Tuesday, July 18, 2006

"You were never meant to belong to me"

About a trillion songs have been writen about romantic disillusionment throughout the history of rock, but there are only a handful that accurately convey that particular emotion that seizes you when you realise the one you're in love with is, alas, not in love with you. Here are some appropriately sad-sack songs about unrequited love:

1. JEALOUS GUY (Bryan Ferry, 1982)
John Lennon's classic ballad is given a moody makeover by lounge-lizard extraordinaire Bryan Ferry, who intones each word of this meticulous study in envy in an anguish-wracked tenor. Resentment has never sounded more stylish.

2. THE DOWNTOWN LIGHTS (The Blue Nile, 1989)
The forbidding northern metropolis of Glasgow makes for the perfect backdrop to The Blue Nile's sprawling and dramatic account of urban isolation. Replete with lyrical images of bright neons, empty after-midnight trains and deserted late-night streets, the song successfully makes inner-city loneliness sound like an attractive proposition. Almost.

3. LITTLE HANDS (Duncan Sheik, 1996)
Poignant and painful, "Little Hands" has South Carolina singer-songwriter Duncan Sheik conjuring the ghosts of Nick Drake and Billie Holiday for a late-night acoustic session. Bitterly disheartening, haunted by the knowledge that his would-be significant other will never be, well, his signifcant other, the protagonist eventually concludes "And I'm smiling, even though I'm dying, to know the love she says will never be". Romantic glumness at its best here.

4. CRESTFALLEN (The Smashing Pumpkins, 1998)
A quietly emotional piano ballad that eventually blossoms into a full-scale, all-out lamentation, "Crestfallen" has Billy Corgan practically crying for the attention of the object of his affections, even as he realises that "You were never meant to belong to me". One of the most underrated numbers in the Pumpkins' repertoire.

5. IT'S NO GOOD (Depeche Mode, 1997)
A barely restrained, edgily threatening number that pulses with an unearthly glow, "It's No Good" is effectively Depeche Mode's response to The Police's stalker anthem "Every Breath You Take". "You can run but you cannot hide" is the most ominous line since "Oh can't you see, you belong to me".

6. WICKED GAME (Chris Isaak, 1989)
Morose to a fault, Chris Isaak's shimmering, reverbed revivalist classic should be the theme for every individual who had their hearts broken by a rejection, outright or otherwise. Simultaneously visceral and ghostly, "Wicked Game" is virtually unmatched in its tear-soaked intensity.


Blogger sashi said...


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