I really didn’t think this through, did I? Spend a day listening to music best suited to a broken heart why don’t you? That won’t be a downer at all, will it, you dumb shit? All of the choices were good but I guess I was expecting a little more of a Gloria Gaynor/Gwen Guthrie/Aretha Franklin, pick yourself back up, edge to things. But no, no, no… you guys like a good wallow in that misery when you’re down. That’s your prerogative, of course, but I don’t think it’s healthy, you know, in the long term. Just saying.
1 point Plashing Vole Trembling Blue Stars – Lips That Taste of Tears
As I have already said, all the choices today were good, so if you are at the bottom of today’s list I am making no comment on your musical taste or the verisimilitude of any heart break you may have experienced. If you are at the bottom it will be for some arbitrary, totally unfair reason. Soz in advance. I punished Plashing Vole because he particularly praised the song Tailspin when any idiot knows that there is only one true song called Tailspin and all other songs called Tailspin are heresy.
2 points bernard pilon Nick Cave – Skeleton Tree
I haven’t had my heart broken in decades, so things may have changed since my day, but I can’t help feeling this album may be a tad too much if you are already in a bad place. It’s raw. Brilliant, but raw.
3 points Picky Bastards Self Esteem – Compliments Please
I suspect this album is one that needs more than one listen. I liked it immediately but it was obvious I wasn’t scratching the surface. So, unfairly, I put it here on the list. It’s not as if Picky Bastards need the points, is it?
4 points Dave Hartley Jessy Lanza – Pull My Hair Back
Same again. Needs more listens, Dave has loads of points, whatevs whatevs whatevs…
5 points William Mallin Penfold – Amateurs and Professionals
This reminded me of something but I couldn’t put my finger on what it was, which was really distracting when I was listening to it. “Seaweed?” I’d ask myself. “No. That’s crazy talk.” I’d reply to myself. I never worked it out, so I probably didn’t listen as intently as I should have.
6 points Hannah Hunt Last Shadow Puppets – The Age of Understatement
Yep. I can see how this would work.
7 points Em The National – Trouble Will Find Me
Do you remember stirring sugar into water at school to make a concentrated solution? There is a point when no more sugar can be diluted in the water and it starts to gather at the bottom. Rightly or wrongly, that happened to me after three The National albums. I love those three, but I can’t absorb any more. I’m full. Unfortunately for Em, this album isn’t one of those three, or this might have got a much higher score. I’m an idiot, and I apologise for that.
8 points Donna Morris Ray Lamontagne – Trouble
Singing along to this would, I think, be pretty therapeutic. Especially if you did the voice, which I fully suspect we all would.
9 points Adrian Slatcher Tracey Thorn – A Distant Shore
Yes, you would definitely trust Tracey Thorn to look after your heart for an hour or two.
10 points Mat Pringle Purple Mountains – Purple Mountains
The moments of humour in the lyrics are a nice touch. A spot of light in the darkness. Good choice.
11 points Dan Carpenter Rufus Wainwright – Want Two
My first reaction to seeing this suggestion was, “Really? All of it?” because I do think, bluntly, it goes on a bit toward the end. But when it hits its peaks, oh boy is it a beautiful thing, this album. So yeah, I was wrong.
- 12 points David Coates The Good Life – Album of the Year
This is, mathematically speaking, probably the best choice. The introduction of a female voice late in the proceedings changes the mood of the album and, potentially, hopefully, the listener too. If only we were mathematicians, eh? You could have got another eight points. Bad luckI am awarding eight bonus points to David though, because actually, post-Euclid of Alexandria, in a very real sense, we are all mathematicians.
13 points Neal Chet Baker – Chet Baker Sings
“I fall in love too easily / I fall in love to fast / I fall in love too terribly hard / For love to ever last” We hear you Chet. We hear you.
14 points jummo70 Adam Green and Binki Shapiro – Adam Green and Binki Shapiro
This is a really good choice. I haven’t really got anything else to say. Really good. Really. Top choice. Excellent stuff…
15 points Georgia Boon Palace Brothers – There Is No-One What Will Take Care Of You
There are points, arguably, where this album gets a bit too solemn, but on songs like I Tried To Stay Healthy For You, when the voice builds, there is power there to be tapped.
16 points Nick Rayney Laura Veirs – July Flame
17 points Dan Kenikie – Get In
Eventually Kenikie will get a critical reappraisal but while Richard Ashcroft is seen as some sort of William Blake-level genius* instead of a half-decent song writer I wouldn’t hold your breath. They were great though, Kenikie, and this is a near perfect heartbreak album.
18 points Sleepy Mannequin Pussy – Patience
Pretty much the only ‘actually, no, fuck you‘ reaction to a break-up album on the list and a very nice one it is too. It’s a terrible name for a band – you will only make so much money if people are afraid to Google you – but an absolute belter of an album. Very much recommended.
19 points George Sandison Laura Marling – A Creature I Don’t Know
Very little beats Laura Marling, does it?
20 points Graham Cox Cher Lloyd – Sticks and Stones
But something did, and it is this.
Now, I don’t claim that Sticks and Stones is the best album on the list. It isn’t even my favourite on the list. Wouldn’t make my top five, mate. But. But. However. But. In my opinion, a heartbreak album should be somewhere where you can store some of that pain for a little while. Again, in my opinion, most of the albums picked today are, metaphorically speaking, caves – if you grab a shovel you can shovel a whole lot of pain into that hole, but it is still a mess. Still a heap. Sticks and Stones, in contrast, is a book shelf, or one of those stone fireplaces with holes in for displaying knickknacks. You can break up your pain, contemplate it, categorise it, organise it. You put it into the parts of the album that invite it and forget it while listening to the parts of the album that don’t. I’m waffling, sure, but it still gets the twenty points.