A Love Letter To My Favorite Break-Up Songs
Break-ups happen, you know. And no matter how idealistic or happy you are in the moment, unless you're planning on getting married, you know things don't last forever right?
When you're young and in love, or you think you are, things end up getting a little bit rosier. You see things not for what they are, but for what t hey should be. As time progresses and we learn, we notice that our partner might not have our best interest at heart. Maybe they're an opportunist, maybe our ideals never marched in time, maybe we just didn't work.
Despite the reason, break-ups are an inevitable reminder that we as humans must move on, whether it's to a new person or to singledom, things change. Every artist and listener wants to write or hear a big, sweeping break-up song. Whether you're crying to Adele while eating ice cream in a bathtub or you're throwing yourself around your crappy apartment while listening to the Arctic Monkeys, one thing is for sure, music can get you through.
As a younger person, I relied way too heavily to the pretty rhythms that came out of my headphones. For that three or four minutes...hours, I wouldn't have to think about the mistakes and the failed phone calls.
I remember one night, in college, I was sitting on the fire escape of my overpriced apartment looking out into the streets below, and nothing was keeping me together.
I had two break ups within two months, one from a 4 year long, slow burning failure of a relationship that started out idyllic and innocent and ended in flames...the next from a rebound that I though I really did love.
The next few months would be a collision course to self-destruction, and music was right by my side. We all have those songs that ease the pain, that present our thoughts and feelings more eloquently than we ever thought possible. It's in these songs that we can find the hope that we'll find another person, and the process could start over again.
I loved listening to Natalia Kills' album "Trouble" while I was dealing with all of this emotional baggage. It's basically a story type album in the vein of Lana Del Rey or the like, but more edgy and honest.
She basically chalks up all of her issues to her own irresponsibility and recklessness. Which, is how I felt, exactly.
This song, Saturday Night was the perfect anthem for my feelings, getting out and forgetting about everything was the only way to survive. The tipsy melody and the vivid soundscape made it hard for me to listen to anything else. You know how you get, when nothing else matters but the song in your headphones. You play it on repeat, for as long as your roommates can tolerate. You cry on your floor, you drink, you find something to fill the void.
You make yourself up and you hit the small town bars so you can feel like an important person. But nothing matters, because in that moment you feel like the most lonely person on the planet.
What you don't realize though, is that the music will viill the void, ease the pain, and before you know it, you'll be better. Another track that made me feel less alone was "Can't Stand Me Now" by The Libertines. Written during the band's break up, it's a musical love letter between the two frontmen, Peter Doherty and Carl Barat.
They were living through the song, trying to communicate with the melodies what they couldn't say in real life. The band was no more after the first live performance of this song, until earlier in 2015, people thought it was going to be the death rattle of one of Britain's most promising bands.
And it stands to me, as the last call from my last boyfriend, ringing in my ears. The doom of it, you know? It's okay though, we all move on and get stronger, but for a second it's okay to wallow in the melody right? The final song I an remember is this melancholy tune from Green Day called "Rusty James" It's one of my favorite songs of theirs to date. For some reason, the words really connected with where I was coming from.
There comes a point in every break-up where you forget about the person you've lost, and you think about yourself. You think about the youth you lost, or the time you wasted, or the fact that you've lost their mutual friends...or you've lost a bit of innocence. To marginalize break-ups as acts soely focused on another person would be foolish, because we know they're an introspective nightmare. We start questioning our behavior and our way of life.
We start to wonder if we broke up because we were the flawed one. We start to question our life's path. "When there's no one left around / and you're the last gang in town / and your heart can't even break / when it doesn't even pound."
We even question our nature: "Well, if I hadn't screwed this up, maybe I'd have a significant other now. Maybe I wouldn't be alone. Maybe, if I didn't hide all the time, and met more people, I'd be happier."
Break ups are a turning point, and as this song suggests, there are a few ways we can go: we can hide in plain sight, cradling our lost memories and our doomed relationships or...we can own what happened, use the experience for good, and try to create a new path.
We can place the old memories in a lock box behind our eyes, and traipsing onward, hoping to find someone just as flawed as us, who can replace the music, and ease the pain.