The Ultimate Anti-Valentine’s Playlist, According to Our Favorite Local Musicians
One serving of gut-wrenching, tear-jerking pain, coming right up!
Yes, being in love is great and all, but have you ever had a really good post-breakup cry? Or sang your heart out to a song with lyrics that hit just a little too close to home? Or sat alone in a parked car, steering wheel gripped in a white-knuckle hold, listening to a Spotify playlist entitled “WE DON’T DO VALENTINE’S” a little too loudly because fuck, it’s Valentine’s season and all the couples around are even couplier than ever?
In case you haven’t, this very article was crafted with the intention of affording you those moments. For the population of readers who lost love during the pandemic or simply haven’t played the field and are missing it, it might just be high time for a good cry. Look, love is great––but there’s also something painfully good about recognizing a lack of it and throwing your middle fingers up to everyone who has a hand to hold and a mouth to kiss.
Trust me. It’s true. Or better yet, trust these folks.
In the spirit of the double-edged sword that is Valentine’s day, we at Wonder reached out to some of our favorite local musicians to ask for their favorite heartbreak anthems––and well, things got emotional. With a little help from our friends and their extensive music libraries, we concocted this 16-track emotional whirlwind of a playlist, which you can stream in your lonesome all Valentine’s long.
Nights of Rizal
Lush and synthesized, yet at the same time sparse and human, You and I by Toro y Moi captures the hyper-self-aware helplessness—the irony—of witnessing a relationship fall to pieces right in front of you. The slow buildup and loosely-structured lyrics kind of climax towards the end but not really; as though toeing the line between “What if?” and “What now?”
Perks of Break Up by Cho Jung Chi and Fromm really sums up everything for me. It feels like I’m trying to reuse a crumpled piece of paper.
Pikoy has released a couple of tracks throughout the quarantine. Give them a listen over on Spotify!
My favorite one is Writer in the Dark by Lorde. This song hits you with different perspectives of heartbreaks. I love how organic the recording is and you could really feel the emotion from Lorde that’s so painful, but also beautiful. I think this song is underrated and I highly recommend you to take a listen.
Another favorite of mine is Who by MUNA. MUNA is one of my favorite bands of all time and I just really, really love this track! The music video is so interesting and it speaks so much, especially for songwriters (not going to spoil the lyrics, haha!)
Back then, I would listen to O by Coldplay and painfully accepted defeat to the loneliness I was feeling. It was a good companion in the process of letting go of an ex-lover.
Pio Dumayas of Lola Amour
Slow It Down by The Lumineers says a lot about letting go of a love that is just that. Often we think relationships are all about being in love but, in truth, that’s only a detail of the bigger picture. There’s a lot of compatibility involved; be it personality, lifestyle, readiness or even just plans for the future. There’s a line that never loses its impact on me and that is “And when it came to love, we were not good enough.” It’s never a question of feelings to me. As much as you may love each other, sometimes that’s just not good enough. To me, this is when letting go is at its hardest.
More than the content of the song, my attachment to No Other Plans by Sunny Levine really stems from the 2012 film Celeste and Jesse Forever, which featured the song in its official soundtrack. I really love this film because it’s one of those real takes on how we deal with heartbreak––and how we get through it.
Revisit Lola Amour’s discography with their most recent release, Don’t Look Back (Revisited).
I Can’t Make You Love Me by Bon Iver, Anino by UDD and Say Something by A Great Big World and Christina Aguilera. These songs have words that are filled with pure heartbreak and raw emotion. So. Much. Pain.
The lyrics to Cellophane by FKA Twigs kill me everytime I listen to it. I don’t think there’s anything more heartbreaking than self-sacrifice in relationships—giving yourself up 100% to a person who isn’t guaranteed to stay.
The melody and the lyrics… 🙁 Listen to The Argument by Aiden Hawken and you’ll understand.
I feel like breakups that are caused by outgrowing your partner are the worst kind. There aren’t any reasons to be mad at each other, so it feels like giving up, almost. Miley Cyrus’ lyrics in Slide Away describe that feeling so well.
Tala’s got her very own heartbreak track to add to our list, Labi, which is about bad timing and how being in love isn’t quite enough to make a relationship work.
Storms by Fleetwood Mac is exactly what it feels like to feel distant from someone—physically or emotionally. It also captures so well the helplessness of wanting to talk to somebody but you know you just can’t or shouldn’t, so you kind of just cry instead. The ending line hurts too: “Not all the prayers in the world could save us.”
The lyrics of Scott Street by Phoebe Bridgers are written so casually and conversationally, but that’s what makes this song hurt like hell. It’s a subtle stab in the heart the way it’s about catching up with somebody you once loved but is now more or less a stranger. I’d recommend listening to Phoebe Bridger’s episode on the podcast Song Exploder where they talk about how this song came to be, it made me tear up!
There’s always that song you can no longer listen to or that place you can no longer visit because it just reminds you of somebody from the past. Here’s Where the Story Ends by The Sundays reminds me so much of that kind of familiarity and pain when you associate things with certain times or people in your life. I especially love the line “It’s that little souvenir of a terrible year which makes my eyes feel sore / and whoever would’ve thought the books that you brought were all I loved you for?”
Turn off the lights, turn on the waterworks and raise your glass to singlehood, loneliness and the sweet, steadfast burn of angst this month. Happy Valentine’s or whatever.
Art Alexandra Lara