That has always been a problem with me. In the middle of a profile on The Jesus And Mary Chain for Creem I once wrote a page about being very drunk in the village and running into my ex and her current. Creem, god bless em, published it.
This blog is haunted by heartbreak as well. Alluded to but not quite dealt with my life puts the truth to the lie that time hels all wounds. Not really. Nah. Some times things never improve. You emotional wounds only partially heel or don’t heel at all. You are always limping away. And you love your life because it didn’t kill but you can’t rid yourself of the defeat. It permeats your writing.
I wrote numerous short stories and one full length novel and still can’t rid myself of the disease: the aching rot of self-loathing and self-pity. In the novel I gave the lost lover a happy ending of sorts. I followed him all the way to his death (actually I follow him to the afterlife but…) and have his last moments a flash backwards to the moment he began to lose the girl and had him fix it.
But ghost walks all over my writing now and perhaps I’m better for it. Believe it or not I’m a little kinder than I was in my youth.
Here is a list of the heart break songs I wrote: before she left me, during after, long after, angry, hurt… the whole lot. Use em carefully…
The Hell Of It – Paul Williams – Let’s start with an all encompassing put down, a look into the vapid blackness of another persons soul. “Roll on thunder, shine on lighning, the days are long and the nights are frightening and nothing matters any way and that’s the hell of it?” The song is from the parodic soundtrack to Phantom Of The Paradise but it isn’t funny. I think he is singing about me but like I said, self-loathing goes with the territory.
People That Are Going To Hell – The Vandals – This one is for her and how musch it is for her because it is a very fun punk thrash but it is only deadly serious take about everlasting punishment. Perfect for a good catholic girl, “… with no discussion and no repercussions and they get away scott free. But that’s not the case you see, and I’m glad to tell, when their lives are over and they’ve done what they’ve done they’re the people who are going to hell.” god loves us the bandals claim at the end of the live version.
Fake Friends – Joan Jett and the Blackhearts- From Joanie’s the flawless follow up to I Love Rock And Roll, Album, her shining moment on a set of songs which goes from one height to another, a hard rock pop gem rebuff to all the hanger onners who rediscovered after she hit the charts with a vengence in the early 1980s. It’s like Gary Glitter leading the Runaways if the Runaways were much better musicians.
Burning Photographs – Ryan Adams – Another angry song from a very New York album. Anger isn’t only an energy, it is also as obvious a reaction to pain as tears are. On this song not does Adams only show enormous prescience with his “If I had a car I’d drive it into a bank I owed money to” he also lies to himself with “I used to be sad now I’m bored with you”, he cuts her photograph out of magazines and burns em.
Dig A Pony – The Beatles – I love this song most for Harrison’s guitar break -it is just a lick but it kicks the song through the roof. A pure musical expression of Lennon’s ode to Ono and though lennon appears to be wordy he really can’t explain his feelings for her: Lennon just finds strangely beautiful metaphor and when asked why comes up with “Becauuuuuse…” McCartney has some of the greatest harmonies of his life here.
The Late Show – Jackson Browne – Off late for the Sky -I used to sing this to her (not very well). And isn’t that Corsby and nash singing back up on the stunner of a bridge, “He could be somebody who is lonely too” Browne sings and C&N respond “Sometimes it doesn’t show…” By the end of the song Browne has invited her into his coupe with the warm summer wind blowing in her hair, all her sorrows left on the curb for the trashman to take away “and we’ll just float away”. And then for the last minute the music floats on like the summer wind blowing away all sadness, all lost loves, all pasts.
September Grass – James Taylor – A perrenial for me, an older persons love song filled with memories and dreams and realities of love, “I can see summer time slipping away…” Taylor says before he remembers a High School ball game he spent kissing a young girl in the tall grass. “Where is she now?” He asks. “I don’t know” and the words tug as though they are your own memories. In the end he is with another love and the past is the present: “We’re so small and the world’s so vast we found each other down in the grass.”
The Ghost Of You Walks – Richard Thompson – Even the title of this song haunts me. Losing a love and losing someone to death has its similarities. On Hank Williams “I Can’t Help It If I’m Still In Love” the pain is like a visitation from ghost, “Today I saw you on the street and my heart fell at your feet” but it is worst, it’s like your mourning a lost one who comes back from the afterlife to tell you they are dating Jimi Hendrix and hope when you do croak you don’t bother looking em up. “Someone else stood by your side and he looked so satisfied.” On “The Ghost Of You Walks” Thompson finds comfort where he can, “At least we tried, took the biggest bite, at least we did it right with all our souls and all our might”.
Since You Don’t Have Me – Guns ‘N’ Roses – Yeah, we’re fucked.
Tourist Trap – Bright Eyes – Conor has a way with words, he really does. This obscurity from an EP circa Cassadaga is about his return from a tour to Omaha and things are the same but changed and in one of the most pungent comments he has ever made and one we walking wounded can certainly get behind, “There are people here but you are gone”.
Things Have Changed – Bob Dylan – Dylan’s answer song to “The Time’s They Are a-Changin'” hidden, bizarrely enough, on the Wonder Boys, I think it to myself to buck myself up though it isn’t a very cheerful song. “People are crazy and times are strange, I’m locked in tight, I’m out of range, I used to care but things have changed”. Amen to that.
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