I've always liked Burt Bacharach (except his 80's work; you can keep the Arthur theme, thanks) and some of his songs are just heartwrenching if you can get past the schmaltzy orchestral arrangements. A lot has to do with the performers; Gene pitney, Dionne Warwick (again, ignore her later work- her 60's stuff is awesome), Karen Carpenter; they managed to interpret the songs in a way that captures the melancoly and desparation of the lyrics. A Bacharach/David song in the right hands can instantly cause powerful lovesickness and heartbreak.
Some of the Burt songs I'm talking about:
Wishin' and hopin' I'll never fall in love again Close to you Walk on by
Only love can break a heart Promises, promises (yes, the one "Naked Eyes" did)
and of course: This guy's in love with you.
unfortunately, with the 10 or so Burt Lps I have, I don't have the version of this song I wanted. I have the one with Herb Albert on trumpet that omits most of the lyrics (but is still sad and good), and "This girl's in love with you" by Brenda Lee, who is ALL WRONG for Burt songs. She's too strong and confident sounding to sing this song with the correct heartbreakiness. Feh.
If you like Stephin Merritt, you should check out Burt. it's easy to overlook how good his songs are since you've heard some of them ("Raindrops keep falling on my head", for instance) so damn many times. Since the Carpenters got a hipster tribute record, I think Burt is past due for one.