Your girl has left you by the curb. Along with your high-school
varsity jacket, your precious, precious collection of Tool CDs lay
splintered at your feet. At this point, in the twilight of your
young emotions, your mind may run back over the watershed moments
of your relationship and all the joy, agony and sweet love it
brought into your life.

Chances are it’s set to a pretty piss-poor soundtrack.

Now while everyone has the right to mourn the recently
extinguished relationship in their own special way, I’d like
to suggest you do it in the least musically offensive way possible.
Our generation is unfortunately filled with a glut of musicians
hiding under trendy musical genres to cover their abstract, insipid
lyrics and musical incompetence. The most maddening quality of
bands whose breakup songs have invaded the minds of today’s
youth is their sheer inability to create songs that mirror anything
close to authentic experiences.

Coldplay, one of the most agonizing and tepid bands of today,
has all the Brit-pop sparkle of a goddamned light-up sneaker. Mr.
Paltrow likes to drone on about clocks and how we all live in a
beautiful world but he doesn’t seems to have his song writing
ear anywhere near most of our lives. Dashboard Confessional, an
equally heinous group, tries to pander self-pity and
self-congratulatory anger ballads with a semi-cute lead singer and
blunt titles like, “Screaming Infidelities.” Got it
guys, you’re pissed she ditched your emo-ass and hooked up
with a guy on the hockey team. Welcome to the real world, we skinny
indie kids generally try to get with girls way out of our league.
Stick to vintage clothing shops and record stores.

Breakup music should help the listener find relief and
ultimately discover the fortitude and self-reliance to see that he
alone can pull himself out of his rut and back into the light.
Sloppy ballads only breed pity, apathy and general whininess
associated with Cure fans. Real songs about heartache find the
specifics and build into the abstract, universal emotions that can
evoke legions into heartache. Frank Sinatra’s In The Wee
Small Hours and Joni Mitchell’s Blue stand alone at the top
of the breakup mountain thanks to the heavenly voices of their
singers and the care and earnestness of their songs. There is no
fantasy, no moping, just misery with some faint light at the end of
the tunnel.

Oh, and if any of you out there have a story of redemption and
resilience found through mass-market emo or weepy songwriters, save
it for David Gray. That “Babylon” song was foul
… even for an English balladeer.

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