Saturday, September 4, 2010

Just Ain't Gonna Work Out- Songs of Rejection

There are plenty of good songs out there for the recently dumped- whether they are bitterly hostile or desperate to rekindle their relationship (or both). However, it can be just as hard to let someone down gently (especially if they are the clingy type) as it is to be kicked to the curb. So here are songs written from the perspective of the dumper, not the dumpee.  Making a mix tape of these songs to give to your not-so-special someone is probably not the kindest way to break it off, but it's nicer than what Arthur Russell would do!

Side note: I found it funny that most of the songs on the list were written by adorably geeky guys (minus, of course, Robyn), so I included their pictures. Unsurprisingly, most of these dudes have also written some pretty excellent songs about being dumped too. Expect that list shortly.

Just Ain’t Gonna Work Out- Mayer Hawthorne

Mayer Hawthorne is so smooth.  Not only can he pull off a hipster Dwight Shrute look, but he made a break up song that still sounds seductive.  Some people may be put off by Hawthorne's whiteboy retro soul shtick, but his album makes for pleasant listening and is surprisingly un-ironic. Check out the video for the song, which shows that sometimes ladies can be undateable too.

Find it in the catalog!

 I’m Leaving You Because I Don’t Love You- Jens Lekman

It's hard to stay mad at Jens Lekman, even when he's telling you that he doesn't love you.  Not only does he compliment the girl he's leaving:

So you pick up your asthma inhaler
And put it against your lips
Oh those lips I've loved
That I was dreaming of
They're so red and soft
I'm so sorry I couldn't love you enough

But he manages to enthuse the break up with his quirky humor:

But my excuses were babies
Of snow that i just could not hold
I’m Not the One - The Black Keys

It's not a Media blog list without the Black Keys, but singer/ guitarist Dan Auerbach has written several "I'm not that into you" songs, including "I'm Not the One," "10 A.M. Automatic" and possibly "Just Couldn't Tie Me Down" (though the lyrics to that song are pretty vague).  Why does Auerbach have to fend off so many ladies?  Well, he is a pretty amazing guitarist.  Or maybe it's the Justin Bieber haircut (Auerbach wears it better).  Granted, "I'm not the One" is more of a "you can do better" song than "I don't like you":

You think...
That I'm normal
All these years
I'm just trying to warn ya
No, it won't
It won't hurt me none
Cause' I'm not the one

Find it in the catalog!

I Couldn’t Say it to Your Face- Arthur Russell

Arthur Russell's ode to cowards poses an interesting query: why waste your time actually breaking up with someone, when you can just leave and eventually they'll figure it out?  It's probably not the nicest strategy, or something you would want to employ if you'd ever have to see the person again (since they probably won't be your biggest fan). Still, why deal with all those messy emotions when you can just be avoidant?: 

It's my world
It's my song
Didn't ask you to sing along
In my arms, you girl
Won't be there to say I'm wrong

Find it in the catalog!

 It Ain’t Me, Babe- Bob Dylan

This song is a mixture of "your expectations for a relationship are too high" and "I don't care enough to meet them." 

I’m not the one you want, babe
I’m not the one you need
You say you’re lookin’ for someone
Never weak but always strong
To protect you an’ defend you
Whether you are right or wrong
Someone to open each and every door
But it ain’t me, babe
No, no, no, it ain’t me, babe
It ain’t me you’re lookin’ for, babe

Find it in the catalog!

Handle Me- Robyn

Pretty much any girl who has went to a bar, or even left her house, has had the experience of being hit on by a creep who won't take no for an answer.   Here Robyn lets one such gentleman know that's she's not really interested in his offer:

Yeah, you make your big move and I see
You're not used to being rejected
Sure, you're making a call to your guy
And I see you're well connected
Yeah, judging from that line you just passed
You are well known and respected
Sure, would me and my girls come participate in something you directed?
Oh, let me tell you how it be
You won't get with this you see
Cause' you can't handle me

50 Ways to Leave Your Lover- Paul Simon

Like any Paul Simon song, it's not totally clear what this song is about.  It could be a mistress urging the singer to leave his girlfriend or wife.  Or it could be a friend or even the actual significant other urging him to make a decision.  Either way, the song does capture how while leaving your lover may be easy logically, it can have a heavy emotional toll.

Find it in the catalog!

 I Can’t Touch You Anymore- Magnetic Fields

This song captures the relationship gray area where you may love someone, but you don't necessarily like the way they treat you.  In this case, the singer seems put off by his lover's constant questioning of their relationship and admissions about previous love affairs:

I can't touch you anymore, there's so much to hate you for
I love you, I can't touch you anymore
You wanna tell me 50 ways you've left your lovers
You wanna tell me how you've loved 200 others
You're asking the wrong questions
You're opening the wrong doors
I love you, I can't touch you anymore

Find it in the catalog!

There’s No Home for You Here- The White Stripes

 This is certainly the least gentle song on the list.  Unlike Mayer Hawthorne, Jack White isn't the least bit concerned about his ladyfriend's feelings.  He just wants her to get out his house now, so he can get back to staring at himself in the mirror without her head being in the way:

There's no home for you here girl, go away
There's no home for you here
I'm only waiting for the proper time to tell you
That it's impossible to get along with you
It's hard to look you in the face when we are talking
So it helps to have a mirror in the room

Find it in the catalog!

Carry Me Ohio- Sun Kil Moon

In case the photo doesn't tip you off, Sun Kil Moon mastermind Mark Kozelek tends to make moody and melancholy music.  So it's not surprising that this song is the saddest and most reflective of the bunch.  This is more of a wistful look back at young love lost than a justification for leaving the relationship:

Graving dreams
A million miles ago you seem
The star that I just don't see
Words long gone
Lost on journeys we walked on 

Lost her voice is heard along the way
Sorry for 

Never going by your door 
Never feeling love like that