The first song I remember sharing on Facebook out of heartbreak was “I Luv the Valley OH!” by the American experimental band Xiu Xiu. I shared it after I found out that the guy I like was into someone else, and like most millennials, I thought social media was the best place to broadcast my wounded cries.
At first, “I Luv The Valley OH!” didn’t have that much of an impact on me. I thought it was just one of Xiu Xiu’s well-constructed songs, rife with melodic riffs and vocals that exude passion with every word. It was only when my world started to shatter when I realized that listening to the song felt like repeatedly punching a wall. I listened to it again with tears welling up in my eyes, and as the line “I won’t rest until I forget about it / I won’t rest until I don’t care” slowly crescendoed into the climax, the song finally hit me with the catharsis of a silent scream – inhibited, excruciating, and yet freeing.
It was not new for me to post music as a way of working through my emotions. From the moment that my (mostly one-sided) romance with this music-lover of a person began, I constantly shared songs on social media from Wilco’s cheeky “I am trying to break your heart” to Carly Rae Jepsen’s anthem of unrequited love “Your Type”. Almost every day, I made a record of my feelings and hoped that he would notice with his every log in and scroll. Even as I felt like giving up on this lost cause, I still made sure that he knew what he meant to me by posting bittersweet and melancholic tunes like TV on the Radio’s “Will Do”, Wolf Alice’s “Don’t Delete The Kisses”, Mitski’s “Washing Machine Heart” and even the Spice Girls’ “Too Much”. Making playlists is one thing, but the immediacy of social media gave me an assurance that the object of my affection will at least glance at what I was dying to say. These songs enabled me to tell him everything that I can’t put into words, from “I think I’d be good for you / and you / you’d be good for me” to “wait, they don’t love you like I love you.”
All my life, I’ve done a lot of small things to express the pain of pining for someone. I wrote bad poetry, changed cover photos, and posted 2,000-word rant threads on Twitter. None of those ever compared to the vulnerability of sharing music. Music has a subtle and subjective quality that enables one to interpret the piece in many ways, paving the way towards the realization that feelings can be both personal and universal. Heartbreak can be isolating, yes, but people have created songs throughout history to prove that there are many others who felt the same pain.
Just recently, this guy broke my heart again after I thought things were going well. This time, I shared the song “Broke” by Modest Mouse. The line that stood out for me was “broken hearts want broken necks / I’ve done some things that I want to forget but I can’t” because it showed how tired and frustrated I was for getting hurt over and over again by this person who may not even give a rat’s ass even if I made big steps to sort things out. He probably didn’t even see it. Maybe he did, I don’t know. I hope that he did, because social media is my only way of reaching out to him now that there’s nothing else left to say. If he still sees what I have to say in the near future, I really do hope he manages to hit play one more time.
Even if it’s for a song that goes “it’s only you that I’m losing / guess I’m doing fine.”
Bio: Andrea Rivera is a struggling 20-something writer, office slave, and ex-emo kid from Manila, Philippines. You can follow her @andreyeaah.