We've all been there, in the throes of a breakup so bad you fear you'll end up dying alone or in jail: Crying so hard your eyes are chapped and red, throat sore and aching from sobbing, hair matted from days without a shower and nails chewed to the quick. Your friends are tired of hearing you rehash every minute of the relationship in an effort to locate the precise moment where it all went wrong, the pizza guy is trying to escape from the doorway as you tell him about your carefully-concocted plan for revenge and even your cat is avoiding you for fear of being held tightly while you stroke him for the 72nd time in three days, wailing "YOU'LL NEVER LEAVE ME, MR. SOCKS!!!"
But music will always be there for you in your time of sorrow. Music will never get tired of you. Music will say all the things you can't. Music will allow you to find solace until your heartache subsides and you finally brush your hair and wash your face. And here are ten songs to get you through that breakup intact.
1. Norwegian Wood, The Beatles: Rest assured that no matter how terrible the breakup, at least the guy hasn't burned down your house with you (presumably) still inside of it.
2. Yeah! Oh Yeah!, The Magnetic Fields: For that matter, be thankful the breakup didn't go so badly that the guy is going around proclaiming how happy he would be to off you after delightfully reciting all the ways he hates you and confessing that he really was gaslighting you after all.
3. The End of the World, Skeeter Davis: Perhaps the most cathartically self-indulgent breakup song ever recorded, made even more powerful by Davis' raw and fragile voice.
4. Boxing, Ben Folds: While not the most traditional selection in the vast catalogue of "Ben Folds' Patented Breakup Songs" (that would be either Song for the Dumped or Bitch Went Nuts), there's something about the painfully plaintive chorus that speaks to anyone who's been left by the wayside after giving their all.
5. Your Ex-Lover Is Dead, Stars: The pervasive feeling of the song recalls that famous break-up quote by George Bernard Shaw, "It is a curious sensation: the sort of pain that goes mercifully beyond our powers of feeling. When your heart is broken, your boats are burned: nothing matters any more. It is the end of happiness and the beginning of peace."
6. No Need to Argue, Cranberries: This sparse, haunting song from the Cranberries is almost a hymn of sorts, and imparts a sense of calm similar to an hour spent sitting in wistful silence at the back of a cathedral.
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7. The End of the Affair, Billie Holliday: Ms. Holiday gives you permission to act nearly any way you please -- both during a relationship and after its demise -- and reminds you to never apologize for being yourself. Sometimes we all need to hear this from someone who isn't our mother, after all.
8. Up the Junction, Squeeze: A low-class, gritty story is nearly masked by an upbeat tune and clever, witty lyrics, but the heart of the story beats loudly nevertheless: A man took his woman for granted and is now miserable. And with any luck, that's exactly how your ex is feeling right now, the lousy bastard.
9. Waltz #2, Elliot Smith: The follow-up to Waltz #1 from his album XO, Smith rages against the dying of the light in this oddly upbeat song (well, upbeat for Smith), powerfully exclaiming "I'm never going to know you now / But I'm going to love you anyhow." And who hasn't thought the exact same thing?
10. We Just Won't Be Defeated, The Go! Team: In the vein of upbeat breakup songs, very few beat the infectious energy of The Go! Team's cheerleader-esque anthem. Turn this up as loud as your neighbors will allow and you'll feel 100 percent better after just the first chorus. Now, what was that loser's name again? See? You've already forgotten about him.