So you’ve finished cycling through all your angry and sad break-up music playlists and you can now (very tentatively) say that you’re done with being filled with rage and/or tears. What’s next?
Accepting that the relationship is over and blasting a “I’m kinda happy now” playlist, that’s what. Regardless of whether or not you ended on good terms, it’s always refreshing to wash your hands of the drama, wipe the metaphorical relationship slate clean, and move on to the next one.
1. Stars – “Your Ex-Lover Is Dead”
There’s one thing I want to say, so I’ll be brave
You were what I wanted, I gave what I gave
I’m not sorry I met you I’m not sorry it’s over
I’m not sorry there’s nothing to save
The best way to look at a relationship that’s run its course is not by thinking you wasted your time with that other person or pretending that it never happened. The guy in “Your Ex-Lover Is Dead” runs into his ex-girlfriend one day, and pretends that he doesn’t even remember her name.
The girl catches on to him, however, and sadly tells him that she doesn’t regret their time together and what they shared. But she doesn’t regret that the relationship is over, either. In the immortal words of Tyler Perry (yes, I’m quoting Tyler Perry while talking about a Stars song), “Some people are meant to come into your life for a lifetime, some for only a season.”
2. The Postal Service – “Nothing Better”
Don’t you feed me lines about some idealistic future
Your heart won’t heal right if you keep tearing out the sutures
This one starts off like any typical sad break-up song with the lead singer Ben Gibbard acting as a man begging his lady love to stay, telling her he’ll change, and in one over-dramatic moment actually physically blocking the exit with his body. And then halfway through the song, Postal Service band member Jenny Lewis cuts in with the woman’s version of the story and calling the guy out on his ridiculousness.
Even so, the song doesn’t come off as harsh or callous; it’s just one relatively level-headed lover very gently telling their emotionally overcome significant other that there’s a reason why they broke up, and as much as they’d love and miss each other, they’re better off apart than together.
3. Ciara ft. Nicki Minaj – “I’m Out”
Ladies this your song, so as soon as this come on
You should get out on the floor, go on and get your sexy on
If you know that you better than the new girl that he on
Go ‘head and tell him now: “You gon’ miss me when I’m gone” (I’m out)
Own your sexiness, people. If Sexy Break-Up Songs was a viable list topic, this anthem and Beyonce’s “Single Ladies” would definitely top that list. Still, this song can be considered “good vibes” because, for the most part, it’s pretty positive and the beat is uplifting. It makes me want to get out on the floor and get my sexy on, so it definitely served its purpose.
4. Britney Spears – “Stronger”
Stronger, than yesterday
Now it’s nothing but my way
My loneliness ain’t killing me no more
I, I’m stronger
Some people are afraid of not being in a relationship, of being alone, but this song is about embracing singledom. It’s okay to be alone sometimes. And even though – at first – you feel vulnerable and extremely down on yourself after a particularly bad break-up, eventually you start to feel “stronger” and you overcome those feelings.
Set in a futuristic world, the music video above shows Britney dancing on and around a chair. There’s a sense of triumph and empowerment as Britney breaks up with her no-good boyfriend, who she’s much better off without.
5. Fleetwood Mac – “Dreams”
Now here you go again
You say you want your freedom
Well who am I to keep you down?
It’s only right that you should play the way you feel it
But listen carefully to the sound of your loneliness
Melancholy and super duper cathartic, this one gets our vote as a top good vibes song because it serves as a reminder that even when a relationship comes to an end, life goes on. There’s also a haunting cover of “Dreams” by Gabrielle Aplin and Bastille that we simply adore. You can check that version out here.
6. Noah and the Whale – “My Door Is Always Open”
Well you have only let me down
You have only, let me down
But my door is always open
Yeah my door is always open
This song could have easily gone on our Top 10 Sad Break-Up Songs post. Either way, it’s an incredibly beautiful song that can be interpreted a number of different ways… but we’re gonna let “my door is always open” speak for itself.
7. Gloria Gaynor – “I Will Survive”
Did you think I’d crumble? Did you think I’d lay down and die?
Oh, no, not I, I will survive
Oh, as long as I know how to love, I know I’ll stay alive
I’ve got all my life to live, I’ve got all my love to give
And I’ll survive, I will survive
Who doesn’t start automatically singing this song whenever it comes up? Let’s be honest, we all do it. Again, this song is about overcoming heartbreak, because “I will survive!”
8. Lily Allen – “Smile”
At first when I see you cry
It makes me smile
Yeah it makes me smile
At worst I feel bad for a while
But then I just smile
I go ahead and smile
Lily Allen gets her heart broken, but then karma strikes and the guy who broke it is the one left. It’s true – when the person who left you emotionally damaged becomes emotionally damaged themselves, it can feel like sweet payback for all the times they hurt you. As messed up as it might be, it’s hard not to break out into a smile.
9. Regina Spektor – “Fidelity”
I never loved nobody fully
Always one foot on the ground
And by protecting my heart truly
I got lost in the sounds
Random useless factoid of the day: thanks to the constant advertisements for 27 Dresses back in the day, I can no longer listen to this song without immediately associating it with Katherine Heigl. Depending on your opinion of Ms. Heigl this may or may not be a bad thing. Either way, “Fidelity” is one of those tracks with a deceptively bubbly instrumental backing ever-so-slightly dark lyrics.
Regina Spektor describes never really letting herself fall in love, and how that worked in her favor when it came to her latest paramour because if she hadn’t “kept one foot on the ground” she would’ve been even worse off when they eventually broke up. It’s something to keep in mind when it comes to relationships: let yourself fall in love, but not so deeply that you can’t find yourself/get back out afterwards.
10. Go West – “King of Wishful Thinking”
I don’t need to fall at your feet
Just cause you cut me to the bone
And I won’t miss the way that you kiss me
We were never carved in stone
At first glance, this one has the tried-and-true formula of upbeat sounds and vaguely depressing lyrics, which might make it an odd choice for a “Good Vibes” list. Still, missing your significant other post-break up is pretty much a given, and there are several methods you can try to get over it: curse them out every chance you get, sob quietly into various pillows, or put on a brave face and get through the days. There’s always the possibility that if you tell yourself something enough times you’ll grow to believe it – and if you tell yourself you’re over them, eventually you will be.
Also, the music video is so ridiculously 90’s that you can’t help but grin watching it.