I think I have heard Gotye's "Somebody That I Used To Know" about ten times in the last three weeks. On the radio, in stores, doctor's offices, random places. It's haunting and sad and awesome. I was watching the video today (because I had been steered to a Star Wars/Gotye mashup version and wanted to see the original...) and I realized what a truly awesome breakup song it is. (Doesn't hurt that Gotye is easy on the eyes...ahem.)
Luckily, I don't need a break up song in my life anymore. But man, if I did, the above would really be excellent. It's got downbeats and slow depressing parts, but then there are the parts where you can really shout out the lyrics. That's what you need in a good break up song.
I have had two major break ups in my life and luckily there were two AMAZING songs I had to help me through. The first was from the late 80's. Okay, in reality this song didn't make it big until 1990. But I swear it came to me in the Summer of 1989 becuase that is when I knew my first real relationship was over. Truly over. First major heartbreak. So along came Sinead with "Nothing Compares 2U" and the healing began.
This song has what you need -- slow parts and shouty parts.
Then in 1995, another big break up. But I was angry this time. So the universe gave me Alanis. Thank you Alanis! I was working freelance and was doing a lot of driving across LA (Westwood to Burbank to Downtown for various shoots and screenings) and having "Jagged Little Pill" on my CD player just made the anger better. This whole song (practically) is a shouting song. Bonus: you get to say "fuck".
What are other break up songs? To qualify as truly great, there have to be shouty parts!