Monday, April 13, 2009

The Power of a Sad Song

The Marmalade-Reflections of My Life

When you’ve just broken up with someone, gone an ungodly amount of time without a date, or feel that life has passed you by, it’s not uncommon to lock yourself in your room and listen to Nothing Compares to U or any Smiths CD over and over again. That’s understandable. As Elton John once sang, Sad Songs do say so much. Hell, sometimes they’re more effective than therapy or even psychotropic drugs. Occasionally, however, some sad songs can make you cry rivers even if you’re not predisposed to melancholy before the sound of the first note.

Some sad songs don’t specifically remind the listener of the usual heartbreaking subjects like unrequited love, lost love or involuntary celibacy. Those songs are in a whole ‘nother category and I could write extensively about them. But that’s for a later date. Dramatically sad “he (or she) done me wrong” songs can sound perfect if you’re in the throes of real-life heartbreak. Otherwise, they can be easily dismissed as self-indulgent nonsense. For example, Insensitive by Jann Arden reminded me of someone in 1996. Now it’s just dramatic dribble-with too many lyrics.

But some songs just make you feel….sad, regardless of your pre-listening state of mind. Some are schlocky sad, some are beautiful and sad, but they just make you feel like having a good cry, or at least engaging in some pensive thoughts for awhile. Here are some of my fave songs for cathartic crying. I've only included some lesser-known '60s/early '70s songs in this batch. Quite frankly, there are too many sad songs out there to count, so I figured this is as good a place to start as any. There's even a website devoted to sad songs. So get out the Kleenex, and let the waterworks begin. Feel free to suggest some tearjerkers of your own.

And they don’t necessarily have to be in D Minor, “the saddest of all keys”, as Nigel Tufnel once opined.

Sukiyaki- Kyu Sakamoto

The Sun Ain't Gonna Shine Anymore-Walker Brothers

Ma Belle Amie-Tee Set

Elusive Butterfly of Love- Bob Lind