Music does many things for the body and soul, it makes us want to dance, have sex, communicate, show off, feel secure, wallow, you name it... But I'd argue that music at its best articulates heartbreak like no other medium. In terms of pop music, Elvis was one of the first to start this particular genre with 'Heartbreak Hotel' and in the last 60 years we've seen heartbreak defined and refined again and again, the themes are constant but the list of magical songs just keep growing. I've based the story of heartbreak of the songs in this article on a model called 'the five stages of grief' - when someone experiences a loss, they can go through a range of emotional stages which are denial, anger, bargaining, depression and finally acceptance. This is the setting for these wonderful stories of people at various stages of love, so here we go. Let the debate begin...
20. It Feels Like We Only Go Backwards - Tame Impala
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wycjnCCgUes It would be very easy to trot out a load of singer-songwriters in this list, but that would make for a rather monotone lexicon the sad stuff doesn't just have to feature an acoustic guitar, as Tame Impala and others featured here prove but that's not to say singer songwriters aren't also a central part of this story. This song makes the list for a multitude of reasons, first and foremost it frets over a failing love, but it does so in a way that feels very different to the norm the tune is a psychedelic, reggae groove that can be danced to, whilst also telling you a familiar sad tale - basically the lovers of the story aren't going anywhere, and it's breaking the singers heart. Coupled with some beautiful words, "It feels like I only go backwards darling, every part of me says "go ahead". I got my hopes up again, 'oh no... not again'." This is a killer. It also hits upon a key theme of many songs of the heart it doesn't offer a solution. It's at the depression stage of the five stages of grief, not finding a way out, but instead a wonderful snapshot of an impasse. This is a song to play someone on a first date for sure, before any history can set in and when everything looks shiny and gold. But after that? I'd keep it as a wonderful song to play to yourself and your friends.
What makes music fantastic? Star quality, amazing music, breathtaking lyrics and the ability to bring something new to the table, even if that means a new take on the classics. That's what I love to listen to and write about.
As well as writing for What Culture, I occasionally write a blog http://tedney.blogspot.co.uk and sometimes use Twitter, but sparingly @TedneyNash