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.
David Gedge of The Wedding Present always had a way with jangly heartbreakers—it seemed like he was getting dumped pretty much all the time when the band first started out. And his experiences were always so richly detailed: It wasn’t that the breakups were particularly special, but that they were so specific. I could’ve picked any number of songs from the band’s early years, but “Nobody’s Twisting Your Arm” has the distinct kiss-off song advantage because of its simple final lyric: “I don’t love you anymore.” (It doesn’t get any more kiss-offy than that.) It may just be a defense mechanism, though, and when he says it, the vocal is doubled by Amelia Fletcher—herself an undersung indie-pop hero of bands like Talulah Gosh and Heavenly—so really, it’s kind of a double kiss-off. Regardless of whether the characters actually don’t love each other anymore, it’s pleasantly painful to hear Gedge doubt himself (“I’m not the kind of boyfriend that you need”) and his paramour’s faithfulness (“How can you lie there and say that you’ll come back alone?”).
It’s hard to say what kind of lasting impact bands like The Wedding Present have had. On the one hand, they were never terribly fashionable, and their influence on other acts is fairly subtle. On the other hand, there seems to be a demand for new issues and complete sets of their material—including a massive reissue campaign of their entire catalog in three-disc editions just last year. Maybe it’s just one of those beautiful, rare times that great songs endure not because they’re part of some larger scene—The Wedding Present were frequently seen as Smiths followers—but just because they’re expertly crafted and performed.