[Editorial] When Certain Albums Become Painful

There are certain albums in our collections that just stand out from the rest; the ones that hold a special place in your heart for saying all the right words while always managing to connect you to whatever you need to feel. For me, one of those albums was Kye Kye’s 2014 sophomore effort, Fantasize. The title, though under my nose for over a year, says it all…I just never realized it until everything came crashing down.

Unfortunately, there comes a time when a special album becomes hard to listen to. Neon Trees described this notion perfectly in their summer single, “Songs I Can’t Listen To.” It could be because of certain people who are no longer in your life anymore, breakups, deaths, bad experiences – you name it. Anything can turn good songs sour. So that begs the question: How do you push through an album that’s excruciatingly painful to listen to? Especially when it’s just so damn good?!

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I had a pretty dark summer. Aside from a few things that kept me smiling, I’m not sure how I made it out alive. Long story short, my heart got the best of me and I wound up in a web of illusions and never-ending tears once it all blew up in my face. I lived in a fantasy world for so long that reality is looking quite shitty, to be perfectly honest. That Kye Kye album kept taunting me on my shelf. Every time I’d go to pick out an album, I’d see it there, almost as if it were hissing at me to put it on. It would catch my eye even when I was nowhere near it. I knew it was only a matter of time before I gave in and allowed myself to feel the things I didn’t want to feel. Just looking at its cover – what used to be a symbol of comfort and hope – was agonizing. But the other night, I gave in. I sat through 44 minutes of something I can no longer cling to, and though it got pretty brutal, I got through it. A million thoughts danced through my head including the ever-popular, “What did I ever do to deserve this?” but all in all, this was well overdue.

I’ll spare you the gory details since I’m not sure how some of you deal with waves of emotion, but let’s just say a river was cried but luckily I did not drown in it. In fact, though it brought back issues I still may need to deal with, the emotions that resurfaced were beneficial to my revival. Track 3, “People,” is one of my favorites. It’s about trying to build connections with others in a fast-paced digital world and how the simple act of just showing you care has become sort of taboo. My favorite line is, “They see my heart / They keep away.” Nothing has ever touched me more than that line. It’s so true, too. I show my heart. I show that I’m not like the rest of them. Yet, they keep away. I have care repellent.

Music is timeless. I know that in a few years, I am going to look back on Fantasize and remember just how scared I was to have everything fall apart. But when it did, I didn’t die. The world didn’t end. I may still be healing but as unfair as it is, life goes on. So how do we push through the albums that are painful to listen to? The same as you would with any other. You sit with it. Learn. Observe. Analyze. Albums don’t have to serve one sole purpose. There are plenty of lessons to be learned if we are willing to be open to change. Sometimes, we might even find things we never heard before in an album we’ve been experiencing one way for years.

It all starts with a little bit of courage. You have to press play first.

Tina Roumeliotis

Tina Roumeliotis

Tina is the founding editor of The Daily Listening. She's also a professional music nerd for BUZZNET. You'll most likely find her where she finds most of her inspiration: introverting in her bedroom with her music collection and a pair of headphones.

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