Bringin’ On the Heartbreak

Once again Worn Fashion Journal’s Annual Valentine’s Heartbreak Karaoke night is fast approaching. You are, of course, welcome to sing any song from our catalogue, but it is Valentine’s Day, and we’re hoping you’ll wear your heart on your sleeve.

I was asked to compile a list of the Top 5 Most Heartbreaking Songs of All Time. This is what I first came up with:

5. Maggot Brain by Funkadelic

4. The Jackson Song by Patti Smith

3. My Mummy’s Dead by John Lennon

2. Halloween Parade by Lou Reed

1. Nightswimming by R.E.M.

Serah-Marie asked me to elaborate, so I explained: Nightswimming seems to be about how the passage of time, even to the living, is analogous to death. Halloween Parade is about the early days of AIDS in Greenwich Village. My Mummy’s Dead is pretty self-explanatory (and the nursery-rhyme melody only underscores the misery). The Jackson Song is Patti Smith’s ode to her son & deceased husband. Maggot Brain is an instrumental meditation on George Clinton’s reaction to finding his dead brother’s remains weeks after he’d been shot through the head.

Serah-Marie pointed out that, although very sad, these weren’t really songs about heartbreak, they were heartbreaking songs about death. So here’s a list that Serah-Marie and I came up with together:

5. Eleanor Rigby by The Beatles
It doesn’t take a PhD in communications to recognize that this is a song about loneliness.

4. Heroes by David Bowie
Two lovers from opposite sides of the Berlin wall take their chances with the armed guards.

3. Don’cha Go Away Mad by Frank Sinatra
Guy gets caught cheating, and tries to placate his girl by half-heartedly acknowledging “you got a reason to be mad I suppose.” But she shouldn’t be mad because how was he to know that her cousin would be at the same restaurant? Entire self-help books would be written about this guy. And the girl doesn’t have a clue.

2. Everything by Connie Francis
Ms. Francis crossed over to country music in the mid-70s and given her thematic track-record, the move made complete sense: “Who’s Sorry Now?” “Breaking in a Brand-New Broken Heart” “Don’t Break the Heart that Loves You” “I Cried for You”

1. Everything by The Smiths/Morrissey
Like Connie Francis, Morrissey’s got the titles: “Why Can’t I Get What I Want” “Heaven Knows I’m Miserable Now” “Girlfriend in a Coma” and so on. But his lyrics push him into the number one spot: “There’s a club… but you leave on your own and you go home and you cry and you want to die.” “I will undoubtedly die alone,” etc.

This list is better, but I’m still not completely satisfied. What do you think are the most heartbreaking songs ever?

Your Host, Karaoke Ted.

HEARTBREAK KARAOKE
MONDAY, FEBRUARY 14, 9pm
THE SUPERMARKET, 268 Augusta Ave, Toronto
$7 at the door, $5 if you’re wearing RED

Heartbreak Karaoke is back!

Was it the son of a preacher man? A devil in a blue dress?

Or just that guitar picker your daddy told you not to marry

(You know they ain’t no good and your babies will probably grow up to be cowboys, too.)

You obviously don’t listen – but now everyone else will, dammit.

WORN FASHION JOURNAL proudly presents

the 4th Annual VALENTINE’S DAY HEARTBREAK KARAOKE

MONDAY, FEBRUARY 14, 2011

don’t just feel the pain, spread it around.

We’ve got a microphone, sad, sad songs,

and enough bitter tears and sweet liquor to fill a swimming pool.

What else could you possibly need to mourn your latest romantic folly?

The hurtin’ happens at THE SUPERMARKET, 268 Augusta Ave

Doors open at 9 PM

Heartbreak at 9:01

Total emotional catharsis and hail a cab at 2 AM

$7 at the door, $5 if you’re wearing RED

Consider this your chance to dish it out instead of take it. You can thank us later.

wear red to sing your heartbreak out

Walter Pater, the Victorian art and literature critic, claimed that “all art aspires to the condition of music.” I’m inclined to agree, but would also add that all music aspires to the condition of karaoke.

When I read critics or hear people talk about the DIY/punk revolution in music, they always talk about how it:

-Encourages everyone to participate
-Blurs the line between audience and performer
-Rejects instrumental virtuosity
-Emphasizes emotional expression

Sounds like karaoke to me. If the goal of music is for an artist to communicate their emotional experience to another human being, how could that circuit be complete without the other human being re-creating that music? Karaoke is the ultimate musical expression (and recreation.)

Nevertheless, some are karaophobic. Here are some helpful pointers.

1. There’s power in numbers:
If you want to sing but are a little bit too nervous, one or more of your friends will be all too happy to sing with you on duets or girl group singles.

2. Familiarity breeds content:
Choose songs that you know fairly well and that you like. There’s no point in singing a song you don’t like, and it’s fairly easy to get lost if you don’t know the song that well. Similarly, a song that everyone knows tends to (but doesn’t always) get a better response than more obscure fare.

3. Is this damned thing on?:
Singing louder makes up for inability to carry a tune or keep a rhythm.

4. I think I’ll have another pint!:
Unlike most activities, karaoke is one of the few things that people actually do better when completely shit-faced.

5. More popular than Jesus:
The Beatles are always good.

6. Everybody Is A Star:
Most rock stars do more than sing. They dance, prance, and sometimes even drop their pants. You have a talent of some sort— so WORK it. Make a funny face; show us your imitation of bacon frying; do the swim. I once saw someone eat a hamburger while singing “All Shook Up.” Hmm, hmm, mmm. Awesome. Use what you’ve got to put on a show.

7. Those who know…:
Really great singers do not judge a drunk gal warbling off her favourite song at karaoke night. They know what hard work and dedication is required to become a virtuoso, and don’t blame you for not putting yourself through that.

8. It’ll be years before they find places to hide more cheese on a pizza:
There is no such thing as being too sincere, too earnest, too enthusiastic, too emotional, or too hot when singing karaoke. You get to be cool after you blow everyone away with your impassioned karaoke performance.

love, your host Karaoke Ted

3rd ANNUAL HEARTBREAK KARAOKE
Sunday, February 14th, 9pm
Teranga, 159 Augusta (Kensington Market)
wear red and get in for 5$