A Breakup Playlist That Is Not Taylor Swift


As a person who hates the radio and spends hours searching for unique, good music, I can say that no breakup will be healed by the monotony that is today’s ridiculous regurgitated pop bullshit. I appreciate good music, and I’d like to think that others do too. This is a playlist for those who have recently had their heart ripped out, because musical healing is the best kind of healing.

1. Grimes, ‘Heartbeats’

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xBJ-LPPcAqw&w=784&h=524]
There is something about Claire Boucher that just makes me lose myself in her music. I fall into her labyrinth of beats and elusive vocals whilst falling into the labyrinth of my own head. Examining how I feel and how my heart hurts. “Music is what feelings sound like,” is the perfect descriptor for this song. Pure audio emotion, “oh pain, I’m still alive, I want to know, I want to know, I want to know.” Don’t we all Claire, don’t we all.

2. Local Natives, ‘Palms’

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Wxof47RV98&w=784&h=524]
“Sleep alone, start all over.” Goddamn Local Natives, just when I think I can’t delve any deeper into my black little heart, this song comes on my shuffle. Palms is a beautiful representation of letting go. The sense of longing for the ghost of a person you once loved. The melody builds up, just like emotions…we are sad, we realize things, we try to find acceptance, we fight that acceptance. We hate ourselves for still caring, still wondering, still thinking about this person. “I would rather love someone I couldn’t touch, then give us up.” Ok, I have to go cry now.

3. Sylvan Esso, ‘Uncatena’

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BHBgdiSsTY8&w=784&h=524]
This is a good progression piece. Around a month or two after a breakup, you find those horrible, ugly-face crying emotions becoming fickle, drifting in and out of your consciousness. You are not sad, you are not terribly angry either. There is just this diluted acceptance. Questions you want answers to. Moments when you realize you haven’t thought about them in a few hours-and in this you realize you’re starting to get over it. “All I want from you is a letter and to be your distant lover, that is all that I can offer at this time.”

4. Alt-J, ‘Something Good’

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lYqrm9OLvpQ&w=784&h=524]
Besides just being an absolutely beautiful song, Something Good represents all of the late nights when we relish in our loneliness and pity our poor poor broken heart. When our emotions go up and down, and down, and down. Walking down city streets, staring at stranger faces knowing they will never understand how badly our heart aches. Sitting at a crowded bar and feeling that there is a bubble around you and everyone else in their own, happy world. You’re just looking for something or someone to get you through the night.

5. Fleet Foxes, ‘Sim Sala Bim’

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A4tPOWuLpGc&w=784&h=524]
The song starts with a distant narrator describing a wholesome, loving man, who leaves his family. The perspective then switches to that of the person left. “What makes me love you despite the reservations, what do I see in your eyes, besides my reflection hanging high?” It is hard to let go of the part of you that dies when the relationship dies. This piece is also a good example of when you completely cut off communication from the one who broke your heart. You can’t help but wonder what they’re doing and what kind of person they have become. “Are you off somewhere reciting incantations, sim sala bim on your tongue?”

6. Fleet Foxes, ‘The Shrine/ An Argument’

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jrTEKlrUdFI&w=784&h=524]
What a powerful song. Even if your heart is broken into a million little pieces, this song will somehow, strangely, give you strength. It is divided into two sections. The beginning is the present, the narrator reflecting on his lost love. The “Argument” shows the breakup, presumably how things change. “In the ocean, washing off my name from your throat.” Cleanse yo self with that salt water!

7. Lana Del Rey, ‘Ride’

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Py_-3di1yx0&w=784&h=524]
This song will give you the power to shed the skin of your heartbreak and go find some adventure. If LDR can live in the desert with a bunch of burly bikers, so can I, I guess, maybe for a night. We have no choice but to roll with the punches, move on, and just ride.

8. Third Eye Blind, ‘Losing a Whole Year’

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MwlqymYLCb4&w=784&h=524]
“Well, this drama is a bore, and I don’t wanna play no more.” Perfect for the anger stage of grief, ‘Losing a Whole Year’ shows that you are not alone in having something that was once beautiful and rare dissipate through your fingers. You cannot change people and you cannot fix them either.

9. Last Lynx, ‘Curtains’

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MqvgDRD_Lyk&w=784&h=524]
“Everything is lost, just let go.” That’s all I’m gonna say.

10. Faded Paper Figures, ‘Spare Me’

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lcfV7MgyqNc&w=784&h=524]
Spare me is another power piece. Perfect for those beginning moments of acceptance and realization. You realize things about the relationship. You find power in accepting that they weren’t the right person for you.

11. Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, ‘4+20’

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9ZHzPLJq4DA&w=784&h=524]
Want to hopelessly cry in the fetal position at 4AM? Play this song. One of my favorite things about music is that it reflects universal emotions we all experience. Loneliness is one of the most gripping emotions. Having your heartbroken guarantees a kind of loneliness no one will understand. And in that, there is more pain. We cannot explain our loneliness, we just feel that we are missing a limb we once thought we could not live without. “Morning comes to sunrise and I’m driven to my bed. I see that it is empty and there’s devils in my head. I embrace the many colored beast. I grow weary of the torment, can there be no peace?”

12. Hole, ‘Someone Else’s Bed’

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O4CO1Y-WALU&w=784&h=524]
Courtney might or might have not have killed Kurt, but my internal beef does not stop me from loving this song. Oh to wake up next to a complete stranger and realize they are not the one we loved. To realize we are trying to fill a void that is so openly gaping and ugly. “How did I end up all alone, how do we all end up dead?” Damn, breakups suck, and one of the few times such horrible, yet enlightening thoughts like this run through our head.

13. Bloc Party, ‘Blue Light’

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zO0OzsjXU-0&w=784&h=524]
“Just tell me it’s tearing you apart, just tell me, you cannot sleep.” Heartbreak is never even, and it seems that after a breakup everything is a constant reminder of our ex. “If that’s the way it is, then that’s the way it is,” Is so simple but so true, because you might have your heart broken, but you have to learn that you’re also choosing to be broken hearted. It’s impossible not to reminisce on the person you once shared hazy Sunday mornings with. Once told your dreams and fears to, but eventually you just have to accept the present and move on.

14. Ben Folds, ‘Time’

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dmE4r7i-rLY&w=784&h=524]
‘Cause time takes time, ya know.

Honorable Mention (because this is getting long, but these songs will help)

Fleet Foxes, ‘Someone You’d Admire

The whole Hummingbird album by Local Natives

Incubus, ‘11AM

Stars, ‘Your Ex Lover is Dead

Grimes, ‘Skin

Sir Sly, ‘Ghost

Last Lynx, ‘Lacuna

The Zolas, ‘Knot in my Heart

Sylvan Esso, ‘Wolf

Neil Young, ‘Heart of Gold

featured image – LanaDelReyVEVO/YouTube