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Glyph

Glyph is worse than some and better than others. He believes that life is just one damned thing after another, that only pop music can save us now, and that mercy is the mark of a great man (but he's just all right). Nothing he writes here should be taken as an indication that he knows anything about anything.

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102 Responses

  1. Avatar NewDealer says:

    I don’t know if they are break up songs per se but songs but heartache for sure:

    1. Do You Remember the First Time by Pulp

    2. September Girls by Big Star

    3. A Quarter to Three by Sleater-Kinney

    4. I Think I Need a New Heart by The Magnetic Fields

    5. I Know It’s Over by the Smiths

    6. Fourth of July by X

    7. See How We Are by X

    8. Acoustic Guitar by the Magnetic Fields

    9. Born on a Train by the Magnetic Fields

    10. Chicago New York by the Aislers Set

    11. Disco 2000 by Pulp

    12. Can’t Stand Losing You by the PoliceReport

  2. Avatar Chris says:

    When I first moved to Austin, there was a local band that was huge here called Blue October (I understand they got a bit of national fame a couple years later, so you may have heard of them). Just as we moved here, my son’s mother and I split up, and one night I got really drunk when this song came on the juke box at the little bar I was sulking in:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oGRMphb1Fj4

    It is not a very good song, but when you’re drunk, and in the middle of wallowing in your sorrow-anger at a fresh breakup, and you hear “You’re not the one with all the problems, she’s the one that’s full of shit. So just pick your head up boys and walk away, walk the coolest walk that you know. In a month or two she’ll call you; you gotta hang up the phone!” it hits a spot. I’ve had a couple really painful breakups since then, and that song always gets played with the Johnny Walker.

    Also, I was just listening to this:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LpOt2U8JwNo

    I think it’s a breakup song, but I’m not really sure. Maybe just an unrequited love song?Report

    • Avatar Chris in reply to Chris says:

      OK, I just listened to that Blue October song for the first time in a really, really long time, and I gotta, a.) it’s not very good, and b.) it is pretty much the perfect breakup song anyway.Report

      • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Chris says:

        I will always love that song. {singing} “You’re not the one with all the problems, you’re the one with all the pride….”

        They hit the big time with “Calling You” when it got on one of the American Pie soundtracks. Humorously, people thought it was a song about love rather than an obsessive personality disorder.Report

      • Avatar Glyph in reply to Chris says:

        It’s…not great.Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to Chris says:

        Glyph, no, it’s not, but I actually think that helps in a particular situation. The song is so simple that you don’t have to think about it, which in a moment that tends to be characterized by thinking about stuff way, way, too much, is pretty much what you need. And it’s telling you precisely what you need to hear in that moment. When you’re sober and a bit less filled with self-pity, you won’t need it anymore.Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to Chris says:

        Will, I thought I remembered them “making it,” at some point in the early Aughts, but I wasn’t sure. I just remember that when I first moved here, they were pretty much the talk of the town, along with Vallejo and Dynamite Hack (famous for their “Boyz in the Hood” cover). Both Blue October and Vallejo had that feeling that they were on the verge, so everyone was trying to get close to them.

        With Vallejo, who never did make it really, this created some really awkward situations later. I remember an interview they did maybe 3 or 4 years ago in which they basically explained what happened back then (I think they put out an LP and it didn’t sell when in some pilot cities or something), and how hard it was to face all the people in Austin who were convinced they were going to be famous, so they just sorta dropped out for a few years. I imagine that feels a little bit like a breakup in a sense.Report

  3. Avatar greginak says:

    It’s To Late by Bob Mould…great song, great artistReport

  4. Avatar greginak says:

    Tulsa Telephone Book by Calexico it a great song. It is an ending song of a sort although more about profound loneliness.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M-dSXsqHXOo

    In a much older vein, Roll Me Away by Bob Seger is also good.Report

  5. Avatar Jaybird says:

    You people are surprisingly healthy.

    I had a roommate in college who, after his breakup, listened to “Patience” for two days straight, locked in his room. His mom was getting ready to break in and put him on suicide watch when he came out, took a shower, and was himself again.

    For my part, I listened to Quadrophenia.

    Thankfully, I haven’t needed to listen to any of those songs for a good, long time… but thinking about what I’d probably find comfort in, there are different categories. In the “wandering eye”, category, I’m thinking a number of rap songs would do the trick… foremost among which would be Eminem’s “Superman”. But if I were healthier than that, I suppose One EskimO’s “Kandi” would be a good one. If the breakup were my fault (and why wouldn’t it be?), there’s Broken by Seether and pretty much anything by Staind.Report

    • Avatar Glyph in reply to Jaybird says:

      You know, we’d broken up some time before (and many, many times before that) but I was really thrown for a loop when I found out my first ‘real’ girlfriend was getting married. She told me that if I said the word, if I thought there was any chance for us, she’d call it off.

      And in that confused couple days, I went from thinking U2’s “Lemon” was a completely ridiculous song, to thinking it was sort of a profound one.

      Something about that line “Midnight is where the day begins” really got to me.Report

    • Avatar Chris in reply to Jaybird says:

      It seems like too many of us are too far removed from painful breakups to come up with good lists.

      I could tell you some stories, though.Report

      • Avatar Glyph in reply to Chris says:

        Let’s tell stories then! I’ll start.

        OK, this one isn’t all that painful for me, but it came up recently in the cross-racial dating thread. I mentioned that I dated a black girl for a little while, but it didn’t work out. She was tall, beautiful, and a comic-book-collecting kickboxer.

        I know, right? Me? This is great!

        I was a little nervous about whether her family would be OK with her dating a white guy, but she assured me “honey, at my age, they’ll just be relieved to know that I’m not a lesbian.” Well, OK then.

        Anyway, we’d been seeing each other for a little while, and we were driving past the shopping plaza where we’d had one of our first dates (I forget what movie we’d seen there, but I do recall that as we’d walked through the parking lot, we got shouted at by some doofuses in a truck, “jungle fever!” – this plaza was in an area of recent suburban sprawl that I later learned had quite a reputation for having some unreconstructed rednecks about, who liked to do things like threaten/beat up gay/trans kids for fun. So while at the time we’d shrugged it off, later I came to find out that incident could have turned more serious than we’d thought).

        Sorry, got off track. So anyway, we were driving past Target. This was just before Mother’s Day, and the parking lot was packed. And she sniffed and made a derisive comment, something like “Look at all the people getting gifts for their mommas at Target.” Just really snobby.

        And I was kind of taken aback, and I said something like, “so what? My mom would be happy to get something from Target for Mother’s Day. She’d be happy I thought to get anything.”

        And she said, her voice just dripping with scorn, “I would NEVER get my mom a gift from Target for Mother’s Day. That’s just low-class.”

        And just like that, a switch in me flipped. I was done. I have never had a tolerance for snobbishness (though I have been accused of it myself from time to time).

        I dropped her off that night, knowing that this was not a relationship that was going to work. I stopped calling her.

        Well, I found out from friends that she was apparently really upset about this. She’d really liked me, and I had given her no reason for breaking contact – which I felt bad about, but I didn’t really know how to articulate, “I think you’re a snob, and I can’t stand snobby people!” It’s not like she’d DONE anything wrong, it just seemed like a trait she had, that I wouldn’t be able to overlook, and the idea of spending time with her had lost its appeal.

        Maybe a year later, she got into a pretty bad car accident, and I heard about it and went to go visit her; and she was (understandably) really cold to me; and I STILL didn’t explain myself, because now seemed like an even worse time to try to bring it up, what with her being temporarily bed-ridden and all (she was going to eventually be OK, but with some scarring).

        So I guess I was sort of a jerk; but somehow I thought that calling her a snob, would have made me feel like more of a jerk. I dunno.Report

      • Avatar NewDealer in reply to Chris says:

        Thanks…….Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to Chris says:

        ND, heh… I didn’t mean anything by that.

        Glyph, I can imagine it is pretty hard to tell someone you don’t want to see them anymore because they’re a snob, at least when you don’t dislike them otherwise.

        I’ve had some relationships end really badly (5 that were really, really painful, one of them being a death, not mine obviously), but most of mine have ended in a way similar to the one you described — not with a bang, but with an awkward whimper.

        I find myself trying to tell one of the awkward whimper stories, but chickening out (it’s pretty embarrassing).Report

    • Avatar wg in reply to Jaybird says:

      Speaking of unhealthy breakups: Jimi Hendrix – Hey Joe

      Report

  6. Avatar Cascadian says:

    Dylan’s Ddon’t Think Twice and He Stopped Loving Her Today if you’re really into the schmaltz.Report

  7. Avatar Anne says:

    Richard and Linda Thompson Walking on a wire

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7o3h7eyVRp8

    Actually the whole album Shoot out the Lights made all the more tragic by the fact they were divorcing during the tourReport

  8. Avatar krogerfoot says:

    Aloha’s “I Don’t Know What Else to Do Lately” is a nice example of the genre. Plus if unjustly unknown bands plucks some tragic heartstrings, they have that in spades.

    Pixies’ “Something Against You” captures the articulateness I usually express in these situations.

    Tempted” by Squeeze tells the story from the bad guy’s view, but holds up exactly the most excruciating details of the breakup process – “I bought a toothbrush, some toothpaste, a flannel for my face . . .” Plus the singing is so classy the monocle falls right off my stupid face when I listen to it.Report

    • Avatar Glyph in reply to krogerfoot says:

      Hey, that Aloha’s pretty good! And Pixies were of course genius (though I am on record as saying that this whole “Kim’s out, but we’re still Pixies” thing is total BS).

      “Tempted” is SO IRRITATING. I’ll never understand at what point repetition crosses over from “meditative/transcendent/catchy” to “makes me want to strangle someone”, but “Tempted” crossed that line miles ago. And it’s not even all that long a song!Report

      • Avatar Glyph in reply to Glyph says:

        Listening to “Tempted” now, what strikes me is that the chorus in particular is just really melodically and rhythmically (that is, the actual syllables of the lyrics “da-da-da-da-da-da-da-DAA-da) simple and straightforward – the band is playing and singing the hell out of it, because they are great musicians, but I just don’t think it’s that interesting the first time, and then they keep going back to it. Again and again.

        In the hands of your friend – if he played you this song that he was working on – you’d tell him to go back and work on it some more. I shudder to think of what this song sounds like in the hands of cover bands.Report

      • Avatar Glyph in reply to Glyph says:

        Speaking of Shudder to Think and choruses that are not melodically simple and straightforward, holy crap, I had no idea there was a video for this:

        Report

      • Avatar Krogerfoot in reply to Glyph says:

        Hmm, so you’re saying that if your friend had been writing one of the great pop songs of the last thirty years, you’d have tried to talk him out of it? You seem like such a nice young man otherwise, and correct about Shudder To Think also.Report

      • Avatar Glyph in reply to Glyph says:

        “Sounds like a hit!” is not always a compliment.Report

      • Avatar Krogerfoot in reply to Glyph says:

        I don’t know, Glyph . . . you’re a good guy, and you fixed the formatting for me, but I don’t know if I can keep seeing someone who says something like that about Squeeze.

        Also, people who I have played my songs for have often told me “Sounds like a hit!” – one keystroke away from that, at least.Report

  9. Avatar Reformed Republican says:

    My favorite breakup song is <a href="http://youtu.be/7N5akOOlGTI&quot; Wide Open Road by The Triffids. With all of the sadness “How do you think it feels/ sleeping by yourself?/when the one you love, the one you love/is with someone else” mingled with a small amount of hope “Then it’s a wide open road/It’s a wide open road/And now you can go any place/that you ever wanted to go”Report

    • Avatar Glyph in reply to Reformed Republican says:

      I have tried and tried to get into that Triffids record, but have had no luck, aside from “Chicken Killer”, and that one mostly because how can you not love that chorus? Will have to try again.Report

      • Avatar Reformed Republican in reply to Glyph says:

        Chicken Killer is my least favorite song on the album. The chorus just seems silly, especially compared to the rest of the album (chicken killer? what?). It is not a silly song, it is actually as dark as everything else when you finally pay attention the rest of the lyrics, but my first impression still sticks with me when I hear it. I think the fact that it reminds me of the “Chicken Fisher”episode of South Park does not help.Report

  10. Avatar aaron david says:

    Because sometimes you just have to go.

    Morphine – Candy

    Report

  11. Avatar Kazzy says:

    Man, it’s been a LONG time since I needed “break up” music. More often than not, if I was self-indulging in my misery (which was relatively rare), I would listen to songs that had a particular resonance between the lady and I.

    I did have a friend once who wanted to break up with a girl via mix tape (it was high school and he was an asshole). He decided to use that American HiFi song “Flavor of the Week”.

    “You know that is about a girl that the singer is in love with but who is dating an asshole for whom she is just the ‘flavor of the week’.”
    “Really?”
    “Yea. Have you never listened to it?”
    “Well, I’ll just give her a note that I’m not the singer, I’m the other guy.”
    “Brilliant”.Report

    • Avatar Reformed Republican in reply to Kazzy says:

      More often than not, if I was self-indulging in my misery (which was relatively rare), I would listen to songs that had a particular resonance between the lady and I.

      Nothing quite like hearing the song that was used for an inscription inside your wedding band after you have gotten the divorce. “Nobody ‘Cept You” by 16 Horsepower (a Bob Dylan cover) in my case. Considering it is one of my favorite bands, that one comes up a lot. I have heard it enough times that it is usually not an issue, but sometimes, at just the right moment, it is accompanied by a flood of memories, both pleasant and unpleasant, simultaneously reliving a period of years in just a few minutes.

      Then it is over. Again.

      And life goes on. Again.Report

      • Avatar Glyph in reply to Reformed Republican says:

        an inscription inside your wedding band

        How did we get this far into this thread without this song?:

        I looked inside the ring we wear
        And I read myself to sleep
        I caught myself so captured there
        Deep inside those cavern eyes

        Oh my one, my one,
        You’ve broken me
        At the vow below the vine
        But where are you tonight?

        Report

    • Avatar Glyph in reply to Kazzy says:

      break up with a girl via mix tape

      That is definitely Doin’ It Rong, in every possible way. He should have been smacked for mixtape abuse.Report

  12. Avatar ScarletNumber says:

    Sigh. No one mentioned “The Break Up Song” by the Greg Kihn Band. They don’t write ’em like that anymore.Report

  13. Avatar Johanna says:

    I’ll add
    Crowds – Bauhaus
    Hurt by either NIN or Cash
    But Not Tonight – Depeche Mode
    Pink – So What (this brings out my inner bitch and I love to sing it)Report

    • Avatar Glyph in reply to Johanna says:

      Huh. I never pegged “But Not Tonight” (which is sort of a hidden DM gem) as a breakup song (but of course it probably is). I just figured it was a “happy to be alive, let’s throw the depressed goths for a loop” song (with a bit of addiction/sobriety subtext – which is of course its own sort of “breakup” song).Report

  14. Avatar NewDealer says:

    More options:

    1. I’m Waking Up to Us by Belle and Sebastian

    2. Johnathan David by Belle and Sebastian

    3. Bizarre Love Triangle by New Order

    4. Love Will Tear Us Apart by Joy Division

    5. The Size of Our Love by Sleater-Kinney

    Man, you picked a depressing topic. Next time do something like Blaze of Glory songs.Report

    • Avatar krogerfoot in reply to NewDealer says:

      Actually, “Bizarre Love Triangle” is a good start to another post I hope Glyph will write, Odd Titles that Mysteriously Make Great Songs Even Better. Another example being “Train In Vain.”Report

      • Avatar Glyph in reply to krogerfoot says:

        You know I love me some New Order, and the fact that their song titles appeared to be chosen at random, rarely appearing in the actual song, just added to my whole obsession (plus they usually wouldn’t put clear band pictures or lyrics on the sleeves, no interviews, etc.)

        I am definitely a fan of that mystery-cultivating thing, of trying to make the music (and the objects it was encoded on) into some sort of holy relics – occult transmissions.

        Though in the 90’s, it kind of got out of control. I didn’t (and don’t) mind all the techno aliases and “white labels” on the artists’ side – anonymity and pseudonymity being a long and hallowed tradition in electronic music (I have a couple records that are STILL mysteries, and variously attributed; seems Richard D. James is always a suspect) – but some DJ’s were covering up the labels on the records they spun and wouldn’t discuss them with each other or with clubbers (wanting to be the only one who knew about the record).

        That struck me as d*ckish.Report

  15. Avatar aaron david says:

    I thought about this all day, and I am just gonna leave this right here:

    Report

    • Avatar aaron david in reply to aaron david says:

      Dagnabit! I didn’t mean to drop a whole playlist…Report

      • Avatar Glyph in reply to aaron david says:

        Eh, if it’s all Ryan, it’s all good.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to aaron david says:

        Glyph, I’m curious what you think about this. In my view, Ryan Adams is on a par with the early Dylan. Song writing, instrumentation, presentation, (better!) vocals, output…. The guy is clearly … what’s the line from No Direction Home? … touched by God?

        Also, I’d like to hear your thoughts on the new jason isbell album. Or Jason generally. He’s also touched by God, but I think it was a smaller one.Report

      • Avatar Glyph in reply to aaron david says:

        Well, I’m not much of a Dylan fan, so I can’t say much about that comparison. I CAN say that I think Adams is stupidly-talented, and used to be ridiculously prolific, before he lost his damn mind. Mandy Moore? What?!

        I got to see him at the old Ryman on my birthday a few years back and it was awesome though. Backing band was the Cardinals, so it was maybe around 2005/Cold Roses?

        EDIT: Yeah, would have been 2005, we saw Luna at the Exit/Inn the same weekend, and that was their last tour. Report

      • Avatar Glyph in reply to aaron david says:

        And I haven’t heard the Isbell, but I like the DBT’s. I only got into them recently (for years, the jokey name and ugly cover art had scared me away), but I kind of went on a tear and picked up four or five records in quick succession.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to aaron david says:

        So … not a Ryan fanboy, then? I’m cool with that.

        Re: Isbell. The solo stuff is = in my opinion – much better than his work with DBT. It’s also better than DBT! Check out

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YARfJk-WmeY

        from the new album.Report

      • Avatar Glyph in reply to aaron david says:

        How would you define “fanboy”? I have all the Whiskeytown stuff (plus a good bootleg), and all the solo stuff up thru Easy Tiger…AND I TRAVELED TO NASHVILLE TO SEE HIM PLAY AT THE RYMAN ON MY BIRTHDAY.

        Does that seem like “casual fan” in your book?

        It just seems like around the time he got married (To Mandy! Moore!) that he started spinning his wheels a bit. He’s sort of settled into this samey folky groove.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to aaron david says:

        Well, from what I understand, around the time he got married to Mandy he was pretty well fucking insane. Drugs, for one thing. Insomnia, for another. His hearing was going – initially he thought he’d never be able to perform again. And then there’s the whole “crazy in love” thing.

        Ashes and Fire came out after all that stuff. It’s a pretty toned down album compared to his stuff with the Cardinals. But the song writing is as good as ever. At least to me.

        My intro to Ryan was Stranger’s Almanac which I saw in a used record shop and bought because of the cover art. Something was speaking to me.Report

      • Avatar Glyph in reply to aaron david says:

        To be clear, Mandy Moore may be a perfectly wonderful person. But to run with your Dylan analogy, if Bob’d married, I dunno, Twiggy or something…it would have seemed weird.

        Strangers Almanac is definitely the one I spin most.

        If you Google ‘Whiskeytown Drinking Games’ you can find that bootleg really easily (“Waiting to Derail” is intense). While technically illegal I’m sure, it’s been posted at the same site (who posts all kinds of bootlegs, usually with tacit approval from the artists) for years now and I get the impression that nobody’s really worried about it taking revenue from the band or label. If you don’t feel right downloading it, you can still give it a listen (the tracks are separated into playable/streamable mp3s).Report

      • Avatar Reformed Republican in reply to aaron david says:

        I thought it was crazier than Mandy Moore married Ryan Adams. She always had the Good Christian Girl image, and it seemed legit, which made it seem like a weird fit. I know that good girl/bad boy is something of a cliche, but they did not seem like they could be more opposite.

        That being said, why have they not performed together often? I have seen a single clip of them doing a duet of “Oh My Sweet Carolina,” but that is it.Report

      • Avatar Glyph in reply to aaron david says:

        Hmmmm….Maybe she’s his June Carter.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to aaron david says:

        Thanks or that RR. Pretty damn nice.Report

  16. Avatar dexter says:

    Rain by Candlebox
    Sitting on the dock of the bay by Otis Redding
    I’d rather go blind by Etta James
    Tracks of my tears by Smokey Robison and the Miracles
    Come on into my kitchen by Etta James or Jaj Mahal
    and if you’re in a cowboy state of mind:
    You’re too much for me by billie joe shaverReport

  17. Avatar Jaybird says:

    We might also do “Okay. The breakup is over. The other person is not coming back. Now… what songs are once again able to listen to?”

    Report

  18. Avatar NewDealer says:

    Broken Hearted Melody by Sarah Vaughan:

    Report

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