Confession: My Top 10 Songs for a Yearning Heart

photo by Philippe Put

Our contributor Abby Spector, who is majoring in Feminine/Gender/Sexuality Studies at Wesleyan University, confesses her heartbreak soundtrack:

I had been living with my boyfriend for two months. We paid bills and grocery shopped and made animal noises at weird hours in the night. And then he left. He had to go back to school. I decided to be an adventurer and take the semester off, a decision that seemed perfect prior to forming amazing friends. All I wanted to do was cry into my mug and explain to the stranger next to me at this café the beautiful confusion of love. Damn social boundaries. You constrain me. So instead I made a play-list for the yearning heart…complete with links to the songs!

1. “You’re Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go”—Bob Dylan

Dylan, the ultimate cool-man vagabond, finally (!) admits his vulnerability. Even the harmonica seems to be crying joyful tears of lost love. Sadness is a bitch. “I’ll see you in the sky above…In the tall grass…In the ones I love…” I couldn’t find a Dylan version, but here’s a good cover.

2. “True Love Will Find You in The End”—Daniel Johnston

Listening to this song is like getting a hug from a child. The kid tells you everything will be all right and you smile at their innocent optimism. The truth is a bitch.

“Cause true love is searching too
But how can it recognize you
Unless you step out into the light?”

3. ”Sea of Love”—Cat Power

Part love song. Part lullaby. It is impossible to listen to this song without imagining a loved one. Memory can be a bitch.

“Come with me…my love…to the sea…the sea of love…”

4. “You’re Going Back” –Tallest Man on Earth

The ultimate bye-for-now-but-I still-love-you song. The singer is explaining inevitable change. Timing is a bitch.

“Let us float in the tears
Let us cry from the laughter
When it’s not for some sake
And the city’s not near
Well now, you’re going back”

5. “The Trapeze Swinger”—Iron and Wine

I was unable to put this song on without crying. I felt the tears bubbling in my nose. Sadness soup brewing in my sinuses. Reality is a bitch.

“My hand between your knees, you turn from me
And said the trapeze act was wonderful
But never meant to last”

6. “A Case of You”—Joni Mitchell

Welcome to the life of a lonely artist. That lady understood the confusion of love. Vagueness is a bitch.

“Oh but you are in my blood you’re my holy wine
You’re so bitter, bitter and so sweet”

7. “Samson”—Regina Spekter

Genius. Pure genius. Plus a piano. The fact that we share a last name only boasts my adoration of Ms. Specter. Unrequited love is a bitch.

“I loved you first , I loved you first
Beneath the stars came falling on our heads
But they’re just old light
They’re just old light”

8. “Please, Please, Please Let me Get What I Want”—The Smiths

Morrissey’s voice sounds like a heartbroken crypt keeper. It’s eerie and beautiful. Wanting is a bitch.

“Haven’t had a dream in a long time…”

9. “Another Lonely Day”—Ben Harper

This was the anthem to my why-doesn’t-he—love-me days of high school. Somewhere between the lyrics and the mildly upbeat melody, loneliness morphs into contentment. The narrator is so used to sadness he is forced to accept it as the norm. Cycles of love are a bitch.

“Yes indeed I’m alone again
and here comes emptiness crashing in
it’s either love or hate
I can’t find in between”

10. “Hallelujah” –Jeff Buckley edition

Poetry coming alive. Believing is a bitch.

“It’s a cold and it’s a broken Hallelujah”

Abby Spector


  1. Rain
    by: Madonna

    “You promised me when you said goodbye
    That you’d return when the storm was done
    And now I’ll wait for the light, I’ll wait for the sun
    Till I feel your

    Rain, feel it on my finger tips
    Hear it on my window pane
    Your love’s coming down like
    Rain, wash away my sorrow
    Take away my pain
    Your love’s coming down like rain”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *