454. Phil Collins’ ‘No Jacket Required’ (Written By Aidan Cusack)

Hey y’all, I have a guest on the blog again today. Today, my mans Aidan Cusack writes about Phil Collins’ No Jacket Required, a classic #sadboy album. He’s about the most earnest college grad in America, and he wrote a guide for breakups centered around this album. Here it is: 

The summer after high school ended I had the romance to end all romances. After pining over a friend for more than a year, I finally mustered up the courage to go in for a kiss, and was summarily rejected. I swallowed my pride and went about business as usual, but a week later I found myself cuddling with her in the backseat once again. Being young and reckless wasn’t a concept I was very familiar with, but she was nuzzling my cheek with hers so I figured that this is one of those “signs” you hear about, and I went in for a kiss. I knew this was a risky move because being rejected twice in the span of a week wasn’t something my 18-year-old heart could take. But I went full speed ahead and was once again stopped before my chapped lips made any sort of contact. After being questioned as to whether my motives were “a heat of the moment kind of thing” or the result of romantic feelings, I was allowed to pass go, collect $200, and we made out for what seemed like hours.

Fast forward to a few weeks later and I’m picking her up at her house. She climbs into the car and I proudly show her the Phil Collins greatest hits collection I had just picked up from the library. That album ended up being the soundtrack to that summer, and Phil Collins will forever be the Peter Gabriel to my Lloyd Dobler.

One of the things I remember most vividly about that summer was singing along to “Easy Lover” with this girl. I turned the music down, laughed nervously, and said, “I’m pretty sure this song is about you.” We both rolled our eyes and laughed, but I should’ve stopped the car and immediately listened to Phil & Philip’s Bailey’s advice because that girl ended up breaking my heart like they said she would.

At some point in the weeks following our breakup I found a used copy of No Jacket Required and picked it up because I recognized “Sussudio” and “One More Night” on the tracklist. I played it over and over again alone in my room and the album became the soundtrack to the emotional coaster I was riding after the breakup. There was a song to describe exactly how I was feeling on any given day of those following weeks, and I’ve decided to share the six stages of a breakup through the songs on this masterpiece.

Stage One - “Only You and I Know:” This Must Be a Mistake…

“Just try to remember / Now I’m the one you love / You told me, ooh try to remember/I’m the one you’re always thinking of”

The first step of any breakup is trying to ascertain what exactly is going on. You think about all of the events leading up to it and what was said. You think about the “always” and “forever” statements and think that those MUST have been true and this is just some rough patch you’re going through. This is some silly mistake. How could YOUR relationship be falling apart? You think about how you said you’d always love each other and figured that everything would work out in the end. You hold on to how things were in the past and don’t realize how foolish and naive you truly are.

Stage Two - “Who Said I Would:” Maybe This is for the Best

“I’m not the only one but I do fine / I suit her purpose and I’m just her kind”

This is the part where you think back and start to sift through the all of the shit that transpired over the course of the relationship. You start to remember all of the not-so-fun moments and the things that should’ve been red flags. You begin to understand that things weren’t exactly as great as you thought and maybe this particular girl was just using you. Maybe you weren’t so good to her yourself. This is where you throw on “Who Said I Would” and realize that maybe you were just a pawn in her game and accept it. Maybe this breakup is for the best…

Stage Three - “One More Night:” COME BACK!

“Like a river to the sea / I will always be with you / And if you sail away / I will follow you”

Remember how you felt like you were finally moving on yesterday? Forget that. Today is a different day and all you can think about is getting another chance. Whether it was a dream, a chance encounter in public, or a little too much wine, you’re deep in your feelings today and all you think that all you need is one more night to make things right.

Stage Four - “I Don’t Wanna Know:” Ha, What Was I Thinking Yesterday?

“She can cry all she wants / she’s not gonna bring me back”

This stage follows any moment of weakness in which you think “I wish things were back to normal!” Remember all of those things you were saying the other day about how you’re better off now and you’ll never be with someone like her again? You now remember all of those things and realize you were silly for wanting to give her another chance. You’re finally on the road to recovery and happiness.

Stage Five - “Doesn’t Anybody Stay Together Anymore:” It Wasn’t Meant to Be

“I wonder why doesn’t anybody stay together anymore?”

This stage usually occurs after consuming a copious amount of whiskey. You start getting deep and think that love is bullshit and that the relationships you see in movies haven’t existed since your grandparents met at that sock hop in the ‘50s. You think about the fact that Ciara and Future couldn’t make it work and you realize that true love is a sham. Tip: don’t try to sing along to this after gulping down a bottle of Johnnie Walker. Your roommates WILL knock on your door and you’ll have to say something like, “Tears? Noooo, that’s sweat. It’s really hot in here. I was just doing some pushups.”

Stage Six - “Sussudio:” I Met Someone New and Feel Alive Again

“There’s this girl that’s been on my mind / all the time…”

This is by far the best part of life after a breakup. You finally feel like you can move on and then you meet someone! Remember all that stuff you said about love being bullshit and non-existent? Fuck that! This new person is way better than your ex and you can’t believe you were mopey and drunk for almost three months following your last breakup. You’re meeting people, dating, and open to anything. Maybe you WON’T sell all of your stuff and move into a cave (or to the Midwest) after all. Life is good once again.

Aidan Cusack is writing sonnets in your girl’s DMs right now. Trust me. He’s on Twitter—@royalswords  

49. Phil Collins’ ‘Face Value’ (Andrew)

The perils of buying old records, for the fun of it, is that you’re bound to buy some shit ironically. It’s why Urban Outfitters sells vinyl record frames, and why Molly Hatchet records are impossible to come by in the wild. If you have a turntable, you are eventually going to buy or take something from a relative because the idea makes you LULZ IRL. This is how I have a copy of Phil Collins’ Face Value, which I bought at Half-Priced Books about two years ago. It had “In the Air Tonight,” and it cost $2. If nothing else, it wasn’t the worst $2 I’ve ever spent. 

But here’s the thing: Buying ironically ignores the fact that the albums you’re buying as a joke weren’t made as a joke. It’s not like buying a Flight of the Conchords album, you know? 

The reason this feels like important stuff to think about is that I don’t think I’ve ever even listened to this album until now, and I was totally surprised how dark it is. It was recorded right after Collins went through a divorce, and the specter of a broken relationship hangs heavy over the album. This is the sound of a rich man wondering why, even though he has everything, he feels so shitty about his wife leaving him. It’s a pretty big bummer of an album, an album that is way more serious that just laughing at the fact that I own a record by one of the corniest dudes ever (or at least that’s what we’re told).

And here’s the thing: I don’t think I’ve ever even really listened to what “In The Air Tonight” is about. It’s a really dark song; It’s a song directed at his ex-wife, and Collins calls her a liar, says she doesn’t know who he is, and says he wouldn’t save her if she’s drowning. Drake has made a career trying to convey this exact sentiment, and he hasn’t even gotten close to this song. It’s arguably the most heart-wrenching song about a divorce, and it was used as a joke in the Hangover. Think how unfortunate that is.  

So, I guess I’m saying you should actually listen to the records you buy ironically. It can lead you to sitting on your sofa half-drunk on a weeknight, thinking to yourself about how dark Phil Collins was on Face Value, wondering what would have happened if people realized that Phil Collins was making darker music than the punk bands in 1981. I can’t fully endorse Collins—he made the soundtrack to Tarzan, after all— but imagine what would have happened if people could have seen past the goofy haircut and the horrible Genesis albums, and recognized that Face Value was an emotionally serious album.