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Bouncing back

I will hardly reveal myself as the music blogosphere”s slightly less ugly version of Dr Phil when I observe that people recover from the end of serious relationships in very different ways. In this series of songs about love we have looked at various themes, including splitting up. Here we look at how protagonists in ten songs have bounced back, or not, from the death of a liaison.

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Skeeter Davis ““ Gonna Get Along Without You Now (1964).mp3

Well, it”s easier to bounce back when our ex was a bit of a bounder. Look at the ex of Skeeter (or Teresa Brewer or Viola Wills or lately She & Him): one minute he proposes marriage, the next he”s running around “with every girl in town”, masking his two-timing ways by telling everybody that he and Skeeter are just friends. Who needs that? Not Skeeter (or Teresa or Viola or She). “I got along without you before I met you, gonna get along without you now.” And the philosophical lack of concern is followed by the triumphant zinger: “Thought I”d find somebody who is twice as cute , “cause I didn’t like you anyhow.” Bouncebackability score: 10/10

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Ben Folds ““ Landed (Strings version) (2005).mp3
Ben got out of the clutches of a controlling woman (as he tells it anyway). He and the ex moved to the West Coast, and separated from their old social circle. She seems have bullied Ben: “She liked to push me and talk me back down till I believed I was the crazy one. And in a way I guess I was.” She controlled access to him, so when people phoned, she”d not convey the message. Now he has walked out “” “down comes the reign of the telephone tsar” “” and it”s okay to call him. He”s ready to resume his old life, if that is possible: “And if you wrote me off, I”d understand it. “Cause I’ve been on some other planet. So come pick me up, I”ve landed” “” from that “other planet” and from the West Coast. Bouncebackability score: 9/10

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Kris Kristofferson ““ From The Bottle To The Bottom (1969).mp3
Sometimes there is no bounce-back. Whatever solace there can be derived emanates from those friends in low places: Johnny Walker, Jim Beam, Jack Daniels. So it is here. Being asked whether he is happy apparently is bitter a joke. Or at least, “happy” is a concept that needs to be clearly defined before the question is posed. “It seems that since I”ve seen you last I done forgot the meaning of the word. 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” or forgettin” you, well, I don”t guess that I could say I am.” Happy, that is. Freedom, eh? Living the dream? Not so much: “There”s no one here to carry on if I stay out the whole night long, or give a tinker”s damn if I don”t call. I”m livin” like I wanted to, and doin” things I wanna do, and nothin” means a thing to me at all.” So we might think that Kris is not doing well. In fact, he”s doing worse.

How”s this for being down: “Did you ever see a down and outer waking up alone without a blanket on to keep him from the dew, when the water from the weeds has soaked the paper he”s been puttin” in his shoes to keep the ground from comin’ through, and his future feels as empty as the pocket in his pants because he”s never seen a single dream come true? That”s the way that I”ve been feelin” since the day I started falling from the bottle to the bottom, stool by stool.” He”s lost that bouncing feeling… Bouncebackability score: 1/10

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Rilo Kiley ““ The Execution Of All Things (2002).mp3
There”s no post break-up messing around here: the now defunct relationship must be snuffed out. The split was humiliating to her, as we learn in the first verse, and her business now is to get over that. “Oh god, come quickly, the execution of all things. Let”s start with the bears and the air and mountains, rivers, and streams. Then we”ll murder what matters to you and move on to your neighbours and kids. Crush all hopes of happiness with disease “cause of what you did.” So pretty much a scorched earth policy. And that comes laced with a bit of vengeful anticipation: “And lastly, you”re all alone with nothing left but sleep. But sleep never comes to you; it”s just the guilt and forever wakefulness of the weak.” Bouncebackability score: 7/10

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Damien Rice ““ The Blower”s Daughter (2002).mp3
Here”s a guy not about to bounce back from what might be a broken relationship, unrequited love, unstated love, impossible love. Pretty much a love that has fucked over somebody to whom things tend to come fairly easy. He”s still obsessed: “I can”t take my eyes off of you”. Lisa Hannigan, giving voice the titular blower”s daughter, tries to calm him, pointing out that she didn”t say she loathes him, as he apparently thinks she does. Upshot is that much as he feels like hating her, he doesn”t. So he won”t keep his mind off her, “till I find somebody new”. So there”s hope for the bounce-back yet from whatever love our friend is suffering. Bouncebackability score: 3/10

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Marit Larsen ““ Only A Fool (2006).mp3
Marit”s boyfriend (or perhaps husband; a ring changed hands and unspecified vows were made) betrayed her, and now she has dumped the chump. Our Norwegian songbird has “been changing after what you put me through; there is just no way that I”ll be coming home to you”. She thinks she”d be a bit of an idiot to do so, as she notes with admirable forthrightness in the chorus: “Only a fool would do this again. Only a fool would let you back in. There is no you left to embrace, there is no word would make it feel safe.” Her naive trust was broken, and that must have hurt. But she”s in a better place than her apparently pleading ex: “It feels good here, better than you know. Isn”t it only fair that you try and let it go?”
Bouncebackability score: 10/10

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Mazzy Starr ““ Halah (1990).mp3
Sometimes you need closure before bouncing back. Hope Sandoval, Mazzy Starr”s singer, is still looking for that. Instead, there is a lot of confusion. “It”s like I told you, I”m over you somehow.” Well, that is good. But what”s this? “Before I close the door I need to hear you say goodbye.” Ah, not so much over it then. “Baby won”t you change your mind?” And that awful obstacle to closure and bounce-back: hope. The ex owes Sandoval an explanation which she won”t receive. So there won”t be closure any time soon. Bouncebackability score: 2/10

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Ricky Peterson ““ Livin” It Up (1990).mp3
The song has featured in the songs about love series before, in Bill LaBounty”s original version (though that link is dead. The song is on this mix). Here jazz singer Ricky Peterson is giving vocals to the anthem for the false bounce-back. Our friend admits that he had gone through a tough time since the break-up. He even put a service on the phone. And whatever that is, it sounds like the action of a man in a deep funk. But he”s out of that, he informs us (and, more to the point, her). He scraped his heart up off the floor! Oh, and he”s having a majestic time now. Living it up, he is, “right from the women to the wine. Livin” out all those fantasies I never did get to, crazy things I never got to do”. Now that”s bouncing back like kangaroo on methamphetamine. But all”s not as it seems. “Every now and then I must confess, I’m not up to all this happiness. Sometimes I wonder if the place I”m at is where I do belong.” So what”s missing from making this great life complete? Well, all this livin” it up from women to wine involving crazy fantasies…” it don”t seem like living without you”. Bouncebackability score: 6/10

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Tom Waits ““ Innocent When You Dream (78) (1987).mp3
Oh curse you, wicked self-recrimination. Tom and his girl had something beautiful: “I made a golden promise that we would never part. I gave my love a locket.” Tell me more, tell me more, did you get very far? Evidently not. “And then I broke her heart.” So instead of running through a pollen paradise straight out of a shampoo commercial, Tom now observes that “the bats are in the belfry, the dew is on the moor”. But when he sleeps, he resuscitates the happy memories. “The fields are soft and green”, but “it”s memories that I”m stealing”. The song title will have alerted the reader of Waits” punchline: “But you”re innocent when you dream.” Tom isn”t about to forgive himself for what he has done, is he? Bouncebackability score: 2/10

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Rainbow ““ Since You”ve Been Gone (1979).mp3
Head East – Since You’ve Been Gone (1978).mp3

Written by Russ Ballard, we have two proxies expressing his thoughts (Cherie & Marie Currie”s version must wait for a couple of months to feature in a different context). Our jilted lover can take a lot of punishment, including poison letters and telegrams that just go to show she doesn’t give a damn. And the cause for that readiness to be reconciled? Well, see, “these four walls are closing in” and recurring dreams cause our anti-hero to fall out of his bed at night, possibly as a result of reading her letter at night “beneath the back street light” (is he stalking her?). His mental well-being is on the edge. “Since you been gone, I”m outta my head, can”t take it.” Witchcraft may be involved: “Could I be wrong, but since you been gone, you cast the spell “” so break it.” Oooohwaowaow ohwaowoawoh indeed. Bouncebackability score: 1/10

More Songs About Love (happy, unhappy, ending etc)

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  1. May 14th, 2010 at 13:27 | #1

    Well done to include the Head East version of “Since You Been Gone.” In the American Midwest of the 1970s and early 80s, Head East were headliners, but in much of the rest of the country, they were unknowns. Out here, it was Head East’s version of the song we heard, far more than Rainbow’s.

  2. Cliff
    May 18th, 2010 at 13:11 | #2

    Re Bouncing Back

    Kris Kristofferson: “There’s no one here to carry on / If I stay out the whole night long, / Or give a ’tankerous damn if I don’t call.”

    I do believe that “a tinker’s damn.” It’s idiomatic. You could look it up.

    Very nice otherwise.

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  3. halfhearteddude
    May 18th, 2010 at 18:24 | #3

    Thanks, Cliff. I was struggling with that. It’s a word I couldn’t work out. So I consulted a few lyrics sites. They all had different ideas what KK was singing. None I saw suggested “tinker’s damn”. So I went phonetic. Now I can edit the text.

  4. May 20th, 2010 at 01:27 | #4

    you are very good at this blogging thing..thank you

  5. Paulie D
    February 29th, 2016 at 15:22 | #5

    Love your posts and the music you have introduced me to that I missed first time around. :) Would love to see a reup of this in cdr format, as I think all the links are dead :(

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