If you have a pulse, you know how important music is to everyday life. It pumps us up, calms us down, makes us fall in love, makes us embarrass ourselves when we think no one can see us dancing in the car, and perhaps most importantly, helps us get through horrible breakups. Here’s a free idea for you marketing people and business executives: sell a breakup bundle containing a pint of ice cream, a box of tissues and an Adele album. As everyone knows, only time and Adele can heal all wounds.
It’s not just us regular people that know heartbreak songs are integral to life; the people handing out awards have taken note as well. Heartache and yearning win big at the Grammys. There have been a ton of stomped, smashed, broken hearts collecting golden gramophones for Record of the Year. Let’s take a look at some of them!
*Quick music industry lesson: Song of the Year honors the songwriting; Record of the Year honors the performance and recording. And with that knowledge you’re basically Clive Davis, so go take over any record label you want.
Sam Smith – Stay With Me
Sam gets it. He knows what it’s like to wonder “what if” as dawn breaks during a one night stand. He knows this isn’t meant to last. He knows this is just a one time thing. The person next to him is a relative stranger, but still, what if? What if he stayed? What if they got breakfast? Just some orange juice and all butter croissants at that cafe down the road. On the walk, a single ray of sun breaks through the clouds on that cold January morning and makes the golden streaks in the stranger’s hair glisten. And in the daylight Sam notices his eyes are really more aqua than green. And he falls in love and everything is fine forever. But it isn’t!!! Because it was all just a thought as the stranger gathered up his stuff and scooted out the door while Sam was lost in a daydream. A very, very lucrative daydream that made Sam Smith a household name.
Gotye – Somebody That I Used to Know
It’s summer 2012. You’re excited for the Olympics and nervous about the election. You haven’t yet noticed the fine lines that have begun to form around your eyes. You are young and dumb and it is great. Somewhere around the opening ceremonies you get dumped and the only person who can understand your pain is a Belgian-Australian who you could have sworn was Sting from the sound of his voice. His name? Gotye. His song? “Somebody That I Used to Know.” You haven’t heard from Gotye since, and possibly never will.
Adele – Rolling in the Deep
Queen of heartbreak. Princess of pain. Duchess of the dumped. When she’s not making us cry or being totally hilarious, Adele is writing Grammy winning songs in one afternoon after a breakup. I was barely able to pick up groceries and my dry cleaning last Sunday, but apparently Adele only needs three to four hours to change the musical landscape with a catchy, giant eff-off anthem.
Lady Antebellum – Need You Now
Lady A, as they’re called in the biz, have seen you at your weakest. They were peering into your window at a quarter after one in the morning, silently watching as you kept picking up and putting down your phone. They know exactly what you were doing. You were feeling lonely, and your will power was nowhere to be found. You needed someone now.
Kings of Leon – Use Somebody
Poor Caleb Followill was feeling empty. Maybe it was life on the road that got him down. Maybe he felt his celebrity status was keeping him from meeting genuine people. Did they like him for him, or because he was Caleb from Kings of Leon? He’ll never know, and we’ll never know. But he channeled that longing into “Use Somebody” and won himself a Grammy, and now he’s married to a model so I guess it all worked out.
Celine Dion – My Heart Will Go On
This gem needs no introduction for it was burned forever into our brains as the theme song to the greatest love story ever told on water. James Cameron had a dream and that dream was to make seventh grade girls cry in movie theaters around the world. He succeeded. The audience fell in love with Jack/Leo then he went and died and all we were left with was a Canadian chanteuse’s promise that our hearts would go on. The song lives on in dentists’ offices and Chinese restaurants around the globe.
Norah Jones – Don’t Know Why
I don’t think I’ve ever been in a restaurant within one hundred yards of a palm tree that wasn’t playing this song. And while it brings back great memories of many a rum-based drink served in a pineapple, it’s actually quite a morose song. Don’t let Norah’s relaxed, whisper of a voice trick you, she is full of regret and isn’t entertaining the option of forgiving herself. Fun fact – this is a cover, so it wasn’t even Norah’s heartbreak that got her a Grammy.
Tina Turner – What’s Love Got To Do With It
This song was originally offered to Cliff Richard. This Cliff Richard. Imagine! I think this one’s about giving into lust and throwing love out the window because,“Who needs a heart/ When a heart can be broken?” Take a second. Imagine Cliff Richard singing it. Oh wait hang on, you don’t have to imagine it.
Carole King – It’s Too Late
A fun game to play is “Did You Know Carole King Wrote That” because Carole King has written one million perfect songs. “It’s Too Late” is no exception. It tells the story of a crumbling relationship that has fallen apart despite both parties really trying to make it work. Yes, it is about James Taylor in case you were wondering.
Whitney Houston – I Will Always Love You
This is of course a cover of the Dolly Parton classic. It sounds awfully romantic, but Dolly wrote it for Porter Wagoner, her songwriting and singing partner, when they decided to split ways professionally. Dolly’s version is sweet and country tinged. Whitney’s is a stadium-sized belter filled with emotion and longing, and it blew the other nominees out of the water.
As for your playlist -- Enjoy!
James J. Sexton