“Breaking Us In Two” by Joe Jackson (1982)

Joe Jackson was one of the most chameleonic musicians of his era. “Is She Really Going Out With Him?” sounds nothing like his cover of “The Harder They Come”, which sounds nothing like “Steppin’ Out”, which sounds nothing like “Breaking Us In Two”-and those last two songs are on the same album!

I’m a sucker for a good piano ballad, and “Breaking Us In Two” hits me harder than anything Elton John’s ever recorded, to draw a comparison to a more conventional (and famous) piano man. Joe’s “everyman” voice gives the song a very conversational quality.

On a practical level, the lyrics perfectly explain how important it is for a romantic couple to have interests that don’t always include one another. Too much of anything (including time together, even with someone you love) isn’t good for you.

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