Playlist: Driving the PCH Desperately Seeking Healing, Also Probably You’re Crying

Sometimes your heart is in a million fucking pieces. Sometimes the thing you know you need to do is just as hard as the thing you wish hadn’t happened. Sometimes you search endlessly for the right thing to say but realize it doesn’t exist. Sometimes something big is missing, suddenly and all at once. Sometimes you sleep in because you can’t wake up, then you put clothes on and work out in a room full of strangers, then you immediately get on the highway and roll down the windows. Sometimes you cry so hard on the 10 you can’t see the road. Sometimes you shake your fist at the sky while you ride as close to the ocean as possible, salt in the air and a cigarette in your other hand. Sometimes you sit in a parking lot in Malibu facing the beach and realize you don’t know which lyrics to post on Tumblr.

Sometimes you prefer your misinterpretation of the Tori Amos song and then you stop googling it and get back on the road. Sometimes you roll into a Mimi’s in Ventura in sweatpants with a single tear on your cheek, take one look at the menu, and order everything on it. Sometimes you pass an abandoned pink sippy cup in the parking lot and it feels like a sign. Sometimes you pull over thinking you’re gonna call but then instead you take out your phone to try to remember it forever and then realize when it’s too late that all of the photos came out terribly. Sometimes you only turn around because you know if you didn’t you’d never stop. Sometimes you make it home just in time to write the Funday and get drunk.

Sometimes everything falls apart. Sometimes shit hits the fan. Sometimes the only thing that makes sense is doing something that never really does.

Sometimes you drive the PCH desperately seeking healing. Sometimes it works. If it doesn’t, there’s always the desert.

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Driving the PCH Desperately Seeking Healing and Also Crying

(Derived from a longer playlist, “concern tweet me,” which I will update as life throws me more insane curveballs all at once!)

Svefn-g-englar – Sigur Rós
Love Again – Ta-ku
Blue – Beyoncé
Down For You – Ta-ku
Stay – Rihanna
Close To You – Rihanna
Up Against The Wall – Peter Bjorn and John
7am – Ash Kidd
Godspeed – Frank Ocean
River Card – Atlas Sound
Let the Blind Lead Those Who Can See But Cannot Feel – Atlas Sound
This Is The Last Time – The National
Daughters of the Soho Riots – The National
St. Peter’s Cathedral – Death Cab for Cutie
Marching Bands of Manhattan – Death Cab for Cutie
Transatlanticism – Death Cab for Cutie
Wednesday Night Interlude – Drake
Jungle – Drake
Preach – Drake
Runaway – Kanye West
FourFiveSeconds – Rihanna
33 “GOD” – Bon Iver
Only One – Kanye West
Perth – Bon Iver
Somedays – Regina Spektor
Samson – Regina Spektor
Sodom, South Georgia – Iron & Wine
The Trapeze Swinger – Iron & Wine
All the Trees of the Field Will Clap Their Hands – Sufjan Stevens
Vito’s Ordination Song – Sufjan Stevens
Redford (for Yia-Yia and Pappou) – Sufjan Stevens
Between the Bars – Elliott Smith
Angel In The Snow – Elliott Smith
Sea of Love – Cat Power
Poison Oak – Bright Eyes
Don’t Wish Me Well – Solange
Starálfur – Sigur Rós
Good Woman – Cat Power
Maps – Yeah Yeah Yeahs
High And Dry – Radiohead
Swansea – Bombay Bicycle Club
Rinse Me Down – Bombay Bicycle Club
Lucky You – The National
Skinny Love – Birdy
Medicine – Daughter
A Sorta Fairytale – Tori Amos
Nikes – Frank Ocean
All the Same – Julia Nunes
Summer Skin – Death Cab for Cutie
John My Beloved – Sufjan Stevens

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Carmen spent six years at Autostraddle, ultimately serving as Straddleverse Director, Feminism Editor and Social Media Co-Director. She is now the Consulting Digital Editor at Ms. and writes regularly for DAME, the Women’s Media Center, the National Women’s History Museum and other prominent feminist platforms; her work has also been published in print and online by outlets like BuzzFeed, Bitch, Bust, CityLab, ElixHER, Feministing, Feminist Formations, GirlBoss, GrokNation, MEL, Mic and SIGNS, and she is a co-founder of Argot Magazine. You can find Carmen on Twitter, Instagram and Tumblr or in the drive-thru line at the nearest In-N-Out.

Carmen has written 919 articles for us.


  1. YES perfect timing. A few days ago, I drove for 24 hours straight in one go (save a thirty minute stop for a court appearance…). It was an emergency situation, and everything was absolutely horrible. Depressing music was key. And I’m gearing up to make an eight hour drive tonight for the same situation, so I’m in need of more depressing as fuck music to keep me company.
    I’d like to suggest quite literally the entirety of Daughter’s discography. I also enjoyed Kodaline’s All I Want, some stuff by Ray LaMontagne, Patty Griffin, and Brandi Carlile, Lykke Li’s I Know Places, The Mojos’ One Day/Reckoning Song, and Johnny Cash’s old man feelings. Also Noah Gundersen, Leonard Cohen (RIP), and the classic Set the Fire to the Third Bar.
    God, I’m depressing.

  2. I find Scandinavian based sing-songy heavy/dark/black metal music and System of a Down to be very helpful during times like this. Loud, angry, kind of beautiful and depressing at the same time.

    Going through hard times suck so damn much. glad there is good music (a personal preference) to reach the part of us that needs healing but maybe hidden from us or too tender for us to touch or may not ready to heal just yet…if that makes sense. Here’s to good music and healing in our own time.

  3. Yes, so much this. I drove to PCH yesterday with the windows down, before a back road took me too a wasp-y neighborhood. I will have to keep some of these songs in mind the next time I do it. Also, who’s down for a straddler queer cruise down PCH? Then queer up some place that serves food and/or drinks?

  4. I don’t know what curveballs life has been throwing you, but I’m so sorry you’re hurting so much. It really sucks when life starts to pile on like that – just as you get your feet back under you, bam, knocked back down again. I hope you’re surrounded by support and love, and that your situation starts to improve soon. <3

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