February 14, 2012

Five Songs: The Chemicals Are Wearing Off

Careful readers of this blog understand, I hope, that my utter disdain for Valentine's Day truly is directed towards the marketing juggernaut which feeds therefrom.  I have grown extremely cynical about the odd, off-tasting, placeholder emotions associated with, oh, socially mandated tacky jewelry; I have no use for I Can't Believe It's Not Romance. (Comparing something to margarine is just about the worst insult I have in my arsenal, by the way.)  But I'm not cynical about actual love, amazingly, all considered.  When all goes right, 'tis like butter.

But today, we celebrate Valentine's Day in the Secondmost manner, whining mightily about empty commercialized sentiment while fondly anticipating the deeply-discounted candy of February the 15th.  In our so-contrarian-we're-idealist way, SMLTS presents some great breakup songs.  Hope you're not there today, but we've all been there.

Ben Folds 

To put it mildly, the Ben-Folds-songs-about-relationship-disasters bench is deep.  And no wonder...  if suffering breeds art, and the erstwhile Mr. Folds is on his fourth marriage, it's pretty obvious that dude has some material to work with.  This entry from 2001's Rockin' The Suburbs packs some spiky emotion in lovely, soft, melodic packing material.   (Sorry about the ad--you should be able to skip it pretty early on.)

Duke Ellington Orchestra with Rosemary Clooney

An ode par excellance to the "you'll be sorry!" phase of a breakup, written by Pittsburgh's very own, very extraordinary Billy Strayhorn.  Another tough call, but I'm picking the version from the wildly unappreciated Blue Rose album.

"Me Around"
Michael Penn

"The fire that this town can see/ Is me alight in effigy/ I suppose baby don't want me around."  Can't put one past this guy, huh?

Two minutes of sheer poppy bliss.  Really.

Sylvie Lewis

No luck finding this on YouTube, but hey, fun bar bet: Did you realize that MySpace still exists?  I'm embedding the player; I have a feeling that it's not going to play nice with NoScript, so here's a direct link if that doesn't work for you.

Anyway...  sit tight through the slow start--once this gets rolling, it's another delightful dollop of hurt wrapped up in nougat and dipped in chocolate.  (Sorry, distracted again by the thought of imminent half-price chocolate.)

Starsong…what became of us

"You're A Cad"
The Bird and the Bee

A tribute to a well-known definition of insanity.