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Kiss-Off mix

OK, so YHB has been noodling around with an idea of making a mix CD of Kiss-Off songs. It was almost a year ago when I first talked about the kiss-off song. I’m still deciding what songs to put on and what won’t make the cut (not to mention putting them in a good order), so I thought I’d ask for some advice. Or what good is a blog, anyway?

I’m looking for about an hour of music, here, which given the length of some of these would make for about fifteen songs. A year ago I talked about two categories: the I’m-leaving-you song, and the I’m-glad-you-left-me song. I’ve tried to mix those up, here. The really obvious gap is songs with female vocals (and viewpoint), which is a result of my collection of music, I’m afraid. Anyway, here are some of the candidates:

“Lucky” by Jim's Big Ego, was the first song that got me thinking about all this, so I’m not likely to leave it off.
“Black Coffee in Bed” by Squeeze was the second song on the list, and it’s one of my favorite songs ever. “From the lips without passion/To the lips with a kiss/There's nothing of your love/That I'll ever miss.” And you can dance to it.
“It's All Over Now”, almost certainly in the Dr. John/Dirty Dozen Brass Band version. Yes, the Rolling Stones version is the classic, but dang. This is unbelievable. And this may be one of the absolute classic kiss-offs of the I’m-leaving-her category. It’s a Bobby (and Shirley) Womack tune, covered by everybody from the Dead to Panic.
“Lovable” is, I think, the best Elvis Costello kiss-off song. “It’s going around the town/You’re so Lovable.” And, of course, it takes EC to call a girlfriend “lifelike”. Ooh, that’s cold.
The BoDeans get on the list with “Misery”; I like the touch that he’s called her a taxi. Oh, well, that’s not the only thing he calls her. “I’m gonna give you back the only thing you gave to me/Misery!”
Is it a kiss-off if she hasn’t so much left him as killed him? The Jody Grind’s “Death of Zorba” is going on my list, although it clears the one-per-artist rule only because I’m leaving their cover of the Peter Gunn theme off for technical reasons. Now that’s a kiss-off: “Bye...bye/Bye...baby!/This is the last time we meet/on the street/going your way/So...long/I’m...leaving/Tomorrow I may be splittin’/to Britain/or Norway.”
“Don't Think Twice, It's All Right” in the Eric Clapton cover at the Bobfest. Nobody can sound as indignant as Clapton’s guitar; if I didn’t make a one-per-artist rule, I’d fill the thing with his blues. “Five Long Years” and “Before You Accuse Me”, at least.
“B.J. Don't Cry” by Moxy Früvous has the drawback of being in the third person, but the absolute triumph in the song (of love and illin’) can’t be denied.
Writing her name “Upside Down” is the worst insult Scruffy the Cat can ever give someone. At least I think it’s addressed to an ex. “All my friends will move off your side” is a nice touch, too.
“Regretting what I Said...” is, in fact, a musical apology, which is the opposite of the kiss-off, but then it’s Christine Lavin, so the song is the opposite of what it says it is anyway. “You thought I didn’t have a temper/ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha surprise!”
I’ve picked the live post-Pogues “Fairy Tale of New York” off Shane MacGowan’s live album for the meta-joke that it’s a kiss-off to the Pogues and, in a drunken ranting sense, to his fans. Whoever is singing the girl’s part doesn’t seem to know all the words, but gets the line “You scumbag/You maggot/You cheap lousy faggot/Merry Christmas your arse/I pray Gd it’s our last” right.
XTC also gets ripped off by the one-per-artist rule. I’m inclining to “Me And The Wind” for its buoyant not to say celebratory spirit, but “Your Dictionary” deserves a spot, as does “Dear Madam Barnum” and “The Man who Murdered Love” just off the top of my head.
The beginning of “Fat” qualifies it: “I hope/You got/Fat”. It turns out, though, that, you know, he still loves her, the nerd. With the one-per-artist rule, it might be second to “Kiss-Off” even though you could argue the latter isn’t really a kiss-off song at all. But, you know, it’s called Kiss Off, and he forgot what eight was for.
“Just Because” is my Paul McCartney choice. I know, I know, the Elvis version is the canonical one. Well, tough. Paul’s is better. On the other hand, Paul is also singing on the Beatles’ “Another Girl”. Hmmm.
“Cruel to Be Kind” is a great Nick Lowe tune, although it isn’t quite a kiss-off song. He doesn’t quite leave her. But what a good song ... so, in or out?
“No Mercy for Swine” has the great line about getting over someone by getting onto someone else; it’s a deeply psychotic tune, like most of the Cherry Poppin’ Daddies’ best stuff.
“Don't Come Around Here No More” might not actually be a kiss-off song, as there are hardly any lyrics to figure out what Tom Petty is on about really.
“Don’t Let’s Start” is pretty obscure, like a lot of They Might Be Giants, but the line about how “I don’t get around how you get around” is pretty good.
“You Took My Breath Away”, and I want it back again. The Traveling Wilburys song, again, isn’t clearly a kiss-off song (as opposed to, say, a lovelorn song, a torch song, or a take-me-back song).
“Don’t Let the Sun Catch You Cryin’” might be better on a Jazz mix of these (more on this later) but that’s the whole Louis Jordan thing, isn’t it?
“Fountain of Youth” is a bit wistful for a kiss-off, and even the immortal line “I was your fountain of youth/And you were my mountain of truth/But you have drunk me dry and I'm afraid of heights” may not make up for the fact that whichever Nield is singing at the moment hasn’t left him yet. Gi-irl!
“Everybody Loves Me, Baby” is another one where Don McLean’s contempt is mixed with the clear sense that he’d take her back in a minute. Which is, of course, perfectly traditional.

Well, that’s a start. All advice welcome. Oh, and I’ve restricted myself to rock songs to make it easier to mix them; an hour of jazz would start off with “Goody Goody” and have “I Cried for You” (now it’s your turn), “Meet Me at No Special Place” (and I’ll be there at no particular time), and probably “Most Gentlemen Don’t Like Love”. Lots of others to choose from, particularly if I am willing to include showtunes. Does the “Cell Block Tango” from Chicago count as a kiss-off?



I've always been amused by the related genre where the guy (it's usually a guy) has left but needs to explain that he's not leaving because he's a jerk, but because, you know, he's just a guy who's got to keep movin' on. E.g. Phil Ochs' "Changes", Arlo Guthrie's "Highway in the Wind", Suzanne Vega's "Gypsy". Also Ani Difranco's lovely song "You Had Time":

You are a china shop,
and I am a bull.
You are really good food,
and I am full....

But to return to the true kiss-off genre:
the Dixie Chicks, "Hole in My Head"
Sting, "Consider Me Gone"
The Beatles, "Think for Yourself"

I'm sure I'll think of more.

Hm, I thought this had a female singer, but it's actually a guy after all: Stephin Merritt's "Falling Out of Love With You" (on the first 6ths album). "Every day in every way I'm falling out of love with you, Every kiss means less and less. I'm falling out of love with you. Every hour kills a flower. I'm falling out of love with you. You just bore me more and more. I'm falling out of love with you." Although I guess they're still together at the end of the song.

Stephin Merritt again, "I'm Lonely (and I Love It)" (Future Bible Heroes, uh, single? "LP"?).

For jazz, does "Annie Doesn't Live Here Anymore" count?

I have a vague idea there must be a sort of pre-kiss-off song (of the "I didn't want her anyway" variety) in The Music Man, but I'm not sure which one it would be.

Ah, break-up songs; how I love them. My current faves, for stinging rejection to a rockin' beat:

Swamp Dogg, "Chokin' to Death on the Ties that Bind":

The honey's gone (no more honey).
There's only the comb.
The meat is gone (no more meat).
We're down to the bone.

Ann Peebles, "Burn Your Playhouse Down":

You've been playing daddy
with every mama around.
But one of these days while you're out playing,
I'm gonna catch you off guard;
I'm gonna tear your playhouse down.


I mentioned it the last time around, but hey, I'm a repetetive sort of person: "Sun Comes Up, It's Tuesday Morning", by The Cowboy Junkies? ("... anyways I'd rather listen to Coltrane / than go through all that shit again" and other choice lines)

And, Jacob, "You Had Time" always gives me chills. I agree, good song.

Ahhh, now this is fun. For some reason, i didn't chime in last time, but i took a quick skim of my music shelf this time.

A song that definitely goes on my kiss-off mix is Melissa Ferrick's "Some Kinda Nerve" ("If you think that you might have made some sort of mistake in leaving me, well guess what, you're too late"), if only because an ex put it on a mix cd for me once. :>)

I'm also very fond of the Sisters of Mercy's "I Was Wrong" ("I was wrong to ever doubt // i could get along without // and i can love my fellow man // but i'm damned if i'll love yours"), but not everyone likes Sisters of Mercy, more's the pity.

Re Beatles: i'd take Jacob's suggestion of "Think for Yourself" over "Another Girl", but, if i had to pick one, it would be "Run for your Life". Technically, those are Harrison and Lennon respectively, so you could have all three if you wanted. :>)

Magnetic Fields: "Falling out of Love with You" is good, but also consider "It's a Crime" ("My mother said gently // you can buy her a Bentley // But, my son, she'll only drive it away"), or perhaps "When You're Old and Lonely" ("you will wish you'd married me"), though the latter isn't *really* a kiss-off song beyond the first line, sadly.

Definitely Jim Croce's "Lover's Cross".

If you want a less debatable Tom Petty choice, how about "You Got Lucky"? ("Girl, if you can do better than me, well go, but remember ... you got lucky the day when i found you")

There has to be a good Barenaked Ladies choice, but i couldn't find one that i actually liked. Ditto R.E.M. Nick Cave may not have any songs that *don't* qualify, but it seemed like cheating somehow.

If you need a Gord Lightfoot song, maybe "(That's What You Get) For Loving Me". If you need Simon & Garfunkel, there's always "You Don't Know Where Your Interest Lies".

The Levellers' "Fifteen Years" probably fails on not being in first person, and i guess the Indigo Girls' "Nashville" gets cut if you only want kiss-off songs directed at, you know, people. :>) Rush's "Cold Fire" is probably a little iffy as well.

Hrm, okay, that's all i got for now.

Thanks, all, for the suggestions. Dan, I meant to ask last year—what album is that on? Jed, yes, but the Cats&Jammers version may not pass the one-per-artist rule. Jacob, the it-ain't-me-babe category is awesome and deserves its own mix, if you're up for it. All the rest of you, thanks for the input; keep it coming!


Oh, sorry 'bout that. "...Tuesday morning" is on The Caution Horses. The album as a whole is somewhat mixed: the music and singing is consistently excellent, but some of the lyrics seem a little bit precious or forced -- and in music that features the lead vocal so prominently as the CJs do Margo Timmins, awkward poetry can break a beautiful song.

Still, there's a solid line-up of great songs to be had. Also notably good: "Cheap is how I feel" and "Where are you tonight?"

Too late for more? There's "Gone for Good" by the Shins, the classically bad and amazingly misogynous "Nowhere Chick" by Endless Pulse, and "Song for the Dumped" by Ben Folds Five. I also think a better choice from the They Might Be Giants oeuvre would be "Twistin'".

I remember that the 6ths were playing while I was having a serious incipient-end-of-the-relationship talk with my ex-girlfriend (back in 2001), and "Falling out of Love With You" came on; it was hard to keep up the conversation while being distracted by the need to maintain her attention so she wouldn't notice the extremely unfortunate lyrics that were accompanying our discussion.

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