Singer-songwriter Brooklyn Doran has released a cathartic new breakup anthem with her latest single, Fuck That Guy. The track tells an all-too-relatable story of being involved in a toxic relationship but eventually moving on to the point where you can confidently say, “fuck that guy,” and knowing you’re better off without them.
“Fuck That Guy is an anthem for anyone who has ever dated a shitty dude who did them wrong,” says Brooklyn, “The song is an upbeat and empowering folk-rock song that tells your ex to ‘go to hell.’ Pushing from folk into a decidedly more indie-rock space, the song is catchy and uplifting, and speaks to the idea that sometimes the best revenge is letting time take its toll.”
ADDICTED: The idea that sometimes the sweetest revenge is letting time take its toll against someone who treated you badly feels very mature. The song title makes it sound like it’s going to be a somewhat angry tune, but the lyrics are telling the story of letting go. Where did the inspiration from the song initially come from?
BD: When I think back to the folks in my life who I have been in toxic relationships with, or had messy drawn-out breakups – I think about the fear I had surrounding seeing that person again in a public setting. Would they try to talk to me, would they act like nothing happened? I remember finding friends to go out with to shows in the city and if we saw any of my “bad guys’ I’d ask them to stand between me and them, or I’d simply leave. I remember feeling so frustrated at those concerts because, why was I the one who felt like I had to leave in order to feel safe? Why was I the person who had to feel punished for the behaviour perpetrated by another person? Why did I feel like I had to choose between silence and “making a scene” and therefore being seen as the difficult one?
I would watch the people who had wounded me so deeply continue to live their lives, to have unfiltered access to certain spaces and success in their careers. It made me feel hopeless. But, consequences chase people like a wolf in the forest. I truly believe that time will take its toll.
I resonate with this song so deeply because ultimately the thing that I (and I believe a lot of women) want when they’ve gone through something awful with an ex-partner is literally for them to just leave us alone; to lose touch.
How did you and your co-writer go about telling this story together?
I thrive in co-writing sessions. Co-writing is a lot like improv. We craft a story together that feels very much like it belongs to all of the writers; we pepper in specificity from our own experiences that make the story come to life; and instead of coming back to our same old wells to dig up the same old emotional places that we usually write from, we are often asked to imagine what it would feel like to create new situations or to write from new perspectives. I love co-writing with new people for that very reason.
This song was born out of a session where my co-writer was coming from the perspective of being/feeling like “that guy” and trying to find ways to heal and grow. I was coming from the perspective of someone who had known quite a few of those guys and also trying to find ways to heal and grow. It was a pretty deep well to dig from, especially when we were essentially meeting one another for the first time.
What do you hope listeners take away from this song?
I hope that listeners have fun listening to the song, and want to sing along! I hope that the folks who feel like they’ve dated “that guy” feel empowered by listening to the tune, add it to their breakup playlists, and know that they’re not alone. I hope that the men who’ve been “that guy” listen to the song and decide to get their shit together.
When I first heard this track, I thought, “oh I’ve dated guys like this.” I think a lot of people go through bad experiences with dating. What would you say to someone who has had some of those bad experiences and is trying to move on from them?
Fuck That Guy! I am so glad that you got out of that relationship that was doing you harm. I know it might be scary, but you did the right thing. Maybe you were led on; you’re here now. Maybe you tried to end it a few times; you’re here now. Maybe you stayed for too long; you’re here now. Maybe you laugh about it with your friends but cry about it at night; you’re here now. You aren’t alone, I promise.
CW- abuse, assault.
Oftentimes the narrative of “bad relationship” or “bad date” is coded language for emotional, physical or sexual abuse. That language can be co-opted to de-legitimize your experiences, and I want you to know that what you have experienced is something that someone will believe, even if you aren’t hearing it right now. It is sometimes even hard for survivors to admit to ourselves that some of these “bad experiences” are indicative of something more serious or damaging, and oftentimes that is a coping mechanism to survive.
The City of Toronto has compiled a list of resources to help folks out of harmful relationships. There are even lists of supports for folks outside of the GTA and resources specifically for the safety of BIPOC, queer and trans folks where your experiences are understood and felt. You can access the list with resources here.
How do you think someone could find their own path to empowerment or that post-breakup maturity, that’s being displayed in this song?
I love that this song expresses maturity because I promise you that I am still petty as fuck.
When I think about what moments from my life have woven their way into this song, I am pulling on memories from a very long time ago. The breakups I’m speaking of aren’t fresh wounds, so I’m able to feel a little removed from them- enough to get to the place that I’m writing from. Hell, I’m not even dating cis-men anymore!
That being said, I sometimes wonder if anyone from my past has heard the tune and wondered if it was about them, and maybe thought about their past actions in a different light.
This release musically pushes you into a more indie-pop direction. Is this a genre you’re looking to explore more in your songwriting?
Oh hell yeah! I think that the landscape of releasing music has changed so much, especially over the pandemic. The concept of releasing EPs or full-length albums with a traditional album cycle feels almost archaic now. I love the idea of releasing singles, or small “projects” to experiment with different sounds and push our writing in new directions. I think a natural progression for me is to continue in the same singer-songwriter/folk mode but pushing the corners of what that means to the genre. A little grit never hurts.
What can listeners expect next from you?
I have a few songs that have been fully recorded, mixed and mastered from 2019 that I’ve been sitting on, with plans to release. I’m also in the studio with a few new songs that are partially complete and also feeling really good.
Sing along to Fuck That Guy here.