I find that making mixtapes is therapeutic, whether you are doing it to reach out to your sentimental side, or using the tape to reach out to a friend or loved one. Sometimes though, you need to do it for your own well-being. This is your new “break up mixtape”.
Grizzly Bear – “Knife”
“I want to break up,” and all of a sudden time seems to slow down, is this really happening? This song illustrates this moment perfectly: the tone is very minor and the tempo is slow. There is something that just doesn’t feel right. The moment you and your ex break up is a bad moment; this song however is not bad in the slightest.
Kanye West featuring Syleena Johnson – “All Falls Down”
Kanye is one of the greatest minds (no matter how mixed up his mind may be) in the hip-hop industry, and his first album, in my opinion, is his best. It is so much more, for lack of better word, raw then his next albums. He has become one of the better producers in the genre–yet the sound in his other albums is almost over-produced compared to this one. This song is a jam, and it almost makes you feel okay when it feels like things are falling down.
The 13th Floor Elevators – “You’re Gonna Miss Me”
The first moments of the movie High Fidelity feature Rob’s (John Cusack) girlfriend leaving him. He is sitting in a large comfy looking chair with headphones on listening to this song, until he angrily rips the headphones off and blasts the song at her. High Fidelity is one of my favorite break-up movies (next to Forgetting Sarah Marshall) and it’s littered with some of the greatest music in any movie–I suggest you watch it.
Maps & Atlases – “The Charm”
And all of a sudden, you’re angry. “I don’t think there is a sound that I hate more then the sound of your voice, when you say that you don’t love me anymore.” This is a great break up song. It sums up the situation, while still being upbeat–and it’s intense. It has all the resentment but no misguided aggression.
The National – “Sorrow”
This is another great break up song. Berninger sings about sorrow, and the songs tone reflects this. I never really paid attention to the lyrics of this song, and it was only 30+ plays later that I finally listened to the lyrics and realized how much I identified with them, and how well the music emotionally fits the words. Artists like The National, Regina Spektor and Sufjan Stevens who can so accurately create this parallelism in their music are in my mind some of the most phenomenal modern songwriters.
The Heavy – “How You Like Me Now”
I dare you to try and feel sad while listening to this song. This song makes me feel good. Really good. It makes you feel strong, as if nothing can hurt you, and anything that has hurt you in the past is no more then a fly on your windshield now, and you are truckin’!
The XX – “Crystalised”
The XX is brilliant. Their songs are calm, cool and simple, and they are all about sex. They song makes me feel like things are okay. There are more people out there, and you are the cool center of the world.
The Black Keys – “Next Girl”
This is probably my favorite song on this tape that was written about break-ups. “It was a painful dance, now I’ve got a second chance.” Sure your ex might’ve been beautiful, but you’re going to find someone better, something new, something different. You made a mistake, and you are going to learn from it.
Wolfmother – “Vagabond”
I included this song pretty much solely for its role in (500) Days of Summer. This is another pick me up. When you start getting your life together where there would normally be a montage in a movie, I hope this song is playing. Wolfmother does a great job a taking an electric rock song and giving it a folk-like acoustic feel at points. This gives the song a penetrating quality that reaches straight to your heart and gives your motivation a good pump.
Neutral Milk Hotel – “Holland, 1945”
I love Neutral Milk Hotel. They are one of those bands that makes dissonance sound like perfection. Their mix of heavy distortion with poppish song writing is an odd couple that ends up being a perfect combination. This is a hopeful song. When all is said and done, you may hopefully look back on things fondly, and if not at least we all know that life goes on.