In Hear This, A.V. Club writers sing the praises of songs they know well. This Love Week, we’re talking about some of our favorite kiss-off cuts.
The only reliable way to avoid talking too much about an ex is to never talk about an ex. It happens to the best of us: a former lover, usually one with whom things ended badly, comes up in casual conversation and everything goes to hell in a hurry. An affirmation of emotional recovery, put in the breeziest of tones, becomes an anecdote about the infamous San Francisco trip, which bleeds into a diatribe about mysterious text messages, which is followed by full-blown apoplexy. Upon finally hearing the words coming out of your mouth, you attempt to pave over the crazy, but the damage is done.
Failing an absolute cone of silence, talk of an ex must be kept as brief as possible and kept free of nuance. That’s why Danko Jones’ “Too Much Trouble” is the perfect kiss-off song. Clocking in at barely over a minute, “Too Much Trouble” breaks a failed relationship down to its most basic components. He tried his best; she was still a pain in the ass. Is it ever that simple? Of course not. (She would probably accuse him of being a one-minute-and-seven-second man.) But are the ugly details worthy of constant reconsideration? They usually aren’t. Sometimes people are just a huge hassle, and the only way to avoid giving them more energy than they deserve is to elide the blow-by-blow.