I love a good sad song. There might not be anything better in music. Sad music that elevates you. Sad music that takes you away from who you are. That lets you wallow for that moment in someone else’s problems. You gain a perspective from hearing your own pain placed in minor chords or a major arrangement; from hearing about the troubles of anyone else rather than focussing on your own.
When I first heard Lou Reed’s album Berlin I felt so beautifully bummed out. That feeling returned a couple of years later when I heard his Magic & Loss. That album, to this day, crushes me. But it’s so beautiful. So I feel uplifted also. Inspired. Last Exit To Brooklyn – the book, the movie, and Mark Knopfler’s soundtrack – all depressingly beautiful. Harrowing in the right way.
Albums by Richard & Linda Thompson, Lambchop, Leonard Cohen, Nick Drake and many more besides…
And I return to sad music. I learn from it. I crave it. It swallows us up. It helps us heal, allows us some insight into what others are going through. The very best music speaks to our heart in a way words sometimes can’t. Sometimes instrumental music has me so choked up – Jack Nitzsche’s score for Starman feels simultaneously so joyous and heart-breaking to me.
So I return to sad songs – and I return to writing about sad songs.
Just the other day I shared an old piece of writing, re-worded a touch. If you click on that link you will read a blog-post called What’s The Saddest Song You Love? I shared it on Facebook and it received hundreds of comments. People sharing their examples. This was really great – because I only mentioned four or five songs in the post. I had wanted to get readers to share their thoughts.
And it was heart warming to see so many songs mentioned. There were ones I knew without having to hear again. There were ones I couldn’t wait to listen to – because they are some of the greatest songs ever. And there were a few I couldn’t wait to hear for the first time. Or at least the first time in a while.
Anyway, someone posted a comment suggesting that “the miserabilists” would love a playlist.
So – that’s what I have done. I collated as many of the titles as I could find. A few are missing from Spotify. But I compiled over 300 songs. (Obviously there were a few tunes mentioned more than once in the Facebook comments).
There are a few gems. Let me tell you.
Well, let me show you. You can listen for yourself – and add to it, segment the playlist, or make your own based on it; put it on shuffle and listen for days and days….well there’s a full day of music here. Literally. Twenty-four hours of sad, sad songs.