'Tis the season to be jolly and joyous, and all that, but for some of us it's actually rather melancholy. Maybe it brings up painful memories, maybe the family gathering's full of tension and misery, maybe the family gathering's taking place 5000 miles away from you, or maybe you just get really bad SAD. Regardless of why (or even whether) we're glum, we can all agree that cheesy holiday songs are the absolute last thing we need. So I've knocked together a little playlist for an hour or so of anti-festive wallowing: Anna's Alternative Seasonally Depressing Playlist of Sadness.
Over the Rhine, “Latter Days”
A friend who's had an unbelievably awful year introduced me to this song recently, and no wonder. It's five and a half minutes of pure aural heartbreak. Hardened sociopaths have been made to tearily beg their victims' forgiveness by this song. Cthulhu himself weeps when he hears this song. “Latter Days” reduces me to a quivering ball of jelly, bawling on the floor under my desk as I clutch my knees to my chest and rock back and forth.
Roxy Music, “Avalon”
Okay, this one's solely on you, Max Brooks. DON'T JUDGE ME THIS IS THE MOST MOVING PART OF THE ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE YOU WILL UNDERSTAND WHEN THE MOVIE COMES OUT (IF THEY DON'T KEEP THIS BIT IN THE MOVIE I WILL BE EXTREMELY DISAPPOINT)
Diana Ross, “If We Hold On Together”
Oh my God, Littlefoot's mom.
XTC, “This World Over”
My family's Christmas letter this year began: “Although the world sometimes seems to be in imminent danger of falling apart economically, climatically, and developmentally...” We're all a little obsessed with the end of the world, and as we enter 2012 it seems entirely appropriate to get emotional about it. (Any song that reduces my beloved London to “a sea of rubble” is hitting me where it hurts.)
Joy Division, “Eternal”
Call a friend before you listen to this, the apex of a brief, talented, and incredibly depressing musical career. Seriously, buddy system.
I don't even listen to this song. I almost didn't link to it, because it's just too cruel. When I hear it, I'm reminded of listening to it on the London Underground after watching Grave of the Fireflies, and nobody needs to be reminded of that.
Joni Mitchell, “Both Sides Now”
Scotland Yard Gospel Choir, “Praying Is A Heartache”
Cut from the same cloth as “Latter Days”, “Praying Is A Heartache” is SYGC's most beautiful song and the highlight of their 2009 album ...And the Horse You Rode In On. Yeah, I'm going to keep shamelessly plugging SYGC until somebody agrees with me that they are just the tops.
Peter Gabriel, “A Different Drum”
This song doesn't even have words. The lyrics are all, “oh-whoa-whoa-whoooooa...” If music can evoke the transcendent, “A Different Drum” definitely does.
Denim, “Don't Bite Too Much Out Of The Apple”
Ever suffered a distance-enforced break-up? If you're someone I know, probably – we all seem to have done it. Relive that pain. Wallow.
House of Love, “Man To Child”
Stop it. Just stop it. The world doesn't need more emotions, House of Love; it needs fewer, so quit trying to create them.
Antony & the Johnsons, “You Are My Sister”
You don't need to have a sister to be moved by this song. You don't even need to be a sister. As long as you have a friend close enough to be considered an honorary sibling, I defy you to listen to this song without at least getting a little something in your eye.
Adele, “Turning Tables”
Forget the sappy, overexposed, overrated “Someone Like You”. “Turning Tables” is the Adele song with the most raw feeling behind it.
Wicked cast, “For Good”
This is, like, the song for our jet-setting generation. If you've ever cursed the very existence of friendship because one party or the other always leaves, give this song a spin and shed a tear or two. Nobody's judging. Even those tedious people who say they hate musicals get verklempt at this song.
Dixie Chicks, “Wide Open Spaces”
Ever had a mother? Ever left her? Yeeah, good luck keeping those eyes dry, buddy.