In high school my friends Amanda and Bryce and I used to joke that our hearts were frozen tundras where feelings went to die. Dramatic, no? At the time we were being facetious; the extent of our knowledge of romantic hardships did not come from first-hand experience but instead from a vast array of teen-appeasing RomComs, 1-hour medical dramas, and the occasional Death Cab For Cutie song. I would pace around my bedroom repeating “Pick me, choose me, love me,” to my fictional McDreamy boyfriend, crying until my mom would yell at me to “get a hold of yourself; these aren’t real people.” What can I say? Those love triangles still get me.
Years later, with far more relationship experience under my belt, I can tell you that there have been times where I felt as though my heart was, in fact, a frozen tundra where feelings went to die, specifically for a brief period of time Winter Semester 2008, Winter Semester 2009, and Winter Semester 2011… A case might be made that my heart did actually freeze in the polar Provo climate. These enduring moments of prolonged emotional catastrophe (as my journal recalls) helped to connect me to the basest of human feelings, those moments where your whole body physically aches with only emotional distress to blame. Some of the experiences I would trade for anything; some of the experiences I am grateful that I underwent because of the empathy/life lessons/weight loss I accumulated from them. In every case, the universal experience of pain brought me to a greater affinity for music and a less superficial connection to masterful lyricism.
As Single Awareness Day looms around the corner, I have prepared an arsenal of poignant tunes to get you through these perilous times. These songs are a few of my favorites, just a sample of my extensive library of dead heart tunes, aptly named “Sob fest 20__.” Listen to the entirety at your own risk; if you are unsure of your emotional stability then you can message me for a free SAD PERSONS evaluation, assessing your ability to recover from extended exposure to the accumulated Major Depressive Disorder of these artists.
Hurt- Johnny Cash [NIN cover]: This is a completely different song from the original Nine Inch Nails version, both excellent in their own rights. Trent’s lyrics coupled with Johnny’s rasp/tragic history make this a definite tearjerker.
Favorite Lyrics- You are someone else. I am still right here. You can have it all, my empire of dirt. I will let you down. I will make you hurt
Both Sides Now- Joni Mitchell: 17 years old. I was watching a Clean Flicks version of Love Actually. Emma Thompson had just figured out that Professor Snape was cheating on her, biggest fears confirmed. She retreats to her room and turns this on. My mom bought the soundtrack and I remember just sitting in her car listening to this song on repeat. So incredibly sad. Joni just gets it.
Favorite Lyrics- It’s love’s illusions I recall; I really don’t know love at all.
You Were A Kindness- The National: The National aptly describes the inner monologue of a wounded person, the emotions you battle with until you recover from the love you lost.
Favorite Lyrics- Why would you shatter somebody like me? It doesn’t work that way. Wanting not to want you wont make it so. Don’t leave me here alone.
She’s Always A Woman- Billy Joel: This song is so sad to me because I saw myself this way for a long time. I guess I felt sorry for the Billy Joel character who kept wasting his time with this entertaining yet screwed up woman; she wasn’t going to change and he was weirdly okay with that. Too much disclosure? I think you can handle it.
Favorite Lyrics- She can ask for the truth but she’ll never believe you. She’ll only reveal what she wants you to see. She steals like a thief but she’s always a woman to me.
I Know It’s Over- The Smiths: I had a long discussion/heated argument over what the saddest Smith’s song was with a professor once. He said Reel Around The Fountain and I said this one; the funny thing was that secretly we both saw him as the main character in the songs. While the majority of The Smith’s songs are equally devastating I feel the deepest connection to this one and the story of unrequited love.
Favorite Lyrics- Love is natural and real, but not for such as you and I, my love.
Edge Of Desire- John Mayer: Okay, let’s be real for a moment. John Mayer is the ultimate. Continuum was phenomenal, no one is denying that, BUT I just feel more emotionally connected to Battle Studies on the whole; maybe it is because it was mostly a history of one toxic relationship? Idk, there was a cohesion that was hard to beat. Tangent aside, this song is like a depressing drug addiction for me. I get pulled in and swept away every time I hear this. I. Cannot. Get. Enough.
Favorite Lyrics- I want you so bad I’ll go back on the things I believe. There I just said it, I’m scared you’ll forget about me.
Jesus Christ- Brand New: Jesse Lacey’s trust issues with God. There are people who don’t like this song, but I think that anyone who has had a crisis of faith or has tried to understand what the atonement means for them or who struggles with habits/desires that are inconsistent with what they strive to become can relate to this song. And even though it isn’t a song about a romantic relationship, it is a song about a relationship in crisis.
Favorite Lyrics- My bright is too slight to hold back all my dark.
Graceland- The Tallest Man On Earth (Paul Simon cover): The first time I heard this song I was far too young to understand what was going on but I felt it. A decade later I came upon THIS rendition; Simon’s original lyrics rung even truer after years of experiencing the feeling he was talking about.
Favorite Lyrics- She comes back to tell me she’s gone. As if I didn’t know that. And she said losing love is like a window in your heart: everybody sees you’re blown apart, everybody sees the wind blow.
Take It All- ADELE: You didn’t think I was going to make a sad playlist without an Adele song, did you? You can find Jill and I belting this one on our way to church most Sundays, two lonely hearts singing about our exhausting relationships to the void.
Favorite Lyrics: You’ve given up so easily; I thought you loved me more than this.
Guess I’m Doing Fine- Beck: I would like to thank whatever vixen demolished Beck’s heart so that he could compose Sea Change. It was a refreshingly solemn addition to his token anti-folk repertoire. Listen to “Lost Cause” directly afterwards for the ultimate emo experience.
Favorite lyrics: It’s only lies that I’m living. It’s only tears that I’m crying. It’s only you that I’m losing. Guess I’m doing fine.
**What are your favorite Single Awareness Day tracks?**