Break-Up Songs Of The Late Twentieth Century

It’s been 15 days and several hours, since I put a post up here.
If that first line reminded you of a song written by Prince and sung by Sinéad O’Connor then well done, it was totally deliberate. As far as ear worms go that one isn’t a bad one. The album it was released on is 24 years old! I must confess to loving the earlier album The Lion and The Cobra with its rawness and passion and anguish writ large but I Do Not Want What I Haven’t Got is full of more crafted and produced pieces that still manage to capture the chaos that is Sinéad and the beauty of her voice.
I’m not sure what this post is about but the fact that it’s been just over two weeks since my last post prompted the paraphrasing of Nothing Compares To You. I think I sang that song with feeling but without pathos. There was no-one that I was missing enough to be singing that about in 1990. I’m sure it was thousands, maybe millions, of people’s break-up songs but I wasn’t one of them.
Ah, break-up songs. That’s an idea. Oh, the highest rotation album for break-up songs for me was Melissa Etheridge’s self titled first album. It’s ironic that, at that stage, she was writing about a woman leaving her for another woman and I was singing it and listening to it about a man leaving me for another woman. It’s testament to the power of her words that they reached into my psyche then, or just that I was 19 years old and hurt, hurt, hurt! Now, of course, I love a woman, am married to one, and my break-up anguish over that man is long forgotten.
When I went through my last break-up
Melissa Etheridge was long packed away (I had it on tape) and instead I turned to a young singer from Germany, of Nigerian heritage, called Ayo, and her 2006 album called Joyful. The song Down On My Knees is far from joyful and suited my mood in mid 2007, one of fear and confusion. A long term relationship, that I had thought would continue forever, had ended with betrayal. I tried to be adult and mature about it all, accepting the decision of my loved one, but this song spoke about my inner monologue, the one I daren’t let out. Ayo was writing and singing about a man, I was grieving the loss of a woman. See, irony again.
I’m sure I’ve left a trail of break-up songs behind me, I’ve more often been the leaver rather than the left. I hope to never have to find another one. I’m fairly certain that my wife would prefer that too, we’ve made our commitment for our whole lives and we have every intention of seeing it through.
What have your break-up songs been?

As a short addendum I wish to say that my mother went through a phase of playing You’ll Never Walk Alone over and over again after my father died. This wasn’t her break-up song, it was her grieving song. I think there’s a close correlation but that ultimately a break-up song is situation specific but the grieving song (or songs) are often songs that have had significance in the relationship throughout. That’s my observation, for what it’s worth.


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