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Sea of heartbreak

February 17th, 2009 Leave a comment Go to comments

Finding songs about broken hearts is like shooting whales in a barrel of treacle. So, naturally, those represented here are not necessarily the best or brightest in the genre (though the two Motown songs probably are). But I hope they provide a decent round-up. The series of songs about love will run for a while yet, but I will space the remaining posts put a bit. It”s time to run other stuff again”¦

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The Temptation – I Wish It Would Rain.mp3

temptations“Sunshine, blue skies, please go away. My girl has found another and gone away. With her went my future, my life is filled with gloom, so day after day I stayed locked up in my room. I know to you it might sound strange, but I wish it would rain.” Motown lyrics are pure poetry. “Day in, day out, my tear-stained face pressed against the window pane. My eyes search the skies desperately for rain, “cause raindrops will hide my teardrops, and no one will ever know that I”m cryin”. When I go outside to the world outside, my tears I refuse to explain. Oh, I wish it would rain.” Promise me you will punch them.

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Ben Folds – Gone.mp3
A year after she left, Ben says he”s ready to let her go. Unless she gets in touch with him. But if not, he”s ready to end it. I think we can spot the snag in his strategy. “And I hope you find some time to drop a note, but if you won”t, then you won”t ““ and I will consider you gone.” As he notes, she went straight to somebody else (he thinks “that you should spend some time alone”), but hope springs eternal, even at the cost of dignity. “I wake up in the night all alone and it”s alright. The chemicals are wearing off. Since you”ve gone, the days go on, the lights go off and on, and nothing really matters when you”re gone.” But, girl, here”s Ben given you another chance ““ and he hasn”t even set you a deadline.

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Kris Kristofferson – From the Bottle To The Bottom.mp3
Kris was happy once with a woman. She left him and now he”s shacking up with a bottle of booze. “You ask me if I”m happy now; that”s good as any joke I”ve heard. It seems that since I”ve seen you last I done forgot the meaning of the words. If happiness is empty rooms, and drinkin” in the afternoon, well, I suppose I”m happy as a clam. But if it”s got a thing to do with smilin” of forgettin” you, well, I don”t guess that I could say I am.” He proceeds to make his point by way of analogies and metaphors involving moisture, empty pockets and shoes to conclude that he is “from the bottle to the bottom stool by stool, learnin” hard to live with losin” you.”

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Todd Tibaud – Unbroken.mp3
todd-thibaudThe unaccountably obscure Tibault in his song from 2000 acknowledges that he was dumped for being a bit of an ass (“And everything about me drags her down”), and he now pretends, Smokey-like, not to be affected by the break-up. But he really still loves her (“She moves around me like the air I breathe, gets inside of me and she never leaves”) and wants her back: “Someday I”ll find my way back in; somehow I”ll cross that bridge again. And then I won”t have to pretend to be unbroken.”

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Don Gibson – Sea Of Heartbreak.mp3
don-gibsonA very jaunty number for so sad a lament wrapped up in nautical metaphors. Since she “sailed away” there are no lights in the harbour and ships lost at sea all because Don is crying so much, he is “on this sea of tears ““ sea of heartbreak”. He tried to woo her back with another maritime call: “Oh, what I”d give to sail back to shore, back to your arms once more.” Poor Don, chances are that another man has put down his anchor in the good ship ex-girlfriend.

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Sugar Ray – When It”s Over.mp3
Naked Eyes – Always Something There To Remind Me.mp3

naked-eyesYou know what it”s like when a song comes on that reminds you of an ex-partner (or, worse, of the break-up itself)? In this rather quirky tune, Sugar Ray bemoan not only the loss of a girlfriend, but also the diminishing delight in the things they used to enjoy together: “All the songs she used to sing, all the favourite TV shows have gone out the window.” It”s worse than that. Not only does he no longer enjoy re-runs of Friends or whatever, but when he does catch one, the old feelings for her return. Which calls to mind Hal David”s lyrics for Always Something There To Remind Me: “I passed a small café where we would dance at night, and I can”t help recalling how it felt to kiss and hold you tight. Oh, how can I forget you, when there is always something there to remind me”¦” The version posted here is a 1982 cover by the English synth-pop duo Naked Eyes, featuring the late Rob Fisher, later of Climie Fisher. Burt Bacharach once said their version was his favourite”¦

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Loudon Wainwright III – Lost Love.mp3
This song comes courtesy of my Facebook friend Garth (to become my FB friend click here). In this “20s-pop-cum-country song, Loudon is sending mixed messages, and it might even not be all defiant bravado. He seems to be OK with the break-up, but occasionally it catches up with him. “I”m happy that it”s finally over, but when I”m not bad, then I”m sad.” He notes that she doesn”t call him and “I understand the reason why” (but the way he delivers the line suggests contempt for the reasons). Indeed, “there should be no reason why you shouldn”t call me, darlin””. So he is getting on the telephone, “I”m not calling you for a reason, dear, and the reason is because there is no reason why I should call you because your love, darling, I have lost.” What price logic when you”re missing you ex so much, you call her (or him) for no good reason?

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Amy Rigby – Keep It To Yourself.mp3
amy-rigbyThe Bee Gees asked for pointers in mending broken hearts. One way of doing so is to enter into a loving relationship with somebody new who will take care of you. In this song, Amy Rigby found such a man, one who”d do anything for her. But sometimes even that doesn”t work, when there remains so much residual anger that the contemptible ex still dominates emotions. In this instance, the new man in Amy”s life wrecklessly* offers to “shoot the dude who screwed me up”. Amy responds that she is “trying so hard to forgive”. With that in mind, “Here”s his address, here”s his picture, here”s the make and model of his car. He works until 4:30, then he hangs out at the topless bar with a girl on each arm.” Amy reminds the new paramour: “Remember how he cheated and he lied to me. You told me that it makes you lose your head”¦ I don”t believe you”d do those things you said.” And did she mention they”re pouring concrete on Route 33? But if he does the things he said he”d do (and here”s the address and a photo), he must not tell her, but keep it to himself. Then Amy sighs: “I like the way that you take care of me. I like the way you that you”ll take care of things.” Hell hath no fury etc. (* google it)

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Jimmy Ruffin – What Becomes Of The Brokenhearted.mp3
Echoing the anthem of brokenheartedness, Love Hurts, poor Jimmy has turned cynical: “Love”s happiness is just an illusion filled with sadness and confusion.” He sees other people in love: “The fruits of love grow all around, but for me they come a-tumblin” down.” Then depression sets in: Every day heartaches grow a little stronger, I can”t stand this pain much longer. I walk in shadows searching for light, cold and alone, no comfort in sight. Hoping and praying for someone to care, always moving and going nowhere.” Morrissey would have killed for lyrics like that. Then comes the threat of suicide ““ “All that”s left is an unhappy ending” ““ before he catches himself and insistently resolves that he can find happiness again: “I know I”ve got to find some kind of peace of mind. I”ll be searching everywhere just to find someone to care. I”ll be looking every day. I know I”m gonna find a way. Nothing”s gonna stop me now, I”ll find a way somehow; I”ll be searching everywhere.” Next time somebody claims that Motown lyrics lack depth, please contact Amy Rigby”s new boyfriend.
Previously in this series:
Longing For Love
Love Hurts
Unrequited Love
Being in love (Any Major Love Mix)

More songs about love

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  1. February 21st, 2009 at 21:29 | #1

    Another excellent selection, Dude.

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