The Cure, in Pictures of You, with its there was nothing in the world that I ever wanted more, than to never feel the breaking apart, and Bitch Get Fit, in Find Love, with its I’ve got no illusions; I’ve cut through this cord; Got no more addictions; See these veins can’t endure that much more, and Roxette, in It Must Have Been Love, with its Must have been love, but it’s over now.
Bjork, possibly maybe probably love? Even you taunted your ex-lover with lipstick you stopped wearing when you were with him and how you suck your tongue in remembrance of him.
And an ex-girlfriend, when we were in college, used to mock Everything But the Girl’s Missing, especially the like the deserts miss the rain line, because, as she liked to say: How can a desert miss something it’s never had, since deserts are deserts because there is no rain. And I used to say, well, isn’t that the point?
Sinead O’Connor’s cover of Prince’s Nothing Compares 2 U and Prince’s Nothing Compares 2 U and I’d very much like Eet by Regina Spektor to be about heartbreak, if only because what she is describing sounds very much like the way I describe heartbreak when I have to use words to describe heartbreak.
Can we count Enjoy the Silence by Depeche Mode? I’ve always counted it as a song about heartbreak. Then again, I hear Master and Servant as an ode to foreplay, so what do I know about Depeche Mode?
Kelly Clarkson in Since You’ve Been Gone and Liz Phair in Flower and anything by Mazzy Star and mostly anything by the Smiths and Sarah McLachlan and nothing by Kanye West, because I hate him for what he did to Taylor Swift, who makes heartbreak novel with her The Story of Us. And Sara Bareilles in the entirety of Kaleidoscope Heart, the soundtrack to her heartbreak and to mine. But separately, just to be clear.
Who can’t you make love you, Bonnie Raitt? Him? Her? Way to be coy, but damn, he or she is cold to cause such confessions about the voices in your head and requests for no lies and close-holding and no patronization.
Annie Lennox in Why and Avril Lavigne in Wish You Were Here and Belinda Carlisle in Summer Rain and Dido in My Lover’s Gone (maybe the quintessential song about heartbreak with its decision to leave everything as is, in case said lover returns, or, failing that, to keep the memory of said lover alive).
Though I include her only because she is part of that period when everything I listened to seemed to be about heartbreak and moving on and getting over someone you never wanted to get over, Adele was there with her new songs and her larger-than-life voice and her she ain’t real; she ain’t going to be able to love you like I will. Exactly.
Alanis Morissette, pre-baby and pre-meditation and pre-everything that doesn’t piss her off, with her anthemic You Oughta Know, because you oughta know that you’ll never find someone else to go on you in a theater.
And don’t forget at least 70 percent of the music played over scenes of medical life and loss on Grey’s Anatomy. I use Shazam more during Grey’s Anatomy than I do during any other show I watch. Radio-friendly heartbreak becomes television-friendly heartbreak, even when someone about whom you’re supposed to care is flatlining in the background.