Sunday, 15 May 2011

10 Great Sad Songs

Another one of music's champion emotional themes is sorrow. Most people have stories that can tug your heart strings and if you have musical ability you can put that story into a song. Sometimes when you're depressed it's good to know other people have had it rough as well and endured, so sad songs can soothe as well as make you morose. Thats a powerful ability.

1. Bruce Springsteen - "The River"

The Boss is the king of weaving tales from middle class America. Here he tells the story of a young couple forced into a life of mediocrity and routine, a far cry from their childhood hopes and dreams. I think I could listen to the opening harmonica sting on repeat forever. From start to finish "The River" takes you on a sob story, and by the end of it you're surprised to find yourself looking at your own life by comparison.

2. Beck - "Lost Cause"

Beck has an ability to craft songs of many styles and by doing so has had many successful albums. "Lost Cause" is a song I think most people can relate too. Holding on to a relationship that has lost its meaning; too many couples get caught up in obligation. Beck's slow drawl here encapsulates the feeling of that kind of enviroment.

3. Ben Folds Five - "Brick"

A very under appreciated talent, Ben Folds consistently releases wonderful albums with many solid tracks on them. "Brick" was an early hit for his band. According to Ben it's the story of bringing his girlfriend at the time to get an abortion. Don't think much else needs to be said.

4. Stabilo - "Beautiful Madness"

My first exposures to Stabilo did not result in a good impression. I didn't enjoy their singles and thought I was done with them. One day a friend of mine put on their CD Happiness and Disaster and I was floored. Honest, heart wrenching songs with wonderful music was happily received, made me wonder why they chose the singles they did. "Beautiful Madness" is another song about a crumbling relationship, many beers have been consumed while listening to the chords of this track.

5. Leona Naess - "Ballerina"

I love it when a woman can sing and play piano, thats always a plus one in my books. "Ballerina" is immediately a tear jerker. Upon first listening I was hoping it was about giving up a child for adoption, but it became painfully aware that she is singing about an abortion. Whether its an autobiographical story is unknown.

6. Carly Simon - "That's The Way I Always Heard It Should Be"

Carly Simon crafts a sombre tune about a girl realizing her parents are no longer in love and just in the relationship because, y'know, that's how it is. She then realizes it's happening to her. A wonderful song that never got the recognition it deserved.

7. Blink 182 - "Adam's Song"

Sophmoric and college-humour punk heroes Blink 182 turned the world on it's ear when they released "Adam's Song" in 2000. It was a fresh sound and theme from the typically light hearted California trio. While it's subject matter is controversial, at it's core it's an anti-suicide song. One of the survivors of the Columbine Massacre was found dead in his home from an apparent suicide, on a nearby stereo "Adam's Song" was playing on repeat.

8.  A Fine Frenzy - "Almost Lover"

Allison Sudol, a.k.a A Fine Frenzy, creates a lovely yet desperate plea for the one who got away. It's got a certain stillness of old photographs and crumpled up letters. I love the intensity in her voice as she sings "And so you're gone and I'm haunted; and i'm sure you're just fine". Great line.

9. Amy Winehouse - "Back To Black"

Maybe not the most conventional choice here, but it's a very well crafted song. Love or hate Amy Winehouse's media antics, she's got one hell of a voice, and it fits perfectly for this type of broke down, smokey night club lament.

10. Slipknot - "Snuff"

Slipknot's Corey Taylor has a real gift for writing lyrics and has a wonderful voice behind that mask. "Snuff" comes from their 2008 record All Hope Is Gone, not sure which is sadder the tone of the song, the lyrics about desertion and loss, or even the emmaculate riff during the gets better the second time it appears. The video is a masterpiece and tells an equally depressing tale, it was directed by the band's percussionist Shawn Crahan a.k.a #6 or Clown.

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