Bitter Break-Up Videos


Written by Jade French
16 Sunday 16th September 2012

Break-ups are hard, we know. Luckily, there are some musicians around who gifted with enough talent to translate heartache into something much grander and socially relevant. We take a look at a few music videos with content that leaves little to the imagination when it comes to the ins and outs of their respective artists' relationships...

Justin Timberlake and Britney Spears

Overall, it’s universally thought that Justin and Britney are a love that should have lasted for at least the whole of the noughties. Imagine the double-denim wedding that could have occured if this '90s couple had made it through the troubled times. Unfortunately, they broke up – but at least JT managed to air some of his grievences through the medium of the music video.

At the time of the break up, there had been so much preoccupation as to Britney’s virginal status that the idea of cheating might not have even crossed our minds had it not been for JT’s video. The video for ‘Cry Me a River’ covers everything from stalking, breaking and entering to Timberland sneaking around in a car like a seedy, get back at your ex P.I.M.P.
We especially like the part where Justin films himself with a girl in an incriminating (if low-quality) video which he leaves for a Britney look-a-like to later find playing on her TV. This, coupled with lyrics such as ‘It wasn't like you only talked to him and you know it (Don't act like you don't know it)’, leave the viewer with a whole lot of extra pieces to puzzle together.

Nas and Kelis

In 'Bye Baby', Nas uses the medium of rap to take us on a lyrical journey through his and Kelis’ relationship, including such dirty laundry landmarks as her daddy issues, infidelity, the divorce, bailing her out of jail – but the twist is, he also dwells on happier times, and even takes the time to pull up fellow rappers who refuse to ‘marry their babymoms’. However, a slight twinge of bitterness emerges as we see Nas clutching a green wedding dress, like the one originally worn by Kelis, and watching footage of their wedding day. Aww.

Taylor Swift and ???

Although this video has an abundance of cutesy woodland animals playing instruments, hip kids dancing in a non-descript bar and Taylor dressed as twee as can be there is an ultimate tinge of bitterness to this break up video. But who is the song directed at? That one from the Jonas Brothers, the Twilight guy, John Mayer or Jake Gyllenhaal? After careful consideration, we're placing our money on Jake G...

Taylor is pretty lax on lyrical explicitness ('And I was like we are sooo never getting back together/Like you know what I mean/Like totally/Never/Ever/Ever'), but with references to that memorable time the paparazzi caught pictures of Taylor wearing Jake’s scarf, together with the puffa-jacket body warmer the look-a-like wears – which bears a striking resemblance to the one that Jake G never seems to take off  – and the game is all but given away.

Eamon and Frankee

Who could forget the fraught break-up of Eamon and Frankee back in 2004? First, Eamon brought out the heartfelt 'Fuck It (I Don't Want You Back)', and then Frankee responded with the equally verbose ‘F.U.R.B (Fuck You Right Back)’. The media had a field day, catapulting two relatively unknown singers into the spotlight, with both singles reaching #1.

Toward the end of the video, as he flops heartbroken around his house (sad), we are distracted from his misery by the clever use of fabric draped from the ceiling, a Mediterranean colour palette and strategic floral arrangements  – all of which make you wonder why Frankee didn’t cheat sooner on a man who has an interior design sensibility to rival Laurence Llewelyn Bowen.

Just as we found ourselves becoming interested in gritty theme of infidelity portrayed in each video (not least with that wonderful 'F.U.R.B.' lyric where Frankee sneers, 'You thought you could really make me moan/I had better sex all alone ha ha ha ha'), both parties go and spoil it all by saying something stupid like ‘marketing ploy’ – turns out it was actually the fans that were betrayed by Eamon and Frankee. We've never quite gotten over it.

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