Songs About Divorce, Week 1

Vincent Anthony
9 Min Read

In light of recent rumors pertaining to Beyoncé and Mariah Carey, I felt compelled to speak about the way the media handles the issue of divorce. As rampant as divorce is among American families, one would think that the people writing the articles and perpetuating the rumors would be a bit more sensitive to the topic, especially if they’ve been through it themselves. Maybe those berating and mocking Mariah and Beyoncé for their rumored divorces are just bitter, damaged individuals who seek to bring down an example of a happy marriage? I really don’t know.

As a child of divorce myself, I don’t find it entertaining. I find it disgustingly disheartening, especially in both of these two cases. Why? Because there are children involved. While they might be toddlers, too young to understand the stories from the media, let’s not forget that the internet lives on forever. The last thing those children need is to hear or read things about their parents as they grow older. Yes, their parents are celebrities and the gossip comes with it, but they are still human.

Imagine they were your parents; how would you feel seeing these stories in the news? Ask yourself that question next time you excitedly gossip about whether or not Jay-Z cheated on Beyoncé, or if Nick is leaving Mariah because he thinks she’s “crazy.” Yes, they’re celebrities and yes, they’ve shared their happy moments with the world by sharing photos and videos of their weddings and children, but that’s only natural. We all want to share our happiness with others. Moments of pain should be handled sensitively and respected – kept private until that person is comfortable speaking openly about it.

It’s been confirmed by Nick that he and Mariah are separated, so why must the media hound them about it any further? Let it be until they are ready to speak. Personally, it breaks my heart to think of how Monroe and Moroccan’s lives will be forever changed as a result of their parents’ split. Ironically, Mariah’s parents split when she was 3 as well. I can imagine the pain she must be feeling, as I have been in similar circumstances.

Beyoncé and Jay-Z haven’t directly spoken about it, but at the VMA’s last night they displayed their love for each other. Of course, this won’t be enough to quell the rumors, because people opt for the negative story; it’s more dramatic and entertaining.

As a result, this latest weekly series on our site will highlight a selection of songs about divorce by some of music’s most popular artists. There will be songs where the artists sing from the perspective of being a child of divorce themselves, and others where they sing as a participant in the divorce. The goal is to raise a bit of awareness of the pain that divorce causes, so perhaps people will think twice before speaking about it like some kind of entertaining joke.

Here are the first four song selections:

“Love For a Child” by Jason Mraz
Well, we might as well get right into it. “Love For a Child” is one of the most heartbreaking songs on the list. On this ballad, Mraz opens up about his experiences as a child of divorce himself, saying that “the song pieces together some memories. I remember hearing all the arguments, but I also felt their love.” On VH1 Storytellers, Mraz shared his mother’s reaction to the song with the audience: “I try not to listen to that song very much. It’s a beautiful song, but I just wish it was about somebody else.” Two of the song’s most poignant, hard hitting moments are:

Was it mom who put my dad out on his ass or the other way around
Well I’m far too old to care about that now

It’s kinda nice to work the floor since the divorce
I’ve been enjoying both my Christmases and my birthday cakes

With both of these quotes, Mraz encapsulates the feelings of most other children of divorce. Children often wonder: “whose fault is it?” and, “who is the blame?”. The first set of lyrics does a great job of relaying that state of mind. Additionally, the second set about the “positives” of the divorce are tongue-in-cheek. While these things may seem fun to a child, and are the parents’ way of distracting the child from the harsh reality, the two Christmases and the two birthdays will never quite compare to a unified holiday celebration.

“The D Word” by Toni Braxton and Babyface
Last year, Toni Braxton and Babyface released their first album of collaborations, Love, Marriage and Divorce. Having both experienced divorce, they seemingly felt it apt to address the issue on their album. “The D Word” obviously insinuates divorce and the song finds the pair grappling with the emotions that a couple would feel as they go through a divorce. They battle with the feelings of separating yet still wanting to be together on some level. They acknowledge the harsh realization of becoming single once again, and thus being rendered alone. The song ends with the reminder that, “although we’re apart, you still own my heart, Forever and ever, and ever, ’cause I’ll always love you, forever think of you…”

“I’m OK” by Christina Aguilera
With this song, we go back to the child’s perspective. On “I’m OK,” from 2002’s Stripped, Christina opens up like never before. On this heart-wrenching track, Aguilera tells the story of her childhood and the challenges she faced growing up. Mostly, “I’m OK” is about her abusive father. Christina recounts memories of her father abusing her mother, and the pain that it brought her as a child. “Hurt me to see the pain across my mother’s face as my father’s fist would put her in her place,” is one of the songs saddest lyrics. However, probably the only lyric in the song that isn’t completely sad is: “Every morning that I wake, I look back on yesterday, and I’m ok.” There is strength in her confessions, and makes “I’m OK” one of the highlights in Christina’s catalogue.

“Bye Baby” by Nas
Nas is renowned for his honest, poetic storytelling and “Bye Baby” is no exception. He speaks very candidly about his divorce from Kelis on the track, outlining his reasons for the divorce, and pouring out his feelings. From Nas’ point of view, the blame lies on Kelis, and his pain is evident in the song’s first verse. However, on the second verse he opts to reminisce on the happier moments of their relationship. Finally, he finds solace in the situation and acknowledges the good that came from their relationship: his son, ending the song by saying, “It’s a beautiful life, goodbye.”


Share this Article
Vincent is the founder of the magazine and has had a strong passion for popular music since, well, 1997! If it's not obvious, his favorite artists include Destiny's Child, Mariah Carey, Janet Jackson, Michael Jackson, P!nk, and many more. Vincent lives in New York, where he is a high school English teacher, and currently he is pursuing a Master's in Journalism at the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at CUNY.