Breaking Up Songs Are Not Hard To Do

English: Carrie Underwood at the 2010 Academy ...

English: Carrie Underwood at the 2010 Academy of Country Music (ACM) Awards. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“Right now, he’s probably slow dancing with a bleach-blonde tramp and she’s probably getting frisky” ~ Carrie Underwood, Before He Cheats

Taylor Swift, that oh-so-cute, perky, pop phenom takes no prisoners in her lyrics about break ups, of which, according to the tabloids, there are many. Her latest album, “Red” is a collection of love gone bad songs, most notably the not so subtle titled hit, “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together.” At 23 years of age, writing about this much heartbreak can only mean — no matter who’s to blame — she is a bad breaker upper.

Diana Kirschner, Ph.D., a psychologist and author of the Love in 90 Days: The Essential Guide to Finding Your Own True Love and a Psychology Today contributor says the pain is as real as breaking a leg. She writes in “Relationship Advice: Breaking Up Hurts For Real and How to Recover Faster”, “Researchers at UCLA have pinpointed the part of the brain that registers the pain of a break-up. Being rejected activates one of the same areas of the brain as physical pain! In the study, the more ignored the people felt, the more activity they had in the anterior cingulate, which also registers physical distress. So your pain is physiological.”

So there is real pain, but when did that give writers license to exclude subtlety in song writing?

In 1995 Grammy award winner Alanis Morrisette was put on the permanent music map with the hit album “Jagged Little Pill” including the giant hit single “You Oughta Know.” I was on a walk in my neighborhood when I stopped and spoke with some neighborhood friends. The wife was still ecstatic from attending the Alanis concert the night before. I said, “I really like those angry young woman lyrics.” They both looked at me with awesome wonder at my complete lack of imagination and she said, “She’s not angry. She sings about pure love.”

Silly me, I thought. So what she was trying to get through my mutton head is that these lyrics are Alanis’ “love is never having to say you’re sorry” moment. They are a roadmap to “girls in white dresses with blue satin sashes,” white horses, a silver tiara, and a sunset.

’cause the joke that you laid on the bed that was me
And I’m not gonna fade
As soon as you close your eyes and you know it
And every time I scratch my nails down someone else’s back
I hope you feel it…well can you feel it!?

They do not mean what I foolishly assumed to be an “I’m going to rip the eyes out of that unrepentant, two-timing maggot’s face” rant.

After my five-minute education about Alanis’ compassionate lyrics from my friend’s wife, I stepped back through the wormhole to planet earth.

I learned from the conversation that interpretation varies by demographic and subjective reality and there are no boundries or rules.

Having five kids — the youngest in his last year of high school — my wife and I are experts at spotting a break up. It really hurts and as parents, we, like any other parents, hurt badly for them. There is not a good way to break up.

So Alanis and Taylor feel rejected, therefore they write to alleviate their heartache, which is real according again to Kirschner, “Other researchers at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine have found that a breakup can create physical heart pain and shortness of breath. They call it Broken Heart Syndrome and, of course, it affects more women than men. Emotional stress or rage can actually precipitate a heart attack, so on this one you need to get it medically checked out.”

Since the wave of in-your-face lyrics hit pop culture, it’s amazed me that most break up songs are of the “it’s your fault, not mine that we are breaking up.” belief. Listen carefully for a good laugh. There is a generation of youth learning from their music that “it’s never my fault.”

My IPod contains a playlist that I assembled a few years ago called, “Pissed off Girls.” I love good break up songs and don’t mean to imply that only women write these lyrics and yes, the above-mentioned songs are on that list along some Carrie Underwood, Adele and Kelly Clarkson to name some. But on that same IPod is another playlist called “Break up Songs” with men have feelings too songs like Puddle of Mud’s “She Hates Me,” “She’s Gone” by Hall and Oates, and James Blunt’s “You’re Beautiful” to name a few of the 100 or so “my life is horrible now and I’ll never recover” hits.

What are your favorite break up songs and artists? Please tell.

4 thoughts on “Breaking Up Songs Are Not Hard To Do

  1. Here’s some of my favorite break up songs….


    and…(Caution this last one has some harsher language)

  2. I’m one of those weird people who has never enjoyed break up songs. They’re too whiny! 🙂 Then again, I’ve never had an “official” romantic break up. More “awkward and willing to chew off my own leg to get away from this person who assaulted me” than “pit of shattered love and absolute despair.”

    Anthony, I’m digging your posts; so far I’ve always learned something.

  3. Pingback: Lyrical Interpretations and Junk | 25ToFly

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