Let me take you back a few years. Wes and I were freshly engaged and discussing wedding favors. As we are both very musically inclined people (both playing and listening) we tossed around the idea of handing out burned CD’s of our favorite songs. When we discussed which songs were meaningful to us, however, we realized that all of “our songs” were break-up songs.
Granted, Wes and I broke up (or came close to it) more than once during the three years we dated before getting married. Even bearing this in mind, we decided against sending people home from our wedding with a CD full of songs about loss and angst. Due to our teeny tiny budget and the attraction of convenience we decided that Hershey’s Kisses sprinkled on the tables would have to suffice for wedding favors. Who doesn’t like chocolate?
At the time, I was too busy to contemplate why our favorite songs were break-up songs. While listening to Damien Rice (who is just chock-full of angst), however, I got to thinking about why some of Wes and I’s favorite songs are about breaking up. I think what it essentially boils down to is the expression of genuine emotion in song.
Love songs, by and large, are trite and meaningless. For the most part they sound like they could have been written by smitten middle-schoolers. How could a song populated by stale platitudes possibly convey the depth of feeling you experience for your one great love?
Break-up songs, however, usually convey a huge depth of feeling. It’s much easier to write about loss and misery than it is to express joy and happiness. Maybe break-up songs are easier to write because it’s easier to describe something you’ve lost than it is to describe something that’s very close to you.
If I had to posit a theory about why Wes and I claim so many break-up songs as “our songs” I would say that the way these song-writers feel about their lost loved-ones accurately describes how Wes and I feel about each other (except without the lost part). Their loss enables them to clearly view what they once had and the ensuing perspective is what Wes and I empathize with.
Now that Wes and I are happily married and in no danger of breaking up what we really have a need for is an artist who can convey with pathos the frustration of no toilet paper left on the roll and rolled-up socks in the laundry basket…