The Saddest Music in the World

by Mark Ambrose Harris
November 16, 2011 4:47 PM
4 Comments
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The sky outside is a pitiable grey, I’ve got procrastinator’s angst, and too much coffee angers up the blood. So, after seeing Zouch Magazine’s list of songs to listen to while crying in the shower, I thought I’d make my own collection of depresso tunes.

Low – Sunflower

Word on the street is that Low are Mormon, which, as a sacrilegious queer, makes me feel a bit funny inside. Regardless, their album Things We Lost in the Fire is a brilliant record crammed with sad songs. “Sunflower” kicks off the weep-fest in style.

Antony and the Johnsons – Cripple and the Starfish

Gush! Gush! Gush! This is perhaps one of the Johnsons’ most beloved pieces, culled from their debut self-titled recording. While this rendition with a full orchestra might make “Cripple and the Starfish” seem too epic or grandiose to be considered a sad song, think again!

Rebekah del Rio – Llorando

If you’ve seen David Lynch’s Mulholland Drive—his masterpiece, in my opinion—then you’ve heard Rebekah del Rio sing her Spanish rendition of Roy Orbison’s “Crying.” Is it too literal to include this track on a list of songs to listen to while crying in the shower? Perhaps. Still, it’s a stunning piece of a cappella wizardry, and coupled with the imagery of Lynch’s film, a beautiful illusion.

This Mortal Coil – Song to the Siren

Another David Lynch anecdote… Apparently, when he was making Blue Velvet, he wanted to include “Song to the Siren” on the soundtrack, but couldn’t afford the rights. Still wanting something dreamy and atmospheric, he wrote the lyrics to “Mysteries of Love,” which Angelo Badalamenti put to music for Julee Cruise to sing. Years later, while making Lost Highway, I guess Lynch had a bit more pocket change, and he featured this cover of Tim Buckley’s “Song to the Siren” in the film. Oh, and it’s from This Mortal Coil’s album entitled It’ll End in Tears. Enough said.

Diamanda Galás – Heaven Have Mercy

Let’s just be real here for a second: Galás is a fucking genius. Every note she sings seems to defy the mortal world. While she’s more renowned for terrorizing audiences with a tactical ferocity that is unsurpassed, she also delivers subtle ballads that are emotionally loaded. If this reworking of Edith Piaf’s “Heaven Have Mercy” doesn’t eviscerate you, you’re a robot.

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4 Comments

  • Sarina | December 8, 2011 11:46 PMReply

    /watch?v=NV_XDwH606c

  • sarina | December 8, 2011 11:46 PM

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NV_XDwH606c

  • Ronnie d. | November 28, 2011 12:57 PMReply

    None of the music you picked is really that sad; perhaps some of the lyrics are, but the music itself is not; try some Elliot Smith, or the Amelie soundtrack.

  • Mark Ambrose Harris | January 14, 2012 12:55 AM

    Music and meaning are two very subjective things.

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