Saturday, September 15, 2007

I always thought that if you were to set out to make the most depressing mix CD in the universe, a project I've been interested in for quite some time now, it would, definitively, have to end in Louis Armstrong's "What a Wonderful World." The idea, originally, was to make a CD that would make everyone in the world cry-- somehow, I see this being the part where everyone cracks. Something about it, I don't know. Maybe pure irony. Maybe the terrible pulse of hope. Sometimes, that really is the worst pain of all.

I guess it wouldn't work, a CD to make everyone cry, because in all the forums I've read where people list the most depressing song in the world, I can't help but think of how wrong they are. I downloaded a bunch of them off of one forum at once, I remember. Savage Garden's "Two Bed and a Coffee Machine", certainly a poignant narrative, but somehow not melodic enough to earn the title. AFI's "God Called in Sick Today", well, you'd have to be a very specific kind of fifteen-year-old and deeply affected by sub-par guitar rifts. John Lennon's "Working Class Hero" could do the trick if you were slumped over kitchen table with a bottle in your hand, thinking of how inevitable it is that your life is going nowhere, but it solicits just a bit too much anger to appeal to a purist like myself. And Gilbert O'Sullivan's "Alone Again, Naturally" juxtaposition pleasant, tinny melody and simple, devastating lyrics is just slightly too ironic, if you can believe that anything could ever be too ironic, for me.

My own choices have changed over the years as well, obviously. Where once ballads of unreqouited love topped the list (Linda Rondstadt's version of "Long, Long Time", and even- forgive me-- Brandi's "Have You Ever"), my tastes changed as love's pain became more about the fear of loss, rather than the sting of rejection. Today, the muted horns of the Judy Garland's rendition of "The Man That Got Away" serve to usher me hopelessly forward into a chilling vision of the possible future, and more often than not, I'll be teary-eyed by the time I'm belting out the epic final lines right in sync with her shaky, desperate voice: "Ever since this world began there's nothing sadder than a one-man woman looking for the man that got away." Same theme goes for Irving Berlin's "What'll I Do" and Harvey Danger's "Problems and Bigger Ones", and props to Elorza for having me download "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes" years before I could ever appreciate it. Are these ex-love solos a little too lonesome for you? How about a duet about a bitterly failing marriage, a la Neil Diamond and Barbara Streisand? "I learned how to laugh and I learned how to cry, I learned how to love and I learned how to lie. So you'd think I could learn how to tell you goodbye."

Failed love-- past present or future-- not your cup of tea? The loss of Chad's grandfather this past month has me listening to Harvey Danger's "Jack the Lion" quite a bit. For me, nothing says death of a grandparent like the Mariah Carey's version of "Without You", which would fit better into the previous category, were it not for the vivid memory I have of it playing in the car during the funeral procession of my father's mother. I have surprisingly few actual death songs on my computer right now-- the ever tragic "Tears in Heaven", always poignant in the moment but a bit too clich├ęd for me, "Paint it Black" is great, but again, not purist, maybe because I'd heard it about sixty times before I knew exactly what it was about. Check out "Give Back Yourself" by the Gufs (featuring Rob Thomas) for one you probably haven't heard. Unconventional death songs...Ben Fold's Five "Brick" is a great abortion song, should you ever have the need. My personal favorite suicide song would have to be "Camera One" by the Josh Joplin Group-- Bright Eyes' "No Lies, Just Love" would beat it out, were it not for the rather hopeful ending, and Blink 182's "Adam's Song" deserves an honorable mention, if only for the line that speaks so clearly to anyone who's ever considered suicide before-- "Please tell Mom this is not her fault."
"I Will Follow You Into the Dark" is, of course, incomparable, but I prefer not to think of this as a suicide song.

Okay, this has become more of a list than anything else, but bare with me, I think I'm almost done.

Let's see, miscellaneous depressing. Obviously, Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah", with some personal preference to the Rufus Wainwright version, and hey, while we're on it, let's give some props to all the Shrek soundtracks, all of which really set the bar for incredible variety of theme-- Tom Waits, on a kid's movie soundtrack? Brilliant. (Points taken away, however, for forcing a peppy song out of masters of depressing music, Counting Crows.)

The two Fray hits. Ani's "Untouchable Face", or "Sorry I Am", or others that I am forgetting. "Blood And Roses" by the Smithereens. "Older Chests" or "Cheers Darlin'" by Damien Rice. "My Immortal" by Evanescence. Martin Sexton's "Can't Stop Thinking About You". Joan Armatrading's "The Weakness in Me". "I'm Movin' On" by the Rascall Flatts. Maybe "Heather Nights" by Buck 65. Joni Mitchell, "Both Sides Now". Janis Ian, "At Seventeen."

Ahh, I could go on way too long. I'll enable comments-- must go to bed.

On with it.


Blogger SuedeCaramel said...

Zack says "Hurt" by NIN-- that's a good one.

11:44 PM  
Blogger SuedeCaramel said...

Collective Soul, "The World I Know." A few other's from this era I'm missing, as well, maybe something by the Gin Blossoms, or that band I always get mixed up with the Gin Blossoms.

Nancy Sinatra, "My Baby Shot me Down".

Fleetwood Mac, "Silver Spring".

Blue October, "Hate Me"

The Verve Pipe, "The Freshmen"

Zack's playing me "Us" by She Wants Revenge....ouch.

11:52 PM  
Blogger SuedeCaramel said...

Zack says "Bad Dream" by (hed) P.E.

I say "Clumsy", Our Lady Peace.

Hey, here's an idea....I should let some of you comment.

11:56 PM  
Blogger Daniel said...

"House of the Rising Sun" by The Animals

"Like a Rollin' Stone" by Bob Dylan

"What Sarah Said" by Death Cab for Cutie

"Your Hand in Mine" by Explosions in the Sky (maybe not that sad, but defenitely worth listening to)

"Such Great Heights" cover by Iron and Wine (possibly the saddest thing I've ever heard)

"Hallelujah" by Jeff Buckley

"Nothing Better" by The Postal Service

Thats it for now. I don't have many sad songs, apparently. More pain songs or anger songs or hurt songs.

1:50 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Christ almighty, it's like a hipster threw up in here.

6:43 PM  

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