Thursday, May 5, 2011

Songs That Are Sad, Part 3

One more set of sad songs for you.  Not all sad tunes are love songs, you know.  Some are just...sad. (See also part one and part two.)

"Celluloid Heroes," The Kinks.  Ray Davies is one of the two or three best songwriters to come out of the British Invasion.  He's funny and witty and clever, both in his lyrics and his melodies.  But this may just be the greatest cry-in-your-beer song about Old Hollywood ever written (admittedly, that would be a short list).  This homemade YouTube video complements it well.

Sample sad lyric:  "I wish my life was a non-stop Hollywood movie show/A fantasy world of celluloid villains and heroes/Because celluloid heroes never feel any pain."

"Yellow Ledbetter," Pearl Jam. The famous song that doesn't have official lyrics. Legend has it that Eddie Vedder basically made up the words in the recording studio and has rarely sung it the same way twice. It's probably a song about losing a loved one in a war. But it's so beautifully melancholy that it in your reveries in can be about almost anything. And oh gosh, the guitar at the end (best ringtone I ever had).

Sample sad lyric: Up for interpretation, but the most famous line is "I don't know whether I'm the boxer or the bag." (The lyrics in the following video are one person's transcription - they're no more or less definitive than anyone else's.)

"Kohoutek," R.E.M. I guess it's a love song. If you think it's hard to make out what Eddie Vedder is singing, you've never tried to decipher Michael Stipe's lyrics.  Even when you do, they don't necessarily make much sense. But this song has one of the saddest falsettos I've ever heard.  In fact, "Kohoutek," "Good Advices," and "Wendell Gee," all from side 2 of Reconstruction of the Fables, are like a holy trinity of melancholy. (Great album - check it out).

Sample sad lyric: "Courage built a bridge, jealous tore it down/At least it’s something you’ve left behind/Like Kohoutek, you were gone."

Hope these were cathartic and thoughtful and not, you know, depressing and gloomy. Go listen to some Blink 182 or B-52s if you want to cheer up. :)

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