If your darlin’ dumped you and you’ve sequestered yourself inside the home you once shared to wallow in your misery, you are in luck. Uh, maybe I should rephrase that. The whole getting dumped and your life being in shambles thing isn’t lucky (sorry about all that stuff), but it is lucky that you’ve happened upon this list of songs about folks in just your situation. Isn’t it nice to know that country music has your back?
This began as an outlandish idea for a list of songs and turned into something even weirder, which I call…
Facts About Lonely Guys in Empty Houses
1. They find odd ways of entertaining themselves.
The Grand Tour – George Jones
This guy imagines he’s a tour guide and rehearses an elaborate, fantastically depressing walk through the site of his former happiness and present disintegration. It’s hard to imagine many people wanting to take that tour… unless the guy happens to be George Jones and he’s giving the tour in song format.
Hello Walls – Faron Young
Meanwhile, this guy chats up the walls, windows, and ceiling in hopes that they share his pain.
Flowers on the Wall – The Statler Brothers
He divides his time between staring at the wallpaper, playing Solitaire, watching television, and putting on his tuxedo (tails and all) for no reason, insisting all the while that he’s actually very busy.
Walking the Floor Over You – Ernest Tubb
If you can’t think of anything else to do, just pace around the house nonstop. This is only recommended for people in proper houses and ground-level apartments. Don’t do this if you have neighbors downstairs.
2. They are not mindful of energy conservation.
Every Light in the House – Trace Adkins
This man irresponsibly leaves all the lights turned on 24/7 for the woman he’s pretty sure won’t be coming back.
The Door Is Always Open – Waylon Jennings
This one leaves just one light on in the hall, but also leaves the door ajar. He doesn’t specify whether he has central heating (how could he leave out such an important detail?), but if so, this is an enormous waste of energy.
3. They are not particularly sane.
Nothing’s Changed Here – Dwight Yoakam
It’s like she’s still there, except that she’s actually long gone.
Be a Little Quieter – Porter Wagoner
This guy’s so far gone that he’s pleading with the ghost/memory that haunts him (footsteps in the hall, rattling pots and pans in the kitchen, running water in the bathroom) to keep it down a bit so he can catch some sleep.
Haunted House – Aaron Watson
This one’s actually a double whammy, since the ghost of the former relationship that follows him everywhere also prompts him to sleep with all the lights on. Frightening and un-environmentally-conscious.
Walls – Ray Scott
Although he’s “just a few thoughts shy of being certified insane,” this guy still has the presence of mind to realize that the real problem isn’t when you start talking to walls: it’s when they start talking back.
4. They’re big on prison metaphors.
House of Memories – Merle Haggard
My house is a prison where memories surround me
There’s no place to hide where your memory won’t find me
When a House (Is Not a Home) – Roger Miller
Is there a way out for a soul so torn as mine?
Each day I’m living like a prisoner passing time
5. They are open to downsizing. Maybe a good time for a studio apartment?
Home for Sale – Dwight Yoakam
More square footage = more space to fill up with memories = more misery
Fool’s Castle – Merle Haggard
He thought he was doing her right by spoiling her rotten, but he forgot to give her love. Now he feels foolish in his big mansion on a hilltop all by himself. To make matters worse, all the (apparently very nosy) townspeople have taken to calling his house “Fool’s Castle.” An apartment in the city has never looked better.
6. They do not excel at home and plant care.
Things Have Gone to Pieces – George Jones
This guy’s life is falling apart, leaving him feeling powerless in the face of even the most minor home improvement challenges: a drippy faucet, a picture fallen off the wall, a light bulb burnt out.
Since You Ain’t Home – Mark Chesnutt
Here, the woman’s departure is the direct cause of the activities that lead to the home’s deterioration: The carpet’s wearin’ through, where I dragged around these blues/And the curtain’s torn in two, from me lookin’ out for you. I’m going to guess that letting the grass grow over the flowers she planted probably wasn’t accidental either.
Before You Kill Us All – Randy Travis
“You better come home soon, honey, because your absence isn’t just killing me. It’s also killing the dog, cat, fish, and house plants, none of which I know how to care for properly.”
The Feminine Touch – Johnny Paycheck
Clocks are stopping, plants are dying, dust is everywhere, and dude just doesn’t care anymore.
Another Day Without You – Mike Stinson
The only thing more tragicomic than the speaker’s description of his disintegrating home and life is the revelation that he’s telling it all right to the woman who left him over the telephone. This fact becomes clear near the end of the song: Well now, wait a minute, hon/I’ll try not to be so glum… Didn’t want to sound so desperate/Can’t find other words for what I’m going through/I’m just trying to survive another day without you. Now that’s down-and-out.
This Ole House – Stuart Hamblen
An oddly jaunty celebration of a home falling into disrepair and the old man who doesn’t care because he’s “getting ready to meet the saints” anyway, leaving the old homestead to his old hound dog.
7. They sometimes exhibit destructive behavior.
Mowin’ Down the Roses – Jamey Johnson
Instead of just sitting there suffering, he channels his energy into something productive, like demolishing every last trace of her: pictures, perfume, clothes, you name it. Those roses she planted don’t stand a chance.
8. They don’t have a monopoly on misery.
House of Pain – Danni Leigh
While radio darlings are preoccupied by finding new expressions of optimism, hard-edged female singers like Danni Leigh remind us that suffering at home all by your lonesome is not exclusively a male domain.
Can you think of other songs in this vein? Or, for that matter, other facts about lonely guys in empty houses (keep it clean)? Feel free to add them below. Oh, and give the playlist a listen while you’re at it.