December 15, 2006

Can’t listen to that song anymore? Neither can I.

Hands down one of the best music-related sites on the web is Ruined; I’d say it’s possibly my favorite read.

The concept is simple, and one that most of us can relate to if we have a beating & sentient heart (and truly love music): Sometimes certain songs just get ruined for us. It’s often due to love interests / crushes / convoluted relationships and resulting cry sessions or moping around with headphones on, or a variety of other situations from childhood on up, but the fact of the matter is that sometimes you just gotta fumble for that off-button with great urgency when you hear that tune.

On Ruined Music, “civilians” write in with their fantastically descriptive stories of what the specific song is that they can no longer enjoy properly, ranging from serious to funny — ruined forever. Here are some samples of the current crop, there is an endless archive that you can waste hours on (and I recommend that you do, just don’t let the bossman see):


I’ve been broken up and busted up since
Gold by Ryan Adams
by Jamie S.

Or, “How Ryan Adams Wasn’t Ruined By Bad Habits, But By A Girl I Dated.” That’s not entirely correct. Actually, I’m fairly sure she hasn’t ruined him, but she did ruin my experience of his music. Pretty much irreparably. And not the record you’re thinking, either. So, no, not Heartbreaker – wonderful record though it is. This is a different story.

I’m back home for the first time in two years. It’s Christmas and I’m lonely, I’m out every night . . . [full read]


You want to be down with the down and in
“Losing a Whole Year” by Third Eye Blind
by Emily Hartwell Howorth

It all started with a mix tape. Sure, Buck and I had been courting each other for a while: joining each other in late night stumbles home from the campus bar, calling into each other’s radio shows to turn up the heat with increasingly obscure requests. He even learned how to play a Jen Sbragia song on his guitar for me. But the mix tape, ah, the mix tape was the signal that things were getting serious. I took the tape out of the case (with its cover-so-filled-with-strange-and-exciting-boy-handwriting) and put it in my stereo. I pushed aside the Norton Anthologies and spiral notebooks on my bed so I could fully appreciate the mix as only a collegiate girl with a crush can. And that’s when it came, somewhere at the end of Side A, between the Wedding Present and the Velvet Underground: Third Eye Blind . . . [full read]


We’re the answer that came before the goal
False Cathedrals by Elliott
by Colin Smith

Maybe this story should be about that mega-hit by Jimmy Eat World, “The Middle.” It all started there – the trail of music that will remain stained with memories and regret. When we met in college, she wasn’t really into music. I lived it, breathed it. Music is, was, always has been and will be my oxygen tank. . . [full read]


When darkness comes and pain is all around
“Bridge Over Troubled Water” by Simon & Garfunkel
by Jennifer Blessman

Last week I attended a meeting held on the 38th floor of a nameless, faceless midtown skyscraper. On my way up, the elevator serenaded me with “Bridge Over Troubled Water,” Muzak-style. Like most people, I can’t stand Muzak, but I absolutely cannot stomach “Bridge.” Not even in my folky college phase did I want to be in the same room with the album. The first few notes would send me screaming from the dorm, begging anyone on the quad to take me back to their lairs to listen to Public Enemy or Milli Vanilli. I don’t mean any disrespect to Messieurs Simon and Garfunkel. The album is seminal, not to mention a triumphant farewell for the artists. I get it. The problem stems from three seemingly unrelated factors coming together like the Bermuda Triangle: that song, my birth month, and the people who lived in the apartment below my parents . . . [full read]

I find it completely and wonderfully voyeuristic, like overhearing a conversation at a bar — and refreshing that so many random people in this world feel music in a way I can relate to. In every story I find some line that resonates personally (and I just found one story from someone I know — that feels a bit too personal!). You can subscribe to be emailed every time it is updated (and you should), or take the plunge and submit one of your own sordid tales.

It’s a wonderful idea, and all the passionate discourse reaffirms my faith in music. Not that I ever doubted.

Sad Songs & Waltzes – Cake
Don’t Listen To The Radio – The Vines


  • wow that is a terrific site, thanks for the link.

    for me, i don’t know that there are any songs that are completely “ruined” for me. for whatever reason i sometimes have a perverse desire to revel in past sorrows, and the best way i know how to do that is to listen to certain songs. and yet despite the uncomfortable emotions they may stir up, they aren’t unlistenable to me. perhaps it is simply that i have never been hurt badly enough, though i think i have. but i think there’s a certain comfort to be taken from the realization that you have lived through past heartache and soulache, and that is what living life is all about i suppose.

    tad — December 15, 2006 @ 12:05 pm

  • Almost as addicting as Post Secret! Great find!

    Jesse a.k.a. The Vicar — December 15, 2006 @ 1:28 pm

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Bio Pic Name: Heather Browne
Location: Colorado, originally by way of California
Giving context to the torrent since 2005.

"I love the relationship that anyone has with music: because there's something in us that is beyond the reach of words, something that eludes and defies our best attempts to spit it out. It's the best part of us, probably, the richest and strangest part..."
—Nick Hornby, Songbook
"Music has always been a matter of energy to me, a question of Fuel. Sentimental people call it Inspiration, but what they really mean is Fuel."
—Hunter S. Thompson

Mp3s are for sampling purposes, kinda like when they give you the cheese cube at Costco, knowing that you'll often go home with having bought the whole 7 lb. spiced Brie log. They are left up for a limited time. If you LIKE the music, go and support these artists, buy their schwag, go to their concerts, purchase their CDs/records and tell all your friends. Rock on.

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