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HEAVY HEARTS: Finding Love, Dealing With Breakups And Everything In-Between In Metal

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With John McCauley

Hands up who actually listens to and digests song lyrics? I mean, who REALLY digs deep and listens?

One of the beautiful things about music is its ability to connect with different people in different ways. It soothes, it comforts, it angers, and it saddens – often all within the one song and even more often to varying degrees of acceptance across all those who listen.

It breathes a life of its own, swept away or glossed over depending on your mood or what is happening in your life at that particular moment.

But how deep do or can metal songs get? How many different ways can they be interpreted or used to guide mood, feel and emotion?

HEAVY is pleased to introduce a new monthly segment, Heavy Hearts, with John McCauley going into greater depth surrounding the lyrical components of metal, dissecting the inherent themes of breakup, mental health, loss and more that combine to touch each and every one of us in different ways.

Music is not, and never will be, an exact science, but each month John will offer his opinions and answers after analyzing some of the most popular metal songs in history and others you may discover for the first time. You may agree, you may disagree, but one thing we can all agree on is the importance of metal and music in life.

Heavy Hearts: Finding Love, Dealing with Breakups and Everything In-between in Metal

Valentine’s Day is one of the most polarizing holidays, and for good reason. It can be a fun, exciting and love-filled day with your significant other. However, not everyone has that love in their life and (rightfully so) holds a disdain for this love-filled holiday. No matter where your opinion falls for February 14, here are ten songs that someone who loves or hates the day can enjoy. From heavy love songs to breakups and everything in between, here is this month’s dose of Heavy Hearts.

Oxytocin – Before I Turn, 2023

There is no better way to start this list of love than with a song named after what is called the love hormone. Originally released as a single in 2023, and then part of an EP (The Devil Exists) released in 2024, this heavy hitter has both hefty lyrics and sound. Strong verses, catchy chorus, and brutal breakdowns, what else can you ask from a song? The composer and lyricist of the song, Alex J. Anglis, breaks down the inspiration of the song on Instagram. In terms of the sound, there are heavy chugs throughout the song and frantic guitar notes that come together and mesh beautifully. The dark, brooding and almost horror-esk atmosphere this song creates with its sound matches so well with the harsh and revealing lyrics. No matter your take on love, there is so much to enjoy about this song.

Abandon – Dayseeker, 2017

The one-word title of the song reflects the main topic of this track: Abandonment. Rory Rodriguez highlights his own mental struggles in life, bringing up that this love started to help, and that this person was the light shining so bright at the end of the tunnel. However, that light quickly faded as this anger-filled song rips apart that once bright light, leaving him behind and abandoning him. Being cast aside, left to die, and being ignored unexpectedly are all mentioned in this devastating song. Calling out this coward who simply left out of nowhere can feel good if you are spending this day of love alone and abandoned.

Love You to Death – Type O Negative, 1996

This seven-minute serenade does not have too many lyrics for how long the song is. However, it is easily understandable that the narrator of the song is in love. So much so that he wants to love this person to death. An expression to most, but in this song, it might not be as symbolic. Type O Negative is a gothic metal band and the idea of living in immortality forever is speculated in this song. Regardless of the lyrics, the vocals of Peter Steele start very deep and low, but crescendos as the song escalates into higher-pitched notes. One of the hardest-hitting lyrics is a question a lot of us have or will have when it comes to a relationship or a love, and that is Am I good enough… for you? It is a heavy lyric coming from someone who is so in love with another. The last thing they want is to not be enough for someone they are in love with. This hypnotizing love song can entrance you and that special someone wanting an eternal love like mentioned in this song.

Sextape – Deftones, 2007

Continuing the theme of hypnotizing love songs brings us to one Deftones biggest songs. Sextape deals more with the idea of physical love, or at least highlighting the physical aspect of love. With mentions of pleasure, shaking and waves crashing being a metaphor for the feelings during sex, this song is littered with sex symbolism. With a title like Sextape, it makes sense for a song to touch on these topics. This enchanting song helps give the stereotype to Deftones that they are a great band to listen to while having sex. Whatever you are doing while listening to this song, it is a great Valentine’s Day vibe to get lost in.

You Always Believed – In This Moment, 2008

There were so many songs from this amazing and whimsical album (my favorite by this band), The Dream, to choose from, but I landed on this gem. This song thanks their partner for always believing in them. Being there for them through thick and thin, in sickness and in health. Love is not always easy, and Maria Brink knows this, and thanks their partner for sticking by her side. This is the kind of love people shoot for, and if you have a person like this in your life, who always believes in you and is always by your side, thank them because that is the definition of true love.

Erase You – Termina, Nik Nocturnal, Brand of Sacrifice, 2023

After you love somebody, sometimes it seems impossible to get rid of that person’s memory. This feeling of dread, anguish, and the tormenting pain of constantly being reminded of the memory of love or another person’s presence is this song’s theme. Like Before I Turn’s track, great guitar, harsh verses, a catchy and emotional chorus, and brutal breakdowns is a great combination for any song. Personally, I have and am dealing with this exact attempt to erase someone and leave the pain of their absence behind. When you can relate to a song, it just makes it that much better. Even if you wish you did not relate to pain, it makes it a little more tolerable hearing someone else sing or scream about it in a song.

Forgiven – Within Temptation, 2007

A switch up in subgenres for the seventh track on our list, we are moving to symphonic metal. One of my personal favorite subgenres, each song is so beautiful and powerful, and this track is no exception. Sharon den Adel’s angelic voice mixed with the beautiful orchestral instruments creates a one-of-a-kind sound. Mixed with emotional lyrics of a relationship that went south. No matter what the reason, there was a fallout and love went wrong. However, this song is about coming to terms with the fallout and forgiving the former lover for past incidents while being able to heal and move on from the pain. Love and relationships can be one of the most painful things if it goes poorly. However, this song is hope to those going through a breakup. Incidents can be forgiven, and you can move on from the past.

The Ghost of You – Otherwise, 2006

Being haunted by the living is scary and very much of a thing for Otherwise’s frontman Adrian Patrick. Why do all things change is a question asked in the song. When you are in a relationship and things are going well, why does it have to change? I do not have an answer, but sadly it happens all the time. Like the song mentioned earlier, Erase You, it can be almost impossible to move on from someone whom you were in love with. Full of great and relatable lyrics such as “there is no escaping thoughts of you,” “the ghost of you is killing me inside,” “I’m tired of feeling this way,” and “I’m tired of seeing your face” are thoughts of a person stuck on the change and loss of a lover. These lyrics are common thoughts questioning one’s sanity when they just cannot seem to move on.

You’re All I Need – Motley Crue, 1987

Not necessarily my favorite song on this list, but given the Valentine’s Day theme and the backstory behind this song, it must be the best given the topic. When writing this song, Nikki Sixx explains he wrote it to an ex who he believed was cheating with him at the time. Out of jealousy and anger, he wrote this iconic love ballad about his dark impulses of killing her over the issue. In his book, The Heroin Diaries, Nikki states that he recorded the song, went to her house, and played it on a cassette. She ended up crying and he left her immediately. A love song about killing the person you are in love with seems quite ironic. Especially given the fact that Jon Bon Jovi is on record saying this is the Crue’s “best ballad that they have ever written.”

Lonely Day – System of a Down, 2005

Wrapping up the holiday and the list is not in fact a love song at all. Rather a song about a day being alone. With lyrics damning a dreadful day of loneliness, boredom, and sadness. A song that too many (including myself) will relate to on February 14. So, if you are not hung up on a crush, or a failed relationship or anything to do with love, and you are going to be alone this holiday, this is the perfect song to listen to. Ending the song with the lyrics, “it’s a day that I’m glad I survived.” A perfect message to end what could be a lonely day for you, it will be over in 24 hours, and you too will hopefully be glad it is a lonely day that you made it through.

Wrapping things up with this month’s article, thank you for reading. If you are celebrating love this Wednesday or trying to ignore the day of love hopefully these songs can resonate with you and make it on your playlists.

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