by Jaki Thomas
I don’t know about you, but every defining moment of my life has its own soundtrack. When I had my son, I was grooving to Will Smith’s “Just the Two of Us.” When I got my first paycheck, I drove down the highway to the bank blasting Bone Thugs N Harmony and Johnny Kemp. And when I had my heart broken for the first time in my adult life, I played Janet Jackson’s “I Get So Lonely” so much that I think I drove my father insane.
So it should come as no surprise that when I am ready to break up with that not-so-special someone, I have a playlist of melodic ballads that almost fool you into thinking I’m still in love – until you hear the words, that is.
Whenever You’re Around – Jill Scott
“I’m lonely whenever you’re around.” This song describes the slow and painful death of an ongoing relationship. She has too much integrity to fall for the words she wants to hear from another but…but…where is that man she once loved? If you’ve ever been there, sticking around only because of the amount of years you’ve stuck around, this song should be at the top of your playlist as you start packing your bags.
Girl It’s Over – Jagged Edge
How bad is it when you don’t care what you lose in the break up as long as you have your freedom? Take the movies, the CDs, your lies – I’m tired of living like this. Yes! Been there, felt that. This is the kind of song you play as you pack up their stuff in Jewel bags to sit by the door.
Tyrone: the Extended Version – Erykah Badu
Yes, this is the break up anthem for any woman who feels used and misused. Still, it’s amusing to hear the breakdown of faults she has with her man as she mentally prepares to move on without him. When Tyrone comes on, I have to turn the volume up and grab my microphone (you know, the brush) so I can be explicit when I sing the lines “help you come get yo ****!”
I Want to Be Free – Ohio Players
“Shoop shoop shoop shoop shoop…I’m gonna be free!” I can’t help but to jam when this funky ode to the end of a relationship comes on. It shouldn’t sneak up on you that he’s planning to be far, far, far away from his former love because he says it from the very beginning, but since this is real music, complete with instruments, drum intros, and the mental image of afroed dudes bopping in the background, it does sneak up on you that he’s planning his exit. Speak yo mind, brotha.
Me – Tamia
When the song begins, it sounds like she’s cheating on her man, and that he’s busted her. In truth, she’s found a love far more powerful than any romantic love – self love. It’s a powerful idea to leave a relationship because of your love for you. Someone in every relationship should love you the most, and if it’s you, then you aren’t wrong to walk out the door without a look back.
When You Think of Me – Eric Benet
Watch Video“Do you feel like dying? Do you break down crying?” Admit it. When you first break up with someone, your fantasy is to run into them while they are feeling their worst so you can gloat about how great your life is now that they’re no longer in it. No matter how amicable the break up, this song goes on the list as the fantasy of your conversation with the one you feel wronged you.
Irreplaceable – Beyonce
While she’s easily one of the most overplayed artist out there today, this playlist wouldn’t complete without Queen Bey reminding her soon to be ex that she is the best he will ever have. And really, who doesn’t think that they’re irreplaceable?
I Can’t Make You Love Me – just about everybody
In the end, sometimes there’s just this. The sadness that the one you love just doesn’t love you the way you want to be loved. Take a moment of quiet reflection to accept your reality, and then keep it moving. While there are several very moving versions of this song, my personal favorites are by Prince, George Michael, and Nancy Wilson.
Be cautious: this playlist shouldn’t be played too repetitively. Life goes on! Get it out of your system, and then only dust this off when you need to remind yourself of where you’ve been and how far you’ve come.by