February Faves: Jim Knipp’s Favorite Breakup Songs


For the month of February, we’ve been taking a look at our favorites here at Biff Bam Pop!. We’ve covered favorite villains, favorite heroes, and even favorite comfort foods. Now guest-blogger Jim Knipp takes us for a whole different kind of ride with his special February Faves for Valentine’s Day – his favorite songs about ending relationships…

I’m a romantic. I know those who’ve read many of my stories or played along with any of my role-playing geekfests might not agree, since the general rule for all my endings is “everyone dies.”

Seriously I make this guy look like Mary Freakin' Poppins!
Seriously I make this guy look like Mary Freakin’ Poppins!

But the truth is, I really love me a love story, I still believe that true love conquers all, and I think nothing is better than a good, over-the-top, romantic ballad. That is, nothing except, a good, over-the-top, romantic breakup song. Which is why, for my February Faves and in honor of St. Valentine’s Day, I bring you:

KnippKnopp’s favorite songs about ending relationships.

5. “Paradise by the Dashboard Light” by Meat Loaf

Some of you may be saying, “Hey, this isn’t a breakup song.” To which I would say, “Too bad, it’s my list!” Plus, any relationship in which a dude says “I’m waiting for the end of time, to hurry up and arrive” because he can no longer stand being around his wife, is about two steps away from divorce papers and restraining orders. So while the first part of the song might be filled with all the hopes and passions of a teenage love affair, the end brings it crashing all down with the ultimate outcome that such sweaty, back-seat-of-the-Dodge decisions usually bring.

...namely, waking up next to this guy every morning...
…namely, waking up next to this guy every morning…

4. “Don’t You Want Me” by The Human League

Coming out just in time to hit heavy airplay on MTV and embed the notion of destructively obsessive love into my squishy, impressionable thirteen-year-old brain, this one still has me belting out “I was working as a waitress at a cocktail bar” at random and completely inappropriate moments (usually staff meetings). I was never exactly sure what Philip Oakley had in mind when he finishes his plea for Susan Sulley’s heart by shouting, “you’d better change it back or we will both be sorry,” but I suspect he wasn’t planning on hanging outside her window with a boom box and a Peter Gabriel song.

...unless he had more eyeliner... and a machete...
…unless he had more eyeliner… and a machete…

3. “Used to Love Her” by Guns N’ Roses

Okay, maybe this is what he had in mind. Some people might view this song as a misogynistic piece of crap sung by a bunch of women-objectifying bad-boy rockers. Others might see it as a parody, written out of frustration by a piece-of-crap, misogynistic bad-boy rocker, angry that all of his big hits were power ballads with limited amounts of woman objectifying. I just view it as a terrible, guilty pleasure that my liberal cred requires I never admit to listening to, let along liking. But like it, I do; even though I’m pretty sure Axl Rose really does have several ex-groupies buried in his back yard. I think it’s probably because the last one obviously laid a gypsy curse on him, plaguing him with chronic careerendingdecisionitis.

...not to mention whatever happened here...
…not to mention whatever happened here…

2. “You Don’t Bring Me Flowers” by Neil Diamond and Barbra Streisand

This song is filled with so much 1970s schmaltz it should come with a bad perm and stick-on chest hair. And I love every second of it. Just the line about “used to be’s” being swept away as the slings and arrows of life take their toll are enough to bring a chill and a little water to the corner of my eye (allergies). Of course, you also are condemned to the image of Neil and Barbra doing the nasty with the lights on, after which a smug Neil wearing the classic 1970s full-body hair-shroud, turns off the lamp, and says “yeah, babe, it was good for you, what are you complaining about?”

...you're doing alright...
…you’re doing alright… -hurk-

1. “Sometime Around Midnight” by The Airborne Toxic Event

Lead singer Mike Jollett was originally a writer, and it shows, because “Around Midnight” is less a song and more an excellent, literary short story about a guy who runs into his ex in a bar. And it’s perfect. From the poetic language (flashbacks to memories of lying in bed “like two perfect circles entwined,” to the way the tempo and volume of the music increase as the narrator’s feelings of loss and betrayal start to mount, to the end, where he’s reduced to simply repeating “I just have to see her, I just have to see her,” it perfectly depicts those moments when fate or circumstance or your own stupidity have left you feeling like cold hands have wrenched your heart from your chest and tossed it into a fire.  I haven’t had a break-up in twenty-five years, but every time I hear this song I’m sixteen and watching the object of my obsessive high school crush making out with some other guy. I like this song so much, I need someone else to make jokes about it!

um... hipsters... pretentious angst... yeah, I got nothing...
um… hipsters… pretentious angst… yeah, I got nothing…

There are probably a dozen others I can list here to fill out the play list, but I’ve suddenly been consumed with the urge to buy some flowers for my wife… gotta go!

Jim Knipp is a part-time writer and full time procrastinator who is most creative when thinking of things to do besides finishing his novel. Visit KnippKnopp.com to get further peeks inside his head, author, agent, and editor interviews, and the occasional piece of short fiction.

2 Replies to “February Faves: Jim Knipp’s Favorite Breakup Songs”

  1. I absolutely loved this post, James Knipp!!!! I’ll be singing these songs for the rest of the day

  2. Great post – I still love The Human League.

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