In the past two weeks I have watched High Fidelity, 2000's film adaptation of Nick Hornby's book by the same name, three times. I partially blame E! Entertainment for this because it started filling a lot of its empty night airtime with repeated showings of the movie.
The basic plot of the movie is as follows: John Cusack's character, Rob, is an intense record store owner who has just been dumped by his live-in girlfriend. Rob constructs a list of the top five worst break ups in his romantic life in order to discover why he is consistently the dumpee in relationships.
On the surface, I have no reason to like this movie. I can't stand John Cusack OR Jack Black OR Tim Robbins. Cusack's portrayal of Rob as a music elitist extraordinaire should be alienating. Despite these factors, it's Rob's perspective on the connection between relationships and music that sucks me in every time. In one of Rob's early monologues spoken directly to the audience he muses:
"What came first, the music or the misery? People worry about kids playing with guns, or watching violent videos, that some sort of culture of violence will take them over. Nobody worries about kids listening to thousands, literally thousands of songs about rejection, pain, misery and loss. Did I listen to pop music because I was miserable? Or was I miserable because I listened to pop music?"
Exactly. For me, it's not so much pop music that has been messing with my head, but the painful exploits of love-to-hate emo shoegazers. Forget the image of Cinderella and Prince Charming riding off into the sunset in their pumpkin carriage. My happily ever after involves cigarettes, the color red, "car crash hearts," desperation and all the other trite imagery plaguing the genre.
So in honor of High Fidelity, I've made my own top five list. Enjoy. Or not, but maybe that's kind of the point of these songs anyway...
TOP FIVE SONGS THAT HAVE DESTROYED MY DEFINITION OF CONTEMPORARY LOVE
1. "So Long As We Keep Our Bodies Numb, We're Safe" / MIDTOWN
2. "Little Devotional" / TAKING BACK SUNDAY
3. "A Lack of Color" / DEATH CAB FOR CUTIE
4. "23" / JIMMY EAT WORLD
5. "Sore Thumb" / THE FORMAT