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Voodoo Dating: Best Breakup Album…Ever

March 26, 2010

Getting das boot from someone you truly care for blows. However, there’s an app. for that.

Let’s mosey passed the ice crème, desperate letters to one’s beloved, Girl’s/Guy’s Night Out bullsheet, and swing on towards revenge and getting over getting dumped.

One of my worst breakups was with a boy who was rotten. He was so rotten he actually did the ‘I’m going to have my friend call my Girlfriend to let her know I wanna break up’. Tres weak. Fortunately, best friend, Erica, and I remedied this over revenge cocktails. We went through every one of my ex’s letters, edited them in red pen, and mailed them back to him.

Getting over a breakup is a little different and there are about four hundred ways to deal with it. I found a pretty good method and all you need is a turntable and Phil Collins’ album Face Value.

Face Value was the ‘It’ album for me when it broke down to breakups. Honestly, who wants to whimper and wallow all traditional-like when you could be doing it musically? Face Value’s one of those classic early Phil albums which tells a story via a connection of songs. It’s also classic Phil because the listener isn’t quite sure how to translate love, death, stardom, famine and the didjeridu into a story.

Personally, after being flattened by all those Middle School crushes, my interpretation of Face Value is individual meets attraction, they dig each other, then not so much digging, eventual break up (I’m pretty sure there’s a revenge plot in here), and it’s all topped off with a shiny bout of ‘tomorrow’s another day, Scarlet’.

It’s been about fifteen years since I’ve adored this album and theorized its ability to ease breakups. Oddly, in that entire time I’ve never been able to come up with a clarity as to why In the Air Tonight would be appropriate at the beginning of a relationship story. So, as per usual, I just kinda whistle, acknowledge the fact that the song is awesome, and escort it to it’s rightful place…which is maybe not in this musical story.

The following songs, beginning with This Must be Love, are most appropriate for relaying love stories. This Must be Love unearths our couple’s romance with a cautioned mystic tale of meeting and coveting a desired partner. Behind the Lines is Phil’s classic jazzy goodness and it listens like a skipping dance when people enter love, but if you listen to the words the dance is not the case. Rather, the couple in the story are experiencing problems-already(!). I adore Behind the Lines for the same rights I adore Phil’s music because he has this groovy ability to take a seemingly crumby situation and rotate into upbeat. When I listen to Philbert’s musings, I tend to jive to the music first and then hear the words-which also makes for a delightful parlor game.

Our love story slows down with The Roof is Leaking and, musically, our lovers are going South; literally, the song is not dissimilar to the first fifty let’s-have-another-cocktail-while-I-immerse-my-open-veins-in-this-warm-bath pages of Angela’s Ashes.  Droned is next and it’s all about the music and your own interpretation as to whether this affair is worth loving or letting go. Droned kinda sums up being alone, watching raindrops from inside, and remembering when being outside with those drops had meaning. It feeds into Hand to Hand which compliments Behind the Lines in jazziness and wistfulness. We all know our couples’ affections for each other are decaying, but Hand to Hand sweetly pulsates a rejuvenated independence into each partner.

My favourite song on Face Value is I Missed Again because it marries the entire musical story with such a vat of irony I could bath many cats in it. (Fantastic song, really.) Philbert’s been the number one musician most of my life because he writes, sings, and plays His way. Normally, I don’t dig on the emotional ballad-y stuffings and if I’m dumped the last thing I want to chug down is some maudlin chick ripping off her own appendages in less than three minutes. Phil Collins, however, takes all those heartbreakings and dishes them up with the irony of, ‘Met my girl, it didn’t work out, things are kind of a bummer right now. I missed again. Next!’

Rightfully, any break up should move on with the individuals still busted, but healing. You Know What I Mean is slow and puts our couple perched atop their respective branches missing their past. Phil’s beat is all picked up again by Thunder and Lightning. (The crossfade between these two songs is stellar. Go purchase the album…now) Thunder and Lightning is the ‘pick yourself up’ song with no regrets, and pretty inspirational in a ‘I’m gonna make it on my own’/hat tossing sort of way. The same is true for I’m Not Moving as this tune plays with gained confidence in it’s tap-tap-tap-step out the door rhythm.

If Leaving Me is Easy is assumedly self-explanatory. In case you’re not into self-explanations, the gist is saddening and somewhat remorseful getting that last painful dig in there before truly moving on. Oh yes, and don’t let the door hit you on your outward drudge. Merci.

If a Caramilk bar was put to my head in violence and I had to come up with a reason for In the Air Tonight, Tomorrow Never Knows would be the winner. Tomorrow is the last song on Face Value and it’s like listening to some creeped out reversed Paul-is-dead version of In the Air Tonight. Despite the obvious comprehension of Tomorrow’s title (regarding moving up and on from past relationships), the song sounds and reads weird…because it is weird. Truth be told, I love the song, even more when I heard it used in the opening credits of The Craft (yes, the one with Neve Campbell & Skeet Ulrich). The opening scene in The Craft is quite possibly my most solid description of Tomorrow Never Knows. Foreboding thunder-filled skies rolling towards one more tomorrow. And the whole cycle begins once more with In the Air Tonight, almost a foreshadowing.

At any rate, this album will cure what ails ya.



2 Responses to “ Voodoo Dating: Best Breakup Album…Ever ”

  1. Ruth on March 26, 2010 at 9:31 am

    Or you could just, you know, write a totally unintelligible letter including something about your blood flowing backward or some such and provide comic relief for your ex and her friends for like FREAKING EVER!


  2. Paul Brown on March 27, 2010 at 1:06 am

    Equally amazing for me is the fact that this is a second act. Phil had a huge and amazing musical journey with Genesis before he even started his own solo career. Want to feel the pangs of a breakup in your very bones? Try “Wind and Wuthering” on for size.

    At the end of a relationship? I give you “Afterglow.”