The Highlighter Playlist, V: Songs That F*cked Us Up

By WSN Arts Staff

This semester, we’re doing things a little differently for our weekly playlist: lovingly curated by the #ArtSquad themselves, we present themed playlists for your listening pleasure every Friday. Today, we present songs that have mangled our souls, made our hearts pulsate, prompted us to sob deep into the late hours of the night and kind of messed up our lives in general—we can only hope they bring you the same kind of comfort.

E.R. Pulgar, Highlighter Editor
“Second Lover” by Noah and the Whale

Some loves are so intense that they can kill, and this surprisingly jaunty indie rock melody only serves as a painful reminder. Sung from the perspective of a man having an affair with a woman he can only love from afar and eventually dying “and never, ever holding [her] hand,” the subject matter is heavy for a song that sounds so damn happy. The whole piece is a juxtaposition of the pain of loving someone you can’t be with interspersed with triumphant horns and upbeat guitar. The closing line is the nail in the coffin, pun intended: “wherever you go, and whatever you do, there’s a man underground that will always love you.” Ow.

Audrey Deng, Arts Editor
“The Moldau” by Bedřich Smetana

“The Moldau” is the epitome of Romantic music. Composed in the 19th century by Bedřich Smetana, the song’s continuous, single-line melody is both at once tragic and hopeful, exemplifying the inexplicable mystery and awe romantics had of nature. Flutes open the song with a brittle trickle, a wisp of a melody, which soon gives way to a sweeping and triumphant orchestral line. Featured in the bildungsroman of a film “The Tree of Life,” the timelessness of “The Moldau” makes this song larger than life.

Joseph Myers, Theater/Books Editor
“Cool” by Gwen Stefani
One song that consistently gets to me is Gwen Stefani’s “Cool.” As cheesy as it is, I really love Stefani and it takes me back to my middle school years. The calm melody mixed with the early 2000s-esque synth in combination with the lyrics about people moving in and out of our lives and moving on in separate directions never fails to make me a little wistful. Watch the music video, featuring a forlorn Stefani dancing around an Italian villa, and you are guaranteed to feel all the feels.

Allison Stubblebine, Entertainment Editor
“The Boy Who Blocked His Own Shot” by Brand New
As I was scrolling down my personal, unashamedly long “Just F*ck Me Up” playlist, it was difficult to pick one song that messes me up even more than the rest. You have undoubtedly come across a tumblr edit featuring the lyrics to this song placed over a faded photo of some mountains or flowers. Brand New—a band falling somewhere between alt-rock and pop punk—perfectly captures the sad boy/girl aesthetic and sound. Equal parts apologetic and longing, it makes the perfect addition to any self-pity soundtrack. The words “if it makes you less sad” have never felt more like a punch to the gut than in this context.


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