By Lillian Li ’13
On the Thursday before Valentine’s Day, the upper galleries of the Princeton University Art Museum showcased original works of Princeton students in a different medium. Surrounded by oil paintings, Ben Taub ’13 crooned, “You don’t know what love is, until you know the meaning of the blues,” as Eric Weiser ’13 accompanied on his double bass.
Their performance was one of 10 at the third annual “Failed Love: heARTbroken” event. “Broken heart? Great art,” was the slogan of the night. The performers’ original songs and poetry – plus an assortment of pastries and heart-shaped cookies – drew an audience of about 20 students.
“In honor of failed love, I’m going to play some songs from a time full of that,” said Caroline Reese ’14, who played an acoustic guitar as she sang. This was Reese’s second time performing at the event: “There’s something really special about singing in a place [where] you can usually hear a pin drop,” she said.
Failed love isn’t always a downer, however. Some performers brought humor to the stage. The audience tittered when Mark Watter ’14 strummed his electric guitar and sang, “I don’t have the sex life to find someone new,” a line from his song “Horse.” Arielle Sandor ’12 began her poem, “Something About Trust,” by musing, “Maybe it’s the tooth fairy’s fault.”
Others saw failed love in an optimistic light. Leora Friedman ’14, who played two songs on her guitar, tried to convey the message that failed love is “a wonderful thing that helps us grow strong.” In introducing her song “Meant to Be a Mistake,” she explained that “even if something’s not meant to be, it was meant to be for a reason.”
People might have different views of what love is, but there was general agreement that failed love, as Reese put it, definitely “makes for better songwriting!”

Lillian Li ’13 is one of PAW’s On the Campus columnists.