Our lives are set to music — songs that carry us through the good times, the bad times, and all the times in between. My recent divorce was a blend of all these types of times and music was always there. If you’re looking for sappy songs of heartbreak, you won’t find them here. These songs are about picking yourself up, dusting yourself off, and moving on — occasionally with your middle finger extended. Here we go…
“Ordinary World,” Duran Duran — I’ve always loved Duran Duran. This was their comeback hit from a few years ago and I think it is one of their very best. Here’s the chorus: “But I won’t cry for yesterday/There’s an ordinary world/Somehow I have to find/And as I try to make my way/To the ordinary world/I will learn to survive.” This captures how I felt during the divorce process — not as though my world was coming to an end, but that I had actually been living in a false world and was clawing my back to the real one.
“Invincible,” Pat Benatar — Like Duran Duran, Benatar is another one of my guilty pleasures. I was listening to her greatest hits album just this evening on my way home from work, in fact, and rocking out to this song. Here’s the chorus: “We can’t afford to be innocent/Stand up and face the enemy/It’s a do or die situation/We will be invincible.” I’ve written previously about the importance of being nice during your divorce, but there were times during my divorce when I had to “strap on the balls” (as a boss of mine used to put it) and say, “No more Mr. Nice Guy. Let’s get it on.”
“Scarred But Smarter,” Drivin’ N’ Cryin’ — This hard rock trio from Atlanta knows a thing or two about being stepped on and getting pissed off. In this kick-ass anthem, they sing, “Nobody said it would be fair/They warned you before you went out there/There’s always a chance to get re-started/To a new world, new life, scarred but smarter.” I was reminded of this song just the other day when I read an article about scars in The New York Times that included this line, “Better to be a scarred and living dog than to be a dead lion.”
“Gold Digger,” Kayne West and Jamie Foxx — OK, sorry, this song is not only hysterical, but painfully accurate as I sit in my two-bedroom apartment across the street from a train station in blue-collar Fanwood, NJ, and my ex-wife settles into the jacuzzi tub in the spacious, marble-covered master bathroom of the 3,500-square-foot McMansion in fancy-schmancy Westfield, NJ, that I used to call home. Check out these lyrics: “18 years, 18 years/She got one of yo’ kids, got you for 18 years/I know somebody payin’ child support for one of his kids/His baby momma’s car crib is bigger than his/You will see him on TV, any given Sunday/Win the Superbowl and drive off in a Hyundai.” My youngest is three years old. Let’s see, eighteen minus three equals — ah, fuck, get the Hyundai.
“Since You’ve Been Gone,” Kelly Clarkson — I almost pissed my pants during “The 40-Year-Old Virgin” when Steve Carell screeched “KELLY CLARKSON!” while getting his chest hair waxed. But you have to give the girl credit: this song kicks ass. Here’s the chorus: “But since you’ve been gone/I can breathe for the first time/I’m so movin on/Yeah yeah/Thanks to you/Now I get/What I want/Since you’ve been gone.” ‘Nuff said. Time to have sex with my hot new girlfriend.
“Fighter,” Christina Aguilera — Like “Since You’ve Been Gone” (and the grandmommy of them all, “I Will Survive”), this song is really for the ladies, but, shit, man, I love it, too. Who can resist this chorus when you’re settling in for your fifth straight hour of mediation, battling for the right to see your own children: “Cause it makes me that much stronger/Makes me work a little bit harder/It makes me that much wiser /So thanks for making me a fighter/Made me learn a little bit faster/Made my skin a little bit thicker /Makes me that much smarter/So thanks for making me a fighter.”
Well, there you have it. Which ones did I miss, sports fans?
Tags: best divorce songs, christina aguilera, drivin' n' cryin, duran duran, fighter, gold digger, invincible, kanye west, kelly clarkson, ordinary world, pat benatar, scarred but smarter, since you've been gone