What is it about a break-up song that is so much more powerful in its ability to stir emotions and connect with the human heart than any other kind of music? Music is an extremely powerful medium, as it is; but, songs about lost love and heartache seem to speak to the soul in a way nothing else can. Perhaps it is the feelings of an intense moment that make the lyrics of a sad melody attach to our memories and bring experiences to life so vividly. All I know is that, time and again, I am a sucker for a good break-up song and their therapeutic value!
Am I the only one who hears a song, one with a haunting melody or meaningful lyrics, and hits replay on that tune until I singlehandedly wear out the notes? That’s my standard mode of operation: 1) hear a song (most likely while driving in the car), 2) notice that some of the lyrics stand out and trigger some thoughts and emotions, 3) look up the video and/or lyrics to the song and confirm that what I thought I heard was correct (and probably even more amazing than first suspected), 4) play the song over and over and over and over until I drive everyone in my home absolutely insane!
To be clear, I don’t even need to be in the middle of a break-up to be drawn to a good broken-hearted tune or to get sucked into a melancholy melody! I am years past my divorce; but, I have deep appreciation for a song that can transport me to a raw moment in time and feel what I felt! Songs (and singing them and playing them a multitude of times) are like some sort of amazing musical counseling by which one can re-feel the events, reflect on them, and come to a place of healing and understanding.
Have you ever noticed how music is like a time machine? With just a couple of notes, one can be transported to a magical summer years ago or reduced to tears remembering a lost loved one or past memory. The songs during my actual break-up are like a soundtrack of a painful chapter, while others from before or since have an amazing way of making me feel understood (wow! I’m not the only one who “gets” it or who has felt this way!), bringing comfort (even if by way of temporarily opening a portal to a sad chapter in time), and further making me at peace with what has happened in my life.
Adele became the official spokesperson for my heartache, even though many of her songs that really hit home for me didn’t come out until after I went to court! “Someone Like You” ripped through my soul and resonated with me in a profound way. “Send My Love” is such a recent song of hers, but I absolutely love the words “send my love to your new lover, treat her better” (um, yea! I am surely crossing my fingers for whoever the poor gal will be in hopes that she gets a better experience than I did!) and “I’m giving you up, I’ve forgiven it all, you set me free, oh…” (because, at this point, it’s not at all anymore about still wanting him, but I forgave him and I’m free because of it!).
Another song that saw plenty or replay time when I needed it was ZZ Ward’s “Last Love Song.” This heart-wrenching ballad follows a woman’s acknowledgement that all of the hopes and dreams she had for her life with the man she loves are over, so she sends him off with one last part of her soul; but, that’s the last he will get from her! I identify with her message so deeply because I, too, once found myself saying “you can’t have any more of my tears or any more of my life! I already gave it all to you, and from this moment forward my life is mine!”
“Somebody That I Used to Know” by Gotye struck a chord in me because the whole tale told within the song mirrored much of my marriage. The relationship suffocated as a result of neglect to the point where two partners became like strangers. How odd is it that one who was, at one point, such an integral part of my life was now literally “somebody I used to know!”
I was way over my ex by the first time I heard Rihanna’s “Stay”, but I could feel the anguish in the words as she wrestled with her feelings about the man in her life. She is clearly in pain and although part of her wants him to stay, she is clearly afraid and unsure of whether this would actually be a good idea. Definitely, when you’re at the point of considering a divorce, it is such a difficult thing to be!attached to your spouse, yet be tortured by what the relationship is doing, and has done, to you!
One of the beautiful things about music is, like any other medium of art, they are open to interpretation. What you hear and identify with within a song may be very different from the message I glean from it, and that is okay! You may not even need words with a song to feel moved and transformed by it. A song can be from any genre and any era to speak to you, teach you, grab a hold of you, and heal you!
Break-up songs have been in existence for as long as there has been music. Music is a vehicle to explore the human experience and communicate emotions to others. I encourage anyone enduring a divorce to open their ears and hearts to the power of music to console and inspire them during the darkest moments! A song may allow you to get in touch with your sadness, anger, shock, and every other aspect of the process. Thankfully, there are millions of songs to choose from that have gems of wisdom tucked within lines of lyrics and the ability to speak to anyone willing to listen.
I love music, all kinds of music, and I am certain that I will always be moved by a good break-up song. Once touched by an experience as life-transforming as divorce, it’s about impossible to completely turn off the impact of those emotions, even if they no longer cause pain. Like me, you may even find that listening to songs from your divorce days allow you to see how far you’ve come in overcoming and moving forward from such a terrible time, and you may be able to sing them with a sense of accomplishment!