So it’s been a hot minute since I posted to the Widowino Universe. Apologies, I was just experiencing some summertime sadness, laying on a flamingo float alone in my backyard pool staring up at the clouds. Speaking of summertime sadness, sometimes I just like to chill and feel my feels while listening to sweet jams. I’ve always found music to vibe with whatever mood I’m in, and ever since I was a newly minted driver cruising with windows down rocking out to Now That’s What I Call Music Vol. 8, it’s been a meditative experience for me. Bryan was the same way. We made playlists for every experience, big or small. Whether it was a kiss-themed playlist for our aptly named “Smooch Fest 2014” all the way up to allowing our wedding DJ zero creative license by giving him literally every song to play, music “rocked’ our soul. So it seems right that I created a new soundtrack for the shit-storm that is my current life. I’ve been collecting songs for months, in anticipation of the ultimate sonic release and this post, of course. So if you’ve been searching for the perfect melancholy blend of notes, look no more! These are the ultimate songs to do the emotional heavy lifting. Have you ever been crying in the mirror and thought I wish I had some equally depressing music right now? THESE are those songs! Or maybe you’re on a train, not sure where it’s going, and while you rest your head against the rain covered window, you thought “you know what this cliched sad moment needs, a soundtrack”. Then you’ve come to the right place! The playlist can totally be played on shuffle, but for the true emotional roller coaster, I suggest playing them in the order listed here. Enjoy! (Note: for maximum enjoyment have a day, in the tub, with red wine and a good cry. Make sure to stay in there long enough for the water to get cold and then ever so slowly submerge your head. Lastly, tell yourself you did your best over and over.)
- On the Nature of Daylight — Max Richter. If my life was a movie, this is the song that would have been playing while you watched me run up the stairs in slow motion and find Bryan. The song that played while the EMTs pushed me out of the way as I was hysterical, still in slow motion. The song that played while the phone fell to the ground in the foreground of the shot…yes, still in slow motion. Too morbid? I think you may be lost then, here let me direct you to a site that might be more your speed. Now I just mostly listen to this song when I take my makeup off in front of my Hollywood vanity mirror in total darkness except for those 12 mirror bulbs illuminating my face and its suddenly aged (pronounced “age-ed”) wrinkles. I’m also wearing a chic mu mu a la Glenn Close in Sunset Boulevard. Interesting side note, I wear mu mus now. I’m really leaning in to this whole widow thing! Sheryl Sandberg would be proud, on BOTH accounts.
- Life and Death — Paul Cardall. This aptly named little diddy has a lot of the great melodies you think of when something profound happens in life, or death…Oh I see what he did there! Cardall actually wrote this song while facing his own mortality waiting for a heart transplant, and I think that really gives it the extra punch of authenticity, don’t you? The crescendo is quite dramatic and good for solo train rides around the 3:45 mark.
- Fade Into You — Mazzy Star. Everyone has that quintessential emo moment of their adolescence when they were feeling hella deep. Just me? Oh. Well anyway, for me that moment was the slow dance prom scene in the highly underrated 1995 movie Angus. The popular girl had just given Angus some #realtalk about her bulimia and actually imperfect life and it was deep AF for my 10 yo self. Point is, this is the song they dance to as prom king and queen. Now that I’m old enough to actually understand its meaning, I think the lyrics are a solid metaphor for my feelings on losing my identity as part of an “us’ and a wife and how I need to forge a new identify. #barf
- To Build a Home — The Cinematic Orchestra. This song was a must add to the playlist ever since I saw that crappy old crock pot spark and set those curtains aflame and then proceeded to lose my shit along with the rest of America. If this is the song that’s played the moment the Pearson family’s life went up in literal and proverbial flames, then it’s good enough for me. Of all the songs on my list, I think this one elicits the most single dramatic tears down my face. I think of the future I won’t get with Bryan and the fact that I won’t get “to build a home” with him, like ever.
- When It’s Cold I’d Like to Die –– Moby. If you’re surprised to see a Moby song on here, perhaps you’ve never heard of Moby. The first line of this song is “Where were you when I was lonesome?” for pete’s sake! It’s a question I ask a lot; maybe to myself and maybe to Bryan, depending on what you believe, but at this point I still have anger over him leaving me, and by all accounts, and Dr. F, that’s perfectly fine. Also, I felt/feel like dying a lot, cold or otherwise, so this makes sense.
- Captain Phillips –– Henry Jackman. One thing I’ve always done is listen to movie scores while I need to concentrate and write and think. I do it even while blogging! When I heard Jackman’s score in Captain Phillips, it moved me. Maybe it was the majesty of Tim Honks, America’s hero (that’s his name right?) bringing the captain’s fear and anguish to life, but this song gives me the feels. The tagline of the movie was “out here survival is everything” and most days I feel like I’m just surviving, so this tune was apropos.
- Born to Die — Lana Del Rey. Fake lips and horrible live performances aside, I actually love Lana Del Rey. This song epitomizes how I feel when I’m out pretending to the world to be “okay”. It’s also got a zero fucks given vibe, which I must admit has been one of the few freeing things to come from the tar pit of my brain.
- Nothing Compares 2 U — Sinead O’Connor. It’s totally been longer than 7 hours and 16 days since Bryan took his love away, but I do certainly sleep all day so at least that part of the song is accurate. Plus this is a true oldie but goody when it comes to the lonely hearts club. I’ve also considered shaving my head more than once over the last 18 months, and Sinead may or may not have been the inspiration. Hey, a widow’s ideas can’t all be winners okay?? Bonus: The single dramatic tear game in the video is quite strong.
- The Cold — Exitmusic. Another “cold” song. I guess there’s only so many metaphors for sadness. Lead singer Aleksa Palladino’s voice is haunting and how I envision I would sound if I had any talent. This is the quintessential song for solitary staring off into the distance, perhaps by a body of water (dealer’s choice), or better yet headstone. True Story: this song came on while I was visiting Bryan at the cemetery.
- Habits (Stay High) — Tove Lo. This is the song I imagine would be the personification of my life, if I had gone down the vice route while dealing with grief. I’m honestly a little bummed it didn’t happen for me, I hear opioids are all the rage right now. But according to my extensive widow research since this is a blog of the highest journalist integrity, self medication and destructive decisions are a common part of many people’s grieving process. So this song makes the list as an homage to my fellow widow divas currently laying over in Struggle City, and that’s just fine.
- Runnin (Lose It All) — Naughty Boy ft Beyoncé and Arrow Benjamin. If I lose myself, I lose it all. That’s the theme of this anthem that Queen Bey sprinkled her magic dust all over. It talks of loss, loneliness, and doing it all yourself, with a catchy beat to back it up. They don’t call her a queen for nothing.
- Green Light — Lorde. A little bit of anger, a little bit of hope, and lot of bad assness. I wish I could “just get my things and just let go”. In some ways I’ve done that already, but in many ways I’m waiting for my green light, stuck in neutral at that light that’s always red at that abandoned intersection. Why can’t I just hit the gas and go? What’s stopping me? Oh right, crippling depression.
- Elastic Heart — Sia. I’ve got thick skin and an elastic heart. Grieving does nothing if not make you harder, better, faster, stronger©. You start to see the world differently and you’re forever changed, as much as you may try to fight it. I feel like Sia really gets me and my internal struggle here, so good job Sia. P.S. How do we feel about Shia LeBeouf in the video? Oddly attractive and rugged? No? Yeah, me neither.
- All By Myself — Celine Dion. You might be thinking…hmm safe choice. Or “wow this one’s a little on the nose”. And to you I say, don’t question Celine or my’s decisions ever! The reality of the situation is I am, in fact “all by myself” and I “don’t wanna be” anymore, sooooo yeah. And who doesn’t love a good power ballad to sing into their ice cream/dinner spoon (hello 2:40 mark)?!
- Dancing On My Own — Robyn. When I get there, this is the song I think will be my anthem when I’m at peace with my new life and I’m just out there, dancing on my own, and owning my dance.
So there you have it, music essential for being in your feelings. I’ve got loads more but this post was taking longer to write than I felt like it should so that’s what you get! Let me know what music gets you through hard times and makes you feel the feels! I’ll make a B-sides soon with reader suggestions.
2 thoughts on “Music to Cry To: The Ultimate Widow Playlist”
Let me know when and if you need a visit Em
Sent from my iPhone
The Robyn song has been my saving GRACE! It’s been 29 months since my “wisdodom”and this song has been my go to for shaking off the fucked up sadness that comes along with the the loss. So glad to see this (and Mazzy Star) on a list. Gen X widows represent.