Nadia Elkharadly: Valentine’s Day – Post Grammy Edition

How ironic that Saint Valentine’s Day should fall on a Tuesday this year, on the very day that my Don’t Believe a Word I Say column is put out there for all the world to see.  I’ve never been a Vday kinda girl.  Maybe it’s because I’ve never been very romantic.  Maybe it’s because the colour red looks terrible on me.  Or maybe because my father’s birthday falls on February 14th, so the idea of people being schmoopy and amorous on the day my dad was born is just kind of….icky.  Whatever the reason, I’ve never been a fan.

Another thing that I’m not a huge fan of happened this week as well – the Grammy Awards.  It’s no secret that I’m not a huge fan of most mainstream music.  The Grammys always end up being a tribute to what’s popular, what the masses like.  As Bob said in his piece yesterday, the Grammys are a reflection of the industry, and not the fans.  And as a huge music fan, I haven’t seen the Grammys reflect what I like since the late nineties, when they were rewarding the bands I love, even if those bands had no idea why they were being rewarded, or resented being part of the entire circus at all.  But the topic of my column today is not the Grammys.  However the awards did inspire what I wanted to write about.  You see, I found it incredibly ironic that two nights before Valentine’s the Grammy award people decided to give Adele the top honours at their award show.  This is the charming, sweet, sad Adele, who has made her fame and fortune on the backs of her breakups, first with her debut album 19 and now with her Grammy Award winning follow up 21 (best Pop Vocal Album).  Heartbreak and heartache inspired this artist, and her heartbreak in turn inspired me.  So for this Post-Grammy/ on Valentine’s Day edition of DBAWIS, I bring you a list of breakup songs, starting with newly minted Grammy gal, Adele.

Adele – Rolling in the Deep

This powerful song picked up the award for both Song AND Record of the year at this year’s Grammys, and it’s no wonder why.  This song is a hit in every way.  Adele’s vocal range is stretched to the limit, from low notes to high, from soft and quiet to loud and intense.  This song is unmistakably a break up song, but it’s not one of those “sit and wallow with a tub of ice cream and loads of Kleenex” songs.  True to its sound, the song is about strength and power, and taking control in the face of personal tragedy.  It’s about owning your pain, but causing some as well.  “Think of me in the depths of your despair”, in that one line you can tell that despite her own sadness, she revels a bit in knowing whoever scorned her is hurting, probably as much or more than she is.  So congratulations to the lovely Adele, who has proven not only that she’s cornered the market on the break up song, but that she can inspire young women everywhere to take back their power, despite their sadness.

The Black Keys – Next Girl

I’m an equal opportunity break up song finder, so here is one for the guys.  The Black Keys have their roots in blues, and the blues are all about broken hearts.  While “Next Girl” may not be the bluesiest Black Keys tune, the sound of a lover scorned rings out loud and clear.  “My next girl will be NOTHING like my ex-girl”…pretty clear this breakup wasn’t all that amicable.  But there are no tears, just resignation, and a desire to move upwards and onwards.  This song is about learning from your mistakes, and trying not to make them again.  It’s a take back the power break up song, but this time, it’s for the boys.

Bruno Mars – Grenade

Another one for the guys, this time by the adorable and talented Bruno Mars.  This time last year, Mars was the talk of the Grammy awards, with his old school R&B sound and his boyish good looks.  And “Grenade” is an incredibly catchy song.  When it comes on the radio, you can’t help but sing along to it.  I used to love this song…until I listened to the lyrics.

I’d catch a grenade for you (yeah, yeah, yeah)

Throw my hand on a blade for you (yeah, yeah, yeah)

I’d jump in front of a train for you (yeah, yeah, yeah)

You know I’d do anything for you (yeah, yeah, yeah)

I would go through all this pain

Take a bullet straight through my brain

Yes, I would die for you, baby

But you won’t do the same

Maybe it’s that I’m not very romantic, but I was horrified when I really listened to what Mars was saying in this song.  It’s codependent and obsessive, and if a guy said anything like this to me, I would run for the hills.  Yes, indeed, this is a break up song.  And frankly, I completely understand why Mars’ (fictional or otherwise) girlfriend dumped his crazy, and kinda creepy, ass.  What I don’t understand is why so many other girls love this song so much?  It really makes me fear for society…

Edith Piaf – Je ne Regrette Rien

French Songbird Edith Piaf was the queen of the sorrowful song of heartbreak.  Her life was full of tragedy, and it translated into her music.  Her iconic song “Je ne Regrette rien” (I regret Nothing) is the perfect “moving on” song.  She talks about leaving the past in the past, learning from experiences, abandoning feelings of regret, of love lost, needing to be forgotten.  And the most important thing about this break up song is that it’s not really a break up song.  Her final line “My life, my joys, today they begin with you” embody what has to happen after a break up; the ability not only to move on, but to be able to open yourself up to someone new.  And despite all the tragedy and sadness Piaf experienced in her life, she was still able to sing about the possibilities of new love.

I hope you enjoyed my list of breakup songs on this Valentine’s Day in 2012.  And if you’re in the middle of a break up, fresh out of one, or just don’t care about red hearts until the chocolates are half price tomorrow, I invite you to not think about Valentine’s Day today, because I won’t be.  Today is the day that my dad was born, and if it wasn’t for him, I wouldn’t know who the Beatles or Edith Piaf are.  I wouldn’t have a love of old cheeses or travel.  I wouldn’t have my big brown eyes.  And most of all, I wouldn’t even be here.  So for that alone, you all should be thanking him 😉  Happy birthday daddy!

Until next time,



Nadia’s column appears every Tuesday

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Nadia Elkharadly is a Toronto based writer with a serious addiction to music. Corporate drone by day, renegade rocker by night, writing is her creative outlet.  Nadia writes for the Examiner (.com) on live music in Toronto and Indie Music in Canada.  She has never been in a band but plays an awesome air guitar and also the tambourine.  Check in every Tuesday for musings about music, love, life and whatever else that comes to mind.

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