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Song Stories

“Cry Me a River”

Justin Timberlake | 2002

This breakup aria marked the formation of the Timberlake-Timbaland team, and its scandalous video — in which Justin stalks an actress dressed to look like Britney Spears, with whom he had just ended a three-year relationship — made clear the inspiration for “River.” “It's a good-ass video,” Justin Timberlake told Rolling Stone. “I didn't want anyone to come off smelling like roses.” A year later, Britney wrote and recorded her response to JT — the apologetic ballad “Everytime.”

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Song Stories

“You Oughta Know”

Alanis Morissette | 1995

This blunt, bitter breakup song -- famous for its line "Would she go down on you in a theater?" -- was long rumored to be about Alanis Morissette getting dumped by Full House actor Dave Coulier. But while she never confirmed it was about him (Coulier himself says it is, however), she insisted the song wasn't all about scorn. "By no means is this record just a sexual, angry record," she told Rolling Stone. "The song wasn't written for the sake of revenge. It was written for the sake of release. I'm actually a pretty rational, calm person."

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