Monday, October 24, 2011

Sometimes Music Can Fill The Hole In Your Heart

Ending a relationship with someone, from whichever direction - yours or the other person's - is never easy. It is, in fact, much akin to death. The void in one's life is one that, years later, can still be felt. You never replace those to whom one has said goodbye, voluntarily or not. At best, you learn to live, and smile, and laugh again. You never replace them.

I remember hearing a comedian talking about how, during a breakup, every song on the radio seems to speak to you. Even "Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer"; "She had a nose just like that . . ." It's true. And the best breakup songs, well, they give shape to feelings that, in the midst of the pain and emptiness, we are too afraid to look at too closely.

The early to mid-1970's was a time in music when the lessons from Motown were spreading. While Motown itself was expanding beyond pop sensibilities, the void it left opened up space for soul groups to fill with radio-friendly songs and groups that combined the musical sophistication of Motown with the live presence of acts like The Four Tops, The Temptations, and The Supremes. One of these groups, The Manhattans, has a great song about breaking up that tells the story from the point of view of the one ending the relationship. In the transition from the opening narration by the bass singer to the tenor lead, you get a shift from speech to the kind of grief-stricken weeping that is part of the set-piece of a breakup.

Virtual Tin Cup

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