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Thread: Top 25 Break-up Songs

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    White Castle to the Nile Crash Davis's Avatar
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    Top 25 Break-up Songs

    This is a very rough first draft of my version of the top Break-up songs (explanded to include any "dying relationship" song). What can I say? I'm a sucker for a bad relationship.

    Feedback welcome. This is just something I started working on with the I-pod over the weekend. I'm going to try to put together an introduction and work on short blurbs for each song. Also planning on moving a few songs in and taking a few out, possibly expanding it to a top 40 or so. In other words, this is by no means a finished product.

    But for now...

    1] HALLELUJAH– Jeff Buckley (Written by Leonard Cohen)
    Album: Grace, 1994
    Sample Lyrics:
    I used to live alone before I knew you
    And I've seen your flag on the marble arch
    And love is not a victory march
    It's a cold and it's a broken Hallelujah
    -------------------------------------------------------------
    Maybe there is 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

    2] LATE FOR THE SKY – Jackson Browne
    Album: Late for the Sky, 1974
    This song plays in the movie Taxi Driver during a scene of Travis Bickle's depression.
    Lyrics:
    You never knew what I loved in you
    I don't know what you loved in me
    Maybe the picture of somebody you were hoping I might be
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------
    How long have I been sleeping
    How long have I been drifting alone through the night
    How long have I been dreaming I could make it right
    If I closed my eyes and tried with all my might
    To be the one you need
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Awake again I can't pretend and I know I'm alone
    And close to the end of the feeling we've known

    3]TANGLED UP IN BLUE – Bob Dylan
    Album: Blood on the Tracks, 1975
    Lyrics:
    Early one mornin' the sun was shinin'
    I was layin' in bed
    Wonderin' if she'd changed at all
    If her hair was still red
    Her folks they said our lives together
    Sure was gonna be rough
    They never did like mama's homemade dress
    Papa's bankbook wasn't big enough
    And I was standin' on the side of the road
    Rain fallin' on my shoes
    Heading out for the East Coast
    Lord knows I've paid some dues gettin' through
    Tangled up in blue

    4] REELIN' IN THE YEARS – Steely Dan
    Album: Can't Buy a Thrill, 1972
    Lyrics:
    Your everlasting summer
    You can see it fading fast
    So you grab a piece of something
    That you think is gonna last
    You wouldn't know a diamond
    If you held it in your hand
    The things you think are precious
    I can't understand
    ----------------------------------------------
    You been tellin' me you're a genius
    Since you were seventeen
    In all the time I've know you
    I still don't know what you mean
    The weekend at the college
    Didn't turn out like you planned
    The things that pass for knowledge
    I can't understand

    5] THE WEAKNESS IN ME – Joan Armatrading
    Album: Walk Under Ladders, 1981
    Lyrics:
    I'm not the sort of person
    Who falls
    In and quickly out of love
    But to you I gave my affection
    Right from the start
    ----------------------------------------
    Make me lie
    When I don't want to
    And make someone else
    Some kind of unknowing fool
    You make me stay
    When I should not
    Are you so strong
    Or is all the weakness in me?

    6]I HAVEN'T GOT ANYTHING BETTER TO DO – Dee Dee Warwick
    Album – I Want to Be With You: The Mercury/Blue Rock Sessions, 1973
    Lyrics:
    *Still Searching...

    7]TAXI – Harry Chapin
    Album: Heads and Tails, 1972
    Lyrics:
    You see, she was gonna be an actress
    And I was gonna learn to fly
    She took off to find the footlights
    And I took off to find the sky
    Oh, I've got something inside me
    To drive a princess blind
    There's a wild man, wizard
    He's hiding in me, illuminating my mind
    -----------------------------------------------------
    But we'd both gotten what we'd asked for
    Such a long, long time ago
    You see, she was gonna be an actress
    And I was gonna learn to fly
    She took off to find the footlights
    And I took off for the sky
    And here, she's acting happy
    Inside her handsome home
    And me, I'm flying in my taxi
    Taking tips and getting stoned
    I go flying so high, when I'm stoned

    8]DIAMONDS AND RUST – Joan Baez
    Album: Diamonds and Rust, 1975
    Lyrics:
    I bought you some cufflinks, you brought me something
    We both know what memories can bring
    They bring diamonds and rust
    Well you burst on the scene already a legend
    The unwashed phenomenon, the original vegabond
    -------------------------------------------------------
    Now you're telling me you're not nostalgic
    Then give me another word for it
    You who are so good with words
    And at keeping things vague
    Because I need some of that vagueness now
    It's all come back too clearly
    Yes, I loved you dearly
    And if you're offering me diamonds and rust,
    I've already paid

    9]BRICK – Ben Folds Five
    Album: Whatever and Ever Amen, 1997
    Lyrics:
    And she broke down and I broke
    Down
    Cause I was tired of lying
    Driving back to her apartment
    For the moment we're alone
    She's alone
    And I'm alone
    Now I know it

    She's a brick and I'm drowning
    Slowly
    Off the coast and I'm headed
    Nowhere
    She's a brick and I'm drowning
    Slowly

    10]SHADOWBOXER – Fiona Apple
    Album: Tidal, 1996
    Lyrics:
    Once my lover, now my friend
    What a cruel thing to pretend
    What a cunning way to condescend
    Once my lover, now my friend
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------
    You made me a shadowboxer, baby
    I wanna be ready for what you do
    I been swinging all around me
    Cause I don't know when you're gonna make your move

    11]IT'S TOO LATE – Carole King
    Album: Tapestry, 1971
    Lyrics:
    Stayed in bed all morning just to pass the time
    There's something wrong here, there can be no denying
    One of us changing, or maybe we've just stopped trying

    And it's too late, baby, now it's too late
    Though we really did try to make it
    Something inside has died and I can't hide it
    And I just can't fake it

    12]I CAN'T MAKE YOU LOVE ME – Bonnie Raitt
    Album: Luck of the Draw, 1991
    Lyrics:
    Turn down the lights, turn down the bed
    Turn down these voices inside my head
    Lay down with me, tell me no lies
    Just hold me close, don't patronize – don't patronize me

    Cause I can't make you love me if you don't
    You can't make your heart feel something it won't
    Here in the dark, in these lonely hours
    I will lay down my heart and I'll feel the power
    But you won't, no you won't

    13]TYRONE – Erykah Badu
    Album: Live, 1997
    Lyrics:
    I'm gettin' tired of your sh*t
    You don't ever buy me nothin'
    See everytime you come around
    You got to bring Jim, James, Paul & Tyrone
    See why can't we be by ourselves, sometimes
    See I've been having this on my mind
    For a long time
    I just want it to be...you and me
    Like it used to be, baby
    But ya don't know how to act
    So matter of fact

    14]OPERATOR (That's Not the Way It Feels) – Jim Croce
    Album: You Don't Mess Around with Jim, 1972
    Lyrics:
    Operator, oh could you help me place this call
    You see the number on the match book is old and faded
    She's livin' in L.A.
    With my best old ex-friend Ray
    A guy she said she knew well and sometimes hated

    Isn't that the way they say it goes
    But let's forget all that
    And give me the number if you can find it
    So I can call just tell them I'm fine and to show
    I've overcome the blow
    I've learned to take it well
    I only wish the words could just convince myself
    That it just wasn't real
    But that's not the way it feels

    15]NOTHING COMPARES 2 U – Sinead O'Connor (Written byPrince)
    Album: I Do Not Want What I Haven't Got, 1990
    Lyrics:
    It's been seven hours and fifteen days
    Since you took your love away
    I go out every night and sleep all day
    Since you took your love away
    Since you been gone I can do whatever I want
    I can see whomever I choose
    I can eat my dinner in a fancy restaurant
    But nothing
    I said nothing can take away these blues
    'Cause nothing compares

    16]THESE DAYS – Jackson Browne
    [Covered by Nico in Wes Anderson's “The Royal Tenenbaums”]
    Album: For Everyman, 1973
    Lyrics:
    Well I've been out walking
    I don't do that much talking these days
    These days -
    These days I seem to think a lot
    About the things I forgot to do
    For you
    And all the times I had a chance to

    These days I sit on corner stones
    And count the time in quarter tones to ten, my friend
    Don't confront me with my failures
    I had not forgotten them

    17]THE BOYS OF SUMMER – Don Henley
    Album: Building the Perfect Beast, 1984
    Lyrics:
    I can tell you my love for you will still be strong
    After the boys of summer have gone
    Out on the road today I saw a Deadhead sticker on a Cadillac
    A little voice inside my head said
    Don't look back, you can never look back
    I thought I knew what love was
    What did I know?
    Those days are gone forever
    I should just let them go but-
    I can see you
    Your brown skin shining in the sun
    You got that top pulled down and that radio on baby
    And I can tell you my love for you will still be strong
    After the boys of summer have gone

    18]LOVER, YOU SHOULD HAVE COME OVER – Jeff Buckley
    Album: Grace, 1994
    Lyrics:
    Sometimes a man gets carried away, when he feels like he should be having his fun
    And much too blind to see the damage he's done
    Sometimes a man must awake to find that really, he has no-one

    So I'll wait for you, and I'll burn
    Will I ever see your sweet return
    Oh will I ever learn

    Oh, lover, you should've come over
    Cause it's not too late
    ------------------------------------------------------------
    It's never over, my kingdom for a kiss upon her shoulder
    It's never over, all my riches for her smiles when I slept so soft against her
    It's never over, all my blood for the sweetness of her laughter
    It's never over, she's the tear than hangs inside my soul forever

    19]SILVER, BLUE AND GOLD – Bad Company
    Album: Run With the Pack, 1976
    Lyrics:
    In the beginning, I believed every word you said
    Now that you're gone, my world is in shreads
    Oh you loved me, and left me,
    You took all the things that I needed so bad
    I'm standin' here wonderin'
    Where is the love that I had, Oh...

    Give me silver, blue and gold
    The color of the sky I'm told
    My rai, ai, ainbow
    Is overdue...

    20]WHITE FLAG – Dido
    Album: Life for Rent, 2003
    Lyrics:
    I know you think that I shouldn't still love you
    Or tell you that
    But if I didn't say it
    Well, I'd still have felt it
    Where's the sense in that?

    I promise I'm not trying to make your life harder
    Or return to where we were but
    I will go down with this ship
    And I won't put my hands up and surrender
    There will be no white flag above my door
    I'm in love and always will be

    I know I left too much mess
    And destruction to come back again
    And I caused nothing but trouble
    I understand if you can't talk to me again
    And if you live by the rules of “it's over”
    Then I'm sure that that makes sense

    21]HUNGRY HEART - Bruce Springsteen
    Album: The River, 1980
    Lyrics:
    I met her in a Kingstown bar
    We fell in love I knew it had to end
    We took what we had and we ripped it apart
    Now here I am down in Kingstown again

    Everybody's got a hungry heart...

    22]JOEY – Concrete Blonde
    Album: Bloodletting, 1990
    Lyrics:
    Joey, honey, I got some money
    All is forgiven. Listen, listen
    And if I seem to be confused
    I didn't mean to be with you
    And when you said I scared you,
    Well I guess you scared me too
    But we got lucky once before
    And if you're somewhere out there
    Passed out on the floor
    Oh Joey, I'm not angry anymore

    23]STAY (I Missed You) – Lisa Loeb
    Album: Reality Bites Soundtrack, 1994
    Lyrics:
    And I thought I'd live forever, but now I'm not so sure
    You try to tell that I'm clever,
    But that won't take me anyhow, or anywhere with you
    You said that I was naive
    And I thought that I was strong
    I thought, hey, I can leave, I can leave
    Oh, but now I know that I was wrong, cause I missed you
    Yeah, I miss you
    You said, I caught you cause I want you and one day, I'll let you go
    You try to give away a keeper, or keep me cause you know you're just scared to lose
    And you say, stay
    And you say I only hear what I want to

    24]SAIL ON – Commodores
    Album: Midnight Magic, 1979
    Lyrics:
    It was plain to see
    That a small town boy like me
    Just-a wasn't your cup of tea
    It was just wishful thinkin'

    I gave you my heart
    And I tried to make you happy
    And you gave me nothing in return
    ----------------------------------------------

    I've thrown away the blues
    I'm tired of being used
    I want everyone to know
    I'm lookin' for a good time
    Good time

    Whoa oh, sail on
    Honey
    Good times never felt so good
    Sail on, honey
    Good times never felt so good
    Good times never felt so good

    25]I'LL MISS YOU – Ween
    Album: Beautiful Girls Soundtrack, 1996
    Lyrics:
    Tonite you'll call me on the phone
    You've got a worried mind
    And when you leave, you'll go away
    Gone to stay
    Don't feel so bad
    It was nice what we had
    And you'll be glad
    I'll miss you
    ----------------------------------------------
    You're packing stuff for your big, big move
    In just a couple of days
    You'll be off on your big, big cruise
    Across the U.S.A.
    Don't feel so bad
    It was nice what we had
    And you'll be glad
    I'll miss you


    That's it. That's the list...so far.
    Last edited by Crash Davis; 07-30-2006 at 11:52 PM.
    "I fought because I understood and could not bear to understand, that it was my destiny -- unlike that of my father, whose fate it was to hear the roar of the crowd -- to sit in the stands with most men and acclaim others. It was my fate, my destiny, my end, to be a fan."

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  3. #2
    Member Cedric's Avatar
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    Re: Top 25 Break-up Songs

    Brick is about abortion, so that one makes me cry for other reasons

    My ultimate break up song would be Ryan Adams- Love is Hell

    Or Harder now that it's over.

    Ryan Adams would screw with my head at a nervous point, I know that.
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    Re: Top 25 Break-up Songs

    I'm surprised "Every Rose Has It's Thorn" wasn't in there.

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    Churlish Johnny Footstool's Avatar
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    Re: Top 25 Break-up Songs

    A couple of thoughts:

    Brick by Ben Folds Five isn't really a breakup song -- it's about abortion.

    You've got two Jeff Buckley songs in the list, but no "Last Goodbye". In terms of lyrics and the soul-wrenching way Buckley sings them, I'd say it's a must-have.

    I know Emo is much maligned these days, but if you aren't concerned with being stylish and bashing the genre, add "The Best Deceptions" or even "Screaming Infidelities" by Dashboard Confessional.
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    Re: Top 25 Break-up Songs

    Cryin' by Roy Orbison

    Angel Flying Too Close to the Ground, Willie Nelson

    Love Hurts, Nazareth

    All That Glitters Is Not Gold, Dan Seals

    Rainy Day Women Blues, Bob Dylan

    Hit the Road, Jack, Ray Charles

    50 Ways to Leave Your Lover, Paul Simon

    Goodbye, My Lover, James Blunt

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    White Castle to the Nile Crash Davis's Avatar
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    Re: Top 25 Break-up Songs

    Quote Originally Posted by Johnny Footstool
    A couple of thoughts:

    Brick by Ben Folds Five isn't really a breakup song -- it's about abortion.
    Right, but it is also about the effects of the abortion on a "dying relationship"...and they do break up in the end.

    Quote Originally Posted by Johnny Footstool
    You've got two Jeff Buckley songs in the list, but no "Last Goodbye". In terms of lyrics and the soul-wrenching way Buckley sings them, I'd say it's a must-have.
    Yeah, you're right. I didn't want to overdo it with Buckley, and he absolutely owns "Hallelujah", so that had to be on top. I could have gone either way on "Lover You Should Have Come Over" vs. "Last Goodbye." They should both be in there. I'll tinker with it some more.
    "I fought because I understood and could not bear to understand, that it was my destiny -- unlike that of my father, whose fate it was to hear the roar of the crowd -- to sit in the stands with most men and acclaim others. It was my fate, my destiny, my end, to be a fan."

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    Mon chou Choo vaticanplum's Avatar
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    Re: Top 25 Break-up Songs

    Oh man dude, I have been ON THIS for weeks. You have a great list there and I plan to add it to mine. Here is what I have so far:

    1. Memphis Tennessee (Johnny Rivers)
    2. Motion Picture Soundtrack (Radiohead)
    3. Orange Juice Blues [Blues for Breakfast] (The Band)
    4. When Your Lover Has Gone (Billie Holliday)
    5. Coming Around Again/Itsy Bitsy Spider (Carly Simon)
    6. When Will I Be Loved? (The Everly Brothers) [note: awesome Bull Durham song]
    7. No Distance Left to Run (Blur)
    8. You're the One (Paul Simon)
    9. For No One (The Beatles)
    10. Babe I'm Gonna Leave You (Led Zeppelin)
    11. How Can You Mend a Broken Heart? (Al Green)
    12. Come On Home (Franz Ferdinand)
    13. Overthrown (Tom McRae)
    14. We're Not Right (David Gray)
    15. Looking Up (Shelby Lynne)
    16. I Am a Rock (Simon & Garfunkel)
    17. Blue Valentine (Tom Waits)
    18. Please Do Not Go (Violent Femmes)
    19. I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For (U2) [note: I loathe U2, but this is a great song)
    20. It Ain't Over Til It's Over (Lenny Kravitz)
    21. Crying (any version with Roy Orbison)
    22. I Tried (Mull Historical Society)
    23. These Foolish Things (Remind Me of You) (Frank Sinatra)
    24. Guess I'm Doing Fine (Beck)
    25. I Heard It Through the Grapevine (Marvin Gaye)
    26. Got to Get You Off Of My Mind (Solomon Burke)
    27. She Thinks I Still Care (George Jones)
    28. It's Too Late (Sondre Lerche)
    29. Raining In My Heart (Buddy Holly)
    30. I Am Trying to Break Your Heart (Wilco)
    31. Femme Fatale (the Velvet Underground)
    32. Rosalita (Gomez) [note: this may actually be my favorite breakup song ever)
    33. No Myth (Michael Penn)
    34. Walk On By (Dionne Warwick)
    35. You're Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go (Bob Dylan)
    36. Selfless, Cold and Composed (Ben Folds Five)
    37. Get Gone (Fiona Apple)
    38. Goodbye to Love (The Carpenters)
    39. If You Could Read My Mind (Gordon Lightfoot)
    40. Go or Go Ahead (Rufus Wainwright)
    41. Always Something There to Remind Me (Lou Johnson)
    42. Miss Misery (Elliott Smith)
    43. Take Your Mama Out (Scissor Sisters) [no, really]
    44. So Lonesome I Could Cry (Hank Williams Sr.)
    45. The Way It Is (The Strokes)
    46. You Don't Miss Your Water (Otis Redding)
    47. Lush Life (Johnny Hartman w/John coltrane)

    I've been working backwards, so I haven't even gotten to the blues yet and I have an extensive blues collection. I'm just saying.

    BTW, technically speaking, Brick is supposed to be about abortion and Shadowboxer was based on a rape. But the lyrics fit...I'm sure many of the songs on my list were written with other intentions, but they fit.
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    Re: Top 25 Break-up Songs

    Come See About Me--The Supremes

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    Re: Top 25 Break-up Songs

    This is kind of dark thinking, but how about "I Used To Love Her, But I Had To Kill Her" by GnR

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    White Castle to the Nile Crash Davis's Avatar
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    Re: Top 25 Break-up Songs

    I considered all of these and some may still make the cut:

    Quote Originally Posted by Scrap Irony
    Cryin' by Roy Orbison

    Angel Flying Too Close to the Ground, Willie Nelson

    Love Hurts, Nazareth

    All That Glitters Is Not Gold, Dan Seals

    Rainy Day Women Blues, Bob Dylan

    Hit the Road, Jack, Ray Charles

    50 Ways to Leave Your Lover, Paul Simon
    For better or worse, I was trying to stay away from a lot of the older, more well-known and oft-played standards.

    I need to get more famliar with this one:

    Quote Originally Posted by Scrap Irony
    Goodbye, My Lover, James Blunt
    "I fought because I understood and could not bear to understand, that it was my destiny -- unlike that of my father, whose fate it was to hear the roar of the crowd -- to sit in the stands with most men and acclaim others. It was my fate, my destiny, my end, to be a fan."

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    Re: Top 25 Break-up Songs

    I've always been partial to Greg Kihn's Breakup Song. They Don't Make Them Like That Anymore.

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    Re: Top 25 Break-up Songs

    Love Will Tear Us Apart--Joy Division

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    Re: Top 25 Break-up Songs

    Joy Division/New Order is just heartbreaking in itself. Great, great music.

    New Dawn Fades is one of the best songs I've ever heard.

    Edit- Now that I think about it, that song might be a good one. Though it's most likely about suicide.
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    Re: Top 25 Break-up Songs

    No Action--Elvis Costello

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    Re: Top 25 Break-up Songs

    To Be of Use--Smog


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