Written by Sarah Ledger


7 Wonders: Songs to break up to

Need something to get you through the end of a relationship? Then Sarah Ledger‘s taken over the Standard Issue playlist in the nick of time.

doll looking out of windowI’ve tried to stick to Dorothy Parker’s advice about not putting all my eggs in one bastard. But all too often, the hallmark of the bastard is charm. I know I shouldn’t, but all it takes is a smattering of amusing chit-chat and a couple of double entrendres and I’m anyone’s. Before I can say, “I have to be up early for work tomorrow…” I’m laughing extravagantly at his jokes and flaunting my cleavage, blind to the consequences.

And then, I’m the last to realise the affair is over. I have a reasonable justification to counter all the tell-tale signs. Last-minute cancellations? His family comes first. Unanswered calls and texts? He works so hard. Facebook pictures with his arm draped round an attractive blonde? It’s so great his best friends are women! But, eventually, I get the message. It has to be spelled out in letters of flame, but I get it. The adventure of loving is over and it’s time to indulge in the drama of losing.

Join me sobbing my way through the following tracks.

The Shirelles – Will You Love Me Tomorrow?

At my age I’m self-sufficient enough not to care about commitment. God knows, I’ve done commitment – and look where that got me! But it’s been 18 months and he still says he’s not available at Christmas… or New Year… or his birthday… or mine… If I hesitantly suggest that we should make it a bit more permanent, he replies, “We’re having a great time, aren’t we? Let’s not tie ourselves down in the mundane.”

Shirley Owens of The Shirelles looks him in the eye and asks directly. She wouldn’t allow herself to be fobbed off with that old shite about the mundane. Still, I drop it. We are having a good time. Let’s not ruin it with awkward questions.

No Doubt – Don’t Speak

He’s rung. He wants to meet. Tonight if possible. We need to talk. But actually, we don’t need to talk. I already know what he’s going to say. And it’s not going to matter what I say in return. Gwen Stefani, with despair in her voice, tries to prevent the inevitable. But she can’t and neither can I.

Elvis Costello – I Want You

Elvis Costello’s six-minute-41-second anguished howl is almost unbearable. I find the best way to listen to it is lying under the duvet, doing a bit of howling myself. It’s a tortured obsessive tirade that drills through to the exposed nerve – “I want to know the things you did that we do too” – and ends unresolved. There is, however, a cheering element. By the time the song’s finished, I have the sense that I might be having a bad time, but at least I’m not having quite such a bad time as Elvis.

girl with heart balloonAdele – Set Fire to the Rain

A great pop song is like a good horoscope: specific enough for us to recognise ourselves yet vague enough to apply to everyone. I’m chatty and lack concentration – that makes me a typical Gemini… “That heart you caught must be waiting for you”… Oh Adele! That happened to me too! We’re the SAME!

A word of warning though – by all means belt this one out while you’re in the shower, but be prepared for the neighbours to knock and ask why you’re letting a heifer calve in your bathroom.

Amy Winehouse Back to Black

I never bothered with Amy Winehouse when she was heralded as The Next Big Thing, on the grounds that anyone featured in an Observer double spread is rubbish and will come to nothing. You don’t believe me? Remember those Magic Numbers CDs you rushed out to buy? And what about The XX? Heard much of them lately? I rest my case.

But one night while driving home, Back to Black came on the radio. I’d never heard anything like it: defiant, cynical, vulnerable. It was impossible to believe it hadn’t already been around for generations – a long-lost Motown classic. And yet, once heard, it’s impossible to forget. Amy’s tender heart is exposed beneath her drawn-on face and fuck-you tattoos. The other woman is barely mentioned, yet she’s there, throwing Amy into chaotic relief, just as bloody useless as she always thought she was.

Patsy Cline – Crazy

I have to take care with this one. It could – with only the most gentle nudge – push me right over the edge. Patsy Cline knew all along he’d fuck off and so did I. Who’s the idiot now? I could have spotted the bastard beneath the testosterone and the ribald wit, but I chose not to. It’s me who’s the daft tart for falling for it all over again.

Nancy Sinatra – These Boots Are Made for Walkin’

There’s only so much wallowing a woman can do without endangering her sanity. There comes a time when work, family and tidying the kitchen have to slide back into focus. Nancy Sinatra’s camp, horn-driven revenge fantasy is just the ticket.

Sadly, my own recourse to revenge is limited. In my head, I’ve slashed his tyres and burnt his house down, but in reality the only socially acceptable act of vengeance available to me is to block him on Facebook. Still, singing “Are you ready boots? / Start WALKIN’” as I do so lends a note of menace. That’s more like it…


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Written by Sarah Ledger

Champion soup maker; of a surprisingly nervous disposition. @sezl & sezl.wordpress.com