The Breakup Mix

Using Music To Get You Through The Five Stages of Breakups.

By Bryan Berlin


Illustrations By Chris Bowers

This article was written for Issue 25 of Tastemakers Magazine

Breakups suck. There’s no denying that- especially if you’re on the receiving end of a breakup. If you’re on the other end of a breakup, then fuck you. You’ve completely ruined this person’s life, and now I’m here to swoop back in and get them on the rebound. How you ask? With a break up playlist, taking the five stages of grief and crafting the perfect songs to each of them. By listening to this you can experience all the emotions in the five stages and be over a break up in 40 minutes.

Stage 1: Denial

“Annie Dan” – Speechwriters LLC
Perfect line: “But it’ll be a cold day in August by the time I know what’s going on, and while the meantime weighs upon us I can act like nothing’s wrong.”

“Maybe Maybe” – Nico Stai
Perfect line: “Maybe maybe, you’re gonna save me, maybe maybe, but I don’t know, I don’t think so.”

You’ve just been heartlessly dumped, but it still hasn’t set in. You’re waking up in the mornings clinging onto your body pillow and eating for two even though you’re not pregnant. For you, the relationship is still happening, and these songs keep you clinging onto that good old relationship feeling. “Annie Dan” has an upbeat optimism paired with hopeful lyrics. If you read into the lyrics at all though, you quickly understand that the relationship is over, but you’re choosing to ignore it. “Maybe Maybe” also pairs that hopeful optimism with the realization of what’s going on, but does it against much sadder music. This sets up the moment the breakup really kicks in and you decide to hate their stinking guts.

Stage 2: Anger

“Song For The Dumped” – Ben Folds
Perfect line: “Give me my money back, give me my money back, you bitch.”

“Every Man Has A Molly” – Say Anything
Perfect line: “Molly Connolly ruined my life, I thought the world should know.”

There are two main elements that take place in the ‘anger’ stage of a break up. The first is you hating everything you did for him or gave to her, so you pretty much resent him for everything, even the thing he had no hand in. This causes you to move into the second element, going on a rooftop and just cursing their name at the top of your lungs. These two songs effectively convey both of those emotions, and the second you finish cursing their name you realize you want them back.

Stage 3: Bargaining

“Nothing Better” – Postal Service
Perfect line: “So just say how to make it right, and I swear I’ll do my best to comply.”

“Against All Odds” – Phil Collins
Perfect line: “And you coming back to me is against all odds, but that’s the chance I’ve got to take”

“Hand On Your Heart” – Jose Gonzalez
Perfect line: “Put your hand on your heart and tell me, that we’re through.”

‘Bargaining’ begins the first of the two longest sections of the break up cycle. Yes, this threw you out of your house in the middle of the night, posted naked pictures of you on the Internet, and slept with each one of your roommates, but you still have the stupid desire to get back with them. “Nothing Better” is the ultimate bargaining song: the verses are a back and forth between a guy trying to save a relationship and a girl telling him to move on and shut up. “Against All Odds” has Phil Collins becoming totally vulnerable and putting himself out there in order to get back the one he loved (he actually wrote this after his first divorce). In “Hand On Your Heart,” Jose Gonzalez forces his ex to look him in the eye and tell him they are through. In all instances, they fail. Cue depression.

Stage 4: Depression

“Fuck Was I” – Jenny Owen Youngs
Perfect line: “If we weren’t such good friends I think I would hate you, If we weren’t some good friends I’d wish you were dead.”

“Say A Lot” – Buddy
Perfect line: “Never really takes a lot to lose you, I don’t have to say a lot to lose you.”

“This Is How It Feels To Have A Broken Heart” – Guster
Perfect line: “Said you’ve never be the guy with an ordinary life, now this is how is feels to have a broken heart.”

Screw the pint of Ben and Jerry’s; you’re going for the 5-gallon industrial-sized tub paired with a bottle or two of Johnnie Walker (The Black Label, because you’re worth it) and an entire box of Costco-sized tissues. You may not leave the darkness of your room for a week, but at least you have these three songs to hold you over. “Fuck Was I” begins with the moment right after you lost in your ‘bargaining’ and just presents the rawness of something being over. “Say A Lot” takes you into your full-fledged depression, realizing how easy it was to lose the person they cared most about. Guster takes all the depressingness of a break up song but sets it to catchy dance music, so you can at least be getting down for a while before you stop mid song and start to bawl your eyes out. There’s a light at the end of the tunnel though. No it’s not a truck coming to run you over- its ‘acceptance.’

Stage 5: Acceptance

“Get Better” – Mates of State
Perfect line: “Everything’s gonna get lighter, even if it never gets better.”

“Trying To Put Your Heart Back Together” – Slow Runner
Perfect line: “Spend your whole life, trying to put your heart back together.”

You’ve made it! Please make sure you throw out the multi-purpose tissues you’ve been using and get rid of that tub of melting ice cream. And stop wearing those sweatpants with the broken waistband out in public. “Get Better” gets you out of bed and let’s you get on with your life. Once you become a real human being again, “Trying To Put Your Heart Back Together” combines reflection of your past loves with a push into the future.  It may take a while, but you’re in the right position to accept the break up and move on.

There you have it. The definitive way to get over a break up: music. At the very least it’s something to drown out the sound of broken glass and tears. These songs are here to wingman you out of a break up and get you back out there to find another true love (or at least a solid one night stand).

Tracklist (Listen via Spotify)

  1. “Annie Dan” – Speechwriters LLC
  2. “Maybe Maybe” – Nico Stai
  3. “Song For The Dumped” – Ben Folds
  4. “Every Man Has A Molly” – Say Anything
  5. “Nothing Better” – Postal Service
  6. “Against All Odds” – Phil Collins
  7. “Hand On Your Heart” – Jose Gonzalez
  8. “Fuck Was I” – Jenny Owen Youngs
  9. “Say A Lot” – Buddy
  10. “This Is How It Feels To Have A Broken Heart” – Guster
  11. “Get Better” – Mates of State
  12. “Trying To Put Your Heart Back Together” – Slow Runner
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One Comment on “The Breakup Mix”

  1. mallonation says:

    No hard time in romance should go without Swllc


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