I’m not your stereotypical ‘break up music’ girl. Let me own up to that right away. It’s counter-intuitive to me. So, you’re feeling miserable, and you want to listen to….more miserable music, to make you feel worse? What?? I’ve always done the opposite. It’s on with the dancey stuff, the dubstep, the fast-paced music filleted of emotion. The second I break up with someone is the second I pop on, oh, I don’t know, Santogold, or Adam Ant, or anything, ANYTHING that isn’t slow or moody. It isn’t just the music; I also dress up. I can guarantee that if you see me the week after a break up, I will look fantastic and totally overdone. It’s just a matter of principle.
The last break up was different. I knew it was coming for ages, and I knew I was going to have to do it. It all crashed down around Christmas and New Year, which – newsflash – was not entirely conducive to my strategy of ‘PUSH YOUR EMOTIONS ASIDE, GET OUT AND DANCE’. I was stuck inside the house, doomed to days of seeing relatives and being asked about my love life, and all my friends were equally busy with family obligations. My coping mechanisms weren’t going to work. A tip – never, ever break up with someone during the festive period.
So I wasn’t able to forget it. And suddenly I found myself drawn to cathartic music instead of soulless beats. There is something about The Vaccines that just….strikes something deep inside me. Their sounds have a slightly echoing, epic quality, with the singer sounding simultaneously far away and yet inside your ear. I froze when I heard this song. Quite a few Vaccines tracks are about that awkward transition from being young and irresponsible to being an adult; as in ‘Wetsuit’, and this one taps into that feeling as well.
It’s bizarre when you hear a song that perfectly encapsulates how you feel. I think we all seek meaning in songs, we are all quick to align ourselves with the message. I suppose that’s why so many people do listen to break up music. This one was perfect. Not ostensibly about a relationship, but more about time drifting on. ‘You wanna get young, but you’re just getting older, and you had a good Summer but it’s suddenly over, if you want a bit of love, put your head on my shoulder, it’s cool’. There was something about it that engulfed me. I couldn’t move as I listened to it.
‘Is THIS what I’ve been missing?’ I wondered. ‘Maybe there is something to be said for a bit of self-indulgent misery every now and then’. Because it felt like it was helping. The song allowed me to feel sad, and angry, and frustrated, and unhappy, but at the same time it was someone else singing, somebody else’s words. I could still hold it at arm’s length. I could walk away at any time.
I scooped up an old teddy bear that belonged to my dad when he was young, and I sat down with it on my bedroom floor. I listened to this track more than a few times. I cried and cried, and then calmed down. I allowed myself about two days of being sad, because if you know me, you’ll know that’s an EXTRAORDINARY amount of time for me to be miserable. I so desperately want to be melancholic, but I get cheered up too easily and I ruin the effect. After two days, I shelved the song, put down the bear, and got up.
It came on my iPhone earlier while I was running, and I remembered how I’d felt. I decided to give the song to all of you, as well. Just in case you need it.