Miserable music meme

Here’s something that appealed instantly to me. Comrade Phil has started off a meme, celebrating Valentine’s Day with some dark and downbeat sounds, and Harpy has followed up on it. The basic idea is to take one each from the 80s, 90s and 00s, but I’ll see your three decades and raise you the 70s. Let’s start with James Taylor’s “Fire and Rain”:

…and I hope that was a depressing enough start. Good old JT, of course, could turn out a genuinely beautiful song when he was on form, even if it wasn’t always a happy one. But if there’s one band who were never accused of creating beautiful sounds, it was Venom. Mind you, “Buried Alive” did have a certain je ne sais quoi:

Heading into the 90s, this is where my musical knowledge starts to get patchy, so I have to enter the world of film soundtracks. Kevin Smith does like to make use of Soul Asylum, and “We 3” made a nice counterpoint to the downer ending of Chasing Amy:

And, bringing us up to the present day, here’s Martha Wainwright singing “Bloody Mother Fucking Asshole”. Not only a great title, but it’s a great showcase for Martha’s unique voice:

Well, that’s a bit of an eclectic selection. Just be grateful I didn’t give you five tracks of Willie Nelson.


  1. harpymarx said,

    February 14, 2010 at 11:00 pm

    Martha Wainwright… good pick! Where’s Abba then?

    • splinteredsunrise said,

      February 14, 2010 at 11:03 pm

      I wasn’t quite tongue in cheek enough to go to the land of Ingmar Bergman…

  2. Liam said,

    February 14, 2010 at 11:30 pm

    He stopped loving her today by George Jones is as bleak as a love song can get.

    • splinteredsunrise said,

      February 14, 2010 at 11:38 pm

      If we’re willing to go far back enough, Kitty Wells had some amazingly bleak numbers.

  3. Andy Wilson said,

    February 15, 2010 at 10:32 am

  4. Andy Wilson said,

    February 15, 2010 at 10:32 am

    second attempt: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ezjh47niz7A

  5. Andrew Coates said,

    February 15, 2010 at 11:59 am

    I thought the Smith’s Girlfriend in a Coma would have popped up.

  6. yourcousin said,

    February 15, 2010 at 12:11 pm

    Seriously, go back farther than this. And you can do alot worse than five songs from Willie Nelson.

  7. prianikoff said,

    February 15, 2010 at 5:38 pm

    I don’t do the BedSit Miserabilits, but do songs about pets count?

    The first tearjerker I really got into was “Old Shep” by Elvis, first written and recorded by Red Foley in 1941.
    (Funny how no one’s ever written a tearjerker about a cat!)

    Country Music is chock full of Cry in Your Beer tracks.
    I can’t fit Emmylou Harris into this list, but would recommend her version of “Beneath Still Waters” from ‘Blue Kentucky Girl’.
    Of course George Jones has lots of stuff that could go in here too, but I’ve set the maudlin filter to Moderate.

    Here are my suggestions for 1950-1990

    1950s Conway Twitty “It’s Only Make Believe”

    1960s Ketty Lester “Love Letters Straight from your Heart”

    1970s Leonard Cohen “Chelsea Hotel #2”

    1980s Queen “Who Wants to Live Forever”

    1990s Sinéad O’Connor – “Nothing Compares 2U”

  8. ryutin said,

    February 15, 2010 at 6:24 pm

  9. February 16, 2010 at 11:37 pm

    […] sad songs for me Oh, go on then. Picking up the gauntlet thrown down by Phil and Splinty, here are some of the saddest songs you could ask for. One per decade as required, although my […]

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