Re: The Most Depressing Song

1

I thought, canonically, it was "He Stopped Loving Her Today".


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 6:32 AM
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2

Ogged, your post on Jackson C. Frank from a billion years ago pretty much sums up this topic.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 6:42 AM
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3

I dunno, did it win the contest?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 6:45 AM
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4

Canonically it's "Gloomy Sunday" which was banned from the radio in several countries for causing suicides.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 6:47 AM
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5

Ring around the Rosie


Posted by: Annelid Gustator | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 6:53 AM
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6

I don't know whether it wins any contests, but Scott H. Biram's Broke Ass is pretty bleak.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 6:54 AM
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7

Van Zandt probably wins in Lifetime Depression Above Replacement Songwriter. His "Tecumseh Valley" had been one of my benchmark depressing songs but this one is pretty sere. In comparison "Waitin' Around to Die" is practically a barrel of laughs.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 7:08 AM
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8

If only someone had taught that guy to code.


Posted by: real ffeJ annaH | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 7:09 AM
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9

I like how the lyrics site is like "Are you sure you don't want to read the lyrics of Pitbull's Timber instead?"

The bigger they are, the harder they fall
This biggity boy's a diggity dog
I have 'em like Miley Cyrus, clothes off
Twerking in their bras and thongs, timber
Face down, booty up, timber
That's the way we like the what, timber
I'm slicker than an oil spill
She say she won't, but I bet she will, timber


Posted by: lemmy caution | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 7:40 AM
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10

"Hi! You seem to be looking for "depressing songs that will destroy your faith in humanity". Need some help?"


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 7:43 AM
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11

"Sunday Morning Coming Down" is a strong contender, I think. Although I'd never heard "Marie" before, and it's pretty harsh.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 7:46 AM
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12

This song would be better if he didn't have to rush the words of several lines.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 7:47 AM
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13

8 -> 12


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 8:00 AM
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14


This thread reminds me of the scene in Naked Gun where the distraught Leslie Nielsen character is listening to the radio station "WCRY - All Depressing, All the Time". That line is a recurring joke for Fleur and me whenever we hear consecutive sad songs on the radio.


Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 8:00 AM
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15

">God's song by Randy Newman for the sincere category.

How about songs that are depressing for their popularity?

Toby Keith's Courtesy of the Red White and Blue or the ouvre of Chief Keef, hard to choose.


Posted by: lw |
Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 8:16 AM
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16

Whoops, link fail on Randy Newman www.youtube.com/watch?v=vEKuGcmW70I


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 8:17 AM
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17

"Marie" is pretty depressing -- there's such a feeling of just giving up that does make me want to curl up into a ball. Compared to, say, "Hobo Bill's Last Ride" there's no distance -- Townes Van Zandt is fully committed to despair.

Thinking about depressing songs, it's interesting to figure out how to categorize classic country songs. The first time I heard, "The Year That Clayton Delaney Died" I thought the opening verse was pretty heavy:

I remember the year that Clayton Delaney died.
They said for the last two weeks that he suffered and cried.
That made a big impression on me, although I was a barefoot kid.
They said he got religion at the end, and I'm glad that he did.

But if you watch the video his delivery is completely matter-of-fact. It's just a slice-of-life story.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 8:18 AM
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18

For depressing Randy Newman songs, I think of, "Old Man"

Everyone has gone away Can you hear me? Can you hear me? No one cared enough to stay Can you hear me? Can you hear me? You must remember the old man I know that you can if you try So just open up your eyes old man Look who's come to say goodbye

The sun has left the sky old man
The birds have flown away
And no one came to cry old man
Goodbye old man goodbye

You want to stay I know you do
But it ain't no use to try
'Cause I'll be here-and I'm just like you
Goodbye, old man, goodbye


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 8:20 AM
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19

Let's just stipulate that poorly formatted text is depressing and further that I'm singlehandedly trying to reproduce the horrid-looking faux-gonzo typesetting that had been unfortunately ubiquitous in the mid-90s here with the limited facilities at my disposal. Please imagine this treatment for this comment.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 8:30 AM
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20

For depressing city songs, I like Newman's Baltimore, sung in a nasal near-monotone:

Beat-up little seagull
On a marble stair
Tryin' to find the ocean
Lookin' everywhere

Hard times in the city
In a hard town by the sea
Ain't nowhere to run to
There ain't nothin' here for free

Hooker on the corner
Waitin' for a train
Drunk lyin' on the sidewalk
Sleepin' in the rain

And they hide their faces
And they hide their eyes
'Cause the city's dyin'
And they don't know why

Oh, Baltimore
Man, it's hard just to live
Oh, Baltimore
Man, it's hard just to live, just to live

etc.


Posted by: bill | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 8:43 AM
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21

I call 20 and raise with I'm from New Jersey by John Gorka, also in a nasal mostly monotone:

I'm from New Jersey, I don't expect too much
If the world ended today, I would adjust.

I'm from New Jersey, no I don't talk that way
I watched too much TV when I was young

I'm from New Jersey, my mom's Italian
I've read those mafia books, we don't belong.


Girls from New Jersey who have that great big hair
They're found in shopping malls, I will take you there

I'm from New Jersey, it's not like Texas
There is no mystery, I can't pretend
I'm from New Jersey, it's like Ohio,
But even more so, imagine that

I know which exit, and where I'm bound,
Tolls on the parkway they will slow you down.


New Jersey people, they will surprise you
'Cause they're not expected to do too much
They will try harder, they may go further,
'Cause they never think that they are good enough

I'm from New Jersey, I don't expect too much
If the world ended today I would adjust

I would adjust;
I would adjust


Posted by: unimaginative | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 8:50 AM
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22

"Here Comes a Regular" by the Replacements is a contender.


Posted by: Chopper | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 8:55 AM
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23

"Don't Change Your Plans" by Ben Folds Five has to be pretty high up there.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 9:07 AM
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24

I'll endorse 23.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 9:30 AM
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25

"Here Comes a Regular" by the Replacements is a contender.

That helps me place the song about alcoholism that I had been trying to recall.

American Music Club -- "Sick Of Food." Not as despairing as Townes Van Zandt, but fairly depressing.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 10:39 AM
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26

"Our Town", Iris Dement.

Although "Marie" is pretty devastating. Also, anyone notice that Brian Setzer (!) cowrote it?


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 1:02 PM
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27

Having recently been through the subject matter, "Curbside" by Damien Jurado is not too far off.

I would come out just see you
Dancing freely by the sunset
Like the sun you'd shine brightly

We'd spend hours by the curbside
Telling stories under streetlights
How your words would amaze me

Now those days are gone
Slowly they'd slipped away
Now those days are gone
Slowly...

I still go out by the old house
Where I met you our first summer
Where are you now, you're with another

I am sitting by the curbside
Where we'd hang out under streetlights
How those times still are with me

Now those days are gone
Slowly they slip away
Now those days are gone
Slowly...

Anyway, you should probably just listen to it.


Posted by: Orbis Terrarum | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 5:05 PM
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28

"Ode to Billy Joe" is an oldie but goodie depression-inducing southern ballad.

"Pass the biscuits please."


Posted by: DaveLMA | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 5:36 PM
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29

23: well then I'll have to go see him play the Hollywood Bowl tomorrow night won't I.


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 6:00 PM
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30

29: I would normally say "hell yes!" but I see he's playing with Elvis Costello so... maybe?


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 6:08 PM
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31

28: And a quick search shows that Henry Kaiser's haunting cover (with dynamite singing by Cary Sheldon) is available (since just yesterday!*) on YouTube. Definitely recommend giving it a listen before it potentially gets scrubbed. A version I becoame aware of via neb (maybe indirectly).

... love that dirty water.

*Coupled with the sailing stones thing I seem to be experiencing a charmed sense of timing in blogspace.

Meatspace, not so much.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 6:12 PM
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32

18: I thought of Prine's "Hello In There" (and "Same Stone" even more so). But I think his delivery/sense of the songs is a bit too "clever" in both cases to be truly depressing.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 6:18 PM
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33

"Sam Stone"


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 6:27 PM
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34

Peter Gabriel's "Sledgehammer," because every time I hear it, I want to cry.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 8:56 PM
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35

Mazzy Star, "Look on Down from the Bridge"


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 9:01 PM
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36

Before the fifth verse I thought Townes Van Zandt was singing about the same Marie as in Chuck Berry's "Memphis Tennessee," now that would have been a depressing song.


Posted by: Todd | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 10:18 PM
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37

A vote for Jonathan Richman & the Modern Lovers' "Hospital."

Bleak, and sadder for coming from a determinedly happy singer.


Posted by: zb | Link to this comment | 09- 5-14 2:12 PM
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