An unfiltered fire hose of flaming condemnation

“You’ll fake it if you have to”

In the comments of the post I wrote yesterday about the work I’m doing to find my way around this new reality, community member Daisy mentioned that “A Better Son/Daughter” by Rilo Kiley was the soundtrack to her life during a time of difficulty. I immediately went looking for it and then listened to it over and over again at an inappropriate volume. Daisy, I hope you don’t mind if I borrow this song from you right now. Thank you for mentioning it.

I’m feeling music more deeply than I ever have. A lyric can send me soaring for hours or throw me against a wall. The notes crawl inside my body and I can feel them humming and expanding inside my lungs. Makes me feel so alive.

Here’s that Rilo Kiley Song. There are a few lyrics that may not be suitable for work or young and tender ears, but it’s definitely worth a listen. Do you guys have any particular songs that have given you strength when you felt like the simple act of opening your eyes was unimaginable? Please share. (Also, thank you for your comments. I read them all as well as all of your email. Thank you so much.)

But you’ll fight and you’ll make it through

You’ll fake it if you have to

And you’ll show up for work with a smile

You’ll be better

And you’ll be smarter

And more grown up and a better daughter or son

And a real good friend

And you’ll be awake

You’ll be alert

You’ll be positive though it hurts

And you’ll laugh and embrace all your friends

And you’ll be a real good listener

You’ll be honest

You’ll be brave

You’ll be handsome and you’ll be beautiful

You’ll be happy

Your ship may be comin in

You’re weak but not givin in

To the cries and the wails of the valley below

And your ship may be comin in

You’re weak but not givin in

And you’ll fight it you’ll go out fightin all of em

  • AmyMarie333

    Ray LaMontagne. If you don’t already know him, find him. Stat. His music drops my heart to its knees, in the best way possible.

    Listen to his live performances; don’t even bother with the album versions.

    From his song “Empty”

    Well, I looked my demons in the eyes
    Laid bare my chest, said
    “Do your best to destroy me.
    You see, I’ve been to hell and back so many times
    I must admit you kinda bore me.”

    I also recommend Ray’s “Burn” and “Shelter.” Shelter is a fairly well known love song, but for me it captures how I see my relationship with the father of my children, whether we stay together or not…”When all of this around us falls over, I tell you what we’re gonna do, you will shelter me, my love, and I will shelter you.”



  • SPM

    Great Question! There are so many. I tend to revert what I listened to in college. I have always loved Tracy Chapman. “This Time” and “Bridges” get me through anything. The lyrics knock me out (“all the bridges that you burn, will come back one day to haunt you..”). Also “All that you Have is your Soul” and “The Love that You Had” are wonderful.

    I definitely agree with Firedancer41 about Grey Street, possibly my favorite DMB song…possibly.

  • jordoface

    john mayer’s “in repair” and “the heart of life” really helped me out. pretty much they reached out of the speakers and slapped me across the face when i was going through a hard time. i just played those songs on repeat all day every day.

    i was recently listening to mates of state “unless i’m led” and thought about you.


  • OwlMoonKLH

    Never Let Me Go by Florence + the Machine

    I’ll let you find it on YouTube. Very haunting but realistic for those of us in a permanent melancholy.

    Looking out from underneath,
    Fractured moonlight on the sea
    Reflections still look the same to me,
    As before I went under.

    And it’s peaceful in the deep,
    Cathedral where you cannot breathe,
    No need to pray, no need to speak
    Now I am under.

    And it’s breaking over me,
    A thousand miles onto the sea bed,
    Found the place to rest my head.

    Never let me go, never let me go.
    Never let me go, never let me go.

    And the arms of the ocean are carrying me,
    And all this devotion was rushing out of me,
    And the crashes are heaven, for a sinner like me,
    The arms of the ocean deliver me.

    Though the pressure’s hard to take,
    It’s the only way I can escape,
    It seems a heavy choice to make,
    Now I am under.

    And it’s breaking over me,
    A thousand miles down to the sea bed,
    Found the place to rest my head.

    Never let me go, never let me go.
    Never let me go, never let me go.

    And the arms of the ocean are carrying me,
    And all this devotion was rushing out of me,
    And the crashes are heaven, for a sinner like me,
    The arms of the ocean deliver me.

    And it’s over,
    And I’m going under,
    But I’m not giving up!
    I’m just giving in.

    Oh, slipping underneath.
    Oh, so cold, but so sweet.

    In the arms of the ocean, so sweet and so cold,
    And all this devotion I never knew at all,
    And the crashes are Heaven, for a sinner released,
    And the arms of the ocean,
    Deliver me.

    Never let me go, never let me go.
    Never let me go, never let me go.

    Deliver me.

    Never let me go, never let me go.
    Never let me go, never let me go.

    Deliver me.

    Never let me go, never let me go.
    Never let me go, never let me go.

    Never let me go, never let me go.
    Never let me go, never let me go.

    And it’s over,
    And I’m goin’ under,
    But I’m not givin’ up!
    I’m just givin’ in.

    Oh, slipping underneath.
    Oh, so cold, but so sweet

  • StefanieLCR

    Mine are lame:

    Jar of Hearts – Christina Perry (depression is my “drug” or “vice”) I pretend I’m singing it to my head.

    Watch Over Me – Bernard Fanning for whenever I just need to cling to something, hope, God, anything to make it until I can take another breath.

    Into the Ocean – Blue October when I’m wallowing.

    I’ll Fix You – Coldplay

    Lost in the World – Kanye West and Bon Iver (good beat and lyrics that don’t suck)

    One Thing – Finger Eleven

    You Don’t Know – Reel Big Fish (Because sometimes you just need to yell the “fuck off” part.)

    One Voice – Wailin’ Jennys

    I feel so affected by music. In both ways, good and bad. It’s nice to know that I’m not the only one so connected… yet connected, still. Thinking of you.


  • mamasaysso

    This isn’t a song reccomendation, but it did immediately come to mind when reading your post the other day. You’ve probably seen it, but it made me laugh out loud the first time I saw it and I think it definitely still applies.

    The sneaky hate spiral:

    Hope this gives you a laugh.


  • mjlx

    city & colour- against the grain and the civil wars- falling are helping me through a very similar situation currently.

  • mydogwontbite

    i pulled together a spotify playlist of many of the songs suggested here.

    #NowPlaying dooce_playlist on #Spotify

    i’ll add to it here and there as i see more posts go up.

    so far, jack’s mannequin is my new favorite band.

    my contribution:

  • AuburnD

    It’s rough, but most of the Blue Valentine soundtrack. Note: I do NOT recommend you take this time to watch the movie, if you’ve never seen it. But there are some truly incredible tracks on there, particularly Foreground, You and Me and You Always Hurt the Ones You Love (in case we needed another reason to love Ryan Gosling).

    To make you laugh (because I bet you need it), I’ll share a truly embarrassing fact: when I experienced my first painful break-up in 1998, I listened to Cher’s I Believe (in life after love) on repeat. Oh, the shame.

    Finally, Arcade Fire ANYTHING puts me in a better mood. I think you actually know Winn so I bet this is true for you as well.

  • jewels421

    I just saw the movie Melancholia (with Kirsten Dunst), and that song is just so reminiscent of what I took from that movie about depression. Maybe not the best idea for you to watch it now (it was painful enough for me even though a fair amount of time has passed since I’ve really struggled with depression). But, it was… weird, horrifying, strangely comforting, to see a visual representation of certain things related to depression, and to get this affirmation that other people have felt as I have. I probably read too much of my situation into it… but don’t we always.

  • deminimis

    …and you’ll be the valedictorian of it of course. Just remember it’s also okay to not be.

    Some things we just make it through, by the skin of our teeth, with the help of friends, cliff notes and any other aids necessary. My daily mantra…

  • Sonika

    Songs that got me through my divorce:

    “Missed the Boat” – Modest Mouse
    “Rootless Tree” – Damien Rice
    “No Children” – Mountain Goats
    “Comfort” – The Weepies
    “Bed is For Sleeping” – Bonnie “Prince” Billy
    “Bulletproof” – Radiohead
    “Waiting for My Real Life to Begin” – Colin Hay
    “Engine Driver” – The Decemberists

    And… not gonna lie… “To the Left” – Beyoncé

  • MeandThem

    Mumford and Sons – Feel the Tide. When my oldest struggled with my separation from her Dad (it’s been almost a year). We would listen together and hold tight. “You and I now, we can be alright…. just hold on to what we know is true.” And you are right, about becoming one with the music. I have always had a deeper love, but now, every lyrics is part of my soul. Enjoy!

  • kyleecoleman

    Peter Bradley Adams, especially his “between us” album. his Eastmountainsouth work is amazing, too.

  • littlebobina

    This is probably more of a throw you against the wall song, but sometimes you need a sad song, and Robyn Dell’Unto’s song “Ghost” is hauntingly beautiful. Pun unintended.

  • anneschuessler

    Somehow “Song About the Moon” by Paul Simon does a whole row of tricks for me. It’s the combination of the soothing voice and really awesome lyrics.

    “If you want to write a song about a face
    Think about a photograph that you really can’t remember but you can’t erase
    Wash your hands in dreams and lightning
    Cut off your hair and whatever is frightening”

    But I also agree that “All This and Heaven Too” by Florence + the Machine is a pretty powerful song to get some strength from.

  • newsies

    Reading more than music. My latest hero is NHL History Girl. A Bi-polar, hockey-loving, librarian. She has a great blog.

  • sophia_helix

    Funny, how people are different — I listened to this song obsessively when I was depressed too, but I also thought it would be the song I played when I finally committed suicide. So. Erm. Songs affect us in different ways?

    However! My other favorite song from that period, the one I had to play every morning before I left the house, was Weezer’s “El Scorcho.” Instant pick me up!

  • Kikimarcus

    36 year old widow here, well, 38 now. But there are two songs I use to get me through depending on the mood of the moment.

    The 1st song is: The Cure – Fight:
    (admittedly the video is bad but it’s almost all that is out there)

    Sometimes there’s nothing to feel
    Sometimes there’s nothing to hold
    Sometimes there’s no time to run away
    Sometimes you just feel so old

    The times it hurts when you cry
    The times it hurts just to breathe
    And then it all seems like there’s no-one left
    And all you want is to sleep

    Fight fight fight
    Just push it away
    Fight fight fight
    Just push until it breaks
    Fight fight fight
    Don’t cry at the pain
    Fight fight fight
    Or watch yourself burn again
    Fight fight fight
    Don’t howl like a dog
    Fight fight
    Just fill up the sky
    Fight fight fight
    Fight til you drop
    Fight fight fight
    And never never
    Never stop

    Fight fight fight
    Fight fight fight

    So when the hurting starts
    And when the nightmares begin
    Remember you can fill up the sky
    You don’t have to give in
    You don’t have to give in

    Never give in
    Never give in
    Never give in

    The 2nd is Ingrid Michaelson – Be OK:

    I just want to be ok, be ok, be ok
    I just want to be ok today
    I just want to be ok, be ok, be ok
    I just want to be ok today

    I just want to feel today, feel today, feel today
    I just want to feel something today
    I just want to feel today, feel today, feel today
    I just want to feel something today

    Open me up and you will see
    I’m a gallery of broken hearts
    I’m beyond repair, let me be
    And give me back my broken parts

    I just want to know today, know today, know today
    I just want to know something today
    I just want to know today, know today, know today
    Know that maybe I will be ok


    Just give me back my pieces
    Just give them back to me please
    Just give me back my pieces
    And let me hold my broken parts

    I just want to be ok, be ok, be ok
    I just want to be ok today
    I just want to be ok, be ok, be ok
    I just want to be ok today

    I just want to feel today, feel today, feel today
    I just want to feel something today
    I just want to know today, know today, know today
    Know that maybe I will be ok
    Know that maybe I will be ok
    Know that maybe I will be ok

  • JessicaBanana

    After a particularly crushing breakup, I listened to these three songs on a loop to the point that my roommate at the time almost throttled me: Werewolf by Cocorosie, Let It Die by Feist, and This Isn’t It by Giant Drag. They are a bit more of the wallowing variety than the hopeful type. But a good wallowing can be cathartic.

  • jenny33

    Bon Iver, Skinny Love. When I needed it, it was like food for the soul.

  • soitwent

    I believe you’ve mentioned the National before but I’ll throw “baby we’ll be fine” out there as a contender. Wye Oak is amazing too, specifically “civilian.”

    warm thoughts for you all.

  • brittakb

    Oh I’ve got a post-divorce playlist that still kills me, even now, like three years later.

    “Big Bills” by Flosstradamus w Carolyn Polachek of Chairlift, “Sleepyhead” by Passion Pit, “My Slow Descent Into Alcoholism” by the New Pornographers. Among others. Many, many others. It would have to be a boxed set, actually.

  • Chlsea

    Los Campesinos! “The Sea is a Good Place to Think of the Future” has been on repeat a lot recently while I sort some things out. Now if I want something to pep me up it’s Matt & Kim “Block After Block” or “Daylight”.

  • ryannjean

    Wow. I know what you mean when it comes to song lyrics. Last spring, I was just starting to emerge from perhaps the darkest place I’ve ever been in my life. Broken relationship, asshole friends, heartbreaking career disappointments, RAGING insomnia, you name it…

    But looking back, I think the worst part about the whole experience was bigger than all the little annoyances combined. I’m now realizing that this horrendous time in my life was a transition. A transition from who I thought I was supposed to be, to who I really am. And it was HARD.

    There’s a song, though, that offered profound guidance and hope for me while I was trying desperately to understand myself. ‘You Are A Tourist’ by Deathcab for Cutie. This verse always makes my heart flutter:

    And if you feel just like a tourist
    In the city you were born
    Then it’s time to go
    And define your destination
    There’s so many different places to call home
    Cause when you find yourself the villain
    In the story you have written
    It’s plain to see
    That sometimes the best intentions
    Are in need of redemption
    Would you agree?
    If so please show me…

    Download Codes and Keys. The whole album is just… lovely.

  • gcjen

    I always go back to Radiohead’s Optimistic. Even though a lot of the lyrics are frankly pretty disturbing, that line about how “you can try the best you can, the best you can is good enough” always gives me some peace of mind and helps me remember to give myself some perspective.

  • Laura Mauk

    Um, I officially have a girl crush on you and daisy for this post. Jenny Lewis/Rilo Kiley have pretty much never put out a bad song/album and this song in particular is one of my faves. I listened to it a lot after my mother’s death. I think separation or the loss of a relationship can feel/be like a death. Modest Mouse also got me through a lot…Wilco, too…I’m so sorry you are having to go through this…

  • AmberLaLa

    I totally agree about Ani diFranco. Her songs “Marrow” and “Manhole” come immediately to mind, but gah, every one of her albums from Dilate (1996) on is like an anthem to a wounded heart trying to pick itself up and dust itself off. “78% H2O” is another great one of hers for times like these.

    Miranda Lambert’s new album has a song called “Mama’s Broken Heart” that is just brilliant and adorable and HELL-YES for a million different reasons.

  • MattyMac14

    Long time reader, first time commenter. I feel for you in every way, and I hope it gets better. It always does in the end.

    When I was having marital issues, there were a few songs that did the same for me. There were songs for the lows, songs for the highs and songs that would take me out of the low or high when I needed it. Some of them are:

    “Conductor” by We Were Promised Jetpacks. It’s the Scottish brogue that does it.

    “We Looked Like Giants” by Death Cab for Cutie. The live version off of “The John Byrd EP” is my favorite.

    “Broken Afternoon” by The Helio Sequence. Just a pretty melody.

    “Start A War” by The National. Matt Berninger’s basso is so soothing.

    “Stop This Train” by John Mayer. Although a douche by all accounts, Mayer can play the hell out of the guitar and can certainly write a song.

    “Futures” by Jimmy Eat World. You will be walking with your head held high, full of determination after listening to this.

    I want to make you a “mixtape”, only on cd.

  • Christiane71

    – Never is a promise (Fiona Apple)

  • paulroub

    Peter Gabriel, “Washing of the Water”. Always, always.

    On good days, it’s just soaring beauty; on bad days (or months) (or years), it’s this wonderful warm thing to crawl inside for a while.

  • MattyMac14

    Oh, one more. “Blood Bank” by Bon Iver. Such a deep, moving song.

  • brightpirate

    I absolutely love Melissa Ferrick latest album, Still Right Here, and her one before that, Goodbye Youth. There are some gently heartwrenching songs on those but also some totally uplifting, rocking ones. She has struggled with depression and you can feel the authenticity of her words.

    I especially like Headphones On and One of a Kind (can’t find a studio recording), both from Still Right Here.

    Lyrics from One of a Kind:
    //So when your light’s gone out
    When there’s no wax left
    When you can’t get up
    Even lift your head
    Stay inside the darkness
    For as long as it takes
    Stay till you adjust to it
    Stay till you can see your hands in front of your face
    Stay till you can see your hands in front of your face
    Stay right there till you can see your hands in front of your face.//

    Her song “When Thom Sings” is about listening to Radiohead when your heart is breaking and making peace with yourself. I think you would love it.

    For other gently sad music, Chris Pureka is amazing. I also second people’s recommendations for Dar Williams (especially her live cd “Out There Live”)

    When I must be forced to be happy, it’s classic rock and top 40 for me all the way, at top volume, windows down, driving down the highway singing at the top of my lungs.

  • Norabloom

    Two more:

    Cloud Cult:

    No One Said It Would Be Easy

    Chemicals Collide

  • act2ary

    When I want to improve my mood I listen to “Been Caught Stealing” by Jane’s Addiction. I don’t know why, but that song makes me happy. I also second the vote for Paul Simon’s Graceland album – great music to walk to.

    Other songs that I listen to on repeat when needed – Coldplay’s “Fix You”, “Leaky Little Boat” by Roger Clyne & the Peacemakers, Snow Patrol’s “Chasing Cars.”

    When I was in college I had a great wallowing song- “If You Go this Time” by Platinum Blonde. Unfortunately, I don’t think it exists as an mp3.

    Thinking about you and hope you’re doing ok.

  • hotstep1

    Gary Go, Wonderful:

    I recommend listening in the car, singing along at the top of your lungs.

  • alorenzo

    When my husband and I separated, I remember driving him to the airport. En route, Landslide by Fleetwood Mac was playing on the radio. That song, which I still listen to 10 years later, takes me back to a place of both deep sorrow and great strength. I wish you the best on the this journey.


    I took my love and I took it down
    I climbed a mountain and I turned around
    And I saw my reflection in the snow covered hills
    Well the landslide brought me down

    Oh, mirror in the sky
    What is love
    Can the child within my heart rise above
    Can I sail thru the changing ocean tides
    Can I handle the seasons of my life

    Well, I’ve been afraid of changing ’cause I built my life around you
    But time makes you bolder
    Children get older
    I’m getting older too

    Well, I’ve been afraid of changing ’cause I built my life around you
    But time makes you bolder
    Children get older
    I’m getting older, too
    Well I’m getting older too

    So, take this love and take it down
    Year and if you climb a mountain and ya turn around
    And if you see my reflection in the snow-covered hills
    Well the landslide brought me down
    And if you see my reflection in the snow-covered hills
    Well maybe
    Well maybe
    Well maybe the landslide will bring you down

  • christinefc

    When I was going through my breakup, Hothouse Flowers “It’ll Be Easier in the Morning” got me through a lot of long nights.

  • Danica

    Hey Heather-

    Did you get the spotify playlist I sent you? One of the songs on there is “At Last” by Neko Case. It’s short but emotionally moving. Here are the lyrics:

    I can say that I’ve lived here
    In honor and danger
    But I’m just an animal
    And cannot explain a life
    Down this chain of days
    I wish to stay among My people
    Relation now means nothing
    Having chosen
    So defined
    And if death should smell my breathing
    As it pass beneath my window
    Let it lead me trembling, trembling
    I own every bell that tolls me

  • McKennaNY

    My Divorce records are as follows: Continuum by John Mayer, he helped replace the hole in my heart. and Songs for Silverman by Ben Folds. Listen to them, and begin to be whole again.

  • Auntie P

    “How To Return Home”

    Great version on youtube by Krysta Rodriguez

    Or Natalie Weiss recording on iTunes

  • tallhottie

    Lame I know, but Avril Lavigne’s song “My Happy Ending” is a good one too.

    Let’s talk this over
    It’s not like we’re dead
    Was it something I did?
    Was it something You said?
    Don’t leave me hanging
    In a city so dead
    Held up so high
    On such a breakable thread

    You were all the things I thought I knew
    And I thought we could be

    You were everything, everything that I wanted
    We were meant to be, supposed to be, but we lost it
    And all of the memories, so close to me, just fade away
    All this time you were pretending
    So much for my happy ending

  • elizedge

    Darlene Zschech Jesus Lover of My Soul- listened to it over and over after being left after over 20 years with 4 kids under 12 including a 1yr old still nursing baby

  • careyjune13

    If you don’t smile at this, I’ll send you $1.93. Even Chuck will love it.

  • Jhatch96

    Patty Griffin speaks to me in all of her songs – two great ones are Heavenly and Rain
    Feel better – peace to you

  • WI_Joan

    Oh. Diamonds and Rust – Joan Baez
    I’ll be damned…here comes your ghost again…
    …speaking strictly from me we both could have died then and there…

  • cavas

    My husband and I spent six months separated a few years ago and I lived by Dar Williams’s “The Mercy of the Fallen”. The whole of the lyrics can be found at but the chorus that still speaks to me is

    There’s the wind and the rain 

    And the mercy of the fallen 

    Who say they have no claim to know what’s right.

    Our separation was painful but necessary; we’ve been back together and happy for the last three years. So many of us out in the internetlands are pulling for you.

  • stephiefink

    I’m so sorry you’re going through this, Heather. We’re all pulling for you.

    Here’s my song for you: Avalanche by Matthew Good Band.

    One foot in front of the other…

  • laura.ann.stratton

    Timshel by Mumford and Sons
    Closer to Fine by the Indigo Girls

  • akpetey

    Brings me back to my happy college days, circa 2004 (but still angst-filled): The Arcade Fire’s “Rebellion (Lies).” Just an overall loud-and-proud anthem, in general.

    And if you need a good rant and sing-along in the car, “Mr. November,” by The National helps me rid bad feelings by remembering The President has worse days than I do, probably.

    And to remember that it’ll pay off someday, whether your current situation seems bad off: “Taking the Long Way,” The DIxie Chicks. I love that album, and Natalie’s fight to get that album out, despite all the media criticism she received for being honest about herself, it’s soooo damn inspiring: “Yes, I could’ve made it easier on myself, but I…I could never follow.” It’s a wonderful reminder of being yourself, and a strong, and a proud, successful woman.

Heather B. Armstrong

Hi. I’m Heather B. Armstrong, and this used to be called mommy blogging. But then they started calling it Influencer Marketing: hashtag ad, hashtag sponsored, hashtag you know you want me to slap your product on my kid and exploit her for millions and millions of dollars. That’s how this shit works. Now? Well… sit back, buckle up, and enjoy the ride.

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