A Taxonomy Of Relationships, Based On The Song You’re Listening To On Repeat
Whenever I walk down the street, I like to pretend that the music I’m listening to is my own personal soundtrack. The other day, a song popped up on my iPod that was so emotionally loaded with memories that it took me by surprise. It was the song I listened to on repeat for weeks during my freshman year of college, after a particularly dreamy encounter with a guy I was crushing on. For me, the song captured all the intricacies and excitement of that moment. It escalated my already-giddy happiness into a euphoria that beat any thrill I could get from dissecting the encounter with a friend. The music knew how I felt and carefully played with my emotions to make me believe that this song “got” me — like it was made just for me and that moment.
I truly believe that for every relationship, quasi-relationship, or sexual encounter you have, there is a song that perfectly encapsulates it. A song, no matter how annoying, whiny, cheesy, or sappy, that you can listen to on repeat because, durnit, that ditty knows exactly what you’re going through. After the jump, I’ve compiled a list of songs — taken from my personal experiences — which I feel categorize and exemplify specific relationships. Songs For The Beginning Of A Relationship:
Because for every night you drive past you ex-boyfriend’s place, there will be a morning you wake up powered by the thrill of new love. And is there any better way to greet the day then by singing and dancing around in your underwear?
- The Shared-Broken-Heart Relationship
Perfect song: “The Days Go By Oh So Slow“
By: Nightmare of You
You’ve been hurt. They’ve been hurt. Why not lick your wounds together? This a song for a relationship that is learning to heal from the past. A relationship that comes when you have been so shattered by love that you are perfectly happy healing by yourself at home in a grungy XL hoodie, but then some fellow mourner pulls you out of it. And after a little tentative dating and commiserating you both begin to figure out it was just your exes that totally sucked—not love.
See also: No Doubt’s “Underneath it All,” Muse’s “Supermassive Black Hole”
- The Series Of One-Night-Stands Relationship
Perfect song: “Lover I Don’t Have to Love“
By: Bright Eyes
This is for a time when love is not really a concern—it’s more about getting laid fast and often. There will be no goodnight phone calls, no lunch dates, no meeting the family. This is a partnership about doing the deed when you don’t want to deal with the baggage of a relationship. Something may eventually come out of this “relationship,” but more often than not … it just doesn’t.
See also: Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance,” Jace Everett’s “Bad Things”
- The “We Are In First Three Months and Aren’t You Happy For Me?” Relationship
Perfect Song: “Bubbly“
By: Colbie Caillat
This is a period of time my high-school health teacher liked to call “The Twinkle Time.” Both you and your beau walk around hand in hand with a twinkle in your eye, full-heartedly believing that the other is perfect. In a way, your union is perfect, but that’s just because you haven’t had the time to figure out what things he does that drive you crazy. This is a song that glorifies that flawlessness you initially see in the other person and how it makes you feel. If you listen to this song more than once, without feeling nauseated, you are so there. The power of early love seems to be the only Pepto-Bismol for repeatedly listening to fluffy girl music.
See also: Donna Lewis’ “I Love You Always Forever,” The Exciter’s “Tell Him”
Songs For The Middle of a Relationship:
So you are done twinkling and non-twinklers have a more sophisticated music palette. Something beyond obvious ballads with love in the title. It is time to find “your song.” No, not the first dance of your wedding song, but the song that understands the complication and intricacies of your now maturing relationship. This is a song that just doesn’t hammer everything with the blunt label of love; it’s is one that matches your particular breed.
- Praying-for-a-Grand-Romantic-Gesture Relationship
Perfect Song: “Walk Through Hell“
By: Say Anything
So every crush or relationship gets to a certain boiling point where the intense interest subsides and you begin to wonder how the other person really feels about you. You not only wonder, you need to know! The ideal way to find out would be some grand romantic gesture, with musical accompaniment. I am talking Lloyd Dobbler outside your house with a boombox. For each girl, there is perfect song to accompany this fantasy—usually acoustic, usually a little whiny, and always totally dreamy.
See also: Peter Gabriel’s “In Your Eyes” (obviously), The Cardigans’ “Lovefool”
- The Mightier-Than-Thou Relationship
Perfect Song: “Wonderwall“
Your relationship is beyond the comprehension of your single friend’s understanding, or perhaps anyone’s. You and your guy have reached a romantic level that is so complex and deep that it is comparable to the romances found in great novels. You need a song just as complex to understand. A song that, in reality, you may not know how exactly it speaks of love, but it speaks to your relationship nevertheless. These are songs that may have tones of mystery, pain, helplessness, devotion, and possibly drug use. And even if all those things don’t apply to the whirlwind of emotions that now surround your aged relationship, the idea that the song is vague and dramatic appeals to where you and your man are now.
See also: Counting Crow’s “Colorblind,” Coldplay’s “Yellow”
- The Camp Relationship
Perfect Song: “Save Tonight“
By: Eagle Eye Cherry
So we’re all out of middle school now and we no longer go to camp — that’s besides the point. These are songs that match a relationship which, for one reason or another, is doomed to be temporary—and, in turn, is doubly intense, as you try to pack a long-term meandering relationship into a short time slot. It’s at places like camp, or while studying abroad, or on a business trip that you meet the love of your life. And while you are shaking a fist at fate, you are also embracing the fresh drama and passion that surrounds your cursed relationship, fancying the two of you as a pair of star-crossed lovers. But, instead of creating elaborate failed plots and secret elopements to secure you, you just listen to songs to imagine what could have been.
See also: Snow Patrol’s “Run,” Dire Straits’ “Romeo and Juliet”
Songs For The End of A Relationship:
These songs are dedicated to the guy who obliterated your heart, the crush who turned out to be a total jerk, that quasi boyfriend you always screwed around with who was playing you the whole time. But for all the heart-wrenching pain you feel, you are not angry; you’re just broken. You are just shattered enough to find and latch on to one song that you can sob-sing for hours.
- “Fatal Attraction”-Minus-The-Homicide Breakup
Perfect Song: “Papparazzi“
By: Lady Gaga
OK, so we are not handling this breakup really well. I mean what was he thinking? Doesn’t he know you were meant to be together forever? He must get that he isn’t going to find anyone better. Doesn’t sex mean anything anymore? While these questions circle your mind after a surprising breakup, you need a song to surround your life and nurse the idea that there must have been some mistake. This song tells you it is OK to have a still semi-obsessive hold on your ex because you are truly meant to be together … he just hasn’t figured it out yet.
See also: The Stills’ “Still In Love Song,” Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ “Maps”
- A Return-to-Self-Love Breakup
Perfect Song: “Momma Said“
By: The Shirelles
I am not talking about the “When I Think About You, I Touch Myself” kind of self-love; this is about returning to confident emotional equilibrium and, as always, music serves as a supportive guide. The terrible storm of despair and self-pity are starting to pass and you have realized that you have lived through another breakup. Now it is time to pay attention to and pamper what matters most: yourself. All the bumps and bruises of the breakup may not be fully healed but you’re beginning to realize that you are pretty awesome and sexy when you’re single; so why don’t we go with that?
See also: Oukatst’s “Roses,” Beyonce’s “Single Ladies”
- The Let’s-See-What’s-Behind-Door-Number-Two Breakup
Perfect Song: “She Wolf“
What approach of getting over a breakup is better, or at least more proactive, than sitting in your room listening to sad girl music? Getting back “out there” and trying again? These are songs that thrive on the idea that you should always be on the hunt for love and that, if anything, looking will make you feel better, or get you laid. By now you are well-versed in the music and knowledge of how cruel love is, so why not try a more optimistic approach?
See also: Girls’ “Lust For Life,” The Cure’s “Friday I’m in Love”
Which song describes you right now? Tell your story in the comments section. And please share more songs!