At Least Music Won’t Leave Me

Album collage by Adee Tulcan.

It’s that time of year again when seemingly everyone has a boyfriend or girlfriend … except you. Valentine’s Day is a rather divisive holiday, where you either love it or hate it. Endless posts on social media can be found with people showing off their partners, and many are often left to sulk about how they don’t have anyone to experience this so-called Hallmark holiday with. 

And no, calling up your ex is never the right answer when it comes to this predicament. 

Something that won’t leave you lonesome, though, is music. As someone who spends more time listening to music than interacting with people of the opposite gender, I felt called to put together a list of songs that are best fit for Valentine’s Day. Why get your feelings wrecked when you can have music wreck what little emotional stability you have left? 

Jumping in with the first song, “GONE, GONE / THANK YOU” is a piece created by Tyler, The Creator. The entire album of “IGOR” is an emotional masterpiece, and each song works to create this heartbreaking storyline for the listener to enjoy (or cry to). Just like any real relationship, the album describes the range of feelings that take course, where it may be blissful for the first three months and then suddenly confusing when they say they “just need some space.” The song I chose to highlight is about the stage of heartbreak, where the rose-tinted glasses finally come off, and reality sets in.

Being one of my favorite songs on the record, I felt that it was perfect for the list since the listener is free to empathize with the lyrics being spoken. The last two minutes of the song are emotionally driven and the line “But I don’t ever wanna fall in love again” hurts in all the right ways. 

“Fake Plastic Trees” from Radiohead’s sophomore album is not technically charged toward relationships, but one could interpret it as such based on their circumstances. Lead singer Thom Yorke’s powerful vocal style is ever so prevalent in this piece, and the listener is almost encouraged to sing at the top of their lungs. This song in particular possesses a 2 a.m., driving in a car, windows down, going faster than the speed limit sort of feel to it. 

Especially with the dismal manner in which Yorke utters “If I could be who you wanted,” the pain in his voice is almost palpable; you can feel his hurt and his anguish. But then again, what can you feel since your heart is as cold as ice anyway?

However, if you are still in love with someone who has already moved on, Beach House’s entire discography is tailored for you! One song of theirs that resonates with me is “Take Care,” which has an uplifting tone with depressing lyrics. “I’d take care of you / If you’d ask me to” are lines that put into words the desire to hold out hope for a failed relationship. People choose to live in a false reality in their minds, where the idea of the person they once were with is more important than the actuality of the individual. 

I couldn’t create a list for Valentine’s without the supposed queen of heartbreak: Olivia Rodrigo. Although most of her songs, if not all of them, pertain to some sort of relationship, I enjoy the more aggressive approach she takes in “good 4 u.” The lyrics in this song are much more bitter than others I’ve mentioned so far, with her sarcastically stating “Well, good for you, you look happy and healthy / Not me if you ever cared to ask.” 

Many people reciprocate the feelings she expresses in this song, where a prior relationship may have ended on less than ideal terms and results in this negative perspective for future interactions. This is not the most healthy approach to getting over an ex, but Rodrigo makes it look appealing. 

Now, I understand that this list could be thousands of songs long. There are so many artists that I failed to mention that deserve to be explored. Bon Iver, Kid Cudi, Joji, Mac DeMarco, Duster and so on, many songs express even more ambivalence in regard to love. 

I hope the few songs that were mentioned sparked interest in getting in touch with your feelings. Valentine’s Day has something for everyone at the end of the day, whether you’re content in a relationship of your own or you prefer to listen to this kind of music while eating discounted chocolate from the grocery store.