My actual life has pretty much ceased to exist at this point, because all I’m really doing is thinking about, worrying about, planning, or writing DEMON POSSESSED. So, in lieu of post, have a list of the five songs that make me sad and emo and all that stuff. (Inspired by Caitlin Kittredge and Cherie Priest, who have both posted their own lists.)
Five Sad Songs (in no particular order):
1. “Cant’ Find My Way Home” by Blind Faith. Oh, man. It’s like the emo perfect storm; jangly guitars, falsetto singing, humming. That alone would be depressing enough, but add the lyrics about being wasted and unable to find one’s way home–which, you see, is a metaphor for LIFE and how we’re all just trying to find our way home, man–and you have a song guaranteed to make me feel sad, lonely, and small. Don’t get me wrong, I actually like the song. But there’s no doubt it’s a buzzkill; if I’m not already depressed it will get me there. (And if I am depressed, it’s the perfect accompaniment.)
2. “Gloomy Sunday” by Billie Holiday. Seriously? I cannot believe nobody’s mentioned this one yet. “Gloomy Sunday” was actually BANNED from the radio in Hungary (it was written there and originally recorded by someone who was not Billie Holiday) because of the suicides it incited; at least eighteen. In the US it was marketed as “the famous Hungarian suicide song” and at least two people were found dead of suicide with the lyrics in their pocket. Which is no surprise, really, if you’ve ever heard the song. “The shadows I live with are numberless”? “My heart and I have decided to end it all”? Seriously. Did they give away a free razorblade with the record?
The composer of “Gloomy Sunday” killed himself in 1968.
The website where I found the lyrics offers the song as a ringtone. I doubt it will work with my BlackBerry, but I am totally checking iTunes. Is that wrong of me?
3. “Drift Away” by Dobie Gray. Not the hideous cover version that came out a few years ago, that removed all of the raw emotional misery of Gray’s version, but this one. The real one. Which is about a man whose life is so awful he’s begging someone to play music so he can escape into it and not have to feel anymore. About someone who has nothing to believe in except music, and uses it as a crutch, the way we less emotionally healthy people use alcohol and opiates. I have no idea why Gray wasn’t a bigger star; I love his voice, I feel his pain, I think it’s a touching song. (What? This is my list, I can say what I want. I know a grown man, who used to deliberately cut himself onstage with his band, who cries when “Just Walk Away Renee” is played. Get your judgy hands off me, man!)
4. “Candle on the Water” by Helen Reddy. Hey, I can’t help it; I’m a child of the seventies. This is the incredibly sad love song from Pete’s Dragon, for those unfamiliar. We own a Disney CD, for the kiddies; hubs and I practically break each other’s fingers in our haste to hit the “skip track” button when this song comes on. It is a lovely song. Reddy has a beautiful voice. But geez…the schmaltz and the Deep Emotion and…oh, I don’t even know why. But if I let this one play I’ll be sobbing by the end of it. I’m a very sick woman, I think.
5. “Bad Day” by Samiam. Okay, I know. It’s kind of unfair including a song by an emo band. But I’ve always liked Samiam (I saw them in, oh gosh, 1992?). And a lot of their songs are in fact quite cheerful. This one isn’t. It starts out with seeing a dog hit by a car and runs into a litany of Bad Things and emotional isolation and how a Smile Would Look Wrong On My Face. If you can’t get in touch with your inner self-hating miseryguts while listening to this one…well, you’re probably entirely too cheery a person to hang out with me.
So there you go. I do have a much longer list, which includes almost the entire Bob Dylan and later Johnny Cash catalogs, along with some Hank Williams and, of course, Patsy Cline (I dare you to listen to Sweet Dreams and not cry; even if the lyrics don’t do it, that voice should, because I honestly believe Patsy was one of the greatest female vocalists–if not the greatest–who ever lived). But it felt a little like cheating to start throwing country music in there. I also didn’t put in songs which have been known to make me sad but don’t always, like “Angie” by the Rolling Stones or “Long as I Can See the Light” by CCR (which is based on a book, did you know that? A really good book; Moonfleet by J Meade Falkner.) Or any number of blues songs, or “Danny’s Song” by Ann Murray (is it supposed to be depressing? Who can tell with Ann Murray? She’s a slippery little sucker) or of course the entire long, boring, story-song Dan Fogelberg ouvre, which my parents used to make me listen to, and which makes me cry out of sheer appalled misery that such works were actually recorded and produced. Dan Fogelberg: oh, the humanity.
So. Go forth and produce your own lists now, and I will have news to post on Thursday.