Music sounds better (without you)

If there’s one thing I’m thankful for for all the heartbreaks I had to endure this year, it’s this: I’m thankful for the music.

I wouldn’t have fully appreciated most of the songs in Up Dharma Down’s Capacities and in Tegan and Sara’s Heartthrob among others. I was elated because of the emotional connection I wouldn’t otherwise have.


I got invited by a friend to the Capacities launch late last year but I remember turning it down. The ride to MOA from Ortigas was sure going to be tough, the crowd would surely be rough and the most convincing reason of all – I was too ecstatic. I knew I won’t be able to relate.

That was in November. By January of this year, I was squirming my way to Saguijo’s Terno Inferno just to hear Parks, Night Drops, and Thinker live because I badly needed to. Blame it on the circumstance.


Blame it on the circumstance.

If not for the heartbreaks, most songs in Tegan and Sara’s Heartthrob and Sara Bareilles’ Blessed Unrest wouldn’t have appealed to me. They were too sad, too heartbreaking for my own good. (The National would be an exception – even their saddest songs, no matter the circumstance, always appealed to me.)

Heartthrob Cover Print

If not for the heartbreaks, I wouldn’t have flown to Singapore just to watch T&S live. Maybe that’s a lie. It has been a long time since my best friend introduced me to their music and we’ve been waiting for them to go to Manila – or atleast Southeast Asia – so we could finally hear them live. When that opportunity came in February, my then pregnant friend bought the tickets the first day they went on sale. We flew in from Manila to Singapore in May to watch the concert with my friend already five months in her pregnancy.


It’s killing me to walk away.

And it was certainly worth it.

For months, the entire Heartthrob album seemed to be eternally on repeat. It was so hard to pick a favorite because each song seemed to weigh heavily for someone with a sore heart. The same goes for Sara Bareilles’ Hercules, Brave, Chasing the Sun and Little Black Dress. If I was my usual cheery self, my favorites would have been I Choose You and Cassiopeia with lines that go “There was her and her very first heartbeat…” and a rundown of emotions that are “just like heaven.” Instead, I was overcome by lines from Hercules saying “this is not the end though/’Cause I have sent for a warrior
/From on my knees, make me a Hercules.” It was like a prayer, a mantra, or maybe just a psychological conditioning.

Of course it was also this year that She and Him Volume 3 (Never Wanted Your Love! I Could’ve Been Your Girl!) got released and finally, Eisley’s Currents – certainly about time.

I wish Lily Allen could’ve released something to ease my heartbreak as well but truth is, with all these artists on your breakup playlist, your plate would be full.


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