Thursday, February 18, 2010

Compulsive Chronicles #13: Heartbreakers


Compulsive Chronicles is an ongoing music column with SPOKE(a)N(e) Magazine. This month, I talked about Ryan Adams’ brand of heartache. Here are some of my favorite heartbreakers by other artists:

1. “Two Little Girls” by Ani DiFranco
So I guess I’ll just stand here with my back against the wall
while you distill your whole life into one 911 call


Here, Ani sings about the heartbreak of addiction and watching the ones we love waste away. She wants to be supportive, but it has come to the point where she no longer knows how. Even if you’ve never had a friend or loved one with a drug addiction, most of us know someone with self-destructive tendencies. They ask for advice, for attention, yet they never want to hear your authentic response.

2. “Don’t Change Your Plans” by Ben Folds Five
All I know is I’ve gotta be
where my heart says I oughta be
It often makes no sense, in fact
I never understand these things, I feel


This is a big swell of a song that comes at a crossroads, a couple who may love each other, but their lives are taking different directions. She’s moving to L.A., and he knows he won’t be happy if he follows. Sometimes relationships don’t end because one person has wronged another — they just run their course, and while the end is difficult, it’s ultimately the most healthy decision.

3. “For No One” by The Beatles
And in her eyes, you see nothing
No sign of love behind the tears
Cry for no one
A love that should have lasted years


A perfect example of the one-sided breakup — One person desperately loves the other, wants to hang on, but the other no longer feels the same way. She says he’s not the same person anymore, that she no longer needs him, and he has trouble believing it. This is one of my favorite songs on Revolver, and one of my favorite Beatles songs overall.

4. “Flowers and Football Tops” by Glasvegas
Police on my left and right
My son’s not coming home tonight
Baby, they don’t need to show
It’s over, I know


This is perhaps one of the most honest, least cloying examples of the heartache that comes from losing a child. The flowers and football tops of course refer to the funeral, all the son’s mates gathered round to pay their tributes. Whatever trouble he got himself into caught up with him, and one gets the impression that while his mother is devastated, his death is not completely unexpected.

5. “Rocking Chair” by Oasis
It’s hard enough being alone,
sitting here by the phone,
waiting for my memories to come and play


Noel Gallagher doesn’t spend much time wallowing in sadness, but he is prone to fits of nostalgia. This B-side from “Roll With It” is one of the most heartbreaking, lovely songs in their catalogue, and Liam’s raspy voice is absolutely perfect here. I wish they had played it live more often, as Liam has mentioned it’s one of his favorites as well. It’s such a shame we won’t hear these two paired together in such a brilliant way again.

Illustration by Grace Habein

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