Beyoncé’s “visual album” Lemonade is already THE album of 2016; even a casual listen makes it obvious that a lot of the album is about her marriage to Jay-Z, specifically about his many infidelities.
In very stark terms, that we don’t expect from major popstars, Beyonce laid out exactly what she thought about cheating . Obviously the two are still together (or the internet would have exploded), and even Bey released the album on her hubbie’s pricey streaming service Tidal, so they must have patched it up. And while making music about heartbreak and relationships is pretty standard there’s some extreme examples out there that match or surpass Lemonade.
Marvin Gaye’s, Here My Dear
Eeeek the Citizen Kane of vicious break up albums is Marvin Gaye’s Here My Dear an entire LP written about his divorce from his first wife and recorded only to provide Gaye with funds to pay alimony. Mean, tender, soulful, and cutting it’s one of the strangest and greatest R&B records in existence. Buy a copy for your ex today!
Robin Thicke, Paula
Whoa….this one’s just sad. After his very public breakup, due to screwing around, Robin Thicke tried to woo back his wife, actress Paula Patton, with an entire album about her (called Paula) and their relationship. Did it work? Well, the album flopped, Paula didn’t come back, and every track just sounds pathetic.
Ben Gibbard, Former Lives
Here’s an album closer to Lemonade with it’s “this is weird, we’re still close” vibe, though this one is still about endings. Death Cab For Cutie head honcho was married to America’s sweetheart Zooey Deschanel for two years before splitting. His solo album Former Lives is mostly about the marriage, but the two must be on goodish terms as Zooey is a guest musician on the album.
Beck, Sea Change
The saddest love album ever written? An LP of delicate dirges that describe every permutation of a relationship before it ends. Sea Change by Beck is about his 9-year relationship that ended when he found out his wife was cheating. Originally written as therapy, Beck wasn’t going to release the tracks at all until being convinced by his producer who recognized the album genius.
Mariah Carey & Eminem: Bagpipes From Baghdad vs Obsessed vs The Warning
These are individual songs but need to be on this list because: 1. This is delightfully bizarre. 2. It’s the best example of contemporary pop stars singing about relationships in a no-holds barred, where’s-their -PR-people way. Eminem claims he and Mariah Carey (!) dated for about 6 months. While she denies it… However, Eminem has Bagpipes From Baghdad that specifically name-checks Mariah and their fling. She retorted with Obsessed which is a bit more coy but has a video with a stalker that’s obviously Eminem. Then Eminem released The Warning which is a whole misogynist diss track about Mariah. It’s all very effed up.
Did we forget anybody?
Share this now with the music lover in your life, and tell us in the comments what albums we should have included.