Re: Laments

1

Bryan Adams excluded?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-11-09 10:35 PM
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When a father outlives his son.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 10-11-09 10:44 PM
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Strange you should say that. My first thought was this son's lament for his dying father.

Sonia Dada, Oh No, track 6


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 10-11-09 10:56 PM
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I suppose The Dismemberment Plan's "The City" is danceably sad.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 10-11-09 10:59 PM
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The saddest song was sung in 1762, in a village on the outskirts of Perugia, by a boy of eight. Ruffians, meaning only to put the fear of God into his grandfather, went too far and inflicted fatal wounds. They dispersed as the old man lay dying. The child had no siblings and both of his parents were gone, his mother having died in childbirth, and his father pressed into service in the army. As he listened, helpless, to the last dying moans of the man who raised him, he took down the violin he had just begun learning to play from the rough table where it sat, and joined a few keening tones to those of his grandfather, scraping slowly and awkwardly at first but gaining in assurance as he saw that it seemed to give some comfort to the dying man. When his soul had definitively fled this earth, the boy replaced the violin on the table, and it was then, and only then, that he sang his lament.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 10-11-09 11:09 PM
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My entry is "Elegy for Gump Worsley," by the Weakerthans.

But I'm pretty interested to see other choices.


Posted by: Adrienne | Link to this comment | 10-11-09 11:09 PM
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I thought everyone knew that.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 10-11-09 11:10 PM
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This song by my old downstairs neighbour is pretty sad, don't know about saddest.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 10-11-09 11:10 PM
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"Adagio for Strings" isn't a song and a fortiori isn't the saddest song.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 10-11-09 11:11 PM
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"You Are My Sunshine" and "My Darling Clementine" fall in my undeniably sad but ever present category of songs. Not sure about saddest ever.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 10-11-09 11:15 PM
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9: nosflow!


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 10-11-09 11:16 PM
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Just For Now is so pretty that it took me a long time to realize how grim the lyrics are.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 10-11-09 11:16 PM
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13

'You are My Sunshine" is a very sad song.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 10-11-09 11:17 PM
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Yes, Stanley?


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 10-11-09 11:17 PM
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10, 13: because of the second line's 'only'? Otherwise, I'm confused.


Posted by: Gabardine Bathyscaphe | Link to this comment | 10-11-09 11:21 PM
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14: Happy to see you encouraging sadness. That's all.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 10-11-09 11:25 PM
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15: The rest of the stanzas - the ones not commonly sung - are very sad.

For example:

"You told me once, dear, you really loved me
And no one else could come between.
But not you've left me and love another;
You have shattered all of my dreams"


Many of the other lyrics, though, are simply creepy in that stalker sort of way. For further perusal.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 10-11-09 11:26 PM
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This is a very sad performance of Hurt.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 10-11-09 11:30 PM
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I'm mad for sadness, as the title of a live CD whose two cover images depicted girls I was hot for, back when I bought the CD, has it.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 10-11-09 11:31 PM
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StrangeFruitMamatriedWhiskeyLullabyLouiseSamStone

"There's a hole in Daddy's Arm where the Money goes
Jesus died for nothing I suppose."

TvZ sounds sadder than he wrote, although waitin around to die is ok

I like the slow suicides like E Smith or Drake

Guy Madden made a whole movie


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 10-11-09 11:31 PM
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A serious suggestion.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 10-11-09 11:32 PM
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Streets of Laredo

This is a thread I could run with, but Mad Men has just made me too sad to troll.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 10-11-09 11:33 PM
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21 didn't open or something, Nico or Faithful?


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 10-11-09 11:34 PM
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21:Shit, Lou Reed. Of course.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 10-11-09 11:36 PM
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18 should not go unnoticed. I'm sure I've watched it before, but, whoa, yes. Watch.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 10-11-09 11:37 PM
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The saddest songs are never written, because the artists know we aren't worth the bother.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 10-11-09 11:39 PM
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Actually, I think the video in 18 sucks.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 10-11-09 11:41 PM
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Sometimes, opinions differ!


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 10-11-09 11:42 PM
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That part in that song where he sings that he's been sentenced to work in the mines and he'll not see daylight again and he'd rather hang. That part is sad, but now I have to remember which song it is.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 10-11-09 11:43 PM
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17: oh right. My mother sang us the chorus as a lullaby (I'm going to guess she doesn't know the rest of the lyrics...), so I firmly associate the song with happiness, but wow, yeah.


Posted by: Gabardine Bathyscaphe | Link to this comment | 10-11-09 11:44 PM
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(a) it's another iteration of the Kermit Does Something Unexpected idea that was unoriginal and tiresome the very first time it appeared.
(b) the guy doing kermt's voice sucks.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 10-11-09 11:44 PM
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He didn't even commit the crime, but he's black, you see, and it was a while back, when black people were commonly accused and found guilty of crimes they didn't commit.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 10-11-09 11:44 PM
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Thank god that doesn't happen any more.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 10-11-09 11:45 PM
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30: Yep, my mom used to wake me up with that song. Good memories. (Minus the having to get up part.)


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 10-11-09 11:48 PM
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8 - Wow, that song is sad.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 10-11-09 11:58 PM
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New York Mining Disaster 1941.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 10-11-09 11:59 PM
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Although "Streets of Laredo" is a strong contender too, as is "My Darling Clementine." Also "Bury Me Not on the Lone Prairie." Cowboy songs are sad.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 10-12-09 12:02 AM
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Relatedly, I just had to stop the tv show I'm watching, because I can't handle watching dramatized executions. I'd prefer not to cry tonight, thank you, and I already feel sick to my stomach knowing what's coming.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 10-12-09 12:03 AM
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"I am," I said to no one there, and no one heard at all, not even the chair.


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 10-12-09 12:06 AM
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I used to think "Look on Down from the Bridge" was the most depressing song I'd ever heard - not so much from the lyrics, which I don't remember, but from the combination of them and the tune itself - but that's not the same thing as sad.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 10-12-09 12:07 AM
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The awfulness of the music blaring from my landlord's house above this basement suggest that if I listen to the sad songs linked here I will be cheered.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 10-12-09 12:09 AM
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42

Fuck and Run.

The Divorce Song is also kinda shattering. "Then you know that the problem is you."


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 10-12-09 12:11 AM
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43

Jolene.
Ruby.


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 10-12-09 12:13 AM
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44

All these proposals are pathetic.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 10-12-09 12:15 AM
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"Strange Fruit," sad.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 10-12-09 12:21 AM
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46

Let's just list all the sad songs we can think of!


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 10-12-09 12:22 AM
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How did you know that was what I was doing? Dammit, you're too clever by far, nosflow.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 10-12-09 12:25 AM
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48

No song is sadder than the tears of a clown when no one's around.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 10-12-09 12:26 AM
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49

nosflow, what songs evoke a genuine twinge of sadness in you, the listener?

The songs I have listed make me go oooh. None of these did, which is why I didn't list them.

Though I was glad to see that "Tears in Heaven" didn't make that list.


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 10-12-09 12:27 AM
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re: 49

Hmm, that Spinner list starts well -- some good sad songs -- and then has a long stretch of meh interspersed with genuine shit. They don't even pick the saddest Sinatra song, there's about half a dozen sadder songs on 'Only the Lonely' alone!


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 10-12-09 12:39 AM
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38 Don't watch Kieslowski's Decalogue 5, but do see Decalogue 6, it's a nice romantic film about love. Talking about sad art experiences, I once spent two consecutive evenings at a film festival watching Decalogue 1-5 and then 6-10. Gotta keep away from sharp objects after that.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 10-12-09 12:56 AM
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This Ellington/Strayhorn piece is pretty sad even if Ben will probably say it isn't a song.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 10-12-09 1:00 AM
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Decalogue 6 was the only one I didn't particularly care for. 5 is the best film I've seen about capital punishment. For some reason, minor difference in pacing I guess, I liked it more than the long form version.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 10-12-09 1:03 AM
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And 10 is fun. You didn't leave the film festival happy?


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 10-12-09 1:03 AM
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Pathological greed, double crossing, and coerced kidney donation what's not to be happy about?

Going back to songs, I was rather surprised to see the one I linked to earlier by my old neighbour on the Spinner list - most are by much bigger stars.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 10-12-09 1:08 AM
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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QYEC4TZsy-Y


Posted by: Mr.B | Link to this comment | 10-12-09 2:20 AM
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57

In a slightly different context, someone here once mentioned Leonard Cohen's Alexandra Leaving, which might be in the running.


Posted by: cdm | Link to this comment | 10-12-09 3:05 AM
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I assumed that 21 was the song in 56, because bob's sinister misdirection.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 10-12-09 5:33 AM
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59

Speaking of Billy Strayhorn, "Sophisticated Lady" is very sad, as is "Lush Life".


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 10-12-09 5:45 AM
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60

"I Cover The Waterfront"?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-12-09 5:56 AM
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61

This thread would make a real gut-punch of a mix-tape.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 10-12-09 6:00 AM
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I once sought out a recording of Billie Holliday singing "Gloomy Sunday". I'd read about the song in 'Schindler's Ark'; supposedly it was so depressing that it prompted suicide epidemics wherever it was played, and was banned from the radio in several countries. I was feeling fairly cheerful at the time so thought it was worth taking the risk.

It wasn't that gloomy. I've heard worse.

I thought 12 was referring to the equally depressing song from Avenue Q.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 10-12-09 6:37 AM
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There are lots of sad songs, if we were making a sad mix-tape, I'd suggest:

Tom Waits - Soldier's Things


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 10-12-09 6:59 AM
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This longtime lurker presumes to be so bold as to suggest 2 candidates:

- Non Je Ne Regrette Rien - Edith Piaf

- Come Back to Me - Big Country

And sneaking in a classical piece: Górecki's Symphony of Sorrowful Songs.


Posted by: Sanguine Hibiscus | Link to this comment | 10-12-09 7:04 AM
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Yeah, that Gorecki works for me, although I sometimes feel that it's pushing the buttons a bit too blatantly. Nevertheless, despite that, it still works.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 10-12-09 7:08 AM
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I love Barber's Adiago for Strings.

I'll add Hello in There by John Prine and Sara by Bob Dylan. River by Joni Mitchell should gets some votes too.


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 10-12-09 7:12 AM
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Vivaldi's "Cessate, Omai Cessate" is I think intended to be very sad indeed, but between lyrics that scan like embarrassing high school poetry and the sheer goofiness of watching (and listening to, of course ) a countertenor sing them, it was hard to really fully embrace the desired mood.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-12-09 7:14 AM
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68

When I think of sad songs I tend to think of Mark Eitzel/American Music Club. Two particularly sad ones -- "Blue and Grey Shirt" and "The Thorn in my Side is Gone'.

But really the saddest song I ever heard was one I just heard once on the radio during a request hour -- the dj was clearly very surprised at the request and asked to make sure the guy wasn't kidding -- "Tell Laura I Love Her" -- it is sad in every way.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 10-12-09 7:15 AM
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69

Spinner's 25 Most Exquisitely Sad Songs in the World


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10-12-09 7:15 AM
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I tend to think of Mark Eitzel/American Music Club

68: Me too. I was thinking "Blue and Grey Shirt" and Mission Rock".


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10-12-09 7:17 AM
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Sanguine Hibiscus

This (de-lurkified!) pseud cracks me up. "Oh boy. Maybe I'll get some sun today!"

It takes very little to amuse me.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 10-12-09 7:17 AM
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"Romulus", Sufjan Stevens


Posted by: mark f | Link to this comment | 10-12-09 7:23 AM
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Coltrane's "Alabama"


Posted by: Light Rail Tycoon | Link to this comment | 10-12-09 7:29 AM
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Hello in There by John Prine

Oh yes.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 10-12-09 7:31 AM
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Beck's Sea Change is a very sad Cd. Lost Cause deserves some votes.


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 10-12-09 8:06 AM
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re: 67

Similarly, Handel's "Lascia, La Spina".

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0qv88wKEA5M


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 10-12-09 8:57 AM
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77

I find Gary Jules' cover of "Mad World" quite evocative and somewhat sad.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 10-12-09 8:59 AM
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I am sure that this is (further) proof that I am a bad person, but songs like "Tell Laura I Love Her" crack me up. All those 60s tragic teenage liebestod songs just slay me.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 10-12-09 9:01 AM
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Billie Holiday's "Dont worry bout me does it for me.

Shostakovich's string quartet #8 is overwhelming-- I like his string quartets but that one's too much for me.

One more for "You Are My Sunshine"


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 10-12-09 9:01 AM
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I once made a saddest songs ever mix. I'm trying to remember what was on it not Casimir Pulaski Day by Sufjan Stevens b/c it wasn't released yet but there was:
Knoxville Girl/ the Louvin Brothers
She's Losing It/Belle and Sebastian
That's the Way Love Turned Out for me/Ry Cooder
The End of The Rainbow/Richard Thompson
that last is a stone cold bummer, maybe the saddest ever.


Posted by: alameida | Link to this comment | 10-12-09 9:02 AM
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81

You know what song is sad as shit? "Puff the Magic Dragon". I mean, damn.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-12-09 9:09 AM
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Is it the narrator of Galatea 2.2 who says that the adagio of Mozart's Clarinet Concerto is the saddest music ever written? It is damn close.

"Sea Anemone" by Jets to Brazil is a very sad song about the first night spent in a hotel room post breaking up with someone you live with.

and it's so nice/sleeping here all alone/with my ashtray and/white courtesy telephone/now I'm making out the shapes/like the shower rod - can it take my weight?


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 10-12-09 9:13 AM
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Yeah, I've made saddest mixes. A lot of the songs on them don't actually make me sad, though, even though they are beautiful, melancholic pieces of music.

J/ason Ma/cPhail -- Glasgow scenester/DJ and guy behind this band used to run a club night [T/ eardrops at the 13th note] that was basically all about melancholic music. Said club played a role in the formation of the second of the bands mentioned in alameida's 80 [and his band features various members of B&S, too]. Amazing guest artists, too -- he had D/ an P/ enn playing there, etc.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 10-12-09 9:13 AM
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77: That is sad. I'd heard it before, but I never knew who it was by.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 10-12-09 9:24 AM
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WIth Bill Evans, the one that makes the heart swell a bit is this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QNpNvtMQfNc

Bonus points for the 'none more BBC' introduction.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 10-12-09 9:24 AM
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Similar to the OP, I find this piece by Philip Glass (String Quartet No. 5, 4th Movement) heartrending:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lrpxSmTzFYM

I never felt I "got" Glass until I heard #5. Not sure I do now, but I do like it.


Posted by: mike d | Link to this comment | 10-12-09 9:27 AM
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Shit, just remembered another personal heart-breaker.

Bach's - Capriccio on the Departure of his most Beloved Brother, BWV 992.

Specifically, the guitar transcription by Enno Voorhorst.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 10-12-09 9:35 AM
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Sad songs, they say so much. So turn them on! Turn them on! Turn on those sad songs.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10-12-09 9:47 AM
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85: [Mad World]I'd heard it before, but I never knew who it was by.

Chances are you heard that version in (or in association with) Donnie Darko. Originally by Tears for Fears, but their version has a very different mood.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 10-12-09 9:47 AM
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Johnny Cash has a couple--"Give My Love to Rose," "Mary of the Wild Moor"--that get me every time. "Leah" by Roy Orbison is a tearjerker too.


Posted by: Chopper | Link to this comment | 10-12-09 9:48 AM
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91

For that matter, Hank Williams' "I'm so Lonesome I Could Die" will get me too.


Posted by: Chopper | Link to this comment | 10-12-09 9:51 AM
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92

This is super cheesy of me, but "Leaving On A Jet Plane" makes me sad, out of loyalty for tweenie Heebie who found it extremely sad at summer camp.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10-12-09 9:52 AM
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93

Jacques Brel: "Ne me quitte pas." Because you just know she's going to quitte him despite his pleading.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 10-12-09 9:58 AM
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I think we need sad mixes to be uploaded.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 10-12-09 9:58 AM
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92: The only version I can hear in my head is the Me First and the Gimme Gimmes one. It cracks me up.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 10-12-09 10:00 AM
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I'm just starting this thread from the beginning but Bob's 20 and 22 both contain good suggestions.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 10-12-09 10:01 AM
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97

I remember listening to "Come Back" by The Go while wandering around Reykjavik a few years ago and feeling rather more alone than I usually do.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 10-12-09 10:02 AM
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I think we need sad mixes to be uploaded.

Bonus points to the person who uploads a mix titled Tissue Times and Laments in honor of the current sidebar.

Also, DS's Mix of Sorrow is still in heavy rotation on my iPod. I guess I can go looking for that link.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 10-12-09 10:03 AM
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99

For some reason Joni Mitchell's "California" is nearly unbearably sad to me. I usually hear it when I'm not in California.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 10-12-09 10:04 AM
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100

"I heard she threw that letter away."


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 10-12-09 10:04 AM
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101

99: Oh, the song from the credits of The OC?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10-12-09 10:06 AM
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"He Stopped Loving Her Today" is actually not very sad-making because it's so over the top.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10-12-09 10:06 AM
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103

"We'll be riding Wildfire"


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 10-12-09 10:08 AM
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81: "Puff the Magic Dragon" made me cry in music class in elementary school, because it made me feel so nostalgic about my childhood. Damn, I was precocious!


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 10-12-09 10:08 AM
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101.---Oh Christ, do they use that song? That seems somehow sacrilegious.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 10-12-09 10:08 AM
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106

A terrible sad song.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-12-09 10:09 AM
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107

Sorry, that should be "terribly". It's anything but terrible.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-12-09 10:09 AM
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108

If we're going beyond English and instrumental and into those weird foreign gibberish things:

Kayah/Bregovic Trudno Kochac


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 10-12-09 10:10 AM
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93: In the Frenchy vein, Gainsbourg's "Je suis venu te dire que je m'en vais" is pretty good-n-sad. But the songs from the point of view of the dump-er can likely never be as sad.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 10-12-09 10:17 AM
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109.---I couldn't find a good version of that song on Youtube. The version I remember has the cheesy overdubbing of sobbing, which has always sort of spoiled the effect for me. I like the melody, though.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 10-12-09 10:20 AM
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110: Ha! I was going to mention that. The cheezy overdubbed sobbing is, in fact, incredibly fucking cheezy and effect ruining. Such a pretty song otherwise, though. ("Ouais je suis au regret de te dire que je m'en vais. Oui je t'aimais, oui mais . . ..")


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 10-12-09 10:25 AM
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112

What about songs like Vietnam or I Should Be Proud? I feel like their are some very sad anti-war songs, but I don't have specific ideas. Let me think about this.

Looking through my archives I see that this was the last song to make me cry, but it isn't really a sad song.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 10-12-09 10:25 AM
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+1 for My Darling Clementine. Another real depressing one is The Band Played Waltzing Matilda. Nothing like some more-pointless-than-most war to really liven things up.


Posted by: water moccasin | Link to this comment | 10-12-09 10:29 AM
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"Ouais je suis au regret de te dire que je m'en vais."

Gainsbourg is so good at repurposing bureaucratic language. "Quand Marilou danse reggae...Salutations distinguées..."


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 10-12-09 10:31 AM
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115

Another real depressing one is The Band Played Waltzing Matilda.

Gosh yes.

The Pogues version is fantastic. I think of that as more angry than sad, but it is depressing.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 10-12-09 10:33 AM
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Frenchy channeling Emerson, Georges Brassens Il n'y a pas d'amour heureux Not my favorite version, but that's Youtube for you.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 10-12-09 10:35 AM
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115: I saw Kinky Freedman do it live once (aw, at the late, lamented Lounge Ax), and he got the twangy-triste mix just right.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 10-12-09 10:37 AM
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113: In that vein, Motörhead's "1916" is pretty fucking sad, too.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 10-12-09 10:40 AM
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117: Actually, come to think of it, that was a damn weird show. There were two shows that night, on two different bills, but we decided to go to both, and since CA was friends with one of the waitresses we didn't have to leave and pay again. Kinky came on first and the crowd was white middle-aged yuppies (and us, then in our 20s) and they shushed me during an encore performance of "Ride 'Em, Jewboy."
The second show -- filled with grubby rugrats like us -- was My Dad Is Dead -- man, I loved them.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 10-12-09 10:41 AM
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Most Will Oldham songs circa 1998-1999. Felt, "All The People I Like Are Those That Are Dead."


Posted by: Criminally Bulgur | Link to this comment | 10-12-09 10:45 AM
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95: That version and the one from Armageddon are fighting it out to see which one is the dominant version in my mind.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 10-12-09 10:45 AM
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I'll nominate "No Surprises" by Radiohead.


Posted by: paranoid android | Link to this comment | 10-12-09 10:48 AM
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121: Heh. I was going to make an Armageddon joke, but I kept getting cognitive interference from the movie's Aerosmith song. Aaaaand, now that Aerosmith song is stuck in my head. Crap.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 10-12-09 10:49 AM
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I think that I've mentioned it here before but my saddest song is "Some Sinatra" by Secret Stars.

The best self-consciously pathetic sad song, for when you're too sad to even fight against your own clichéd pitifulness, is "Enjoy Your Day" by Alkaline Trio.


Posted by: Jimmy Pongo | Link to this comment | 10-12-09 10:55 AM
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The coda to Syd Barrett's "Opel" always kills me, though I think it's mostly effected through the admixture of the music and my knowledge of how far gone he was into his descent into a permanent acid casualty when he recorded it.


Posted by: Criminally Bulgur | Link to this comment | 10-12-09 10:56 AM
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Quickie 'sad mix':

http://www.sendspace.com/file/mee35f

Some good stuff, I think. Incl. stuff I've already mentioned. MP3s have correct tags and track order.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 10-12-09 10:56 AM
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"I See A Darkness" by Bonnie Prince Billy.


Posted by: Belle Lettre | Link to this comment | 10-12-09 11:03 AM
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The folk song "Babes in the Wood". The bit when the robins come and cover them with leaves is just shattering.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 10-12-09 11:04 AM
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If we're talking Gainsbourg, I'd put Cargo Culte up there on the list of great sad songs, as well as great pop songs ever period.

Although it just occurred to me that you can easily read the whole Melody Nelson as an attempt to set Roman Polanski's point of view to music.


Posted by: robert halford | Link to this comment | 10-12-09 11:06 AM
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I think "Atlantic City" by Bruce Springsteen is the saddest song.


Posted by: lemmy caution | Link to this comment | 10-12-09 11:07 AM
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Iris Dement's "Our Town." First time I ever heard it I was lying in bed on a Saturday morning. Still surprised that I ever got up again.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 10-12-09 11:08 AM
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Aaaaand, now that Aerosmith song is stuck in my head. Crap.

COMMENT FAIL


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 10-12-09 11:09 AM
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Emmylou Harris, "Boulder to Birmingham".


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 10-12-09 11:13 AM
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I forgot to mention Fat by the Violent Femmes. Surely that is incredibly sad as well.


Posted by: Sanguine Hibiscus | Link to this comment | 10-12-09 11:15 AM
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Oh yeah. "Our Town" is tremendously sad. I love it, though, and sing it fairly often.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 10-12-09 11:15 AM
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129: He is so perved out (and Birkin on that album cover, aiaiai), but oh I do love him. "Et je garde cette espérance d'un désastre aérien qui me ramènerait Melody, mineure détournée de l'attraction des astres."


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 10-12-09 11:21 AM
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130: but the Hank III version is sort of sad but in an upbeat way that renders it completely non-depressing.

121 is even sadder than The Band Played Waltzing Matilda.


Posted by: water moccasin | Link to this comment | 10-12-09 11:22 AM
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Ah hmm that version is missing the key verse. Odd. Point still stands though. Wayward Drifter also has a pretty good air of melancholy about it.


Posted by: water moccasin | Link to this comment | 10-12-09 11:28 AM
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River by Joni Mitchell should gets some votes too.

iirc my good friend described "Circle Game" as a song for pulling the car into the garage and closing the door behind you. Scanning the lyrics, it's not even all that bad - mostly implicit.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 10-12-09 11:33 AM
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136, Yeah, I'd really put those lines up there with the best pop lyrics ever, and I don't think that's just the francophilia talking.


Posted by: robert halford | Link to this comment | 10-12-09 11:34 AM
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You know what song is sad as shit? "Puff the Magic Dragon". I mean, damn.

Shit yes. They played that on the radio the other day cos of Mary Travers, and I got choked up doing dishes, and AB totally made fun of me. But it's really sad! Johnny Paper gives up on youth and innocence and joy, and so Puff effectively dies, and then becomes a gunship in Vietnam. I'm tearing up right now.

Can we have a more cheerful thread?


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 10-12-09 11:35 AM
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re: 140

Up there with this?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ctP61EFeLdo&feature=related

[Prob. my favourite lyrics ever in that vein]


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 10-12-09 11:39 AM
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Johnny Paper gives up on youth and innocence and joy, and so Puff effectively dies,

Yeah, it always had an awful Giving Tree kinda vibe.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 10-12-09 11:39 AM
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Further to 142, there's something just _formally_ brilliant about the construction of that song, too.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 10-12-09 11:39 AM
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Can we have a more cheerful thread?

Ask and you shall receive.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 10-12-09 11:41 AM
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Although this is a better performance:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FG0-cncMpt8&feature=related


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 10-12-09 11:42 AM
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Also, I have no personal emotion for California, but Joni's line "That was just a dream some of us had" just kills me. The entire lost promise of the 60's in one line.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 10-12-09 11:50 AM
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I don't listen to sad songs. Songs of deep emotional vulnerability are sad enough for me. "Girl In The War", "There is a Light That Never Goes Out", "I Wish I Was A Girl", that sort of thing.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 10-12-09 11:54 AM
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140 is a great song, but for me doesn't have the wordplay that makes Gainsbourg so great, or obv the orchestration/production of the Melody Nelson album which I find adds a lot. Just a question of taste!

I agree that Bill Evans does sad really, really well.

Interesting that so many of the selections here are basically in the same genre from folks who influenced each other: Iris DeMent/John Prine/Emmylou Harris/Nebraska-era Springsteen.


Posted by: robert halford | Link to this comment | 10-12-09 12:20 PM
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127 - Or with bonus dying gravel-voiced man pathos.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 10-12-09 12:23 PM
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the wordplay that makes Gainsbourg so great

Yes, that is it for me, too. "Ouais, elle en avait des tonnes, mais ses jours étaient comptés: quatorze automnes, et quinze étés."


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 10-12-09 12:24 PM
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John Prine gets on my nerves. Nobody who makes such a big deal of lovin' old dawgs and front porches can be entirely trustworthy. If I didn't keep getting him confused with John Hiatt I'd probably dislike him even more.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 10-12-09 12:24 PM
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I'm not sure they could take the field, but surely Stephin Merritt's ouevre needs representation. Unfortunately, "Candy" doesn't seem to be even quasi-legitimately online.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 10-12-09 12:32 PM
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Bold Fenian Men by Barry Reynolds.


Posted by: shpx.ohfu | Link to this comment | 10-12-09 12:34 PM
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The last tune of this mix is pretty good, maybe not the saddest ever but down low, especially "sit it out":

http://daptonerecords.podbean.com/2009/02/26/love-has-passed-me-by-by-the-custodian-of-soul/

Barbara Lynn
Until Then

Some day I'm gonna be happy
You just wait and see
Some people don't treat a dog, baby
Like you do me

ch: One day my day will come
And you'll be the lonely one
But until then I'll suffer
Until then I'll suffer
Until then I'll suffer

But one thing I can say
I've been a good woman
I've done everything for you
Now I'm tired of my doings

ch.

But one thing for sure
You can't say I didn't try
So honey,
I think I'll, I think I'll sit it out
Until, until I can do better
Mm hmm
I have to take what I can get
All of our friends tell me
They say it's you I should forget

ch.


Posted by: W. Kiernan | Link to this comment | 10-12-09 1:00 PM
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152:Prine is more acoustic. You should add Gorka and McMurtry to that list. JJ Cale & John Stewart, maybe.

Pete Hamill "Over" and John Martyn's "Grace and Danger" are darkclassic breakup records

"When I began I was full of altruistic dreams,
believed in princes and princesses, kings and queens
-
now I find they're all human inside,
all bitterness and pride,
so why shouldn't I be like that too?
It seems that I've forgotten all I tried so hard to learn;
It seems there's not an ounce of love or trust
anywhere in the world.

Friends - they're all harbouring knives
to embed in your back our of revenge, or spite,
or indifference, or lack of other things to do -
in the end who's going to be a friend for you
when they kick you in the guts as your hand
holds out the pearl?
It seem that there is nothing left but
hatred and lust in the world.

I don't give a damn anymore - I've only wound up betrayed.
It's all been absolutely worthless -
all the efforts I've made to be gentle and kind
are repaid with contempt,
degraded by sympathy, and worthless kindness
and love that isn't meant.
I'm through with joy and company, I've done with pretty words,
betrayed... there's no hiding place
Anywhere in the world.
I've nothing left to fight for except making my passion heard -
I don't believe in anything
Anywhere in the world"

PH, "Betrayed", typical of the album

I guess angry or bitter isn't necessarily sad.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 10-12-09 2:13 PM
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Takes a lot of idealism, lot of care, to get that cynical.

In my darker moments I consider these sad songs kinda sweet, smile to myself, and walk the dogs. Disappointment is even sillier than hope.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 10-12-09 2:20 PM
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John Prine gets on my nerves. . . . If I didn't keep getting him confused with John Hiatt I'd probably dislike him even more.

I have a similar feeling. He reminds me of Dylan, but mostly I don't enjoy his music notwithstanding how much I like Dylan (and most John Hiatt, too).


Posted by: Idealist | Link to this comment | 10-12-09 2:20 PM
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"What is this that stands before me?
Figure in black which points at me
Turn around quick, and start to run
Find out I'm the chosen one
Oh nooo!

Big black shape with eyes of fire
Telling people their desire
Satan's sitting there, he's smiling
Watches those flames get higher and higher
Oh no, no, please God help me!"

Is this a sad song?


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 10-12-09 2:26 PM
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Brel's 'Au suivant' and 'Ces gens-la' make me cry every time. But I'm not sure that 'sad' is the proper adjective.


Posted by: U. Awl | Link to this comment | 10-12-09 3:33 PM
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Ooh, Coltrane's "Alabama" was a good call, I wouldn't have thought of that, but yes indeedy.

"Last Goodbye" by what'shisname, the pretty dead kid, always makes me well up a little, even though I don't actually know the lyrics. Maybe they're sunny.

Pretty much all of Debussy's slow-tempo piano music makes me sad in trapped-indoors-on-a-rainy-day kind of way, or maybe a nostalgic-for-things-that-never-actually-happened kind of way, but I'm usually doing it to myself on purpose. Ditto Nick Drake.


Posted by: piminnowcheez | Link to this comment | 10-12-09 3:35 PM
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I like John Prine, but it's because my dad loves him. Paradise makes me tear up every time.

Klaus Nomi singing The Cold Song.

The Song to the Moon from Rusalka (trite, I know).


Posted by: winna | Link to this comment | 10-12-09 3:46 PM
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While we're mentioning Eric Bogle--everyone knows "And The Band Played Waltzing Matilda", but there are many others. Even his funny songs always seem to have something awful happen in them. "No Man's Land" has always struck me as more angry than anything, but "A Reason for It All" is enormously sad.


Posted by: y | Link to this comment | 10-12-09 4:14 PM
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Confession time - I've never gotten the charm of Gainsbarre. I've tried a bunch of times over the past twenty odd years, and nope, nothing.

160
I was going to mention Au Suivant and Les Vieux as two very depressing songs that aren't about heartbreak


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 10-12-09 4:53 PM
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I never used to regard "Turn Around" as even all that memorable, let alone sad, but the last few years have changed my mind. The linked version is sung by Nanci Griffith; the images are someone's slideshow of his (?) daughter.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 10-12-09 5:12 PM
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And I've probably linked this before, but Roly Salley's "Killing the Blues," is an old beloved. (The Shawn Colvin version on YouTube is slower than her album version and I think not quite as good. It got well-known again not that long ago when Robert Plant and Alison Krauss recorded it.)


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 10-12-09 5:35 PM
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157: Yeah. Anything from the Sixties is sad. Fifty years does that.


Posted by: Biohazard | Link to this comment | 10-12-09 5:52 PM
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101: "California" from the opening credits of The O.C. is by "Mates of State", not Joni Mitchell.


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 10-12-09 6:36 PM
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156, 157:

I guess angry or bitter isn't necessarily sad.

Takes a lot of idealism, lot of care, to get that cynical.

No, it isn't. Yes, it does. Geez, bob, don't make me sad.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 10-12-09 6:43 PM
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pardon the "extra" quotation marks.


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 10-12-09 6:46 PM
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Something a bit different, a classic eighties Polish rock song by the group Kult, entitled 'Polska'. They were allowed to perform it, but no album recording. It's not explicitly political just about pollution, drunks, Catholic hypocrisy, dirt, ugliness and all around alienation.

Polska


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 10-12-09 6:57 PM
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Chan Marshall practically invented her own outsider-art form of the dirge and Cat Power don't get a mention from nobody on a thread like this? "He Turns Down" and "Names" have to be two of the most crushingly sad songs ever recorded. "Nude as the News" is in there, too, not least because there's a touch of optimism in it whose inevitable annihilation makes it that much more painful.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 10-12-09 7:24 PM
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(Also, "He War," for the same reasons as "Nude as the News.")


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 10-12-09 7:25 PM
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There's probably a related category for songs that are heartbreaking because they describe an actual tragedy. I know we've talked about Cold Missouri Waters before.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 10-12-09 7:47 PM
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Whoops, 174 was me.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 10-12-09 7:47 PM
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Thank you, Teraz, for showing me the original source material for one of the classic mashups available here!


Posted by: Cryptic nemd | Link to this comment | 10-12-09 7:48 PM
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The Weakerthans' "Bigfoot!" is sad.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 10-12-09 7:59 PM
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[Emerges bleary-eyed from a massive Jacques Brel YouTube binge.]


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 10-12-09 8:07 PM
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ttam, that mix is really good. thanks.


Posted by: robert halford | Link to this comment | 10-12-09 8:12 PM
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Today, probably because it is the first really cool gray fall day, every song is the saddest song. I was on a long Amtrak ride, listening to music and weeping into the window most of the way. Le sigh. Oh fall.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 10-12-09 8:18 PM
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177: Plea From a Cat Named Virtute has to be the all-time most achingly sweet song sung to a depressed guy by his cat.


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 10-12-09 8:18 PM
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181: I like that song, but I know a lot of Weakerthans fans who would punt it. I guess it's a getting-over-the-whole-cat-perspective thing.

As a counter-example of sad songs, I don't really find The Decemberists' "Eli, the Barrow Boy" to be a sad song. It's a sad story but not a sad song.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 10-12-09 8:31 PM
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Oh, wow, ttaM's mix is great. I just now got around to downloading it. You have my edutitarGcM.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 10-12-09 9:26 PM
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72: I'll second "Names".

I've been depressing myself over the weekend listening to a song from the new Mountain Goats album. It's sung from the point of view of the last members of three extinct species. I seriously got a little teary-eyed when the meaning of the lyrics first hit me.


Posted by: briefly visible | Link to this comment | 10-12-09 9:51 PM
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What's the saddest Smog song? I'm making a mix, and actually, "I Break Horses," though possibly the technically saddest, might sort of break past sad and into really really oversad for the purposes of my wistful-ennui-type mix. Will probably use "Feather by Feather" instead.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 10-12-09 9:55 PM
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Also, "Teenage Spaceship" seems a bit much. That Smog, totes overdoing it.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 10-12-09 9:58 PM
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184: There's a new Mountain Goats album? I should go look that up. Thanks, briefly visible.

Also, you should know that "Lightning Sausage" is available as a more permanent commenting handle. "Wry Cooter", too.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 10-12-09 10:01 PM
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187.2: I thought maybe if I stuck around long enough I could just graduate to "persistently visible".


Posted by: briefly visible | Link to this comment | 10-12-09 10:13 PM
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188: Consider yourself matriculated. Now we'll just need to see humbledly-bum comments per week and some naked photos. (I mean, you did say persistently visible.)


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 10-12-09 10:17 PM
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"From Clare To Here", Nanci Griffith.
"I'd Rather Dance With You", Kings Of Convenience (arguably)

and the saddest and best Joni Mitchell song:
"The Last Time I Saw Richard"

Richard got married to a figure skater
and he bought her a dishwasher and a coffee percolator
and he sits at home most nights now with the TV on and all the houselights left up bright
...
only a dark cocoon before I get my gorgeous wings and fly away
only a phase, these dark cafe days


Posted by: dz | Link to this comment | 10-12-09 10:26 PM
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190: links? We're lazy. Or at least I am.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 10-12-09 10:47 PM
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I'm enjoying ttaM's songs, so by way of reciprocation here and
here is a lamentational mix. (Some of the tunes have probably appeared in a few earlier mixes, some haven't -- mostly it's just an excuse to upload the Broken Social Scene version of Puff the Magic Dragon.)

A Call To Those Who Stuffer Still
00. The Ocean on His Shoulders (Anon)
01. Green Grass (Tom Waits)
02. It Was a Very Good Year (Nimoy & Shatner)
03. Me & The Minibar (The Dresden Dolls)
04. The Endless Sea (Iggy Pop)
05. Silent Shout (The Knife)
06. Dirge (Death in Vegas)
07. Dawn Chorus (Boards of Canada)
08. The River (Atmosphere)
09. Dance of Sulphur (Scout Niblett)
10. The Long Goodbye (A Girl Called Eddy)
11. Suicide is Painless (Lady & Bird)
12. The Point of it All (Amanda Palmer)
13. Natasha (Rufus Wainwright)
14. Today Your Love, Tomorrow... (John Frusciante)
15. Sad Sexy (Dirty Three)
16. Setting Sun (Howling Bells)
17. Puff the Magic Dragon (Broken Social Scene)
18. Children's Games (Alan Pasqua Trio)


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 10-12-09 11:05 PM
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(it's "Suffer" not "Stuffer")


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 10-12-09 11:06 PM
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I'm not two songs in and DS has something special here. Sad people, you lot. This is great, DS.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 10-12-09 11:41 PM
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191: as requested (although I don't know how to do the html...):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BVFJ0Z-OTqo
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C9r9sQ6PHOM
http://www.imeem.com/comlagmatt/music/IR45YWsO/joni-mitchell-the-last-time-i-saw-richard/


Posted by: dz | Link to this comment | 10-13-09 1:07 AM
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re: 192

Thanks, DS.

Also, re: Cat Power -- I nearly put her version of James Brown's "Lost Someone" in [partly because I only have Brown's version in non-digital media].


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 10-13-09 3:58 AM
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I'm not sure why I care, but the OC's "California" was by Phantom Planet. (I can't view it at work, but that link should be right.) Mates of State did do a cover of that song, which I heard them play on TAL, but I don't think they've ever officially recorded it.


Posted by: Jimmy Pongo | Link to this comment | 10-13-09 4:03 PM
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songs aren't 'sad' i don't think.

maybe morbid or nostalgic. or something. they don't make me feel worse, except like really annoying songs which just make me feel annoyed.

songs like these make me just feel awake or intensely, not 'sad'.

sort of like eating peppers or something, maybe.
i think sad is a synonym for boredom for me.


yeah i think nostalgic is the closest emotion i have to hwat you plural are talking about. which mention of OC reminds me of 'youth group - forever young'. how about go betweens - quiet heart.

i mean i think i've cried from a song before, but not in the same dysphoric way of depression+too much etoh+insufficient distraction

also the verve - history.
rem - electrolite

i think the saddest i ever remember was in high school, and i went homed and listednto ok computre. mayeb that is what this means.


also, some of these suggestions seem to be much higher on empathy and self awareness, and lower on narcissism, than my picks:
I find 'perfect day' and 'she's losing it' to be smiling inducing.
If i'm going to be sad, its about ME, baby. so something like red house painters. or the smiths - i remember someone saying you can't really enjoy morrisey properly if you didn't feel yourself to alienated in spite/because of being beautiful person


Posted by: yoyo | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 4:25 AM
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Oh man, are you people unfamiliar with the concept of sad songs?

* All I want is you - Carly Simon --- truly scary lyrics about obsessive love for a wife beater

* Travelin' Soldier - Dixie Chicks (also Mary by the same group) The first is your basic anti-war so a little too easy, perhaps. Mary on the other hand is all over the place --- WTF is this song about?

* Woman walk the line - Emmylou Harris --- all the sadder for being so obviously biographical. Sweet Chariot, Strong Hand, Sonny are all other great tearjerkers from Emmylou.

* The Gods love Nubia from Aida --- Africa's been unhappy for over 2500 years, and it's all there in that song.

* Deportee --- Woody Guthrie's classic about the mercy the US has always shown to its southern neighbor. All thinking people agree that Judy Collins' version is by far the best.

* Pretty much every song on Miss Saigon --- oh shut up, I don't care what you say about derivative commercialism, I cannot listen to that soundtrack without going through thirty tissues. Honorable mention goes to Les Mis

* There's some pretty miserable stuff in Neil Young's repertoire, especially Cortez and Rust Never Sleeps.

* And, of course, huge swathes of Leonard Cohen, but if I had to choose one song, it would be Anthem.


Posted by: Maynard Handley | Link to this comment | 10-18-09 2:57 PM
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Oh man, and how could I forget Tom Waits' Tom Traubert's Blues?


Posted by: Maynard Handley | Link to this comment | 10-18-09 2:58 PM
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Oh man, are you people unfamiliar with the concept of sad songs?

Huh? It would appear people who have commented on this thread are very much not unfamiliar with the concept of sad songs.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 10-18-09 3:03 PM
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Yoyo gets what I was getting at in 148. I meant to mention nostalgia as well, being the closest thing to sadness that I appreciate. "Electrolite" wopuld have been my 4th example.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 10-18-09 3:09 PM
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