Okay that subject is a little strange, I'll admit. It's a line delivered in blubbering fashion by the father of a son who was believed to have committed suicide in the movie Heathers. In any event, I wanted a line that captures the simultaneously sad and humorous nature of songs that can make a man cry.
My good friend, Sharat, who is a film maker in L.A., knowing what a disgustingly obsessive fan of rock music I am, asked me to get him some songs to help him get inspired to write. I threw together some songs that make me teary eyed, and I'm going to burn a disc of them to ship out to L.A. Hopefully these songs will get him to the place he needs to get to write. Maybe it can help you too. Of course, if your life sucks as bad as mine does lately, you may not need the assistance of music to get yourself to a sad place. I even wrote up little blurbs about each one for your amusement! Enjoy:
A Spoonful Weighs A Ton 3:32 The Flaming Lips The Soft Bulletin
This song is beautiful. I remember listening to this record a lot during the 9/11 attack and its aftermath. Something about “and though they were sad, they rescued everyone” made me think of the victims, survivors, and rescuers. When those super heavy, bizarre, electronicy drums come crashing in the song kicks into full gear.
Since I've Been Loving You 6:56 Led Zeppelin BBC Sessions (Disc2) [Live]
These guys are member for member one of the most talented rock bands of all time. It’s too bad I grew up with 42 classic rock stations that managed to make me sick of a lot of their songs. This is one you actually don’t hear much on the radio, and this particular live version showcases a lot of the band’s talents. The simultaneous wailings of Robert Plant’s vocals and Jimmy Page’s guitar sound like one bitter, pissed-off, depressed individual.
I Shall Be Released 3:19 The Band Music From Big Pink Rock
This song was originally written and performed by Bob Dylan, but I think the vulnerability of Rick Danko’s vocals makes this sad song even sadder.
Living For The City 7:24 Stevie Wonder Innervisions
When Stevie sings, “Her clothes are old, but never are they dirty” I immediately want to cry. It says to me, here is a family that can barely afford to feed and clothe their children, but they have the sense of pride to take care of things like their clothes so that they are NEVER dirty. Badasss.
Carry The Zero 5:44 Built To Spill Keep It Like A Secret
I don’t know what Doug Martsch is singing about in this song, and I don’t care. There are few songs that can shoot right through me with the first couple of notes, and this song is one of them.
Heavy Heart 3:11 You Am I #4 Album
The guy that wrote this song got his ass DUMPED. It paints the picture of a poor sap lying around his dirty apartment getting more and more lonely and smelly by the day.
Rocket Man (I Think It's Going To Be A Long, Long Time) 4:45 Elton JohnGreatest Hits 1970-2002 (Disc 1)
Is this song really about an astronaut? Well, if so, I feel for this fictional astronaut who is “burning my (his) fuse up here alone.”
Stormy Monday 8:48 The Allman Brothers Band At Fillmore East
Duane Allman died entirely too young. How could a hillbilly, walrus-looking son of a gun like that make such beautiful sounds come out of his guitar?
Size of Your Life 3:08 The Promise Ring Wood/Water
I think this is the world’s greatest break-up CD. A lot of the songs have to do with the songwriter’s battle with cancer, but whatever the case, it’s a very well-written, sad disc.
Lucky 4:19 Radiohead OK
This truly does sound like a man “standing on the edge” of SOMETHING!
This Broken Heart 3:40 Funkadelic Cosmic Slop
I try to sing along with this cat and there’s just no way I can match up with his soulful, gritty vocals. I like the humorous breakdown when he finds all the “Gemini material lying around.” Cosmic Slop is my favorite Funkadelic record. I can’t find many people that agree with me, but I think the songs on it are concise, beautifully written, heartfelt, varied in styles, and they utilize the talents of the numerous people George Clinton called upon, like the guy who put the vocal down for this track. DAMN!!
Love In Vain 4:22 The Rolling Stones Let It Bleed
My parents played a rare Stones record with this song on it, and I remember hearing it a lot at a very young age. At age 7 I had never experienced heartache or pain the likes of which Robert Johnson or even Mick Jagger had ever experienced. All I knew is that I was instantly sad when I heard it, but sad in a way that kind of felt good . . .
That Joke Isn't Funny Anymore 4:58 The Smiths Meat is Murder
I’m not sure what it is that Morrissey had seen “happen in other people’s lives” that he was now experiencing in his own, but I gather that it’s not much fun. Great song. Johnny Mar adds a terrific, spine-tingleing guitar riff during the chorus. Just when the song starts to fade out and you think the ride is over, it comes right back in for a big finish.
Fight Song 4:13 The Appleseed Cast Two Conversations
These guys are little too emo’d out, but this song really kicks ass.
Maggot Brain 10:19 Funkadelic Maggot Brain R&B
For a song that is essentially just a guitar solo over a droning keyboard melody, this song is extraordinarily powerful. Before recording this song, George Clinton asked late guitarist Eddie Hazel to picture the saddest thing possible. That thing was the thought of his beloved mother dying. Hey, whatever works right? And it certainly did.