Falling in love just a few months after a fairly devastating breakup is weird. I didn’t even think it was possible till it happened to me, as they say on xoJane or Strangers With Candy. I imagine it’s a bit what it’s like to be bi-polar — one moment, you’re in the depths of an ever-sinking feeling of despair and on some weird compulsive exercising shame spiral, and the next, even riding the subway seems like a magical, dreamy, floating sensation.
The real question is: what the hell should you listen to on your iPod while you’re working this stuff out? Whether it be just a few months or even just a couple of hours, depending on how messed up you are, this will make your sadness or ecstasy feel right.
First, the depths of sad:
1) Nina Simone, “I Got It Bad”
It’s still a challenge whenever this happens to come on in “Shuffle” mode, for me not to burst out sobbing. If you know (or weirdly want to know) what the bowels of sadness feel like, this is the worm that just crawled inside your ear.
2) Fiona Apple, “Why Try to Change Me Now?”
A resignation, but not a totally hopeless one. If this were a self-help book or cheekily-titled movie, it would be called So You’ve Finally Realized You’ll Die Alone: Now What?” You’ll be fine, is the answer. Just get used to being sad for a while.
3) Amy Winehouse, “Wake Up Alone”
I mean, this is pretty obvious, but aside from the posthumous stuff, this is Winehouse at her absolute saddest. Best for when you can’t bring yourself to go outside and face the world and/or can’t sleep and all of a sudden, it’s six a.m. and you find yourself watching the sun rise.
4) The Rolling Stones, “As Tears Go By”
Another great, melodramatic song for feeling the very real sensation of life passing you by while you seem to be paralyzed with sadness.
5) Trust, “Candy Walls”
When you’re drunk and you’ve numbed the sadness to a slight dull and persistent pain, play this and you can actually see your consciousness divide in half, kind of like how in old 1930s cartoons, when a cat loses one of its nine lives, you can see a ghost with a number (of whatever number life he’s losing) fly out of its body.
6) Smokey Robinson, “Tracks of My Tears”
This is for when you’re trying to appear normal going out at night so people quit asking you how you are already. At least Smokey will know your secret.
7) Robyn, “Dancing On My Own”
Lena Dunham already used this song brilliantly on Girls, but it’s no reason you can’t use it to simultaneously wallow in your own self-pity and therefore, sort of cheer yourself up in the most self-indulgent way possible. How very Hannah Horvath of you.
8) Skeeter Davis, “The End of the World”
Depending on what sorts of media you consume, you either most associate this with when Brittany Murphy hangs herself in Girl, Interrupted, or with when Don and Betty get divorced on Mad Men. Spoiler alert.
9) Jens Lekman, “F-Word”
Whether or not you think Lekman is just doing his funniest Morrissey impression or not, there’s definitely something non-ironically sad about his voice. Especially the part in this song where he’s all “Summer evenin’/ the cats are screamin’/ [cat sound effects]/ for looooove.”
10) Neko Case, “Middle Cyclone”
If all your girlfriends are busy, let Neko be the soundtrack to you being in the fetal position on your bed.
11) Freedy Johnston, “Bad Reputation”
Yeah, yeah, Kicking and Screaming. But, it’s, like, perfect for being a whiny navel-gazing lump of shit, you guys.
12) The Rolling Stones, “Miss You”
Yeah, I know The Rolling Stones are on here a lot, but just dealwithit dot gif. This is for when you are sort of more missing the regular sex of it all. They really seem to capture all in the spectrum of visceral, don’t they?
For soaring on the wings of love:
1) T.Rex, “Jeepster”
This is a straight-up sexy ass song, best for engaging in oral. Especially if you’re receiving.
2) The Rolling Stones, “Loving Cup”
The Rolling Stones at their most sweet. Just try not to smile.
3) Camera Obscura, “Forests and Sand”
You know THE morning when you wake up with the person you’re seeing and realize you’re really, really into them and nothing seems real anymore and it’s fucking GREAT? Yeah.
4) Nina Simone, “My Baby Just Cares for Me”
Reciprocated feelings: who woulda thunk it? Put this on the jukebox while on a date at your favorite intimate dive.
5) Simon and Garfunkel, “The Only Living Boy in New York”
Yeah, maybe it’s ghey, but sometimes you don’t have anything to do today but smile.
6) Beach House, “Myth”
A really good track for the top of a serious sexytime sesh. The lyrics sort of second-guess momentary carnal pleasure, which is why it’s funny that the orchestration makes it absolutely irresistible. In the immortal words of Lucas from Empire Records and The Doors, “the time to hesitate is through.”
7) Bruce Springsteen, “Tougher Than the Rest”
If you’re a straight woman who’s into a sweaty, angry-ish blue collar-y aesthetic, this is your fucking cat nip. I mean that in the least bourgie bitch-y way possible.
8) The Rolling Stones, “I Wanna Be Your Man”
Jesus, could The Rolling Stones be any sexier? I know Courtney E. Smith would probably slut-shame me on this, but so sue me if I like a bit of juvenile playfulness in my flirting. Mea Culpa.
9) Washed Out, “Amor Fati”
Make no mistake, this track is for mid-coitus, and practically nothing else.
10) Serge Gainsbourg & Brigitte Bardot, “Bonnie and Clyde”
For when it’s inconceivable that there’s anyone else on this earth but you and the person you’re falling in love with.
11) The Raveonettes, “Dead Sound”
The name of the album this song comes from says it all: Lust, Lust, Lust. And yes, you can be both lusty and in love.
12) The Righteous Brothers, “Ebb Tide”
Similar to “Amor Fati,” except that the Righteous Brothers take the time to spell it out for you, pounding you over the head a little. It’s ok though, just let the arrangement more than makes up for it and you can let yourself fall into the wall of sound (and pretend like Phil Spector never existed somehow).
13) The Flamingos, “I Only Have Eyes for You”
It’s physically impossible not to float away listening to this song. Just go with it.