|Midnite Mixtape Massacre: Gaz E's Heartbreak Mixtape|
|Written by Gaz E|
|Sunday, 10 February 2013 02:30|
Yes, unless you're in a relationship with/being lusted after by one of the saps who buy into this cheesy shit there's every chance that you'll spend Valentine's Day alone and, very likely, harbouring some brooding thoughts about love gone bad, or love that never came at all. It doesn't have to be this way, but it's human nature, we've all been there....or somewhere close. So, as you stand looking into the relationship abyss this coming week, dark thoughts crossing your troubled mind, you'll need a soundtrack.
Good Lord, what a coincidence that I have rustled up one of Uber Rock's fabled mixtapes and selected the ultimate 13 track Heartbreak Mixtape. There's something here for every one of your troubles: dumped, wanting out of a relationship, lusting after someone from afar, feeling sentimental for a lost love after a vino and power ballad too many - they're all here. Try to hold it together. Other publications will throw clichéd Valentine shite at you from every direction this weekend and in the coming days, looking to make money, not love - not Uber Rock. No, we will simply provide the soundtrack as you break down, punch the air, raise a glass, offer a knowing smile, or maybe even go for broke and go after that person who you've always wanted. Get ready for the shame of drunken texts and statuses come the morning after a rough night of heartbreak history...
"Let's get messed up and listen to probably the best mixtape I have..."
I loved the Marvelous 3, Butch Walker's band before he went solo, and I also loved that first solo record itself, 2002's 'Left Of Self- Centered'. Walker would, almost a decade later, talk of how he regretted making an album essentially for the M3 fans, even vowing to never play the album's lead track, 'My Way', live ever again. Cut to a gig by Amen in Newport, TJs. I'm talking to the band's guitarist Matt Montgomery (aka current Rob Zombie bassist Piggy D) about the show when I mention a photo shoot that Amen did where Matt/Piggy was wearing a Marvelous 3 shirt. Given that Casey Chaos would generally be wearing a shirt saying "Cocks" or similar the M3 shirt stood out a mile. Piggy told me that he'd heard Butch's then-unreleased new solo record and that it would blow me away - he wasn't wrong: 'Letters' is one of my favourite albums of all time and how could I start a mixtape feature without the classic song of the same title? Whether you're looking to get laid or crying about not getting laid, Butch Walker should provide the soundtrack.
2.) 'Don't Feel Bad' - The Havalinas (from the self-titled album)
"She let him go, had a liquidation of the heart..."
Never heard of The Havalinas? Change that immediately. I first heard the band on a British TV show (not sure which, could have been No Limits) and picked their 1990 self-titled album up for £1.99 in a HMV sale on the back of how impressed I was with the song I had heard via the cathode ray. Little did I know that the album would contain a real heartbreaker called 'Don't Feel Bad', a song that has remained with me for two decades now yet never grows old. "Everything has gotta change in time," spoke the simple yet incredible lyrics as they painted a picture of someone walking away from a relationship. "Don't feel bad, it's okay, we had something but it slipped away..." And that harmonica slays me every time.
3.) 'Nothing' - Nikka Costa (from the album 'Everybody Got Their Something')
"It's late in the evening, and you're breathing with someone else..."
Everyone has a guilty musical pleasure and Nikka Costa is mine. The former child star turned in a great record called 'Butterfly Rocket' which rocked out at times in an almost Black Crowes fashion, but it was her follow-up album, 2001's 'Everybody Got Their Something' that really grabbed the attention, much of it for her micstand flinging in the hot video for hit single 'Like A Feather'. It's the album track 'Nothing' that gets me though: we've had longing for someone and leaving someone in the first two tracks on my mixtape, now we're getting cheated on. "There was a light that shined on us, but now there's nothing at all." We've all been there. Breaks your fucking heart.
4.) 'Since I Fell For You' - Johnny Diesel and the Injectors (from the self-titled album)
"Love brings such misery and pain..."
All the talk of guitar strings as thick as chicken wire where Johnny Diesel was concerned as he was courted by the weekly rock press generally overshadowed the main reason why everyone should own the self-titled 1989 debut long player from Johnny and his Injectors: that voice! Yeah, the guitar playing was from the planet Incredible, but that voice just melted healthy hearts and mended broken ones; on this song it just about edges out the vocal on 'Make Some Noise' by Slave Raider for best of the '80s. "I get the blues most every night, since I fell for you." I get the chills every time this essential album hits my speakers. Johnny, of course, reverted back to his original name of Mark Lizotte and continues to release startling records that leave you willing to sell your soul to Satan for just half of a voice like his. The quiff is gone, but the voice has gotten even better with age.
5.) 'Empty World' - The Dogs D'Amour (from the album 'Straight')
"My world is empty, without you..."
The Dogs D'Amour remains one of my favourite bands of all time. How many of those other bands that I loved as a teenager in the late '80s can announce a reunion and get me so excited without a hint of irony? Not many. Classic Dogs certainly represents a certain time in my life and I'm transported back by something as simple as the opening chord of a song and, of course, with heartfelt lyrics pouring out of frontman Tyla like cheap plonk, the songs inevitably hark back to relationships of that era. There'd already been more than enough of that Heartbreak wine spilled song-wise to accompany any drunken tears over love gone bad, but when 1990's 'Straight' appeared the now-lauded 'Empty World' provided shock and awww. Listen to this and, in under two and a half minutes, you'll be staring into space thinking of someone who might not have troubled your thoughts for a long time - go on, I dare ya.
6.) 'Girl From A Pawnshop' - The Black Crowes (from the album 'Three Snakes And One Charm')
"There's a passion in being alone..."
It wouldn't be long after the aforementioned 'Straight' album that The Dogs D'Amour threatened to implode. I remember watching them struggle to follow an up-and-coming support band one night at the Astoria. That band, The Black Crowes, would themselves become a bloated shadow of their former selves but, before finally succumbing to full-on Deadhead status, at the beginning of their career were one of the finest bands on the planet. I guess you could say that around the time of fourth album, 'Three Snakes And One Charm', the wheels were really threatening to come off the Robinson Family bus. But, blessed with a voice as striking as Chris Robinson's, professionals still hit home runs when off-form. 'Girl From A Pawnshop', from that fourth album, was smeared in a subtlety that would quickly become replaced with complacency but, with a fantastic lyric and overblown guitar solo, provided one of the album's few great moments. There was once a time when The Black Crowes wrote heartbreakers, now they write stuff that breaks older fans' hearts...
7.) 'I'd Rather Go Blind' - Faces (from the album 'Coast To Coast: Overture And Beginners')
"Something told me it was over, when I saw you and him talking..."
With all due respect to the late, great Etta James, the Rod Stewart/Faces version of 'I'd Rather Go Blind' that features on the long out of print 1974 live album 'Coast To Coast: Overture And Beginners' is probably my favourite cover version of all time. Ever wondered why that beak-nosed former grave digger never went home alone? If was because of his vocal performances on heartbreakers like this. This live album hardly represents the Faces at their peak - Ronne Lane had already walked after feeling that he was now a member of the Rod Stewart backing band (his position filled on this recording by former Free bassist Tetsu Yamauchi) - and it's arguable as to if it's a Faces album at all, with half as many of the band's songs presented alongside a slew of solo Stewart tunes. Still, this version kills me. Takes me to a place near Heartache Quay and doesn't let me leave. Raw, loose, essential.
8.) 'Last Goodbye' - Jeff Buckley (from the album 'Grace')
"Just hear this and then I'll go..."
With Jeff Buckley's death in 1997 came a whole new way to look at his most commercially successful song at the time of release. The lyrics from 'Last Goodbye' quoted above don't help, do they? Edited like that they offer an almost prophetic statement from the celebrated musician. In reality, and with the lyric completed ("...you gave me more to live for, more than you'll ever know"), they detail a song that itself details the sad end of a relationship. Precede the lyric with "this is our last goodbye, I hate to feel the love between us die...but it's over," and the story suddenly becomes one of sadness and reflection. If ever a song stung the eyes for two reasons then it's this one. Song royalty.
9.) 'I Don't Love You Anymore' - The Quireboys (from the album 'A Bit Of What You Fancy')
"I could have cried, I could have cried, when she said..."
It was a funny old time be a Quireboys fan of...err...lengthier service as the band geared up to release their 1990 debut album, 'A Bit Of What You Fancy'. Fan favourites Coze and Ginger had been ousted from the band's quest for rock superstardom and with Rod Stewart's former guitarist Jim Cregan co-producing the album it appeared that the sound was going to be less 'A Nod's As Good...' and more 'Atlantic Crossing'. With re-recorded songs raising eyebrows amongst those of us who knew what a Queerboy was - I'll never get used to the chorus they added to '7 O'Clock' - the brightest new shining light on the long player was ballad 'I Don't Love You Anymore'. Every band needed a big, soppy ol' song back in those days and this was one of the best. Everyone has sung this into their hairbrush and imagined a load of exes staring back at them from the audience regretting ever walking away from the hunk of burning love in front of them, haven't they? Haven't they?
10.) 'Thrift Store Chair' - Everclear (from the album 'Songs From An American Movie, Vol.1: Learning How To Smile')
"I think we're heading for a big fall, we're heading for a bad time..."
Everclear frontman Art Alexakis remains one of my favourite lyricists: if an artist can paint pictures with their words, and write with such honesty, then they deserve to be recognised. I could have picked any number of Everclear songs for this mixtape, so wonderful is Art's...um...art. I've gone for the song 'Thrift Store Chair' from the first volume of the band's 'Songs From An American Movie' set simply because it does what few songs of its ilk dare - it pauses the heartache, stops the arguments, kicks back and, even though it knows what's coming, remains ultimately positive. And any song revolving around the listening to of a record by veteran country star John Prine deserves credit. Everclear could provide the entire soundtrack to a break-up.....but have you so positive that you'd be up and looking for the next heartbreaker within hours.
11.) 'Run Outta You' - Vintage Trouble (from the album 'The Bomb Shelter Sessions')
"Baby, you've been gone this time too long..."
The newest song on the list, but one that immediately felt like an old friend's shoulder as the tears fell into the bottom of the glass. The secret to many of the songs featured here is the voice behind the tale of sorrow - few, if any, are a match for that of Vintage Trouble vocalist Ty Taylor, a voice that could sing the lines on a bus timetable and still make you well up. If Vintage Trouble ain't already the greatest live band on the planet they soon will be. This is the kind of song that you can listen to as you hold your baby in your arms, or as you weep uncontrollably as you think of your baby once held in your arms. Heartbreak hurting bombs are around every corner when Vintage Trouble are in town.
12.) 'Earthquake' - The Used (from the album 'Lies For The Liars')
"I've murdered our love..."
Remember the lyrics to that Christina Aguilera song? We are beautiful, no matter what they say - good job really as that meant we could take greasy mess Bert McCracken, frontman of The Used, seriously when he broke a few hearts with this great song from the band's third album, 2007's 'Lies For The Liars'. Bert had a lucky relationship escape himself when he turned up on 'reality' TV series The Osbournes. Dating Kelly Osbourne, much to her subtle, humble mother's displeasure, Bert could well have found himself a member of a family that pretty much suffers catastrophe via serious illness or accident every other week. Thank the maker that McCracken murdered that love. 'Earthquake' though, with its flytrap of a hook, is a love letter filled with regret...and we've all written one of those, at least in our heads.
13.) 'Best Thing You Never Had' - Butch Walker (from the album 'Letters')
"Your ego got fatter, and I hope that you're flattered..."
Like I said at the start of this mixtape, whether you're looking to get laid or crying about not getting laid, Butch Walker should provide the soundtrack. I just had to start and finish this compilation with something from 'Letters'. Walker had, when debuting this song live prior to the album being released, described it as "every guy's official new break-up song" and he was right. He sings of waiting five years, but this shit hangs around in one shape or form forever. The live version of this song that I saw Butch perform with the Black Widows a few years ago, with each band member taking lead vocals at some point, remains the finest performance of a song that I have ever seen live. Incredible, in fact. Yes, the guys needed a song to get their feelings across and someone had to provide one devoid of the usual posturingand machismo - Butch Walker was that someone...
[Gaz E is happily married with two children, though you probably wouldn't believe it after reading that shit]