Three stages of a relationship breakup expressed in the lyrics of popular music: Part 2 The hinterland

Hi, Phil Greaney here. Martin is away on holiday, so I'm taking the reins here at Ed-Techie again. Today's guestblog is in three parts and it's on songs of love, songs of hate.


Time Passes – Paul Weller

The movement from anger and resentment to sadness, uncertainty and curiosity is often subtle and imperceptible. As time passes, feelings change and we find acceptance. Paul Weller summarises this beautifully in his song ‘Time Passes’. Here’s the opening verse:

I saw you today, or at least I think it was
It's hard to say, we've both changed so much
Compelled to look, but I hid my face
It's hard to trace – these feelings

Unlike the weight of living with revenge, a brief moment is inspired by an accidental glimpse of his former partner. The idea of ‘change’ is the foundation for the balancing act between being drawn in and wanting to hide. Alongside this sense of change and tension is the difficulty in remembering the feelings one has now and one had then. Being in love is a confusing business and it’s no less difficult being out of love. When in the next verse he sings:

I wanted to say, so many things
But my mouth went dry – and one word and I'd cry.

We know that this sudden and unexpected burst into his emotional world is painful. He still cares, but not in quite the same way as he did. He lives in an emotional hinterland, populated by ghosts of what once was and what might have been. He needs to listen to The Beatles, sooner rather than later, as you’ll see.

Love songs of the hinterland
Jealous Guy – Roxy Music
Back to Black – Amy Winehouse
The Long and Winding Road – The Beatles
New Slang – The Shins

Uncertain Smile – The The

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