He said, she said — songs with two points of view

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I have a tendency to find songs that I get addicted to–listening to on repeat incessantly, walking around with its lyrics in my head all day. One of the most recent examples of this has been Gotye’s “Somebody That I Used to Know” (linked below for your convenience.)

As this song keeps finding its way back on my playlist, I started to wonder what it was that made me love the song, and even the video, so much. I realized that the raw and honest emotion that it conveyed between two people parting ways really rung true to me. And although the metaphor portrayed in the video of his lover removing herself from the tapestry of his life might be too dramatic for some, I really thought the two did an excellent job of emphasizing the emotion of the lyrics without taking away from the sincerity of the song.

And although there are plenty of songs about broken hearts and break ups, I think what sets this song apart from the others is the fact that you’re not just hearing one point of view about this lost love — you have the rare chance to hear from both parties. Without Kimbra’s accompaniment, this song would still stand on its own, one I would probably still deem worthy of the “replay” button, but I think by providing the additional point of view, the emotions resonate a little deeper with me.

Because, really, we have all been on both sides on the break up — we have all felt like we were the ones who were wronged, that our pain is somehow deeper than the other’s. But it only takes a small break from our regularly scheduled self-pitying to realize that there is more to the story than our perceived pain. Maybe the other person is hurting, too, and maybe their feelings are just as justified as ours.

I started to realize there were a lot of songs in my list of “forever loves” that fit into this sub-category of two-broken-hearts-for-the-price-of-one songs. Further, I realized that many of these were the ones that have persevered the longest through my ever-changing life situations, mainly because at different times in my life, I was able to identify more strongly with one of the different perspectives shared in the song. Essentially I found that, depending on where I was in my life, or what heartache had brought me back to a particular song, I was able to find a new aspect of it to relate to, and oftentimes, it was not the same perspective that I felt most compelled towards upon my last listening.

In some cases, I found that hearing both characters’ points of view resonated with me because it more completely expressed the range of emotions that I was feeling — instead of relating simply to the “man” or the “woman,” I felt that I equally understood and felt both points of view in whatever situation the song was helping me to get through or recall. I recently had a discussion with a friend where I explained that although I understood that Of Monsters and Men’s “Little Talks” (posted below) was supposed to be providing the dialogue of two people who are struggling with how the other is feeling, I also thought it was applicable as one person’s internal conflict — fighting with his/her self about his/her own opposing feelings about staying with something that was known vs. exploring the possibility of making some pretty weighty changes.

So, without further ado, here is the short list of songs I was able to think of that fit the 2-for-1 sub-genre I’ve recently taken note of. Would love to hear from any of you about any songs you love that fit this bill, too.

“Life Effect” -Stars

“Nothing Better” -Postal Service

“Little Talks” -Of Monsters and Men

“I Remember” -Damien Rice

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7 Responses to “He said, she said — songs with two points of view”

    Jonah Matranga’s song April (Learning), when he performed under the Onelinedrawing moniker, which summed up my whole confused feelings in high school. Which I also have the lyrics of tattooed on my biceps. haha

  2. What about “Don’t You Want Me?” by Human League? (here’s where I should write lol so no one thinks I like the song, but I must have heard it thousands of times as a kid on the radio, and it’s stuck in my head whether I want it there or not, so I can’t write lol)

  3. That is a good genre now that i think about it. Additions: Wish me well – bouncing souls. it has the sort of sassy ‘hope you die’ dialogue that i can identify with.

    and you forgot meatloaf?!?!!

  4. I didn’t realize how many of these there are! And Scott Stein – no shame. That was the first song that came to mind. I also thought of this one — Inmates by The Good Life. I really like how they both get a little more intense throughout the song. I love the line – Yeah, that’s your skin. Don’t let anyone under there. No video but here’s the link to the audio anyway.

    P.S. Thanks for including links to so many songs – most I’d never heard.

  5. “Maybe the other person is hurting, too …”

    Maybe. But more often I think, they are not.

    Instead, they are moving on to something temporarily more satisfying. (the grass looks so much greener over there).

    I not so secretly hope that these people have serially traded down into lives of quiet desperation. (crabgrass and garden gnomes).

  6. In the eternal words of Fred Durst, “It’s all about the he said she said bull shit.”

  7. What about Cat Stevens “Father and Son”. Probably one of the best examples.

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