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FPA Staff Picks: Best Breakup Songs

Another year has come and gone, and our hearts have the stretch marks to prove it!

With our 7th Annual Ex-Files StorySlams just around the corner, we’ve asked the FPA staff to dredge up their fresh and not-so-fresh heartbreaks, so that we can share with you our most sob-worthy, empowering, and rip-your-heart-out breakup songs!

Trust us, these go-to tunes will give you strength and comfort long after your exes’ shampoo smell on the pillow has faded. Joan, GC, Sinéad, and Jamie Lidell are sure to get you through even the worst splitsies. Enjoy!

Becca: Joan Jett, I Hate Myself For Loving You

There’s no release quite like singing, growling, and screaming all at the same time. “I Hate Myself For Loving You” by Joan Jett has it all! Stomping around the house while belting this one out at the top of your lungs does wonders for the post-breakup soul.

Jamie J: G.C. Cameron, So Hard To Say Goodbye To Yesterday

Yes! It really is so hard to say goodbye! The ideal position for listening to this song is flat on your back in bed with a full box of tissues by your side.

Dan: Sinéad O’Conoor, Queen of Denmark

I know it’s not exactly a breakup song, but it’s got this amazing mix of that sad introspection, self-empowerment, and humor that really help when you’re going through something like that. Plus, it’s just a great cover, and one of my favorite Sinéad songs of all time.

Jen: Jamie Lidell, Big Love

It’s so hard to narrow it down to just ONE! (If you need more, just let me know!) Here’s a pick that most people won’t know. Jamie Lidell makes some of the happiest songs around!

Event Details:
7th Annual Ex-Files StorySlams
DATE Tues., February 14, 2017
TIMES Early Show: 7PM, Late Show: 9:30PM
VENUE: Punch Line Philly
TICKETS: $14, $10 for FPA members | BUY

Storytellers take to the stage with their true tales of love lost, ranging from the sweet to the sad, the hilarious to the ridiculous. Bring your ex. Bring your bestie. Bring your date. Bring your story.

#79 Outskirts of Love
Mar 03, 2015

#79 Outskirts of Love

From lustful confessions to bittersweet goodbyes, this week we bring you two stories that take place on the outskirts of love. Featuring Steve Mavros and Emma Hitchcock.


The First Person Arts Podcast is made possible thanks to support from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. Special thanks to Philadelphia Weekly and WHYY’s NewsWorks.

Pictured above: Steve Mavros. Photo credit: Jen Cleary.

Feb 19, 2015

Diane – “Ex-Files”

Diane is determined to have a Craigslist ‪”Missed Connections”‬ post written about her.


“Ex”tra Exes at this year’s “Ex-Files” Slams

Last night, First Person Arts celebrated Valentine’s Day the way we do best: with stories of love sought, lost, and unrequited during two back-to-back sold-out shows at World Cafe Live. The theme was “Ex-Files.” The second show featured a tale by special guest, Anna Goldfarb, the writer behind the popular dating blog www.ShmittenKitten.com, and author of the new humor memoir, Clearly, I Didn’t Think This Through.

Dating can be a wild ride. Just ask last night’s late show Slam winner and Audience Favorite, Steve. Steve told an endearing tale about being unable to contain himself during an awkward high school date at a church carnival. Like most carnival rides, Steve’s tale comes full circle. His circle: A simple and uplifting reminder that regardless of what comes up, life goes on.

Our early show winner, Megan would agree. Her story told about a born again bank robber who stole more than just her heart. Megan already believed in life after death, but this man taught her that life also goes on after love.

Former Grand Slam winner, Marjorie won over the crowd at the early show, taking the title of Audience Favorite.

Steve, Winning and Audience Favorite Storyteller: “The Ex-Files Late Show

Megan, Winning Storyteller: “The Ex-Files” Early Show

Stay tuned for more videos from both the early and late shows coming soon to First Person Arts’ YouTube channel.

-Becca Jennings


“Ex-Files” Playlist Part 2: You Go Girl

Last week we posted our first break-up song playlist to help get you in the mood for Thursday’s back-to-back “Ex-Files” StorySlams. Our second playlist takes an empowering tone with songs Hit ‘Em Up Style by Blu Cantrell, Untouchable Face by Ani Difranco, Smile by Lily Allen and more, submitted by FPA fans like Alyssa, Donald, and Amanda. We call this one “You Go Girl.”

Haven’t gotten your “Ex-Files” tickets yet? Click here for event details and to purchase your tix.

-Becca Jennings


“Ex-Files” Playlist Part 1: Cry into Pillow

This year’s back-to-back “Ex-Files” StorySlams are less than a week away. We’ve asked FPA fans through Facebook and Twitter to share with us their go-to songs for getting through heart-ache. Over 35 submissions later, we’ve created playlists of some of the most heart wrenching tunes on Spotify to help get you in the mood for next week’s Slams.

First up, our “Cry into Pillow” playlist. Guaranteed to snotify you via Spotify. Curl up with a tear-sodden pillow and enjoy this playlist of some seriously sniffly sob songs.

Stay tuned for our next playlist of break-up songs that are bound to empower you.

Tickets are selling fast! Click here for event details and to purchase your “Ex-Files” StorySlam tickets.

-Becca Jennings


Staff Picks: Best Break-Up Songs

With our Ex-Files StorySlam coming up, we’ve had break-ups on the brain. Inspired by the fabulous song choices submitted on our Facebook page, the FPA staff put together shared their fave tunes for when they’re in the dumps post-dumping. Apparently, we share an old soul in this office, because our top tunes include lots of hits from the 60s through 70s. The Supremes, Bill Withers, a couple Nina Simones… picks and videos are below.

Share you best break-up songs in the comments.

Tiffany’s Picks
Ne Me Quitte Pas- Nina Simone and Ain’t No Sunshine When She’s Gone- Bill Withers
“’This house ain’t no home.’ I think those lyrics are sweet, sad and powerful. Poor ol’ Bill. And I like the Nina Simone song because she is not shy in showing her desperation and sorrow. It’s all part of the healing process and she does it so poetically as an artist only truly knows how.”

Becca’s Pick
Breaking Up is Hard to Do- The Carpenters
“It’s a great song with its simple and direct message. Yup, breaking up is hard. Can’t argue with that.”

Dan’s Pick
I’m Gonna Leave You- Nina Simone
“It’s not all sappy and woe is me. She’s standing up for herself and doing what has to be done.”

Karina’s Pick
You Keep Me Hanging On- The Supremes
“Well, the intro is just awesome, has this relentless drive that feels like the ex-lover’s grip on the relationship. And there is such pathos and strength in the lyrics. Who hasn’t had (or hasn’t been?) that ex who can’t let go? I love that she’s just calling him out on his bullshit, but it’s clearly difficult.”

Upcoming Events
  • May StorySlam – Grand Slam
  • Date: May 22, 2018
  • Time: 8 PM
  • Venue: Fringe Arts Building
  • Location: 140 N Christopher Columbus Blvd, Philadelphia, PA 19106