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Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

Gut-wrenching songs for Valentine’s Day


Ah, Valentine’s day. To some, and I quote “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind,” it’s a “holiday invented by greeting card companies to make people feel like crap.” To others, it’s a day to celebrate love and everything “coupley.” Frankly, I could go without the lovey-dovey decorations, but I’ve decided to embrace being with my friends and celebrating the people in my life rather than being the bitter single friend, at least in public.


However, that doesn’t stop me from having my “Anti-Valentine’s Day” playlist. Here are my personal top picks for heartbreaking songs, and here’s the full playlist – nine hours of songs about unrequited love, lost loves, lovers that went wrong and just how alone you are. Enjoy, or not.

“Somebody That I Used to Know” – Gotye feat. Kimbra

I know this song was super overplayed when it came out, but hear me out, it was overplayed for a reason. Gotye’s duet with Kimbra tells both sides of the breakup. It’s for that one person that you’ve moved on from but having to treat like a complete stranger hits like a punch in the stomach. It’s also a great karaoke song. Go ahead, let it all out. 

Gut-wrenching lyric: “And I don’t even need your love, but you treat me like a stranger and it feels so rough.”

“Youth” – Daughter

I still remember the first time I heard this song. I was listening to a Songza mix at work and paused mid-task, staring at my cubicle while listening to it. I downloaded it as soon as it was over and proceeded to listen to it on repeat for the rest of the afternoon. You can hear the sadness in her voice as she sings of being young and already disillusioned with love. There’s really not much I can say about this song.  It’s simple, honest, relatable and hauntingly beautiful.

Gut-wrenching lyric: “And if you’re in love then you’re the lucky one, ‘cause most of us are bitter over someone, setting fire to our insides for fun, to distract our hearts from missing them… but I’m forever missing him.”

“Your Ex-Lover is Dead” – Stars

Relationship songs tend to be about regrets. I’m sorry I lost you. I miss you, please come back. What I love most about “Your Ex-Lover is Dead” is that it takes the opposite, unexpected approach. After a chance approach by the two “lovers,” come the lines “There’s one thing I want to say so I’ll be brave, you were what I wanted, I gave what I gave. I’m not sorry I met you, I’m not sorry it’s over, I’m not sorry there’s nothing to save.” How’s that for closure? Sometimes one just needs a song to accept what happened and move on.

“About Today [Live] ” – The National

It could be argued that every The National song is a “sad song,” but “About Today” is not only one of my favorite songs by the band, but one of my favorite songs ever. Period. “About Today” is the story of, presumably, two lovers that are drifting apart. The relationship is ending, but both are “far away” and scared of asking what’s going to happen. I personally prefer the live version that appears on “The Virginia EP” over the original studio version. This song hits me so hard because it’s something we’re all guilty of, knowing that something is wrong and choosing to ignore it.

Sidenote: If you’ve never listened to The National, let this be your gateway drug. You’re welcome.

Gut-wrenching lyric: “Tonight you just close your eyes, and I just watch you slip away… How close am I, to losing you?”

“Transatlanticism” – Death Cab for Cutie

I had a hard time choosing between this song and “Title and Registration,” both from “Transatlanticism,” one of my favorite albums of all time. Picture this, girl meets boy, girl likes boy, boy likes girl. Summer comes, boy and girl both go home and are more than 1,000 miles apart. While the girl is home she listens to “Transatlanticism” on repeat, “I need you so much closer” in the physical sense, text messages and social media can only go so far. Fast forward, boy and girl are reunited and they start drifting apart, stupid fights and busy schedules all contributing to this. “I need you so much closer” now takes on a different meaning, girl needs boy “so much closer” on an emotional level. While they’re both on the same campus, the distance seems much further than when there were literal oceans in between them. Disclaimer: All characters appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

Listen to the complete, ten-hour Spotify playlist here.

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