Owl Meat's Tipsy Tuesdays: What are the best breakup songs?
A personal confession: One time after a nasty breakup in college, I played "It Makes No Difference" by the Band on loops, hundreds of times. That song's a gut-wrencher. Today, Owl Meat tackles breakup songs in all their guilt, rage and glory:
Breakup songs come in different varieties. I think they can be categorized by the five stages of grief: Denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance.
Maybe you could speed things up by matching your music to the stages. I blame my lingering emotional dysfunction on improper musical programming after my last breakup. Yeah, that's it.
There is so much material that I wouldn't dare suggest the best. It's a very personal choice. Right now, I'm about as happy as I get, so I'm having a hard time coming up with examples.
Oh happy day. I don't need to access my own emotional history, because allmusic.com will do it for me. So paralyzed by grief that you can't connect any music to your mood? Allmusic.com to the rescue with their "mood" function ...
I scoured the emotions related to the stages of grief on allmusic.com and picked out these highlights:
Denial – Uh oh, this is just a river in Egypt for Allmusic.
Anger (Way too easy) – Metallica, Dead Kennedys, Elvis Costello, Public Enemy, Pixies, Guns N' Roses, the Stooges, Ministry
Bargaining – No luck
Depression (Sad) – Albums: Bob Dylan, Blood on the Tracks; Joni Mitchell, Blue; George Jones, Cup of Loneliness; any Smiths; any Leonard Cohen
Songs: Gram Parsons, "$1000 Wedding"; Mazzy Star, "Fade Into You"; George Jones, "He Stopped Loving Her Today"; The Carpenters, "Superstar"; Roy Orbison, "It's Over"
Acceptance (Calm/Peaceful) – Bread, Anthology; Young Marble Giants, Colossal Youth; The Doobie Brothers, Best; Van Morrison, Moondance;
Richard and Linda Thompson's album "Shoot Out the Lights" may be the best breakup record ever. First, it covers all five stages of grief. Second, it was written and recorded while they were breaking up. It's fearless and daunting. "Wall of Death" is one of my favorite songs from it.
I agree that Dylan's "Blood on the Tracks" is a powerful album. I also like shoe-gazer bands like Mazzy Star and Slowdive when I want to wallow in it.
Allmusic.com isn't completely compatible with the stages of grief model, despite having 200 different moods. Still, you might want to check it out the next time you are bittersweet, melancholy, fractured, plaintive, or yearning.
Can you imagine that your job is to assign moods to thousands of songs for allmusic.com?
Now it's your turn. What kind of music have you turned to when the fat, naked baby smacked you around?
(Photo by Getty Images)