Readers recommend playlist: songs about broken promises

Broken relationships and political distrust form the backbone to this week’s rundown, with Bruce Springsteen and Calexico among those providing the tunes

Below is this week’s playlist – the theme and tunes picked by a reader from the comments on last week’s callout. Thanks for your suggestions. Read more about the format of the weekly Readers Recommend series at the end of the piece.

Not many nominations flooded in during a week that started with grim news overshadowing things, and the toxic debates surrounding the EU referendum vote. The lower number of suggestions did not make the compilation of a playlist any easier though ...

The YouTube playlist. Click here if you prefer Spotify.

Broken promises ranged from the personal to the political and Pink kickstarts our playlist with Who Knew, a tragic tale of a friend who died early, marking perhaps the ultimate end of promises.

There were quite a few love songs on the topic, though Placebo’s Broken Promise (which features Michael Stipe) is truly one of a kind. A grim and dire warning of a cheated lover who swears to “wait my turn/To tear inside you/Watch you burn.”

Perhaps a pre-emptive strike is better if you are thinking of ending the promise of a relationship. Might as well go the whole hog and top it off with a nice slice of betrayal and leave your former lover hanging, as depicted in the Ballad of Cable Hogue by Calexico.

Chris Corner from IAMX has been disappointed by the promises of Las Vegas, in Land of Broken Promises he's not a happy bunny. They played Bristol on Friday night, but I couldn't go, sad :-(

"Turn the bad blood into good
Bring the laughter, bring the love
Drink again, ‘cause everyone forgets
In the land of broken promises"

Next up, is there any setting better for the topic than Las Vegas, the Land of Broken Promises, where IAMX sees promises of anything one wants or desires?

Father’s Day also fell within this week’s RR session. Commenter Ian Williams nailed the lies that can beset a father-son relationship with his first ever comment by suggesting Frank Turner’s take on that tie that should bind but often doesn’t.

After a brush with Sinners in my last stint here, I thought I’d stay away from religion, but Nine Inch Nails make a compelling case with their Terrible Lie: “Hey God I believed your promises and lies and I think you owe me an apology.”

And can politicians be far behind when we discuss broken promises? Tom Rush tells us the story of a union leader who is accused of dirty shenanigans in Joshua Gone Barbados, while Chumbawamba detail the mindset of our beloved leaders in Always Tell the Voter What the Voter Wants to Hear. Equally scathing is Gil Scott-Heron in his Train from Washington, which is “100 years overdue”.

Despite the melody and soft delivery Simon & Garfunkel cannot hide the existential dilemma of a man who has seen his life crumble around him, nor our inherent trait of seeing what we want to believe, in The Boxer. She is more upbeat and has an electric version to boot, yet Bettye LaVette’s cover cannot soften the bleakness of Bob Dylan’s evocative imagery in Everything is Broken.

With the referendum result hanging over Britain, I’ll close out the playlist on a note of hope. May the new beginnings that Bruce Springsteen expects in Thunder Road be fulfilled, and may friends and strangers alike find better days ahead.

New theme

The theme for next week’s playlist will be announced at 8pm (UK time) on Thursday 23 June. You have until 11pm on Monday 27 June to make nominations.

Here’s a reminder of some of the guidelines for RR:


The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
Readers recommend playlist: songs about family
The Cranberries, Kate Bush and Talking Heads offer up songs about their nearest and dearest in this week’s selection

Gary Willis

17, May, 2018 @11:00 AM

Article image
Readers recommend playlist: your songs about songwriting
This week a playlist of songs where musicians look inwards at the process and outwards at their songwriting heroes – from Bryan Wilson to Bob Dylan

Sheila Deane

20, Oct, 2016 @11:00 AM

Article image
Readers recommend playlist: songs about youth
Songs from Judy Garland, the Beach Boys, Bruce Springsteen and Taylor Swift celebrate the glory of being young

Marco den Ouden

10, May, 2018 @11:00 AM

Article image
Readers recommend playlist: your songs about iron and steel
A reader forges a playlist of songs involving metal in their lyrics or title, with hits from Jethro Tull, Blondie and Bob Marley on the list

Marco den Ouden

01, Dec, 2016 @12:00 PM

Article image
Readers recommend: songs about being a man or woman | Peter Kimpton
Hey baby ... it’s time to define what gender means through the medium of music. Slip us your suggestions, and in title, lyrics or style, it might be a sexy week, says Peter Kimpton

Peter Kimpton

24, Sep, 2015 @7:00 PM

Article image
Readers recommend playlist: great solo performances
Among the artists going it alone this week are Bruce Springsteen, Suzanne Vega, Bert Jansch and percussionist Kuniko Kato


31, May, 2018 @11:00 AM

Article image
Readers recommend playlist: songs about cheating
A reader picks a playlist from your suggestions taking in duplicitous lovers and sporting indiscretions – Fela Kuti, Squeeze and the Clash all make the cut

George Boyland

02, Feb, 2017 @12:00 PM

Article image
Readers recommend playlist: songs about redemption
Primal Scream, Grateful Dead and Van Morrison lead the call for atonement and renewal


02, Nov, 2017 @12:00 PM

Article image
Readers recommend playlist: songs about pragmatism
Among artists picked for seeing things as they are come Run DMC, Van Morrison, Nina Simone and Beyoncé

Samantha Birchard

03, May, 2018 @11:00 AM

Article image
Readers recommend playlist: songs about loneliness
Among the artists feeling alone this week are the Pixies, Al Green, Jimi Hendrix and the Who

George Boyland

05, Apr, 2018 @10:00 AM