Going through a tough split? Just finished one? About to start one? Help cleanse your mind and soul with some grade A breakup bangers.
Harvey's Steve Albini-produced storm is raucous and raw, packed tight with angst and a desire for vengeance; it's best served loud. With such a passion at the core of "Rid Of Me", there's been lots of chatter with fans and onlookers attempting to figure out the object of Harvey's rage... but it doesn't seem like we'll get anything concrete in the near future.
"I was having a conversation with David Byrne a couple of weeks ago," Harvey told The Sunday Observer back 1999. "He was saying that it takes at least three years to know what the hell you were going on about in any song you write... looking back now, I know exactly what 'Dry' and 'Rid Of Me' are about. I get them completely. But I didn’t have a clue at the time."
Harvey has also hinted that it might not be anchored to reality, saying to The Guardian in '93: "I would have to be 40 and very worn out to have lived through everything I write about..." LD
Key Line: "I'll make you lick my injuries / I'm gonna twist your head off, see..."
This is a rare breed of belter than manages to straddle the worlds of tearjerker and furious goodbye. It's a tears-streaming-down-your-face jewel full of bubbling anger with JoJo's acoustic-R&B melange setting a emotional scene; the results are sensational: you might not be okay right now, but you know you'll be okay in the end.
"[It] is a song declaring your independence," Jojo told MTV in 2004. "All people can relate to it: I have little 11-year-old girls coming up to me like, 'I just broke up with my boyfriend. That song really helped me and it means so much to me.' I have girls and guys of all ages telling me that they enjoy it." LD
Key Line: "I gave up everything I had / on something that just wouldn't last / but I refuse to cry / no tears will fall from these eyes..."
Over the decades Simon's reluctance to divulge who "You're So Vain" is about has prompted rampant speculation and rabid conspiracy theories. We know that it's about a more than one guy - and not Mick Jagger, who provides uncredited backing vocals, nor ex-husband James Taylor. Is it David Bowie? David Cassidy? Cat Stevens? Dan Armstrong? David Geffen? Ex-husband Jim Hart thought it was actually about no-one famous.
In 2015 Simon actually revealed that the second verse focused on Warren Beaty, but there are two other men she's yet to name and/or shame. A few people know the whole story, including Howard Stern and Taylor Swift, but the mystery remains mostly unsolved in the public eye.
Still, it's a pretty perfect way to say goodbye to a deadbeat ex, ain't it? LD
Key Line: "You're so vain / you probably think this song is about you / you're so vain / I'll bet you think this song is about you..."
Until ABBA managed to one-up them, Fleetwood Mac were the kings and queens of incestuous band relationships, and "Go Your Own Way" is a euphoric summation of all their spats and splits. Written by Lindsey Buckingham and sung with Stevie Nicks, it's a particular sore point now - while it was created during a phase where Buckingham and Nicks were an item, they weren't exactly getting along, and they eventually broke up.
Like other songs on seminal 1977 album Rumours, "Go Your Own Way" was written about Buckingham and Nicks' turbulent relationship (although the rest of the band weren't aware at the time). Nicks, of course, knew the real intentions behind the track and asked him to remove the line "packing up, shacking up is all you wanna do," - which Buckingham refused.
"I very much resented him telling the world that 'packing up, shacking up' with different men was all I wanted to do," Nicks said years later in an interview/ "He knew it wasn't true. It was just an angry thing that he said. Every time those words would come onstage, I wanted to go over and kill him. He knew it, so he really pushed my buttons through that. It was like, 'I'll make you suffer for leaving me.' And I did." LD
Key Line: "You can go your own way (go your own way) / you can call it another lonely day..."
Apparently inspired by her love of "inherently sad, gay disco anthems such as Ultravox’s 'Dancing With Tears In My Eyes', Sylvester, and Donna Summer," Robyn’s "Dancing on My Own" is to some a sad song - the anguish of having to watch your ex-lover dance with someone new - but it also offers a quiet, addictive, and infectious defiance. Heartbroken lyrics are carried on glittering synths and jacked-up bass beats, acknowledging that yeah, maybe everything sucks now, but it will be also be okay eventually.
Speaking about the song herself, Robyn said: "I mean, for me, of course, it's a sad love song, but it's a strong song as well, or at least that's what I want people to feel when they listen to it." LJD
Key Line: "I'm just gonna dance all night / I'm all messed up, I'm so outta line / stilettos on broken bottles / I'm spinning around in circles..."
This spit and bile-fuelled barnstormer is a potent middle finger from alt. rockers Placebo, but it's not just a breakup gem - it's supposedly heavily inspired by George Orwell's dystopian (or realist?) novel Nineteen Eighty-Four, or more specifically the romance between the two main characters, Winston and Julia. The biggest clue to this apparent origin story is in the first verse when "the second of May" is mentioned; 2 May is the date that Winston and Julia first spend the night together. LD
Key Line: "In six weeks' time the mess you left will end / see you at the bitter end..."
Writers: Larry Day, Aaron Powell, and Lauren J Down.
"Bye Bye Bye" was written and produced by Kristian Lundin and Jake Schulze, as part of Cheiron Productions, with additional writing by Andreas Carlsson. Lundin stated that it was "totally production driven" and "created from the kick and the bass up". The song was originally intended to be recorded by English boy band Five, but they rejected the song as they didn't like it. Prior to its official release in 2000, the song was played at the LIFEbeat AIDS benefit concert in New York on December 1, 1999.
"Bye Bye Bye" is the ultimate pop FU, created in part by megahit factory Cheiron (responsible for some of the late '90s most inescapable hits, including early Robyn material). Kristian Lundin and Jake Schulze wrote and produced it, and Max Martin collaborator Andreas Carlsson added extra writing - and the results speak for themeselves. But Justin Timberlake, JC Chasez, Chris Kirkpatrick, Joey Fatone, and Lance Bass nearly didn't record this one - it was initially presented to Brit boyband 5ive, who rejected it 'cause they weren't big fans. Their loss... LD
Key Line: "I know that I can't take no more, it ain't no lie / I wanna see you out that door / baby bye, bye, bye..."
A speaker-blower of choice for the jilted, this furious breakup anthem boasts acidic, detailed lyrics and pent-up rage in every power chord... but just who is it about? Is it comedian/actor Dave Coulier, who has claimed and denied the "urban legend" in equal measure, TV icon Bob Saget, hockey player Mike Peluso, Friends star Matt LeBlanc, or frequent collaborator Leslie Howe? Someone else entirely? We're (mostly) sure it is steeped in some amount of truth - that's one thing that Morissette has told us all.
Morissette has actually never been keen (to put it mildly) to publicly name the song's lucky subject: "I’m not going to deny or say yes to it because I think it is wrong. I sort of laugh at it. That was a most public relationship, and it is a predictable answer... the truth is I am never going to tell who it is about." LD
Key Line: "Is she perverted like me? / would she go down on you in a theater?"
A standout moment on Outkast's double-LP Speakerboxx/The Love Below - and the only one from the latter section to feature a verse from member Big Boi - "Roses" often gets overshadowed by wedding disco classic "Hey Ya!", but it's got its own special place in the hearts of many. The André 3000-led Love Below half of the album (which veers closer to Prince's experimental funk/electro/pop styles than Outkast's southern hip-hop roots) is apparently heavily influenced by 3000's split with Erykah Badu, but he's not exactly been forthcoming in the press about that. Might be a wise choice given the delicious nastiness embedded in "Roses"... LD
Key Line: "I hope she's speeding on the way to the club / tryna hurry up to get to some baller or singer or somebody like that / and try to put on her make up in the mirror / and crash, crash / craaash into a ditch..."
"Since U Been Gone" is another number from the magic fingertips of Sweden's Max Martin (with input from alleged abuser Dr. Luke), and one that almost didn't end up in the hands of Kelly Clarkson. Originally intended for Pink, and then Hilary Duff (who apparently couldn't hit the high notes the song required), it took a while to reach the lap of the American Idol star - but boy are we glad it did. This is a monumental ode to being 'over it' with chugging chords and thumping drums to booy.
In a chat with Entertainment Weekly back in '05, Clarkson revealed that the banger is actually a sequel(ish) to another hit of hers: "'Behind These Hazel Eyes' is about the dipstick who completely screwed up and now is unhappy and you’re happy. And then you’re just shouting praises at the fact that he’s miserable in 'Since U Been Gone'.” LD
Key Line: "But since you been gone / I can breathe for the first time / I'm so moving on, yeah, yeah / thanks to you, now I get what I want..."