2019 was a good year, and not just because it was the year before the world fell apart. It was the year that I started seeing Edward, after a year of being friends he made a move and we started up a summer fling. He would come over to my apartment and make me delicious dinners (and then he’d do the dishes!) and we would go camping on a whim any day of the week. Needless to say, by the end of the summer I was more into him than a summer fling would warrant, but we both had plans for the winter and his were in a town on the other side of the mountains. Not believing in long distance, I called off the relationship. As my readers now know, we kept it going. We moved in together during the pandemic and made a family with a cat who is equal parts human child and gremlin. But for a brief moment in time, I thought that our love was a flame that was only meant to burn for a few months. During those months, I was reveling in my heartbreak.
I don’t welcome pain into my life, but pain is inevitable. When it comes, there’s no fighting it. It comes in waves and they are going to crash over me regardless, so I’ve become a “dance in the rain” kind of person. Heartbreak and pain become food and oxygen to writers, they are what fuel us. The best writing I’ve ever done is so raw that I will never publish it, scribbled in my spiral notebooks with old school bic pens, obscured by the tear drops on the page. When the pain comes I invite it with open arms, ready to revel in all of the emotions. So it was incredibly fortuitous that when Edward drove away from my apartment for the “last time” in 2019, Sorcha Richardson had put out her first official album.
Before First Prize Bravery, Richardson had only put out singles and LPs, all of which were catchy and emotional. I will forever standby “Lost” as the greatest breakup song of all time, somehow it encapsulates the bottomless pit of heartbreak while dosing the listener with a bit of joy to help them climb out of it. She was an easy choice for the soundtrack to my mourning, and I was not disappointed.
Tears still streaming down my face, I started the album for the first time and the melancholy piano started for the opening track “Honey” and Richardson’s unique voice soon flowed over it, lamenting that someone came and opened her heart only to leave.
I can’t get you out of my mind
I thought I might have dreamed it
You made me feel something that night
I swore I never needed
I was doing fine until I let you in my mind
Honey what the hell’d you do to me?
What follows the opening track is an up and down mix that suits all the phases of heartbreak. Whether it’s the peppy sounding “Don’t Talk About It” where she calls out her lover for prioritizing being cool above their feelings, or the feeling of friendship and comradery in dark times on “Red Lion” Sorcha Richardson manages to take the worst emotions most of us know and put them all to words with a catchy beat behind it. Richardson is capable of injecting joy into heartbreak, but she’s not afraid to embrace the pain of it all. “Oh Oscillator” and “Driveway” are back to back tear jerkers, lamenting the cycles of a relationship that won’t end and the hurt inflicted by lost love.
It’s been a couple years, and my heartbreak of 2019 was answered in 2020 when a bright spark came out of a dark time, and Edward and I moved in together and became a family with our cat-child. Despite my personal happiness, I still need to tap in to my sadness for writing purposes, and nothing takes me back to heartbreak quite like “First Prize Bravery”.
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