I feel like shit. I have pretty regularly felt like shit for close to a year. I have been having some pretty rough back and corresponding leg pain, coming with some pretty severe physical limitations. After countless different types of pills, exercises, doctors, and injections, I believe (hopefully) that I am now on what seems to be a pretty long road to recovery after having back surgery a few weeks back. The recovery process has been extremely painful, equal or close to the pre-op pain itself.
This is not a sob story about my pain and how much it sucks, and yes I am aware that a lot of people are dealing with physical ailments that make mine look like a scrape, but this has been a pretty hard thing for me and my wife to deal with. I am not asking for your sympathy, I just wanted to give you a bit of context for this post.
This post is about my favorite sad songs, the first installment in an ongoing series of posts of miscellaneous lists of my favorites that I like to call In No Particular Order.
I have always had a good life: raised in a middle-class family, loving parents, well-liked by peers and friends, no real heartbreak to speak of. I have definitely always been a happy person. Yet, I have always been drawn to and have a strong love of emo music. I suppose it has a lot to do with the energy and passion that is audibly poured into the writing. As much as I love it and can sing along to every word, as hard as I tried I could never quite relate to a lot of what these guys were singing.
This period of my life has given me a great reason to delve back into some of my favorite records and just sit around being kinda bummed out, and I don’t think there is anything wrong with that.
Ok, enough sap, let’s get to the list. Sidenote- I know that a lot of these songs may not be classically defined emo songs or emo bands, but they all stem from the original genre in some way. So don’t give me grief that my list isn’t all American Football, Sunny Day Real Estate, or Saves The Day.
(In no particular order)
I’ve Given Up On You – Real Friends
If I had ever gone through a nasty-breakup that ripped my heart out of my chest, this is exactly the type of song I’d want to hear; one dude singing with a single electric guitar with lyrics like “its been a lonely year,” “I write songs about you all the time, I bet I don’t run through your mind,” and my personal favorite “lately my dog is the only one around that listens to my problems.
What Sarah Said – Death Cab For Cutie
Sitting in a hospital waiting room is always a painful experience. It’s uncomfortable, it smells, and everyone is nervous. This song captures that emotion perfectly. The nervous pacing throughout the song leading up to the climax, “Love is watching someone die,” and the following refrain of “Who’s gonna watch you die?” will be sure to have you weeping like a little baby as you ponder the question.
Divorce And The American South – Aaron West and the Roaring Twenties
This record is a concept record about a guy, Aaron West, and the worst year of his life. The whole album is truly devastating, but at this point in the story the title character has taken the car that hasn’t been driven since his dad died and fled New York to get away from his life. He finds himself lost in the south and calling home. He winds up leaving a voicemail to his ex-wife apologizing and begging her forgiveness. The sadness really hits when Aaron recounts a dream that he was in a plane crash and she didn’t come to his funeral while accompanied by a crying trumpet section.
Picture Window – Ben Folds
Ben Folds is a professional at writing songs that will make you choke up: Fred Jones Pt 2, Bruised, and Still Fighting It just to name a few. Yet in some ways, this one takes the cake. Just listen to the chorus. “You know what hope is/Hope is a bastard/Hope is a liar/A cheat and a tease/Hope comes near you/Kick its backside/Got no place in days like these”
Let Me Go – All Get Out
A heartbreaking ballad about a family dealing with the father’s crippling alcoholism. The structure of the song is stunning, the imagery is tragic, it truly is one you just have to hear for yourself.
So there you have it. I don’t really cry very much (unless I’m watching The Lion King), but if I did these would be the songs I would cry to.