Wednesday, January 9, 2013

OMG! They broke up!

I'm writing this as the news of Justin Bieber's breakup with Selena Gomez is all over the news. By the time I finish writing this up they may have gotten back together, but in the meantime let's talk about some great breakup songs. (Or as one of my coworkers mentioned, "Hey, it's the holiday season...isn't January the peak time for breakups and divorces?  Happy Holidays!")

You can't talk about breakup songs without mentioning Chris Isaak. In this case, however, he may have written an entire breakup album.

Many consider Forever Blue (1995) his masterpiece and I have to agree. I don't think he's come up with anything as good (sad?) since then. I remember the album reviewer for the Tucson Weekly gave it four stars when it was released and said something along the lines of "If anything better than this comes out this year, I'll eat this CD. And then I'll go out and buy another copy. It's that good." The album opens with Baby Did A Bad Bad Thing, a bluesy bit of fun. As far as the breakup theme goes, the songs veer from sad (Go Walking Down There) to "maybe we can fix this/give me a chance" (Things Go Wrong) to the angry and vengeful (Goin' Nowhere) back to sad about and resigned to the breakup (Changed Your Mind). And there are a couple of hopeful tunes as well (hopeful for Chris Isaak, I suppose!)

Adele:  She's been the hottest thing going, so I won't get into a long discussion here, but I must mention her cover of The Cure's Lovesong, which is on her monster hit album 21. I of course always loved The Cure's version (I have the 12 inch vinyl!) but Adele does a really nice low-key cover.

The Cure: Speaking of them, we've got an old album of theirs in our collection, 1987's Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me. There's a couple of tracks on this cd that I played quite often during an on again, off again (mostly off) "relationship" (it was high school, people!) How Beautiful You Are starts off sort of wistful but ends on quite a bitter note: "And this is why I hate you/And now I know that no one can ever know or love another..." All I Want really spoke to my inner gothic girl at the time. I played the song for ages thinking the lyric was "And all I want is to hold you like a doll". Years later I was sooo disappointed to find out the actual lyric was "And all I want is to hold you like a dog." Hmmm, somehow not quite as sweet and romantic as my interpretation.

Sade: She's been around a long time, but I'm more familiar with her recent material. King Of Sorrow and  Somebody Already Broke My Heart are off of Lovers' Rock from 2000. King Of Sorrow is just fabulous and Somebody Already Broke My Heart has a great funky groove. I'm a sucker for a great bass line. The Moon And The Sky and Soldier Of Love are off her most recent album from 2009. From The Moon And The Sky:

You could have let me me love anyone
But I only wanted you
So why did you make me cry
Why didn't you come get me one last time
You'll always know the reason why
We could have had the moon and the sky

And then there's Taylor Swift. Her newest cd, Red, has the longest waiting list I've ever seen for a music cd in all the years I've worked for the Pima County Public Library. I'm guessing a lot of the interest is to see which songs have been written about which ex-boyfriend. Taylor Lautner? Joe Jonas? John Mayer? Jake Gyllenhall? I think we can safely assume her next cd will include tunes about a Kennedy and one of the One Direction guys.

What are some of your favorite breakup songs? Feel free to share!


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