Unless you’re a total sociopath, or just a straight-up lucky person, you’ve felt the effects of heartbreak. It’s one of those things that binds us human beings — sort of like the desire to have chocolate after sex or the feeling one gets after taking a warm shower after running around in the cold rain. When it comes to music, it’s a universal language that connects listeners to distant singer-songwriters, allowing us to feel as if they’re one of us, one of us, gooble gobble, gooble, gobble.
Over the years, there’s been hundreds of albums about heartbreak. A few are iconic — see: Joni Mitchell’s Blue or Bob Dylan’s Blood on the Tracks — while many are ham-fisted at best — see: anything by Simple Plan or Avril Lavigne — and the distinction lies in the ability to make you feel as if what you’re hearing is real. Since a top 10 would likely be chock-full of albums you’ve heard and read about again and again and again, we decided to zero in on the ones that came after the millennium.
As such, there may be a generational divide in the pages ahead. Those who grew up with these albums, especially during their torrential teens or tantalizing twenties, may actually gravitate to them over, say, Frank Sinatra or Alanis Morissette. Then again, these albums are likely iconic enough to cross those lines and affect those kindred souls well into their thirties, forties, and fifties. Again, heartbreak is universal, and these albums speak in all sorts of tongues, both young and old.
The good news is they’re always there. The bad news is … so is heartbreak.