Saturday, January 12, 2008

10 Greatest Breakup Records of All Time

After sifting through a sizable amount of 2007 releases, I settled on a rather prickly album as one of my ten favorites of the year - the Mendoza Line's 30 Year Low. And even rather prickly is selling it short, as it's an incredibly frank dialogue between our married antagonists (Shannon McArdle and Tim Bracy) as they ponder exactly where it wrong and on "Aspect of An Old Maid", appropriate split garb as McArdle sings "“It’s so hard to know how to dress for the last days of our lives". Is it the end of the band? The end of the marriage? Aye captain.

It's a bracing disc full of venom, resignation and some scathingly biting dark humor ("31 Candles" suggests the accused infidel should "build a shrine around your dick"... funny stuff). It's a rumbling, revved-up alt-country stew where you hear echoes of Gram Parsons, Lone Justice and Neko Case.

And guess what - it turns out heartbreak is not that uncommon. And makes great fodder for the arts. And there have been some tremendous breakup records. Here are the ten greatest:

1. Richard and Linda Thompson - Shoot Out The Lights (probably closest in spirit to the Mendoza's falling apart together to go out in a furious blaze of glory)

2. Bob Dylan - Blood on The Tracks (Hard to bump this to # 2 but we here at Teenage Kicks rise to the challenge of making the tough calls)

3. Otis Redding - Otis Blue

4. Bruce Springsteen - Tunnel of Love

5. Uncle Tupelo - Anodyne

6. Fleetwood Mac - Rumours (thanks partner)

7. Matthew Sweet - Girlfriend

8. Spoon - Girls Can Tell

9. Beck - Sea Change

10. Marvin Gaye - Here, My Dear

And for you sad sacks going through relationship hell, here's 3 tunes to help you sort things out, including the greatest breakup song ever recorded - Tonio K's "H-A-T-R-E-D".

mp3 - Tonio K - H-A-T-R-E-D

mp3 - Richard & Linda Thompson - Walking on A Wire

mp3 - Mendoza Line - 31 Candles


Todd said...

Nicely done. Those albums almost make me wish for a great breakup to match their splendor.

billy's live bait said...

How bout Richmond Fontaine's 'Post to Wire', Joe Henry's 'This Close to You' Drive-by Truckers 'Goddamn Lonely Love' and Will Hoge's 'Dirty Little War'

Gabriel Villarroel said...

Nice list. I'm aware of the anachronism, but i would add "For Emma, forever ago" by Bon Iver. It came up only a month after this post was made.