The 20 greatest breakup songs ever – ranked! — Music | The Guardian

On the 40th anniversary of Gloria Gaynor’s I Will Survive topping the charts – and as the UK blunders towards its own acrimonious divorce – here’s the definitive list of tear-stained stonkersHip-hop isn’t big on romantic heartbreak, but this is a particularly fine example. There’s a lot of bragging from Guru about how he’s so…

via The 20 greatest breakup songs ever – ranked! — Music | The Guardian

It’s a nice list – well worth a look and listen – even if it almost criminal to leave off the greatest breakup song ever – Carole King’s “It’s Too Late.”

I’m Not Afraid (LIVE)

I

Fear is the challenge
to overcome or to succumb
and either way your work’s not done
Once you think you’ve got it licked
you’ve only learned half of the trick
Just because you lose, or win,
doesn’t mean a goddamn thing
the next time that the fear begins

II

They say the fear of public speaking is the greater than the fear of death, which makes some sense to me since we all know from a tender age that we will die but there is nothing to say that we will speak in public. That is one bullet we can dodge. And the devil you know is always more palatable than the strange one.

By my blurry count, I have taken to the stage between 40 and 50 times and, like everything in life, each could be the last but so far this is just the latest. I wrote this song about fear a few months ago and performed it last week at Mary O’s on Avenue A between 2nd & 3rd. If you’re in the neighborhood drop in for a meal or a drink but don’t tell Mary I sent you. She wouldn’t know me from a hole in the wall.

III

I Have To Say

This song, like John Lennon’s Woman, is addressed both to the specific woman I’ve built my life around, and to all individuals of her gender. This feels like a moment for me to be quiet and do some listening. I’ve already heard everything I Have To Say.

In another similarity with Beatle John, my compositions sometimes slip into the familiar ¾ time of the waltz. I never learned how to do the dance but its rhythm speaks to me.

I’m sorry I forget to tell you sometimes
I love you
I’m sorry I forget to tell you sometimes
how beautiful you are
Some things seem so obvious that I don’t have to say them
But I do have to say them
And you do have to hear them
Because they’re more important than anything I have to say
I have to say
.
I know I get under
Your skin and you wonder
What life would be like
Without Mr. Mike
Probably better
And probably worse
And probably someday the last will be first
Before we get to that day
I want to hear everything that you say
And I do have to hear you
You do need to speak
Because I’ve already heard everything I have to say
.
The first one I ever saw fade into black
was my Uncle Jack
He never came back
Now there’s so many slipped through the cracks
That I’m losing track
And the voices of these ghosts
Drown out the one that I need most
And I do need to hear you
You do need to speak
Because I’ve already heard everything I have to say

Genius In Our Midst: Bragg


“We’re actually recharging our batteries: me from the audience and their response, and the audience from me and my songs and ideas. We’re recharging our batteries so we can go back out there and fight the good fight, get our own little space wherever we are. I’ll do my bit, and you’ll do your bit, and ultimately we hope to bring that to a time when we can bring about real change.”
 Billy Bragg

I don’t remember how I first heard about Billy Bragg but I’m sure the first album I heard was Workers’ Playtime. He’s made many other great albums but that one is still my favorite. You never get over your first love. I don’t anyway.
Billy Bragg’s music embodies a strange combination of familiarity and originality. The sentiments in his writing and passion in his singing are familiar to anyone who listens to Phil Ochs or Bob Dylan but there is a raw edge to his sound that owes more to The Clash or Ramones than to any folkie. It sometimes sounds like he broke his pick but, because his message is too important to stop, he plows ahead with broken shards. His voice is as gritty as his playing – untrained, insistent, and undeniable.
He also has his own way with words.
The temptation
To take the precious things we have apart
To see how they work
Must be resisted for they never fit together again
It’s a temptation he does not resist when it comes to words. He likes to take them apart and rearrange them.
Take the M from me
And the Y from you
Out of FAmILy and it all falls through

I’m not any good at pottery
So let’s lose a T and just shift back the E
And I’ll find a way to make my poetry

It isn’t easy to beat your head against walls of human suffering and apathy without falling victim to cynicism. Somehow, Billy Bragg found a vaccine for cynicism and is traveling the world giving out inoculations with his guitar.
I was lucky enough to get my shot a few weeks ago at an event commemorating the 50th Anniversary of Woody Guthrie’s death. Here’s Billy performing Guthrie’s “Slipknot,” a song about lynching which he introduced with a story of its continuing relevance, reflected in the protest of NFL players taking a knee during the playing of the national anthem in a gesture that has become a flashpoint in our country’s ongoing state of denial about racial injustice.

It would be an injustice to Billy if I only show him singing a cover, so here’s one of his own. Now that our “sexual politics have left me all of a muddle,” his song Sexuality is depressingly-relevant©. Co-written with Smith’s guitarist Johnny Marr and co-starring Kristy MacColl, it is one of his most pop songs but still expresses his progressive values. As we learn further every day, the personal is political.


I’ve had relations with girls from many nations
I’ve made passes at women of all classes
And just because you’re gay I won’t turn you away
If you stick around I’m sure that we can find some common ground

Sexuality
Strong and warm and wild and free
Sexuality
Your laws do not apply to me

A nuclear submarine sinks off the coast of Sweden
Headlines give me headaches when I read them
I had an uncle who once played for Red Star Belgrade
He said some things are really left best unspoken
But I prefer it all to be out in the open

Sexuality
Strong and warm and wild and free
Sexuality
Your laws do not apply to me
Sexuality
Don’t threaten me with misery
Sexuality
I demand equality

I’m sure that everybody knows how much my body hates me
It lets me down most every time and makes me rash and hasty
I feel a total jerk before your naked body of work

I’m getting weighed down with all this information
Safe sex doesn’t mean no sex it just means use your imagination
Stop playing with yourselves in hard currency hotels
I look like Robert De Niro, I drive a Mitsubishi Zero

Sexuality
Strong and warm and wild and free
Sexuality
Your laws do not apply to me
Sexuality
Come eat and drink and sleep with me
Sexuality
We can be what we want to be

The Price I Pay

 


Billy Bragg is a songwriter who follows in the footsteps of giants like Woody Guthrie, Pete Seeger, Bob Dylan, and Phil Ochs. Many of his songs dive into the guts of the working class, the poor, and the victims of capitalism, racism, and war. 
 
This isn’t one of those songs. He’s also a genius at writing songs about love and the intricacies of romantic relationships. 
 
My favorite of his albums is a collection called Workers Playtime, from 1988. Under the album title are the prescient words, “Capitalism is killing music.”
 
Love is a wonderful thing – the most wonderful thing – but it exacts a terrible price if you surrender to it completely, which is the only way to do it if you want to do it right. When your love finds an unequal weight on the other side of the see-saw you can spend a lot of time with your ass in the dirt. And that’s the price I pay for loving you the way that I do. 




My friend said 
She could see no way ahead
And I was probably better off without you
She said to face up to the fact 
That you weren’t coming back
And she could make me happy like you used to
But I’m sorry to say 
I turned her away
Knowing everything she said was true
And that’s the price I pay for loving you the way that I do
There’s something inside 
That hurts my foolish pride
To visit the places we used to go together
Not a day goes by 
That I don’t sit and wonder why
Your feelings for me didn’t last forever
Girl I love you so much 
That sometimes it’s such
I’d walk a mile with a stone in my shoe
And that’s the price I pay for loving you the way that I do
So keep that phone out of my way 
For the things I must say
Are empty if you don’t believe they’re true
And that’s the price I pay for loving you the way that I do

Mars


I’ve got a one way ticket to Mars
I hear they’ve got some really nice cars
And all those shooting stars
I’ve got a one way ticket to Mars
I’ve got a one way ticket to the other side
I told my baby and she cried and cried
But it’s just foolish pride
I’ve got a one way ticket to the other side
I’ve got a one way ticket to the promised land
Eternal love in the palm of my hand
Ain’t life grand
With a one way ticket to the promised land?
I’ve got a one way ticket to Mars
I hear they’ve got some really nice guitars
And all those shooting stars
I’ve got a one way ticket to Mars

DEMO: She Comes To Me


She comes to me in silent dreams
When there’s nothing to say
She comes to me in whispers
That take my breath away

She comes to me with questions
Whose answers break my heart
She comes to me with nothing
That she makes a work of art

I hear her in the silence
I see her in the dark
I feel her in the beating of my heart 


She comes to me in memories
As brittle as old bone
She comes to me with loneliness
That won’t leave me alone