, Cash just took a great song and expanded on what it could mean. The video just adds to the pain (see the flash to pictures of his wife).

*Key Line* - “I hurt myself today to see if I still feel. I focus on the pain—the only thing that's real.”

34. Glassjaw – “When One Eight Becomes Two Zeros”

Track 3 on Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Silence (2000)

Another of those great 2000’s bands, Glassjaw is unique in that their music is all over the map in the best possible way and with one of the most interesting and recognizable vocalists in music, they stand out. This song, complete with clever title, covers a relationship that is toxic but the singer cant seem to move on. He loves her but he also can’t stand to be around her: “I’m glad that you’re here, and sad that you’re near.” It ends perfectly with the line, “I hope you enjoy dying alone.”

*Key Line* - “I’ve bartered tact for wit and I’ve already made up a billion stories about you.”

33. This Wild Life – “Over It”

Track 2 on Clouded (2014)

This Wild Life was another of those bands I had never heard of before experiencing them at Warped Tour. Since then, I have tracked down all of their music and have even met them a few times. They are two guys who don’t look at all how they sound and the music is incredible. This song in particular details the need to get over someone with whom you’ve severed a relationship. Its really a great, understated song detailing the need to move on with your life after the relationship falls apart.

*Key Line* - “I've got to get over it, over it, over right, And over you. I've started to feel, started to heal, and you should too.”

32. Mumford & Sons – “White Blank Page”

Track 5 on Sigh No More (2009)

There is no better song to show the connection of music and lyrics and pain than “White Blank Page.” This song is the standout on an album that is basically perfect. We start with a depressed tone, asking questions of the person who has taken your love. From there we see a desperate question; “What was wrong with me loving you completely?” Next we see anger and rage at being used and thrown away, followed again by a slightly more frantic question, the same as before. Finally we end with a wonderful interlude belting out a desperate plea to be received again by the person who already hurt them. Listen to how the music follows the tone of the song. It is simply amazing.

*Key Line* - “Tell me now, where was my fault in loving you with my whole heart.”

31. The Killers – “Mr. Brightside”

Track 2 on Hot Fuss (2004)

Very simply a song about realizing that the person you love doesn’t hold the same feelings as you and instead of really understanding what is happening, you try to convince yourself that it isn’t as bad as you know it to be. You only look at the bright side of things, regardless of all the jealousy that is bubbling over.

*Key Line* - “Jealousy, turning saints into the sea, swimming through sick lullabies, choking on your alibis.”

30. Taking Back Sunday – “Great Romances of the 20th Century”

Track 5 on Tell All Your Friends (2002)

This album is one of the best of the early 2000’s and that is because of great songs like this one. Taking Back Sunday is one of those bands who showcase impressively emo/post-hardcore music with clever and witty lyrics. Most of the songs deal with the destruction of different relationships and this one is no different. Lazzara screams “Please, please, I’m running out of sympathy” letting us know that the relationship is basically over and then he follows with “Let’s just get this over with.” I love the use of long, held-out instruments and percussion pauses to build to a fulfilling end.

*Key Line* - “She says. ‘Come on, come on, let’s just get this over with.” I never said I’d take this lying down and I’ve crawled home from worse than this.”

29. Bush – “Letting the Cables Sleep”

Track 11 on The Science of Things (1999)

Bush is one of those bands that is mocked a lot, especially when compared to other bands of their time period but they have always been one of my favorite bands. I loved them when they first came out and Gavin Rossdale was the reason I started playing music. This song, off of their fourth album, is all about a relationship falling apart and neither party will deal with the issues. Communication is key in a relationship and in this song, Rossdale shows that without talking about their problems, the relationship is doomed to fail.

*Key Line* - “Silence is not the way. We need to talk about it.”

28. Jeff Buckley – “Hallelujah”

Track 6 on Grace (1994)

This song needs no introduction. It has been performed and covered by dozens of artists but there is no better version in my humble opinion than Jeff Buckley. You can feel the pain and sadness in his voice as he reflects over a relationship which is falling apart. I love the use of biblical and mythological allusions to help build his sadness and in the end, with the final verse, we are treated to an incredible series of lines about how love is really just about hurting someone before they hurt you. In those final lines, you get the message of the song—love is pain.

*Key Line* - “Maybe there's a God above but all I've ever learned from love was how to shoot somebody who outdrew you. And it's not a cry that you hear at night, it’s not somebody who's seen the light, it's a cold and it's a broken Hallelujah.”

27. Dashboard Confessional – “The Best Deceptions”

Track 3 on The Places You Have Come to Fear the Most (2001)

Here we see Dashboard Confessional providing wonderfully witty lyrics about realizing that their partner doesn’t deserve them anymore. The song is all about a person who has found out that their partner has cheated and although the other party tried to hide from the truth, it came out anyway. I remember being hurt about my long-time relationship which fell apart and screaming “Don’t you see that the charade is over!” at the top of my lungs. Carrabba has just the right amount of grit in his voice to make the emotion of this song soar. It feels almost triumphant—he has found out the truth and has moved on. It’s over!

*Key Line* - “So kiss me hard ‘cause this will be the last time that I let you.”

26. Have Mercy – “Plastic Covered Furniture”

Track 7 on A Place of Our Own (2014)

As stated before, Have Mercy, much like Damien Rice, have cornered the market on hurt in their songs. After seeing them live at Warped Tour two years ago, I have devoured everything they have released and am eagerly awaiting the new album, out this spring *go buy it*. This song details a one-sided relationship where the singer has done everything possible for their partner but has been shoved aside anyway. The chorus is a wonderful testament to Brian Swindle’s skill as a lyricist. He was there always, and she kept him in the background but he never left and instead she took him continuously for granted.

*Key Line* - “I was in every single picture you never hung on your wall. You put me on the back burner.

I will be there 'til you need me in your life like plastic covered furniture.”

25. Coheed and Cambria – “The Homecoming”

B-Side from The Afterman: Ascension (2012)

I have said this before and I’ll say it again: Coheed and Cambria is the best band ever (there may be some bias in that statement). This song is one of those gems that on one hand I wish would receive the full album treatment and on the other, I love the paired down version presented to us. It seems to deal with the someone who has lost the love of their life and in turn are either drinking their problems away or are taking more *ahem* permanent measures to deal with the pain. Claudio Sanchez’s voice delivers as it always does, pouring out emotion and pain for the listener.

*Key Line* - “Please level with me, Understand, I'd do anything for you. Seize any moment while you can

This void's coming after you, ‘Cause loneliness is why you hurt. Just don't kill the messenger.”

24. Adele – “Turning Tables”

Track 3 on 21 (2011)

Oh, Adele—as much as I get made fun of for enjoying her music, there is really no one else in modern pop music who 1) seems to really understand the emotion of heartbreak and 2) can actually sing. This song deals with a relationship that is falling apart and one party can no longer stand the shitty games their partner continuously plays. Adele lets us know that she can no longer let the person in because she can’t deal with the heartbreak anymore. This is a perfect sentiment for the sorrow of a solo Valentine’s Day.

*Key Line* - “I can't keep up with your turning tables. Under your thumb, I can't breathe.”

23. Wage War – “The River”

Track 6 on Blueprints (2015)

Anger is one of the prime emotions when dealing with a breakup and this song provides multiple moments of seething rage at the person who has done you wrong, used you, and threw you away. While most of Wage War’s music has an uplifting vibe, this song is bubbling over with rage. By screaming lines like “Trust is dead like everything else you said,” and “I guess I wasn’t enough for you,” we are treated to someone who has been cheated on and now recognizes they can and deserve to do better. If you are pissed off this valentine’s Day, there are few songs better than this. Let me just leave you with another great line: “Here’s to a past I’ll never need, here’s to you – rest in peace.” *insert breakdown and start punching things*

*Key Line* - “Your lips and your lies have severed the ties, I don't deserve this and you don't deserve me.”

22. Straylight Run – “Existentialism on Prom Night”

Track 3 on Straylight Run (2004)

There are few songs which bring nostalgia like this for me. I remember just having graduated high school and hearing this song during a pretty rough breakup (a two-year relationship). It moves in a very melancholy memory and talks about how people are in charge of their own destinies but that we will always look to those days in our past and wish to reclaim them. We would give anything to go back to those days where the real world hadn’t quite honed in on ours and we were free to do things that would become impossible once we left the safety of high school. This song is beautiful and haunting and provides the perfect amount of sadness and hopefulness.

*Key Line* - “You would kill for this, just a little bit, just a little bit, you would…”

21. Emily Browning – “Asleep”

Track 8 on Sucker Punch: Original Soundtrack (2011)

I know I will probably get flack for choosing this cover. Emily Browning recorded this cover of the amazing Smith’s song for Zach Snyder’s Sucker Punch, a movie that is universally jeered (although I absolutely loved it). I think the Smith’s version of the song is great but for some reason, the Browning version resonates more for me. It may be that her voice maintains that innocence which the message of the song seems to need. This song covers the mindset of someone who simply wants to die. They are lonely and unhappy and they feel that no one can fix them. They don’t want to cause hurt but they know for sure that they would be happier if they never woke up.

*Key Line* - “Don’t feel bad for me, I want you to know deep in the cell of my heart I will be so glad to go.”

20. Slipknot – “Snuff”

Track 11 on All Hope Is Gone (2008)

Who would have thought the mask-wearing metal group would have made it onto this list? I have listened to Slipknot since their first album came out and have enjoyed a lot of what they have put out although I have drifted away since the release of Volume 3 and All Hope Is Gone. That being said, this song sticks out as probably the strongest on the record, putting forth pure rage and sadness of someone who has suffered silently in a one-sided relationship which has now ended. The singer loves the other party but she has used him and then left and he is broken, or even more broken than he was before. There are some amazing lines in this song and I think it fits perfectly with the rest of the tunes on this list.

*Key Line* - “Love is just a camouflage for what resembles rage.”

19. Lamb of God – “King Me”

Track 14 on Resolution (2012)

Lamb of God has been thrashing through the metal scene since 1994 and, while their music has undergone significant changes, they have always been one thing: heavy. I love Lamb of God and few bands get me as angry and/or hyped as they do. While the songs usually have a political lean, in recent years the lyrics have taken a much more personal approach. Resolution delivered my favorite Lamb of God song, “King Me,” which details Randy Blythe’s personal struggle with addiction. The song works on the level of relationships as well because it details how one person’s personal struggle can corrupt them into taking advantage of their partner. The repeated line “king me is killing me” is a perfect representation of how we only really hurt ourselves because we feel we are above it. This song has an introspective edge and with the driving guitars, guttural screams, and weirdly haunting strings, it is perfect for this list.

*Key Line* - “I saw the world through the lens of a pinhole camera. I saw nothing, I was blind.”

18. Dashboard Confessional – “The Places You Have Come to Fear the Most”

Track 9 on The Places You Have Come to Fear the Most (2001)

After mentioning Bright Eyes, it seems only natural to bring up Dashboard Confessional. I was a huge fan of them before Chris Carrabba added a full band and went electric. His minimalist guitar work laced over with incredible lyrics and a voice that bleeds emotion s always good, especially when you are a melodramatic fifteen-year-old like I was when I discovered them. This song details the struggles a person is going though, hiding inside themselves refusing to emerge because they can’t face the world. This is a pretty common feeling in both depression and with broken relationships so it feels appropriate for the list.

*Key Line* - “You can’t fake it hard enough to please everyone or anyone at all. And the grave that you refuse to leave, the refuge that you’ve built to flee the places that you’ve come to fear the most.”

17. Bright Eyes – “Lover I Don’t Have to Love”

Track 5 on Lifted or the Story is in the Soil, Keep Your Ear to the Ground (2002)

Bright Eyes, especially in the early years, was an incredible blend of Indie, Folk, and Emo and I have always really enjoyed Conor Oberst’s lyrics. They are reminiscent of old country songs, telling stories simply, revealing poignant truths, and reveling in clever wordplay. This song talks about a kid who doesn’t want to feel love anymore and instead wants to just focus on the physical aspects of the relationship (one-night stand). While the song isn’t necessarily about a breakup, it has the feeling of indifference that one goes through after getting out of a long, destructive relationship. You just want that lover that you don’t have to love and instead you want to focus on all of those self-destructive tendencies.

*Key Line* - “I want a lover I don't have to love, I want a girl who's too sad to give a fuck. Where's the kid with the chemicals? I thought he said to meet him here but I'm not sure. I've got the money If you've got the time, you said, ‘It feels good,’ I said, ‘I'll give it a try.’”

16. Pantera – “This Love”

Track 5 on Vulgar Display of Power (1992)

Pantera was destroying the metal genre long before I became aware of their power. As a young adult I was introduced to them and fell in love with the fury and the anger and the sheer intensity of their music. Vulgar Display of Power is one of those landmark albums which features numerous classics and is widely regarded as one of the strongest metal records in existence. In the midst of all this metal fry, we are gifted a piece that, while still is heavy, hands us a slightly lighter fare. “This Love” chronicles a toxic relationship in which neither party was truly happy. They constantly hurt each other and eventually broke up but afterward, the guy realizes that he still wants her and can’t quite understand why. Yet another perfect song for Valentine’s Day.

*Key Line* - “And sometimes I feel so sorry. I regret this, the hurting of you. But you make me so unhappy. I'd take my life and leave love with you.”

15. Coheed and Cambria – “Dark Side of Me”

Track 8 on The Afterman: Descension (2013)

So we have returned to Coheed for yet another universal truth. Anyone who has ever been in a serious relationship knows those pangs of guilt when you have been preoccupied with life and have neglected your significant other. Those feelings are then magnified tenfold when the relationship ends or begins to deteriorate because of your own actions. Claudio Sanchez delivers again in the relatable category by drawing to our attention the hurt we feel when we realize that we have lost something special and the only person to blame is ourselves.

*Key Line* - “I gave my everything for all the wrong things. In this cold reality I’ve made this selfish war machine. Oh, this has become hell, how can I share this life with someone else? I promise you there is no weight that can bury us beneath the ghosts of all my guilt here in the dark side of me.”

14. Meg Myers – “Monster”

Track 6 on Daughter in the Choir (2012)

Meg Myers is one of the most exciting and talented artists in recent years. Her music is raw and unfiltered, passion thrown wide for all to hear. She is both talented and beautiful and has become my favorite new artist of the past three years. Her music is a nice shift to a female perspective but never relinquishes the grit and genuine emotion inherent within. This song talks about a woman with an obsessive kind of love—someone who is in a relationship in which the partner has been unfaithful. She feels so strongly that she has to be the only one and even though she realizes she has become something terrible, she can’t stop herself. This song is wrought with jealousy and personal disgust and shows how a terrible relationship can drain a person. She had too much love and her partner couldn’t return those feelings.

*Key Line* - Oh, what it takes out of me to lay by your side. Oh, it aches and it aches, you make me wanna die.”

13. Mad at Gravity – “Stay” (Acoustic)

Unrelased Track (2002)

Mad at Gravity was an amazing one-album band from the early 2000s whose biggest claim to fame was having two songs on the Reign of Fire soundtrack. Why this band was never more popular, I can’t figure, because music, lyrics, and performance are all off the charts. Either way, before they released their first album, they released a few acoustic demos and this song was one of them. It talks about a guy who is simply trying to maintain his relationship while his significant other is pulling away. All he wants is for her to stay. For my money, this song destroys Rhianna (although that song is also pretty solid).

*Key Line* - “I can feel you pull away and it's just as I lean in, and the timing leaves me wide open.”

12. Sia – “Breathe Me”

Track 3 on Colour the Small One (2004)

I came across this song by accident about four years ago but it has stuck with me ever since. Sia has a beautiful voice and this music in this piece, piano and simple drums and guitar really bring the emotion of the piece home. It references self-harm and depression, all of which go hand in hand with the death of an important relationship so it seems to fit very well on this list. I also really enjoy the ending of the song where it is just driving music and strings with no lyrics necessary.

*Key Line* - “Yeah, I think that I might break. Lost myself again and I feel unsafe.”

11. Cake – “Friend is a Four Letter Word”

Track 3 on Fashion Nugget (1996)

Yes. Just…just yes. If you have never listened to Cake before, shame on you. If you have only heard their later albums and singles like “Short Skirt, Long Jacket” then you are missing out. This weirdly wonderful amalgam of funk, blues, rock, country, and pop is a strange, yet amazing flavor. Cake’s Fashion Nugget may actually be one of the most perfectly pieced together works of art in modern music. This song in particular showcases John McCrea’s signature sing-talk style and clever lyrics. The word friend becomes a curse word (four letter word) because it means the end of a relationship that he still wants to maintain. No list of breakup songs would be complete without this gem. Also, bonus points for a badass trumpet solo.

*Key Line* - “To Me, coming from you, friend is a four letter word. End is the only part of the word that I heard.”

10. The Honorary Title – “Everything I Once Had”

Track 3 on Anything Else but the Truth (2004)

Ahhh, the emo days of 2004 when everyone was in touch with their emotional sides and music was weirdly poignant while being hilariously melodramatic. The Honorary Title was one of those bands I heard in passing and enjoyed somewhat but never really latched on a fan—that being said, this song is amazing and it really is a great breakup song, chronicling the deterioration of a relationship and the need to move on but the impossibility of doing so. It shows the feeling of betrayal so perfectly, covering both the sadness and bitterness the artist feels.

*Key Line” – “February, Valentine’s Day. Did my best to avoid the red cliché so you dumped me on the subway, on my way to work at 9 in the morning. Everybody else is holding bouquets, now I’m holding face.”

9. Coheed and Cambria – “The Velorium Camper II: Backend of Forever”

Track 8 on In Keeping Secrets of Silent Earth: 3 (2003)

Anyone who has ever read anything from me or knows anything about me knows my devotion to all things Coheed and Cambria. They are without a doubt my favorite band. Claudio Sanchez has a knack for writing lyrics that touch the soul and although a majority of the words form a large, overarching story, there are still universal truths acknowledged. While these songs may deal with fictional characters, we can feel his emotion and the way in which he has poured his life into the lyrics. This song is about realizing that after you’ve separated from a partner and gained clarity on a situation, you were better off without that person in the first place.

*Key Line* - “But you had your back turned as you faded away, the end of my day I found out you weren’t worth what I thought of you.”

8. Have Mercy – “Let’s Talk About Your Hair”

Track 6 on The Earth Pushed Back (2013)

There are few songs in the world that can make this grown man weep but this is one. Have Mercy deserves a category of their own when it comes to making brutally sad music about the deterioration of relationships. Brian Swindle’s lyrics speak truths that are both painfully simple and incredibly complex. This song in particular is the perfect representation of a relationship where both parties are aware that the relationship isn’t working but they are too afraid to face the truth and so they focus on shallow, surface-level distractions. This song in particular comes from male perspective, commenting on his love for the woman who no longer feels the same. Enjoy this one. It may be one of the most perfect breakup songs in existence.

*Key Line* - “I know that you know that I know that you don’t really care. Let’s talk about your hair and how it’s grown and how we know that we’re not getting anywhere.”

7. Damien Rice – “The Greatest Bastard”

Track 3 on My Favourite Faded Fantasy (2014)

A great track from his newest album, “The Greatest Bastard” shows just how much Rice seems to regret the poor decisions he has made and what they have led to. It also shows that he understands the relationship can be no more and he has to deal with it. It is everything wonderful about Damien Rice: Simple, melancholy, self-deprecating. Perfect for all of you who have caused your own heartbreak.

*Key Line* - “Am I just dreaming once again? Some dreams are better when they end.”

6. Damien Rice – “Cold Water”

Track 8 on O (2002)

This is a simple, sad song with held out piano chords and a wonderfully understated acoustic guitar. Damien Rice’s voice belts out near the end, focusing all of his anguish into the words “cold water surrounds me now.” It bleeds sadness and the addition of Lisa Hannigan’s vocals just adds to the sadness. The desperate pleas of “Lord, can you hear me now?” are a beautifully ethereal end to a song that tears at the heartstrings.

*Key Line* - “Cold, cold water surrounds me now and all I've got is your hand. Lord, can you hear me now?”

5. Damien Rice – “Cheers Darlin'”

Track 7 on O (2002)

This song doesn’t really need a lot of introduction. If you’ve ever been left by the one you love and have decided to get drunk and suffer, this song is the best for such a purpose. It begins with the sounds of a crowd in a bar and a very sporadic and disjointed tune being played followed by “Cheers Darlin’, here’s to you and your lover boy.” Rice’s delivery is even somewhat stuttered, really pulling the whole vibe together. It is bitter and sad and has a strangely haunting chorus, singing, “I die when you mention his name.” This one is perfect for those who have just ended their relationships, whether by choice or against their own will.

*Key Line* - “Cheers darlin'. Here's to you and your lover boy. Cheers darlin'. I got years to wait around for you.”

4. Damien Rice – “My Favourite Faded Fantasy”

Track 1 on My Favourite Faded Fantasy (2014)

I waited for years for Damien Rice to release a new album. Finally, in 2014 he released My Favourite Faded Fantasy and all was right with the world. This album, much in the same vein as his previous two LPs is full of music that could destroy even the happiest of hearts. The title track starts off the album in full force, detailing someone who has lost their love. Rice understands that the person is gone and that they aren’t coming back but he can’t seem to let go of the feelings for that person. I love the line “I know someone who could serve me love but it wouldn’t fill me up” because it says so much about how much he needs the person who has left. He could get love again but it will never be as strong as it was originally. Also, he repeats the phrase “it wouldn’t be the same as with you,” over and over, further driving home the point that he is now doomed to pine after her forever.

*Key Line* - “You could be my favourite taste to touch my tongue. I know someone who could serve me love but it wouldn’t fill me up.”

3. Damien Rice – “Rootless Tree”

Track 4 on 9 (2006)

There are few songs which bring to mind the hurt and bitterness of a broken relationship like the chorus of this Damien Rice song. It details the understanding that a relationship is going to end and the singer knows that he can’t do anything to stop this. He has to sit there and watch it happen and the pain and sadness weighs on him. That’s why we get the amazingly bitter chorus line listed below. I’ve provided two links to the song below. The first is the album version which is wonderful in and of itself but the second is a paired down version recorded at what I believe is Abbey Road Studios (although I could be wrong so don’t quote me). It is slowed, paired down, and really emphasizes the pain in the song. Enjoy both. And if you re vulnerable today, get some tissues as well.

*Key Line* - “So fuck you and all we’ve been through. I said leave it, it's nothing to you and if you hate me, then hate me so good that you can let me out. It’s hell when you're around.”

2. Damien Rice – “9 Crimes”

Track 4 on 9 (2006)

This song achieved a lot of mainstream success on the back of its appearance in Shrek 3 but when listened to by itself, it is brutal. The song is a perfect representation of someone who knows they are making bad decisions but continues to anyway. His conscience, or the memory of his lover, echo in his head but it doesn’t stop him from cheating. There is also the interpretation that the 9 in the title is a reference to the 9th commandment about adultery. Either way, it is a great song and works perfectly for our intended purposes.

*Key Line* - “It’s the wrong time for somebody new, It’s a small crime and I’ve got no excuse.”

1. Damien Rice – “I Remember”

Track 9 on O (2002)

This is without a doubt my favorite of Rice’s songs. It is sad and angry and bitter and everything else that you feel when you experience relationship problems. It starts slow with Lisa Hannigan reflecting about how strong the relationship used to be and then as she trails off, Damien Rice comes in with more anger and bitterness. The song talks of how the man has made the mistake but that he is still hurt by the outcome. By the end of the song he is singing at the top of his register, belting out “I want to hear what you have to say about me. Hear, if you’re going to live without me,” suffering the pain of loss and responding in turn with bitterness and hurt. I can’t think of a more perfect #1 for this list.

*Key Line* - “I want to hear what you have to say about me. Hear if you’re going to live without me. I want to hear what you want.”

Hopefully you have enjoyed the list I have presented. For my money, these are the songs that I listen to/have listened to when I have been upset about my significant other. Luckily I’ve been in a pretty solid marriage for almost 13 years now but there are those out there still suffering and this list is for them. If nothing else, this is full of some great, dark music to add to your collection. So go hug your lover, or your friends, or yourself, or your bottle. Whatever it is, celebrate the emotions you are feeling—it is the holidays after all.

Find the full Top 40 Playlist on YouTube below: 

Images - Amazon




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