Gwen Stefani announced her divorce from Gavin Rossdale in August, and already she's turning her heartbreak into beautiful music. Stefani's new song "Used To Love You" is a bittersweet look at breaking up and how hard it is to do. She has never been one to keep her emotions hidden. Just look at her discography, which is filled with breakup albums that cut like a knife: 1995's Tragic Kingdom had her mourning the end of her relationship with bassist Tony Kanal, while 2000's Return of Saturn had her questioning commitments, while also wondering whether she could really have a career and a domestic life too.
These struggles are real for many of us, but very few of us could actually put them into words. Stefani has always been good at expressing that overwhelming sadness that comes with heartbreak. Like a wise older sister, fans can find strength in her words of breakup wisdom. Little three minute lessons about what it's really like to fall in and then out of love from someone who's been there. Just watch Stefani's heartbreaking "Used To Love You" if you don't believe she knows what it's like to be in pain.
While that video will have you bawling your eyes out — and seriously, it will — it should be noted there is always a light at the end of the tunnel. To quote Stefani on her single "Cool": "Time always kills the pain." And, let's be honest, probably helps her write all those killer songs of hers. If you need some reminding of how helpful Stefani can be in a breakup, just adhere to the seven lyrics below, which prove she may get down, but she'll never be out.
1. "I've been so mean I don't know how it got to this point. I always was the one with all the love. You came along, I'm hunting you down." — "Simple Kind of Life"
Sometimes you start a relationship and start losing yourself. Here Stefani talks about being someone she doesn't recognize — so mean, so abusive, so not cool — wondering what happened. But, even more importantly, knowing she can't go on like this because no one should lose themselves for the person they love.
2. "Our memories, well, they can be inviting, but some are altogether mighty frightening" — "Don't Speak"
With this line, Stefani gets at the advice we all need to hear: don't let the good times outweigh the bad. Those little arguments and disagreements you try to overlook are often signs that you need to move on and find something better.
3. "I find myself trying to change you; if you were meant to be my lover I wouldn't have to" — "Ex-Girlfriend"
Rule 101 of relationships: if you feel like you're nitpicking everything your partner does, he or she is probably not the partner for you. So, before this goes any further, just break up and save yourself the heartbreak. Always feel free to eat a pint of Ben & Jerry's though.
4.“It’s almost as if I’m tied to the tracks and I’m waiting for him to rescue me. The funny thing is, he’s not going to come” — "Excuse Me Mr."
Stefani isn't interested in playing the damsel in distress, and, with this line, she makes that very clear. Even better, she does it while screaming at the top of her lungs and slam dancing. No excuses here, she's ready to be her own hero.
5. “Washed up to the shore, given one last chance to try some more, but I'm tired, I'm freezing,
let's stop and call it history" — "End It On This"
All those second chances often add up to nothing, as Stefani sings here. You can only try so hard before you just have to realize it's not worth it, and that's OK.
6. "So I pacify problems with kisses and cuddles, diligently doubtful through all kinds of trouble. Then I find myself choking on all my contradictions" — "Bathwater"
When the worry about what your partner's doing when you're not there is becoming a choking hazard, it's time to call it quits — as Stefani so poetically puts here.
7. "And I'll be happy for you, if you can be happy for me" — "Cool"
On this 2004 solo track, Stefani shows that you don't have to hate each other forever. In fact with this next level breakup advice she makes it clear that you can even one day be friends. Like real friends. Or, at least, partners in parenthood
See? Gwen Stefani has been the big sister, heartbreak guru we've all needed since way back in her No Doubt days.