Written by Liz Buckley


7 Wonders: Brexit Break-Up Tunes

We are leaving the EU, but are we ready for it? Well, Liz Buckley is doing her bit to prepare us. Musically, at least.

Thom Yorke photo by anyonlinyr, via Wikimedia Commons.

Thom Yorke photo by Anyonlinyr, via Wikimedia Commons.

I’m a Remainer. And yes, you should sing that to the tune of the Monkees. Stay with me, I’m a lover not a fighter, let’s stick together – personally, I was all about making things work, cooking a casserole and having a candlelit early night with some scented massage oil and a dildo for two.

But other people, OTHER FUCKING PEOPLE are leavers, so let’s chuck our toys out the pram, their stupid clothes out the window and have a big snotty cry about it. Yes, fetch the forgotten bottle of Blossom Hill Zinfandel from the freezer and smash the top off with a hammer; thanks to Brexit we’re talking break-up songs. Probably until a good friend finally calls an Uber.

Dubstar – St Swithin’s Day

It is said that each July, whatever the weather was on that St Swithin’s Day, it will continue in the same vein for the next 40 days and nights. So then, like an even older, more bullshit version of the iPhone weather app. Except the iPhone app doesn’t even recognise that there’s weather at night, so St Swithin’s Day is slightly more reliable.

That lack of change is a great metaphor for the inability to function at the end of a relationship, the stasis of being unable to propel yourself into doing… well, anything else at all. Getting up, showering, dressing, working, speaking. It all seems too much.

“Truly Adele is the queen of the break-up song so God knows how she’s going to get over leaving Europe – presumably her next album will be called 50 after the Article of the same name.”

The song was originally written and sung by Billy Bragg and each and every time I hear “The Polaroids that keep us together, will surely fade away“, I feel instantly teary at his sense of loss and resignation. But simultaneously I can’t bear to listen to him nasal through the previous verse about having a wank so let’s have the prettier Dubstar version.

Radiohead – True Love Waits

Taken from the new album, A Moon Shaped Pool, True Love Waits and indeed it does. I love Radiohead but my God it’s been a while since they’ve put anything out I can truly kiss with my eyes shut. This song makes me swoon before Thom Yorke even focuses on me long enough to explain what the problem is; it’s beautiful, swathing melancholy at its most aching. In fact, Thom gets so emotional you can actually hear a bit of phlegm rattle.

The bare bones of the track have actually been knocking around for over 10 years, the band having been playing live, ever-altering versions and trying to find an arrangement they were happy with since OK Computer.

As Thom now plaintively (and poignantly) sings “Don’t leave, just don’t leave” I notice from the band’s website that this song was first performed in Brussels. *cries*

Beck – Lost Cause

I love this record with all my heart. Partly because it’s so damn pretty, and partly because it makes me laugh to think that when you’re sad about splitting up with someone, you can still have the overwhelming sentiment that they were also completely bloody useless. Beck’s a clever little sausage.

Taylor Swift – We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together

I mean, truly Adele is the queen of the break-up song so God knows how she’s going to get over leaving Europe – presumably her next album will be called 50 after the Article of the same name. But let’s go with Taylor Swift’s brand of faux-teenage petulance for a different take on the whole business of fucking off. YEAH!

Taylor’s not just “never” getting back together with you but also, “ever” too. Just for good measure. Taylor’s also barely on speaking terms with Spotify this month; is there anyone she won’t feud with? Exhausting.

*whispers* Europe? Are you a single market? Ring me, I’m older and have premium accounts with all the streaming services.

Agnetha Fältskog in 1979. Photo by Fernando Pereira (Dutch National Archives)

Agnetha Fältskog in 1979. Photo by Fernando Pereira (Dutch National Archives)

ABBA – The Winner Takes It All

The Winner Takes It All. Seemingly even if you only win by under a 2 per cent margin in a legally unbinding referendum… I know, I know, get over it, everyone says I have to. I should really follow Agnetha’s strong example, having to sing a very powerful (and bizarrely upbeat) break-up song as written for her to sing by her recently divorced ex-husband who’s standing next to her.

Nonetheless, Agnetha says to this day that it’s actually her favourite ABBA song and there are no winners in any break-up… Pass me the gin.

The Pretenders – Popstar

I like how blatantly angry, unveiled and completely literal this song is. The only surprise is that it isn’t called ‘Patsy Kensit’; why get shy at the last minute? In fact, why not call it ‘Jim Kerr, My Ex Husband, You Massive Shitter’? Perhaps with (Patsy Kensit) in brackets, to be clear.

For the purposes of this playlist, we’re calling it ‘Patsy Brexit’.

Leonard Cohen – Hey, That’s No Way to Say Goodbye

Every major figure who championed the Leave campaign almost immediately resigning with a string of empty promises behind them, and no forward plan? That is indeed no way to say goodbye, I’m bloody well with you Len.

But let’s not talk of love or chains and things we can’t untie… Yeah, I’m still not over this referendum. In the words of Hugh Laurie, “Best of three?”


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Written by Liz Buckley

Department manager at an independent record company. Liker of Frank Sinatra and Nick Cave. Very sudden laugh. Pasty but tasty. Quite tired.