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I Am Shelby Lynne Is the Best Breakup Album Ever

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Mon, Jan 9, 2012 at 4:30 AM

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Breaking up blows. But if there's any bright side to the storm of emotions that makes it hard to eat/sleep/function like a normal human that follows in the wake of a breakup, it's the chance to do some really indulgent, fully acceptable wallowing. And for that, you need a good breakup album.

Shelby Lynne, who won a Best New Artist Grammy in 2001 after releasing I Am Shelby Lynne, said, "That album came from the most vulnerable, desperate place." We feel you.

Artists create their best art when they're tortured (see Mary J. Blige, Robert Downey Jr.). And Lynne, who plays KCRW's Berkeley Street Sessions concert series tomorrow night, made the best breakup album of all time.

I Am Shelby Lynne doesn't waste any time. The first line of "Your Lies" contains a plea that tumbles immediately on the heels of an accusation. Following a quick flash of rumbling drums, she brays, "Your lies won't leave me alone/You used to say you loved me, didja?" Is there any better summation of the feeling that follows the punch to the gut the announcement "I want to break up" delivers? She then reveals he told her over the phone that what they had was "only business," and proceeds to rip apart her room. We always wanted to do that but never had the guts. Living vicariously through someone who does is very cathartic.

The reality of the breakup has set in, and you're comforting yourself with his cluelessness. Quietly indignant, Lynne murmurs in "Leaving'," "It's time for me to spend some time alone/I'm tired of trying to make this your happy home." Yes, that's your cool, self-righteous speech to re-enforce how much he's really gonna miss you. Inside, what you're saying is: This motherfucker. Don't know whatcha got till it's gone, asshole!

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