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11 Empowering, Alternative Songs To Soundtrack National Ex-Spouse Day

National Ex-Spouse Day
[Photos: The All-American Rejects/YouTube, Charlotte Sands/Press]

It seems indicative of U.S. divorce trends that we could reasonably add National Ex-Spouse Day to the calendar between the bookends of April Fool’s Day and 4/20. Lo and behold, April 14 stands as the designated date for reflection on the heels of romantic dissolution. Officially, it’s a day to assuage anger and practice forgiveness—but let’s be real here: that’s about as engaging as a rainy day lecture on the history of watching paint dry.

In the interest of feeding our delusion of music being a cure-all, we’ve opted for a decidedly more “teenage angst” approach in celebrating the sanctioned reminder of heartbreaks, new and old. And no, it doesn’t involve posting melodramatic lyrics to your social media feeds (though no shame if that’s your prerogative). Rather, we’ve compiled a diverse list of 11 alternative songs that promote empowerment post-split. And hey, if they help you forgive and forget, that’s an added bonus.

“I’m Not Yours” — The Haunt

What’s more empowering than flaunting a little bit of self-disparagement? The Haunt have a way of skirting that line of contradiction, oozing confidence without shying away from the flaws that make us undeniably human. “I’m Not Yours” is a prime example in its self-aware (and downright sexy) rejection of the rose-tinted lens. After all, if we’re being honest, the good in anyone is far less compelling than gritty riffs and indulgent lyrical narratives.  


Sometimes we need to get a little aggressive with our liberation to rise above negative situations. Hot Milk never hesitates to dial it up to the max, sparing no lick of ferocity on “OVER YOUR DEAD BODY.” But make no mistake, you don’t have to wish death on your ex to feel invigorated by this duality of antagonism and apathy. In fact, it might leave you wanting to jump headfirst into some drama just so you can scream about it.

“Tell Me I’m A Wreck” — Every Avenue

Every Avenue buries the lede with classic apologetic despondency in “Tell Me I’m A Wreck.” That said, the sense of culpability doesn’t last more than a verse before they pull out the lyrical equivalent of “I’m sorry, but…” Energized by well-polished, pop-punk hooks, this is a delicious shift of blame that feels surprisingly justified. It begs the question, “How could I give you my best when you’re hellbent on getting my worst?” And that’s something any self-doubting people-pleaser should feel empowered to ask. 

“Honda Civic” — Lauran Hibberd

It takes a certain breed of dominance to casually pull a savage insult from a commuter vehicle. On behalf of Civic drivers everywhere… Ouch? But that’s just Lauran Hibberd showing off her propensity for harnessing the attitude of a “better than you” eye roll. The result is an enticing hook for a song that expertly cuts the “fuck you” mentality with charming flippancy. 

“Miss Me” — Honey Revenge

Honey Revenge couldn’t have picked a harder-hitting single to make their debut in 2021. The punchy dismissiveness comprising the backbone of “Miss Me” is an emphatic call to anyone who’s been subjected to a less-than-reliable connection—be that platonic, romantic, or anything in between. Still, this track doesn’t descend into the played-out chasms of self-pity that are often the context for such effortless relatability. Instead, it broaches the topic with an air of assurance best likened to the sonic version of a hair flip.

“All Of The Dead Girls” — DREAMCAR

Who says you can’t ooze confidence while outright begging for reciprocal interest? DREAMCAR has mastered bridging apparent discordance, often staring down the ledge of dismality as they dance provocatively against a glittery backdrop. “All Of The Dead Girls” is a prime example, brooding openly with nothing short of showtune energy and proving that it can be damn well stylish to be stuck in denial. That is, as long as you’ve got the allure of Davey Havok and three-quarters of No Doubt.

“spite” — Charlotte Sands

Leave it to Charlotte Sands to channel the sting of rejection into something so feverishly fun. Upbeat and icy, “spite” spins a hypnotic take on the desire to make someone rue the day they wronged you. Of course, Sands’ meteoric rise within the alt-pop scene only intensifies the current of empowerment. But even if you’re not chasing incendiary transcendence into international acclaim, this song is an instant confidence booster. Just turn it on and let the BDE go right to your head.

“I Could Be With Anyone” — Kevin Devine

It’s been 15 years since Kevin Devine first graced us with this lifeblood of introspection. Safe to say, it’s stood the test of time. At its surface, “I Could Be With Anyone” glints with unassuming optimism. It captures the “plenty of fish in the sea” sentiment with slow-climbing energy that parallels a restless mind. But underneath the title message is an exploration of the human condition relatable to anyone who’s fallen for the honeymoon phase. Because, let’s face it, we’re all a little fake upfront.

“Wlbrn St Tvrn” — Winona Fighter

So much for the sitcom trope of post-breakup wallowing with a pint of Ben & Jerry’s. “Wlbrn St Tvrn” suggests that Winona Fighter would sooner throw it at the wall and kick a door down. Scathing and satisfyingly scratchy, this track brews purgative volatility without sacrificing melodic intrigue. It’s a must-listen if you just crave an ounce of agitation—even if the most you’ll do with it is stomp around your bedroom.

“Thx 4 Nothin’” — Meet Me @ The Altar

Meet Me @ The Altar might just be one of the most electrifying forces in the modern pop-punk era. So, it should come as no surprise that they’ve crafted an empowering anthem for the ages. Admittedly, “Thx 4 Nothin’” doesn’t boast the most blistering sentiments relative to some of the other songs on this list. Rather, it’s a captivatingly sunshiney callout that infuses middle finger mentality with a sharp dash of whimsicality.

“Gives You Hell” — The All-American Rejects

Surely you didn’t think we’d round out a list of empowering alternative songs without mentioning The All-American Rejects. The swaggy break-up anthem to end all break-up anthems: “Gives You Hell” has damn near become its own distinct stage in grief. You know, bargaining, depression, acceptance, crowd chorus catharsis…?  Bad jokes aside, there’s something about the song’s sheer catchiness and witty frivolity that demands a smile (and it’ll never feel out of place).

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