Look, we get it: you’re in love. And hey, good for you! No one here is trying to rag on you or tell you not to spend Valentine’s Day celebrating with that special someone. But you may want to stop reading now.
For the rest of us, relationships tend to be a special sort of hell. Think “death by a thousand cuts,” exacted by dollar bills grabbed from your wallet to be spent on a menagerie of bullshit…and afterward you get to apologize for not being a better listener.
Keeping that in mind, Jamie (The Other Woman) and I have cultivated a playlist for all the lovelorn out there. It’s just our little way of saying that we promise you you’ll die alone.
And if you don’t, you’ll certainly wish you had. Now, onto the music!
Townes Van Zandt- Snake Mountain Blues
This dude pretty much wrote the book on how to look awesome when your entire life is a downward spiral. It’s tough to choose just one song from his catalog: reading the obituaries section of a newspaper is more uplifting than a Townes Van Zandt lyric sheet.
Perfect for: Snorting a line of crystal off the edge of a buck knife and chain smoking Marlboro Reds. Hopping in your 1965 Ford F-100 and driving down an unlit, god-forsaken stretch of forgotten US Highway towards oblivion.
If I’d die Lord she’d weep
She’d weep and she’d mourn
Soon as I’s buried
Forget I’d been born
Therapy?- Our Love Must Die
Sometimes the reason you’re going to be buried in a pauper’s grave is simply because you’re a total bastard. Irish rockers Therapy? know this and have crafted the perfect ballad to compliment your cowardice.
Perfect for: Not returning phone calls. Staring dead-eyed into the bottom of a bottle. Returning aforementioned phone calls via a gas station payphone five years after the fact. Realizing you’ve ruined every good thing that ever came into contact with you.
I thought of other girls when you made love to me
You gave yourself too much and I took full advantage
The more I pushed you back the more you clung to me
Don’t want to be the one who reminds you of your father
Phil Collins- I Don’t Care Anymore
As much as I’d like to make an American Psycho joke here, that would be retreading old MBQ material. Plus, I don’t want to take away from just how fucking powerful this song is.
Here’s a simple, urgent beat that allows Collins to just lose it. When you absolutely, positively need to not give a shit about that former special someone in your life, this is the final word in emotional detachment.
Perfect for: Walking away in slow motion from a bonfire fueled by your relationship’s keepsakes. Straight up not giving a damn.
There were a lot of keepsakes, by the way. Also, I’m Robocop.
And I really ain’t bothered what you think of me
‘Cause all I want of you is just a let me be.
I don’t care anymore
Nowhere Man and a Whiskey Girl- If Only I
Oh man, where to start with this one. I guess to really grasp the tragedy of this song, it helps to know the history of this duo. It’s cool, we’ll wait.
Done? Good, then you know just how balls-out depressing this is. A simple love song takes on a sinister undertone of two people maligned by disease and a bullet to the head. Think about that next time you go on a really promising OK Cupid date.
Perfect for: Gosh. Um, the realization there’s nothing good in the world and all the things you care about will be stolen from you sooner or later. Probably sooner. Definitely sooner. Today, more than likely. RIGHT NOW.
If only I could stop one heart from breaking
I would not have lived in vain…
…excuse me I can’t type the rest of this out. I got something in my eye. I think it’s a bee sting. I like to type these things out at the local bee farm. It’s a thing, look it up.
Everyone feeling good out there? No? Awesome, we’re doing our job right then. Time to hand it over to The Other Woman to bring us home, where no one will be waiting for us.
Jimmy Ruffin- What Becomes of the Broken Hearted?
Perhaps the catchiest heartbreak song of all time, “What Becomes…” is centered around a man searching for new love while also trying to get over a recently deceased love. Despite it’s Motown “Hit Factory” origins, if this song (perforned by the older brother of Temptations’ lead David Ruffin) doesn’t get the emotions flowing just a little, you may have no heart at all.
Perfect for: Bravely blinking back tears while walking, heartbroken, down city streets, valiantly looking for a new love interest and when you must declare the mission failed a few hours later, breaking into full-on sobs, possibly on a stranger’s shoulder, possibly in a very public place.
Happiness is just an illusion,
Filled with sadness and confusion.
Converge- Heaven In Her Arms
One of the saddest tracks from Jane Doe, one of the most gut-wrenchingly painful break up albums in rock history.
Perfect for: If, in the process of dealing with a broken heart, you’re looking for the sonic equivalent of the hurt and anguish you feel inside.
Three simple words bled me dry
Three simple word bled us dry, bled us dry
I love you
Joy Division- Twenty Four Hours
The iconic British band was never exactly known for their positive outlook (that’s what New Order is for), but “Twenty Four Hours” ranks up there as one of their saddest. In the context of frontman Ian Curtis’ struggles in love, health, and his eventual, tragic demise (Closer, the album which contains this song, wouldn’t be released until months after Curtis took his own life), his words are that much more heartbreaking.
Perfect for: I don’t know. I’m depressed just thinking about it. One time I was assigned to review the Joy Division documentary and I definitely shed a few tears while watching the DVD. At work.
So this is permanence, love’s shattered pride,
What once was innocence, turned on its side,
A cloud hangs over me, marks every move,
Deep in the memory, of what once was love.