Monday, 29 September 2008


I've been thinking about this post for a couple of weeks now, but never quite got around to doing it. I don't know why it didn't occur to me to post about it sooner. Perhaps because I can look at it all from a more detached perspective now? Who knows?

Anyway, this isn't a generic one-size-fits-all-BADLY approach . . . this is just my take on it. Perhaps you'll identify, perhaps not. I'm posting it anyway . . .

Music hurts too much. Silence is better, or laments of "how do I survive on my own?" and/or "How COULD he???". Because you suddenly find you can identify with EVERY SINGLE WORD OF EVERY SINGLE SONG. Whether it's the good memories in the happy love songs or the bad memories in the songs of heartbreak, it's impossible to just listen impartially. It's far easier to drown the pain, and the loathing, with alcohol and ranting.

Suddenly music starts to mean something again. But it has to be the sad songs you listen to - you need to indulge your misery, completely IMMERSE yourself in it. It makes sense, all of a sudden, to listen to Phil Collins and relate strongly to "Against All Odds" (I know, CRINGE!!!).

Or perhaps sing along to "All By Myself" Bridget-Jones-stylee, using your (usually empty - you're PISSED, after all!) bottle of wine as a microphone, singing to the rooftops until you burst into tears mid song and, overcome with emotion, fling yourself on your bed. It's safe to say that both emotionally and in terms of musical taste, this is NOT your finest hour . . .

This is where Kelly Clarkson first shows up. (Seriously, IS there a more bitter song than "Never Again"? I'm not sure). Lots of angry female singer-songwriters make an appearance, along with some angsty nu-metal a la Linkin Park as you start to feel yourself becoming more than a little mad.

Whether its at your ex, yourself or other people who have hurt you in the past, you aren't always sure. But, fuck it, you're MAD!!! And you need music that reflects that. That reflects the fury you feel, that convinces you that you AREN'T the only person who ever felt that way. You need that kind of reinforcement.

Admittedly some of the angry songs still feature in this stage, but perhaps you see the angry songs in a new light. Perhaps "Never Again" isn't quite bitter anymore so much as a way of asserting your independence and showing you're a stronger person as a result. (And, handily enough, Ms Clarkson has many songs that DO slot nicely into this stage - can you say "Since You Been Gone"???) And how about a bit of Destiny's Child? After all you can't dance along with "Independent Woman Part 1" or "Survivor" without feeling more than a little empowered, right? You're still here, you have survived it. You're now ready for . . .

You go back to liking the sort of music you always liked BEFORE you got hurt. Cool or not-so-cool, music is just music again, it doesn't rip you to your very core. It's a far safer place to be. Until the next guy/girl comes along . . .



  1. I'm not going to come out and say that this combined song collection might just be an every day playlist for me....but I won't deny it either.

  2. Hmm, I agree that that is pretty accurate. Although. I think I generally bypass all of the middle stages and go from silence back to normal...

  3. Please tell me you've listened to the This American Life segment on NPR called "Break Up".

    It's absolutely amazing. One of the reporters tracks down Phil Collins and they talk about "Against All Odds".


  4. well, you basically nailed it!
    It's funny how music can change depending on your mood/life...

  5. My breakup jam is totally "breakdown" by bone thugs and mariah. That is the best breakup song ever.

  6. Wow, I completely agree with you here. Especially in the very begining, I'm always afraid to listen to music because I don't want to hear a song that reminds me of him and makes me cry=(

  7. I always enjoy "Feelings" by the Offspring, "You F***** Up My Life" by Blink 182, the entire "In the Wee Small Hours" album by Sinatra... I like your suggestions, too

  8. That is a pretty impressive list, right there.

    I tend to listen to guns n' roses after a break-up.

  9. I love this post.. it is SO true. Kelly Clarkson is totally my angry girl music!

  10. Another great "bitter" song is "Ruin" by The Pierces. With lyrics like "All that I want is for you to come to ruin", "I do not want for you to be happy", and "You won't forget my name/but I'll forget your face tomorrow", it's good for what ails you.

    Another great break-up song is "True Affection" by The Blow. "I was out of your league/And you were twenty thousand underneath the sea/Waving affections "


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