Five Songs To Get You Through The Night: The Messy Breakup

So let’s say, hypothetically, you’re sitting alone in your basement, clutching a half-drained bottle of Mad Dog 20/20, choking on the edge of tears and self-loathingly flipping through Facebook. The mad desolation of night has come and fled, that lording bastard sun already peaking into the smoky sky, just slightly illuminating the dust-smirched panes of your tiny windows. You may not have anyone, but you do have your iTunes, your meticulously managed playlists—each ascending into bombastic bliss and sinking into pared down acoustic loneliness. The dog-eared self-help books on the shelf have been yap yapping in your ear, encouraging you to Drop Your Emotional Baggage At the Door of Happiness and to Find Strength In Your Spirit of Independence. But tonight you’ve chosen to indulge, to hunch over and convulse in shudders, to dissolve into a naked, slumped pile of bruised humanity in a three-weeks’-worth pile of dirty laundry. Working from a purely hypothetical and mathematical standpoint, I have devised a soundtrack to those dark nights of the soul.
*Bright Eyes- “Road To Joy.” Conor’s an obvious—if not laughably easy—choice for this list. His songwriting has all of the subtlety of a Louisiana marching band at the big game, but his histrionics, his self-mockery [“I could have been a famous singer/ If I had someone else’s voice”] and his comfort with breaking his voice come together in the most satisfying possible way. If you can’t throw a fist-pump to this, you better check your blood-pump.
*Rilo Kiley: “Does He Love You?” I’ll admit, I was really late coming to Jenny Lewis and crew, and I can’t believe how great the songwriting is. It’s situational, confessional, embarrassing, but mature. Similar to what Ben Folds did at his best, but with Lewis’s beautiful vocals and just enough twang to distinguish it from their compatriots. I can just see it now, you singing along angrily with the Ben & Jerry’s hanging awkward on the back of your tongue, marring the inflected syllables.
*Wilco: “At Least That’s What You Said.” As it often happens with the follow-up album to a sensational disc, A Ghost Is Born was written off far too quickly by indie douche-nozzles with their hands lodged too far into their hoodie’s pockets. This opener sets a beautiful tone, frazzled and meditative, the drums and guitars jamming to the edges of madness, but reigned in at just the right times.
*Beck: “I Guess I’m Doing Fine.” Really, anything off Sea Change is going to make you feel like some sinister agent shot some kind of serotonin-sapping ray gun at you. Here, Beck slurs his self-pity and heartbreak with none of his happy-go-lucky swagger. It’s hearbreaking, like seeing your funny friend cry.
*Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy: “I See A Darkness.” Listening to this album is like shuffling down death row at midnight in some Victorian-era Australian gaol, a sliver of silver moon glinting through heavy iron bars. The drums are the shuffle of ankle-chains, the vocals are of a man defeated, sweet and lilting but exhausted. Stark, quiet, and nihilistic, you’ll be sobbing in no time. There’s a Johnny Cash cover on American IV—Rick Rubin’s fuller production detracts from the overall sense of depression but does add the voice of a genuine dying man to the mix.
Remember, kids, it’s only tears that you’re crying. Next week we’ll take a look at Peter, Bjorn & John, Peter, Paul and Mary, and Suburban Kids With Biblical Names.

2 responses to “Five Songs To Get You Through The Night: The Messy Breakup

  1. Pingback: Nerds Do It Better » 100+ Resources to Get You Through a Break Up

  2. Pingback: The Ultimate Break Up Survival Guide: 50+ Breakup Resources : Love Hacks

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