Valentines Day is awful if you're single. There is no other holiday that makes you examine why you are alone and contemplate how many shots of whiskey it's going to take to forget that you're alone.
If you're in the midst of mourning and rumination as we speak, you can take solace in the fact that there are people out there like you who have felt the same or even worse after a break up. Since misery loves company and we love you, here's a half-dozen gut wrenching break-up songs that reaffirm that notion. Now wipe that chocolate off your face and stop sending flowers to yourself -- it's creepy.
01. "Lost Cause" - Beck
Most people know Beck as the happy-go-lucky goofball who coined the hits "Devil's Haircut" and "Where It's At." Then, in 1999, some jezebel named Mary Hughes broke Mr. Hansen's heart, sending him into a pit of despair, which inspired him to write, Sea Change, the most down trodden but arguably best album of his career. Amidst other party stopping titles like, "Guess I'm Doing Fine" and "Lonesome Tears" sits the heart-cracking opus "Lost Cause." It's a feeling we've all had before after a break up; there's no point in trying anymore because you're pretty much unlovable. Beck nails this sentiment to perfection making the listener want to grab the little guy and hug him until his sadness melts away. Then you realize Beck is rich and famous and you don't feel sorry for him at all. Most gut-wrenching lyric: "Your sorry eyes; they cut through bone/They make it hard to leave you alone"
02. "Martha" - Tom Waits
The classic story of "the one that got away." Here, Mr. Waits tells the presumably fictional tale of a man, Tom Frost, well past the prime of his life, calling a former lover, Martha, just to tell her how much she meant to him. Unfortunately for him, Martha has already moved on, gotten married and had kids. Frost reminisces with Martha about the days they had when they were young, days that were full of roses, "poetry and prose." He asks for nothing in return other than for Martha to remember them fondly. It's a cautionary tale for all young lovers to realize what they have or be forced to live a lonely life of solitude with several early bird specials at the Country Buffet. Most gut-wrenching lyric: "I remember quiet evenings, trembling close to you..."
03. "Never is a Promise" - Fiona Apple
Rich with orchestral strings that would make Nigel Tufnel wish he had included them in "Lick my Love Pump," "Never is a Promise" hits you right in the gut as soon as the opening violin is bowed. At the start of her career, Fiona was once "careless with a delicate man," but here, it appears she's the fragile one, calling out to her lover to be just a little more what she needs him to be. We all know Fiona is nuttier than the shell filled floor at a Texas Roadhouse, but its tough not to listen to this song without wanting to punch the nose of the guy who made her feel so bad. Most gut-wrenching lyric: "You'll never feel the heat of this soul/My fever burns me deeper than I've ever shown - to you"
04. "Skinny Love" - Bon Iver
If there ever was a sound of pure isolation, Bon Iver singer Justin Vernon captured it magnificently on the album For Emma, Forever Ago. After Emma tore Vernon's heart to shreds, he contracted mononucleosis, left his former band, then holed up in a cabin in Wisconsin and began writing songs about the haze of depression he was swimming in. On the track "Skinny Love," Vernon spills it all, and asks a slew of questions to his former lover like: "Who the hell was I?", "Who will fight?" and most importantly "Who will love you?" We can assume he never got answers to these questions when they were together and maybe asked them all too late. It is the anthem for a man sitting in a snowy cabin, wondering what the hell went wrong. He also could have just been really bored -- mono does that to you, you know. Most gut-wrenching lyric: "I tell my love to wreck it all / Cut out all the ropes and let me fall."
05. "I Love You, But Goodbye" - Langhorne Slim
They say "distance makes the heart grow fonder," but in the case of Langhorne Slim, distance makes him "curse the night" and wonder why a certain some one couldn't just stay with him forever. The worst types of break-ups are the ones where you still love the person, but due to an impossible distance, it just won't work out. It's hard to not side with Langhorne on this song, as he thanks his former lover for all that he/she has given him and for "being my friend." "I love you, but goodbye," may be one of the hardest phrases to utter next to, "It's cool. You drink tonight. I'll be the DD." Those of you who were lucky enough to catch Slim play this song acoustically at the hi-dive on Wednesday should consider yourself lucky. Hopefully you had a DD. Most gut-wrenching lyric: "How could you leave me all alone on this Earth?"
06. "I'm Sad the Goat Just Died Today" - FROGS
A life shattering lament about a man's goat dying ... gets us every time. Most gut-wrenching lyric: "I'm sad because my goat just died today / I'm sad my goat just fell in the hay, hey"
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