Adele, Please Stop Calling

ct-hello-video-from-adele-20151023Dear Adele,

Hello. How are you? I’m doing really well, but I’m a little sick of your popular single, Hello. I’m a longtime fan of yours — we’ve chased pavements together and even set fire to the rain (which I never thought was scientifically possible until I heard your song). I love your music. But the overall message of Hello is a little unhealthy, no? If no one is picking up, maybe it’s time to stop calling. Thanks!

Your Fan and Disgruntled Blogger, Valerie

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UnknownIf you can’t tell, I’m not a fan of Adele’s incredibly popular new song, Hello. Don’t get me wrong. Her voice is as beautiful as ever, and the song is certainly catchy. It’s the message I’m concerned with.

For those of you who don’t listen to the radio or aren’t familiar with Adele’s music, Hello tells the story of a person who is still heartbroken years after the relationship ended. She continues to reach out to her ex to apologize for the things she has done to hurt him (she “must have called a thousand times”), but he never picks up the phone.

What alarms me is the number of people who really seem to relate to Adele in this song. Don’t get me wrong – I completely agree that breakups suck, and I know that people deal with them in different ways – but when you want to get over someone, calling them constantly is not the way to do it.

There’s a lot of passive aggression in the lyrics of this song, regarding the fact that her ex is no longer torn up over whatever she did to wrong him in the past. In my experience, time and distance are the best ways to get over someone, and continuously reaching out to that person will only set one or both of you back in the healing process.

o-GHOST-570It comes back to a few age-old questions: Can we create closure while keeping our exes in our lives, or will this only create more heartache? Is it better to talk to them periodically, or completely shut them out?

I’ve been in both situations, as both the heartbreaker and the heartbroken, and closure hasn’t always been possible. I’ve had exes who tried to contact me multiple times after the relationship was over in order to reconcile in some way and apologize for wrongdoings, but at that point I had either moved on or was in the process of moving on, so meeting up with them for coffee wasn’t going to do me any good. While in some situations it’s okay to remain friends with an ex, I also don’t see the point in trying to rekindle old flames when things didn’t work out the first time.

On the flip side, one of my exes completely vanished after our breakup, and as difficult as that was for me in the moment, the lack of communication made the breakup that much easier to get over. It was like ripping off a Band-Aid — the pain was immediate and intense, but then it went away and I moved on. If he had started reaching out to me to say “hello from the other side” a la Adele, it would have been a lot harder to get over the whole ordeal. Instead, the disappearance was a blessing in disguise because it gave me a healthy dose of reality.

Closure comes in many forms, but sometimes a lack of closure has its own way of closing a chapter in your life. Adele’s narrator calls her ex under the pretense of closure, possibly without realizing that her call could open up a whole lot of wounds for him. The song is a one-sided conversation of which I’ve been on the receiving end one too many times, and it’s ultimately never particularly helpful for either party.

Friends, readers, and Adele: Stop calling your exes. If you’ve done something wrong, use the lessons you’ve learned to find ways to better yourself for the next relationship, and let your exes do the same thing. 🙂

Dramatic Relationships: The Musical

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Over the years, I have been astounded by the number of romantic comedies that promote dysfunctional relationships. Not only do filmmakers continue creating these movies, but we as viewers continue watching them, rooting for the couples who argue constantly in the name of passion. In these films, the romantic leads often forgo their happy, drama-free relationships in favor of something messy and often tumultuous.

However, these themes have most recently slipped their way into our music, as artists croon for their imperfect partners because of the excitement that their relationship problems bring. When Hunter Hayes sings, “I don’t want easy. I want crazy,” listeners nod, reasoning that the best relationships require struggle.

While I agree that no relationship is perfect and that every relationship, good or bad, will have its ups and downs, I have to ask: What’s wrong with easy? Does a happy relationship have to be crazy? (Tweet this!)

tumblr-kr2ib7tjuz1qa1f2go1-500In her song The Way I Loved You, Taylor Swift describes her picture perfect new boyfriend: a charming, sensible, endearing young man who is close to her mother, talks business with her father, opens doors for her and tells her she is beautiful. Nevertheless, T. Swift pines for her ex, claiming that “I miss screaming and fighting and kissing in the rain and it’s 2 a.m. and I’m cursing your name.”

In her case, an easy relationship with an “incredible” guy simply doesn’t measure up to the fits of passion/incessant arguing she faced in her previous relationship. She would prefer to act insanely out of “love” than to go through a mature adult relationship with a reliable guy who genuinely cares about her. Sadly, it seems that many young people these days feel the same way.

Throughout the various breakups in your life, it is natural to miss various aspects of those relationships. However, in my own life, I can honestly say that I have never once missed arguing with a significant other. And yet, somehow our music and pop culture glamorize the rocky relationships and discourage us from the “easy” ones. They devalue the healthy relationships that don’t constantly swing up and down, making them seem less complex and less worthwhile.

In the end, however, are you really going to be happy with a lifetime of drama?

Readers, I am not encouraging you to settle, but I do suggest looking at the successful marriages and relationships around you in your real life rather than pining for the type of love that generally only makes for a good song or film.

Your Breakup Kit: 10 Songs to Ease the Pain

I will surviveAlthough Valentine’s Day is in a couple of days, some couples are not basking in the rays of relationship bliss. For those currently in the middle of breakups, mid-February is an especially difficult time to process your feelings, as the entire country glamorizes the idea of proving your worth to society based on whether anyone was willing to hold your hand in public on that day. So to help you all out, I’m bringing in a few song favorites and links – some sad, some upbeat – that could help cheer you up.

And yes, most of these are very mainstream songs. Enjoy!

Sad Songs for Wallowing in Self-Pity

Sometimes it’s your party and you can cry if you want to. This list is for the people who just don’t want to get out of bed, the heartbroken ones who keep replaying “what if?” scenarios in their minds, the people who need to let themselves feel the heartbreak a little bit longer.

1. Almost Lover – A Fine Frenzy (song).
The lyrics “You sang me Spanish lullabies, the sweetest sadness in your eyes,” always stick in my head when I hear this song! The artist sings goodbye to a significant other that almost was.

2. California King Bed – Rihanna (song).
I’m not the biggest Rihanna fan, but I wish this song had gotten more airtime when it first came out. This super sad song is all about a relationship at its end, being torn apart by emotional distance.

3. The Reason Why – Rachael Yamagata (song).
This song is not really about a romantic breakup, but more about the artist’s breakup with her band and journey into working a solo act. Beautiful piano accompaniment with lyrics that you can totally apply to your own heartbreak.

4. Set Fire to the Rain – Adele (song).
To be fair, every song by Adele is a breakup song. Set Fire to the Rain in particular always resonated with me as one of the sadder ones – although I’m sure we’ll be hearing more from her soon!

5. Hallelujah – Jeff Buckley (song).
This is my favorite cover of Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah, and I think it has such a profound sadness to it. After all, Shrek and Fiona listened to it when they parted ways in the first Shrek movie, didn’t they? If it’s good enough for Shrek, it’s good enough for any of us.

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Empowering Songs for Your Inner Warrior

Sometimes, we don’t want to host our own pity parties — instead, we want to move past the heartbreak and feel the freedom of a bad relationship shed. These songs reflect the strength we might embody when we overcome a difficult situation.

1. I Will Survive – Gloria Gaynor (song).
How can you not love this song and immediately start dancing when it comes on? I Will Survive is the pre-Single Ladies anthem for single ladies everywhere.

2. Picture to Burn – Taylor Swift (song).
Make as many jokes about Taylor Swift’s relationship status as you’d like, but this song – with its original country charm that many of her newer songs lack – easily gives We Are Never Getting Back Together a run for its money. Spiteful, yes, but totally fun to listen to!

3. I Look So Good – Jessie James (song).
In this song, the artist sings about all of the good things the breakup has done for her – including a boost of confidence! Definitely gives the breakup a more positive spin.

4. Miss Me – Andy Grammer (song).
I’ll admit that this one is a little sadder than the others, but the song does lean toward the sentiment that your significant other will miss you when you’re gone. For the still-sad-but-leaning-toward-empowered ones, this song provides hope of a happier tomorrow.

5. Happily Never After – Pussycat Dolls (song).
This song is all about leaving an unhealthy relationship for good and knowing what you deserve – a very uplifting way to start anew.

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What are your favorite breakup songs? What songs have helped you get through some of your toughest moments?

It All Makes Sense Now: Living So The Words Have Meaning

Taylor SwiftWhen my best friend and I were in high school and our earlier years of college, we constantly compared the boys in our lives to the boys in Taylor Swift songs. From the guys who were perfect in every way who simply didn’t notice us to the guys from whom we had drifted apart, we loved rocking out to T. Swift’s music in the car because we knew that, at any time, we could relate to at least something on her album.

Music often has the power to bring us back to a single moment in time, reminding us of the emotions — both good and bad — that came along with it. But little do we realize that those pivotal moments in our lives are exactly what give the lyrics their meaning. If we hadn’t met that one person, been in a particular place at a particular time, or experienced heartbreak, we wouldn’t truly comprehend those life events about which the songs were written in the first place.

musicAfter one break-up, I was listening to a few old favorites of mine, and one song – an older song written in some sort of extended metaphor that has been covered by probably a hundred artists since its inception – began to play. It was a song I’d always thought was beautiful, but I was never really sure why. This time, I felt an intense sadness as I meditated on a few key lyrics, as I realized, I finally know what he’s singing about. In a strange way, this simple realization made me feel that much more connected to the artist, the song and even to the world.

It goes like this: you can read The Perks of Being a Wallflower and think that you know what it means to be “infinite,” but eventually you will end up in a situation that actually makes you feel infinite, and suddenly you have a greater appreciation and understanding of the book itself.

It is important to take that leap of faith and live so that the words have meaning. (Tweet this!) It might not turn out the way you had hoped – it might sting – but you owe it to yourself to enter relationships honestly and to remain open to unfamiliar opportunities.

The Weekend Five: Artists Not To Mess With

Breaking up is hard to do. We know this, not only because it has probably been true in each of our lives at one point or another, but also because we learned it from a song. It stands to reason, then, that breaking up with (or simply letting down) a tortured artist is even harder than breaking up with your average Joe/Jane. Therefore, if any of you are strongly considering temporarily dating a famous artist/musician, keep in mind that some of them will handle the end of the relationship better than others.

The Friday Five: Artists Not To Mess With

1. Taylor Swift.
A word to the wise: If she has an unrequited crush on you, she will write a song about it. If she has a happy relationship with you, she will write a song about it. If you break up with her during a 27-second phone call, she will certainly tell Ellen Degeneres about it on her show, but there will be a song describing the situation as well. Whether you’re John Mayer, Joe Jonas or a nameless non-celebrity boyfriend she briefly fell for, you will become infamous to all who read the tabloids and listen to the radio sometimes, and little girls everywhere will hate you (at least temporarily). Taylor Swift comes across as sweet as apple pie, but when it’s time to write new songs, the claws will come out.

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2. Carly Simon.
Everyone knows that You’re So Vain is about Warren Beatty. (Even people who don’t know who Warren Beatty is know that the song is about him!) If I were Warren, I’m not sure what I would be more upset about: the fact that people everywhere might have less respect for me because of how vain I am rumored to be, or the fact that the world would now know that I indeed own a “scarf that is apricot.”

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3. Vincent van Gogh.
Unless you want to find an ear in your mailbox, I suggest you don’t even bother with this one. Just admire Starry Night from afar.

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4. Adele.
Rumor has it (ha, Adele pun!) that Adele’s entire sophomore album was inspired by one ex-boyfriend in particular. I have yet to hear a my-life-is-a-perfect-fairy-tale-and-my-boyfriend-is-Prince-Charming love song performed by Adele, but her powerful breakup ballads are pure gold. Having said that, I’m willing to bet that there’s a certain ex-boyfriend of hers out there who furrows his brow in frustration (because seriously, what else can he do?) every time one of her songs wins another award for its ingenuity. If you date Adele, don’t expect a feel-good song about your relationship to make it onto her next album. However, if you simply want to contribute to the greater good of the music industry for the love of art, then end the relationship badly and her talent will only continue to grow.

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5. Bruno Mars.
For one thing, Bruno Mars loves you unconditionally. He thinks you are perfect in every single way and will do anything you ever ask him to do, even at his own expense. And yes, he may have his legal issues, but he won’t judge you for yours, so who are you to judge him for his? If you ever have to end things with Bruno Mars, please be gentle with him. One of his recent songs, It Will Rain, demonstrates that he definitely can’t handle a breakup right now. My sister and I discuss poor Bruno all the time in relation to this song, and we feel that he must be crying out for help here. Ladies, be nice to him… guys like Bruno Mars don’t just pop up in nature… and if he loses you, there will be neither sunlight nor clear skies, so an imminent breakup would not only be difficult for him, but it would also take a drastic toll on the state of our weather.

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What are your thoughts? Which artist do you want to steer clear of?

The Story Of Us: Just Another Transition

While listening to Taylor Swift’s more recent single The Story of Us, I couldn’t help but think about how relationships (whether platonic or romantic) tend to come in stages. In the song, Swift sings about a once-iconic relationship that ended badly. She begins with the idea that the “story of us” is this effortless love story that she and her boyfriend will be telling their grandchildren, but then reveals that she and the former love of her life are no longer on good terms. Soon, that “story of us” becomes the story of how “I was losing my mind when I saw you here,” not about how sparks flew when they first met.

The lyrics and theme of The Story of Us reminded me that our relationships are constantly in a state of transition, and so are the stories we tell about the people in our lives. The guy you met in your bio class and instantly connected with might soon become the guy who took you on the perfect date, then the boyfriend everyone envies you for having, then the boyfriend who cheated on you with that girl down the hall, and finally the ex you run into on a plane and hardly speak to. All relationships begin and end differently, but most of them will have their beginnings and endings, and your perspective will certainly differ depending on the point you are at in that relationship.

It is important to accept that things are always going to change in some way. (Tweet this!) Even if you do find the love of your life, chances are your relationship will hit some bumps or adapt to the way you start to grow up. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Everything in your life can become a learning experience, a story you share with your friends and your children in the years to come, even if the story manifests itself differently at different points in your life. One day, your life might feel like a bad teen soap opera; the next, like a page out of an introspective Sarah Dessen novel; and maybe even one day like a really poignant memoir that gets all the glowing reviews.

“The story of us” could be, as T. Swift puts it, a “tragedy.” It could also turn into a comedy a few months or years down the line, when we finally start to ask ourselves, “What was I thinking?” Maybe the lessons learned in one relationship will help us recognize when we’ve actually found our perfect match in another, and will lead us to that happily ever after. Or maybe what we take away from a failed relationship will lead us to a greater understanding of ourselves.

Bottom line: Change can be good. Without it, we wouldn’t survive. The stories we tell about our life experiences will constantly be in a state of transition, because we ourselves are in that same state of transition, and we have to be prepared for the curveballs life will throw at us. Taylor Swift’s love story with so-and-so might be over, but that doesn’t mean that you have to look at your own ended relationships as tragedies. Look at them as transitions, and embrace the change as the catalyst that will lead to better things.

The Friday Five: Songs NOT To Play At Your Wedding

My dear readers, before you read this, I should first tell you that I am not one of those girls who planned out her entire wedding by age 12. Although I definitely hope to find my knight in shining armor and marry him someday, it’s unlikely you will find me making any real wedding plans until I’m actually engaged. Having said that, I know there are certain obvious things I don’t want at my wedding — bridesmaid dresses that look like pastries (unless I’m really mad at the girls!), a multitude of my fiance’s ex-girlfriends in attendance, or guests dressed up as members of the Village People, just to name a few.

When it comes down to it, there are definitely a few songs I wouldn’t want played at my wedding, either. Everyone has his or her own preferences, but for me, some of these songs scream “bad omen,” and others are just silly.

Here are five songs that everyone should avoid playing at their weddings.Tweet this!

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The Friday Five: Songs NOT To Play At Your Wedding

1. I’m Through With Love – Marilyn Monroe
This song, popularized by the film Some Like It Hot (which garnered Marilyn a Golden Globe Award!), is exactly as its title suggests – somber and anti-love. With lyrics like “Said adieu to love, don’t ever call again,” and “I mean to care for no one,” the tone of the song may be entirely the opposite of what you might expect at a wedding. Unless you aren’t particularly thrilled with your choice in spouse, you should avoid this song at all costs.

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2. It Wasn’t Me – Shaggy
Ah, yes, the delightfully inappropriate song about infidelity that came out when I was in fourth grade. (Sorry, I’m feeling a little nostalgic!) Shaggy sings about getting “caught red-handed, freaky with the girl next door,” and goes into detail about their bathroom-floor affair. It is especially important not to play this song if you are inviting neighbors to your wedding.

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3. Blame It On The Alcohol – Jamie Foxx
Okay, so maybe the two of you did discover some sudden onset feelings for each other over a bottle of Grey Goose, but it’s generally not a great idea to “blame” your relationship on anything, particularly alcohol. Sure, you might not remember the first conversation you ever had with your fiancee, but you will want to keep up some sort of fairy tale love story illusions for the sake of your guests.

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4. Used To Love Her – Guns N Roses
I first heard this one on the radio on my way home from work, and immediately my ears had to give it a double-take. The line that originally caught my attention was “I used to love her, but I had to kill her.” Not the nicest thing to say about the person you’re supposed to spend the rest of your life with, hmm? Not only might it get you arrested if it accurately describes your feelings, but upon a quick listen, the words could be mistaken for “I used to love her, but then I had tequila.” Moral of the story: Don’t play the song at your wedding. Jose Cuervo will thank you later.

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5. Haven’t Met You Yet – Michael Buble
I’m not going to lie — I adore this song. In his gorgeous old-fashioned voice, Michael Buble brings hope to everyone who has kissed a few frogs by expressing that, even though he hasn’t found the girl of his dreams yet, he knows she is out there somewhere and that he will one day find her. The song is incredibly romantic, but if played at a wedding, it would suggest that you aren’t content with your significant other and already looking for someone better. Of course, the divorce rate in this country is at 50%, so it isn’t a terribly unrealistic concept, but you probably don’t want to allude to the impending failure of your marriage within the first few dances at your wedding.

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There are plenty of other great songs that didn’t make the cut this week, but these were the highlights! 🙂 What songs would you find tacky or inappropriate to play at a wedding?

The Friday Five: Creepiest Song Lyrics

Every band has that one song with a few lyrics that are just… off. Maybe the song itself is fun to listen to, but there’s a line or two that sounds a little bit strange upon second listen. This week, let’s take a look at a few of those songs and their fun but slightly creepy nature.

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The Friday Five: Creepy Song Lyrics

1. Please Don’t Go – Mike Posner
I don’t know if you feel the way I do / if you leave I’m gon’ find you.
All I can say is: if I leave, please don’t try to come find me unless I leave a note specifying that you should come find me. Otherwise, I’m going to assume I have a stalker.

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2. Digital Getdown – N*Sync
I’m not sure I understand what this song is about, or if I even want to understand. But hearing the words “freaky deaky” in the second or third line of a song is definitely enough for me to add this to the list. By no standard is this the dirtiest song ever written, but the late 90’s/early 2000’s “come hither” appeal is both entertaining and, yes, creepy.

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3. Don’t Stand So Close To Me – The Police
The story of young girl lusts after teacher lusts after young girl. Don’t get me wrong — it’s a catchy song and I’ve caught myself singing along more than once — but it just reminds me of the Ezra Fitz Syndrome I’ve written about before, especially with the Lolita references.

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4. Rocketeer – Far East Movement
“I ain’t ever been to space before, but I ain’t ever seen a face like yours.”
I know this is supposed to be sweet, but it sounds like an insult. As in, “your face doesn’t look entirely human.” Maybe not the most mature interpretation, but I just can’t listen to that part of the song without bursting into laughter.

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5. Every Breath You Take – The Police
Another Police song! Seems they were the experts at creating wonderful but slightly creepy music. I love the song, and I love the P. Diddy version in memory of Notorious B.I.G. that was an entirely different premise, but I’d urge you to file a “stalker alert” any time you run into the members of The Police in person, just to be on the safe side.

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What are some lyrics that make you laugh?