Tuesday, 25 August 2009

Week 2 - All-Time Top 5 Break-Up Songs

Websters dictionary defines 'break-up song' as 'a short musical composition intended to soothe one's soul after the unfortunate ending of one's relationship and that'.
Obviously that's Billy Bullcrap, but I've always wanted to start a piece with a quote from Merriam-Webster, but have never found the use.

Break-up songs are an odd kettle of fish - everyone's got their perception of what a good break-up song should be, and what image it should conjure up.

I read somewhere that The Smiths' I Know It's Over was voted the all-time greatest break-up song. I'm not sure I agree, it's a cracking song but a bit depressing - as unbelievable as that is coming from Mozzer, Marr, Rourke and Joyce.

While doing some research about this depressing genre, I came across a suggestion of Broken Heart by Spiritualized. Now, I love this song, but it's never popped into my head when thinking it's all over. However, it's a top suggestion and can see why people while away those solitary nights listening to Jason Pierce's heartbreaking voice.

However, if I was to split up, the last thing I'd ever want within a 50-mile radius of me is Bobby Brown's wailing scag-hag screeching her head off about how she-ee-ee will always love me-ee-ee.

For me, it's not about crying on a bed of satin sheets and roses, it's more a case of sitting stony-faced in some dark bar in Georgia, Carolina or Nebraska, drinking whisky and reflecting on where things went wrong. For this reason, it may explain why a certain artist features twice in my All-Time Top Five Break-Up Songs.

So, let's get on and have a butchers at them, in reverse order, naturally.

5) I Know It's Over - The Smiths
Ok, so it may not be my number one, but it's hard to ignore this depress-a-thon.
The line 'because tonight is like any other night, that's why you're on your own tonight' really gets at you, nevermind the suicidal sounding lyrics.
If anyone's ever split from a girl after being told they're not 'nasty' enough, they will appreciate the line 'it's so easy to laugh, it's so easy to hate, it takes strength to be gentle and kind'.

Overall, a great example of post-split depression, but a bit too on the 'down' side for me!

Check out a video of it at Youtube. It's a strange video, with images of a Smiths performance not of I Know It's Over, spliced with clips from what appears to be a film about Ukrainian lesbians.

4) For No One - Beatles
From Revolver, my personal favourite Beatles album, this McCartney song of faded love really tears at you.
'And in her eyes you see nothing, no sign of love behind the tears, cried for no one. A love that should have lasted years.'
Musically it's great too, with the clavichord and french horn adding to the downbeat air

For No One at Youtube

3) Harder Now That It's Over - Ryan Adams

Quite a dark song that seems to be about people a couple who got into a fight and the woman got nicked. 'I didn't feed you to the cops. When I threw that drink in that guy's face, it was just to piss you off cos honey it's over'
Then the typical rye humour of Ryan Adams claiming 'it's harder now that it's over...now that the cuffs are off'.
Also a theme Adams returns to quite often is something I mentioned earlier - sitting in bars drinking: 'I'm the one between the bars and lost forever now, cos it's over now.'

This song is from his 2001 album Gold. If you haven't got it, please do. It's an almost phenomenal work.

Hear the song here.

2) Days - The Kinks

I love the idea of this song being a break-up one. It's lovely and almost worth splitting up just to play it to your former lover - almost!
'Thank you for the days, those endless days, those sacred days you gave me. I'm thinking of the days, I won't forget a single day, believe me.'
And later, this bit: 'But then I knew that very soon you'd leave me, but it's all right, now I'm not frightened of this world, believe me.'

The emotion in this one is much more content than the other ones. There's no regret, no pleading for more, just an appreciation of what's gone before. However, there's still the trepidation of spending nights alone. 'I wish today could be tomorrow. The night is dark, it just brings sorrow anyway.'

God I love the Kinks, and this 1968 song is wonderful. Watch it here.

1) Sun Also Sets - Ryan Adams

Wow. Just wow. Feel the pain, the angst and the bewilderment of how things 'faded out, faded out so fast'.
A quite astonishingly good song about a love that suddenly went wrong. There's still the theme carried over from the Kinks:
'When you get the time, sit down and write me a letter. When you're feeling better, drop me a line. I wanna know how it all works out.'

This 2007 song from his Cardinals album, Easy Tiger, takes its title from Hemingway's novel Sun Also Rises.

Now, it's stupid to say Ryan Adams is a good a writer as someone like Hemingway...but!
No, but the imagery used in 'there it is, we were only one push from the nest' is great.

It also talks of how with every difficult split, you lose something. Something which was a positive personal trait, but you maybe now don't believe enough in yourself to still see it.

A rock'n'roll ride of emotion that's been in my head all week!

Awesome. Enjoy.

Saturday, 22 August 2009

Week 1 - Displacing talk of coconuts on Fridays

A very busy week. Friday afternoon at work. Extremely tired, counting down the hours, trying to stay awake. Idiots talking incessantly about coconuts and other ridiculous things. Anger growing. Need to find a happy place.
All of a sudden, out of nowhere this classic came into my head and all was good in the world.
From 1962 New York to 2009 East Yorkshire, this Carole King and Gerry Goffin penned tune was something I hadn't heard nor thought about in quite some years, but it was certainly a very welcome reunion.

So, purely because it rescued me from very dark times, that's why it's my song of the week.
Although, it could quite easily have been anything by jazzer George Shearing after a Kerouac-inspired hunt for songs by the old blind English-born pianist.
Likewise, it could so easily have been Atlas Sound's Recent Bedroom as I finally figured out it was that song which featured on the conclusion of Johnny Vegas' sitcom Ideal.
But no, it's Up on the Roof by The Drifters, and here it is:

One thing that strikes me about the video is the releasing of doves from the coop. It brings to mind Will Ferrell in the remake of The Producers.
That Was the Song of the Week That Was, ta!


So, something I've often thought about doing is a musical diary; something to sum up my week in music - like a Top of the Pops for my internal jukebox.
It occurred to me I could do a weekly blog about the song that has played a large part in my week - about one of those songs that sticks in your head for days, or just acts as the soundtrack to your week.
So that's what I'll do.
Each week I'll stick up an mp3 of said song and tell of why I've chosen it, and maybe a little bit of info on the song...if I can be bothered. Who knows if I'll stick to that last bit, it may turn out to be a dull lecture on songs no-one really cares about. What I will try to stick to is the weekly update and upload.
There you have it. Hope you enjoy and feel free to leave comments about your songs of the week and why it is.
That is That Was the Song of the Week That Was.