So I was sitting around with a bunch of friends, drinking beers; the jukebox is playing, and the song Yellow from Coldplay comes up and my friend Stephane becomes a little solemn. I ask him what’s wrong and he then says, “dude, this is my breakup song.” We all get it. Ah, yes, the inevitable breakup song, the one song that will stick with you for your entire life as a painful reminder of that one person who ripped your guts out in the name of the brokenhearted.

Steph goes into it more. This ex actually introduced him to Coldplay. One of their first dates was a Coldplay concert. Yellow was their first single. She had bought him the CD of their debut album, Parachutes. They had an amazing summer of 2001 together. Then, one day, she broke it off. Actually, it was no big deal for Steph, a generally laid back, happy-go-lucky kind of guy. He doesn’t get emotional about things like this.

At the time, he was working in the film industry as a grip and was hired to work on a shoot in Louisiana. One of his jobs was to drive the grip truck from LA to Louisiana. So, he grabs his stuff, loads up the truck and takes off on his cross-country trip. Driving  across state lines, there are deep chasms of either no radio signal whatsoever or just country music. So, Steph digs through his stuff to play a CD and to his soon-to-be emotional demise, he only brought one, Parachutes by Coldplay. He doesn’t give it a second thought (hey, he loves their music!) and plays the CD.

He’s singing along to the opening track, “Don’t Panic” and so on. Then, track #5 plays: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hzkS4DzYTj8&feature=related The drive took three days. He cried all the way to Louisiana. “Whhhyyyyyyyyy???”

So, I guess it’s only fair that I reveal my breakup song. Well, kids, I have several. If the context is right (driving in the car alone for example) and the song plays on the radio, I can start getting a bit misty-eyed. I was a foreign exchange student in the UK. I met a girl in my mass-media class. She was British. I was a stupid American. It was awesome. We would go to see rock shows together, go on day trips, watch Teletubbies stoned, you name it. I remember that was the year Princess Diana died, there was the au pair murder case (UK’s OJ Simpson trial), and yeah, my British love. But then it all came down like shattered glass. She stopped seeing me, immediately. I tried to contact her but she had moved on back to her university in Manchester. It was a couple of months of bliss, since she was home from school and then zero contact. I was a wreck.

A couple of weeks later, I went with a bunch of my friends to see Portishead. This became my breakup song:  “Roads” called to me. It was as if the band got my state of mind, the very essence of my aching heart. I know it’s all sappy now, but c’mon, I was a sensitive pony-tailed man!

A year before, I was in Arizona doing a summer language course, and was swept up in Lilith Fair fever. Fell hard for a hippy chick. I remember that was the summer of Phish, Fishbone, Tanya Donnelly, Nine Inch Nails, Fiona Apple and of course, Lilith Fair! We went to all these shows. She left me for another guy. Fuckin’ bitch! You would think I would rage on death metal or something (and I did) but this is what I remember of that summer as my breakup song. Cue Sarah MacLachlan’s “I Will Remember You”: Makes me want to take a hot shower, make some chamomile tea, wrap around a throw blanket and watch You’ve Got Mail.

Hey, I got a venerable playlist of personal breakup songs, but maybe I’ll sparse them out for future posts. So, my former and current heartbroken ilk, what’s your breakup song?


  1. Good selection, Anderson.

    I’ve got breakup songs for days but, among them, Bonnie Raitt’s “I Can’t Make You Love Me” is as searing as it is beautiful — kinda like my ex’s — and gets me still.

    “Lately” by Stevie Wonder, “The Beautiful Ones” by Prince and “Sparkle” by Cameo are my (dis)honorable mentions.

  2. “Annabelle” by Oak & Gorski

    Shortly before my boyfriend and I broke up, he told me that the song made him think of me. We made plans to go to an Oak & Gorski gig.

    We broke up before that could happen. I eventually came across O&G by accident while they were busking on 3rd St. Thank God they didn’t play “Annabelle”.

  3. Anderson – Love your post. You are the now crowned the winner of the Mr. Sensitive contest. Some of the songs – they range from those that make me wistful, happily nostalgic, sad and/or nauseous from such memories – Madonna’s “Crazy For You”, Yaz’ “Only You”, James’ “Laid”, The Cranberries “Sunday”, Nine Inch Nails “Closer”, and Al Green “Let’s Stay Together”.

  4. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T3Na7ZNoAcE


    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fb5LIo6HE6Y (This video was made a few months after my boyfriend died. I sat in my room and watched it on repeat for maybe an hour, bawling, when my roommate walked in and said, “What the hell? Are you crying to World of Warcraft?”)