Little Victories: Songs For When Life Isn’t Going Your Way

“And I’ll be awful sometimes. Weakened to my knees. But I’ll learn to get by on the little victories.”Matt Nathanson, “Little Victories”

The past year or so has been difficult for many of us. The last 14 months or so have tested my own patience, determination, and resilience in many ways. I will always remember these challenging months and how they’ve shaped me, and the changes I’ve made and experiences I’ve had – both good and bad – will impact the rest of my life.

The same is true for many people closest to me. We’ve leaned on each other more than ever to get through the dark times. As many of them love music about as much as I do, we’ve traded songs to help each other through the heartbreaks, losses, and whatever else we were facing. Music has the power to unite, heal, and communicate like nothing else. Even when you can’t always put into words how you feel or know what to say to someone else, there is always a song that can.


I’ve never understood how people can live without liking music. For my entire life, music has been the first thing I’ve turned to during the hardest times, and it’s the only thing that has never failed me. While everything else eventually fades away, it is the one constant. I remember the music I’ve listened to during the best and worst moments of my life. Certain songs can trigger good or bad memories. I’ve said many times that I have a playlist for everything, and that includes my Depression Collection – a playlist of 400+ sad songs. I’ve even shared some favourites for a good cry. I’ve never been one of those people who can listen to happy songs when I’m really down, though, because they only make me more sad.

Sometimes, though, you need something in between happy and sad or just some hope. Sort of an “Everybody Hurts,” if you will, which is often considered a sad song (as seen in This Will End in Tears: Miserabilist Guide to Music – a list with some great songs but also many that I would not consider the saddest songs ever), but I’ve never interpreted it that way. I see “Everybody Hurts” as telling someone that yes, things are hard right now, but they’re not alone because we’ve all been there. Bearing this in mind, during a particularly difficult time about a year ago, I created another playlist of slightly more uplifting songs to remind myself that everything will be fine, that I’m not alone, that I am strong, and that I will overcome whatever I’m facing. Life is about the little victories, which also happens to be the title of a song I’ve always listened to when I needed that reminder. Life is hard and complicated, but the little victories are what get us through the day sometimes.

I’ve shared several songs from this playlist with friends as they went through heartache in the last year. There are so many others that could go on it, but some of these are ones I’ve turned to most – in no particular order and without my usual rules – when I’ve needed a pick-me-up. Yes, some are cheesy (I refrained from including “Don’t Worry, Be Happy,” partly because it’s an obvious choice), and most are pretty mellow, but sometimes that’s what you need in this situation. I am linking YouTube videos to each song, and I recommend not only listening to ones by artists you already know because there are some great ones here. I hope you will be able to find some peace and refuge in them, just as I have, and are able to sit with your feelings more easily, knowing you are never alone.


“Hammers and Strings (A Lullaby),” a favourite by Jack’s Mannequin, which actually is not on this list.

  1. “Little Victories” by Matt Nathanson
  2. “Everything Will Change” by Gavin DeGraw
  3. “Keep Your Head Up” by Ben Howard
  4. “Just Keep Breathing” by We The Kings
  5. “This World Will Turn Your Way” by Tyler Hilton
  6. “On Your Feet Again” by Tonic
  7. “We All Need Saving” by Jon McLaughlin
  8. “3 Things” by Jason Mraz
  9. “Comeback Kid (That’s My Dog)” by Brett Dennen
  10. “Iridescent” by Linkin Park
  11. “Swim” by Jack’s Mannequin (I absolutely love the meaningful connections in this video!)
  12. “Forget and Not Slow Down” by Relient K
  13. “Better In Time” by Leona Lewis
  14. “I Will Get There” by Boyz II Men
  15. “I Still Believe” by BBMak
  16. “Just Give It Time” by Jon McLaughlin
  17. “Quasimodo” by Lifehouse (For some reason, I’ve listened to this song for years whenever I’ve made it through something that made me nervous or bothered me, and I can physically feel the weight come off my shoulders.)
  18. “For the Lonely” by Sweetbox
  19. “Crash & Burn” by Savage Garden (This is one of all-time my favourite videos, but that’s a whole different blog!)
  20. “Let It Be” by The Beatles
  21. “Alibi” by Thirty Seconds to Mars
  22. “The Remedy (I Won’t Worry)” by Jason Mraz (Random fact: This song also cures hiccups!)
  23. “You Gotta Be” by Des’ree
  24. “Keep Rising” by Jack’s Mannequin
  25. “Keep Holding On” by Glee Cast (Originally Avril Lavigne)
  26. “Wish ‘Em All Away” by Embrace
  27. “Something Wild” by Lindsey Stirling featuring Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness
  28. “Brand New Day” by Joshua Radin
  29. “Take On The World” by Sabrina Carpenter and Rowan Blanchard
  30. “Details in the Fabric” by Jason Mraz featuring James Morrison
  31. “Stay the Same” by Joey McIntyre
  32. “Autumn” by Maria Forgotten
  33. “Something to Believe In” by Parachute
  34. “I Ain’t Movin'” by Des’ree
  35. “Looking Forward to Looking Back” by Mandy Moore
  36. “Pressing On” by Relient K
  37. “Can’t Take That Away” by Mariah Carey
  38. “This Time Tomorrow” by Trent Dabbs
  39. “The Middle” by Jimmy Eat World
  40. “Titanium” by David Guetta featuring Sia
  41. “Life Is Beautiful” by Vega4
  42. “A Little Longer” by Armon Jay
  43. “Keeping Your Head Up” by Birdy
  44. “Try It On My Own” by Whitney Houston
  45. “Fix You” by Coldplay
  46. “Over and Over” by Puff Johnson
  47. “Hold On” by Wilson Phillips (If you haven’t had a sing-along in the car to this with a friend, like in the movies, are you really even friends?)
  48. “Airfield” by Enter Shikari
  49. “Wild Horses” by Birdy
  50. “Shake It Off” by Florence + The Machine
  51. “Not Alone” by Trenton
  52. “Exhale (Shoop Shoop)” by Whitney Houston
  53. “Alive” by Sia
  54. “Wait Til You See My Smile” by Alicia Keys
  55. “In Time” by Robbie Robb (This song was also in the best Mr. Robot scene ever, which was very powerful.)
  56. “Move Along” by The All-American Rejects
  57. “You Will Be Found” by Dear Evan Hansen Original Broadway Cast
  58. “Watch The Sky” by Something Corporate
  59. “Don’t Give In” by Snow Patrol
  60. “Let It Flow” by Toni Braxton

What songs pick you up when you’re down? Share in the comments below.




I’ve Got a Theory: A Bullshirt Theory About “The Good Place”

“I’ve got a theory that it’s a demon. A dancing demon! No, something isn’t right there…” Buffy the Vampire Slayer Original Cast, “I’ve Got a Theory”

SPOILER WARNING!!!! Major spoilers ahead! Do NOT read if you haven’t seen the first two seasons of The Good Place. There is also one very minor spoiler at the end for season 3 with a spoiler warning before it, based on an interview with Michael Schur. Read at your own risk. This is a theory for entertainment purposes only. I take no responsibility if any of it is correct (highly unlikely) or spoils anything. Much like Jon Snow (and Jason), I know nothing…

For years I’ve been coming up with all kinds of crazy theories about various TV series. The theories range from the plausible, such as a certain character eventually killing him/herself on Veronica Mars, to ones that could have been true but were never proven because the show was cancelled {insert shameless plug for Damien here} to completely outrageous theories that are just for fun, like 80% of my Mr. Robot theories. (Is anything really too crazy for Mr. Robot, though?) I’ve actually been right a few times, even with some crazier ones. This theory about Michael Schur‘s forking brilliant show, The Good Place, probably falls somewhere between “I could see that” and “This crazy bench is going to the Bad Place just for this theory.” It’s not perfect, but it’s not completely without merit, especially on a show with many twists.

So what is it? It all boils down to one thing: Chidi (William Jackson Harper) is not who he says he is. There’s much more than that, though. I’ve come to believe that Chidi is/was a demon or even (far less likely) some sort of god…


This is undoubtedly your reaction to this.

Now, I’m sure you’re thinking I’ve completely lost it, but stay with me. Let’s start with something basic that isn’t a point for or against this theory but would make it interesting. Chidi was a Moral Philosophy professor. How crazy would it be if the anxious one who was supposed to be the most ethical one was actually the one deceiving everyone? Moral philosophy professor is a pretty good front if you want people to follow and trust you.

That bit doesn’t hold much water beyond me thinking it’d be funny, so let’s move on to something slightly more sound. Characters are rarely given random names. Buffy, for example, got her name because Joss Whedon liked the juxtaposition of a silly, insignificant name with someone as fierce and strong as the vampire slayer. The Good Place has shown that at least one name also has some meaning behind it. Tahani (Jameela Jamil) mentioned in “Tahani Al-Jamil” that her full name means “Congratulations, Beautiful,” which checks out and isn’t just something the show made up because it fits Tahani.

Sexy skyscraper Tahani obviously lives up to her name, but what about the others? Eleanor (Kristen Bell) means “shining light” or “bright one.” Michael (Ted Danson), the architect who created the neighbourhood, means “who is like God?”. Janet (D’Arcy Carden) means something along the lines of “God’s gracious gift.” Jason (Manny Jacinto) means “to heal,” and while he might not be very bright, he has shown some unexpected emotional intelligence, helping Michael and Tahani feel better when they were upset. His silent monk name Jianyu can mean “prison,” which is kind of what not being able to talk was for him. Finally, Chidi means “God exists.” God exists… in the form of Chidi? Hmm…

Obviously several names (Michael, Janet, Chidi) have religious meanings, which makes the case stronger, but they all fit the characters well. Even some minor characters, like Tahani’s sister Kamilah, have names that represent them. In “Rhonda, Diana, Jake, and Trent,” the humans adopted aliases when they went to The Bad Place Headquarters. Their alias names also sort of fit them. (My favourite is Jake Jortles, which Jason picked to rhyme with Blake Bortles, but Jake as a word/name means “a sexually immature male wild turkey under two years old” or “supplanter.” If that doesn’t describe Jason, what does?!) The other humans picked their aliases, but Chidi said he couldn’t lie and got his in The Bad Place when a demon called Chet (Dax Shepard) mistook him for a demon called Trent, which means “trespasser.” Technically all of them were trespassers, but it’s interesting that Chidi was the one who got the alias name assigned to him that means “trespasser.” Perhaps being in the Bad Place Headquarters isn’t the only place/way he’s a trespasser. I may be ascribing too much meaning to everything, but the names were clearly chosen for a reason.


The sexy giraffe herself: Congratulations, Beautiful!

“Rhonda, Diana, Jake, and Trent” had several bits that supported this theory. Chidi and the others all trespassed while trying to get to the real Good Place, but it’s interesting that Chidi was the one who was mistaken for a demon. Chet saw him and said, “Trent! Is that you?” Chidi nervously laughed, “Who else could it be?” Chet told Jason Jake that Trent was his “top dog,” and they’d worked together for 100 years in Partial Decapitations. 100 years! Maybe the Bad Place doesn’t calculate years the same way we do, but that is still a long time to work with someone, even if it was 800 years ago. You’re not likely to forget someone you worked with for 100 years who made enough of an impression on you to be your top dog.

Chet said another demon was having trouble torturing a guy and needed some ideas from Chidi Trent. Chidi was hesitant but – book lover that he is – said to torture the guy by giving him books because he once tortured a chick who hated reading (Eleanor) by giving her “mad books to read around the clock.” Such a Chidi way to torture people, right? At first the guy didn’t think it was a good idea, but Chidi convinced him. Torturing people by making them read? Who else would even think to do that? “Naughty bitch” Shawn (Marc Evan Jackson), Michael’s superior. In the very next episode, Shawn tried to do exactly that – torture Michael by locking him in a room with a stack of The New Yorker magazines that would keep coming. Clearly books are an approved method of torture in the Bad Place!


Even Chidi doesn’t really want books to be his soulmate.

Trent was hardly the only time Chidi’s identity was questioned. In “Category 55 Doomsday Crisis,” a Bad Place torturer called Bart (John Hartmann) claimed to be an identity theft expert. He suspected that Chidi was hiding something. Chidi said it was just about his soulmate, but it’s very interesting that an identity theft expert suspected Chidi of all people of hiding something. Did I mention he was playing an identity theft expert?!

In “The Burrito,” Team Cockroach, as they called themselves, were given tests by the judge (who was not a burrito) to determine if they got to go to the Good Place. They decided to be judged together, so either everyone got into the Good Place or no one did if anyone failed. The judge told Eleanor and Chidi that they got in, and Eleanor and Chidi then had to decide if they really would go without the others or stay in the Bad Place since Tahani and Jason failed their tests. Eleanor paced through magic doors, and they debated what to do. Chidi tried to convince her to leave the others behind because they deserved their places in the Good Place and to be happy. Eleanor figured out the twist – this decision was her test and that wasn’t the real Chidi! The real(?) Chidi’s test was in another room, deciding between two hats because it was so difficult for him to make a choice. Demons can look like humans, but it’s telling that Chidi was the one who was essentially cloned.

Speaking of cloning, in “Rhonda, Diana, Jake, and Trent,” Team Cockroach attended a ceremony in the Bad Place that turned out to be an exhibit about them. It was complete with robot-like mock-ups that looked, sounded, and talked just like them, describing their characteristics. Chidi’s mock-up was obviously mocking Chidi’s indecisiveness, saying, “I’m Chidi Anagonye. Or maybe I’m not.” Maybe the real Chidi Anagonye isn’t even Chidi Anagonye! Maybe he’s Trent!



Chidi was sent to the Bad Place because he caused pain to everyone around him by being so indecisive. That hardly puts him in the same category as a selfish ashhole who’s mean to everyone, an idiot who tries to rob places and sells fake drugs, or a vain woman who does good things only for praise, fame, and spite. Those are all things they somewhat knew were wrong, but Chidi genuinely thought he was a good person. Lacking self-awareness, it never even occurred to him he wouldn’t be in the Good Place. When he found out he was in the Bad Place, he always assumed it was because he drank almond milk, knowing it was bad for the environment. He never even thought it could be anything else, and if anything, his inability to make decisions tortured Chidi more than anyone.

They went through hundreds of attempts and were rebooted hundreds of times, and every time, one of them figured out that they were actually in the Bad Place. Chidi was the only one who never figured it out. Maybe he was too busy getting stomach aches from all the anxiety or was too focused on helping Eleanor to figure it out. He’s hardly stupid, after all. He figured out that all the bad things that happened early on – flying shrimp, giraffes everywhere, Eleanor having different PJs than everyone else – were because Eleanor didn’t belong there. How could the smartest one be the only one who never figured out they were in the Bad Place? Even Jason figured it out once! With the exception of maybe Eleanor, who knew she wasn’t a good person before, they all lacked self-awareness but all still figured it out, except Chidi. What if, for one reason or another, he was never meant to figure out they were in the Bad Place?


There could be a good reason he never figured it out. This theory, as I said, is not without its weaknesses, just like any other theory. Sure, Chidi could have been there as a demon to help torture the humans or keep an eye on Michael or even torture Michael by making sure his neighbourhood failed (or by making Micheal read his manuscript). It could be an evil twin thing, but that’s so done. I don’t believe those, but there are a lot of ways the show could work around Chidi being a (former?) demon.

You may say, “But we’ve seen his time on Earth as a human, even as a kid! We saw his death!” Yes, we did. There’s also a chance he was a demon but was not in on it. How would that work? Perhaps Chidi really was Trent and was a demon. We’ve seen that even demons can be tortured. Perhaps Chidi did something wrong and was sent to Earth as a human as punishment and is continuing to be tortured. From Partial Decapitations to professor? We know that their minds can easily be wiped, so Chidi may not even remember his past as a demon. This would also make it easier for the audience and Team Cockroach to accept Chidi not being who they thought he was. It’s less of a betrayal but still an interesting twist, even though Michael was already forgiven after deceiving everyone. Michael wouldn’t necessarily even have to know about Chidi’s demonic past. I would love to see a different side of Chidi if there were flashbacks to his past as a demon. I would also love to see Chidi’s reaction to finding out about his true identity as Trent, especially if there’s a struggle between who he was and who he is now.


What an epic freakout Chidi would have if he found out he was a demon!

It will certainly be interesting to see what happens in season 3 when the humans are back on Earth. Eleanor has already found Chidi (who still didn’t speak French or have a Nigerian or Senegalese accent when Eleanor found him in Australia, though – spoilers! – this will apparently be explained in season 3) on Earth, but this is a series of many twists and turns. Anything could happen. My theory is probably far off and if it’s at all correct, probably wouldn’t happen until closer to the end of the series, but it will be exciting to see what other “Holy motherforking shirtballs!” revelations the characters and viewers have in season 3.

Season 3 of The Good Place premieres on NBC on September 27th and Netflix UK and other international markets on September 28th. Watch the first two seasons on Netflix UK now and on Netflix US starting August 28th.


Washing of the Water: Songs To Make You Cry

“River, oh river, river running deep. Bring me something that will let me get to sleep. In the washing of the water, will you take it all away? Bring me something to take this pain away…” -Peter Gabriel, “Washing of the Water”

There are three kinds of people in the world: 1) People who cry about their own lives, 2) people who cry at music and other entertainment, and 3) people who refuse to cry. I generally fall into the second category. I tend to cry more over songs and TV series than I do about my own life and have already written about TV scenes that make me cry. Music, especially, can make me cry when I need it most. Sometimes when I want to cry about things in my life, I can’t do it until a song triggers it. We’ve all been there, right? Some people like to listen to happy music when they’re sad, but I’ve always been the opposite. Happy music when I’m sad just makes me more aware of what I’m missing out on; sad songs make me feel better because I feel less alone, and they can give me that release I need.

Of course, there are some happy songs that can make you cry, too. But 99% of the time, it’s the sad one that make us cry. As someone with a playlist for everything, I have certain go-to songs whenever I need a good cry and the playlist to match, appropriately titled Cry Your Eyes Out. While I could just tell you to read This Will End in Tears: The Miserablist Guide to Music, an actual book about tearjerkers, what fun would that be? Do you really expect me to let you find your own suffering, stuck in a world with cliché Adele songs? Don’t be silly…


The classic ‘chicken or egg’ question… I’d be remiss to not have a High Fidelity gif in here.

This is far from an exhaustive list, even though I narrowed it down to 20, and I left some off specifically because I intend to use them in future lists. However, it is essentially the ones that pretty much always make me cry, without fail. Some are ones everyone knows; others you’ve likely never heard unless you’ve had a Who Can Make The Other Person Cry First Using Only A Song? contest with me. (It’s a thing.) Some are easy to understand; others I can’t really describe why they have the effect they do. Because of the mood of the playlist, these are mostly all pretty sad. This is your warning. I’m not guaranteeing any or all of these songs will make you cry, just that they work for me.

The usual rule applies: One per artist, even if they’ve had more than one band. This is mainly so I won’t just have 20 Luke Sital-Singh songs to leave you crying forever. I may live to make you cry, but I’m not that cruel. That’s more than I can say for Luke ‘Magical Misery Tour’ (his words, not mine) Sital-Singh, who makes a living making me cry.

They are also, of course, (mostly) in no particular order because you can’t exactly rate the number of tears a song causes you cry. Get your tissues ready…

Honourable mentions: “Overcome By Happiness” by Pernice Brothers; “Hangman” by Paloalto; “Here Comes the Flood” by Peter Gabriel; “Almost Lover” by A Fine Frenzy; “Hallelujah” by Imogen Heap (only this version); “Somehow” by Evan and Jaron; “Not As We” by Alanis Morissette; “Quicksand” by David Bowie… Okay, there are so many, and this is getting long already, so I’ll just add ‘almost every Luke Sital-Singh song.’


Luke Sital Singh: *breathes* Me: *cries* It’s so beautiful.

20. “Bullet Proof… I Wish I Was” by Radiohead

What list of depressing songs would be complete without the crushing music of Thom Yorke? As any Radiohead fan knows, there are many songs that could have made this list, but this is one of my favourite Radiohead songs. Everyone knows it, so I don’t think I need to say any more.

19. “Dying” by Five For Fighting

Say what you will about Five For Fighting, but this song helped me through heartache in my early university years and continues to help. “I’m dying, dying to wake up without you, without you in my head again. I’m dying, dying to forget about you, that you ever lived.” Been there, experienced that. What’s worse than being so heartbroken over someone that you wish you could just forget them completely? Still clinging to that tiny bit of hope ‘as long as there’s a breath.’

18. “Lalena” by Donovan

There’s so much despair in his voice. It makes the song and breaks me. I’d absolutely name a future daughter Lalena if I didn’t feel like I’d be dooming her to a tragic life.

17. “Mr. Golden Deal” by Tonic

I’ve said for many years that Emerson Hart writes my soul. I don’t know how he does it, but he creeps in there and writes what I can never say or think but feel completely. I’ve always felt like he gets me, probably more than any other artist. This song is for when you feel like someone else has who/what you want or like you are always “holding your tongue when they call another winner” because it’s never you.

16. “Walking By” by Something Corporate

Andrew McMahon is a poet, and there are so many songs that could also be in this spot, but the desperation of this one gets me every time. “And what did I do that you can’t seem to want me? And why do we lie here and whisper goodbyes? Where can I go that your pictures won’t haunt me? What makes it so easy for you to be walking by?” All those questions are so relatable. Kind of like “Dying,” you just want to forget someone and do all you can to avoid them, but you know it’s impossible because you see them everywhere, in everything.


“Walking By”

15. “See-Saw” by Youth Group

“Maybe one day she will just say that she’s happy enough…” How sad does someone have to be to just want happy enough? So sad.

14. “She Has No Time” by Keane

“Think about the lonely people and think about the day she found you. Or lie to yourself and see it all dissolve around you.” The falsetto just kills me. This is easily my favourite Keane song, but it’s so sad and beautiful that I can’t cope.

13. “Breathtaking” by Jessica Riddle

This song is so simple with just a piano and vocals, but it’s, well… breathtaking. How many songs are there about someone feeling bad for someone else who lost a loved one?

12.”Come Home” by Elevaters

I have a special history with this song. I first heard it in 2007 when my sister and I met these lovely guys after one of their shows in LA, and they invited us to an intimate jam session a few days later where they played this. It was so raw and real. I remember fighting back the tears as they played it for us because it was so beautiful, and I related to it a bit too much. (Still do.) It’s both sad and encouraging. I never forgot the song or that moment and always wished they’d release it… Flash forward to 2011. They put this up on SoundCloud, and I was ecstatic. It was everything I remembered it to be, and it made me cry all over again. Most of their music is more upbeat, positive, and empowering soul/hip-hop, so this song is a bit unique for them. Though they released a different version with more instruments on their Come Alive album in 2014, I prefer this one because it’s stripped down, just like it was when they played it at that jam session years ago…

11. “Can’t Do This On My Own” by Gangs of Ballet

My friend and I swap (usually sad) music, and he got me into Gangs of Ballet. I will forever blame/thank him for all the tears resulting from this beautiful, heartbreaking song. I love the buildup and the emotion in it. “My love is undivided… My love can’t go to somebody else.”

Check-in: How are we doing, on a scale of 1 to John Cusack In The Rain? Hanging in there?


John Cusack In The Rain could be a scale itself. Are you ‘Say Anything’ Sad or ‘High Fidelity’ Sad? Very scientific.

10. “In The Morning” by Darcie Miner

I promise we’re getting to songs you know, but right now we’re mostly in the Songs You Should Know bit. Remember all those teen artists singing songs about their crushes or whatever? Who didn’t write like that as a teenager? Darcie Miner. I think she was about 14 when she wrote one of my favourite songs ever (“My Angel”), inspired in part by those Philadelphia cream cheese commercials years ago. I’m not sure how old she was when she wrote this one but certainly a teenager. You can tell from her music that she experienced a lot as a child, and thankfully for us, she turned her pain into art. She has many songs that could easily go on this list, but this is one of my favourites.

9. “Every Little Thing” by Dishwalla

It’s truly a shame people don’t know Dishwalla for more than a couple songs from the ’90s. This album is absolutely gorgeous (one of my favourites), and this is one of my all-time favourite songs. It’s simply perfection. It makes me cry because it’s just so emotional, desperate, and obviously incredibly heartbreaking. I always say I’m a sucker for those builds in songs, and that’s true of this one, too. “Will you find out who you are too late to change? I wish I could be every little thing you wanted all the time…” Breaks. My. Heart.

8. “I Can’t Make You Love Me” by Bonnie Raitt

Remember when I said there would be no cliché Adele songs, like “Someone Like You,” on this list? Someone explain to me how that song made the list of 100 saddest songs ever in This Will End In Tears: The Miserablist Guide to Music and this song didn’t. (Then again, “Everybody Hurts” by R.E.M. also made that list, but it’s not actually that sad when you listen to it. Lyrics, people!) But I digress… This song is a classic with so many covers – Bon Iver, George Michael, and Darren Hayes, to name a few favourites – and it is so sad that I actually had it higher up on the list but moved it down to a more appropriate spot because that’s what it deserves.

7. “The Real Thing” by Kenny Loggins

When I listened to my playlist to make this list, this is the one that made me ugly cry the most for many reasons. I don’t think people whose parents are still together or parents who are still together can fully appreciate this song. However, I think divorced parents and children of divorce will absolutely understand its place on this list.

6. “Without Love” by Endochine

I’ve written before about how much I love this whole album that no one else seems to know.  Kind of like Gangs of Ballet and Dishwalla, I love the build and the desperation. “I could love you with a broken heart…” So hauntingly beautiful.


There’s also a distinct possibility that I am a masochist.

5. “Washing of the Water” by Peter Gabriel

Sometimes you can know a song, but it takes the right moment in the right place or time to make you really hear it. That’s how it was with this song. I had it on a playlist for months, but I didn’t really listen closely enough affect me until the moment I needed it. I remember the day it hit me as I was on a bus, and the moment inspired me to buy two journals – a personal one and a music one. I wrote about this song in the music one and wrote about the situation that inspired me in the other one. Within a couple weeks of that moment, possibly even the same day, I decided to make this blog instead. I hate and thank whoever hurt Peter Gabriel enough to make him write this incredibly perfect song. If you listen to it (and I should never have to tell you to listen to a legend like Peter freakin’ Gabriel), I really don’t think I need to explain why it’s on this list and made the title.

4. “Forever and Always” by Parachute

If you read the comments on this video, 99.9% are about how much this song makes them cry – with good reason. It’s a sweet song, but whenever I listen to this album, I always skip it, unless I’m actively trying to make myself cry. It starts with a woman sitting alone, waiting for her partner, who’s late coming home. I won’t spoil it, but you can probably figure it out or just listen to it for yourself and see. Warning: The ending will crush you. I saw Parachute perform this in 2016, and I swear there wasn’t a dry eye in the house.

3. “I’ll Find a Way” by Rachael Yamagata

I mentioned this one in the list of TV scenes that make me cry when it was on Nip/Tuck, and that’s a big part of the reason it makes me cry. I don’t think it’s actually a very straightforward song. I think it’s about that inner turmoil when you want someone but you know you shouldn’t, maybe because you’re with someone else (Reminds me a bit of “Please Help Me, I’m Falling” in that case) or you just know it won’t work but remain conflicted. Either way, I love the lyrics and the way she sings it.

2. “Your Letter” by 112

Aww, he finds a love letter, and all his dreams have come true! How sweet! When the second bridge hits, followed by the one-word change in the chorus… Let’s just say this song has made me cry for nearly 20 years. I don’t imagine it’ll stop anytime soon.

1. “Nearly Morning” by Luke Sital-Singh

If you read the introduction, you knew this was coming, but the song choice itself might be a bit surprising. Considering Luke Sital-Singh’s other work, you may have been expecting something more along the lines of “Benediction,” “Lilywhite,” “Fail For You,” “Killing Me” or any other sad Luke Sital-Singh song. But that’s the thing about this one – it’s not like the others in the kind of sadness it offers. When I was upset about something a few months ago, I listened to Luke, and this was (unexpectedly) the song that made me cry. Kind of like “Everybody Hurts,” this song is like that friend who is there when you’re at your worst, reassuring you that you’re not alone and to hang on because it’s not the end, and tomorrow is a new day. And all of that just makes you cry even more than you already were. There’s a sad hope in it. I think this was actually the song that inspired the Cry Your Eyes Out playlist (though the playlist is named for Luke’s “Nothing Stays The Same”) in a low moment, and it’s the first song on the list. There’s a live version with Gabrielle Aplin that will take your breath away – a common side effect of Luke Sital-Singh’s gorgeous music. I wouldn’t change one millisecond of it because everything about it is just perfect.

Congratulations! You’ve made it to the end! Still holding up okay? Crying? Laughing at me? Just thinking I’m the world’s biggest sap/nutter? Not to worry, I won’t just leave you in a pit of despair forever. These songs are for when you’re going through heartache or just a bad time, but I may eventually share more positive songs that I listen to when I need a little pick-me-up. In the meantime, I’m always looking for some new tearjerkers. What are some songs that make you cry? Share in the comments below.


Go ahead… Make me cry.


Time After Time: Songs For Every Year of My Life

“Flashback, warm nights. Almost left behind. Suitcases of memories. Time after…” -Cyndi Lauper, “Time After Time”


Even a person with 80+ iTunes playlists can get bored with them after a while. A few months ago, I asked my friend for a playlist challenge, and he told me to make a playlist with a song for every year of my life. I immediately started on it but got busy and didn’t finish it until now – just in time for my birthday. How appropriate!

This was initially just going to be a playlist of songs I loved from every year of my life. As I got into it, though, it started taking on a life of its own. There were too many songs from certain years to choose just one of significance. Naturally, I set parameters. As always, each artist/musician only gets one song. Every song on this list came out as a single (if it was released a single) in the year given, even if the album came out before, so it most likely was how/when I found the song. In other words, if I discovered a song in 2007, but it came out in 2004, it was disqualified. This required some research on my part, but it was fun going down Memory Lane and remembering which years had great music and which ones didn’t. I also had to love the song in the year it came out, save for first three or so years of my life that I obviously don’t remember but do remember liking the songs at a young age. Finally, I have to still like them. I think you’ll find a good mixture of genres, classics, and… shall we say non-classics a.k.a. cheesy, slightly guilty pleasures?

Seeing as this site is called “A Melody, The Memory” after a Mae song, what better place to share both some melodies and some memories?


Who doesn’t love a little nostalgia porn? Isn’t that why we all watch “Stranger Things”?


1984 – “Time After Time” by Cyndi Lauper

This song has been covered so many times (I have 10+ of them), but nothing touches the original. I remember listening to a cover by Tuck & Patti with my dad when I was little, but I still remember listening to this one, too, and still remember the video. It’s one of my absolute favourite songs ever, and I’m so glad it came out in my birth year because it works perfectly for the purposes of this playlist/blog.

1985 – “Everybody Wants to Rule the World” by Tears For Fears

Another oft-covered classic. Need I say more?

1986 – “Back in the High Life Again” by Steve Winwood

As I said in the About section on here, my parents once painted a Steve Winwood album cover (Arc of a Diver) on our wall when I was very young. I grew up in a house with music always playing, and that included anything by Steve Winwood. This is one of the first songs I remember really loving. Another all-time favourite to this day.

1987 – “With or Without You” by U2

U2 were another staple in our family, and I’m not sure why it’s uncool to like them now, but I don’t care. I’m sure a lot of people remember this from Friends, but I remember it from way earlier than that. Easily my favourite U2 song and another all-timer. (Side note: I’d kill to hear Darren Hayes or Jared Leto cover it.)

1988 – “Angel” by Aerosmith

I don’t remember how I got into this song, but it’s definitely one of the first I remember loving to the point that I’m pretty sure I had my own 45 of it with my children’s record player. I certainly wasn’t listening to music most 3-4 year-olds listened to back then. The video still creeps me out, though!

1989 – “Right Here Waiting” by Richard Marx

Ah, Richard Marx… I think I had the whole Repeat Offender album on tape when it came out, but this was the song that made me a fan. (I still don’t understand how some people chose it as their wedding song back in the day. Do they not know how sad it is?!) I followed him throughout the years and still consider myself a fan.

Screen Shot 2017-11-08 at 10.00.07 PM

A card from my sister… in 2012.

1990 – “Hold On” by Wilson Phillips

I used to ride my bike and listen to Wilson Phillips, pretending I was in the group. I will never forget the despair I felt when this tape broke. My sister and I still use this song to cheer each other up and sing it whenever we’re actually together… Harold and Kumar-style. (Is there any other way?)

1991 – “Horses” by Rickie Lee Jones

Another one I listened to with my dad a lot as a kid, along with “Satellites.” I think it was kind of our song.

1992 – “Why” by Annie Lennox

If you don’t like Annie Lennox, I don’t want to know you. This is yet another favourite to this day. I’ll probably write more about it in a future blog, so I’ll save my thoughts on it…

1993 – “Jessie” by Joshua Kadison

This is another one my sister and I love – so much that she named her cat Moses after the cat in the song. I recently read that there was sort of a follow-up song to it, and I refuse to listen to it because I don’t want anything to tarnish my idea of this poor guy who is obviously too good for Jessie but will drop everything for her. (Even if it does have a happy ending.) Everyone can relate to that sad hope.

1994 – “If You Go” by Jon Secada

I’ve actually loved Jon Secada (first celebrity crush I remember) since 1992, but this one was my favourite. I swear I listened to it every day and thought I was going to marry him. He was actually my first concert, too, in 1995.

1995 – “Let It Flow” by Toni Braxton

I think Toni Braxton’s Secrets album was her best. This song still gets me. She and Babyface made such a great duo.

1996 – “I’m Still in Love With You” by New Edition

Back in the late ’90s and early ’00s, I was known for being a pretty massive New Edition fan and was well known in that circle, thanks to websites I made about them. This was the song that made me a fan. I definitely watched this video every day, too.

1997 – “4 Seasons of Loneliness” by Boyz II Men

You can’t really be a New Edition fan without being a Boyz II Men fan so…

1998 – “All That I Am” by Joe

This and “No One Else Comes Close” are easily my favourite Joe songs and also on the Favourite Songs Ever playlist. So sweet.

1999 – “You” by Jesse Powell

I honestly don’t think I know/remember anything else by Jesse Powell, but this is another super sweet song that I absolutely love.


2000 – “Swear It Again” by Westlife

Hi, I’m Lindsey. I’m the American Westlife fan. As big as Westlife were everywhere else, Americans seemed to forget about them after this song, which isn’t even one of my top 10 favourites of theirs. I never forgot about them. I’m never gonna say goodbye ’cause I never wanna see you cry… I followed them to the end and still listen to them all the time. My dream is to see them on a reunion tour, especially now that I’m living in the UK. I’m not over their breakup. They should know this love we share was never made to die… I’ll stop quoting them now before I get too caught up in my sadness to finish this post.

2001 – “What I Really Meant To Say” by Cyndi Thomson

I don’t listen to many female artists or a lot of country. Cyndi Thomson breaks the rules. Another sad favourite I think we’ve all experienced.

2002 – “Revolution” by Jars of Clay

Believe it or not, I used to be religious and listen to music like this. I actually still like some bands like Jars of Clay, Lifehouse, and Relient K, as long as they’re not obviously religious. This one is still a fun pick-me-up.

2003 – “Falls On Me” by Fuel

I can’t quite remember if this is the song that made me a Fuel fan, but I do love it (and them) to this day.

2004 – “Come On” by Ben Jelen

Ben Jelen may(?) have been another one-hit wonder, but I still listen to Give It All Away a lot. It’s just a beautiful album, start to finish. This is the song that made me a fan. I wish he’d make more music and tour!

2005 – “Why Don’t the Buildings Cry?” by Youth Group

I know this album came out earlier in Youth Group’s native Australia, but it came out in 2005 in the US. I remember hearing this when I was working at FYE, and we got it as a promo CD. I loved it so much I bought it for myself. This song is another favourite. (Believe it or not, my favourites playlist doesn’t even have 100 songs, but a lot still show up on this playlist, too.)

2006 – “Dark Blue” by Jack’s Mannequin

“Have you ever been alone in a crowded room?” I heard this song in a store and was struck by that line. I had no idea how much that would change my life, but it did, just like that bit from the picture above in Garden State. I’ve written about how much I love Andrew McMahon before. I don’t think I need to say any more.

2007 – “Extraordinary” by Mandy Moore

I think in my first blog on here, I wrote about how I started a playlist called Every Day Songs in 2007 that was basically songs I listened to every day at that point (I can be a bit obsessive) and wanted them on a playlist for easy access. I very rarely delete from the playlist and currently have 404 songs on it that I listened to every day at some point. It’s funny hearing the songs and remembering what was going on in my life in a certain year or month.

I picked this song for this year because a lot of songs from the playlist in 2007 were not actually from 2007, and this one still perks me up and motivates me. Mandy Moore is one of my favourite celebrities, and I have a massive girl crush on her. Plus, this song came out around the time of a big life change where I finally decided what I wanted to do with my life and was ready to be ‘extraordinary.’

2008 – “Call It Off” by Tegan and Sara

I don’t know if this was released as a single exactly, but the video came out in 2008. I don’t remember exactly how I heard it (I think a friend shared it with me), but this is one of those songs that instantly takes me back to a very specific time of my life, down to the month and maybe even week. I can’t hear it without thinking of that particular time.

2009 – “Fact-Fiction” by Mads Langer

This song is just so sad and so beautiful. (Notice a theme here?) I have a few Mads Langer songs and really should listen to him more. So should you.

2010 – “The Weakends” by Motion City Soundtrack

2010 was a bit of a difficult year to do because it was a huge year for me, but most of the music I was listening to was older. My Dinosaur Life is a great album, though, and this is my favourite on it.


2011 – “Save Me” by Golden State

James Grundler, the lead from Golden State, was in another favourite band, Paloalto, and I followed him to Golden State. I had a lot of favourites from them in 2011, but this one was covered by Tyler Blackburn (of Pretty Little Liars fame), and I really love both versions.

2012 – “Angels” by The XX

Another difficult year for music actually coming out in 2012. I’m fairly certain I heard this song after Andrew McMahon posted about it somewhere, and I fell in love with it. Hauntingly beautiful.

2013 – “Do or Die” by 30 Seconds to Mars

I’ve had a crush on Jared Leto since 1994, which is probably longer than many/most of his fans have been alive. I never really listened to his music much, though, until 2012 when I stumbled upon his great cover of “Where The Streets Have No Name.” I’ve been a big fan since. “Do or Die” is another one of those songs that has been influential in my life at various times.

2014 – “Nothing Stays The Same” by Luke Sital-Singh

Honestly, how much do I have to gush about Luke Sital-Singh to make you listen to him?  You should know by now… I heard this song on Red Band Society, and I have probably listened to it at least once a week since I became a fan. Now, stop listening to me and go listen to Luke.

2015 – “I Want You Anyway” by Jon McLaughlin

Another musician I gush about constantly. No list would be complete without him. Click the link in the last bit about Luke Sital-Singh to read more.

2016 – “Hallelujah” by Panic! At The Disco

I wasn’t really into Panic! until Death of a Bachelor came out, but it’s a really great album, and Brendon Urie puts on a phenomenal live show. I liked the album so much, I made a fan video for a little show I may have written a little or a lot about here. Shameless plug alert: You can watch the video here.

2017 – “Sign of the Times” by Harry Styles

Say what you will about boy bands or boy band singers going solo, but Harry Styles is awesome (so were One Direction), and I’m not ashamed. He’s channelling some David Bowie and Queen here, and I am not going to complain. Let’s be honest, 2017 has not been a great year for many of us. This song makes it a little bit better or at least makes us feel like we’re not so alone in that. We all need that feeling sometimes.


Straight from my baby book… I still love that Madonna song, but it didn’t actually come out in 1987, so it couldn’t count.


Where You Lead: Thoughts on the “Gilmore Girls” Revival

“Where you lead, I will follow anywhere that you tell me to. If you need, you need me to be with you, I will follow where you lead…” -Carole King and Louise Goffin, “Where You Lead”

*This post contains major spoilers about Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life. Read at your own risk.*


Gilmore Girls has had a special place in my heart since the first episode aired 16 years ago. I watched it with my own mother and never missed an episode. The episode about Rory’s 16th birthday ‘Rory’s Birthday Parties’ aired on my own 16th birthday, so I grew up with Rory Gilmore (Alexis Bledel). When I heard about A Year in the Life, I was both excited and apprehensive. I wanted to see what came of the characters but thought Gilmore Girls wrapped up nicely. Even though I always wondered what the last four words that were hyped up for over 10 years were supposed to be, I never felt like it needed a revival. I was also worried a revival would ruin the mark Gilmore Girls left on me, remembering other disappointing revivals. (I’m looking at you, Arrested Development!) Unlike the others, Gilmore Girls was especially personal to me, so I tried to keep my expectations low.

My excitement and apprehension were both warranted. I enjoyed it overall, and it brought me back to my teenage years. Seeing so many old characters – and Mr. Kim! – felt like a fun, quirky family reunion. Ignoring the musical in ‘Summer’ and ridiculous Life & Death Brigade scene in ‘Fall,’ both of which lasted way too long, and other serious issues that I’ll get to, there was a lot to love about Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life.

While it was difficult to watch without the late Edward Herrmann as Richard Gilmore, it was interesting to see how everyone processed his death. Richard’s death led to some brilliant work, most notably by MVP Kelly Bishop, who will surely (finally) be nominated for her role as Emily Gilmore. Watching Emily mourn the loss of her husband made for surprisingly incredibly entertaining television. It was always fun to see dignified, pretentious Emily cut loose in the original series, and Richard’s death gave her permission to do that. Her Candies T-shirt and jeans were only the beginning of the fun, carefree Emily we saw at the end of A Year in the Life. She even let a maid, who spoke a language no one knew, and her whole family move in with her, ending the running gag of Emily firing all her maids. This storyline also continued another Gilmore tradition: casting the same actors in multiple roles with Rose Abdoo playing both the maid and Gypsy. As sad as it was, Richard’s death gave us a new Emily we never knew we always wanted to see, and it was glorious.

Other highlights include Lorelai’s (Lauren Graham) award-worthy, tearjerking monologue about her thirteen birthday; Paris (Liza Weil) and her classic Paris freakout over Tristan; Alex Kingston’s appearance as the nutty Naomi Shropshire; Luke (Scott Patterson) and Lorelai’s beautiful wedding accompanied by the perfect song (though I’m still not sure why Michel and Lane were there); the Secret Bar; Kirk (Sean Gunn) being Kirk; Luke’s fake wifi passwords; questions about a dog called Sherlock being gay (Sherlock and Johnlock fans should understand why that’s funny); the return of Miss Celine (Alex Borstein); and Jess (Milo Ventimiglia) seeming to be closer to Lorelai.

Despite so many great points, I had major issues with one character from beginning to end: Rory. Her storyline ruined a lot of the revival for me. It’s time to take off the rose-coloured glasses and see Rory for who she is. I’ve always been open about my disdain for Rory, but I had hope it’d change in the revival now that she’s grown up. I’ve always seen Rory as the type who wanted what/who she couldn’t have and acted entitled to it/him. She became more and more unbearable as the series went on, and the same was true in A Year in the Life.

The jokes about Rory and everyone else forgetting her long-term boyfriend Paul (Jack Carpenter) were funny at first. Then we found out she was cheating on him with her engaged ex, Logan (Matt Czuchry). She flew to and from London regularly, even leaving her grandfather’s funeral early, to ‘work’ and see Logan. Rory’s never had a problem with cheating, whether it was kissing Jess when she was with Dean (Jared Padalecki) or sleeping with Dean when he was married. The first time could be chalked up to a mistake by a young girl; at 32, it’s a pattern. The affair is terrible in its own right, but to make it worse, her relationship with Paul was played off as a joke the whole time with her constantly reminding herself, ‘I need to break up with that guy.’ It could have been somewhat redeemable if she’d actually done so, but it never happened until the very end when Paul broke up with her in a text, naively citing scheduling conflicts.

When Rory slept with a married Dean in season four, she caused drama for everyone, and Lorelai called her out on it. It seemed as though she eventually learned her lesson, but her affair with Logan showed the opposite. When Lorelai found out she was having an affair with Logan, the main focus for both of them was that Rory had a one-night stand with a different man in a Wookiee costume while on a writing assignment. The horror! Never mind that it’s unrealistic for all these guys (We’ll get to the other one later) to still be hung up on Rory or for her to be hung up on them 10+ years later; it shows that Rory still selfishly wants what she can’t have and has learned nothing from the drama with Dean.

Logan wasn’t the only thing Rory thought she was entitled to by being Rory Gilmore. She was working as a freelance writer with her heart set on working for Condé Nast, but her meetings kept getting rescheduled. Her general attitude was that she loved journalism and deserved to work there, but the work we saw her do and her lack of professionalism (Again, Wookiee) did not back it up. This article outlines the reasons she’s not actually a good journalist, no matter how much the writers try to make her out to be. Maybe it’s time to accept that Mitchum Huntzberger (Gregg Henry) wasn’t really the villain he was made out to be and was right about Rory not having what it takes to be a good journalist. Rory still hasn’t proven herself to be the Christiane Amanpour she aspired to be but couldn’t believe it herself. A Web site called Sandee Says was initially interested in her work, but she turned her nose up at them, believing it was beneath her. When Lorelai convinced her to accept an interview with them, Rory didn’t prepare and blamed them for not just giving her the job she thought was hers. Rory also thought she was too good to get a master’s degree to teach at Chilton. She eventually took a non-paying job as editor at the Stars Hollow Gazette. Are we to assume that Rory’s become a trust fund kid who doesn’t have to work for money and food because she stayed with family and friends?

With her love life and career in turmoil, Rory returned to Stars Hollow but refused to accept/acknowledge that she was ‘back.’ She bragged in ‘Winter’ about bouncing around from place to place, essentially homeless, but acted as though there’s shame in temporarily returning home in your 30s. Star Hollow’s 30-Something Gang are 30-somethings who returned home, like Rory, and wanted her to join their circle. Rory was too good to associate herself with such pathetic losers. She barely even hung out with the seriously underused Lane (Keiko Agena). Instead, Rory pretty much stayed in her own Gilmore Bubble.

The problem with these faults is they don’t come across how they’re written. Rory has always been worshipped by everyone around her – her mom, Luke, Dean, Jess, everyone in Stars Hollow. Even when she’s awful, the writers’ intention was to empathise and feel sorry that Poor Rory she can’t get whatever she wants. Fans are starting to see through it, but the writers don’t seem to understand how difficult it is to root for her, acting as though she deserves everything because she’s Rory Gilmore. In an interview with TIME, creator Amy Sherman-Palladino said before the revival that fans should be asking if Rory had a Pulitzer yet, instead of focusing on her love life. She claimed, ‘Everybody should go back and think about their boyfriend at 16 and then reevaluate whether that should be the focus of the conversation.’ As true as this is, it’s a complete contradiction to A Year in the Life. So much of it revolved around Rory’s love life, and at the end, Jess still pined for her. Rory and Logan weren’t much older when they were together, yet they were still involved years later, even though both were in relationships. So much for not focusing on young relationships.


Actual complaint from someone who can fly to London regularly but apparently can’t buy underwear. (Via ET)

Rather than redeeming Rory for everything in what was likely the end of Gilmore Girls, there was a lingering vibe that we were intended to feel sorry for Rory because she didn’t have a real job or underwear. Her actions and attitude made it too difficult to pity her. Jess was the only one who always called her out in the original series. I spent the revival hoping he would find out everything she was doing and set her straight. Instead, Jess – who was great up until his last scene – became Luke 2.0, continuing to fawn over her like everyone else. (Run, Jess! You’re too good for her now!) He even inspired her to do something with her life and write a book. Even with her book plans, Rory was never redeemed; no apologies to Paul or anyone else were given. It seemed as though the writers didn’t think she needed redemption.

In the disappointing last four words we’d heard about for over 10 years, Rory revealed she was pregnant, presumably with Logan’s baby. Some have called for a spin-off, but it’d be pointless when the story came full circle to an extent: Rory became Lorelai, Logan became Christopher (David Sutcliffe), and Jess became Luke. Rory regressed since the original series and apparently learned nothing from her own mother. The difference between Rory and Lorelai is that Rory’s not 16, could potentially break up an engagement, and wouldn’t be raising her baby on her own or without financial means.

Any revival has its strengths and weaknesses, and even with that one major complaint, Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life was not as disappointing as some revivals. I don’t have much faith for another revival, but everything was wrapped up enough that there’s no need for one. It focused on the most important characters – the three Gilmore girls – and did justice to two of them. It was interesting to see Rory at the age Lorelai was at the start of the show and see what become of everyone in Stars Hollow. For all my disappointment about Rory’s storyline, Gilmore Girls‘ place in my heart remains and probably always will.


The Gilmore life in a nutshell. (Via Livingly)