What came first, the music or the misery? People worry about kids playing with guns, or watching violent videos, that some sort of culture of violence will take them over. Nobody worries about kids listening to thousands, literally thousands of songs about heartbreak, rejection, pain, misery and loss. Did I listen to pop music because I was miserable? Or was I miserable because I listened to pop music? (from High Fidelity)Tomorrow is Valentine's Day, another stupid holiday that, like Halloween, made more sense when I was seven than it does now: handing out my cheap, superhero-themed Valentine's cards at school and carefully preparing my own special Valentine's card receptacle like the rest my classmates. I could get behind that.
These days, the obvious thing to do is make a list of my favourite break-up songs. Some are laughable, others are frightening, but all of them share the same heaping spoonful of self-pity.
1. Here - Pavement
"And I'm the only one who laughs / at your jokes when they are so bad / and your jokes are always bad / but they're not as bad as this."
2. Divorce Song - Liz Phair
"I would have stayed in your bed / For the rest of my life / Just to prove I was right / That it's harder to be friends than lovers / And you shouldn't try to mix the two / Cause if you do it and you're still unhappy / Then you know that the problem is you / And its true that I stole your lighter / And its also true that I lost the map / But when you said that I wasn't worth talking to / I had to take your word on that."
3. Nobody's Fault But My Own - Beck
"And on the day you said it's true / Some love holds, some gets used / Tried to tell you I never knew / It could be so sweet / Who could ever be so cruel, / Blame the devil for the things you do / It's such a selfish way to lose / The way you lose these wasted blues / These wasted blues."
4. I Don't Want To Get Over You - Magnetic Fields
"I could listen to my therapist, pretend you don't exist / and not have to dream of what I dream of; I could listen / to all my friends and go out again and pretend it's enough, / or I could make a career of being blue."
5. Rid of Me - PJ Harvey
"You're not rid of me . . . . Till you say don't you wish you never never met her."
6. Pink Triangle - Weezer
"When I think I've found a good old-fashioned girl / Then she put me in my place / If everyone's / a little queer / Can't she be a little straight?"
7. Damage - Yo La Tengo
"The damage is done."
8. Cato As A Pun - Of Montreal
"I can't even pretend that you are my friend / What has happened to you and I / And don't say that I have changed / 'Cause man, of course I have"
9. Get Gone - Fiona Apple
"You got your game, made your shot, and you got away / With a lot, but I'm not turned-on / So put away that meat you're selling."
10. Forever For Her (Is Over For Me) - White Stripes
"I blew it / And if I knew what to do, then I'd do it / But the point that I have, I'll get to it / And forever for her is over for me / Forever, just the word that she said that means never / To be with / another together / And with the weight of a feather it tore into me"
(Honourary Mention) An Ode To No One - Smashing Pumpkins
"I took a virgin mary axe to his sweet baby jane, / lost my innocence to a no good girl, scratch my / face with anvil hands, and coil my tongue around a bumblebee mouth /And I give it all back to you." Alright Billy. I'm sure it all makes sense in your head.