We’ve all been there: you’ve been doing good for awhile, haven’t thought about them at all! Seriously. What was his name, Jeff? Jason? (You pretend to forget, even as you tap onto his instagram story)
Oh, he’s back in town. Tap. Tap.
Your heart drops. Surely… No, it can’t be. You stare, eyes close to scorching the screen.
Is that… a soft launch of a new girl? And she’s tagged?
So the spiral begins. All of a sudden your world collapses, the doubts creep in: What if all along you were lying to yourself and that person completed you all along? What does this new person have that you don’t?
What if you ruined the best thing you ever had?
There are a few ways to cope with this existential crisis. Some stack up on pints of Ben & Jerry’s (valid), some go nuclear and actually reach out (eek!), but I’d guess most of us – after a good long cry – listen to a break up playlist.
Now all mood playlists are sacred, but a break up playlist is a step even above that. You already know that. There’s Taylor Swift all the way down, Olivia Rodrigo, Billie Eilish’s “Happier Than Ever” – these are the obvious picks. But what about the one that gets down to your soul, the one you’ve been looking for but still haven’t found? The one who reads you to filth for being drunk on a Wednesday, trying to complete a Headspace meditation on your iPhone while staring at the blinking message in your notes app: “Hey Jason, I heard you’re in town…”
Quick, add it to the playlist!
Well, I mean, yeah, it’s a little eerie to see your worst moments in a song, but trust me: Caroline Culver’s newest single “Maggie Told Me You Got A New Girl” will save you. Raised in Atlanta and now based in Nashville, this 23-year-old indie rock singer will have you screaming along to her bridge with as much heart as an “All Too Well”.
Drawling with the indie lead girl sound of a Julia Jacklin or Phoebe Bridgers (dare I add, with the rock timbre of Alvvays vocalist, Molly Rankin), Culver bursts forth to her audience of broken-hearted with a break-up song so upbeat it’s like an emotional exorcism.
The most recent of six singles, Culver’s already carved out a name for herself with her passionate, anthemic songs, so intimate you begin to feel personally wronged for her. With singles like, “I Went Out With a Man” which brutally calls out the farcical disappointment of dating older men, or “Summer 2019” which laments a relationship in which she’s constantly and wilfully misunderstood, Culver has established a sound both searingly bold and remarkably self-effacing, proclaiming openly in her hooks those feelings most of us try to filter out of our public personas:
Maggie told me you got a new girl
I swore I was fine
but it felt like the end of the world
Beyond the thrill of the thrumming bass, energetic drums, high bellish guitar, and even her thrashing vocals that range from seering rasp to swinging highs, are the lyrics themselves. Harnessing the lyrical honesty of a confessional poet, Culver’s songs feel like a movie contained within a song. In the bridge I can imagine the bright light of instagram against her eyes:
She looks like your type
Looked her up last night
She seems nice
And I know it’s right
‘Cause she’s nothing like me
And that’s what you need
Like I said: we’ve all been there. And we’ll probably be there again. But while heartbreak comes and goes, the ability to encapsulate that rage and turn it into catharsis is the essence of art. This song will comfort you when you’re down, and – in some twisted way – make you miss the heartache when it’s gone.
While I wish Culver the best in life and love – in the spirit of radical honesty – I can’t truly say I’d be upset if we got another break-up banger. I know, I know. I’m selfish.
But as things are now, it doesn’t seem too likely. It may be a little unconventional, but with her listeners growing and artistry budding, the adoration blooming for Culver in the hearts of her fans may make a romance for the history books.
Either way, I’ll be listening.