Saturday, December 24, 2011

Alternative Seasonally Depressing Playlist of Sadness

'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

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.

Coil, “Broccoli
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.

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.


  1. Thanks for this.

    I think I'm depressed. (Have been in the past)

    Christmas for me was OK but it really sucks when you have to deal with the conservative Christianity that's mixed in with family traditions.

    I'm lonely. I'm ugly.

    I often wish that I was a woman. Does that make me transgender? I don't feel particularly feminine even though I know gender roles are bullshit. I haven't always felt this strongly about it. I guess I wouldn't care so much if 90% of the people I know around here didn't think being LGBT is a sin.

    Oh God help me.

  2. God be with you, Crayons. I hope you are able to see somebody about your depression. I'm grateful for your presence and your heartfelt, thoughtful comments on my blog.

    Do you read blogs about gender identity and being trans*? I find that can help with my own struggles with gender identity. One of my favorite spaces is Genderfork, and I also really love the webcomic Riot Nrrd. Both of them also link to a number of other sites and resources that might be useful.

  3. Thanks, I haven't read either of these. But I do like webcomics. Their links lists seem really cool too. I see a blogging marathon in my future.

    I'm seeing a counselor as well. So there's that.

  4. I have a book at home called "I hate myself and want to die" and is a collection of the 25 most depressing songs in popular music. One of the ones that gets me is Harry Chapin's The Shortest Story.

    Also Gary Jules version of Mad Mad World

  5. thanks for sharing this! do you have the lyrics for the SYGC song? I can't find them anywhere on Google... thanks (:

    1. These are the lyrics as far as I can make them out:

      These days I don't trust my body
      I've been hurt too many times before
      It's your best friend sleeping with your woman
      It's your woman closing your front door
      Right in your face

      These days I wake up in the morning
      Lord knows I don't want to face the day
      I wish that sun that rose a-shining
      Would up and go away
      Some other place

      These days praying is a heartache
      I wonder where my Lord has been
      Preacher says the path that man walks
      Is the wicked path of sin
      Well how can that be?

      'Cause you know I try to tell the truth, Lord
      You know that I don't drink or fight
      Preacher says man walks in darkness
      Well I've been staring for your light
      But Lord I still can't see

      These days I wake up in the morning
      Lord knows I don't want to face the day
      I wish that sun that rose a-shining
      Would up and go away
      Some other place