2016: A Year’s Worth of Memories (Amanda Dissinger)
by Steven Spoerl
Heartbreaking Bravery recently went offline but all facets of the site are back to being fully operational. Apologies for any inconveniences. All posts that were slated to run during that brief hiatus will appear with this note.
Very few people have been as supportive of Heartbreaking Bravery as publicist, poet, writer, and all-around great person Amanda Dissinger. One of her last collections of poems, This Is How I Will Tell You I Love You, has served as a constant travel companion for me since receiving it in the mail. Last year, Dissinger contributed an essay about rediscovering a love for NYC through a series of shows. This year finds her fixating on a handful of songs and offering up a personal (and stylized) look back through some tumultuous times. Enjoy.
2016 was rough for all of us. We all know this and have talked about all the amazing things and people we lost last year and the feelings that we all started having super strongly 24/7: fear, anxiety, sadness, loss. And that’s not even addressing anything super personal yet.
2016 was a weird year for me. I went through a breakup. I dated a lot of incredibly emotionless and unworthy men. I made friends. I lost friends. I had a lot of boring days. I got really into pop country music to the confusion of everyone around me. I started eating a lot more french fries bc wtf. I started drinking. I wrote another book of poetry. I had some breakthroughs at work. And really, though it may be cliche, music helped me through it.
Specifically, making Spotify playlists for myself and for friends with names like “Heartbreak City” and the famous (10 followers y’all!) “Sad Gurl Club”- a playlist full of 40 hours of songs by mostly women musicians about heartbreak, falling in and out of love, and finally being seen and appreciated.
Here are six of those songs that got me thru really shitty times, really fun times (a heavy YOLO phase with my bff), emotional times and the in between. PS if you want a Spotify playlist HMU!
Shura – What’s It Gonna Be
This is the best song about a crush EVER (I’m just initiating you into the fact that I speak in ALL HYPERBOLES). I would listen to this song when I went on first dates and be like “I’m not gonna give you up! Not gonna let you love somebody else but me!” even before I ever met any of the guys, which was probably my first mistake but… it gave me confidence. This song is so dreamy and fun and makes you feel like you’re falling in love in the best way.
Rihanna – Needed Me
I had to include this song because it includes the best line of the year in “Didn’t I tell you I was a savage? Fuck your white horse and a carriage.” I became obsessed with Anti after the rest of the world did- in the fall I listened to it the whole way through and was like, this is truly amazing. So many of these songs are great- tbh they’re all hits- “Desperado!”, “Close to You!”, “Kiss it Better!”, but this song is in my opinion, the best, because it makes me feel powerful when I listen to it. Like, I’m the best that I’m gonna be, and I don’t need anyone but myself. also, didn’t I tell you that I was a savage!!
Carly Rae Jepsen – Fever
I’ve been a big CRJ fan for years now (and people say I look like her, so FYI), and after she released her amazing and game-changing Emotion last year, I didn’t think she could get any better. Dammit CRJ! Provin’ me wrong! All the songs on her B-Sides collection are gems, but “Fever” is the one that I listened to once 20 times in one night thinking about how I would too steal someone’s bike and ride all night if I still loved them and they didn’t love me. Also, if I could ride a bike. But this song makes me feel like I cannn ride a bike, so it’s magic!
Pinegrove – Size of the Moon
I, like everyone else, loved the Pinegrove record Cardinal this year. So many things about it were poetic to me, it was a record about coming of age and it had elements of Ben Kweller, so really what could be better? Those are all of my favorite things! This song is my favorite because the lyrics are so beautiful- and really “do you wanna dance?’ is the best opening line of a song- and also because the song lets you know that it’s okay to be afraid in general, without anything specific in mind. And sometimes it’s good to have that reassurance (I think, I’m not an expert, sorry, wtf).
Little Big Town – Better Man
This song being one of my favorite songs of the year/the song that I drunkenly scream “BEST SONG OF 2016” is the biggest proof that I am an unadulterated country lover. Also, I commonly think it’s hilarious to just sing songs really loudly around the apartment and try to get them stuck in my roommate’s head. Which I did with this one repeatedly (“I just MISSSSS YOU, I just WISSSSSHH you were a better man!!!”) This song is really good though you guys, it was written by Taylor Swift and is like the most Taylor Swift-y song of all time. It has kind of a simple, beautiful message about wishing someone was a little better of a partner for you and it has some killer vocal solos from the couples (are they two couples in this band, brb wikipedia-ing) in this band. Listen to this song once and you TOO will be getting it in your roommate’s head twenty four sev. you’re welcome.
Maren Morris – Once
If you talked to me for like more than 30 seconds this year, I probably said something to you about Maren Morris. I’m obsessed with her first album Hero and I even went to see her at Barclays opening for Keith Urban ALONE and sat next to a guy who glared at me while he was eating a large platter of chicken fingers. Anyway, all the songs on this album are amazing (if you’re looking for something upbeat, try “80s Mercedes” or “My Church”- they are stunnnas), but I’m a sucker for a good ballad, as a card carrying member of the Sad Gurls Club. This song is about remembering your past relationships and the good things about them as they end, and it’s a real tearjerker. I’m crying just talking about it! Perfect breakup song! (PS Maren I lovvveee you).
Well, that’s all I have for you… for now! Find me on twitter or something if you wanna complain about anything I wrote. But- here’s hoping 2017 will be better… er, at least have as much good music I guess.