Play me a sad song

Music is worthless unless it can make a complete stranger break down and cry. — “The Dumbing Down of Love,” Frou Frou

Everyone has those surefire sad songs — the tunes you put on when you’ve had a really, really rough day and no, you don’t want to be comforted or cuddled or uplifted. You just want to be sad, all right?! You just want to lay down on your bed, shove your little iPod earbuds in your ears or flip on the radio and be . . . upset.

Though I’m happy to say I don’t have many days like that, I do have my go-to sad songs for those moments I just want to feel sorry for myself. So I present a random assortment of my very own Pity Party Soundtrack.

My top choice? “Tiny Vessels,” by Death Cab for Cutie. I won’t even explain it — I’ll let their lyrics do the work for me. It would help if you could hear the haunting melody playing behind it, but I’ll leave that part ot your imagination for now:

This is the moment that you know that you told her that you love her, but you don’t. You touch her skin, and then you think — she is beautiful, but she don’t mean a thing to me. Yeah, she is beautiful, but you don’t mean a thing to me . . . I wanted to believe in all those words that we were speaking as we moved together in the dark . . .  All I see are dark gray clouds in the distance, moving closer with every hour. So when you ask, Is something wrong? I’ll think, You’re damn right there is, but we can’t talk about it now. No, we can’t talk about it now . . .

Next up? “Hearts In Pain,” by Stephen Kellogg and the Sixers. Never heard of them? That’s okay — they’re pretty, uh, underground? I can’t describe someone as “underground” without feeling like a tool, so strike that from the record. But you catch my drift. I’ll give you a taste of my saltwater tears on this one:

You know when a heart’s in pain, there’s nobody you can blame. The only light under the doctor’s knife is that we’re the same — hearts in, hearts in, hearts in pain . . . Who’s to say the muscle’s dead? I gave it up to her when we got married. There were things I never said . . . But I’m an idiot, and marriage is scary. And what you would say if I told you so true that I love her more now that the marriage is through?



Ouch! And moving right along to Ray LaMontagne’s “Empty.” Yeah, I felt sad just typing that little title! It’s haunting, sparse, melancholy. Perfect for crying your eyes out.

I never learned to count my blessings; I choose instead to dwell in my disasters . . . I walk on down the hill through grass grown tall and brown, and still it’s hard somehow to let go of my pain . . . Will I always feel this way? So empty, so estranged . . . Well, I looked my demons in the eye; Laid bare my chest, said ‘Do your best, destroy me.’ See I’ve been to hell and back so many times, I must admit you kinda bore me . . .

Poor Ray. He generally seems to need a hug and a cuddle — but that’s why I love listening to him!

And my final sad song choice of the moment? I’m going to have to go with John Mayer’s “Slow Dancing In A Burning Room.” I was in love with the tune the first time I heard it — which happened to be live at a show in September 2006. I know I’m a nerd to know that, but I love JM! Even when he makes me depressed (like with the whole Jennifer thing, but we won’t go into that now!).

It’s not a silly little moment; it’s not the storm before the calm. This is the deep and dying breath of this love that we’ve been working on. Can’t seem to hold you like I want to, so I can feel you in my arms. Nobody’s gonna come to save you; we’ve pulled to many false alarms . . . We’re going down, and you can see it too. We’re going down, and you know that we’re doomed. My dear, we’re slow dancing in a burning room . . . Go cry about, why don’t you.

Fine, John — I just might!

I need a job, and I want to be a paperback writer

paperback_writerI discovered the Beatles’ “Paperback Writer” a year or so ago (hey, only about 50 years after the fact!) and I’ve pretty much decided that it’s my anthem. How often do you come across a peppy, energetic song about some desperate schlub pandering a lit agent to read his or her 1,000-page tome? Not often. Plus, the main character of the novel has a son who also wants to be a paperback writer. Art imitating life? Life imitating art? Either way, God bless you, Paul McCartney!

Paperback Writer

Dear, sir or madam, will you read my book?
It took me years to write, will you take a look?
It’s based on a novel by a man named Lear
And I need a job, so I want to be a paperback writer
Paperback writer

It’s a dirty story of a dirty man
And his clinging wife doesn’t understand
His son is working for the Daily Mail
It’s a steady job, but he wants to be a paperback writer
Paperback writer

It’s a thousand pages, give or take a few
I’ll be writing more in a week or two
I can make it longer if you like the style
I can change it ’round, but I want to be a paperback writer
Paperback writer

If you really like it you can have the rights
It can make a million for you overnight
If you must return it you can send it here
But I need a break and I want to be a paperback writer
Paperback writer . . .

The songs I love — and the songs I actually listen to

img_4821In another of her thoughtful schemes, Kelly asked me for a list of my top 12 favorite songs “of all time” the other day. What she’s doing with said list, pictured at right, I’m not sure . . . but it was fun thinking of my answers! She wanted my “desert island” songs — the songs I could listen to for the rest of my life and never stop liking.

Like most people, I’m a huge fan of music — mostly in general. You’ll have a hard time finding me without iPod in hand, flipping through my little crafted playlists and searching for good working music, or writing music, or running music . . . or whatever music. So I thought, Hey, since I listen to so much music during the day, all of my favorite songs should be found pretty easily. The greatness that is the iPod creates a special playlist for you: Top 25 Most Played.

But I was shocked. Of all the songs in this “top 25” list, I wouldn’t necessarily consider many of them to be my favorites. I like them, obviously, but they’re not my all-time, can’t-breathe-without-this-song classics. Most of them are tunes I’ve recently discovered, or great songs by artists relatively new to me.

So, I will now present the two lists — and I’ll limit my “top 25 most played” to just 12 songs. In the interest of uniformity!

Megan’s Top 12 Favorite Songs of All Time! (in random order)

• “Stop This Train,” John Mayer
• “A Movie Script Ending,” Death Cab for Cutie
• “Bruised,” Jack’s Mannequin
• “Such Great Heights,” Iron & Wine
• “Look After You,” The Fray
• “Penny and Me,” Hanson
• “A Lack of Color,” Death Cab for Cutie
• “The Hat,” Ingrid Michaelson
• “In Your Atmosphere,” John Mayer
• “Hey Jude,” The Beatles
• “Still,” Ben Folds
• “All These Things That I’ve Done,” The Killers

Megan’s Top 12 Most Played Songs (in order)

• “Warning Sign,” Coldplay
• “This Time,” Jonathan Rhys Meyers
• “This,” Brian Eno
• “Keep Breathing,” Ingrid Michaelson
• “The Letter,” James Morrison
• “Love Me Like The World Is Ending,” Ben Lee
• “Who Knew,” Pink
• “Nothing Lasts Forever,” Maroon 5
• “Bruised,” Jack’s Mannequin
• “We Can Work It Out,” The Beatles
• “A Movie Script Ending,” Death Cab for Cutie
• “The Last Goodbye,” James Morrison

Jack’s Mannequin and Death Cab made it on both lists; so did Ingrid Michaelson, though not for the same song. John Mayer, my FAVORITE musician ever, is not in my top 25 most played list! How is this possible?

So there you have it — my “desert island” songs. And, apparently, all the other tunes I actually . . . listen to.

And now it’s your turn! What are a few of your “desert island” songs? Do we have any in common?