Breakups are funny things. Sometimes they leave you cowering in a corner crying into a half-melted tub of chocolate fudge ice-cream, sometimes you want to run down the street setting off fireworks and screaming “FREE! FREE AT LAST!” until your throat starts to bleed. This playlist is – broadly speaking – for songs about the latter category of breakup. That is to say, songs that approach the subject of a relationship ending with an upbeat, perhaps chipper, demeanour.
First on the list is Man Overboard by Blink-182 which, with its angry-yet-relieved chorus of "You can only lean on me for so long, bring the ship about to watch a friend drown," sums up the sheer relief of escaping a relationship that has become twisted by dependence and unpleasantness. It did, in fact, soundtrack a breakup for me. Reuben’s Let’s Stop Hanging Out takes a similar approach, pointing out to an ex that "of all the things that you do best/disaster makes you happiest".
Next up comes the incorrigible Mike Scott with a rollicking number called Rare, Precious and Gone, a song which manages to make the line "she’s made it clear as air that this affair is at an end" sound cheerful. As a sidenote, The Waterboys were my second ever (and first proper) gig, back when they were touring their album Universal Hall. My Dad took me for my 14th birthday. Good times were had. Following this is something a little outside my usual musical beat, as Sin Cos Tan’s lo-fi electronica track Blown Away actually achieved that rarest of things and made me want to dance (well, shuffle). Definitely one that makes the cut.
Another personal favourite here: Fuck Forever by Babyshambles is a song I absolutely love, and the title alone should show you the approach Pete Doherty takes to breakups on the track. I had never heard of Strawberry Switchblade before this topic, and Since Yesterday makes a worthy addition to my collection of upbeat breakup songs that I will hopefully never need to use again.
I love The Beautiful South, and Tattoo is another one of their beautifully sarcastic numbers about love and relationships. They’re a band with a habit of hitting the nail on the head, and this song is no exception. A song that I was certain would be zedded until I checked is Another One Bites The Dust by Queen. There’s honestly no reason not to like that pounding, driving, upbeat blast of a tune.
This week saw a lot of (probably unintentional) pandering to the guru’s tastes, what with Blink-182, The Libertines and Babyshambles all getting nommed. And, of course, the wonderful Cyndi Lauper. In my opinion she’s a musician who simply can’t go wrong, and When You Were Mine is one of the most upbeat breakup songs I know. The Crash Test Dummies’ Comin' Back Soon (The Bereft Man's Song) takes that most upbeat of chord progressions (I-V-vi-IV, for example G-D-Em-C) and uses it to make a wonderfully-sarcastic song about a failed relationship.
Movin’ On Up by M-People has long been a guilty pleasure of mine, and now I get to zed it. That makes me very upbeat indeed. Finally, the time has indeed come for We Used To Be Friends by The Dandy Warhols, a song I first heard because it was on the soundtrack to FIFA ’04. Ah, memories.
Blink-182 – Man Overboard
Reuben – Let’s Stop Hanging Out
Mike Scott – Rare, Precious and Gone
Sin Cos Tan – Blown Away
Babyshambles – Fuck Forever
Strawberry Switchblade – Since Yesterday
The Beautiful South – Tattoo
Queen – Another One Bites The Dust
Cyndi Lauper – When You Were Mine
Crash Test Dummies – Comin' Back Soon (The Bereft Man's Song)
M-People – Movin’ On Up
The Dandy Warhols – We Used To Be Friends
Libertines – Can’t Stand Me Now
Washed Out – Feel It All Around
Van Der Graaf Generator – The Liquidator
Bill Wells & Aidan Moffat – Ballad of the Bastard
Richard Thompson – Mr Rebound
Brian – You Don’t Want A Boyfriend
Noah And The Whale – Blue Skies
Bob Dylan – Don’t Think Twice, It’s Alright
Carrie Underwood – Starts With Goodbye
The Vaccines – Post-Breakup Sex
Florence + The Machine – Dog Days Are Over
Squeeze – Black Coffee In Bed
Guru's wildcard pick:
Obscure Blink-182 b-side: Don’t Tell Me That It’s Over
These playlists were inspired by readers' song nominations from last week's topic: So hard to do? Upbeat breakup songs. The next topic will launch on Thursday at 1pm UK time.
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