Earlier this week, I did an entry that concentrated on my Top Five “Fuck You” Break-Up Songs. Since that entry I’ve had a few friends of mine ask me if there was anything that prompted the list, and I replied, truthfully, that nothing had really fueled it. I just heard one of them and thought about how much hate the writer of the song must have felt.
In an attempt to soften things up a bit, and give credit where credit is due, I’ve decided to end the week on a positive note concerning negative feelings. In other words, I’ve put together my list of the Top Five “Wow, This Person Is Really Hurting” Break-Up Songs.
These songs not only have great lyrical content, but the performers singing these particular songs are singing them in a way that makes them portray true heartache. Warning: it’s easy to cross the line here into “I’m in love with somebody who doesn’t love me” territory…I’ve tried to take that into serious consideration.
So once again, with a tip of the hat to my favorite movie, High Fidelity (which I may watch for the hundred-and-umpteenth time tonight), here are my Top Five “Wow, This Person Is Really Hurting” Break-Up Songs:
5-When Will I See You Again – Babyface: I really like Babyface (aka Kenneth Edmonds) a lot. I think he’s a great songwriter and a helluva guitar player. In this tune, he talks about a break-up and wonders if and when he will see his lover again so his heart can beat again. The killer line for me is in the very first verse of the song, because it refers to something we’ve all been told: “When does ‘you’ll get over it’ begin?”
4-You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’ – The Righteous Brothers: This tune is not only a classic Phil Spector production, but also a great tune lyrically. Written by Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil with Spector, it talks about how a guy can tell that something is wrong, but doesn’t want to face the obvious. At the end, he is literally begging her to reconsider. Bill Medley’s booming white-soul voice is incredibly convincing.
3-I Go To Pieces – Del Shannon: Peter and Gordon had the hit with this song, but Del wrote it, and does a better job singing it (he first recorded it in 1964 and re-recorded it just before he died in 1991). He keeps telling himself (literally, his body parts) that everything will be ok, but they don’t listen. “I tell my eyes look the other way, but they don’t seem to hear a word I say”. Your heart just bleeds for this poor dude.
2-She’s Gone – Daryl Hall & John Oates: Hall and Oates harmonize beautifully on this tune, and both of them sing like they just don’t have the energy to face another day. And that’s basically what the song is about…just going through the everyday motions because there’s nothing to really get excited about…because, of course, she’s gone. Finally, at the end, Daryl Hall just can’t take it anymore and wails!
1-Since I Lost My Baby – The Temptations: A Motown classic, written masterfully by songwriting genius Smokey Robinson with fellow Miracle Pete Moore, this almost makes me cry every time I hear it. David Ruffin was known for his gritty, soulful vocals…but on this track, he just sounds like he hasn’t got a friend in the world. In the middle eight, he starts pleading… “Next time I’ll be kinder, won’t you please help me find her.” (GOD Smokey, you are so awesome!) The line that totally kills me every time, appears as the song is fading, and Ruffin is wailing against the chorus until he finally cries “I’m lonely as can be…what’s going to happen to me?” Jesus, isn’t someone going to HELP this man?????
There you go. Send me your own top five break-up songs, whether they fit this category, or they’re more of the “fuck you” variety, as addressed earlier this week. Even if you have just one favorite (like Themer’s “Time For Me To Fly”…yeah, that Kevin Kronin est mui macho) let’s hear it!