Ever since men and women set eyes upon each other at the beginning of time, there have been break-ups, and painful dissolutions of romantic escapades have made the best art in the world. Hell, somewhere in the world there is a probably a cave painting of a pretty young Neanderthal girl with devil horns and a tail drawn on her in disgust. The entire blues genre is based on the fact that men and women generally can't get along. That, and various demonic possessions of said females.
Love lost is an artistic aphrodisiac. A feeling as intoxicating as love is bound to have a heady emotional hangover. That's why Sunny 99.1 FM and happy hours at dive bars were invented. Entire albums have been recorded post break-up. To slap Bob Dylan's Blood on the Tracks
on your turntable is to delve deep into the emotional pit that the man saw himself as his marriage to wife Sara fell apart. Marvin Gaye's Here, My Dear went one step further, with Gaye opening the album a sarcastic dedication to his ex-wife Anna Gordy, older sister of Motown founder Berry Gordy.
Here is our list of Rocks Off's favorite break-up songs.We promise, no more George Strait...
Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, "It'll All Work Out":
One of Petty's most heartwrenching songs, it was originally off of 1987's Let Me Up (I've Had Enough)
! but we discovered it on the soundtrack for Cameron Crowe's Elizabethtown.
Wilco, "At Least that's What You Said":
This one is from Wilco's tragically underrated A Ghost Is Born
. For the most part it deals with the family toll his prescription drug addiction took on his marriage, but it also perfectly captures that helpless and desperate feeling you get when the ship is sinking and the lifeboats have already been used as firewood.
Beck, "Lost Cause":
This track came off Beck's Leonard Cohen-esque Sea Change
album, which chronicles the musician's break from his longtime girlfriend. It was alleged that she had cheated on him regularly, and the record deals his basically being the last to know.
Eagles of Death Metal, "Already Died":
Jesse "The Devil" Hughes of Eagles of Death Metal sings this blues-punk stomper with all the hurt gusto of a man scorned. "I'm glad we're friends/ 'Cause we're hateful as lovers" sums up most of mankind's worst breaks.
Rolling Stones, "All About You":
Keith Richards sings lead on this track, the last cut off the technotronic Emotional Rescue
album. It's the odd duck out on the album, and pure Keef through and through. The lyrics are said to doubly condemn the rocky relationship he was just ending with Anita Pallenberg and the professional one he had with Mick Jagger. It's vicious for sure, with a line like "You're the first to get laid, always the last bitch to get paid" sticking out like a bloody dagger.
Ben Folds & Regina Spektor, "You Don't Know Me":
It would be easy for us to like this song merely for the simply fact that the video stars Tim & Eric from Adult Swim. But it's the innate pop sensibility that seems to emanate from Folds and Spektor that helps this song make our list. Nobody has ever made parting so bitterly hilarious.
Michael Jackson, "She's Out of My Life":
This isn't on here because MJ just shuffled off this mortal coil. Hell, if he were still alive it would probably be here anyway. Our favorite use of the song is in Albert Brooks' painfully truthful break-up comedy Modern Romance
, as he drives through Los Angeles and his stoic exterior crumbles when the song comes on the car radio.
New Order, "Leave Me Alone":
If Joy Division was the bitter end personified in lead singer Ian Curtis, then at least New Order gave you some lyrical hope that you would survive the split with your life and sanity. This song has been just one of the cuts on the soundtrack to one too many sad romantic moments for Rocks Off.
Smashing Pumpkins, "Perfect":
This comes from the band's 1998 release Adore
, which was steeped in death and loss, a radical departure from the beautiful and angsty double album Mellon Collie & The Infinite Sadness
. "Perfect" is three minutes of honesty and heart and never forgetting what the two of you had at one time. Corgan sings "We just can't pretend / that lovers make amends" and a rush of calm rushes over your downtrodden brain.
Johnny Cash "Life Goes On":
A slab of epic love life help from God himself, Mr. Cash. If Rocks Off could, he would get all of the Man in Black's best lines tattooed on him somewhere (and has already started, actually). The Bible is cool and all, but Cash is the Truth. As the last verse reminds us "For after night there comes the dawn/ Yes, time goes by and life goes on," no matter how unimaginable or unthinkable that may be.