Thursday, February 12, 2009

Happy Valentine's Day Break-Up Song Showdown

Ahhhh, nothing says "Happy Valentine's Day!" quite like a slew of ugly, unexpected, spirit-crushing break-ups. In fact, according to a recent study conducted by Yahoo Personals, couples are more than twice as likely to break up between Christmas and VD, with the study going so far as to label this time of year "National Break-Up Season".

As we all know, break-ups are never fun (for exhibit A, check out This American Life's brilliant episode from August 15, 2008, entitled: Break-Up). There's the crying. There's the doubt. There's the guilt. There's the questioning of self-worth. There's the throwing of fragile family heirlooms. There's the going out and getting wrecklessly drunk and regretfully hooking up with the first member of the opposite sex who happens to give you the time of night...

Generally speaking, not a lot of good comes from breaking up. One of the few exceptions to this rule, however, is the music that winds up being created from the wreckage of the aforementioned torment and agony. Where would we be without the misery and inspiration that love's loss so often instills? Nowhere I'd like to find myself, that's for sure.

(Feel free to check out Eric G. Wilson's Against Happiness for another take on the benefits of melancholia.)

So a happy break-up season to one and all. Here's hoping that this year's anguish and heartache can produce a fresh new crop of beautifully despondent tracks in time for next year's showdown.

"Asking For Flowers" - Kathleen Edwards

Lines to put a lump in your throat:

Every time I poured my heart out
Every threat you made to move out
Every cruel word you let just slip out
Every cruel word you let just slip out...

"It's Okay" - Land of Talk

Lines that make you want to kill yourself with guilt:

But it's okay, we all feel left out
sometimes growing up, it can get you down.

I give you some thing that no one's going to give you
my sleepin' skin and my heart deep down in you...

"We Are Beautiful, We Are Doomed" - Los Campesinos!

Lines that angry-break-up-guy gets a kick out of screaming:


I cannot emphasise enough that my body
Is a badly designed, poorly put together vessel,
Harbouring these diminishing, so-called 'vital organs'
Hope my heart goes first,

"Your Ex-Lover Is Dead" - Stars

A consolingly grown-up way of looking at things:

You were what I wanted
I gave what I gave
I'm not sorry I met you
I'm not sorry it's over
I'm not sorry there's nothing to save

"Skinny Love" - Bon Iver

Lines that reveal the truth of it all:

I told you to be patient
I told you to be fine
I told you to be balanced
I told you to be kind
Now all your love is wasted?
Then who the hell was I?

One more VD note:

If there are any dotcomrades out there who know of a single girl who happens to have been born on February the 14th, my buddy Skeeter is extremely interested in setting up a rendezvous. It has been his lifelong goal to meet such a girl, and then marry her on Valentine's Day, thereby banging out the heretofore unprecedented 3-for-1 windfall romance special.

Personally, I think this is the guy-equivalent to girls who hold out for the mythical manicorn, so needless to say, he hasn't had much luck thus far. Any leads would be much appreciated.


Anonymous said...

Well done. There's been a great soundtrack for romantic misery this year.

I'm also a big fan of the Los Campesinos! line:

"I taught myself the only way to vaguely get along in like is to love the other slightly less than you get in return. I keep feeling like I'm being undercut."


Sean McCallum said...

I also happen to be of the opinion that:

"Absence makes the heart grow fonder
Fondness makes the absence longer"

is one of the finest couplets in all of rock and roll.

Anonymous said...

Ohhhh I got one.

"Whatever you do
For whatever it’s worth
If you’re going to tear my world apart
Then I prefer
Don’t leave me confused
Don’t let the lines blur
If you’re going to tell me you don’t love me anymore
Make every word hurt

....…make every word sting
make every word bleed
so I’m not going to love you anymore
until you’re nothing I need
so when I wake up in the morning
for the next 20 years
I won’t be wishing for someone who will just disappear"

- Lori McKenna "Every Word Hurt"

Cuts deep... LM