Thursday, August 7, 2008

All I wanted was to sing the saddest song #3

I've never acknowledged the AV Club's list of sad songs as the inspiration for this. I really should have. I don't agree with all of the choices, but I spent the night I read it listening to my selections and choking up. In the spirit of that, this is an unthemed list.

  1. Billy Bragg - Between the Wars. There's a core of hope in this song, but its deep there. Mostly, its a resigned hymn, with flashes of defiance. Even the anthem-y part at the end "Call out a craftsman/ bring me a draftsman/build me a path..." ends in the wary plea of "sweet moderation/heart of this nation/ desert us not/ we are between the wars." The spare guitar and Bragg's nasal Essex voice add to the melancholy.
  2. Tom Smith - A Boy and His Frog. I think it was Randy Milholland from Something Positive who said that if you don't tear up when you hear this, you don't have a soul. It's so sad, that the video on youtube is flagged as "inappropriate to minors.
  3. Elliot Smith - Miss Misery. Saying that Elliot Smith writes the occasional sad song is like saying that you'd prefer not to be punched in the sack. Regardless, Miss Misery is the song that comes unbidden into one's head when one can't get out of bed in the morning, or can't put the vodka back in the freezer at night.
  4. Ben Folds Five - Cigarette. That sandpaper feeling behind his eyes. That's what I always think of when I hear this song. Fred Jones is so tired, and so sad, and so worried. It's a perfect vignette.
  5. Wilco - I am trying to break your heart. This is another song tied to a specific memory - in this case, lying on the bottom bunk, staring at the white particle board above, thinking about how awesome the line "I want to hold you in the bible-black pre-dawn" is, trying not to think about what was keeping me awake. The song slowly unravels as it nears its end, it's quite good.

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