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"When You're Gone" Is Almost Too Heartbreaking to Listen To, and That's a Good Thing.

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Sometimes, a song captures an emotion so beautifully that it makes it difficult to listen to.

Painful even.

As you hear the lyrics, you replay past experiences in your mind, wishing you wouldn't.

You remember the people you left behind, even if you were supposed to.

You think about all of the times when you could have stayed, but didn't.

All of the beautiful moments in relationships, whether they turned ugly or stayed that way.

That one photograph you can't stop staring at, even though you never see that person anymore.

That one night you spent on the bathroom floor, wishing someone would come back to you, even if they never did.

That one person who used to be your everything, and maybe still is, even though you are no longer together.

The yearning of lost love—the sentimentality of pain—is a universal message.

"When You're Gone" captures all of those emotions—complex, hard, admiring, sad—in way that is so tangible it makes the song difficult to listen to: It's so heartbreaking.

That thing in my chest keeps aching when I hear it.

The best artists know how to deliver a message so powerful that it forces you to feel something, even if you don't want to.

That's what this song does.

It's beautiful, sad, heartbreaking, sentimental, and sonically immersive.

The lyric that stands out the most?

"When you're staring at a picture of the only girl that matters..."

Shawn Mendes


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The Heartbreak

Shawn Mendes and Camila Cabello recently broke up, and the man poured his heart and soul into this song.

I can tell when I listen to it. It's so raw that it hurts my heart, which is a testament to his songwriting.

The Honesty

The raw honesty in this song is so intense that it makes the lyrics heartbreaking to listen to. They acknowledge the deep nostalgia many of us experience when we are having trouble letting go of a romance.

The heartache.

The reminiscence of the good moments.

The loss.

The feeling of deep loneliness when we suddenly stop receiving those cherished morning texts and waking up with someone we've been with for so long.

The adjustment to being solely reliant on yourself when you've had a support system in your lover—at least to a certain extent—because you were so vulnerable with that person.

They felt like home.


You're alone.

I had to pause it and couldn't keep listening until the end the first few times because it made me really sad. It brought up a lot of deep emotions. That's a testament to the vulnerability in Shawn's songwriting—Good art makes you feel so intensely that it can be difficult to process.

The Rawness

There is something about the description of him "staring at a picture of the only girl that matters" that is just so honest. Desperately nostalgic even, that someone with so many admirers—who don't really know him in most cases—would be stuck on the one person who he has been fond of for so long even though they broke up for one reason or another, and it was probably the right thing to do.

We always question heartbreak it seems, especially if it is an amicable separation.

It probably strikes a chord with nearly everyone, gently awakening their heartstrings.

The man is exposed, extremely vulnerable yet simultaneously very strong, capturing the emotions of nostalgia with the expertise of an avid painter creating a complex, vivid picture on a formerly blank canvas.

The Pain

The pain of a broken heart is excruciating.

It feels like you can barely move a muscle as your body collapses on the floor.

Loss envelopes you.

You miss someone so deeply you feel as though you have lost a limb.

For hours, days, weeks, and months. Years even.



If you have just had a beautiful, long-lasting, healthy, committed relationship with someone, it must be hard to let that go, no matter what your reasons are and how valid they might be.

I think we can all relate to trying to create a time machine in our minds, replaying the past and wondering what might have been if we had made different decisions.

Ultimately, it seems like the people who are meant to stay in your life do in one way or another, but it's so hard to let go of romantic love after two hearts have been intertwined for so long.

This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.

© 2022 Daniella Cressman

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