Playlist: Love Songs Gifted By Exes

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I don’t keep anything physical from my exes. Even though I remain friends with a good number of them, I have long dispensed of books, love letters, birthday gifts — anything they gave me is now gone, remembered fondly but no longer of use to me. Except! Sometimes I hear a song, and I think, I remember exactly who gave me this song. I remember exactly how lovely it felt when they loved me enough to share that song with me.

So I asked some of my friends whether they had any love songs that they still love today, originally given to them by exes. Much like Kayla’s “most romantic songs” list, I should have suspected that this would cause chaos in my text message threads. I received over 40 song submissions within two hours. Without further ado, a small sampling of those submissions, regifted here to you. Happy almost Valentine’s Day!

“A Walk Through Hell” – Say Anything

“Sometimes” – My Bloody Valentine

“You and Me” – Penny and the Quarters

“Little Do They Know” – Pool Cosby

“True Blue” – Mark Ronson / Angel Olsen

“Let Me Love You” – Mario

“Sk8er Boi” – Avril Lavigne

“Regret” – New Order

“Poetic Justice” – Kendrick Lamar

“Can You Tell” – Ra Ra Riot

“Here in Your Arms” – hellogoodbye

“400 Lux” – Lorde

“Crane Your Neck” – Lady Lamb

There was also (of course, obviously) a strong and lovely contingent of songs that are more like heartbreak songs. That could be a whole playlist of its own, but here are some of those:

  1. “I Still Remember” – Bloc Party
  2. “Call It Off” – Tegan and Sara
  3. “The Walk” – Mayer Hawthorne
  4. “On Providence” – Ani DiFranco and Prince
  5. “Comfortable” – John Mayer
  6. “Shutter Island” – Jessie Reyes
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Analyssa is a co-host of the To L and Back podcast: Gen Q edition. She lives in LA, works at a TV studio, and can often be found binge-watching an ABC drama from 2008. You can follow her on Twitter, Instagram, or her social media of choice, Letterboxd.

Analyssa has written 58 articles for us.


  1. This is not really related to songs from exes, but this weekend I am working on a playlist for our upcoming wedding and I have made it my mission to play only music by women and/or queer people on the occasion. And I just found out that there is a link to all the Autostraddle playlists! So I’m going to spend the rest of my Sunday listening to them. Thank you for being a resource to turn to for all possible life situations.

  2. “Something to Behold” by The Foreign Exchange.

    We were unpacking her things for her new apt and her iTunes was on shuffle when it came on. Love songs, at least for me, aren’t usually upbeat and funny yet also makes your heart swell.

    The hook:
    I want to call you every day
    When I ain’t got shit to say
    This must be love (be love…yeah)
    Bring you some wings on your lunch break
    Ask “Baby how’s your day?”
    Twelve piece, fried hot…it’s all for you
    It’s just something inside us
    Something that guides us closer to truth
    This is something to behold
    It feels so new loving again

  3. The one and only boyfriend I had in my life introduced me to metal and goth music when we were in middle school. I think he had sort of misread the kinda weird style and gender expression by which my subconcious tried to signal my queerness to my not-yet-out self and my surroundings as a sign of interest in these subcultures. He kept telling me he fell for me because I was so “different” from the other girls. So my first love song ever was Metallica’s “Nothing Else Matters”. I must say I still like the song – and the guy is still one of my closest friends 25 years later.

  4. My ex introduced me to too many great songs. There were few things as annoying as being dumped by someone who’s music taste is nearly identical to yours – I lost so many favourites in that breakup! Josh Pyke’s cover of Endless Summer by The Jezabels is probably the biggest loss from that one (which is annoying because it’s pretty much the only acceptable cover of a song by a queer woman that I’ve ever heard a man do!!!), I was also pretty sad about Marry Me Archie and Party Police by Alvvays.

  5. Music is so important to me. I can’t listen to certain songs without thinking of moments connected to them, like dancing in the kitchen to Happy by Pharrel Williams with the person I thought I’d spend my life with, who broke my heart.

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