Stop…Bummer Time

Perhaps to counteract the general loveliness of my life, I tend to gravitate toward music that revels in the tragic.  I spend way too much time making playlists (and forcing mix CDs onto people—sorry, everybody), and my most carefully cultivated mix is titled “Angst and Breakups.”  I like songs where I can hear the singer’s voice break, and the chorus feels like it’s punching me in the guts.  I don’t care if the song is literally about a failing relationship (bonus points if it is), but if it sounds like things are falling apart, I want to hear it.

With these criteria in mind, I’ve picked 5 breakup jams to “celebrate” the end of the week and to remind you that love’s labors are usually lost.

In no particular order, culled from a long, long, list:

1. Song: Jolene

Artist: Ray LaMontagne

Key Line: “It’s been so long since I’ve seen your face, or felt a part of the human race. I’ve been living out of this here suitcase for way too long.”

Notes: Even the happy songs on this album feel like breakup songs—this is probably why I love Trouble so much.

2. Song: Good Arms vs. Bad Arms

Artist: Frightened Rabbit

Key Line: “I am armed with the past, and the will, and a brick. I might not want you back, but I want to kill him.”

Notes: This entire album, The Midnight Organ Fight, is breakup song GOLD.  Try “Poke” if you really want to wallow.

3. Song: Come Pick Me Up

Artist: Ryan Adams

Key Line: “I wish you’d make up my bed so I can make up my mind.”

Notes: This is an obvious pick, but come on. If you looking for a real heart-shredding breakup jam, this is it.

4. Song: Cold Fame

Artist: Band of Skulls

Key Line: “Nothing hurts like an answered phone. Drinking some, waking up alone.”

Notes: Stick around for the turn at 4:53.

5. Song: 85

Artist: Rilo Kiley

Key Line: “I’m just of real sad folk. ’85 was our best year. And she says it gets much worse, before it gets any better.”

Notes: The saddest thing about this song is that I never got to see Rilo live before they broke up.


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2 thoughts on “Stop…Bummer Time

  1. Song: I Miss My Mary

    Artist: Hal Ketchum

    Key Line: “A threadbare alibi…..a lifetime full of promise fell from my Mary’s eyes as she saw the screen door swing. The baby never woke……he lay cradled in her trembling. He lay safe and never knowing what my leaving would bring.”

    Notes: Your subliminal gravitation toward break up songs could be my fault. I sang you to sleep every night to this break-up song, substituting “Jessa” for “Mary” and “she” for “he”. A break-up song was your lullaby….


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