Wednesday, April 08, 2015

You’re Breaking My Heart: “One More Hour”

You’re Breaking My Heart highlights songs that make me want to cry.

Break-ups suck. Every single break-up I’ve ever gone through has left massive scars, even though no one really did anything terrible to me like sleep with my best friend or whatever. In fact, I probably got what I had coming to me in most cases. Still, I was single for years because I couldn’t stand the thought of someone breaking my heart again. 

So imagine if you had just broke up with your girlfriend, and you had to play in a band with her every night? And imagine you wrote a song about how much the break-up sucked, and you had to sing it with her every night? Well, that’s what happened to Corin Tucker of Sleater-Kinney. Her and bandmate Carrie Brownstein dated, broke up, and wrote a gut-wrenching song about it that is one of their best.

The song captures the feeling of loss and squandered potential of a relationship that ends. That is what has always hurt the most when I’ve had a breakup - I felt like I was building something with someone and then it just goes to shit, and all the effort I’ve put into it was wasted. That and how much the pain lingers, even when you want all those emotions to go away. You’d think that someone telling you they are no longer into you would trigger your brain to stop being attracted to them, but no. So you end up with heartache AND longing. 

That comes through in the Tucker’s singing. The song starts with her spending on last hour in a room they shared, looking at her dresses and reminiscing. “Oh you’ve got the darkest eyes,” Tucker sings, still pining after the woman that broke her heart. Brownstein responds to her in the chorus. “I need this!” Tucker wails, while Brownstein responds, “I know it’s so hard for you to let it go/I know it is so hard for you to say goodbye/I know you just need a little more time.” 

The song ends with Tucker pleading “Don’t say another word/about the other girl.” It’s unclear whether it was Tucker or Brownstein who was unfaithful, but it is clear that Tucker did not want the relationship to end, and is having a hard time getting over it. “One More Hour” perfectly captures mess of emotions that comes with a broken heart, but without being whiney or self-pitying. It's angry, it's passionate, it's sad, it's nostalgic, and it's full of genuine emotion.

The songs is also notable because it is about a lesbian relationship, and their first no less. There are very few songs that I'm aware of that deal specifically with gay relationships, much less lesbian ones. There's a sense of betrayal in the song that I think is probably something you wouldn't necessarily hear from a woman complaining about a man who left her (or vice versa). Maybe I'm reading too much into it, but I sense that the fact that it is one of her own (by which I mean a fellow woman, a fellow riot grrrl, a fellow bandmate) that is betraying her adds to the pain. You date a woman and then realize that they can fuck you over in just the same way any boy could.

Anyways, it is an amazing, heartbreaking song, and one that hasn't lost it's power to make me want to weep like a baby nearly 18 years later.

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