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Vincent van Gogh once said that he’d rather die of passion than of boredom. He might have been referring to love for his work, but love in an emotional sense often brings both passion and heartbreak. Scientists think they’re close to uncovering a cure for love – but would we want it? Without it, we’d just have the moderated bit in the middle – boredom.

I’m not one for moderation. Show me the passion any day.

One of the greatest things to come out of love, and the loss of it, is music. For every upbeat, thigh-slapping tune about falling in love, there are a handful of others that lie on the other side. I came across these lists of music of love and heartbreak on The Guardian. They confirmed for me that a) music manages to capture the feeling of love (and heartbreak) so wonderfully and b) a cure might not be the right answer for everyone.

A few stand-outs from the ‘heartbreak’ list:

  • Bon Iver, ‘Flume’: “…less a song about heartbreak than the sound of heartbreak… It’s almost worth being broken up with to fully appreciate the belligerent heartbreak of this record.”
  • Leonard Cohen, ‘So Long, Marianne’: “He sings, painting the painful nuances of a break-up with a complexity rarely heard in pop.”
  • Bob Dylan, ‘Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right’: “A bruised heart can turn the best of us into bitterly deluded fools… he gets in a spiteful parting shot – ‘you just kinda wasted my precious time’ – but he’s left arguing with himself. The object of his scorn is long gone.”
  • Fleetwood Mac, ‘Go Your Own Way’: “The superbly embittered Go Your Own Way saw foundering front-couple Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks snarling Buckingham’s barbed lyrics at each other, while the equally anguished John and Christine McVie soldiered grimly on the wings. The pain was worth it: thanks to this single, Rumours went on to sell 30m copies worldwide.”
  • U2, ‘With Or Without You’: “A brooding, hypnotic song about the violence of love and lust – ‘on a bed of nails she makes me wait’… An emotionally draining tour de force.”

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Kevin Roberts

Kevin Roberts is founder of Red Rose Consulting; business leader and educator; author and speaker; adviser on marketing, creative thinking and leadership.


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