Thursday, May 11, 2006

Sad Songs Say So Much

So, Tom Reynolds has written a book about the saddest, most depressing songs ever written. I haven't seen the list, but I already know what they should be... for the last three hours, I've been listening to sad stuff on the iPod to confirm my selections... now, while I'm ready to go cry myself to sleep now, I'll let you know that I'm sure there is stuff I didn't think of that tomorrow, I'll smack my head and say "Crap... why didn't I include 'I Can't Make You Love Me' by Bonnie Raitt??"

...crap. Why didn't I include "I Can't Make You Love Me" by Bonnie Raitt"? Okay, consider that tied with Keith Whitley at #20.

Anyway, I'll assume that you all agree with me unless I hear otherwise, right? Right. So, here we go.

Dave's Top 10... No, Make It 20 Saddest, Most Depressing Songs, Like, Ever
20) "Don't Close Your Eyes" by Keith Whitley... a brilliant country artist who, typically, died from alcohol poisoing following an all night dringing binge. Its a man with a woman, begging her not to close her eyes for fear that she will start thinking of the one she really loves--and its not him.
Death from cat scratch fever line: "Maybe I've been a fool, holding on all this time, lyin' here in your arm knowing he's in your mind"

19) "Don't Cry" by Guns'N'Roses... I really went back and forth between this and "November Rain", finally deciding on this, my favorite GNR song. Axl Rose at his nasally best.
Insult GNR in front of Drew Morris line: Don't you take it so hard now and please don't take it so bad. I'll still be thinkin' of you and the times we
Actually that line is said "and the times we hay-ya-ya-ya-yad oh baybay"

18) "I Can't Stay Away From You" by Gloria Estefan & the Miami Sound Machine... okay, so get this. In high school, I made a mix tape (remember those?) of sad songs, and I called it "You Lost the One You Love and Need an Excuse for Suicide Mix". Very encouraging. Anyway, this song, "Can't Stay Away From You"? On the tape twice. It was that powerful.
Stomach punch line: "Hold on to every bit of hope, thats all I'll ever do. Hoping you might change your mind to call me up and say how much you need me too"
Gloria can sing the depressing stuff--she appears later in our list.

17) "Nothing Broken But My Heart" by Celine Dion... say what you want about Celine, but before she got so self absorbed, thin and married to the fat guy who looks like Rob Reiner, she was a pretty good singer. This is early Celine, at her best.
Stuck in a GNR concert with a Celine shirt line: "Baby, since you left me you might think that my world's been torn apart, but if you see me, baby you'll see that nothing's broken. Nothing's broken but my heart."
I've had my heart truly broken three times in my life. Its not fun, trust me. However, I contend that everyone should go through it once in their life.

16) "Black Balloon" by The Goo Goo Dolls... You know, I don't even know what this song is about... I just know its pretty painful. So, since this only partially qualifies, let's add...
16) "Ain't No Sunshine" by Bill Withers... from the opening line, the opening guitar, its a heartbreak. Bill Withers has one of my favorrite soul voices, and this song is just depressingly cool. Since the song is more of a repeat, its hard to give a gut punch line, but I will mention this is featured in Notting Hill, in the four seasons walking scene, one of the coolest uses of a song, not to mention one of the coolest scenes I've ever watched in any movie.
15) "These Days" by Rascal Flatts... a big, heartbroken salute to all those who have stood by, checking the phone constantly, just in case you were away and missed the phone ring, or you had your cell phone under a blanket and couldn't hear it for some reason, or today was the day your answering machine messed up and didn't take calls... even though you know the reason the phone has not rung is because she hasn't called you back. Oh, Indya Lawless, you wretched female... why didn't you call me?
Smack me now line: "Punch the clock, head for home, check the phone (just in case), go to bed, dream of you, thats what I'm doing these days"
Oh whatever. Like you've never done that. Stop it.

14) "There's a Light In Your Eyes" by Blessid Union of Souls... even though this song is a decade old, I only realy discovered it a few years ago. Really really heartbreaking. Just fast enough to keep you moving along, but melancholy enough to make it hurt.
Throw Yourself out the window line: "It's been a while since I've seen you so how have you been? Did you get my letter I wrote you, but I did not send?"
I think that line is one of the most simple, yet painful lines in any song.

13) "With Or Without You" by U2... this is really for Mikey more than anything else.
Kicking over the Bear's chair in the museum in front of a Latta line: "My hands are tied, my body bruised, she's got me with nothing to win and nothing left to lose"
You chicks are evil. Seriously.

12) "One Last Cry" by Brian McKnight... it's all about giving your heart one last chance to mourn your lost love, then tell yourself you are getting over it. Of course, it never works out that way.
Drinking battery acid line: "I saw you holding hands, standing close to someone else. Now I sit all alone, wishing all my feelings were gone"
Maybe this is just here because as I sat all alone, I saw Allison Hodnett standing very close to John Glasscock, holding hands at the Troy weekly movie, one day after she asked ME to the movie, then promptly stood me up. Hey, it was in 1994, but it still sucked. okay, I wasn't all alone, I think I went with Michelle Dudley, but still.

11) "Never Had a Dream" by S Club 7... Yes, its pop at its cheesyworst, but its still pretty hard hitting. I think this song is personal, because this is what Steph would think about me when she loved me and I didn't feel the same.
Kick in the crotch line: "There's no use looking back or wondering how it should be now or might have been, this I know, but still i can't find ways to let you go..."
Though this song hurts a little, thinking about what Steph was feeling, thats nothing compares to "Standing Still" by Jewel. That song just messes me up.

10) "I'll Be Okay" by Amanda Marshall... this little gem was from the movie "My Best Friend's Wedding", and I'd be willing to bet out of all 6 of my readers, 6 of you have never heard it. Maybe Steph, only because I forced it on her. Its a fun little ditty about the joy of watching your best friend, and love of your life, end up with someone else. Without sounding too American Idol, I love the raw emotion that Amanda Marshall has in this song.
Hot fire pokers in the eye line: I want you to be happy, you're my best friend. But it's so hard to let you go now and all that could have been. I'll always have the memories, she'll always have you, fate has a way of changing
when you don't want it to"
Not good times. Bad times. Bad times.

9) "Secret Garden" by Bruce Springsteen (the Jerry Maguire dialogue version)... The Boss is at his best here, but throw in the best, most painful lines from the flick ("You've got to be fair to her. She loves you. If you don't love her, you've got to tell her") and you've got a knife-in-the-heart classic.
Phillipshead screwdriver through the skin between your fingers line: "She's got a secret garden where everything you want, everything you need will always stay a million miles away"
You know, that movie gets better with age, I think.

8) "Somebody Lied" by Ricky Van Shelton... holy crap, this song is bad. A country song, no less, about a guy who gets a call from his ex, and he's trying to refute claims that he's been crying, that he's been showing her picture to strangers, that he's been breaking down around town.
Trailer in a tornado line: "If the rumors were right, would you be here tonight to help this old heart heal? Well, don't worry, it wasn't me... just someone whose world was torn in two. Someone who looked alot like me and loved someone like you. So forget the tears I've never cried, I'll be somebody lied"
Dear Lord... I need to go kiss Steph to remind myself how happy I am.

7) "She's Always a Woman" by Billy Joel... While the above Springsteen song was my Amy Wible song in the 90s (well, there was also "Sailing" by Christopher Cross, but that's on a different list), this one belonged to Cindy Howell.
Put on a white hood and go to Ensley Line: "She'll promise you more than the Garden of Eden, then she'll carelessly cut you and laugh while you're bleedin'"
Amy recently got married, so I hear, but I have no clue what happened to Cindy. Hmm. I think I'll write an article on this topic soon.

6) "Until I Fall Away" by the Gin Blossoms. Perhaps the essential 90s rock angst song. Hurts me now. I think I'll go slam my head against the wall. Of course, I'm still reeling from that stupid Ricky Van Shelton song. Heck, put that at #6, and this one goes to #8.
Set your hair on fire line: "There's no good answers, and no new questions. Another personal disaster, there's nowhere to go but down"
Just the music, even without the words, depresses me

5) "King of Pain" by Alanis Morissette... There's a song by the Police that really hurts (thats my soul up there), with its cryptic lyrics of pain and curt (thats my soul up there). Though it might be sacrilege to say I like (thats my soul up there) Alanis' version better, though only slight (thats my soul up there)
Falling out the top of a Georgia Pine line: I have stood here before inside the pouring rain with the world turning circles running 'round my brain. I guess I'm always hoping that you'll end this reign but it's my destiny to be the king of pain
Seriously, as much as I love Sting singing this, Alanis' unplugged take on this is incredible.

4) "Here We Are" by Gloria Estefan... the opening chords of this song are just haunting, and Gloria voice is piercing and cutting. Classic Estefan.
Putting drills to your temple line: "And though no one knows whats going on inside and all the love I feel for you is something I should hide, when I have you close to me, the feelin's so sublime... there's nothing I can do to keep from loving you"
Anytime you have to use the word "sublime" to describe your relationship, there's something to discuss.

3) "On My Own" from Les Miserables... Eponine sings the song about loving a guy who loves another girl... and she ends up dying while carrying a love letter from said girl to said guy.
Carve out your heart with a spoon (cause it'll hurt more, you twit) line: "I love him but every day I'm learning all my life I've only been pretending. Without me his world will go on turning, a world that's full of happiness that I have never known"
Make sure you get the Les Miserables Highlights version, with Kaho Shimada. The Original Cast Recording, with Frances Ruffelle, is good, but Kaho's Highlight version is far superior in sound and arrangement. Trust me on this.

2) "Nothing Compares 2 U" by Sinead O'Connor... more effective when the video is with it. Painful, heart ripping lyrics, sung simply by Sinead, before she freaked out on SNL.
Playing in 280 Traffic Line: "Its been 7 hours and 16 days since you took your love away..."
Come on, who hasn't been dropped like a bad habit, then counted the days after? Heck, my first breakup with Cindy Howell, I was counting minutes.

1) "This Song Remembers When" by Trisha Yearwood... just a simple song about a girl who's gotten past her heartbreak, until she hears the song--"their song"--that brings it all back.
Dipping Chips in Cyanide Line: "After taking every detour, getting lost and losing track, so even if I wanted, I could not find my way back... after driving out the memory about the way things might have been, after I'd forgotten all about us, this song remembers when."
Yeah, been there, Trisha.. been there. Not so much now that God sent me Stephanie, but there was a time...

Anyway, now's the part of the show where Tommy shakes his head and tells me what I missed.


  1. Great list. Gin Blossoms were one of the greatest bands ever and "Until I Fall Away" is such a smooth song. I would have probably added "Champagne High" by Sister of their best.

    Wagon's been hitched to a star, yeah now he'll be your thing that's new. Yeah what little I have you can borrow 'cause I'm old, and I'm blue.

    As a 19-year old, I'm proud to say I understand the true meaning of those words.

  2. Don't worry, Dave, I had been reading with an open mind. It's your top 20 list, after all. I would be hard-pressed to come up with 10 of my own. That version of "On My Own" was a good pick. There's sad songs, and then there's depressing songs, and then there's skin-crawling; Radiohead's OK Computer has a track called "Fitter Happier." The lyrics are vaguely-positive self-help expressions read by a monotone computer voice over dark background chords. The album covers a huge range of emotion, but I always have to skip that particular bit.


I want to hear your response! Click here!!