A Song to Slit Your Wrists By

Just in case you were thinking the popular music of our own time is uniquely awful–there’s no denying that it is awful–here’s a little number from 100 years ago: “The Curse of an Aching Heart.”

You made me think you cared for me

and I believed in you

You told me things you never meant

And made me think them true.

I gambled in the game of life,

I played my heart and lost

I’m now a wreck upon life’s sea,

Alone I pay the cost.

You made me what I am today,

I hope you’re satisfied

You dragged and dragged me down until

The soul within me died.

You shattered each and ev’ry dream,

Fooled me right from the start

And though you’re not true, may God bless you

That’s the curse of an aching heart.

Beautiful, isn’t it? My grandma used to sing us these ditties when we were little kids. This particular song was performed to hilarious effect in Laurel and Hardy’s 1930 comedy, Blotto, in which it makes Stan Laurel whine and weep uncontrollably.

And some 50 years after it was written, Bob Dylan was cranking out the same kind of lyrics (“You got a lotta nerve, to say that you’re my friend/ When I was down, you just stood there grinnin’…”). And would you believe there’s an upbeat (!) Frank Sinatra version of this howler?

What goes around, comes around.

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