As per a discussion that took place here and on RR a few weeks ago, I decided to theme my playlist for the ‘Spill game around infidelity, just for the lolz. In terms of the tracks I’ve picked, I have a few general points to make:
- I could have chosen eleven songs by Brand New, Taking Back Sunday and Straylight Run, so entangled and messy were those three bands’ love lives. But I figured that would be pointless in terms of the game…
- I have a sneaking suspicion I know which song is most likely to be kept.
- I feel obliged to follow Aba last week in saying that your problem is likely to be finding a song you’d want to listen to!
And here’s a track-by-track breakdown:
- Brand New – Seventy x 7: Imagine that you’re Jesse Lacey, and it’s 1999 and you play the bass in an unknown, unsigned emo band called Taking Back Sunday. Your best friend John Nolan plays guitar in the band, and one day you get what you believe to be incontrovertible proof that he has slept with your girlfriend. What do you do? Isn’t it obvious, you quit, form a band called Brand New where you sing and play guitar, and then write and entire album of songs attacking your ex-girlfriend and/or Nolan and/or the rest of TBS. This incongruously upbeat track is one of my favourites from Brand New’s debut Your Favourite Weapon, and it’s an unashamedly vindictive message to John.
- Taking Back Sunday – Cute Without The ‘E’ (Cut From The Team): After touring their debut album Tell All Your Friends, Taking Back Sunday’s creative core was ruptured by the departure of guitarist/backing-vocalist John Nolan along with bassist Shaun Cooper. The split was partly due to John’s musical differences with lead singer Adam Lazarra, but was mostly caused by the breakup of Lazarra and Nolan’s little sister Michelle, in which both claimed the other had cheated on them. Several songs on TBS’s next album, notably ‘Little Devotional’ and ‘…Slowdance On The Inside’ seem to suggest that Lazarra did cheat on Michelle, but only after she cheated on him. Indeed, two songs on Tell All Your Friends would seem to support this theory. One of them is ‘You’re So Last Summer’ and the other is this track. Opening with one of the most disdainful lines in the history of alternative music (“Your lipstick, his collar… don’t bother angel:/I know exactly what goes on”) and containing the line that appears in the title of this post, the ironic thing is that if this is about Michelle than John Nolan unknowingly sang lines like “She’ll destroy us all before she’s through/and find a way to blame somebody else” about his own little sister!
- Straylight Run – Now It’s Done: Well, after that it’d be unfair to leave the Long Island post-hardcore scene without giving Michelle her say, wouldn’t it? John and Shaun formed Straylight with Will Noon of Breaking Pangea when they left TBS, and Michelle joined soon after. They were performing this song live under the title ‘Michelle’s Song’ as early as autumn 2003, just a few months after the split in TBS. This is a far more delicate piece than anything you’ve heard so far: I really love Michelle’s ethereal, haunting voice.
- Go:Audio – Made Up Stories: A far poppier track than anything you’ve heard so far, this isn’t really my kind of thing and yet it’s so damn catchy. All together now: “Don’t come round and pretend to tell me/nights you’ve had with your made up stories/I was there but you didn’t see me…”
- Dashboard Confessional – Screaming Infidelities: Simply put, without this band and this song, there would have been no Long Island post-hardcore, No South Wales post-harcore and no Fall Out Boy (and therefore no paramore and no DecayDance Records…) The shape of modern music would have been very different… and therefore you might be surprised to find that it’s a gentle little acoustic piece!
- Blink-182 – Obvious: Well, there’s the subtle way to accuse someone of cheating on you (like ‘Now It’s Done’), there’s the unsubtle way (like ‘Cute Without…’) and then there’s the Blink way. “I saw you again/I know you f***ed him again” really leaves no room for doubt or ambiguity, doesn’t it?
- Bring Me The Horizon – Blessed With A Curse: In which Oli Sykes informs his girlfriend that “I know I said my heart beats for you/I was lying girl/I’ve been lying to you…” In this case, however, the problem isn’t another women but rather his vices. Great atmospherics and sodding brilliant guitar work.
- Fall Out Boy – Headfirst Slide Into Cooperstown On A Bad Bet: Described by Pete Wentz as “a love song written from the perspective of the hips”, this song is addressed from a man to the married woman he’s sleeping with. The verses are swaggering and cocky, albeit with undercurrents of unease (“I don’t just want to be a footnote in someone else’s happiness”, anyone?) The chorus, by contrast (which was reprised by Elvis Costello on the middle-eight of FOB’s song ‘What A Catch, Donnie’) shows the hollowness and insecurity that lies at the heart of this cheating relationship (note the ‘him’ is the woman’s husband): “But I will never end up like him/behind my back I already am”.
- Panic! At The Disco – I Write Sins, Not Tragedies: “Oh, well imagine, as I’m pacing the pews in the church corridor/and I can’t help but to hear, no I can’t help but to hear an exchanging of words/’What a beautiful wedding, what a beautiful wedding!’ says a bridesmaid to a waiter/’Yes but what a shame, what a shame the poor groom’s bride is a whore’…” That just about sums it up, really! I’ll never understand why the US single version (which is what you’re listening to) censors the ‘God’ in ‘Goddamn’ but not the word ‘whore’. Any thoughts from the Americans on here? Trivia: after the lines quoted above, the song originally continued “Oh dear, her infidelity just spilled all over the floor/Can somebody help her?” but it was cut before the album was released.
- You Me At Six – There’s No Such Thing As Accidental Infidelity: Only our second (and last) British band for today (the other being BMTH). You don’t get much more defiant in the face of discovering your girlfriend’s cheating on you than “I’ve got a question/Did you think that we would ever believe you?/And I’ve been out of rejection/The line you walk is getting thin, so thin/…/Go back home now and go back to sleep/And we’ll say, go back with someone else who,/Who wants you more than me”
- Cute Is What We Aim For – The Curse Of Curves: From a cheating guy to his suspicious girlfriend. The chorus is up there in terms of great put-downs: “I want someone provocative and talkative/but it’s so hard when you’re shallow as a shower”, while his desperate attempts to reassure her are hilarious “It seems I’m too hip to keep tight-lipped/and you’re on the gossip team/you’re making something out of nothing, baby/and jealousy’s the cousin, the cousin of greed”. Rest assured, she poisons him at the end of the video!
Enjoy! Cut ruthlessly! And if you like a song or a band, tell me. They all have at least two albums to their names and most of them have other songs about infidelity. It’s a bit of an emo hang-up, to be honest…