Whenever I experience some intense emotion, I like to make a playlist of songs that I can belt out in the shower, the car, or really anytime when I’m alone and need to get it all out there. I’ve found that for me personally, music is vital to sort through feelings ranging from from pure joy to heartbreak. You can find a song that matches any one of your emotions and, honestly, I think that’s kind of beautiful because it means that you’re not alone; there are people out there that are in the same boat as you and even though you may not know them personally, you know that you can turn to them.
I’ve found that I listen to music the most when I’m sad or angry or just generally feeling down, so that’s the theme here. I don’t think I’m the only one that puts their headphones in in hopes that my pain will be healed. Below I’ve listed a few different emotions or moments in our lives when we need music to guide us (bonus: the musicians below are all women).
“Last Kiss” by Taylor Swift
Feeling: When you need a good cry
Standout Lyric: “And I feel you forget me like I used to feel you breathe.” (3:56 to 4:05)
Why: This lyric really gets me every-time; you’re close to someone and then, just like that, you’re strangers again. Even though “Last Kiss” is about the end of a romantic relationship, you can listen to it anytime that you really just want to get your tears out; the emotion that Taylor puts into the lyrics can transport you and the tears will flow.
“Breathe Again” by Sara Bareilles
Feeling: Heartbreak and/or a goodbye
Standout Lyric: “All I have, all I need, he’s the air that I would kill to breathe. Holds my love in his hands and still I’m searching for something.” (Repeated throughout the song but especially poignant from 3:55 to 4:17)
Why: It’s easy to get complacent and comfortable in relationships, but just because you’re comfortable doesn’t mean you should stay. Even if all signs point to yes, you have to challenge yourself and continue to grow, thus, a goodbye is a necessary evil.
“If I Could Change Your Mind” by HAIM
Feeling: Nostalgia and generally looking back on the past
Standout Lyric: “Memories take me back to all of our wildest times.” (1:59 to 2:03)
Why: This song is upbeat and peppy but it’s focus is still the past and the adventures had. Sometimes we’re feeling sad because an experience is over, which is an emotion that this line specifically captures.
“400 Lux” by Lorde
Moment: When you’re ready to be carefree again, with company.
Standout Lyric: “We might be hollow but we’re brave.” (1:08 to 1:11 and 2:10 to 2:13)
Why: There seems to be a consensus, Lorde is wise well beyond her eighteen years. “400 Lux” is no exception; she writes about killing time and going through the motions of life, but she doesn’t say that routines are bad; she recognizes that they’re better with a companion or two. Once you emerge from your own intense emotions, it’s good to let more people and happiness back in.
“Clean” by Taylor Swift
Moment: A turning point
Standout Lyric: “The rain came pouring down, when I was drowning that’s when I could finally breathe.” (Repeated throughout the song)
Why: Our minds get crowded with all of our responsibilities, our memories, and our emotions. This lyric represents the moment when we feel overwhelmed but then all of a sudden, we reach a moment of clarity. There’s still so much on our minds but it’s easier to bear.
Music can be your best friend and your therapist, it won’t ask questions or judge you, it will support you no matter what.
For more wellness support, check out 21 Grand Slams, and We’re Still Talking About Her Body?, The Lowdown on Bi-Racial Identities and Cultural Appropriation, Why Misty Copeland Matters, and Smart Girls Guide to Self-Love.