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In which I think about the soundtrack to break-ups…

Last week Geoff and I saw the Barenaked Ladies in Manchester, NH. The concert was wonderful in so many ways. Since then I’ve been listening to their new CD Barenaked Ladies Are Me. There are a bunch of great tracks on the disc. I’m really in love with Sound of Your Voice, Easy and Take It Back.

But the song that keeps sticking in my head is Wind It Up. It’s a break-up song with these great lyrics:

If you are leaving then I wish you luck
I hope someone can make your heart warm
I was a baby when I learned to suck
But you have raised it to an art form.

This got me thinking of the great break-up songs around. I’m not talking about the “I’m so sad” type songs; I’m talking about the “I’m so mad” type songs, the “Gloria Gaynor’s I Will Survive” type songs. I never thought the sad, sappy songs helped anyone. I think in times of a breakup you need to be singing the screw-you songs.

These are some of my favorites:

  • Alanis Morissette’s You Oughta Know: “It was a slap in the face how quickly I was replaced / Are you thinking of me when you fuck her?"

  • Richard Shindell’s Are You Happy Now?: “Though I know it's hard to tell / I hope that what's-his-name treats you well / I still maintain that he's a bum / But it's your money - have some fun / And are you happy now?”

  • Liz Phair’s Divorce Song: “And the license said you had to stick around until I was dead / But if you're tired of looking at my face, I guess I already am.”

  • Ani DiFranco’s Untouchable Face: “So fuck you / and your untouchable face / and fuck you / for existing in the first place / and who am I / that I should be vying for your touch / and who am I / I bet you can't even tell me that much.”

This reminds me of these great calling-off-the-engagement cards I saw the other day from Other Announcements. The front of the card said, “Single.” Inside it said, “Picked the wrong guy. Gave him the wrong finger.”

While addressing those cards, I’d suggest turning the stereo up and singing loudly to one of the above songs.