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THE PROCESS OF WEEDING OUT: "Lovers and Friends" with Ali Marks

Relationships have songs. Whether it’s a song that tells the tale of your last fucked up relationship or that album that reminds you of how much you love someone or even the only playlist you could listen to while crying in your bed late at night. These intimate moments with songs create a personal and often private soundtrack to our lives.

My soundtrack is predominately painful; relationships have ruined so many albums for me. Part of this has to do with how my relationships typically end, but also part has to do with the way I listen to music. I always have music on (when I’m not binge watching Bones) and I get easily obsessed with one album or one song and listen to nothing else for weeks on end. This raises the odds that an album or a song may become more than just an album or a song to me.

Example A: I’ve spent the last year and a half trying to reclaim the 2012 Purity Ring release but I still can only remember the bitter end to eight blissful months. I find it especially hard to extricate the joy the album once gave me from the pain of breaking up with a loved one. But the album is unbelievably beautiful so I’ll keep trying to reclaim it.

Another example: Sleater-Kinney reminds me of one summer while I was in situationship (somewhere between friends with benefits and a relationship) that ended poorly. The girl only listened to the musical stylings of Carrie Brownstein, and now one of the best riot grrrl bands is tarnished by the fling.

This is starting to read like a pity party I’m throwing just for myself so let’s move on to some happier memories.

Example three: Courtney Barnett’s album Avant Gardener reminds me of a short-lived, but quite enjoyable and civil, hook-up situation. The album is reminiscent of good times that were never tinged by the awful hurt that can come from the end of something more serious.

Final example: My boyfriend in high school was really into the German nu metal band Rammstien

and while I have no desire to ever listen to that album again because I think it’s shit, I can still remember the sensation of being in love for the first time, sneaking kisses in the movie theater, and driving around our small town blasting music from his car speakers.

My soundtrack is characterized by all kinds of music and all kinds of feelings but I find no matter the emotions the songs evoke, it’s still like talking to an old friend every time I hear one.



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