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I love me some cheese.

Not the cheddar or bleu kind (although I like those, too). I'm talking about musical cheese. You know, the overwrought, overly emotional songs that you really like but are kind of ashamed to tell anyone. The ones that, if you're not careful, someone you know will see you singing when you're sitting at a stoplight in your car.

I have mine and I'm not ashamed — or not much ashamed — to reveal them:

* "Same Old Lang Syne" by Dan Fogelberg. I'm a fan of Fogelberg anyway, but this one, which he says is based on a true story, is a special favorite. I have friends who absolutely detest this song, saying its mawkish and overly sentimental. Well, yeah. What's your point?

* "It Never Would Have Worked Out" by Skip Ewing. I figure about 14 people remember Ewing, who had six Top 20 country hits back in the late 1980s. This song wasn't one of them, but it's a quiet bit of rationalization from a brokenhearted man.

* "Where've You Been" by Kathy Mattea. If this heart-tugging song about a couple's life doesn't bring a drop of moisture to your eyes, you are officially dead inside.

* "Lost" by Adam Schmitt. Pure pop. Pure ache. The title says it all.

* "When You Say Nothing at All" by Alison Krauss. Who can resist that voice?

* "Time Don't Run Out on Me" by Anne Murray. You want desperation? You got desperation.

* "100 Years" by Five for Fighting. I don't care how old you are, this look at love, life and the passage of time should clutch your heart.

* "The Song Remembers When" by Trisha Yearwood. The idea behind this song is sheer brilliance. You hear a song with a particular emotional resonance from your past and you are instantly transported back to the time, the place and the person. C'mon, it's happened to you, admit it.

* "Neither One of Us (Wants to Be the First to Say Goodbye)" by Gladys Knight and the Pips. Who does?

* "To Make a Love Story Short" by the Holmes Brothers. R&B for that moment when you realize you've made a terrible mistake in a relationship.

* "Dry My Tears and Move On" by Richard Thompson. Pain practically drips off this one, but so does resilience and determination.

* "Something in Red" by Lorrie Morgan. A musical walk through a woman's life from high school romance to desperately clinging to a marriage. Even my wife says this is a sad song.

Contact Shawn Ryan at mshawnryan@gmail.com.

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