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Tuesday, June 18, 2013

The Song I Listened to Over and Over Again After I Had My Heart Broken for the First Time

Posted by on Tue, Jun 18, 2013 at 1:47 PM

Okay, my heart wasn't "broken" because I wasn't really in love because I was only 13. His name was Jason, we held hands once, talked on the phone a few times, and we never kissed. It lasted one week in 7th grade (Monday through Friday, not even the weekend) and I don't remember why we stopped "dating" (read: stopped awkwardly standing next to each other in the hallway between classes). Still, when it was "over," I was crushed and I listened to Janet Jackson sing "Again" every day and night for days, thinking "Yes, Janet, YES. Thank you. You know exactly how it feels."

Overall everything about this memory (and middle school, for that matter) feels so, so insignificant, but that was also the first time in my life I purposefully turned to music with therapeutic intent, which is actually not at all insignificant. It's kind of sweet and awesome.

What was your first therapeutic song? It's okay it if wasn't a good song and it's extra okay if it wasn't actually that heartbreaking of a situation, in hindsight.


Comments (52) RSS

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Sweeney Agonistes 1
In August 2005 my cousin died on the way home from our grandmother's funeral (hit by a truck); we were both twenty and grew up together. Her name was Rachel.

The only thing that got me up and out the door all that fall was that electronic squawk at the beginning of Wilco's "I Am Trying To Break Your Heart." I am amazed my roommate didn't try to set my copy of Yankee Hotel Foxtrot on fire.
Posted by Sweeney Agonistes on June 18, 2013 at 2:08 PM · Report this
Megan Seling 2
@1 Oh jesus, I'm so sorry to hear that. How terrible. I'm glad you found something to help you get out of bed, though. That is a great little squawk sound (and great song!).
Posted by Megan Seling on June 18, 2013 at 2:14 PM · Report this
Chris Williamson. “I've Learned to Let Things Go. " I let it loop on the computer endlessly. Sing it, sister!
Posted by MyDogBen on June 18, 2013 at 2:46 PM · Report this
--MC 4
I had a perpetually broken heart from the age of ten, so I can't give you any firsts, but I can tell you that "Taking It All Away" by John Cale seemed to help a lot of the time.
Posted by --MC on June 18, 2013 at 2:49 PM · Report this
julie russell 5
Robbie Adams, my HS BF and I, who were together for 2 years before we even dry humped,used to make horrible mix tapes for each other.
One he made for me had Cheap Trick's The Flame on it and when we'd sit up all night on the phone, he'd tell me it was our song.
The first of 2 men who truly broke, crushed and trampled my heart, I still think of him when it plays on cheese radio.
Posted by julie russell http:// on June 18, 2013 at 2:51 PM · Report this
Pope Peabrain 6
I was homeless and I listened to Lindsey Buckingham's Soul Drifter over and over. It helped.
Posted by Pope Peabrain on June 18, 2013 at 2:51 PM · Report this
Pink Floyd, "Comfortably Numb", played repeatedly over headphones on the very last trip I was ever forced to endure with my psychotic family. Moved out a few months later.
Posted by wxPDX on June 18, 2013 at 2:55 PM · Report this
biffp 8
Howard Jones, "No One Is to Blame."
Posted by biffp on June 18, 2013 at 2:58 PM · Report this
ArtBasketSara 9
I can't think of one song...but I listened to the NIN double album "Fragile" on endless repeat after my first real relationship ended at the beginning of first year at college. Sometimes I would walk up and down an empty field at night, headphones in and volume cranked...(probably a totally safe thing to do). Ah, memories!
Posted by ArtBasketSara on June 18, 2013 at 3:00 PM · Report this
I know this is such a cliche...but for me, drowning in post breakup sorrow was certainly helped along by Morrissey's Vauxhaull and I, particularly "Speedway."
Posted by bedrock on June 18, 2013 at 3:03 PM · Report this
"This Woman's Work" by Kate Bush. I too had suffered a broken heart, but I was a little older, 19, I believe. I would just listen to it over and over and over and just sob. It feels insignificant to me now also, but time has a way of making the important things feel bigger and the silly things just fade.

I still get choked up though when I hear the song, but I think it's only because I have children now and the song has a far different meaning for me now.
Posted by KatynaKat on June 18, 2013 at 3:05 PM · Report this
Big Matt G 12
"Disintegration" by The Cure
Posted by Big Matt G on June 18, 2013 at 3:12 PM · Report this
julie russell 13
Heartbreak #2 was all Peter Murphy.
Posted by julie russell http:// on June 18, 2013 at 3:16 PM · Report this
The Cure's "ponography" Yes, I was a goth.
Posted by Greycat on June 18, 2013 at 3:19 PM · Report this
T 15
Not sure what song it was the first time I had my heart broken way back in HS. If I had to wager a guess, I'd say it was "All I Want Is More" by Reel Big Fish. Good and angsty ("somedaaaaay, maybe she'll come back to me and I'll saaaaay 'why don't you go fuck yourself!'"). Hey, I was 17.

When I ended my first "real" relationship a couple years ago, I fell for someone else pretty quickly and got my heart broken hard, not by her as much as our circumstances at the time. I listened to Frank Turner's "Substitute" countless times during that period (…). All I could think everytime I started that song over was "that's totally me!" But happy ending, I fought for what I wanted and won; we're moving in together in a couple of weeks. =)
Posted by T on June 18, 2013 at 3:25 PM · Report this
Dougsf 16
First crush I remember was set to Naked Eye's "Always Something there to Remind Me." She was probably 14, and I was probably 10, so... that wasn't happening. First absolute and total heartbreak? Easy—was 17 years old, and it was Black Flag's "My War." Over and over. And over.
Posted by Dougsf on June 18, 2013 at 3:34 PM · Report this
zivilisierter Wurm 17
Hmm. Therapeutic as in "wallowing self-pity music" or "make you feel better music"? If it's the former then: 16 or so and my first semi-official relationship had just ended. I listened to Built to Spill "Carry the Zero" about 100 million times lying in a dark room, feeling the cruelty of the universe like a heart-broken 16-year-old only can.

If it's the latter then probably Television "Marquee Moon", when a friend of mine was run over walking back from the Circle K in 8th grade. Still no side-walk on that stretch of Military Road, and every year seems like there's another cross on the shoulder.
Posted by zivilisierter Wurm on June 18, 2013 at 3:37 PM · Report this
stuckie 18
Had a HUGE breakup at the start of 2003 which afforded me the opportunity to listen to "No Children", on a loop for hours at a time over my headphones at work.
Posted by stuckie on June 18, 2013 at 3:38 PM · Report this
bleedingheartlibertarian 19
@9--I don't associate that album with a specific breakup or anything, but I brooded to it A LOT c. 1999-2000.

I couldn't tell you the first, but here is probably one of the most therapeutic musical moments I've ever had: when I was 28, my grandmother (who had lived 90 incredible years up until basically the previous week) got resuscitated against her wishes (be sure those living wills are are filed in the right place) and as a result spent the last several days of her life hooked up to machines for no god damn reason whatsoever. While I am reasonably certain she was far enough gone at that point that she wasn't suffering in any meaningful sense, it was still incredibly frustrating to watch.

I took some time away from the hospital, found a gym that I could pay for by the day (I'd been living rather far away at the time). While on the treadmill, One by Metallica came on my iPod. It didn't really register with me until right at the end where the line is "trapped in myself/body my holding cell" and I kind of just lost it for a minute.

Then I composed myself, cranked the volume all the way up, and listened to the song about 5 times in a row, while running my ass off.

It helped.
Posted by bleedingheartlibertarian on June 18, 2013 at 3:44 PM · Report this
thene 20
I remember latching on to The Show Must Go On by Queen when I was about 14. My mother died when I was 11, and I had a few years of being pretty much emotionally numb before finding things to probe the wound with, if that makes sense.
Posted by thene on June 18, 2013 at 3:46 PM · Report this
Mattini 21
When I'm depressed, I seek out music that just makes me sadder. My 'favorite' bummer album is Everything but the Girl's Amplified Heart, and the track I've played the most is Disenchanted (
Posted by Mattini on June 18, 2013 at 3:48 PM · Report this
orange&black 22
@14. One of the first times.

As an older "adult", well, still My War. But all of Firewater's catalog. And Squeeze. And Cop Shoot Cop.
Posted by orange&black on June 18, 2013 at 3:56 PM · Report this
orange&black 23
And when I was a kid, and thought it was "bad"; the Offenders song "I hate myself".
Posted by orange&black on June 18, 2013 at 3:59 PM · Report this
ArtBasketSara 24
@19 Brooded is a good word. It was perfect for my first year away from home at art school, never mind the relationship "trauma". The real sad part is that I also listened to whatever bad Our Lady Peace album was out at the time.... :(
Posted by ArtBasketSara on June 18, 2013 at 4:00 PM · Report this
Madskillz80 25
"Dream All Day" by The Posies kept me company on many a lonely, heartbroken evening.
Posted by Madskillz80 on June 18, 2013 at 4:03 PM · Report this
I had plenty of sad breakup songs that I thought were such a big deal through my teens. But then Next to You by Matt Skiba happened right around the time I had my heart broken by my first BIG BIG love, and I swear I thought my whole entire heart was just going to fall right out of me.
Posted by RMM on June 18, 2013 at 4:04 PM · Report this
Dougsf 27
@19 - Had a VERY similar experience with seeing a dying relative off, and is also one of the strongest connections to a song I have—in this case the Kinks "All God's Children." It was immediately drawn to it as a song that she might have liked if she'd like any rock and roll, and will always associate with her.
Posted by Dougsf on June 18, 2013 at 4:14 PM · Report this
Banna 28
Summer after sixth grade, 1986; Invisible Touch by Genesis played approximately every 15 minutes on KUBE and KPLZ. Yes, I was a cheezy kid.
Posted by Banna on June 18, 2013 at 4:27 PM · Report this
Estey 29
"Silver Lining" by Stiff Little Fingers; "I'm Not Down" by The Clash; "Coney Island Baby" by Lou Reed; "Somebody's Going To Get Their Head Kicked In Tonight" by The Rezillos; "I Don't Care About You" by Fear; a whole lot of DOA and early The Pretenders.
Posted by Estey on June 18, 2013 at 4:29 PM · Report this
Linda Ronstadt: Long, Long Time

Judy Collins: So Begins the Task

These will date me.
Posted by Fizgig on June 18, 2013 at 4:35 PM · Report this
Megan I love this post. When I was seven my hamster died and I cried for an entire day listening to my John Lennon cassette. "Woman" was particularly emotional although my hamster was a boy hamster.
Posted by Traviss on June 18, 2013 at 4:40 PM · Report this
merry 32
Fairly bad break-up in 1991 and the song I had on 'repeat' was "Bed of Roses" by the Screaming Trees:

Where do you stand when it's all over
Washed from the earth and down to the sea
Do you lie on a bed of roses
Are you still aware
Guess that you don't care about it now

Less traumatic break-up in 1995, and the song that helped was "Under the Bridge" by RHCP:

I don't ever want to feel like I did that day
Take me to the place I love, Take me all the way

No song-needing traumatic break-ups since then, thank goodness...
Posted by merry on June 18, 2013 at 4:46 PM · Report this
Fnarf 33
"Bye Bye Pride" by the Go-Betweens, off of Tallulah.

Took the shirt off his back
The eyes from his head
And left him for dead

But I didn't know someone
Could be so lonesome
Didn't know a heart could be
Tied up and held for ransom.

So take your shoes and go outside
Stride over stride
Walk to that tide
Because the door is open wide
The door is
Always open wide
The door is always open wide

And then the fucking oboe solo, the best solo on any instrument in the history of pop music. I used to play just the oboe solo over and over, twenty, thirty times in a row, rewind and play it again. I can still whistle it for you, note for note, though it's quite tricky. I can still make myself cry doing that. God, I love you, Grant.

Here it is in all its cheesy 80s-video glory:
Posted by Fnarf on June 18, 2013 at 5:02 PM · Report this
blip 34
There was no specific incident that triggered it other than the general angst of pre-coming-out queerness, but The Smiths really delivered the goods for a couple years in my late teens. Almost their entire discography is applicable, though "How Soon Is Now?" captured the awkward / outsider weirdness of those days, while "This Charming Man" was vaguely empowering, like feeling *this close* to letting go and being free, or at least accepting it as a possibility.
Posted by blip on June 18, 2013 at 5:10 PM · Report this
gttrgst 35
Annie Lennox's Why was played at the funeral and REM's Everybody Hurts played on the radio on the way to the cemetery, November, 1992. (He voted for Clinton hoping to do one last good thing for the LGBT cause and shot himself election night. Despite all Billy Jeff's political positives, sometimes I've got a "Fuck Clinton" deep in my heart.) Last week I thrifted Patti Smith's 12 and when the unlisted 13th track came on in the car I had to shut it off and still haven't listened to it.

And speaking of Automatic For The People, you might as well add Find The River to this
Posted by gttrgst on June 18, 2013 at 5:55 PM · Report this
biffp 36
@29, DOA is doing a farewell tour starting in Europe. Hopefully, they'll stop in Seattle.

Posted by biffp on June 18, 2013 at 6:15 PM · Report this
mr. herriman 37
While in the ICU with my dying mother last year, I was sure I would never be able to listen to The Mountain Goats again. But after a long break after her death, I reached for it. It crushed me and lifted me both at the same time. Nothing takes me to and through my feelings as well as John Darnielle's poetry and music. I'm glad I was able to go back to it, but I still have to be careful.
Posted by mr. herriman on June 18, 2013 at 6:17 PM · Report this
orange&black 38
You're just listing off my records.
Posted by orange&black on June 18, 2013 at 7:07 PM · Report this
First therapeutic song for me is as cheesy as they come- Hold On, Wilson Phillips-- now there's a group that knows that there is pain!
Posted by freshnycman on June 18, 2013 at 7:17 PM · Report this
McBomber 40
There was the middle-school "break-up" that was soothed by Sinead O'Connor's version of "Nothing Compares 2 U," but the first (and last...?) real heartbreak came in college and required endless playing of Bettie Serveert's "Palomine" (daylight hours in the car) and Portishead's "Roads" (alone in darkness). I still enjoy both of those songs.
Posted by McBomber on June 18, 2013 at 8:37 PM · Report this
Will in Seattle 41
"Black" by Pearl Jam.
Posted by Will in Seattle on June 18, 2013 at 9:40 PM · Report this
madamecrow 42
@25 It wasn't the worst trampling my heart ever suffered, but The Posies' "Any Other Way" guided me through some low evenings.
Posted by madamecrow on June 18, 2013 at 11:01 PM · Report this
Ballard Pimp 43
Phil Ochs's "Changes". The only romantic song he wrote. Over and over.
Posted by Ballard Pimp on June 19, 2013 at 2:26 AM · Report this
The summer of 1994 my first summer camp boyfriend kissed me on the cheek the night before camp ended for the season. I was so in love. When I got home I listened to Bon Jovi's "Always" on loop for a month.
Posted by abby_normal on June 19, 2013 at 6:56 AM · Report this
Hulk 45
Posted by Hulk Http:// on June 19, 2013 at 7:36 AM · Report this
ZacharyFantastico 46
"Long Day" by Matchbox 20 got me through a lot of nights hiding in the dark in the bathroom when my mother was in a drunken rage/stupor. I think that was when I started using songs as a form of prayer.
Posted by ZacharyFantastico on June 19, 2013 at 7:59 AM · Report this
fletc3her 47
Not my first, but after gay marriage was denied by the Washington Supreme Court some years ago the Dianne Warren penned Pet Shop Boys ballad Numb was surprisingly therapeutic. I listened to it on repeat while aimlessly wandering around Seattle.

Seems such a different time now!
Posted by fletc3her on June 19, 2013 at 8:51 AM · Report this
Baby Blue 48
Could've Been by Tiffany :)
Posted by Baby Blue on June 19, 2013 at 9:32 AM · Report this
I don't know if it was therapeutic, but my hand-holding breakup in 7th grade seems to coincide with my purchase of Ramones-mania. And for whatever reason I really bonded to the ballads, especially 'I wanna be your boyfriend'
Posted by Chris Jury on June 19, 2013 at 11:20 AM · Report this
Afghan Whigs - My Curse 1995ish
Fiona Apple - Get Gone 200ish

Both for the end of a torrid and mainly onsided affairs that I though were love at the time.
Posted by Twiggy Pop on June 19, 2013 at 12:00 PM · Report this
Afghan Whigs - My Curse 1995ish
Fiona Apple - Get Gone 200ish

Both for the end of a torrid and mainly onsided affairs that I though were love at the time.
Posted by Twiggy Pop on June 19, 2013 at 12:02 PM · Report this
When I was dealing with depression in the twelfth grade, Alanis Morissette's "Thank U" [sic] probably did more for me than meds or therapy.
Posted by brendan on June 20, 2013 at 8:57 AM · Report this

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