Every once in a while, there’s a few songs that come along that make me wish I was going through a breakup. I know that sounds utterly ridiculous but it’s true. I love a good breakup song and for the past four years, I’ve been in a loving and committed relationship where the sad heartbreak songs don’t affect me anymore. I used to be able to recall past memories that would send me into a downward spiral of sitting on my fire escape, drinking wine and holding myself remembering how many pieces my heart was in. There was one specific breakup and relationship that was the freshest and most harmful and still stung until recently when that clever mistress Time let us both know everything was healed. We found out we could finally be friendly and reminisce about the happiness that there was between us. Stupid Time. Why you gotta take away my self pity parties?
Adele’s “Someone Like You.” First of all, the talent of this woman is astounding and the way she sings this song would re-break anyone’s heart. Saturday Night Live did a skit that I think sums up the reaction I have when hearing this song.
Follow this link if you missed this sketch:
That’s how I feel when I hear this song. I want to eat an entire pint of ice cream and be as cliche as possible with tears running down my face as I ugly cry about how worthless I am and what did I do wrong.
If you don’t understand what ugly crying is, learn from one of the best: Dawson Leary
Adele paints a heart wrenching picture of a girl left behind. I’ve been that girl, hanging on with claws to a relationship that abandoned and forget me long ago. And you totally do want to show up on the boy’s doorstep and be like “Oh hey…sorry to show up like this but I’m not over you and I was wondering if maybe you could pick me again? Oh, you’re married? Well…that’s fine…congrats but the thing is I really need you to take me back. TAKE ME BACK TAKE ME BACK!” The smartest line is where she says “Sometimes it lasts in love, sometimes it hurts instead.” It’s the truest lyric. Love isn’t predictable, as much as I wish it was a fairy tale and we all had our happily ever afters. It could be perfect and break just as easily if it was doomed from the start.
Gotye’s “Somebody I Used to Know”. I mean, obviously. This song is the one that still catches me off guard. I hadn’t heard this song before seeing him perform on Saturday Night Live and it just grab me by the throat and I couldn’t breathe. I could feel tears brimming in my eyes and I didn’t move the entire performance. Why I love this song is because of the lyrics. It’s a conversation. I’ve said those words, I have had those words spoken to me. I’ve had those thoughts a million times over.
This song is one of those where I wonder if it was written for me. It is the story of the aforementioned breakup that has been healed. It was a struggle to deal with being cut off and treated like a person who never existed in the other’s life. It was severe and shameful the things that we said and did to each other. It’s hard to believe how people survive breakups like that one. I almost didn’t. You have this beautiful love you believe is going to last forever and then, suddenly, you look up and it’s gone. You’re telling the person never to call you again and deleting everything you can. He’s changing his phone number, telling his friends to ignore you, telling you he never loved you. You look again and everything you had is just dust. There isn’t even a solid piece to grab hold of to remember and to rely on when you feel everything you did was wrong. This song is angry as I was angry, as anyone would be angry. It’s yelling and screaming at this person you used to wake up next to. I love it for that reason. I wish it had come about 6 years ago but I’ll take it now.
I know it seems weird to say I wish I was in a breakup. I don’t really wish it. It’s just not as powerful when you’re not IN IT. I had great break up songs when I was in it. Boyz II Men’s “End of the Road” (I used to ugly cry to this in middle school over one particular boy: D.H), John Mayer’s “In Your Atmosphere”, Kelly Clarkson’s “Since You’ve Been Gone”, Dashboard Confessional’s “Screaming Infidelities”, Ben Fold Five’s “Song for the Dumped”, Aimee Mann’s “The Moth”, etc. But it was those moments, ugly crying in my car or basement or dorm room that I felt intensely human. I was broken and bruised and screaming, inside and out. And it was the breakup songs that were the glue putting the pieces back together to make me anew. Now I listen to the songs and I recall what it was like and smile fondly on those moments of comfort and release. I think it’s the strength I felt going through that and belting out my heart, sending it out towards the heartbreaker, hoping he heard, even if it was just someone he used to know at that point.
Luckily, that’s no longer the case.
Now and then I think of when we were together
Like when you said you felt so happy you could die
Told myself that you were right for me
But felt so lonely in your company
But that was love and it’s an ache I still remember
You can get addicted to a certain kind of sadness
Like resignation to the end, always the end
So when we found that we could not make sense
Well you said that we would still be friends
But I’ll admit that I was glad it was over
But you didn’t have to cut me off
Make out like it never happened and that we were nothing
And I don’t even need your love
But you treat me like a stranger and I feel so rough
No you didn’t have to stoop so low
Have your friends collect your records and then change your number
I guess that I don’t need that though
Now you’re just somebody that I used to know