Has anyone else read I Hate Myself and I Want to Die: The 52 most depressing songs you’ve ever heard (by Tom Reynolds)? No? The book was published in 2005 and I happened upon it in a stack of coffee table reads in record store, Fopp a short while after. Let’s be honest. I couldn’t not buy it. I was quite convinced at the time that this was a book, the book I should have written. Why, doesn’t Tom Reynolds know that I am Carrie Tragic? The mistress of melancholy? The dj of darkness and musical instigator of feelings of despair and impending doom? Jeez Louise…
Anyway, as it turned out, this book wasn’t really my book. I was a bit disappointed to find that I (the above mentioned queenie of the weepy) only knew 20-odd of the 52 songs catalogued and of those, I didn’t really agree that many were indeed, the most depressing songs I’d ever heard. Whitney Houston? Evanescence? Man… Not even touching the tip of my tuneful iceberg of depression, heartbreak and discontent! And you know what was worse? Not a single Hank Williams song made it onto the list. Imagine! Should say though – it was a smashing little Sunday afternoon read all the same.
So. This morning, while I was getting dressed (well, I say ‘getting dressed’ – I was hauling on one of Beardy’s shirts and my paint stained, 10 year old Levis) a sad song I’d loved but hadn’t heard in a while came on the ol’ wireless. Then – that song made me think of another and so my brain went on, recollecting terribly sad, sad songs I’d temporarily forgotten about. Or maybe blocked out? Ha.
Now, as was the case with me and the list Tom Reynolds compiled in his book, these ditties (if we can give them such a chirpy name) might not be to your taste, but I bet your boots you’ll recognise ‘em as fleekin’ sad. Depressing even. Tragic sometimes. Certainly emotive. Brace yourself for the first instalment of musical melancholy from Carrie - Not the Kind of Girl You’d Marry (not least because of the contents of her record collection). I don’t want to send y’all rattling down a black hole of ill health and mental fragility or anything. No, no. We want happy, healthy brains please. But you might want to let out a wee mutter of, “Jeezoh… Yer kiddin’ me on. That’d bring a tear tae a glass eye…” or some such. Grab a stiff gin, pop your headphones on and enjoy!
1. Mercury Rev – Tonight It Shows
(This is the song that came to mind this morning)
2. Camera Obscura – The Blizzard
I’d only ever heard the Jim Reeves version of this song until Clare sneaked this onto our Christmas shopping soundtrack at The Maisonette. A lovely cover. There I was, in the shop, drying my eyes discreetly as happy customers enjoyed the festivities!
3. Donovan – The Little Tin Soldier.
My sister, ever the jester, tormented me with this song as a child. Even the opening chords are enough to send me into a teary stuper even now.
4. Hank Snow – Nobody’s Child
Hmmm? What was that? “Oh jeezoh… Yer kiddin’ me on? That’d bring a tear tae a glass eye?” You betcha.
5. David Gray – Shine
A tear-jerking classic from the days when David Gray could elicit a goosebump even in the very first line of a song! I first heard it in 1998/1999 when my other sister (who also enjoys poking fun at the lack of control I have over my tear ducts) took me to see David Gray at King Tut’s. If you were there, I was the idiot bawling uncontrollably in the corner.
6. Bright Eyes – Landlocked Blues
Which leads seamlessly to this gem from King of Angst, Conor Oberst. I hadn’t heard this song before either until I was watching a live performance from the balcony of The Debating Chamber in Glasgow University (with my sister of course). Yup. I was the sniffling, snotty mess weeping into my plastic pint glass. You’d think I would have learned to hold it in! ou’d think she might have learned to pre-warn me. Weepy alert!
Ok – just one more before I need to go and blow my nose.
7. The Longpigs – On and On
Oh Lordy… This one I couldn’t even bare to listen to between 1996 and well, now I guess. Bubble. Snort. Sniffle.
We’ll ‘enjoy’ (?!) another instalment of Sad Songs again soon. In the meantime, send requests, share stories and start compiling your own Top 52 Saddest Songs You’ve Ever Heard.