Music

Taylor Swift – Red (Taylor’s Version)

When we left things in December of 2020, I was at the end of my rope with sad Tay songs. We had just gotten folklore and evermore back to back and there were whispers of a third in woodvale. If you fast forward to the end of my evermore track by track review you’ll find that I said THAT’S ENOUGH. I couldn’t take anymore sobsies. Then a month later she announced Fearless (Taylor’s Version.) We have literally been inundated with Taylor Swift surprise announcements every few months for 2 years now. If you’d like to see my much bitched about rant on this “Taylor’s Version” era, feel free to click HERE and read #5 so I don’t repeat myself for the zillionth time. Down here on earth, I’m a rational fan. I can lose my G-D mind over her releasing a 10 minute version of my favorite song of all time and also be like ok, everyone calm down now. It’s too much. Short films and surprise music videos and her psycho fans are eagle eyeing every TikTok guessing which album will be re-released next. So from an old bird who puts her pajamas on the second she walks in the door from work, here’s a grounded view of Red (Taylor’s Version.)

*It is important to note that Red was released pre-The Salty Ju (so there is no official blog) but it is and has always been my favorite Taylor album. It came out in the fall of my senior year of college, it will forever give me cruising down the thruway in Upstate NY with peak foliage vibes and *not to brag* but I turned 22 that year so THAT SONG WAS BASICALLY WRITTEN FOR ME and anyone who has turned 22 since doesn’t matter and that’s pretty obvious. My age nearly matching up with Taylor has made her albums that much more relatable. Except for the fact that I never had a 3 month whirlwind affair with a Hollywood actor 9 years older than me. But whatevs, my point being that I’ve always been a Red stan and I’ll take any excuse to throw it on rotation and drive around on a crisp fall day singing along. Even though I never originally gave it a track by track review, it wouldn’t be honest to give my gut reactions to these songs I’ve been listening to for 8 years now, also there were THIRTY songs on this album so we will only be breaking down the 9 “from the vault” tracks we’ve never heard before.

Better Man. Alright so there’s two songs “from the vault” (alright, Walt Disney) that were actually written by Taylor and then when she cut them from Red, she sold them off to other country singers to perform. This one was handed over to Little Big Town. So it’s kinda cheating to be like eh this song doesn’t make the cut on my album, sell it to another artist and then circle back and be like I want it now. Total Indian Giver move. If you haven’t been keeping up though, Taylor does whatever the hell she wants now. So LBT can suck it. It’s a classic country breakup ballad though. Cause sometimes you can realize your ex was T-rash but still miss them.

Best Lyric: I know the bravest thing I ever did was run.

Nothing New (Feat Phoebe Bridgers). Immediately was digging on this song. Duetting with Phoebe’s haunting breathy voice really elevated the typical Taylor sound here. Seemed like something that would’ve fit perfectly on her last two emo albums except it’s not about breakups, it’s about when you’re not a shiny new singer anymore and everyone is over you. Based on the pop culture takeover that Taylor has commanded with this re-release and the fact that Spotify literally crashed on Friday at midnight, I don’t think this is a legitimate concern of Taylor’s anymore. And might I add, staying up past 11 on a school night when you’re 30 is embarrassingly difficult and being met with a Spotify “the page you’re looking for does not exist” was a real boner kill. I had myself questioning if I misunderstood which day it was dropping and after finally getting a lil listen in snug as a bug in bed, I was a literal zombie the next morning when my alarm went off. I’m getting too old for this shit. THANKFULLY we had a 7PM short film premiere and now coming up, a 10AM music video. Much more convenient. PS between the “I’ve had too much to drink tonight” and “how long will it be cute, all this crying in my room” I looked around to see if there was a hidden camera in my apt then realized it was physically impossible for 2010 Taylor to know that 2021 Julia is either drunk or crying or bonus round *both* on any given day.

Best Lyric: Criticize the way you fly/ When you’re soaring through the sky/ Shoot you down and then they sigh/ And say, “She looks like she’s been through it”

Babe. The second take backsies on Red (TV.) This one was released by Sugarland but did have Taylor featured on it so it’s not a total rip from Jennifer Nettles’ paws. It is a little weird though because Jennifer has a very distinctive voice so redoing any of her tunes is a stark difference. It’s just meh for me. “What about your promises, promises” would’ve slapped harder with a 3LW lisp. And to be even more honest, a little word association with the word babe immediately brings me back to the Jason Sudeikis & Kristen Wiig “Two A-Holes” SNL bit. Sucks to be you with a normal brain and have lovely positive associations with this term of endearment and then I stomped in and blew that right to smithereens with a callback to Jason chomping gum at warp speed, tacking babe on at the end of every sentence. You’re WELCOME, BEB.

Best Lyric: I hate that because of you, I can’t love you, babe (BEB.)

Message In A Bottle. What a zesty little banger this is! Again, total curveball in the grand scheme of this album. I feel like this would’ve popped OFFFF on 1989 and I’m surprised she lumped it into the Red era. Realistically, every song that Taylor writes and records is a message in a bottle. LOL to think that she’s like I wonder if the person will hear this. Yeah, girl. 90.8 million people hear the message. Anyway, there’s nothing deep to say about this song. It’s fun and 80’s and I can’t wait to dance my face off to it.

Best Lyric: You could be the one that I keep, and I / I could be the reason you can’t sleep at night (Honestly these lyrics are dumb, sorry not sorry. The song ain’t about the lyrics, it’s about having a crush and groovin it out.)

I Bet You Think About Me (Feat Chris Stapleton). The first time I heard this song I cringed because I L O A T H E when Taylor puts on a Dolly twang. It’s so tacky to me. You grew up in Pennsylvania, girl. If anything you should be saying “hoagie” like an uneducated moron, not have a southern drawl. (Please know that when I diss the PA accent, I’m fully aware of the fact that I say “calendar” like an uneducated moron. We’ve all got stupid accents depending on where we grew up.) Obviously everyone has heard “Our Song” and essentially every other song on her debut album where she put on QUITE the show with a little hick flair. While I do enjoy over-enunciating the words to Our Song just to piss off everyone around me, I’m still never going to be down with faking an accent just to do a country song. ESPECIALLY now that you’re a seasoned musician who has proven to be talented beyond belief. We don’t need the dog and pony show you were putting on as a fresh on the scene teenaged singer. Plus, in front of Chris Stapleton?! Girl. Do better. He’s a Nashville ruby red gem. The soulful voice of a cherub and the humble aw shucks I’m just grateful to be here personality that few actually have. I was a little disappointed he didn’t get his own verse like Phoebe did on her guest appearance. I love to hear Chris let it rip. But now that I’ve dumped on the lack of Chris and the presence of fake accent Taylor, I am happy to share that I do really like this song. The cocky laugh at the beginning and the tell-off ‘tude overall is GRAND. I love a snarky Tay. I’ll be the first to admit that 2010 Jake Gyllenhaal was a total babe soda, but my God what a dooooouuuuuuuchhhheeeee. Love that she gave us more ammo to DRAG him because any a-hole who brags about his indie music and his Hollywood connects and leads book talks over wine with his friends deserves to be pooped all over via twangy sass. Million dollar couch and organic shoes?! BOOOOOOO, JAKE, BOo0oOooOo0Oo. Can’t wait for this Blake Lively directed music video.

Best Lyric: I bet you think about me when you say / “Oh my god, she’s insane, she wrote a song about me” – This is the best possible way to end a song where you just DUMPED all over an ex. Wanna call me crazy, DO IT BITCH.

Forever Winter. Considering the content of this song is about someone being severely depressed, it slaps real hard. The way she goes up an octave in the chorus and the oh, oh, oh’s. Chef’s kiss. Apparently it was written for a friend who died of an overdose at 21. So yeah I feel like a real asshat for being like WOW COOL SONG, but also, cool song. Seriously, to have the ability to take a shitty situation and word vom all of your feelings into a bangpiece of a song is something I’ll forever be envious of as I sit on this blog and write poop jokes day in and day out. We’ve all got talents, folks. Some of them are just more impressive than others.

Best Lyric: He spends most of his nights wishing it was how it used to be / He spends most of his flights getting pulled down by gravity

Run (Feat Ed Sheeran). This was the first song Ed and Taylor ever wrote together and even though I’m a BIG fan of Everything Has Changed (and the adorable video that they made to go with it,) this song is like a warm hug after a shitty day. The simplicity to it and their harmonizing voices are perfect. Maybe if something like this was on Ed’s latest album, I wouldn’t have been so hard on it. The way they take turns singing each line is just downright delicious. I’m not saying I wish Ed and Taylor ended up together but I’m not NOT saying it either.

Best Lyric: There’s been this hole in my heart / This thing was a shot in the dark / Say you’ll never let ’em tear us apart

The Very First Night. Another bubblegum pop beat about falling in love and wanting to be up that person’s butthole 24/7. It’s a gift how I can take a cute little song and incorporate the world butthole into it. For realz though everyone knows when you’re in the honeymoon phase of a relationship and you want to follow that person into the bathroom so that you never have to be apart for even one second. It’s all fun and games and smothering until one time you get too snuggly while your boyfriend is eating dinner and he tells you to back off. HONEYMOON PHASE ENDS WITH A SHARP LEFT, FOLKS. Jus sayin. So enjoy this song and soak in the “I miss you so hard when we don’t talk for five minutes” glow while it lasts because as Tay sings…”we broke the status quo, then we broke each other’s hearts.” See? Dark turn.

Best Lyric: I drive down different roads / But they all lead back to you

All Too Well (Ten Minute Version). HERE IT IS BABY. Saved the best for last. Taylor dropped the “oh I have a ten minute version with swear words” morsel over a year ago at this point and since then I’ve been salivating in wait for its release. She obviously knew how savage we all were for this treasure and she built it up as much as one possibly could. Any true fan did exactly what I did upon the re-release of this album. Midnight hit (I refreshed Spotify 5 times until the album appeared) and I scrolled straight down to this track and smashed play. Nothing else mattered. I knew I would get to them eventually but first order of business was see if this was going to ruin the best breakup song ever written or make it infinitely better. And here’s my Salty Ju hot take. My very first listen I was not blown away. I felt like it didn’t flow. These new verses almost sounded like they were parts of a different song, wedged in and disjointed with the perfection that was the OG All Too Well. Then I slept on it. And when I revisited it the following day (SEVERAL times), I was able to approach with a clearer head. Obviously a song that’s 10 minutes long is going to sound nothing like the original version half its length. I’m so glad we got that one first and nothing will ever top it. But now I’m able to appreciate the bigger picture. And that picture is her spilling more tea on how much Jake stinks. And yes, I am absolutely here for it. I prepped all week to get in my feels and become one with heartbreak. The weather cooperated.

@thesaltyju

To ALL of my friends begging me to hang out…I’m booked on Friday night. #redtaylorsversion #swifttok #alltoowell

♬ All Too Well Taylor Swift – TaylorswiftxFolklore

If I may go verse by verse of the new lyrics…*pops the top on a $7 rosé (shout out Wegmans)*

[Verse 2]
Photo album on the counter, your cheeks were turning red
You used to be a little kid with glasses in a twin-sized bed
And your mother’s telling stories ’bout you on the tee-ball team
You taught me ’bout your past, thinking your future was me
And you were tossing me the car keys, “fuck the patriarchy”
Key chain on the ground, we were always skipping town
And I was thinking on the drive down, any time now
He’s gonna say it’s love, you never called it what it was
‘Til we were dead and gone and buried
Check the pulse and come back swearing it’s the same
After three months in the grave
And then you wondered where it went to as I reached for you
But all I felt was shame and you held my lifeless frame

I was hoping for Taylor to be so overcome with emotion that there were several F bombs. As someone who in the throes of a 6th grade breakup instant messaged “I’m so fuckin sorry” to my weasel of a boyfriend (of two weeks) for how much whining he was doing that I said we should break up so I could play the middle school field, I understand all too well how heartbreak (and guilt) can cause someone to swear like a sailor. Unfortunately, this much hyped explicit content was SUCH a letdown. Making fun of Jake for having a “fuck the patriarchy” keychain is SnOoZeWoRtHy. Come onnnnnnn. Give us some snarky F bombs not a “oOoh you’re a feminist but not really because you treated me like shit” dig. Besides that lamewad keychain, the additional lyrics further paint the picture that in these brief three months, their 9 year age gap was a huge point of contention and Taylor fell HOARD while Jake was more in love with himself than anything else. So right off the bat we get that she was WAY more into it than him and that he was almost ashamed or wanted it to be a secret from his snotty crowd.

And there we are again when nobody had to know / You kept me like a secret, but I kept you like an oath

And then we get to my FAVE new verse. It flows like butta and honestly by like the third rotation of me listening, I was getting annoyed with myself that I hadn’t learned the words yet. Yes that’s right, a 10 minute song that was out for mere hours I was disappointed in not having known every single word of.

[Verse 3]
They say all’s well that ends well, but I’m in a new Hell
Every time you double-cross my mind
You said if we had been closer in age maybe it would have been fine
And that made me want to die
The idea you had of me, who was she?
A never-needy, ever-lovely jewel whose shine reflects on you
Not weeping in a party bathroom
Some actress asking me what happened, you
That’s what happened, you
You who charmed my dad with self-effacing jokes
Sipping coffee like you’re on a late-night show
But then he watched me watch the front door all night, willing you to come
And he said, “It’s supposed to be fun turning twenty-one”

OH MY GOD WHERE TO BEGIN. How about with that first line “all’s well that ends well but I’m in a new hell” YEAH BABY. THE FLOW. Then going right into the savagery of “that’s what happened, YOU.” Damn, dude. I don’t care how many years have passed, that’s gotta hurt. And then to double down with some good ole fashioned Dad guilt. Hey remember when you charmed my dad but then he watched me sob on my 21st birthday because of your stupid ass. MY DAD HATES YOU NOW. But also, not shocking at all that Tay spent her 21st crying instead of getting trashed. Without a lame 21st birthday…would we have gotten the joyful anthem that is 22?! PROBABLY NOT, so for that Jake, we thank you for your service.

And then if I may be a scooch critical… by adding in the previous verse, we kinda lose the buildup BANG of crumpled piece of paper and you keep my old scarf. The original “All Too Well” CRUSHES at building up to a real scream-fest and I love it a whole lot, but with this sprawling story, there’s really no screaming climax. I miss it. Don’t get me wrong, Verse 3 also hits hard, but it’s a more subtle slow burn. And then we arrive at the completely unnecessary final new verse where I was almost like ok, he’s got a family, let’s pull back here. It seemed a little TOO “wait let me make him feel worse.” If the final verse was cut I don’t think that I’d miss it. Plus the beat completely changes and it’s just weird. It feels to me like it doesn’t fit.

[Verse 5]
And I was never good at telling jokes, but the punch line goes
“I’ll get older, but your lovers stay my age”
From when your Brooklyn broke my skin and bones
I’m a soldier who’s returning half her weight
And did the twin flame bruise paint you blue?
Just between us, did the love affair maim you, too?
‘Cause in this city’s barren cold
I still remember the first fall of snow
And how it glistened as it fell
I remember it all too well

Like yeah, the pussy posse is always going to slay girls half their age, we’ve all accepted that. Leo’s getting the last laugh at any criticism of his latest young boo thing and I can tell you Jake probably feels the same way. Does it suck that he pointed out your age difference as the reason why things weren’t working then continued to date girls your age? For sure. But it seems a little dramats to compare your heartbreak to a war survivor. I realize I’m one of the most dramatic people on this earth and I’m telling a fellow drama queen to tone it down but it comes from a genuine place. Know when to amp up the drama and when to let it simmer. “That’s what happened, YOU” was a sick burn, no need to then be like YOU BROKE MY BODY AND I WAS AT WAR FROM DATING YOU. It’s too much, girl. Also, the use of the phrase “twin flame” will unfortunately always bring my brain to the two cesspools of tongue that are Machine Gun Kelly and Megan Fox and that’s not your fault, Tay. Obviously in 2010 you had no clue these two morons would tromp into the spotlight and overshare about their sexual connection. And I’ll be honest it’s not the only zeitgeist buzzword that has made me want to drill a hole in my brain. The term gaslighting, which MANY fans have been using as they break down this song makes me want to take a dive directly off of a cliff. I wish we could do a collective crash course on what the actual definition of this stupid therapy term is because METHINKS that it’s being used incorrectly 90% of the time. If I were to blindly believe the majority of the population these days, every man is a narcissist who gaslights. But that’s a story for another time. From this verse we transition into basically the same lyrics repeated over and over again with this sexy slow jam beat. Going out with a whimper not a bang even though it sounds like we’ve got a little horns section cookin at the end.

WHAT A JOURNEY. From the haunting and melancholy tone of the first piano keys to start to this echo-y sensual sendoff. It is basically a movie playing out in musical form. So much so that Taylor said, you know what? I’m literally going to make it into a movie. Never one to be less than extra, she created this short film to go along with the song. It was fine. If I was missing F bombs in the song they were certainly in no short order in these fight scenes. If you’re so inclined to spend 15 minutes watching a relationship break down as the leaves fall, check it out. Or even if you want to see Taylor as a ginge. (Spoiler alert: fast forward to the end for that.)

Would it have been mind-bending if Jake himself made an appearance at the end rather than just some schmuck named Jake? Yes OBVIOUSLY. But alas, it doesn’t seem like these two could bury the hatchet for the sake of shock value. And realistically, it seems like Jake’s sense of humor is trash so him being in on the joke would be way too much to ask. But after my RAMBLING breakdown of the song Swifties have been patiently waiting for, if you’re not a Tay fan and you just skimmed through this, I will give a 10/10 recommendation to her SNL debut of this song. Just from an artist performance standpoint, she rocked it. The drama and the effects and the emotion as she sang this song were all nailed perfectly and that’s saying a lot from someone who hasn’t watched SNL live in so long that I had to google what time it started. I watched the whole stupid show just for this one performance that I could’ve easily YouTubed the next morning but THAT IS DEDICATION FOLKS and it paid off. I had chills. CHILLS I TELL YOU.

As Colin Jost said immediately following this performance: “The lesson we all learned this week is never break up with Taylor Swift or she will sing about you for ten minutes on national television.” DAS RIGHT, HOMESLICE. Ok but seriously I’m done now for realz. I got what I wanted and now I’m going to play it on loop, learn the words front to back and ruin my best friend’s wedding this weekend by drunkenly performing it at the reception probably using my beer as a fake microphone. Congrats and every happiness to the new couple but…THEY SAY ALL’S WELL THAT ENDS WELL AND I’M IN A NEW HELL EVERY TIME YOU DOUBLE CROSS MY MIIIIINNNNNNNNDDDDDDDD.

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Playlist

The Breakup Boohoo’s

I make a lot of playlists with pick-me-up lyrics or peppy foot stompin’ beats because what I love about music is that it has a real way of lifting people out of the dumps and making you want to groove. But sometimes you very much want to exist solely in those dumps and wallow in their stinkiness. And never a discriminatory playlister, I made this one for you. It’s equivalent to popping on The Notebook when you need a good cry. Get in touch with this playlist when you want to sob your face off and feel sorry for your single-never-gonna-find-true-love ass. Then when it’s done, mop up your snot, take a shower, put on a red lip and pop on over to my Bitch, I’m Limited Edition playlist for a confidence boost.

1. Dreaming With A Broken Heart – John Mayer. I’ve never hidden my very public boner for John Mayer’s album Continuum as a whole piece of art that I want to crawl inside of and listen to on repeat forever. It also, happens to be a breakup album. Turns out ole Johnny boy really hit his stride when he was in heart turmoil. I wish he hit his stride by playing it in full when I saw him in concert last year instead of choosing to play it for dirty NYC instead. But obviously I’m not still holding onto that bitterness (I 100% am.) Every song off of this album is amazing–except Waiting on the World to Change because I’m not a hippie. However, nothing quite screams depression like his very detailed description of what it’s like to sleep when you’re heartbroken and wake up and remember that you lost the love of your life. If you’d also like a visual of that to really make sure your heart feels full of holes, look no further than this performance to it from So You Think You Can Dance (100 years ago.) The male lead in it is now the official DJ of The Ellen (soon to be cancelled) Show.

2. Everybody Hurts – R.E.M. I honestly had forgotten completely about this song until I read a romance novel last night cleverly titled “Beach Read” (10/10 would recommend) and the guy blasts this song at his birthday party and gets roasted by his soon to be love interest REAL hard for how depressing this song is. And it’s SUCH a quintessential cry song. I mean even Dwight Schrute popped this classic on with his windows rolled down in the parking lot when Michael Scott was giving more attention to Ryan the temp. Sometimes when you embarrassingly have tears streaming down your face, it’s comforting to know that EVERYBODY CRIIIIIIIEEEESSSSS.

3. It’s All Coming Back To Me Now – Celine Dion. I’ve never been more confident in my car concert performance skills than I am with this song. I will never ever get the words right no matter HOW hard I try to learn them, and yet people are MOVED by the notes I’m able to hit right up there with my girl Celine. This song is all about emotion. You breathe deep from your belly and let that sadness and regret come screaming out. Crying can certainly be a therapeutic release, but nothing will ever top the buildup of AND I BANISHED EVERY MEMORY YOU AND I HAD EVER MADEEEEEEEEEEE to go back down to a soft sadness of “but when you touch me like this.” I got goosebumps just thinking of it and now I think I’ll need to take my car for a spin down I-90 for a little cathartic Celine solo sesh.

4. What Hurts the Most – Rascal Flatts. Nobody knows heartbreak like country singers and that seems pretty obvious. This one’s a heart-wrenching song about trying to get through each day but the worst part being the regret. Oof. Let that tasty nugget sink in and simmer in your overactive brain before bed. Nope, just me? Cool, cool, cool.

5. I Don’t Know You Anymore – Savage Garden. About 0.01% of you will know this song. In fact, I would go out on a limb here and say about half of this playlist is obscure sad songs. I really dug deep for this. And that’s exclusively because this playlist is subjective and since it’s my blog and I write whatever I feel like writing about, I get to do that! I get to force the songs that I’ve cried to for years right in your faces and say HAH, check out these sobworthy tales that you may have never discovered before. Savage Garden became my crying CD (I believe they only made one) via my sister Nikki. Shoutout to her for passing down the sad. Whenever mom and dad were mean and punished me or a boy tripped me instead of smiling at me when I had a raging crush on him, I smashed play on the ole Savvy G. They just GET me, yaknow?! Just kidding, they just happen to have mellow delicate voices that soothe a sobbing pre-teen into a lull and make her relate her dumb 11 year old problems to adult tales of loss and abusive relationships (Two Beds and a Coffee Machine will make you want to rip your eyeballs out from sadness.)

6. Someone Like You – Adele. Ah yes, the fiery Brit with pipes beyond belief who started churning out breakup songs right out the gate. Nothing will make you sit and ponder life and stare out into the abyss like a deep Adele song. Even though I’m anticipating what type of music glow-up Adele will be releasing into the wild in the near future, this is a nice nod to her early days on the scene. Her voice is like a warm cup of tea that you immediately want to cry into.

7. Happier – Ed Sheeran. Honestly just hearing the beginning notes of this song makes me want to immediately burst into tears. Having someone love you so much that they just want to see you happy is the ultimate thing and YET that’s nearly impossible. WHO THE HELL WANTS TO SEE THAT? I’d rather go blind than see someone I was happy as a clam with being happy as a clam with someone else (probably on social media because that’s where people want to show that they’re SUH hAPpY.) Obviously this is why I’m a terrible human being and Ed is a phenomenal one. He even displayed this selfless unconditional love via puppets and balloons in the music video. A puppet could never date a balloon anyway so it’s for the best that she left his ass.

8. Reminds Me of You – Van Morrison. Normally when I make mixes I sprinkle the sads throughout and what I’m realizing is that having a playlist JUST FULL OF SADS is probably how people end up offing themselves. Please don’t do that. Crying is good. Wallowing with ice cream is encouraged. Watching a movie on Netflix where SPOILER ALERT you know the ending has the lead dying in the twin towers on September 11th (shoutout Remember Me) so you don’t have to see a happy ending is self-care. Listening to the depressing crooning of Van Morrison reminding you that everything in your life reminds you of your ex lover is NECESSARY.

9. You’ll Think Of Me – Keith Urban. This is a nice balance from Keith. It’s a little bit of GFY, mixed in with some feeling down and out. Keith has been cheated on and he’d like to remind this hussy ass ho that one day she’s going to circle back to him with regret and love and he’ll be like HAH no thanks. And that’s a nice mentality to have. An even better mentality to have, is thinking for SEVERAL years that he was singing “take your cat and leave my sweater” and that was HIGHLARIOUS to me. I think I grew to love this song even more just from believing that Keith was telling his girl to kick rocks and take her stupid cat with her too. Since I cannot stand the existence of cats, leaving one behind in a breakup seems like a normal thing to do because cats are assholes and probably would just hiss at you if you ever tried to cry and snuggle with them anyway. Nobody wants that cat. Or, if you finally google the lyrics for accuracy (10+ years later)…nobody wants that cap. Who the hell says CAP anyway?! It’s a hat, Keith. Or for our friends up north, a toque.

10. Breathe – Melissa Etheridge. I was scrolling through my iTunes library and had completely forgotten about this gem of a song. When I refreshed my memory with a play, I couldn’t fathom a boohoo playlist without it. I don’t think there’s ever been a MORE dramatic chorus than “I’m all right, I’m all right, it only hurts when I breathe.” Can you IMAGINE saying that to someone’s face. Like hey how ya doing? Oh I’m alright, it only hurts when I breathe. I LOVE THAT. I LIVE FOR THE DRAMA. This seems like something I would’ve written in my middle school journal. And I KNOW for a fact that I used it as an AIM away message. Everyone buzz off, the act of being alive is hurting me right now.

11. Amnesia – 5 Seconds of Summer. I thought it might be nice to hop from a rock n roll lesbian who my parents can’t get enough of, to an edgy boy band with a variety of shades of neon hair. Something for everyone to get their sad face on to! This song that this band 9000% did not write grapples with the idea of wishing we could just erase our brains completely because having memories makes heartbreak one trillion times worse. A little Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind for your eardrums.

12. Hurts Like Hell – Wrabel. This one can probably go hand in hand with ya gurl Mel. Not only does it hurt when I breathe but it HURTS LIKE HELL. This is for the lingering case of the sads that lasts for several years and WOOF does that suck. Bet Wrabel wish they had amnesia, amirite?!

13. Drunk Me – Mitchell Tenpenny. I try to stay away from substance abuse when I know a stiff breeze could make my eyes unstoppable waterfalls of sadness and Mitchell seems to feel the same way. He’s not really into drinking when he’s going through a breakup because booze brings out all his emotions and also THERE AiN’T nO HaNGoVeR like you, gurl. And ain’t that the truth. Also, I genuinely get crippling hangovers and fun fact: alcohol is a depressant so getting more sad the day after is typically how that bitch ruins your weekend and you end up needing to turn on Teen Mom to see someone who’s struggling harder than you so you can find the strength to get up off the couch and make some Kraft Mac & Cheese.

14. Walking on Broken Glass – Annie Lennox. Yeah I could be shouting out our current lady popstars who know how to twist the knife BUT it seems like today’s generation is much more forgiving and less about the poor me’s. And that’s great and all, good for them, girl power, THANK U NEXT, I needed to LOSE you to LOVE me. But first, I need the wah wah’s. I need to feel V. sorry for myself before I can snap my fingers and declare that everything I need is standing right in front of me as I look in the mirror like Demi Lovato. And that’s where Annie comes into play. Annie’s like this sucks so bad it literally feels like I’m stepping directly onto shards of glass. YES, QUEEN. First we cry and make everyone feel sorry for our hardships, and then we sweep that glass up (when we’re ready and done feeling our feels) and pop in the Kelly Clarkson tell-off anthems.

15. Let Her Go – Passenger. Naturally songs are one of those things that can transport us right back to a place that we heard it first or a time in our life. This song brings me back to Fall of 2013. I had just graduated college and was living in an apt in Saratoga Springs with my dad and I was the MOST unemployed. (Kinda like now, it’s the CIIIIIRCLLEEE OF LIIIIFEEEEE.) Every morning I would get up, make myself a cup of coffee and turn on VH1 because they played music videos in the morning and I would start my job searching for the day. This song was hot to trot in their artsy new releases on VH1 (yes I realize I just admitted being into the morning equivalent of TRL in 2013, but I LOVE MUSIC VIDEOS, SUE ME) and it played quite literally every single day. And every time I heard it I teared up. What a sad ass song and this guy, who I can only assume never released a song again, has the sad ass voice to go with it. Either way, I soaked in the sad as I tried to convince someone to hire me. So whether it’s 2013 or 2020, you’ll find me crooning AND YOU LET HER GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO as my laptop becomes soaked with tears.

16. Incomplete – Backstreet Boys. Historically speaking country crooners have been the best at relaying their heartbreak and typically somehow involving alcohol (cough cough whiskey lullaby) but a hat tip to the boy bands as well, because you’ll be hard pressed to find more dramatic sadboi lyrics than this song right here. Plus, 5 guys singing their hearts out about swimming in an ocean all alone really packs a punch. I think the appropriate way to blubber to this song is on your knees staring up at the sky while it downpours directly into your face. Tears mixing with rain. You’re welcome. Without that visual, your life was incomplete.

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17. I’m Never Getting Over You – Gone West. Gone West put out exactly one album before they broke up as a band and ironically enough, it was two couples who had formed together and one of the couples also broke up. And even more ironically, their album was all about breakups. SO GONE WEST KNOWS A THING OR TWO ABOUT HEARTBREAK. Absolutely recommend giving their album a listen because they’re not all downers (shout out Confetti for being an upbeat breakup tune) and also because you’ll apparently never hear what they sound like as a band ever again. Colbie Callait and her bubbly ass ruined everything and I’ll never get over it.

18. Someone You Loved – Lewis Capaldi. I’d liken Lewis to a little bit of an Ed Sheeran but I’m guessing that offends him. But he is British just like Ed and does have some orange-ish unfortunate looking hair like Ed. And also he’s a phenomenal singer-songwriter. This one became a smash this past summer and made me want to curl up in a ball and die every time I heard it. In all of the good ways, of course. Like when the day bleeds into nightfall and you’re ALONE.

19. Un-Break My Heart – Toni Braxton. This is such a cocky way to be sad and I respect Toni for it. It’s not like ugh my life sucks and I’m walking on broken glass and I’ll probably die alone. It’s like no you better come over here and fix this. You did this. Reverse-REVERSE it. That wasn’t at typo. Ever since the Cupid Shuffle was beaten into my brain at middle school dances and weddings with shitty DJ’s I’ve been physically incapable of saying the word reverse without shouting in my head REVERSE, REVERSE! So now it’s time to get funky with it and un break Toni’s G-D heart and uncry her tears because far too many have been shed and I’m SICK OF IT.

20. The Scientist – Coldplay. I’m not sure if there’s anything that sounds more like giving up than “take me back to the start.” Thank you so much Chris Martin for giving us that gift along with “no one ever said it would be this hard” because you know what? There’s no adequate warning for how much being sad sucks until you’ve lived through it. It’s impossible to go back to the start though (cause, science) so let’s get right in our feelings and sob our way through.

21. Gone – *NSYNC. I’ve used this song on my Boy Bands Slow Jamz playlist (shameless plug, another sick mix of tunes) but it’s so heart-wrenching it deserves to be recycled on here. When you have five guys harmonizing over why you left, you know they must be sad. WHAT DID THEY DO TO MAKE YOU LEAVE?! Seriously though, if you’re all out of tears at this point, the least you can do is nail JT’s howling OHHOHHHOHHHOHHHHHH at the 3:50 minute mark. Make sure you get up in the high register at the end with a little rasp. Never mind…I’ll take it from here. Nothing brings me more joy than playing JT’s part in this song going from depressed as hell to angry and repeating what everyone else is singing with an aggressive tone. SITTIN HERE. TO GET YOU OFF OF MY MIND. MY BEST TO BE A MAN. Ok I’m done. DONEEEE.

22. All Too Well – Taylor Swift. I realize that Taylor just released an entire album of sad and dramatic breakup songs and almost all of them could make this ugly cry list (lookin specifically at exhile and my tears ricochet) and that obviously she’s written a bajillion breakup songs and there’s a reason why everyone thinks she’s just a big ole serial dater crushing hearts left and right…BUT…there is only one breakup song in Taylor Swift world that trumps them all. And there is only one breakup song ever that is quite possibly the greatest masterpiece of all time. And it is All Too Well. The details of falling in love and basically tying it in with the leaves dying in the fall…I mean, she made a breakup a SEASON. And rightfully so. The dramatics of the piano and getting REAL heated and the sadness when she drops back down again to remember it all too well. I could talk about this song for the rest of my life and it still wouldn’t be enough. I’ve performed it solo in my car, hands slamming on the steering wheel even more than I’ve screeched Celine’s flashes of light. I’ve used the lyrics when I wanted to get a dramatic point across. And when I went through my own breakups, I ugly cried my damn face off to it remembering my own moments singing in the car (this song ironically) getting lost upstate–she was OBVIOUSLY singing about upstate NY. This is the pinnacle of breakup boohoo songs, so do yourself a favor and lay there like a crumpled up piece of paper and let the loss of Jake Gyllenhaal (or whatever dum dum who dumped you and will never compare to Jake) course through your veins.

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