It’s my first post! I guess I should introduce myself, or something. I’m a 25 year-old “young professional” in higher ed who lives and prances around mainly in the 02139. I also play music in a local indie rock band. I spend a lot of my time trying to maintain a healthy balance of indie snobbery and self-awareness about the intrinsic silliness of indie snobbery.
Some other salient facts: I drive stick shift, which grants me a profound sense of superiority in all areas of life. I love food, so you can expect to see a few food-related posts on here unless the powers that be tell me it’s not topical (I suspect this may fall under the “karaoke vomit” category). An embarrassing number of my RSS subscriptions have to do with baby animals. I do a mean Maude Lebowski impression.
Alright. That’s about enough of that.
So, I’ve had a bad few months. Things started going downhill in October, and culminated in late December with an existential, personal, and medical shitshorm. Naturally, it has a soundtrack.
The music that moves me has changed as I get older. As pain becomes more nuanced, so must the playlist. When I was 15 and suffering from my first broken heart, Tori Amos’s strangely insane lyrics perfectly accessorized my teenage angst. I would put the song “Putting the Damage On” (Boys for Pele) on repeat and think about the essential tragedy of my existence: Glue stuck to my shoes/Does anyone know why/You play with an orange rind/You say you packed my things/And divided what was mine/You’re off to the mountain top/I say her skinny legs could use some sun/But now I’m wishing/For my best impression/Of my best Angie Dickinson/But now I’ve got to worry/Cause boy you still look pretty/When you’re putting the damage on.
At 19 it was Radiohead, especially the songs “True Love Waits” and “How to Disappear Completely.” I’m not here/This isn’t happening. Subtle, I know.
But now, at 25, I’ve found myself embracing a wider variety of artists and genres to fully encapsulate my quarter life crisis, a deep obsession with Cat Power’s “Moon Pix” notwithstanding. For your consideration:
A Playlist for When You Feel Like Shit.
1. Oh Comely – Neutral Milk Hotel (In the Aeroplane Over the Sea)
Neutral Milk Hotel should be a part of any heartbreaking playlist: Oh comely/It isn’t as pretty as you’d like to guess/In your memory you’re drunk on your “awe to me” /It doesn’t mean anything at all.
2. Moonshiner – Cat Power (Moon Pix)
Moon Pix is easily my favorite Cat Power album, and this is the most tragic song: You’re already in hell/You’re already in hell/I wish we could go to hell/When the bottle gets empty/Then life ain’t worth the dram.
Substance abuse is a cruel muse, apparently.
3. The Past is a Grotesque Animal – Of Montreal (Hissing Fauna, Are You the Destroyer?)
This is probably my favorite song of all time. You have to have been around the block a few times for these lyrics to resonate: I’ve played the unraveler, the parhelion/But even apocalypse is fleeting, there’s no death, no ugly word/Sometimes I wonder if you’re mythologizing me like I do you/Mythologizing me like I do you.
4. Black Like Me – Spoon (Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga)
Spoon is totally versatile, and they have a song for every mood somewhere in their catalogue. But this one is especially poignant: Jenny’s watching Cover Shot/My head’s feeling light/I believed that someone would/Take care of me tonight.
5. Nobody’s Fault But My Own – Beck (Mutations)
The title is pretty self-explanatory. Beck gets all emotional: It’s such a selfish way to lose/The way you lose these wasted blues/These wasted blues/Tell me that it’s nobody’s fault/Nobody’s fault/But my own.
6. 23 – Blonde Redhead (23)
I tried but could not find a lyrical snippet to explain why this song is on the playlist. It just is, OK? Trust.
7. Blood Bank – Bon Iver (Blood Bank)
Same goes for this one. It fits the mood but I can’t quite pinpoint why. Minor chord progressions and all that.
8. Cold White Christmas – Casiotone For the Painfully Alone (Etiquette)
This whole album is decadently depressing. I fucking love it. Feather down the nights get so cold/And you ignore the smell of mold/As you smooth out the folds/When you’re on your own/You’ve got no one to please/In a Minnesota city/Just as bare and mean as the winter trees.
9. Videotape – Radiohead (In Rainbows)
Radiohead will always be good for pain: This is my way of saying goodbye/Because I can’t do it face-to-face.
10. Yr Pretty and Everyone Loves You – Shoney Lamar (Do It To Everyone)
My favorite local musician, guitar player, and beloved friend does simmering rage really well: Me and my girl don’t fuck/The mornings are the worst/Call one cab and one hearse/I assure you/You’ll be reimbursed.
11. Shut Up I Am Dreaming Of Places Where Lovers Have Wings – Sunset Rubdown (Shut Up I Am Dreaming)
The sadness I feel while I listen to Sunset Rubdown mainly has to do with the fact that lead singer Spencer Krug is not, in fact, my boyfriend. But this song is stunning.
12. King’s Crossing – Elliott Smith (From a Basement on the Hill)
Obviously you could fill an entire “I Feel Like Holy Hell” playlist with Elliott Smith, but for my purposes I picked a song that will remind you that though your life sucks, you’re probably not quite at this point: It’s Christmastime and the needle’s on the tree/A skinny santa is bringing something to me/His voice is overwhelming but his speech is slurred/And I only understand every other word.
Jesus, Elliott. Thanks for the heads up.
Alright kids. YouTube (or ITunes, or whatever) all this shit and let me know what you think. Future playlist ideas include: “Songs That Will Make You Feel Cool While Driving No Matter How White You Are” and “A Party Playlist That Will Please All But Your Most Annoying Hipster Friends.” Stay tuned.