Loving someone we'll never have is much more than simple heartbreak. Take a look at how these songs explore unrequited love.
Have you ever felt really down, and then you see someone you admire going through the same, and automatically feel better? No? Just me? Well, I know I’m not, but let me explain. It’s not that it makes me happy to see someone else feeling miserable. Actually, it has more to do with empathy and relating to someone you look up to, so somehow, in your mind, you feel like you’re not that different at all. That’s why, in my opinion, sad songs about heartbreak can be so powerful and evocative: because they put words and sounds to our own experiences and emotions. So, if you need songs to help you through that pain of not being loved back by that special person, here are five songs that will definitely make you realize how even those huge music legends have been through the same struggle as you.
"It Takes A Muscle" by M.I.A.
“Someone come lay my worry. Someone come kill my pain.”
A cover of the Dutch New Wave band Spectral Display, this rendition by M.I.A. adds a more modern and satirical tone to the lyrics. The song talks about an unrequited love that has kept someone from experiencing life to the fullest. The catchy chorus tells them that it isn’t that hard to love since it only takes one muscle to do it. Then, in the quote above she’s asking for someone to help her overcome the pain of not being loved back, and that’s very relatable. What it says is: if we fell in love so hard and so fast for this person, why can’t they feel the same?
“Black Cloud” by Morrissey
“I can amuse you, but there is nothing I can do to make you mine.”
This song by Morrissey is all about the hardest stage of loving someone you can never have: the realization. As much as we suffer and cry because of an unrequited love, there's always a part of us that doesn't fully accept that it's never going to happen. This part of us believes that if we try our best, that person will eventually have to see our true self and love us for who we are. However, there comes a moment when we’ve tried everything and failed, so we have no choice but to understand that nothing we do will change their mind, and no matter how much we continue to pine for them from afar, that’s as far as we'll get. As Morrissey sings, “I can choke myself to please you, and I can sink much lower than usual, but there's nothing I can do to make you mine.”
“Shiver” by Coldplay
“So you know how much I need you, but you never even see me, do you?”
Morrissey’s song is about that moment where we come of out of denial, but who can actually say that they've accomplished that? When it comes to intense, unrequited love, this Coldplay song is more relatable, if you ask me. It kind of reminds me of that creepy person who won’t leave you alone, but actually, when we love someone that much, and that someone doesn’t really return our feelings, we can all turn into creeps trying to do anything to make that person notice us. At one point in the song, he says: “Did you want me to change? Well, I'll change for good, and I want you to know that you'll always get your way.” It sounds pathetic, I know, but let’s be honest, when we’re that head over heels, we all get pretty pathetic.
“You Don't Know Me” by Ray Charles
“No, you don't know the one who dreams of you each night.”
For a more classic tune, let's go to one of the most important legends in music history, Mr. Ray Charles. When it comes to diving into the depths of pain and heartbreak, there’s nothing better than some good soul music. This song talks about something that's probably happened to everyone: when the person you love only sees you as a friend. Throughout the song, Ray tells this person how much he loves her and shares all the emotions within him, but he also shows her who he is because he know that she only knows one side of him. However, no matter how much he wants for her to see who he really is, this is all in his head, since he never gathers the courage to actually talk to her in person.
“Waiting in Vain” by Bob Marley
“I don't wanna wait in vain; it's me love that you're running from.”
With his smooth, reggae sounds and emblematic voice, this song by Bob Marley talks about all the emotions we feel when we’re in love with someone who doesn’t feel the same way. On the one hand, he’s convinced that he doesn’t want to wait forever for this person to love him back. On the other, he’s longing and almost begging for a chance since he’s convinced he’s the right one and the only true love in her life. Now that I think about it, it's a bit cocky of him, isn’t it? However, it’s very true, since we always think we’re the best choice for our crush, and no matter if things don’t work out the way we want, deep down we know that they’re really missing out.
Love is a pretty big deal. Most people are lucky if they get to experience it at least once in their life. Sometimes, when we love someone that doesn’t really sees us that way, it’s not real love, it's only an infatuation, but the emotions and feelings we experience couldn’t be more real or painful. That’s why these songs are so relatable. They talk about those things most of us have felt at least once in our lives.
Here are other songs you should add to your life’s soundtrack:
Photo cover by @mattnykamp