In honor of Brangelina, the era’s most iconic celeb relationship, from the cheating scandal, surprise wedding, and now divorce (#RIP, #BrexPitt), here are 7 of the greatest breakup albums, ever.
1. 808s & Heartbreak, Kanye West
Definitely Kanye’s most emotionally raw record, 808s &
Heartbreak deals not only with the end of his engagement to long-term girlfriend Alexis Phifer, but also with the highly publicized death of his mother Donda, which occurred only a few months later. This collection of personal ballads and melodies gives us a glimpse of Kanye’s softer side, and also produced massively iconic hits “Love Lockdown” and “Heartless.”
2. Transatlanticism, Death Cab for Cutie
A concept album by indie staple Death Cab for Cutie, Transatlanticism is based on the trials and tribulations of a long-distance love. The record is full of honest narratives about how distance can both strengthen and break a relationship, with title track “Transatlanticism” chronicling the heartbreaking feeling of not being near your lover. Extensively detailed imagery, as well as lead singer Ben Gibbard’s unique vocal style helps to make this album one of the best Death Cab for Cutie has ever released, and a widelt accepted fan favorite.
3. For Emma, Forever Ago, Bon Iver
In all honesty, every Bon Iver album has the potential to dissolve the listener into a sobbing heap of emotion, but For Emma, Forever Ago overflows with a sorrow unlike any other. Recorded in an empty and isolated hunting cabin in the Wisconsin wilderness, this record tells the tale of lost love over folky melodic rhythms, while also responding to lead singer Justin Vernon’s distancing from his previous musical process and style.
4. Back to Black, Amy Winehouse
Amy Winehouse is an absolute legend, known for her emotive soulful style, as well as her tumultuous personal life. Following her split from ex-husband Blake Fielder-Civil, Winehouse recorded Back to Black, a record teeming with bitterness and bruised emotion that completely turns the breakup genre on its head; she remains firm and powerful throughout the album, singing about the darkness of heartbreak through power ballads and jazzy melodies, staying strong in the middle of a storm, like Amy always did.
5. The First Days of Spring, Noah and the Whale
A special kind of breakup album, The First Days of Spring chronicles not only the loss of a girlfriend, but also the absence of female vocals, as lead singer Charlie Fink and band member Laura Marling are the couple in question. Marling left the band following the split, so not only did Fink’s personal life take on a different dynamic, so did the overall sound and style of the band itself.
6. Blunderbuss, Jack White
Jack White is known in the rock ‘n roll world for his lyrical genius, nearly impossible guitar talent, and his sometimes overpowering attitude. In his first proper solo release Blunderbuss, White puts all three of these characteristics to use while responding to his split from his second wife. But unlike many other breakup albums, this record is far too complex to pigeonhole it as solely that: it’s a searingly dynamic rock opera, a step away from his garage-punk background toward a more polished composition, brimming with choral vocals, pianos, and strings.
7. OK Computer, Radiohead
Another atypical breakup album, OK Computer was written not about the end of a romantic relationship, but about the hiatus taken by the band itself. Following the massive commercial and touring success of its previous album, The Bends, Radiohead was stressed, and pumped the brakes on recording another album. After around six moths of putting the next record on pause, the band got back together and recorded one of the most introspective and exploratory rock albums of all time.