Playlist: Songs I Listened To While Crying Over Boys in High School
High school (read: the worst four years of my life) was a wild, hormone-induced ride. As I transitioned from scene queen to wannabe indie girl, I traded my Alternative Press magazines for coffee shops without losing my sad girl aesthetic. Played on mix CDs or through iPod headphones, these were my most played songs while alternating sobbing into my pillow and messaging my friends on AIM about my heartbreak.
Grizzly Bear - "Knife"
I found Grizzly Bear through a compilation CD that came with a music magazine I picked up at Borders. I felt so cool for being into such ~obscure~ music. This is a feel-bad song that’s still in my rotation.
Bright Eyes - "Land Locked Blues"
Bright Eyes was my secret love’s favorite band, so as I pined after his Myspace pictures, I illegally downloaded everything Conor Oberst created. Eventually, my secret love was not so secret because we drunkenly hooked up right after graduation. It was underwhelming and totally crushed my dreams of us getting married.
Death Cab For Cutie - "Tiny Vessels"
“Tiny vessels oozed into your neck and formed the bruises that you said you didn’t want to fade / but they did and so did I that day.” I only came home with one hickey, but I handed out plenty to boys during short-lived relationships. For every boy who didn’t love me back, there was a Death Cab For Cutie Song to mend my heart.
Soko - "I’ll Kill Her"
I found Soko on some cool girl’s Myspace playlist and was hooked on her awkward jams. Soko is alternating between dating Kristen Stewart and being in music videos with Matthew Gray Gubler (of 500 Days of Summer and Criminal Minds fame), so I guess she’s doing fine.
The Weepies - "World Spins Madly On"
The Weepies have an indie rock song for every mood, and this is their slightly optimistic break up song. I found The Weepies during my cooler-than-you / Kimya Dawson phase. By the way, Kimya, you could have messaged me back on Myspace. Is this because I talked about 16 and Pregnant too much?
Tegan and Sara - "Where Does The Good Go"
Tegan and Sara have written dozens of songs about unrequited love. “Where Does The Good Go” is so sad, and I continued playing it through breakups until 2012. I frequently and passive aggressively used Tegan and Sara lyrics in my MSN messenger status updates.
Rilo Kiley - "Go Ahead"
I think I was listening to a lot of bands that were a little too mature for high school me, and Rilo Kiley was one of them. Jenny Lewis sings “If you want better things, I want you to have them”, which is honestly probably not how I felt when my ex-boyfriends moved on. Jenny sang backup vocals on a few Postal Service songs and her band was signed to Conor Oberst’s record label, so I was literally obsessed with Rilo Kiley, who are still my favorite band in 2016. RIP.
The Shins - "New Slang"
Garden State was my favorite movie in high school. Natalie Portman’s character asks Zach Braff’s character if he’s heard of The Shins and tells him, “You gotta listen to this one song, it’ll change you life.” It totally changed my life. I remember listening to “New Slang” directly after my boyfriend cheated on me with his ex-girlfriend. Maybe it convinced me to take him back, maybe I was just a baby idiot. Later, I listened to The Shins in my BFF’s car while cutting class so we could smoke weed and sketch in our journals.
Joy Division - "Love Will Tear Us Apart"
Fall Out Boy covered “Love Will Tear Us Apart” on their b-sides album which helped me discover my love of new wave. Joy Division navigated me through some tough times and is one of my all time favorite sad bands. I guess love, indeed, tore me apart.
Saves The Day - "Freakish"
Saves The Day was one of my favorite bands for over a decade after a boy who liked me burned their CDs for me in ninth grade. Their album Stay What You Are (which is poorly tattooed on my wrist in true eighteen year old fashion) was my go-to record during my senior year heartbreak with the guy who is now my boyfriend all these years later.
They say the healing is in the hurting, or something.
Dashboard Confessional - "Screaming Infidelities"
Chris Carrabba has a way of making you feel bad when you’re totally doing okay. Dashboard Confessional was every alternative girl’s favorite bummer band. A later boyfriend called me cliché for playing them on our first date in his car. Red flag, right?
Taking Back Sunday - "You’re So Last Summer"
The second guy I ever made out with had black, swoopy hair and showed up to a party wearing a Taking Back Sunday shirt. I ended up making him cry, but "You’re So Last Summer" ended up taking me through most of my high school break ups.
Kate Nash - "Foundations"
My parents had a thousand channels on their cable plan and I stumbled upon Jools Holland on some British network. Kate Nash played "Foundations" on Jools Holland, and I was like, “Who is this cool girl? Will my mom let me dye my hair red? OMG, I hate my boyfriend, too!”
Yeah Yeah Yeahs - "Maps"
I had a crush on my Myspace friend from England who was so into Yeah Yeah Yeahs, so impressionable teen me was also so into Yeah Yeah Yeahs. Karen O was later credited on Beyoncé’s Lemonade for the “Maps” line “they don’t love you like I love you.” As if Lemonade couldn’t be better.