Monday, April 23, 2012

Breakup songs

I am not a Glee fan. I like some of the musical numbers, but I can't stand the high school drama. So usually I DVR the shows and just have them run while I'm cooking dinner or something where I can't pay full attention to the TV. And I was doing that tonight with an episode from a couple weeks ago (I'm catching up) and the duet Blaine and his brother sing, "Someone That I Used to Know" caught my ear.

The lyrics, of course, make me think of the various breakups and estrangements from birth family (especially since it's two brothers singing, and I do have an older brother) and ex-lovers. But it was really the impassioned performance by the two leads and the instrumental arrangement that made me rewind and listen to it again.

I have kind of a thing for breakup songs. Sometimes they are the best songs, because maybe the artist was inspired by the fact that we sometimes feel love most intensely when it's freshly gone. Longing for something or someone is a powerful emotion that can be evoked through the right music. And even though a song might bring unpleasant memories to mind, some of them are so good that they can be enjoyed on their own merits.

So here's a list of my favorite breakup songs of the moment, in no particular order:

Somebody That I Used to Know by Gotye (featuring Kimbra) - I think the voices in the original version are more interesting than the American Idol-inspired Glee cast, and the video is pretty cool. Plus I think it works well as a duet.

Last Kiss by Taylor Swift - I love, love, love this song. It's probably my favorite of all her songs. Her lyrics of "I watch your life in pictures like I used to watch you sleep / And I feel you forget me like I used to feel you breathe" are the perfect description of breaking up in the Facebook world.

Forget Her by Jeff Buckley - This song is only available on the Legacy edition of Jeff's first album, "Grace" because he originally didn't want it released. It was too personal for him. After his death, his family and friends felt it deserved to be shared in its original form, instead of the imperfect bootleg copies that were already circulating.

Brighter by Paramore - This one reminds me most of Tara. Sometimes when you break up with someone, there's a part of you deep down that knows that maybe you just didn't deserve someone like them in your life. It's the second song after "Decode" that I really liked from this band. The lyrics are rough, ragged, unpolished - just like a breakup song should be.

It Ends Tonight by All American Rejects - I love the melodic line and the lyrical imagery in this song.

Don't Stay by Linkin Park - A hidden gem from the band's Meteora album, this is typical LP rap rock, but I love the visceral energy of the song. This one opens the Live in Texas concert on DVD.

Pictures of You by The Cure - This song actually reminds me of Agnieszka Prime, and not because we ever had a breakup. It actually reminds me of one of the happiest periods of my previous life, when we were together at the University of Houston. This was one of her favorite songs back then, and it's now one of mine.