Friday, February 12, 2016

Songs for the Brokenhearted Playlist: Vol. 2

Last February, I shared a "Songs for the Brokenhearted" playlist (along with the reasons why I chose each song). And, since Valentine's Day is coming up quickly, this year I'm being super creative and doing the same thing.

What can I say? I'm a sucker for sad love songs.

I haven't bothered posting a monthly playlist for the last couple of months, and I wanted to get back into it. I may not post a Spotify playlist every month, but I'll try to do it a little more often. It's something I enjoy doing, and I love sharing my favorite music with other people.

I also realized that lately the majority of my entertainment related posts have been about books. And, while there's nothing wrong with that, I miss writing posts about music. 

Don't get me wrong ... I absolutely love books and reading and the group of amazing bloggers I've met through book related link-ups. But I also love music. A lot

So today I'm going to get a little more personal and share why each of these songs holds a lot of meaning for me. I'm happy to say that I'm in a much better place these days, but I'll never stop loving these songs. They got me through some of my worst moments, and sometimes I think I survived the crushing pain of a broken heart only because I found comfort in these words.

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1. Oh Well: Fiona Apple is the queen of sad and angry love songs, and I've turned to her music each and every time I've dealt with a breakup. Extraordinary Machine was released in the spring of 2006, and it was the perfect time for her to release a new album. I was completely devastated over the end of a relationship (and dealing with severe depression on top of that), and, once again, she really got it. It was as if she'd reached inside my head, taken out all of my thoughts and feelings, and somehow twisted them into beautiful songs. I listened to this album on repeat for months after it was released, and it's still one of my all-time favorites. I chose "Oh Well" specifically because every line described the rollercoaster of emotions I experienced with that breakup (which became an on-again-off-again thing for far too long). This part in particular "What you did to me made me see myself somethin' awful/A voice once stentorian is now again meek and muffled/It took me such a long time to get back up the first time you did it/I spent all I had to get it back and now it seems I've been outbidded" really summed up the situation for me. 

2. Haligh, Haligh, A Lie, Haligh: This is one of the more obvious "love gone wrong" type of songs from Bright Eyes, but that doesn't make it any less effective. I know that some people are quick to write them off as way too "emo," but I stand by my belief that Conor Oberst writes some of the best lyrics in music today. This song is no exception. "Haligh, Haligh, A Lie, Haligh" tells the story of the end of a relationship, complete with bitterness and that lost feeling that often goes along with severing ties with someone when you don't really want to let go. The lines that have always resonated with me the most are: "But now we speak with ruined tongues/And the words we say aren't meant for anyone/It's just a mumbled sentence to a passing acquaintance/But there was once you."

3. Passive: Is this a love song? No. But this has been one of my favorite "fuck you" songs for years, and sometimes when you're dealing with a really shitty breakup you just need to let off some steam. I remember years ago playing this on repeat in my car and singing it at the top of my lungs when I was feeling particularly angry and bitter about the things that were going on in my love life. (And, let's be honest, I still love singing "Passive" at the top of my lungs in the car. It's a really great song!) For me, the best part is at the end of the song when the final chorus sort of swells into this impassioned repeated cry, "Why can't you turn and face me?" and then ends by saying "You fucking disappoint me" and fades into a soft refrain of "Passive aggressive bullshit."

4. Cloud on My Tongue: This song holds very personal meaning for me, and I honestly can't listen to it without crying. Like many of Tori Amos's songs, the lyrics are pretty abstract, yet they manage to cut right to the core. For me, this song is about trying to shut someone out who is causing you pain only to realize they're already so deep inside you that you can never just completely walk away. They've left their mark, and, for better or worse, it will change how you view things forever. "You're already in there/I'll be wearing your tattoo/You're already in there/Thought I was over the bridge now."

5. Nothingman: This has been one of my favorite sad love songs since late middle school/early high school, when "heartache" felt enormous (but could never compare to what I felt in my early 20s when I was stuck in an endless loop of love and hate and happiness and pain with a certain guy). Even at 13, I really felt these words ... And at 21/22? I understood them in ways I wished I didn't. From the opening lines: "Once divided, nothing left to subtract/Some words when spoken can't be taken back" to the second verse (which contains one of my absolute favorite lyrics): "And he who forgets will be destined to remember," this song beautifully describes the pain of realizing a relationship just isn't going to work and doing and saying things you may grow to regret as it unravels.

6. Someday You Will Be Loved: This is kind of a weird song because it always makes me think, "Wow, he's really kind of an asshole." At the same time, it always makes me really sad. Yes, it's a little harsh in some ways, but the overall message rings very true for me. Sometimes when an important relationship ends, it's hard to see much beyond that. It's hard to believe you'll ever move on with your life and see your time with that person as simply a stop along the way. This song kind of plays on that idea, and it's almost written as an anti-love letter: "You'll be loved, you'll be loved/Like you never have known/And the memories of me will seem more like bad dreams/Just a series of blurs like I never occurred/Someday you will be loved."

7. I and Love and You: This is such a beautiful song, and it captures the desperate need to move on from a relationship that just isn't working anymore. I didn't start listening to The Avett Brothers until I'd already met Eric, so this wasn't a song that helped me get through a tough time. Even so, "I and Love and You" describes certain emotions I've experienced over the years, and is one of those songs that really cuts to my core. "Dumbed down and numbed by time and age/Your dreams that catch the world, the cage/The highway sets the traveler's stage/All exits look the same/Three words that became hard to say/I and love and you."

8. Hear Me Out: I love that this song perfectly describes what it means to be in that "limbo" sort of place when a relationship has just ended. You're convinced that a simple conversation might change the course of things, and frustrated when the other person refuses to listen (or possibly even pick up the phone when you call). This is probably one of the worst stages of a breakup because you're willing to hold on to a shred of hope that things might change ... Even if you know deep down that it's probably really over. "I don't want to feel anything, but I do/And it all comes back to you/So listen up, this sun hasn't set/I refuse to believe that it's only me feeling/Just hear me out/I'm not over you yet."

9. Accidental Babies: Despite the odd title, this song really broke me apart the first time I heard it (and every time after). It's strangely sensual, with a lot of descriptions of his experiences with a former lover and questions about her current relationship. But, at the heart of it, "Accidental Babies" is a sad song about wanting to be with someone who has moved on and that sick desire that occasionally swells up, forcing us to ask questions we don't really want the answers to. "But do you really feel alive without me?/If so, be free/If not, leave him for me."

10. That Particular Time: I love that this song tells the story of the way a relationship has changed over time, ending with an eventual parting of ways. "That Particular Time" still shatters my heart into a million tiny pieces every time I hear it because it just feels so personal for me. I think the lyrics say it all, but this entire section is what I most related to when I was trying to deal with a severely broken heart: "I've always wanted for you what you've wanted for yourself/And yet I wanted to save us high water or hell/And I kept on ignoring the ambivalence you felt/And in the meantime I lost myself."

11. Happiness by the Kilowatt: I chose to use the live City and Colour cover of this song (as opposed to the Alexisonfire original that I also love) because I felt like this version tied in a little better with the rest of the playlist. (And, really, either way you're getting Dallas Green singing a lovely sad song.) The lyrics are very simple, but they do a great job describing what it's like to have high hopes for a relationship only to be let down when you realize it's not what you wanted at all: "So this is continuous happiness/And you know, I always imagined it something more."

12. I Didn't Understand: I could have filled this playlist with Elliott Smith songs, but I wanted to only choose one song by each artist I included. While it was a little difficult to narrow it down, I started thinking about how much I identified with "I Didn't Understand" when I was struggling to deal with the breakup I've now referenced multiple times throughout this post. I remember listening to this song and thinking, "This is everything I'm feeling." It's hard to even choose just a few lines to share here because the entire song is just perfect. "Thought you'd be looking for the next in line to love then ignore/Put out and put away/And so you'd soon be leaving me alone like I'm supposed to be/Tonight, tomorrow, and every day/There's nothing here that you'll miss/I can guarantee you this."

So now that I've depressed everyone (just kidding ... Hopefully I didn't do that!), here's the Spotify playlist so you can actually listen to (and hopefully enjoy) the songs:


  1. haha i don't know any of these songs, or from your last list i don't think. i get what you mean about wanting to post more things about more things you like rather than just books etc. i'm not super big on music to be honest, i never post about it. i used to be, but not so much anymore.
    i love a good sad love song!

  2. I can't listen to supersad songs. I think because I read such heavy books, I need other forms of entertainment to be different from that.

  3. My ultimate brokenhearted love song is "I Can't Make You Love Me". I know many artists have released this and covered it, but my personal favourite is George Michael's version (don't laugh; it's good.)

  4. I love sad songs. I actually have a post Sad Songs Say So Much just listing a bunch of my favorites. LOL. I keep adding to it but should probably just publish it.