Written by: Catastrophe Waitress, Special to CC2K
CC2K's Catastrophe Waitress collected the best of the music of pain for everybody who went to bed last night without a Valentine.
Nazareth said it best: “love hurts.” Are you still pissed off, lonely and bitter after Valentine's Day yesterday? If so, then I offer these nine anti-love songs. All of them are guaranteed to wring tears of pain and self-loathing from you, but don't worry – it's OK to cry. All of these artists have.
For your added convenience, I've ranked each of these songs on a color-coded scale based on how much they'll make you feel sorry for yourself. Here's a legend:
9. Soko – I’ll Kill Her
This song makes me think of that chick from The Breakfast Club who ate her fingernails and made pictures with dandruff. She was cute and quirky, but I was also sort of afraid of her. Similarly, Soko scares me a little. I think it’s because she wants to cut a bitch, and I believe her. She sounds sweet as an angel, with a tiny accent-laced voice; however, with lyrics like “I’ll kill her. I’ll kill her. She stole my future when she took you away,” there’s an undeniable candor that’s even creepier given her cool delivery. You know what they say fellas, and, um, ladies: watch out for the quiet ones.
Pity level: Green. Homegirl is PISSED. And possibly packing heat. Listen to it below:
8. Jens Lekman – I’m Leaving You Because I Don’t Love You
It’s hard to argue with honesty, even if the honest one has just verbally punched you in the heart. “I don’t love you” ranks right up there with the parental “I’m disappointed in you,” proof that the most painful words are often spoken by the people that you hold in highest regard. But when Lekman tells his asthmatic girl that he’s sorry he couldn’t love her enough he seems so genuinely remorseful that I wonder who’s suffering more, the dumped or the dumper.
Pity level: Green. Lekman achieves the near-impossible: composing an “it’s not you, it’s me (well, it’s sort of you)” break-up song that makes girls swoon. Maybe it’s a Swedish thing.
7. The Magnetic Fields – I Think I Need a New Heart
Here’s a new dating strategy I was not aware of: instead of being charming and agreeable, advise the object of your affection that you have many character flaws, including a perpetual fear of commitment and an inability to express feelings of love. Better yet, write a song about it. Then when that special someone accuses you of being a detached robot, point to the boombox and say “Listen to that and tell me I’m not sensitive, you ungrateful cretin. By the way, I have to go now.”
Pity level: Blue. Like Lekman, Stephin Merritt is just being honest. Too honest, perhaps.
6. Amy Winehouse – You Know I’m No Good
Oh, girl … I know you’re no good. Do you want me to tell you why? Well, remember that episode of “Party of Five” when Bailey, dressed as a clown, falls drunkenly into a birthday cake and ruins a beautiful family moment (not to mention a delicious party confection)? That’s you, Amy. You are a boozy clown. And everyone knows that boozy clowns engage in lots of cheating sex. So here’s some advice: stop the boozin’, boozy.
Pity level: Blue. Winehouse is a misunderstood badass whose, um, personal activities are fueled by enough angst to inspire another five years of bluesy ballads. That is, if she survives another five years.
5. The Pogues with Kirsty MacColl – Fairytale of New York
Note: not a fairytale. The Pogues pay homage to their Irish roots by way of New York City, with this bittersweet tribute to failed relationships. It’s a boy-meets-girl-meets-singing-drunks story, full of sincere regret and plenty of vicious insults. Where most Christmas songs warm the heart, “Fairytale” reminds normal couples that it’s better to have a closet filled with L.L. Bean polar fleece vests than to have a closet filled with skeletons.
Pity level: Yellow. Although it occasionally evokes the spirit of a rejected Rent duet, “Fairytale” is a demonstrable classic for the unhappily ever afters.
4. The Mountain Goats – No Children
What makes this kiss-off song special is the frank “fuck you, and fuck me too” attitude. Our musical anti-hero lays the blame thick but spreads it evenly, acknowledging that it takes two miserable people to dance the miserable tango of misery. In the end, no one is innocent, no one is happy, and everyone, presumably, dies: “You are coming down with me, hand in unlovable hand. And I hope you die. I hope we both die.” Clearly, a win-win scenario.
Pity level: Yellow. Bonus pity points for being an equal opportunity defamer, but negative points for being a total slit-your-wrists downer.
3. Joy Division – Love Will Tear Us Apart
A song for those of us that are unable to learn from our mistakes and continue to make the same mistakes over and over and over and over … and over again. However, it raises this question: if it’s only going to end badly, then why bother? Why, indeed.
Pity level: Orange. Love causes otherwise smart people to do foolish things and this song makes sure that we’re well aware of that fact.
2. Sinead O’Connor – Nothing Compares 2 U
I can’t talk about “Nothing Compares 2 U” without mentioning the accompanying music video because so much of the song’s gloom is attributed to O’Connor’s face and that infamous tear. Although, I’m not entirely sure why the video is so moving, because most of the imagery (the dead leaves, empty stairs and large classical sculpture) reads like a Film Student’s Guide to Visual Poignancy. But for whatever reason, it works. It makes me sad about life and it makes me suspicious of optimistic medical professionals.
Pity level: Orange. Sinead channels every damn cliché and I still cried. Maybe it’s an Irish thing.
1. The Smiths – Well I Wonder
It’s impossible to choose one sad Smiths song because they’re all sad. Even the ones that aren’t sad sound sad. When Morrissey sings it’s like he’s asking us to pour rubbing alcohol into his gaping open wound, and we have no choice but to comply because, well, the man is suffering. In Moz World love and pain are synonymous; in the real world we may know better (probably not), but our masochistic tendencies always seem to trump reason. Besides, everyone dies alone.
Pity level: Red, obviously.
Special treat: Ted Leo covers Kelly Clarkson’s “Since U Been Gone” with a little “Maps” (Yeah Yeah Yeahs) thrown in.
Well, that's all I've got for now. If you listened to any of the songs on this list, I hope they helped, and take heart – there's always another Valentine's Day to dread.