This Hairpin piece is poignant as fuck and made me think about the music I got my ex into and vice versa. We shared a common love for a lot of bands at the very outset, but I did introduce her to Fountains of Wayne, Killswitch Engage, and even a little bit of Swallow the Sun.
She had a pretty decent taste in music that would only really resonate with me after the breakup, though I’m not even sure if it was because she liked them or because it was just really good music. The most glaring example I can think of is Blink-182. I was never a huge fan of Blink; I always thought they were just some shitty popular band that douchebags in junior high listened to. I was a cultured motherfucker who was listening to The Beatles and Static-X at the time. The first time she sent me a Youtube clip of “I Miss You”, it just kind of went in one ear and out the other. It really grew on me over time though.
But it was only after the breakup that I fell in love with Blink and their entire discography. These guys were actually talented as fuck and made some incredible music. Travis Barker is a damn near virtuosic drummer and Tom DeLonge’s riffs are crunchy as hell. They also crafted some of the most excruciating and devastating breakup songs I’ve ever heard (“I Miss You”, “Always”, “Obvious”, “Down”, “Asthenia”, “Stockholm Syndrome”, etc.). In fact, pretty much the entirety of their self titled album is just Breakup City. I don’t actively listen to the band nowadays because they remind me of the first few dark months, but I’ll tolerate them when they come on the radio. I’d have never given this band the time of day if it wasn’t for my ex, so I guess I have her to thank.
I also had a significant Coldplay phase around February. I do recall her sharing “The Scientist” with me, which is harrowing to listen to. I also had “Fix You” on repeat for a while, though I discovered that one on my own.
On another note, this also deserves commentary:
“A speaker once visited my junior high school to caution us about the dangers of sexual relationships. I’m sure he talked about STDs and teenage pregnancies but all I remember of it was his illustration of the end of a relationship. Taking two pieces of paper to represent a couple and folding them evenly over each other, he then ripped them apart down the center. By coming together people surrendered parts of themselves and they lost them completely when a relationship ended.”
Yes, yes, and yes. I think that if we don’t lose a part of ourselves, then at the very least we are irreversibly changed when a relationship ends. In my case, I lost my naivete. I started looking at people differently. I always thought of my ex as a strong, confident woman who wouldn’t take shit from anybody. That was what she wanted people to see. After everything she had been through, I understood how frightened and insecure she actually was in reality. It’s many of these same insecurities that I see festering under the surface in so many of us. And yet I absolutely gained from my loss, as well. My loss, though painful, was an invaluable learning experience.