Shirley Manson Presents: Take All of My Broken Toys and Fix Them All—A Sad-Songs-Only Playlist

Still flying high on their 2016 release, Strange Little Birds, and their summer 2017 tour with Blondie, alt-rock icons Garbage also recently released a coffee-table book chronicling their two-decade history, titled This Is the Noise That Keeps Me Awake. But on this playlist she created specially for The Dowsers, frontwoman Shirley Manson reveals the songs she turns to when she wants to cry herself to sleep.

“The Winner Takes It All,” ABBA: The first slow dance I ever shared with a boy was to this song. I didn’t know at the time that it was a song about divorce, but I do now. Pop brilliance at its finest.

“I’m a Fool to Want You,” Billie Holiday: I have nothing but love and gratitude for Billie Holliday and her artistry. True love forever.

“Don’t Smoke in Bed,” Peggy Lee: The first time I realized that a song didn’t need to be catchy or feel good. It could tell a story—and a great, heartbreaking one at that.

“So in Love,” Ella Fitzgerald: I associate Ella Fitzgerald with my mum because she played her so regularly in our household. This song is killer.

“Wild Is the Wind,” Nina Simone: Nina Simone is without doubt the greatest voice I have ever heard in my life. And this song is blissful agony to listen to from start to finish. Utter perfection.

“Anyone Who Had a Heart,” Dusty Springfield: After listening to this song, I always feel like I just got gutted like a fish.

“Troy,” Sinéad O’Connor: One of my most favorite singers of all time. Sinead has the voice of a creature sent from the heavens. We must strive harder to cherish her whilst she still walks amongst us.

“Revenge,” Patti Smith: Patti is everything to me. She is a god. She is a light. She is my go-to when everything gets dark.

“You Keep Me Hangin’ On,” The Supremes: One of the first songs I can remember singing along to into the handle of my hairbrush at the top of my lungs. Diana Ross remains, to this day. one of my most beloved stars.

“Why D’ya Do it,” Marianne Faithfull: This song is perfect. I wish I’d written it. A woman destroyed is a woman not to be trifled with.

“Winter Kills,” Yazoo: Fucking love how twisted and dark this still sounds.

“Save Me,” Joan Armatrading: I love how unique and rich Joan Armatrading’s voice is. A criminally underrated, and unsung talent.

“Oh Daddy,” Fleetwood Mac: I participated in a recording of this song during music class at school. It was the first time I’d ever been inside a recording studio. My music class was very inspired by Fleetwood Mac at the time, and I remain so.

“You’re Not the Only One I Know,” The Sundays: I love how deliciously cavalier this song sounds. So easy and breezy and bitchy.

“I Go to Sleep,” Pretenders: I have cried myself to sleep over and over to this song. Chrissie Hynde slays me every time.

“Here You Come Again,” Dolly Parton: The most brilliant and sunny angel on earth.

“I’ve Been Loving You Too Long,” Ike & Tina Turner: The vocal is completely sick.

“Talking in Your Sleep,” Crystal Gayle: This song is so fucking sad! I first heard it listening to a tiny radio my grannie gave to me for my ninth birthday. I didn’t really understand what it meant at the time, but I could tell it didn’t mean anything good.

“Cry Me a River,” Julie London: Such a nasty little song disguised in such silky and satin sounds.

“I Will Survive,” Gloria Gaynor: Favorite rebound song of all time. Game over. Mic drop.

NOTE: Shortly after this list was published, Shirley Tweeted us the following request, which we have honored, of course:


Photo Credit: Joseph Cultice