Saturday, January 26, 2008

Break-Up Songs

With less than three weeks until Valentine's Day, I figured it was time to determine the greatest break-up song of all-time.

I know that some of you are probably thinking: "What the hell does Valentine's Day have to do with break-up songs?" If we could all only be so innocent.

In my experience with the fairer sex, I've noticed some variance in pressure and expectations come mid-February. You know, the kind of pressure which demands you be the greatest Casanova this side of Venice, and the degree of expectations that are so impossible to live up to that the failure to deliver ultimately winds up destroying the relationship you've been working so hard to keep together... Not that I have anything to worry about in that regard, unassailably living the life of the poor man's Don Juan the way I invariably do.

Some people are fortunate enough to fight their way through the contrivance and machinations of this impending insignificant Hallmark holiday. But some others will sadly find themselves on the wrong end of impossible expectations, ultimately resulting in an email estranging at best.

So in anticipation of the iminent carnage, here are my five favourite break-up songs:

I Will Survive

This Gloria Gaynor classic was perfected by CAKE, and for my money, there are few cover tunes better than this one.

What makes this song for me is the unaffected way that front man John McCrea sings it, taking this highly emotional and empowering girl-anthem and making it so matter-of-fact that the fact doesn't even matter. Entirely comforting in that "she never meant anything to me, anyway" kind of way, if that's what you're looking for... That, and the fact that the line "I should have changed that stupid lock" was altered ever so slightly, in turn becoming one of my favourite lines in the history of rock and roll.

Bonus Coverage: a link to the best video of all-time.

Bad Liver and a Broken Heart

For the uninitiated (shame on you), here are the lyrics:

Well, I got a bad liver and a broken heart
Yeah, I drunk me a river since you tore me apart
And I don't have a drinking problem 'cept when I can't get a drink
And I wish you'd known her, we were quite a pair
She was sharp as a razor and soft as a prayer
So welcome to the continuing saga

She was my better half, and I was just a dog
And so here am I slumpedI've been chipped and I've been chumped on my stool
So buy this fool some spirits and libations
It's these railroad station bars
And all these conductors and the porters
And I'm all out of quarters

And this epitaph is the aftermath
Yeah, I choose my path, hey come on, Kath
He's a lawyer, he ain't the one for ya
No, the moon ain't romantic, it's intimidating as hell
And some guy's trying to sell me a watch
And so I'll meet you at the bottom of a bottle of bargain Scotch
I got me a bottle and a dream, it's so maudlin it seems

You can name your poison
Go on ahead and make some noise I ain't sentimental
This ain't a purchase, it's a rental, and it's purgatory
And hey, what's your story, well I don't even care
Cause I got my own double-cross to bear

And I'll see your Red Label, and I'll raise you one more
And you can pour me a cab, I just can't drink no more
Cause it don't douse the flames
that are started by dames,
It ain't like asbestos
It don't do nothing but rest us assured
And substantiate the rumors that you've heard

Is there anyone on the planet cooler than Tom Waits? The answer to that rhetorical question is, of course, not a chance. Nobody does the maudlin barroom crying-in-your-beer song like Tom Waits, and for my money, this is his finest. Try singing this one to yourself without getting choked up when you're a bottle of bargain Scotch deep and your best girl has trampled your heart by running off with some lawyer you could never hope to compete with. Impossible.

Tom Waits is neck-and-neck with Robert Zimmerman when it comes to securing the title of "best song writer of the past half-century"; no small feat when put up against this:

Don't Think Twice, It's Alright

This Dylan classic might be the all-time musical kiss-off. I love the quiet resignation and the sense that sometimes you can do everything in your power to make it work, and that sometimes that isn't even enough ("I'd give her my heart but she wanted my soul..."). Blame it on the way things go; on the way they are. And blame it on the ever increasing entropy; on the history of the universe.

The last lines of this song are some of my favourite in music, and to me, they harken back to the greatest literary kiss-off of all-time, which can be found in the final lines of Hemingway's The Sun Also Rises, when our boy Jake puts Brett in her place once and for all-time.

I ain't sayin' you treated me unkind
You could have done better but I don't mind
You just kinda wasted my precious time
But don't think twice, it's all right



This song is the exact opposite of humble resignation. I have a good buddy who likes to say: "Don't be bitter; be better". Well, this is a song for those times when you'd just rather be bitter.

I love this live footage from Washington in 1994 because it reminds me of the first real rock show I ever attended (Green Day at the CNE Colesium in '94). The pan out to the crazy crowd surfing gave me a 'Nam-like flashback. You have to love Mike Dirnt stalking in the background like a caged tiger just itching to attack...

If your significant other has wronged you in an unfathomably cruel and devestating way, could there be anything more satisfying than screaming:

you're just a fuck
i can't explain it 'cause i think you suck
i'm taking pride
in telling you to fuck off and die

Song For The Dumped

"Give me my money back, you BITCH!" is still one of the funniest lines ever written; "And don't forget to give me back my black T-Shirt" is still one of the most honest.

Kudos to the Ben Folds Five for articulating what we've all felt at one time or another.

Obviously there are hundreds of other great break-up songs out there. Feel free to chime in in the Comments section with some of your favourites, and maybe we'll get around to listing some of them for the downhearted come the 14th.


Anonymous said...

Blink 182 - Dammit

"The timing and structure
Did you hear..."

Anonymous said...

Springsteen's entire "Tunnel of Love" album. It's gotten better men through tougher times than mine.

Anonymous said...

Did you hear that Scarlett Johanssen is doing an album entirely composed of Tom Waits songs?

Seriously, she is.

That's two of my favourite things coming together, but somehow I don't think they're meant to be combined. Like a Chicago-style hot dog and Ben & Jerry's cookie-dough ice cream, the whole is much less than the sum of its parts.

Anonymous said...

So many choices, but I'll go with "I'll Feel A Whole Lot Better" by the Byrds and The Temptations "I Wish It Would Rain".

Anonymous said...

[url=]Doudoune Moncler[/url]
This particular humanized technique of Moncler jackets sandals in jamaica could make swimming that easy. You could potentially have a compenent with regards to dried cotton material to clean out the top part leather-based detail. In the western world underneath of these footwear, its that's why rather simple.

[url=]Doudoune Moncler Soldes[/url]
And ofcourse, given that a person are not make payment on final volume for every short article or simply attire, an individual surrendering the quality of the Moncler jackets term. Moncler is a of garments after choose contains more charm for use on your outlook, draw, good looks and appears. Nearly a majority of these suits avert together with combining more appeal for use in your emotive view on life but it also brings enjoy for one's currency.

[url=]Doudoune Moncler Pas Cher[/url]
Quite a lot of newer movements grown to be sizzling to find The year 2008. Of various extra accessories are frequently dismissed, unfortunately guys are immediately getting more popualr. Here is what is without a doubt incredibly hot at this point:.

Anonymous said...

[url=]Doudoune Moncler Pas Cher[/url]
.|and the like|and many more|and so|et cetera|accessories|along with|and|and a lot more|and thus|thus|therefore forth|therefore on}. are the foods this particular niche..

Including passe-temps celebs, Movie actors and actresses may be going to having on unconventional polo shirts, with out any a has on female's polo shirts a great deal better actor Megan Sibel who has been a short while ago noticed utilizing may also be polo t shirt whilst outside purchasing with her stepson with fashion-conscious California.

[url=]Doudoune Moncler[/url]
My best love of related fancy dress costumes took place just before I began dating-as angsty young people, his mom Lauren so dolled up for the reason that cartoon characters away from Sailor man Silent celestial body. And one of the highest quality meeting dress-up costume types I might ever encountered all began occasion associate; the guy attired their particular very young children in some of the most beautiful dominos.

Anonymous said...

The actual radiant individuals [url=]Men's Leisure Shoes[/url] have any thing in holding, that these people will be in the actual benefit to be essentially the most trendy component actually [url=]Men's Classic Timberland Chukka Boots-Black[/url] and as soon as again.Thus, the actual shoe stylists tend to be proficient at making complete enjoy the viewpoint numbers of the actual teen individuals. [url=]Men's 6 lnch Premium Boots[/url] In spite of this particular, the new individuals are worthy of to become the actual book times, the actual fantastic places to turn into the actual equipment from the [url=]timberland boots men's[/url] trendy range of this Timberland Boots Adult men.

There are lots of low-priced [url=]Women's Slipper boots[/url] on-line. However why is timberland boots so excellent on the planet? Effectively to begin with they're an incredible [url=]Men's Classic Timberland Chukka Boots-Black[/url] strength. They're created through effective leather-based, difficult and mild in most [url=]Timberland Shoes men cheap[/url] the most effective places