10 Greatest Breakup Albums of All Time

It may hurt now, but at least you aren't in Fleetwood Mac.
It may hurt now, but at least you aren't in Fleetwood Mac.

Allow us to bring a heavy hammer to your post-Valentine's Day romantic bliss: Even if you can get past your partner's baggage and commit to settling down, the national divorce rate is floating right around 50 percent. The harsh reality is that your brand-new and exciting relationship probably isn't going work out. Don't get us wrong, we're rooting for you. We're just asking you to be realistic as you find yourself questioning whether you really can deal with all your partner's eccentricities (hope they're all kinds of adorable).

Is it any coincidence that Warner Bros. dropped a three-disc deluxe edition of Fleetwood Mac's cocaine-and-bad-romance classic Rumours just in time for February? The record is one of the best at grappling with lost love and the resulting scorn (things you might be feeling after that Valentine's Day SNAFU). Listening to terse outtakes of "Go Your Own Way" got us thinking about breakup records -- the ones we reach for when it gets tough.

Whether you recently ended a relationship or you still find yourself scorned by an old flame, take solace in the following 10 masterfully crafted breakup albums. It's no coincidence that in most cases, these albums are among the following artists' best work. So whether you're feeling sad and lonely or bitter and angry, you're bound to find something you can relate to.

10. Adele, 21

Adele's breakthrough might sound a little overplayed right now, but give it a few years: This one's a stone-cold classic, and Adele's sorrows made her a superstar. 21 covers the whole range of emotions that follow a breakup/ "Rolling in the Deep" is her strident kiss-off letter. "Rumour Has It" embodies the pain of a cheating lover (the deception is once again echoed in "Set Fire to the Rain"). Then there's "Someone Like You," which is often misconstrued as a love song, when it's really about the English singer finding the strength to move on. If it sounds like the record couldn't get any more dour, Adele reaches back into rock 'n' roll's most "bummer dude" catalog, covering The Cure's "Lovesong" and reading the song with sense of downcast resignation over a bossa nova shuffle.

9. Afghan Whigs, Gentlemen

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Greg Dulli has done some incredible work with both Afghan Whigs and The Twilight Singers, but the Whig's 1993 record Gentlemen is arguably the band's best work, due in no part to its utterly scathing nature. Just listen to "Be Sweet," which is anything but nice: "Ladies, let me tell you about myself. I got a dick for a brain and my brain is gonna sell my ass to you." The rest of the album follows a similar theme, making it rocky listening if your man cheated on you. Hell, it's probably not the album to listen to if you're feeling remotely guilty (about anything). But through it all, it seems that no one can top Dulli's sins. The real question is whether he feels any remorse as he sings, "Tonight I go to hell for what I've done to you" in "Debonair." Something about the anguish suggests yes, unless he's just that good an actor.

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