Break-up songs are never hard to find. As anyone who creates art or enjoys a lot of it will tell you, pain has a tendency to result in a better product than happiness does. It just translates better (probably because, in my opinion, happiness tends to be much more subjective and individualized).
In my mission statement, I said that I would often post MP3s based around a theme/mood. For the most part, they’ll be pretty unique – perhaps even out of left field, so to speak. While today’s theme isn’t unique or original in itself, the songs I will provide you with below will be.
I will mention on a brief personal note that I did go through a break-up recently – but, as I wrote in my musical history, I’ve loved weepy break-up songs since my youth. I actually have a tendency to listen to them more when I’m happy in a relationship than when things are a bit rocky.
That said, here are 10 break-up songs (in no particular order) that I think should join the list of greats like “Since U Been Gone,” “Total Eclipse Of The Heart” and “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry.”
Andrew Lloyd Webber: “Tell Me On A Sunday”
Who knew that such an odd looking man could write such incredible musicals? “Tell Me On A Sunday” (download) is probably one of my favorite songs of his. At first, the woman’s ideas seem childish and silly, but the more you listen to it, the more reasonable they sound. That sentence doesn’t make much sense now, but listen to the song and it will.
Ben Gibbard, “St. Swithin’s Day (Live)”
Yes, this song is not originally by Ben Gibbard – it’s by Billy Bragg. But I’ve long adored Benny Gib, and he has always been very adept at choosing covers that fit his aesthetics. This live cover of “St. Swithin’s Day” (download) is no different.
Bill Withers: “Hope She’ll Be Happier”
Have I mentioned how much I love jefitoblog? Because I do. Awhile ago, he posted this song by Bill Withers, and I’ve been addicted to it since. “Hope She’ll Be Happier” (download) is gorgeous and heart-breaking all at once, like all good break up songs should be.
Bob Seger & The Silver Bullet Band: “Tryin’ To Live My Life Without You (Live)”
There’s something about Bob Seger I’ve always liked. He’s got a tough (albeit often cheesy) edge, but he’s not afraid of being sentimental. I’m not sure if “Tryin’ To Live My Life Without You” (download) is originally his or not (he says it’s “an old memphis song,” and I haven’t seen in anywhere but on his Nine Tonight live album), but he does it really, really well.
The Dismemberment Plan: “Following Through”
Oh, Travis Morrison. You used to be in a fantastically amazing band called The Dismemberment Plan, and then you threw it all away to write the most horrible album I’ve ever heard. “Following Through” (download) has been something of a fight song or a theme song for me, one I go back to whenever things have fallen apart, particularly relationship-wise. Now it seems like the perfect homage to the greatness that was The Dismemberment Plan.
Huey Lewis & The News: “I Never Think About You”
I love Huey Lewis – without any trace of sarcasm or irony. This past summer, I was moving on from an extended fling, and listened to “I Never Think About You” (download) almost every day. For the longest time, I thought he was singing “I’m as happy as I’ve ever been / without pretending I am.” One day I looked up the lyrics, and they were written as “I’m as happy as I’ve ever been / well I’m pretending I am.” In a way, that kind of disappointed me, because I had liked the bit of triumph in that line, but I still love this song.
Joseph Arthur: “Tattoo”
As you can probably assume by the presence of this blog (or the fact that I’ve said it before), I get a bit of a rush from recommending music to people that they like. I can get just as excited, though, when someone recommends a song to me. My roommate from sophomore year, Randi, suggested I listen to “Tattoo” (download), and I was floored. You know I’m really affected by a song when I say it “destroys me,” and this song does just that.
So Many Dynamos: “Seriously, Now”
Good bands in the mid-west? Really? When you listen to So Many Dynamos, the answer is a hearty yes. Their music bounces back between spastic and calm, and the lyrics are rich with imagery, metaphor/simile and all those good literary devices. Their spastic tracks tend to get more attention, but it’s the ones somewhere in-between, like “Seriously, Now” (download) that I prefer.
Sonia Dada: “You Don’t Treat Me No Good”
Without a doubt, my love for this song is my mother’s doing. But maybe more than that, it’s the fact that “You Don’t Treat Me No Good” (download) is so ridiculously catchy and strangely uplifting that it’s nearly impossible to dislike. It may start off as a “guilty pleasure,” but believe me, the guilt melts away, leaving pure, sweet pleasure.
Todd Rundgren: “Can We Still Be Friends?”
Over break, I spent an almost embarassing amount of time watching Seasons 1 & 2 of “Nip/Tuck.” The show has an uncanny nack for picking songs that are not only incredible, but putting them in at the perfect moment. I can’t really explain what scene “Can We Still Be Friends?” (download) is in, but I can tell you that this song is basically flawless. Listen to it now.
And, though Bon Jovi’s “You Give Love A Bad Name” (download) certainly gets enough love, I am posting it today in honor of my friend Amanda’s 20th birthday.