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15. New Order, "Age of Consent" (1983)
In an angsty moment, count on a great keyboard riff to make you feel like it's going to be okay. See "Age of Consent." At once calming, classy, and catchy, this is a requiem for a mostly-adult relationship. Maybe the Brits are just more composed than us, but, while cutting, "Age of Consent" also sounds almost polite. — Rachel Krantz
14. Echo and the Bunnymen, "Bring on the Dancing Horses" (1985)
If a loved one had woken up from a ten-year coma on January 1st, 1990, and asked what the '80s sounded like, I might've played them "Bring on the Dancing Horses." A perfect piece of shimmering '80s pop, it's also a surreal pre-mortem for a coming breakup. Ian McCulloch expresses guilt about the heart he's about to break, but the music sounds like relief and rebirth. — S.M.
13. Billy Bragg, "Must I Paint You a Picture" (1988)
"A New England" is a great song, but "Must I Paint You a Picture" is one of the most moving, accurately sketched portraits of a relationship killed by overthinking: "The temptation to take the precious things we have apart to see how they work must be resisted, for they never fit together again." Ouch. — A.H.
12. The Jesus and Mary Chain, "Just Like Honey" (1985)
With brutal honesty, "Just Like Honey" describes what runs through your brain when you find yourself back with the person who can only be described as a total life ruiner: "I'll be your plastic toy." It'll give you that desperate moment of clarity you need if you find yourself making all the wrong choices. — J.G.
11. The Replacements, "Answering Machine" (1984)
The Replacements were notorious for sandwiching heartbreakers like this between ludicrous pisstakes. On Let It Be (even that title!), "Answering Machine" follows closely on the heels of something called "Gary's Got A Boner." No matter; the band's flippant side actually throws the vulnerability of songs like "Answering Machine" into sharper relief. Over an intricate guitar figure, Paul Westerberg yearns to reconnect to a distant girlfriend, but it's clear she's slipping away. — P.S.