9. Billy Paul, "Me and Mrs. Jones"

Affairs, particularly the extramarital kind, rarely work out. Nobody leaves their partner, or their kids, and most married affairs just kind of peter out, leaving everybody a little bit sadder and a little bit wiser, hopefully. "Me and Mrs. Jones" recognizes that, nailing a lovelorn ambivalence in a way not a lot of other songs do: "We gotta be extra careful / That we don't build our hopes too high / ' Cause she's got her own obligations and so do I."

8. Patsy Cline, "Your Cheatin' Heart"

Patsy Cline doesn't hold anything back in this performance, but it's a testament to her voice and delivery that the song doesn't come across as hectoring or overly vengeful. Rather, she's coming from a place of deep knowing, regret, and understanding, and that's what makes this song so crushing.

7. Led Zeppelin, "Your Time Is Gonna Come"

Led Zeppelin's entire conceit was fusing the earthy rawness of the blues with otherworldly grandeur. "Your Time Is Gonna Come" is a microcosm of this entire approach: though it's a pretty standard litany of woman-done-me-wrong cliches, the song opens with a church organ and builds to a massed choir of heartbreak. It's one guitar solo away from Valhalla.

6. Bob Dylan, "Most Likely You'll Go Your Way (And I'll Go Mine)"

There's less venom here than there is weariness, and although there's plenty of bluster in some of the recorded versions (the one below is from Before the Flood), the lyrics are more tired than enraged. To wit: "You say ya got some other kinda lover / And yes, I believe you do / You say my kisses are not like his / But this time I’m not gonna tell you why that is." That's a man refusing to rise to the bait, and that's a sentiment the Dylan who wrote "Don't Think Twice" needed some time to grow into.

 

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