Tuesday, July 15, 2008

For the Breakers



For the Breakers
1. So Sorry, Feist
2. Cry Me a River, Justin Timberlake
3. Goodbye Honey, Ryan Adams
4. Think Long, Mates of State
5. Hungry Heart, Bruce Springsteen
6. Fake Plastic Trees, Radiohead
7. Ain't That Lonely Yet, Dwight Yoakam
8. Just the Way It Is, Baby, The Rembrandts
9. If You Love Somebody, Set Them Free, Sting
10. I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For, U2
11. Seeing Things, The Black Crowes
12. Perfect, Smashing Pumpkins
13. Serious, Richard Hawley
14. Dolphins, Beth Orton and Terry Callier
15. Dear Chicago, Ryan Adams
16. Here's Where the Story Ends, The Sundays

I put together a mix this morning, in the context of some other work I'm doing...but I found this mix so interesting that I wanted to post it here. This one is called For the Breakers, and I call it that because it is half of a two-part set about breaking up. If you're keeping up, then, this mix is for the Breaker, that (sonuva)bitch who rips your heart out of your chest, stomps it, and throws it in the trash compactor. Yeah, here's to that guy.

Why, you ask? Well, I suppose just because being a heartbreaker, when you think about it, is one of the more complex activities human beings partake in. At it's basest level, breaking up with someone is the act of hurting someone you care a great deal for, and, hey, that's complex. You're sorry, but also relieved (to be moving forward); you're a slight bit upset with yourself for having to hurt someone (and probably for having made a bad decision in the first place) but also feel a need to console and be gentle with yourself, because it's hard on everyone. It's happy and sad and easy and hard and it's something they should have robots do for us (like how they take care of nuclear waste and our other messes.)

Consequently, the music on a mix for these daring heartbreakers has to be equally confused and conflicted. On "So Sorry" Feist sings that she is sorry, but never thinks to say it until after her Other has departed; Justin Timberlake is actually the one who has been dumped, but he has turned his own heartbreak into completely danceable rage. On "Goodbye Honey" Ryan Adams moves effortlessly betwixt feelings: "It's been a long time coming / And I won't miss you / It's been a long time comin' / And I ain't I blue?" "Think Long" by Mates of State has always sounded, to me, like my ex-girlfriend yelling at me, and Bruce Springsteen's "Hungry Heart" lays these contradictions bare, carving from the desperate abstractions we usually use to cloak such hard emotion a more concrete and devastating narrative form. Dwight Yoakam, U2, the Crowes and the Pumpkins weigh in on the situation, and then Ryan Adams shows up to show us that, ultimately, the Breaker never really escapes unscathed:

The wind's feelin' real these days
Yeah and baby it hurts me some
Never thought I'd feel so blue
New York City you're almost gone

I think that I've fallen out of love
I think, I've fallen out of love
I think, I've fallen out of love
With you.

2 comments:

alison said...

sort of in this same vein, i think you should create an "unrequited love" mix for me, since i'm currently in a relatively odd situation that involves a lot of pining.

Steve said...

Alison, I've already got an unrequited love mix made up. Maybe I'll post it soon???

You're pining after garbage, aren't you?