There are some traditions that you just can’t break. Here at Onward State, one of our favorites is the annual Depressing Valentine’s Day Playlist.
As a single guy who still listens to the weird stuff he enjoyed in middle/high school, I have taken it upon myself to follow in the footsteps of Dennis McNamara and Sam Cooper and continue this tradition. If there’s one thing Penn Staters care about, it’s tradition, and dammit, I’m upholding this tradition.
Mayday Parade – “Miserable at Best”
“These words were never easier / For me to say, or her to second guess / But I guess / That I can live without you but / Without you I’ll be miserable at best”
Mayday Parade was one of those bands I listened to in high school because I wanted ladies to think I was all soft and emotional. However, while their last three albums were complete bollocks, their first two — Tales Told by Dead Friends and A Lesson In Romantics — are both perfect pop-punk albums for whenever you want to feel sadness and despair. Also, ALIR may be my favorite break-up album ever. Fun!
My Chemical Romance – “I Don’t Love You”
“And after all this time that you still owe / You’re still a good-for-nothing I don’t know / So take your gloves and get out / Better get out / While you can”
Two things about MCR: 1) I saw them at Bamboozle one year because Blink-182 backed out due to Travis Barker needing to get his tonsils taken out, and 2) The Black Parade was the only album I listened to as a freshman in high school. Yeah, it’s shitty emo music, but it’s MY shitty emo music, and nobody can take that from me.
No Vacancy – “Heal Me I’m Heartsick”
“The drowning ocean snuff the sun in motion / There’s a pill on my tongue / a shot from a gun / the bottle’s bottom / I’m lonely as a star”
No Vacancy isn’t actually a band. You may know them as the douchers from “School of Rock” that beat Jack Black and the gang at the Battle of the Bands. However, the song that they’re, um, “known for” is a great song to listen to when you’re crying into a pillow late at night. Just…trust me.
Frank Ocean – “Bad Religion”
“It’s a bad religion / to be in love with someone who could never love you / Only bad, only bad religion / Could have me feeling the way I do”
If you’re not familiar with all the stuff that led up to this song, read this. It’s absolutely beautiful. Ocean then went onto Jimmy Fallon in support of his album Channel ORANGE and performed this song, and it was perfect.
Elliott Smith – “The Biggest Lie”
“Oh we’re so very precious, you and I / And everything that you do makes me want to die / Oh I just told the biggest lie / I just told the biggest lie”
I know Elliott Smith was on the list last year. But if you’ve ever been sad — and I don’t mean upset, I mean really and truly sad — and you’ve listened to Elliott Smith, you’d get why he’s in here twice. As Conor Oberst of Bright Eyes once said, “sometimes when you’re not feeling good, you have to listen to really sad music like Elliott Smith’s…he wrote the sweetest, saddest, most gentle songs.”
Jay-Z – “Song Cry”
“That’s when our signals got crossed, and we got flipped / Rather mine, I don’t know what made me leave that shit / Made me speed that quick, let me see – that’s it / It was the cheese helped them bitches get amnesia quick / I used to cut up they buddies, now they sayin they love me / Used to tell they friends I was ugly and wouldn’t touch me / Then I showed up in that dubbed out buggy / And then they got fussy and they don’t remember that / And I don’t remember you”
Hov has a soft side, and it showed on “Song Cry.” This isn’t the typical braggadocio track that you’d hear on Watch the Throne or Magna Carta Holy Grail, this is a raw look into the life of a guy who has been through the kind of break-up that you’d never wish on anyone. If you like Jay-Z’s sound, but dislike his subject matter, listen to his old stuff, especially Reasonable Doubt and The Blueprint. He’s at the top of the rap game for a reason.
Justin Timberlake – “Cry Me a River”
This is the greatest breakup song of all time, and if you disagree, then know that you’re comically wrong. I’m not even putting a choice lyric. You know the song well enough. Plus every lyric is absolutely scathing. Thank you, Britney Spears. This song is your greatest contribution to society.
Blink-182 – “Story of a Lonely Guy”
“Lost the words, lost the nerve / Lost the girl, left the line / I would wish upon a star / But that star, it doesn’t shine”
Oh Mark, Tom, and Travis. I have spent many nights with my earbuds jammed into my skull, blasting your music, reminding me that there is a 97 percent certainty that I will always be a lonely teenager. I can die happily married with a family, but deep down, I’ll always be that kid that messed up his neck headbanging to “Dammit” when you guys performed in Hershey in 2010. Luv y’all <3
+44 – “No It Isn’t”
“Please understand / This isn’t just goodbye / This is I can’t stand you / This is where the road crashed into the ocean”
I know that putting a +44 song is kind of cheating, since +44 is basically Blink-182 without Tom DeLonge, but this song is bitter as all hell. While the song is about how Mark Hoppus felt about DeLonge after Blink went on an indefinite hiatus in 2005, it can be applicable if you’re a guy/gal who just had their heart broken and would rather drink hydrochloric acid than see your ex.
Tyler, The Creator – “IFHY”
“The fucking thought of you with somebody else / I don’t like that / This isn’t a song / I just happen to rhyme / When I get emo and find time to write facts / I love you”
The best and worst thing about Tyler, The Creator is that you never have to guess what he’s thinking. He is, quite possibly, the most blunt and up-front musician alive right now, and few songs epitomize that more than IFHY, which is short for “I Fucking Hate You.” If you’ve ever gone through a bad break-up, you know the anger and sadness that comes with it, and it is epitomized in this track. Also, the music video is fantastic.
Taylor Swift – “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together”
“We are never ever ever getting back together”