from Good Grief (2016) by Lucius
Key Lyrics: “My fists are clenched, and I’m so angry with you.”
“My fists are clenched, and I’m so angry with myself.”
“I’m not the only one to blame.”
“I can be the one who’s gone insane.”
Okay, let’s just get one thing out there: My last breakup was not amicable. We had a kind of “We were on a break!” situation, à la Ross and Rachel. I was Ross (this is a Friends reference, in case you hadn’t caught on), although there were a few key differences. For starters, I didn’t sleep with anyone the day that we broke up. Instead, I went on a few dates with someone a month after we broke up and made the mistake of telling my ex about it over the phone. Also, unlike the two most infuriating Friends, my ex and I actually did discuss the parameters of the “break” we would be taking at length and came to a tearful agreement. Sadly, the so-called agreement didn’t matter in the end, as my ex decided that he no longer agreed. (I should have called no takesies-backsies!)
After an initial month of no contact (aka the “break” portion of our break), we had the phone conversation during which I chose to share with him that I had begun to branch out. My intention was only in the spirit of full disclosure, but all he heard was betrayal (interestingly not the first time I’ve gotten in trouble for being honest, and probably will not be the last). The rest of the conversation, like so many we had had before, devolved into us screaming at each other. What struck me about this one was that suddenly our break was no longer mutual. Suddenly, it wasn’t our relationship with each other that had gone wrong. Suddenly I was to blame. For everything. Up to this point, we had almost always been able to come to some sort of consensus after each fight, and we were usually able to at least try to share responsibility. This time, though, I had the audacity to even consider the finality of our split (by considering possibilities with someone else), and it seemed that was all he needed to let himself off the hook completely — never mind the fact that I was the one who initiated the break in the first place, and for reasons entirely unrelated to seeing other people. (More on that later.)
My fists are clenched, and I’m so angry with you.
Naturally, the anger and frustration immediately perceptible in “Gone Insane” fit well with my situation. I knew upon first listen to the Good Grief album that this song was definitely the star of the show, and it was all because of the song’s ending. Here, the two voices of Lucius, which normally sing harmoniously as one, begin to scream at each other the way my ex and I used to. Also, the lyrics of this song really hit home for multiple reasons. The title alone says it all: “Gone Insane.” I think if you’re a woman who’s ever been in a relationship with a man, there’s a pretty good chance you’ve experienced the near-rage welling up inside of you after being called insane. (You can probably even hear yourself saying, “Oh, I can be the one who’s gone insane.”) My connection with those words is a little different, though. My ex never called me insane; he wouldn’t dare because he knew that, in a way, insane is what I am.
I can be the one who’s gone insane.
Now, this won’t be the last time I mention that I have depression, a mental illness the fancy professionals sometimes like to call “major depressive disorder.” You may be thinking, “Okay, but literally everyone and their mother has depression. That doesn’t make you insane,” and while you may be exaggerating a little about everyone’s mother, you are correct. But imagine not being able to leave your bed for no apparent physical reason other than you just can’t. Or maybe it’s just that your energy is so low you feel like you never fully woke up that day. Or maybe you can’t leave your bed because the thought of mold suddenly occurred to you and now you can’t touch any other surface in your home for fear of contamination (This would be the kind of depression that comes with occasional bouts of anxiety so severe that it thinks it’s actually OCD). You’re still your same smart, rationally thinking self, but suddenly you find that there are things your mind simply won’t let you do. I know that one moth-larvae-infested bag of rice doesn’t mean that my entire kitchen is polluted with filth and disgust, but I can hear the sound of the panicked fluttering of moth wings in my head, and I would rather starve (based on the true story of moths making themselves at home in my pantry). Try to downplay it all you want, but these kinds of mean little games my mind likes to play with me can make me feel pretty batshit.
I’m telling you all of this because I’m hoping it will help you understand why listening to Jess and Holly from Lucius sing-scream at each other as if they’re having the worst fight of their relationship was so cathartic for me while coping with my breakup.
My fists are clenched, and I’m so angry with myself.
The reasons (there were several) I initiated the breakup in the first place had so much more to do with the strain that my mental-health struggles put on our relationship than with a desire to see other people. I didn’t want to be with anyone else, which is why I stayed in the relationship for as long as I did. Still, at the end of our one-month “break” period, I had the sinking feeling that staying broken up would be the best thing for the both of us. So imagine how furious it made me when, after only trying to be honest with him about what I’d been up to during our break, he made our breakup about something else entirely. He came at me with accusations and gentle (by which I mean the opposite of gentle) reminders of everything he’d ever done for me, and How could I possibly do this to him after all that? He seemed to be under the impression that I owed him something. That I ruined everything. That it was all my fault. Let me make one thing clear: I broke up with him because of his shortcomings. Not my own.
I’m not the only one to blame.
Listening to this repeating phrase in “Gone Insane,” I could just picture myself screaming those words at my ex, trembling like a crazy person. I could feel the tension rising inside as Lucius sang “I’m not the only one, just keep on calling me insane, keep on calling me insane, keep on calling me — ” This is when they cut themselves off and move straight into the big “Oh I’m the one who’s gone insane,” which starts off the cool, screamy part at the end I was telling you about earlier. This part is where the magic really happened for me. Something about the growly sound their voices make on the “Oh I’m” part of that line (or on the “Oh I” of “Oh I must be the one who’s gone insane”) just created an intensely emotional listening experience for me. I think it must be that they’re screaming in harmony. Through the yell/growl, they’re able to evoke the all too familiar feeling of fighting with a loved one while maintaining a pleasantly resonant interval between their actual vocal lines.
Or I could just be full of nonsense. I don’t know. At any rate, I listened to this song very loudly in my headphones on repeat for a while (ask my roommate; she heard everything), and it gave me such a good outlet to pour my hurt and anger into and help release it into the universe.
Moral of the story: “Gone Insane” was a very all-encompassing song for my breakup playlist. If you’re in the market for a breakup theme song, I recommend this one.