A/N: this playlist is sort of funny, because I started it a really long time ago while I was still in the process of working out Damien and Mark's relationship. I was initially going to publish the mix after Season 3 but then I got a lot more mileage out of it in writing Season 4A. Because of this, I've got two different commentaries on it from two different periods.
My initial annotation from February of 2017:
I didn’t set out to make this playlist but when I was in the midst of writing S3B, I heard “i hate u, i love u” by Olivia O’Brien and gnash on the radio and had a pretty visceral reaction to it. I’d been trying to work out exactly what the dynamic between Mark and Damien was at the end of Season 3 and the lyrics of the song just resonated with those thoughts. While nothing explicitly romantic or sexual is ever articulated between them, there is something more than platonic. It’s messy and complicated and will probably never lead to anything good. But it’s an interesting dynamic and so I found myself starting a playlist with this one song and thinking about what could have been. What resulted is a playlist made up entirely by either duets or songs by duos, mostly on the subject of toxic love.
An added annotation in December 2017:
I continued listening to this playlist up through writing Episode 48 (and then beyond because it’s just a good playlist if I do say so myself). The Damien/Mark dynamic finally comes to a head in 48 and this mix definitely helped me a lot in getting there. Their relationship definitely does start to veer deeper into the romantic/non-platonic realm. There’s always some hope that Damien is going to finally change, that Mark will somehow be able to redeem him and then, when Mark realizes that this would mean sacrificing his own pride and mental wellbeing, he walks away, just when Damien is at his most vulnerable. Which, let's be honest, really makes this a break-up playlist.
1. "If I Never See Your Face Again" - Maroon 5 & Rihanna
This is such a great break-up song that toys with power dynamics - that feeling of wanting to chase someone down to prove to yourself that they still want you but also never wanting to see them ever again.
2. “Come Back Down” - Greg Laswell & Sara Bareilles
You’ve gotta take it on your own from here/it’s getting pathetic and I’m almost done here
3. "Wish I Could Forget" - The Weepies
There’s a real theme of wanting to forget or not think about the other person on this playlist - sometimes it’s easier to just bury your feelings deep down and hope they go away.
Funny how a heart shatters all at once/seems like it should make a sound - god, what a line
Most of the music on here also fits into the “Americana road trip” vibe that is core to any kind of possibility in Mark and Damien’s relationship - it could only ever exist in the vacuum of life on the road and without Joan or Sam or any of the others
4. "The One That Got Away" - The Civil Wars
Ugh, no one does pining angst better than this duo. What I love about this song is that it takes a common saying and flips it on it’s head - I wish you were the one that got away. There is so much regret in this song and it’s the best.
I never meant to get us in this deep/I never meant for this to mean a thing - definitely a S4 line for both of them.
5. "Two Sides of Lonely" - The Lone Bellow
On the one hand you’re hoping I’m lying/On the other you hope I’m a fool - I mean, c’mon! Perfect.
Two sides of lonely/one’s in the grave/and the other should be - and thus, we move into the death and violence portion of our evening.
6. "Love You Anymore" - Matt Duke
I mean, this song is basically about killing your significant other. Do with that what you will.
You’re mistaken that I’m smiling when I seethe - 100% how Mark feels a lot of the time.
7. "9 Crimes" - Damien Rice
I don’t know that anybody on earth feels heartbreak quite as strongly as Damien Rice. One of the things I love about this song is the repeated asking of Is that alright? when it’s obvious he doesn’t really want to know the answer.
8. "If I Couldn't Have You" - Sweet Talk Radio
This song has always felt like stumbling into a roadside bar at sunset, ordering a whiskey, and sitting there all night, just staring into your drink. There’s something passively melancholy about it. It’s a song you put on when you’re pining and you want to be pining more. You want to press into the bruise.
And how would the tides flow in/if the moon had gone?/And what would I do/if I couldn’t have you?
9. "i hate u i love you" - gnash (feat. Olivia O'Brien)*
This song works pretty perfectly with Damien as Olivia and Mark as gnash, though the first gnash verse also works very well for Damien.
It hurts me every time I see you/realize how much I need you/I hate you/I love you/I hate that I love you - perfect for Damien, hating every second of caring about someone
If I pulled a you on you, you wouldn’t like that shit // you said you wouldn’t then you fucking did - Mark is definitely gnash.
10. "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" - Martin Luther w/ Jim Sturgess (originally by The Beatles)
With every mistake/we must surely be learning - you'd think, right!?! Not so if you're Damien apparently.
His version has a real hopelessness to it that I just adore. It’s also a male/male duet, which felt appropriate.