Zoe Caeton, Staff Writer

Music is often a way to express and deal with trauma and issues, current or past. Songwriters and singers pour their hearts into their songs, and along with that comes their suffering. Listeners, too, deal with these things through music. Listening to music you relate to or that makes you feel certain emotions is a very common coping mechanism. This playlist compiles songs I have deemed to be related to being connected to the topics of trauma, loss, and pain. 


Hayloft II (2022) – Mother Mother 

Hayloft is a fantastic continuation of a story started in 2008. Hayloft II is about a young woman dealing with extreme trauma from her younger years and being consumed by it. The first song, Hayloft, paints the picture of a young couple who are having sex in a hayloft. They are caught by the girl’s father, who happens to have a gun. He shoots the girl’s lover, killing him. The act has completely wrecked the girl’s psyche. In the sequel, 14 years later, the girl has lost herself to “drugs and punks and blood on the street”. The hayloft where the horrors occurred has been burnt to the ground, presumably to help the victim and perpetrator forget. The story is from the point of view of the father, who has noticed that his daughter is spiraling. The lyrics, “My baby’s got a gun / I better run / My baby’s got a gun” is a homage to the lyrics of Hayloft, “My daddy’s got a gun / You better run / My daddy’s got a gun”. The daughter is obviously now coming for her father in vengeance. The lyrics, “She’s not a bad kid / But she had to do it” are the lead up to her final act against her father. It is confirmed that she finally got her revenge in the final two lyrics, “She had to crack / She had to kill Pop”. 

Hayloft II is a reflection of the lasting trend of discussing trauma and loss in music. The girl lost her love and was scarred by it. There are countless songs discussing trauma, whether it be coping (healthily or not), enduring it, or coming to terms with it. 


“Tainted Love” (1964) – Gloria Jones 

While the cover by Soft Cell from 1981 is more popular and well known, Gloria Jones’ original is still a fantastic version in a completely different style. I particularly enjoy Marilyn Manson’s cover from 2001. Tainted love is a song about an unfulfilling and one-sided relationship and an ex-lover. The song describes how this love brings so much pain, and how he has no other choice but to end it. The chorus, “This tainted love you’ve given / I’ve given all a boy could give you” depicts how the singer has put all of his efforts into the relationship and that he has received nothing back. “Take my tears and that’s not nearly all” shows that the ending of the relationship is tearing him apart.  

The lack of knowledge about Gloria’s version led to an interesting interpretation. Marc Almond, part of Soft Cell, was known to be gay. The song began playing in clubs around the start of the AIDS epidemic, so many interpreted it as a song about AIDS, unknowing that it was written 17 years before.  


“Teen Idle” (2012) – MARINA 

Teen Idle is a favorite of mine. She sings about how she wishes she lived her teens years to the fullest, made the mistakes teens do, and wasn’t suicidal and depressed throughout those years. “Teen Idle” touches on many things, from suicide to eating disorders, to expectations for women. She uses juxtaposition many times throughout, such as the lyrics, “I want blood, guts, and chocolate cake”, expressing her want for teenage chaos as well as the good things that come with it, and the cheery and peppy delivery of “Feeling super, super (super!) suicidal”. The song title is a play on the idea of the stereotypical and desirable life of some teens (teen idols), and how she was very “idle” in her teen years.  


“Mr. Brightside” (2003) – The Killers 

Now, if you were involved in the emo scene at any point, this song lives rent-free in your head. Even if it was my middle-school emo anthem, it still holds up. The song is slightly ambiguous in its story, but it is most likely about a man who has caught his partner cheating and feels sick thinking about what she’s done. The song was actually written about the singer’s ex-girlfriend, who cheated on him when he was 19. Some of the lyrics were based on a David Bowie song. It has a very fun beat, even though it touches on jealousy, paranoia, and affairs.  


“Somebody That I Used to Know” (2011) – Gotye, Kimbra 

Yet another emo anthem. I remember listening to this while walking home and thinking I was so edgy (It’s not a phase, Mom!). This song shows two perspectives, both suffering from the loss of the other. The first part of the song, sung by Gotye, makes you feel sympathetic for his situation. It seems like she wasn’t meeting his needs. When Kimbra starts to sing, we realize that Gotye is victimizing himself. He blamed her for everything in their relationship, and was “hung up on somebody [he] used to know”. 

While this song was made in 2011, it has had a sudden resurgence through TikTok. Multiple trends have sparked from it, the most notable probably being the trend of moving your eyes in time to the beat of a certain part, especially with funny captions describing why.