Saddest Music in the World

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johnny7moons
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Saddest Music in the World

Post by johnny7moons » Sat Jun 13, 2009 2:21 pm

At the risk of confirming the stereotype of Cohen fans as glum, gloomy miserablists, I've got a question for y'all - what's the most utterly miserable, depressing, wrist-slittingly pessimistic song of despair that you know?

'Dress Rehearsal Rag' would be a contender, I reckon, but as this is the 'Other Music' forum let' go for non-Cohen songs. Links would be great, if possible.

I'll open the bidding with 'Waitin' Round to Die' by Townes Van Zandt. Check the guy weeping in the background of the clip.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xTGKzWDakK8
Steven
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Re: Saddest Music in the World

Post by Steven » Sat Jun 13, 2009 5:47 pm

Hi Johnny7moons,

The song that first comes to my mind is the Townes Van Zandt one you cited.
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somewhat_nifty
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Re: Saddest Music in the World

Post by somewhat_nifty » Sat Jun 13, 2009 6:55 pm

Probably a fairly obvious choice, but Johnny Cash's cover of 'Hurt' makes me feel horrible, especially with the video. Very raw:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SmVAWKfJ4Go
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John Etherington
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Re: Saddest Music in the World

Post by John Etherington » Sat Jun 13, 2009 11:15 pm

Most of Peter Hammill's songs from the 1970s would fit the bill. Strong contenders would be songs like "German Overalls", "In the Black Room" and "A House with No Door". I used to get a perverse pleasure from listening to them at the time, but eventually felt as if I was being sucked into a dark vortex. I now only own one album each by Peter Hammill and Van Der Graaf Generator.

All good things, John E
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Re: Saddest Music in the World

Post by John Etherington » Sat Jun 13, 2009 11:58 pm

Nick Drake's "Black-Eyed Dog" is also a contender, even though I love Nick's three main albums.
Darling
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Re: Saddest Music in the World

Post by Darling » Sun Jun 14, 2009 1:40 am

Lou Reed's The Kids, on the Berlin album is pretty depressing too, especially with the kids crying towards the end.
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Womanfromaroom
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Re: Saddest Music in the World

Post by Womanfromaroom » Mon Jun 15, 2009 9:11 pm

I am not sure that I agree, but some scientists have it that "The Drugs Don't Work" by The Verve is the saddest song ever written...

http://popwatch.ew.com/popwatch/2006/12 ... they_.html

Oh, and Leonard is mentioned as well in the article, albeit indirectly...

And here is the song itself, although you probably know it anyway:

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

Personally, I would probably put Duran Duran's "Ordinary World" into a similar category as to the relative degree of "sadness"; cf.:

http://www.dailymotion.com/relevance/se ... hmz=746162

A group whom you might also want to check out if you are after "sad" music is Saybia; they are Danish, and there are several songs that come to mind; one is "7 demons":

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BxcjDWjv ... ated&pos=2

By the way, for me, much of the saddest music ever written is classical music...
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johnny7moons
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Re: Saddest Music in the World

Post by johnny7moons » Tue Jun 16, 2009 11:44 am

Thanks for your suggestions so far, folks. Here are a few further links I found to some of the songs mentioned so far.

Nick Drake: Black-Eyed Dog
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vDnDxvVjBic


Peter Hammill: House With No Door
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vNVJx6u7ags
Thanks John E for bringing this one up; I’d never listened to Peter Hammill before. He’s not a happy bunny, is he? The starkness of the performance on this clip made me think of John Cale, who does misery pretty well himself too: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Td5ggufGakU


Lou Reed: The Kids
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q3AEL9bhftw
Certainly one of the bleakest, most desolate songs I’ve ever encountered, but for me this tips over into ridiculousness; the first time I heard it, when the children started sobbing at the end I’m afraid I burst out laughing.

Yes, I agree, classical music contains rich veins of wretchedness and despair. Here's one more link, to a section from Gorecki's gloriously lachrymose 'Symphony of Sorrowful Songs'. It doesn't much sadder than this. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zKk-w_0S ... L&index=14

More! More misery! More despair!
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david birkett
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Re: Saddest Music in the World

Post by david birkett » Tue Jun 16, 2009 12:35 pm

For the sweetest, most exquisite plangency, almost any song on Richard and Linda Thompson's I Wanna See the Bright Lights Tonight http://www.amazon.co.uk/Want-See-Bright ... 890&sr=1-1 A reasonably upbeat ditty concerning a 'Little Beggar Girl' snuck onto the album, and is exempt.

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Darling
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Re: Saddest Music in the World

Post by Darling » Tue Jun 16, 2009 6:33 pm

johnny7moons wrote: Lou Reed: The Kids
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q3AEL9bhftw
Certainly one of the bleakest, most desolate songs I’ve ever encountered, but for me this tips over into ridiculousness; the first time I heard it, when the children started sobbing at the end I’m afraid I burst out laughing.
:lol: :lol:
Maybe it's a bit much, but by the time it gets there, I'm already so depressed that I don't think anything could make me laugh. :roll:
Mind you, I don't really listen to it anymore, because well, because it's, euh, depressing... It makes me want to go back to bed and pull the blanket over my head. In Summer, I'd rather go outside and in Winter, I already feel bad enough.
(BTW I don't find LC depressing at all, on the contrary, he makes me feel good. :D )
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Re: Saddest Music in the World

Post by Eskimo » Wed Jun 17, 2009 2:33 am

....when wondering how lonely does it get, the guy to ask is found here
John Etherington
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Re: Saddest Music in the World

Post by John Etherington » Wed Jun 17, 2009 11:27 am

Hi Johnny7moons,

Thanks for finding video links for two of my song suggestions. I must say the cute little black-eyed pup in the surburban household is not quite so chilling as the fearsome hell-hound conjured by Nick Drake's song! Thanks particularly for the Peter Hammill link, as I hadn't seen him perform this song solo before. It made me realise how much I like his best work (ironically he looked more like Michael Palin as he got older!). I think that Lou Reed's "Berlin" is a great achievement artistically, as it portrays so well the down side of the whole "heroin chic" scene. I always thought the last track about "Mary Queen of Scots" owed a lot to Leonard's "Joan of Arc". Now, here are three of the most beautiful sad songs of all-time:

John Cale "I Keep a Close Watch on This Heart of Mine":

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Td5ggufG ... re=related

Tim Buckley "Morning Glory":

http://www.video4viet.com/watchvideo.ht ... ning+Glory

Van Der Graaf Generator [featuring Peter Hammill]: "Refugees":

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wyTsjN285gg

All good things, John E

P.S. Let's include Nick Drake, too. Here's "Fly" with John Cale on viola":

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_ShXHW_FrlM
John Etherington
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Re: Saddest Music in the World

Post by John Etherington » Wed Jun 17, 2009 11:53 am

Meanwhile, here's a man who takes depression into a different league altogether!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KoNEspmcknc
johnny7moons
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Re: Saddest Music in the World

Post by johnny7moons » Sat Jun 20, 2009 2:02 pm

Blimey, that's powerful strange stuff... I was thinking about including Scott Walker's 'My Death'http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OfvFa8KexRw , but it's really not miserable enough.
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Diane
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Re: Saddest Music in the World

Post by Diane » Sun Jun 21, 2009 5:15 pm

The Irish tin whistle in The Lonesome Boatman by the Fureys is pure melancholy:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u3cl7Q2GI50
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