Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Desert Island Records Presents: Top 10 Break-up Songs

There is absolutely no reason why anyone, especially a contributor to, should discuss anything other than football right now. Or maybe Hurricane Katrina, because I don't think enough people are talking about it. (By the way, isn't it great that Arizona State hosted the LSU game a couple weeks ago? Brilliant!)

This is precisely why I've decided to throw in a compeletely random topic as a post for today: Top 10 Break-up Songs. This isn't some way to achieve catharsis after an emotional break-up of my own. It just seemed like a good topic.

The songs in this list will all be related to break-ups in some way. Some take place before the break-up, some take place post-break-up. Some songs are written from the perspective of the instigator, some from the dumped, some are sad, some are angry, one is bemused, and one is even happy. All are fantastic.

So without Freddy Adu, here is the list of my Top 10 Break-up Songs:

10.) The Thirteenth Floor Elevators - You're Gonna Miss Me
This is the song that Rob blasts in the opening scene of High Fidelity, which begins right after Laura dumped Rob. I admit that I'd never heard the song before the movie so I can't claim that I'd always loved this song or something. Maybe it's because it's in the movie, maybe it's something else, but either way I love the rawness and simplicity of this song. The wailing of the singer when he belts out the "AWWWWWWWW you're gonna miss me baby" in the chorus smacks of genuine pain.

Favorite Line(s):
You're gonna wake up one morning as the sun greets the dawn
You're gonna look around in your mind, girl, you're gonna find that I'm gone
You didn't realize
You're gonna miss me, baby.

9.) Led Zeppelin - Babe, I'm Gonna Leave You
Like most Led Zeppelin songs, the song is appealing for its instrumental aspects more than its lyrical. In fact, the lyrics are actually pretty boring. But no one ever claimed that Robert Plant was a master wordsmith; he's just a fantastic rock singer. The vocals and instrumentals match perfectly in this very gritty, bluesy ode to independence. One of my favorite Led Zepp songs.

8.) The Temptations - Ain't Too Proud to Beg
One of the songs on this list that is set pre-break-up. Great, classic song about a man who's willing to do anything and everything in his power to keep the woman he loves from leaving him.

7.) Take That - Back for Good
A song about a man who is surrounded by stuff that painfully reminds him of the girl he was once with and he makes a plea to her to forgive him for anything and everything he may have done wrong and take him back. As in Babe, I'm Gonna Leave You, lyrically, this song is nothing to write home about. I guess the song sounds alright, but the instrumentals aren't anything specifically memorable. In fact, I can't really explain why I like this song so much but I just always have. Maybe the sentiment is just easy to relate to. I'm a sucker for songs that are tied to good movies and television shows, so its inclusion in the series finale of The Office underlining a critical moment in the plot line with Tim and Dawn probably helped solidify my affection for this song.

6.) Fleming & John - Ugly Girl
Here is our "bemused" entry. An absolutely fantastic song about a girl who runs into (1) a guy who recently dumped her and (2) his ugly girlfriend at a grocery store. The protagonist of the story becomes befuddled, amused, horrified and certainly shocked. The song discusses the thoughts that ran through her head as she tries to rationalize how she could have gotten dumped for such an ugly girl. Very funny and descriptive. The lyrics are solid and the instrumentals provide a good, catchy backdrop for the song.

Sidenote: I saw Fleming & John when they opened up for Ben Folds Five at the Newport in Columbus in... 2000? The song is all the more amusing after having seen the lead singer up close and in person. I don't have a thing for redheads, but this girl was beautiful, charming, and captivating. If the lyrics indicate something that actually happened to her, the guy is an idiot.

Favorite Line(s):
Does she tell you what you want to hear?
And I bet that she could grow a beard
I'd feel better thinking you were queer
It's not fair, I can't compare
To an ugly girl.

5.) Justin Timberlake - Cry Me a River
This is probably the only song on this list that could be described as a (pound my vag?) "guy power" song. It's a song about the sour break-up between Justin and Britney Spears (I think we're all still recovering from that one!). I don't really know what happened in the break-up, nor do I care, but the song is really just a big "fuck you" to Britney for cheating on him, lying to him, and then crying about it when he wouldn't take her back. Good for him.

Favorite Line(s):
You told me you loved me
Why did you leave me, all alone
Now you tell me you need me
When you call me, on the phone
Girl I refuse, you must have me confused
With some other guy
Your bridges were burned, and now it's your turn
To cry, cry me a river

4.) Jackson 5 - I Want You Back
Here is the "happy" break-up song. I don't know what to say about this song other than it's just one of my absolute favorite songs of all time. The instrumentation is fantastic: one of my favorite bass lines of all time, a poppy piano, solid funk/disco guitar, and a great lead vocal performance. And keep your ears open for Tito's inspired back-up vocals at the end of the song.

This is one of those few songs that can make me good no matter what the mood (think: No Doubt's rendition of It's My Life).

3.) Ben Folds Five - Song for the Dumped
Selections for this list don't get any easier than this one. If you don't know the song, then just read the lyrics below and then, for the love of God, buy the album.

Favorite Line(s): I'm just going to throw all the lyrics in here because the whole song is so good...
So you wanted to take a break
Slow it down some and have some space
Well fuck you too!

Give me my money back
Give me my money back, you bitch
I want my money back

Wish I hadn't bought you dinner
Right before you dumped me on your front porch

Give me my money back
Give me my money back, you bitch
I want my money back
... and don't forget my black T-shirt

2.) Ben Folds Five - The Last Polka
This song gets the edge over Song for the Dumped for a couple simple reasons. First, I think this song is, on the whole, better. Second, this song has my favorite line from a Ben Folds/Ben Folds Five song and is without a doubt one of my favorite lines from any song (see below). The first thing that always strikes me about this song is the passion. Ben sets the piano on fire with exceptional, and exceptionally fast, playing. The interludes are blazing and powerful though at times he reels back the speed and hammers on the keyboard for musical emphasis. Jesse's drum segues are inspired and powerful. I can't sum up Sledge's bass work on this song in any other way than to say it's a perfect complement to the drums and piano.

Favorite Line(s):
She said "You've been pushing me like I was a sore tooth.
You can't respect me 'cause I've done so much for you."
He said "Well, I hate that it's come to this.
But, baby, I was doing fine. How do you think
That I survived the other 25 before you?"

1.) Derek & The Dominos - Bell Bottom Blues
It's rare to find a song that gives me goosebumps when I listen to it. It's even more rare to find a song that gives me goosebumps when I think about it (although, the rarity decreases after I've had a few drinks). This is one of those songs. It, like most Clapton songs, is a very bluesy rock song featuring Slowhand's exceptional guitar playing and the most emotional vocals I've heard Clapton ever belt out. Back-up vocals can be very effective when used properly and this song features one of my favorite back-up vocal performances of all time, sung by bass player Carl Radle.

This song was recorded during Clapton's infatuation with George Harrison's wife, Pattie. It sucked for Eric, but the experience yielded a bevy of amazing songs like this one and the timeless Layla. The emotion on this song is palpable.

Favorite Line(s):
Do you want to see me crawl across the floor to you?
Do you want to hear me beg you to take me back?

Honorable Mentions
Journey - Separate Ways (Worlds Apart)
Paul Simon - 50 Ways to Leave Your Lover
Tenacious D - Kyle Quit the Band

Post a comment and tell me what you think. Am I way off base? Nope. Did I miss one? I most certainly did not, but leave a comment anyways.

Jack - I know you want in on this...


At 4:13 PM, September 21, 2005, Blogger Jack Fu said...

Christ on a bike.

Okay, I'm on the middle of a post, but here's my preliminary, clerical thoughts on Evan's list:

A.) Believe it or not (George isn't at home!), we saw that Ben Folds Five / Train / Fleming & John concert in October of 1999. NINETEEN NINETY-NINE.

B.) Seriously, if anyone who reads this blog is not readily familiar with Big Ben and his Fabulous Folding Five, well, I'd be shock(er)ed.

C.) Not sure I would talk about how much Clapton's infatuation with his best friend's wife ended up hurting Clapton, seeing as how he, you know, stole her from George. But that's neither here nor there. It led to some GREAT music.

D.) ...
Someday, love will find you
Break those chains that BIND YOU

Fuckin' ay.

E.) Yes, I'll make my own list when I'm done with the college football post.


At 4:56 PM, September 21, 2005, Blogger Torgonator said...

I agree that Clapton's infatuation with Pattie didn't end up sucking since he did, as you say, steal her from George and they ended up married for 9 years. My point was simply that it tore Eric up at the time that he couldn't have her and, fortunately for the rest of the world, the pain led to some fantastic music. For Eric, it sucked at the time.

I can't wait to see your list, Jack.

At 1:33 PM, September 22, 2005, Anonymous AlJam4 said...

I think we're all missing one very valuable song from the list, or at least, from the honorable mention category: YATTA! YATTA, you fools! Green Leaf (though we don't know what they're saying) is an obvious depiction of a relationship before, during, and after. Shan't we forget the one of the closing scenes in the video when one of our favorite whitey-tighty-wearing asian sensations is walking down the street and a girl passes him by. He looks down, but never fear because he has his friends help him out in his time of need...bitches

At 4:32 PM, September 22, 2005, Blogger The Diddy said...

No no, totaly misinterp of YATTA! His buddies/lovers/green ryan leafers are laughing at him watching the girl go by b\c they're all homosexual. That particular tighty-white-dome of infinite quickening to rise has no business looking at girls due to his love for the penis. His gaysian pals all share a hardy laugh as a result.

At 7:15 PM, September 22, 2005, Blogger Torgonator said...

I'm sorry, Al, but Todd is absolutely correct here. In fact, I didn't even think it was possible to interpret it any other way. The last thing I expected from anyone who actually reads was any indictation of heterosexual undertones in YATTA. In some ways, I'm disappointed. But more than anything, I'm just glad we got talk about YATTA again.

My last word is, "Huzzah".

At 3:02 PM, September 23, 2005, Anonymous AlJam4 said...

I hate you all with a firey passion of 1000 penis's...or peni...fuck

At 3:03 PM, September 23, 2005, Anonymous AlJam4 said...

I hate you all with a firey passion of 1000 penis's...or peni...fuck


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