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10. Dire Straits, "Romeo and Juliet" (1980)
Unlike whatshisface's play, this "Romeo and Juliet" suggests that love can end in tragedy without anyone getting poisoned. The implied contrast to a legendary romance makes Mark Knopfler's breakup sound all the sadder. — S.M.
9. The Ramones, "The KKK Took My Baby Away" (1981)
Some say Joey Ramone wrote this song about Johnny Ramone stealing away his girlfriend; others dispute the story. Whatever; most Ramones songs are nonsensical, but this one is also totally awesome. After a rough breakup, you might actually be comforted to think that your ex was kidnapped by racists, rather than leaving you of her own free will. — J.G.
8. Human League, "Don't You Want Me?" (1981)
Unlike almost every other breakup song ever written, "Don't You Want Me?" gives us both sides of the story, featuring the lead singer, Philip Oakey, dueting with bandmate Susan Ann Sulley. Together, they give us arguments from the spurned and the spurner. But victory goes to the shout-along chorus, which surely anyone can relate to. — J.G.
7. Elvis Costello, "I Want You" (1986)
This must be the most intense thing that Elvis Costello ever recorded. It's like he's trying to scare the girl into coming back to him under the penalty of some kind of love-knifing. Spitting out lines like "I might as well be useless for all it means to you," he captures the bitterness of a breakup perfectly. — J.G.
6. Soft Cell, "Tainted Love" (1981)
Originally performed by Gloria Jones in the '60s, "Tainted Love" got a new life from Soft Cell's danceable, synth-heavy remake. Fittingly for a tune about trying to get out from under someone's spell, it's almost impossible not to sing along. — R.K.