Playlist: Songs To Drown To

Your first love- almost as gut wrenching as your first heart break, just in all the wrong ways.

Unfortunately, a friend of mine has recently found this out the hard way.

Simply reading her text messages has been enough to take me back to my own first broken heart- and it’s not really a place I’d like to spend a lot of time in.

Something I do remember however is the feeling of waking up one day and just being sick of crying. It hits you like a slap in the face. You slowly drift from sleep into consciousness, bleary eyed, waiting for the pain to constrict your chest and the eyes to sting with tears as you remember the reality and….it just doesn’t come. Instead you get out of bed. You have a shower. You look in the mirror and you realise it doesn’t hurt as much anymore.

Are you still numb? Yes.

Do you still feel completely lost, operating on autopilot?

But for one reason or another- be it time, or total exhaustion or perhaps simply acceptance- it’s just not as hard to keep going on with your life.

This day is, of course, after countless days of weeping on your bedroom floor, of sad and then angry and then apologetic texts to the ex, of ten thousand refreshes of their Facebook profile, of embarrassing drunken visits where you bang on their door, throw rocks at their bedroom window and beg to see them.

But it does come. That day does come.

Inspired by heartache- I’ve come up with the following two playlists.

Playlist 1 is the drowning playlist- the one you whack on when the knife in your heart is still fresh. You need this period of continuous crying before you can even start to think about moving on.

Playlist 2 is to be played on that day. The day you wake up and realise, it isn’t always going to be this hard.

My darling friend, I hope this helps.

Credit: Lina Tesch

Playlist 1:
Breaking My Heart – Aqualung
Fix You – Coldplay
Run – Snow Patrol
Goodbye Waves and Driveways – The Rocket Summer
Delicate – Damien Rice
Hometown Glory – Adele
I Will Follow You Into The Dark – Death Cab for Cutie
Blood Bank – Bon Iver
I Gave You All – Mumford & Sons
Somebody That I Used to Know – Gotye feat. Kimbra
The Scientist – Coldplay
Don’t Speak – No Doubt
So Here We Are – Bloc Party
Call It Off – Tegan & Sara
This Year’s Love – David Gray
I’m Still Breathing – Katy Perry

Stream this playlist via 8tracks >

Playlist 2:
Strip Me – Natasha Bedingfield
Go Do – Jonsi
A-Punk – Vampire Weekend
How Bizarre – OMC
Dog Days Are Over – Florence & The Machine
You Make My Dreams – Hall & Oats
Bulletproof – La Roux
Since You’ve Been Gone – Kelly Clarkson
Yoo Hoo – Imperial Teen
Sleepyhead – Passion Pit
Waking Up In Vegas – Katy Perry
Hang Me Up to Dry – Cold War Kids
Helicopter – Bloc Party
Sunday Morning – No Doubt
I Saw The Sign – Ace of Base
Believe – Cher

Stream this playlist via 8tracks >

Add your own heartache tracks in the comments below.

Want to suggest a playlist theme? Hit up Crystal on Formspring and someone on the team will make it for you.

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24, single white female with too much time on her hands and a fatal obsession with social media, travelling, food and creating an abundance of online time capsules otherwise known as blogs.

Tully has written 5 articles for us.


  1. I could add so many to this, but one of my new favorites is:

    Goyte: Somebody that I used to Know.

    The song and the video are both fantastic. The song has that dreamy quality, like you’re sitting in bed, totally zoned out, numb to your own pain, and then you get that momentary shock of emotions, and then you go back to the numbness. Ah yes …

  2. High and Dry by Radiohead was my heartbreak song, and the “finally realizing it’ll be all right” song was Make It Better by The Knocks. (My break-up recovery involved a lot of getting drunk and dancing)

    • High and Dry is good too. I’ve used No Surprises when I’ve been awake for 24+ hours obsessing and just need to sleeeep.

  3. This popped up on my fb newsfeed right before her profile.


    *curls up in AS shirt and presses play*

  4. Placebo. So much Placebo. “Blind,” “Passive Aggressive,” “Narcoleptic,” “Special Needs,” “My Sweet Prince” etc.

    And of course “Without You I’m Nothing,” because nothing can compete against the combined forces of Brian Molko and David Bowie.

    • Oh Gods, Placebo! A thousand times yes. “Without You I’m Nothing” is just gut wrenching when you’re in that frame of mind.

      “Protect Me From What I Want” is another heartbreaker.

  5. My go-to break up song since high school is “I’m Still Crying” by Go Sailor. It’s got this great “I’m so getting over you… but not right now” message and it’s equal parts heartbreak and fuck you.

  6. The amount of times I’ve listened to Delicate by Damien Rice and felt like crying has got to be some kind of record.
    Thank you AS for something to listen to…once I get back from work.

    • Oh, DR is amazing. I’ve also been guilty of listening to “Amie” when I want to feel like he’s singing to me, but “Delicate” is a better song.

    • My fourteen year old self bows to you. That song’s a classic! Actually, a lot of Hawthorne Heights would apply to this situation.

  7. I created a playlist on my iPod a few years back called “Songs to Slit Your Wrists To” when I had a bad breakup. I’ve added to it since then, even though I haven’t really been in the position to need it (my love life is DOA).

    “Set Fire to the Rain” – ADELE
    “Stars” – Alison Krauss & Union Station
    “Untouchable Face” – Ani DiFranco
    “Adam and Eve” – Ani DiFranco
    “Diamonds and Rust” – Blackmore’s Night
    “I Can’t Make You Love Me” – Bonnie Raitt
    “Mouth (The Stingray Mix)” – Bush
    “White Flag” – Dido
    “You Look So Fine” – Garbage
    “#1 Crush” – Garbage
    “Redundant” – Green Day
    “Over You” – Jasmin Tabatabai
    “Hallelujah” – Jeff Buckley
    “Crying (Live By Request)” – kd lang
    “Trail of Broken Hearts” – kd lang
    “Nicest Thing” – Kate Nash
    “Love Me Dead” – Ludo
    “I Try” – Macy Gray
    “Shouganai Yume Oibito” – Morning Musume
    “Shabondama” – Morning Musume
    “She’s My Alcatraz” – The Mr. T Experience
    “Amazed” – The Offspring
    “Taste in Men” – Placebo
    “Without You I’m Nothing” – Placebo
    “Protect Me From What I Want” – Placebo
    “Post Blue” – Placebo
    “Nothing Compares 2 U” – Sinead O’Connor
    “Neptune” – SJ Tucker
    “Fell on Black Days” – Soundgarden
    “Nobody” – Wondergirls
    “Go Away” – 2NE1

  8. For my “I’m Having a Lot of Feelings” listening choice lately, I keep returning to Fleetwood Mac’s “Rumours.” The whole album. Also, The Weepies.

  9. Last time I was in drowning mode I think I played “Goodbye to You” by Michelle Branch about 20 times in a row (don’t judge!). I blame the episode of Buffy she appeared in when Tara and Willow were breaking up, and Buffy was emo about Spike.

    “Don’t Speak” has got to be one of the most cathartic songs in recent history.

  10. I turn to Amanda Palmer for my dramatic brooding needs… “Truce” or “First Orgasm” from her Dresden Dolls days, “Have To Drive”, “Another Year”, or “Straight” from her Who Killed Amanda Palmer album, and her covers of Tegan and Sara and Radiohead are EXCELLENT.

    OH and don’t forget her cover of “I Will Follow You Into The Dark”… 10X more despair than the original, just sayin’

  11. “Quiet” by Rachael Yamagata.
    And “Happiness; We’re All In This Together” by This Will Destroy You. They’re instrumental, but since when did that matter? Ugh they speak such volumes in each little musical wavelength that reaches the core your heartbroken self.

  12. I listen to Hello Saferide sometimes when I’m in those moods. Any melancholy Garbage song will also do.

    I’m pretty sure several of these songs were on my girl obsessed playlist a few years back…I would add “Sometime Around Midnight” by the Airborne Toxic Event. Which I listened to over and over again. And sobbed if I had the energy.

    Lesbians with their FEELINGS.

  13. Oh lord. I just lost my first love and I’m waiting for the pain to ebb and after five ragged days I can finally say her name without crying. I’m still stumbling under the weight of it but sad and tired is better than ripped apart and in agony. One day I’ll get to that second playlist.

    For now I listen to “I Would Be Sad” by the Avett Brothers and occasionally try to smile, just to make sure the muscles haven’t atrophied.

    • You have my sympathies. Be as dramatic as you like with the first lost love; I did, and it’s nice to think back and realise even though I was a hyperventilating, crying wreck, I healed. And so I feel less scared to fall in love now, because if I got through the first heartbreak, I can get through anything.
      AND SO CAN YOU. <3

    • Might I suggest My Last Song To Jenny and Famous Flower of Manhattan by the Avett Brothers? The Avett Brothers make me smile when I’m having a rough time so I hope they help you out too

  14. Lucinda Williams has so many there could be a box set but for the darkest moments it is “Those Three Days”.

  15. A lot of my break up songs are very specific to the breakup, you know? After my last break up, I listened to a lot of Vienne Teng. *shrugs*

    But in general, almost anything by Adele will a)break my heart or b) soothe my broken heart.

    Sometimes, when my girlfriend and I have a really bad fight, I listen to Ce Lo Green’s “Fuck You.” She does too, apparently.

  16. love//hate//love,

    beyonces best thing i never had,

    “thank god i found the good in goodbye, i used to want you so bad…”
    enter elecrtic guitar solo.

    too good.

  17. Talking about Garbage I find “Medication” the best for sad mood. When I recovered a little bit “run baby run” is nice too. Problem is, now my knee is kinda broken so I can’t run..still it’s a nice song.

  18. Two really good artists who almost always sing about heartbreak are S (Jenn Ghetto) and Carissa’s Wierd. I sometimes don’t recommend them on a bad day.

  19. I talked to the girl I liked yesterday. It didn’t go so well.

    Thank you for this list. I got “Someday you will be loved” by Deathcab for Cutie through, which is ripping me apart right now. It’s a song to be angry to, which is a nice change to the songs that break me.

    I’ve also listened to “Don’t Turn Around” by Ace of Base a lot through-out my thing, as well as “fanfanfan” by Thåström, “Jag Gråter Bara i Regnet” by Newkid and “Shake It Out” by Florence + the Machine.

  20. The morning I stopped noticing all the little fragments left behind. I heard this song.

    ‘Bleed Like There Was No Other Flood’ – Wildbirds and Peacedrums

    Utterly bewitching female vocals with melodic drums that set a strong pace, enhanced with a beautiful choral element though-out.

    Its like waking up and realising you’re exactly where you want to be.

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