This week, Scene selected songs that break our hearts — or at least remind us of heartbreaks. In other words, this is an attempt to curate the Best — or perhaps Worst — Valentine’s Day Playlist Ever.
If you enjoy these relatable rants, be sure to check out our SoundCloud next Monday for SceneCast, Scene’s weekly podcast: We will discuss these songs and others that have the power to ruin our day.
Walk The Moon — “I Can Lift A Car”
By Erin McAuliffe
A high school boyfriend broke up with me the day before a family vacation … I cried a lot to Walk The Moon in my room on that vacation.
It was all very high school: Walk The Moon is from Cincinnati and used to perform for free at the zoo. I was sad because I had been planning to break up with that boyfriend myself, but he beat me to it and that threw me off.
“I Can Lift a Car” is the cathartic closer off 2012’s “Walk The Moon.” It starts out with Nick Petricca’s airy, hushed voiced describing a relationship in the present tense — then it turns out to be a mirage. Then he lifts a car all by himself. That was the empowerment my 17-year-old self needed. Plus the chorus is nicely disjointed and makes for easy dance moves and two ways to sing the song — in other words, this was the only song off the album I didn’t get sick of after 17 angsty listens.
Jon Bellion — “All Time Low”
By Nora McGreevy
Honestly, though, anything by Jon Bellion is nails on a chalkboard to me. It brings me back to an awful road trip with my high-school ex-boyfriend, during which he played the stuff the whole ride. I remember immediately thinking to myself: “Seriously?”
In retrospect, it was definitely a warning sign that said ex-boyfriend refused my offer to curate the music multiple times, even after I’d expressed my distaste for Bellion’s insistence on repeating the word “low” a million times accompanied by Akon-esque autotune. The bouncy staccato gives me musical whiplash and the obscenely saccharine qualities of his work cause some serious synthesizer-induced nausea. Ick.
Anyways, my ex-boyfriend’s increasing obsession with Bellion coincided nicely with the beginning of the end of our relationship — and while I can’t justifiably blame anything in particular on Jon Bellion, his songs stand out in my mind as a vivid foreshadowing of impending heartbreak.
Arcade Fire — “The Crown of Love”
By John Darr
The snow was sparkling on the trees and I was crying in the backseat. It was the end of winter break 2009 and the end of my first relationship. We had declared our love for one another over text. We had shared a terrible first kiss to the rolling credits of the even more terrible film “2012.” Oh, how holding hands for the first time feels! Better to have loved and lost, after all.
Of course my ninth-grade self reached straight for the most melodramatic cut from Arcade Fire’s towering masterpiece “Funeral.” “I carved your name across my eyelids / You pray for rain, I pray for blindness,” warbled Win Butler — the avatar of my soul — as our Honda Odyssey soared through the blizzarding hills of Northern Virginia. I was an upper-middle-class white boy and only I knew this deep and terrible pain. I would never know love again. After a mere 14 years, my life was already over.
As my Tinder profile once read: Love is like an iPhone — I don’t have an iPhone.
Alvvays — “The Agency Group”
By Mike Donovan
“The Agency Group” comes on, sending me on a mental lap through all the awkward house parties of my past. Molly Rankin’s piercing deadpan tells me exactly where I went wrong, and why I’m likely to screw up again. “An outcast of modern society / suffering from a case of sobriety,” she drones, highlighting my pointless solipsism. She knows why I cast myself as the underdog, and why I forgo the risk of telling the girl how I feel. When ideas of love rattle around your head for too long, they take on a nasty hue, leaving you frozen. “When I whisper, you don’t think of me that way / When I mention you don’t mean that much to me.” I’ll play it off like she’s just another friend. That’ll be easier. That way, I won’t get hurt: She’ll still be around. “You know it won’t take much longer now that I’ll be gone.” That’s it — she’s gone. I did nothing. Eyes forward … I guess. Soak the emotions in jangles, dreams and deadpan. Let them echo into oblivion. “It’s gone; the sun is gone.” The track repeats.
Makana — “Fire is Ours”
By Kelly McGarry
I met my soulmate at a Bernie Sanders rally at the Century Center in downtown South Bend. His name was Dakota and he told me I looked like Anna Kendrick. That was a good pick-up line. Apparently not good enough, though, because when he asked for my number, I mumbled something stupid about having a boyfriend — true, but stupid. This happened last May. Among all the political turmoil that has since ensued, I look back fondly on that rally, waiting for hours in line outside. Missing the cut-off to get into the main lecture hall was clearly the work of fate.
“Fire is Ours” was one of Sanders’ campaign songs. I don’t associate it so much with the race for the presidency as I do with my missed connection with Dakota. Dakota — if you’re out there, I dedicate this song to you.