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Best Songs for Singles This Valentine's Day

Love is timeless, but so is heartbreak. With Valentine’s Day fast approaching, a lot of us end up being single for one reason or another. Now, you could be like me and have the “not-so-kind" memories of your exes haunt you randomly at 4 a.m., but there is a much healthier way to handle those emotions that the holiday brings to the surface – music. There is no doubt about the therapeutic power of music. It allows us to confront and feel the emotions we cannot even put into words ourselves. We all have our go-to songs to scream at the top of our lungs, but I want to offer a couple of tracks that are true undercut gems. The same old “they broke me” ballad can get overdone, and not everyone relates to those feelings fully. Heartbreak is complex and messy, and these ten tracks truly convey that. It’s time to give these songs the love they deserve.

Petrified - Omar Apollo

Where do I even begin with this absolute masterpiece? Apollo has garnered fame in the past few years due to his ability to capture raw emotion in song form. This track specifically feels like the culmination of all that talent and skill. From his debut studio album Ivory, Petrified captures the feelings of uncertainty and fear that comes with relationships and love. It tells the story of a speaker who gets pulled into a relationship that they originally believed to be beautiful, but soon learn it is far from it. Now forced to handle the unresolved feelings in the aftermath, the speaker laments the relationship with lines like “I’m thinkin’ of you more each day. I’m thinkin’ ‘bout all the words you say to me.” With references to angels, shadows and heavenly melodies, the lyrics make this very simple and relatable story into something like a fairy tale without a happy ending. Like most of his music, it has an alternative R and B feel to it. The mixture of silky, full chords and a grungy power bass, along with Apollo’s gorgeous belts and falsettos, add to the overall ethereal, yet gut-wrenching feeling. To make it even better, it’s gay. Overall, this song. This. Song. I would marry this man if I could.

I’d Rather Go Blind – Etta James

A lot of people already know about this song because of Beyonce’s beautiful rendition of this jazz ballad, but I want to take a second to appreciate the talent that is Etta James, the original singer. The song tells from you for another person. The speaker knows the relationship is over, but still, it would be better to not see them at all than to see them with another person. With lyrics like “I don’t wanna be free,” referenced in the hit musical Dreamgirls, James crafts something that, while exaggerated, is very real and personable. This song is the quintessential downhearted blues.

A Soulmate Who Wasn’t Meant to Be – Jess Benko

This is pure regret in song form. Benko expertly puts together a song that draws on all the feelings of “I never should have...” The track begins with empty white noise, only to be filled by an acoustic guitar and Benko’s soft vocals. She tells the story of being so in love with someone who never loved her back. The singer is left wanting to take back all the “I love you” and hand holding. When she looks into their eyes, she can only see how much they just do not love them the same. This song is heartbreaking and perfect for late night crying sessions. The emptiness in the song perfectly conveys that empty feeling inside. Breakups are messy, and the feelings are even messier. This song doesn’t avoid that. The pain can be tough, but we need to feel it to move forward emotionally.

Say You Love Me – Jessie Ware

Jessie Ware wrote the mesmerizing ballad Say You Love Me, which was produced by Ed Sheeran and Benny Blanco. The song, released in 2014 as part of her second studio album, Tough Love, strikes a chord with listeners owing to its sincere lyrics and powerful voice. The track delves into themes of vulnerability, longing, and the complexity of love, making a lasting impression on both Ware's career and the emotions of her fans. The lyrics of the song dive deeply into the feelings associated with wanting someone to confess their love. Jessie Ware's beautiful voice portrays the aching and uncertainty that come with hope for reciprocation. It can bring up images of someone yearning for love and affection, seeking proof that they are actually wanted. The melody and lyrics reflect deep sensitivity, making "Say You Love Me" an accessible and emotionally charged song.

I Don’t Know You – The Marias

This alternative jam is a departure from the typical ballad. On the one hand, the lyrics reflect a relationship that has reached a point of no return. It highlights this distance between themselves and the other person, where the other person feels like they don’t know the speaker. The ex is the one that said,” I don’t know you.” The person has just become a weight in bed leaving tension and unresolved feelings. The heavy, but very real, subject matter is masked by a rhythmic indie beat. It’s one of those songs where on the surface it’s a bit bright and cheery, but the lyrics tell a completely different story. This song is perfect for confronting those weird feelings without getting heavier than it needs to be.

Leave – CIL

"CIL's song "Leave" is about a bad relationship that has reached a breaking point. The lyrics describe a circumstance in which the narrator is profoundly affected by their partner's Perc addiction and ongoing harmful conduct. The chorus, "Motherfucker, let me leave," reflects the narrator's yearning to get away from this toxic circumstance and move on. The post-chorus and outro portions highlight the narrator's request to be permitted to end the relationship and never see their spouse again. The repetition of "Let me leave" emphasizes the urgency and significance of this decision to achieve serenity and happiness. Overall, "Leave" delves on the emotions and problems that arise within a toxic relationship, emphasizing the importance of self-preservation and the fortitude to leave a harmful circumstance.

Firearm – Lizzy McAlpine

Lizzy McAlpine is a genius when it comes to heartbreak anthems. If you are a fan of Billie Eilish’s Happier Than Ever, then this song is perfect for you. It begins soft and tender, detailing the story of being left hurt after a breakup. The ex is the one who left the emptiness in the speaker's heart. They are the one with the firearm. With a relatable lament such as this, Lizzy was sure to have a hit in the making. But then the second verse hits and it turns into a full blown rock opera ballad. The feelings of emptiness turn into anger and blame, and it is reflected in grunge drum kit and power chord guitar. At the end of the song, the song returns to the solemn tone and repeats the chorus again, ending with the line, ”Now I don’t have the energy to.” Talk about storytelling. Lizzy made a track where the genre shifts halfway through to reflect the emotions of the lyrics. Genius. Girlboss. Mother.

Tummy Hurts – Renee Rapp

Speaking of mother, I think we can all agree that we need more Renee Rapp in 2024. Tummy Hurts is one of those songs that just scratches the brain in all the right ways, plus we get to scream the lyrics and imagine our crappy exes. With lyrics like, ”I just want some recognition for having good tits and a big heart,” this song is the perfect song for regaining that strength within yourself. Rapp doesn’t hold back in the lyrics. She describes how she feels bad because the guy she was with is with another girl now, but he’s her problem now, not hers. This song is excellent for taking some power back and screaming at the top of your lungs with your best friends.

single af – Fousheé

It’s all in the title. This R and B track is all about taking ownership of your singleness and being content in it, even proud of it. The lyrics talk about how the singer has confronted all their fears and done the work so that they can be proudly single. They went through all the bad, and they’re able to sing happily because of it. In "single af," Fousheé portrays the essence of the emotional rollercoaster that one can experience while navigating the single life. Fousheé's passionate delivery touches listeners, allowing them to connect with their own personal experiences of love, heartbreak, and self- discovery.

Confronting difficult feelings about love, particularly on Valentine's Day, is essential for personal development and emotional well-being. This day frequently highlights cultural expectations and romantic pressures, resulting in a range of feelings that may not be consistent with one's experiences or goals. Recognizing and processing these feelings is vital for developing self-awareness and resilience. Music, with its great ability to express complex emotions, can be used as a therapeutic outlet for negotiating the difficulties of romance and relationships. Whether through heart-wrenching ballads about grief or uplifting anthems about self-love, it provides a healthy and therapeutic outlet for people to explore and address their feelings. Embracing a broad playlist that captures the intricacies of love might help people negotiate Valentine's Day with a greater sense of sincerity and self-compassion.

Written by Jai Leprince

Photography: Garrett Hoy

CD: Jazzi Almestica

PM: Sophia Querrazzi

Talent: Colin Cardwell, Kristopher Jai Pruitt, Maggie Brockman, Diana Victoria

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