Break ups are tough, we know, but thankfully Bristol-based ambient electro-songstress Stevie Parker has given us the ultimate break up playlist. For when we’ve eaten all our ice-cream and The Notebook just isn’t cutting it, Parker’s given us a mix of jazz and post-punk tracks to get us through. From the legendary Amy Winehouse to Dusty Springfield and Joy Divison, Parker has made sure that by the end of these tracks your tears will have dried, you’ll have put down Nutella, and you’ll be ready to take on the world again.
Back to Black by Amy Winehouse
I think so few songs relay utter sadness like this. It echoes of the familiar blackness of lost love and the lyrics are so visual and uncompromising that they leave me desolate.
I Can’t Make You Love Me by SOAK
With the original by Bonnie Raitt and great covers by Bon Iver, Adele and now SOAK, this song transcends generations and will always epitomize the irrevocable nature of unrequited love with such aching perfection, to the point where I can’t think of a better alternative.
Anyone Who Had A Heart by Dusty Springfield
This always reminds me of my youth, and of my earliest exposure to music. In particular, Dusty’s version of this Burt Bacharach song has always been my favorite, with her assertive and yet pining voice drifting delicately and mournfully over the waltzing Motown arrangement.
Let Me Go by HAIM
Sometimes the ball is in your court and that can be bitter sweetly empowering. This explosive and dynamic song reflects on how breaking up can be an important act of self preservation, which is the other side of things.
Go Your Own Way by Fleetwood Mac
This absolute classic is so familiar to anyone who has ever experienced the demise of a relationship! And its maiden line: ‘loving you isn’t the right thing to do’ is I think one of the most poignant opening gambits of any break-up song.
Love Will Tear Us Apart by Joy Division
Sometimes, there is a frustration whereby something that is often so good can also become equivalently toxic, and this song is the ultimate in conveying that evil paradox that we’ve all had to face.
Maps by Yeah Yeah Yeahs
This was one of my favorite bands as a teen, and sometimes the essence of heartache can be evoked just as effectively through instrumentation and the repetition of the simplest lyrics: ‘Wait, they don’t love you like I love you’.
Cry Me A River by Justin Timberlake
The lyrics here are the ultimate in vengeance, and the production and creative innovation put it years ahead of it’s time making it one of the greatest songs of its decade, in my opinion, at a time where the wasn’t a lot of sophistication in pop music.
Walk On By by Dionne Warwick
Dionne Warrick’s soft, waning vocals are what makes this one of my favorite break up songs. The collective effect is one of interestingly sweet tenderness in the face of such a saddening narrative.