They don’t write ’em like that anymore

Back in 1981, The Greg Kihn Band recorded a song called “The Break-up Song”, and the main hook to the lyric was “They don’t write ‘em like that anymore”.

I don’t know what made me think of it, but I was thinking about great break-up songs yesterday. Of course, being the typical male chauvinist that I am, I don’t go for the mushy break-up songs, where the guy is pouring his heart out because he lost his one and only. He can’t live without her…his world is over…he’ll never smile again. Now I’ll admit that there are some real tear-jerkers by female artists, too. But it’s usually the guys who are moaning over the loss of “the only girl they’ll ever love”. Puh-LEASE!

The kind of break-up songs I like are basically the ones I call “Fuck You” songs. The ones where the person is really angry over the break-up, mainly because the other person ripped out their heart and danced on it. This person isn’t moaning about lost love…they’re PISSED. They’re not going to call and say “let’s give it one more shot…I promise to be more what you want me to be”…they’re calling with bomb threats.

So I’m going to take a page from High Fidelity, which, in my humble opinion, is probably the best movie ever made, and I’m going to list my TOP FIVE “FUCK YOU” BREAK-UP SONGS:

We’ll start at number 5 and work our way up-

5-Run For Your Life – The Beatles: Only John Lennon could get away with a lyric like “Well I’d rather see you dead little girl than to be with another man.” In the chorus, he goes on to state “catch you with another man, that’s the end-da…little girl.” If I were her, I’d grow eyes in the back of my head, especially when with another man.

4-I’d Rather See You Dead – Pat Travers Band: It’s a very bold statement, but this dude has been HURT…thus the chorus “Well I’d rather see you dead…erase your memory from my head.” The clincher comes at the beginning of the second verse, where he states “You should have never had the chance…to play with my emotions”. Ouch!

3-Your Time Is Gonna Come – Led Zeppelin: Plant starts it out like a perfect blues song-“Lyin’, cheatin’, hurtin’, that’s all you seem to do.” After describing this cheatin’ woman, he starts throwing out the threats-“don’t care whatcha say ‘cause I’m goin’ away to stay, gonna make you pay for that great big hole in my heart.” Look out, woman.

2-The Very Last Time – Utopia: This actually sounds like a bouncy little number, until you hear the opening lyrics: “Sometimes I wonder if I’m still alive…how much abuse can someone stand and survive?” Further on in the song, he cries “Nobody knows how you treat me like dirt…nobody knows just how badly a man can hurt…you’ve got a lesson to learn!” This is one that I’ve always wanted to send to someone who tore out my heart and served it to me on a platter…along with our next two:

TIE FOR NUMBER ONE-These next two entries are so great I couldn’t decide which would go number one…so they both did. I’m not even going to comment on them…I’m just going to print the lyrics, and I hope you find them as tender as I do.

1-I Feel Better – John Entwistle:

When I’m feeling blue, I stick a pin in the picture of you beside my bed and I feel better
When I’m feeling sad, I remember that you were the worst lay I ever had and I feel better.
Don’t you try to tell me that I’m to blame
You’re the one that ought to feel ashamed
You can’t keep an animal that ain’t been tamed
You didn’t even know the fella’s name.

When I’m feeling down, I just throw the clothes that you left here around and I feel better.
When I’m feeling great, it’s only because I’m consumed with hate for you and I feel better.
(repeat chorus)
When I’m in the mood, I shout all the swear words that you thought were rude and I feel better
When I feel alone, I make obscene remarks on the telephone to you and I feel better.

(repeat chorus)

1-You’re Breakin’ My Heart – Nilsson:

You’re breakin’ my heart, you’re tearin’ it apart, so fuck you
All I want to do is have a good time, now I’m blue
You wanna boogaloo, run down to Tramps, have a dance or two–ooh!!
You’re breaking my heart, you’re tearin’ it apart, but fuck you
You’re breakin’ my heart, you’re tearin’ it apart…Ooh!!–ooh!!
You stepped on my ass, you’re breaking my glasses too
You wanna drive my car, buy a lot of stuff, I’ve had enough of you–ooh!!
I’m goin’ insane, there’s no one to blame, so fuck you
You’ve gotta have your way, there’s nothin’ left to say, there’s nothin’ left to do–ooh!!
You’re breakin’ my heart, you’re tearin’ it apart, so fuck you
You’ve gotta have your way, there’s nothin’ left to say, there’s nothin’ left to do–ooh!!
You’re breakin’ my heart, you’re tearin’ it apart, but I love you

At least there’s a happy ending!

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About groovyrick

I live in a small town in Illinois with my wife and three kids. I am a part-time musician, part-time writer, and full-time dreamer.
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12 Responses to They don’t write ’em like that anymore

  1. iandickinson says:

    Nice post…I think “Used to love her” by Guns n’ Roses would probably also qualify and there’s got to be some really good “Fuck you” blues songs out there…

  2. Themer says:

    You are kinda spicy lately, Halberg! I like this one. I distinctly recall belting out “Time for Me to Fly” in high school upon breaking up with my high school sweetheart. I know it’s not really as hard core as what you’ve got here, but at the time, it seemed like an anthem that could power me through the heartbreak. Plus, Kevin Cronin is just a badass…hahaha. 🙂

  3. I love that Harry Nilsson song! Another one for the pool would be “Positively 4th Street” by Bob Dylan, especially the last two verses:

    I wish that for just one time
    You could stand inside my shoes
    And just for that one moment
    I could be you.

    Yes, I wish that for just one time
    You could stand inside my shoes
    You’d know what a drag it is
    To see you.

  4. Love this list … totally downloading a few for “fuck-you at the gym” time (that’s when I ride the eliptical like there’s no tomorrow, thinking about how much better off I am now!).

    And that Bob Dylan song mentioned above — classic! 😉

  5. Richard says:

    Granted, this is a relatively new entry, but destined to become a classic? It is quite well done, “gets in your head”, and truly — all the swearing is really very satisfying!

    If the link doesn’t work, it’s called F**K You by Cee Lo Green.

    • groovyrick says:

      Thanks for posting Richard…I like what I’ve heard by Cee Lo Green, but haven’t heard this one…I’ll check it out!

      • Richard says:

        The song is actually better without the video. In looking at others’ comments, my pick seems awfully shallow and lacks all nuance. Still, there is something really f**king satisfying about just cranking it up and letting it loop!

  6. Richard says:

    The song by itself is better than the video. Ib reading others’ comments, my addition seems rather shallow and lacks all nuance. Still, it’s pretty f**king satisfying to crank it up and let it loop!

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