Most Depressing Songs Ever?


(taken from here)

So I was exercising with my ipod on shuffle and a cool little Eels song came up. Oh, what a cool little Eels song, thought I with the innocence of an ex-marmot. Then I started actually listening to the lyrics. Not only is the song depressing in a casual, general way…it’s kind of gross. (See below.)

Curious as to what you’d describe as the most depressing songs ever? Examples of lyrics, please. (BTW–when searching for appropriate image, this is too funny.)

Jeff

It’s a beautiful morning
The sky is black as ink
The city’s sleeping still
And soon they’ll wake up
To the stink

And soon they’ll wake up
To the stink of life passing them by
Wake up and smell the stink of their lives

The garbage trucks are coming
To take your shit to the dump
You’re smelling pretty now
Such a pretty little lump
A pretty little lump of flesh
Who’s lost your way
Another night another day

…etc.
- The Other Shoe

Comments

  1. says

    Hard to beat the whole of Lou Reed’s Berlin album which includes The Bed:

    This is the place where she lay her head
    when she went to bed at night
    And this is the place our children were conceived
    candles lit the room brightly at night
    And this is the place where she cut her wrists
    that odd and fateful night

    My favourite lyrics in the depressing-as-sublime mode would be those for the track Starless by King Crimson, last piece on their Red album which is a masterpiece (and one of Kurt Cobain’s favourites). Music for the heat death of the universe. The phrase “Starless and bible black” is from Dylan Thomas. And you really need to hear the music…

    Sundown dazzling day
    Gold through my eyes
    But my eyes turned within
    Only see
    Starless and bible black

    Old friend charity
    Cruel twisted smile
    And the smile signals emptiness
    For me
    Starless and bible black

    Ice blue silver sky
    Fades into grey
    To a grey hope that omens to be
    Starless and bible black

  2. Cthulhu Saves says

    This one always gets to me:

    Dissapoint
    by Assemblage 23

    Just one more time
    For the sake of sanity
    Tell me why
    Explain the gravity
    That drove you to this
    That brought you to this place
    That pushed you down
    Into the soil’s embrace

    Give me the chance
    I was denied
    To sit and talk with you
    For one last time

    CHORUS
    Did I disappoint you?
    Did I let you down?
    Did I stand on the shore
    And watch you as you drowned?
    Can you forgive me?
    I never knew
    The pain you carried
    Deep inside of you.

    I can’t forget
    Having to see
    The words that knocked the wind
    Right out of me
    It’s not enough
    I’ve come undone
    Trying to find sense
    Where there is none

    Just give me peace
    You owe me that
    To help ward off the fears
    I must combat

    (CH)

    And so I ask
    For one more chance
    To understand
    This senseless circumstance
    Help me to see
    This through your eyes
    The reasons I’ve been trying
    To surmise

    Though you are gone
    I am still your son
    And while your pain is over
    Mine has just begun

    (CH)

  3. says

    Unsure whether this is a contender for “most depressing” but still…

    Buck 65: Corrugated Tin Facade (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MXQehR_0_Jc)

    “Look at this mess
    He thought he was cheatin’ God
    She leaves in the autumn
    His face like a beaten dog
    Now he’s become everything that you hate
    He’s just in time to be too late
    His friends are like snowflakes
    His lies are confessions
    Behold the old man
    and his ruined possessions
    He can’t play guitar but he does try very hard
    Pens from hotel rooms, old library card
    Photos and whatnot, blood in his boots
    Sun in his eyes, an achor instead of roots
    Clocks on every wall, fish in the ocean
    Solitude, faith, suspicion, commotion
    The hole in his stomach tastes like words
    He dreams and imagines his face like hers
    He knows he can’t live without his greatest fears
    And nothing’s more beautiful than a woman’s tears…

    Cardboard boxes full of regrets
    He feeds his remorse like you feed your pets
    Voices in his head that all said, “live a day” but
    The look in his eyes makes him a dead giveaway
    The bough that he breaks, the line that he draws
    He fell in love with the ugliness that nobody saw
    As close as he came, as far as he stood,
    He loved her with his mouth as hard as he could
    Most people change when they enter the door
    They walk home from work and remember the war
    He’s digging a ditch, and spent the day piling
    Dirt until it hurt and went away smiling
    Alone and heartbroken, just the way he likes it
    Only the loneliness knows him wholly
    And nothing seems to work, wrong everywhere
    He watches her brushing her long, heavy hair”

    I particularly like the lines “Most people change when they enter the door / they walk home from work and remember the war”. ‘Out of Focus’ is another great, if quite depressing, song by Buck.

  4. says

    “Daisy Glaze” by Big Star is a (pretty much) happy-sounding, pretty pop song (and a beautiful one at that–I highly recommend it) but these are the words:

    I’m drivin’ alone, sad about you
    Not goin’ home, what’s to do
    You better not leave me here
    Better not leave me here
    Ooh, I want you here
    How can you leave me here
    I lie in the stream, I’m floating fine
    Receiving things in my beautiful mind
    Sometime drags, sometime, sometime, so sublime
    Lover, yes I am, lover, you know I am

    Now I’m in a bar, it’s gotta be where they are
    Gonna dance in the bar, they’re gonna fight on the floor
    Faster than I can see

    Now I’m gonna score, break for the door
    who is this whore
    Soon be beggin drags

    And I’m thinking, Christ
    Nullify my life, nullify my life

    You’re gonna die, yes, you’re gonna die
    Right now
    You’re gonna die, gonna decease

  5. says

    “Time” from Pink Floyd’s “Dark Side of the Moon” album is pretty darn depressing.

    Time
    (Mason, Waters, Wright, Gilmour) 7:06

    Ticking away the moments that make up a dull day
    You fritter and waste the hours in an offhand way.
    Kicking around on a piece of ground in your home town
    Waiting for someone or something to show you the way.

    Tired of lying in the sunshine staying home to watch the rain.
    You are young and life is long and there is time to kill today.
    And then one day you find ten years have got behind you.
    No one told you when to run, you missed the starting gun.

    So you run and you run to catch up with the sun but it’s sinking
    Racing around to come up behind you again.
    The sun is the same in a relative way but you’re older,
    Shorter of breath and one day closer to death.

    Every year is getting shorter never seem to find the time.
    Plans that either come to naught or half a page of scribbled lines
    Hanging on in quiet desperation is the English way
    The time is gone, the song is over,
    Thought I’d something more to say.

    I liked it more when I was 19 than I do now.

  6. says

    There was actually an entire depressing subgenre in the fifties of teenage death songs. “Patches”, for instance. Horrible stuff. Not just really depressing, but shamelessly pap about it, straight for operatic emotion.

    I think the genre is going to come back, though, and I’m writing songs right now for my teen idol stardom singing about all the awful ways teens can die. I’m going to update their deaths, though, for a modern era. They will all die because they were stupid, or because they had sex, or – for the really good ones – because they had stupid sex.

  7. says

    Warren Zevon, “My Shit’s Fucked Up”

    Well, I went to the doctor
    I said, “I’m feeling kind of rough”
    He said, “I’ll break it to you, son [Warren sings, “Let me break it to you, son”]
    Your shit’s fucked up.”
    I said, “my shit’s fucked up?”
    Well, I don’t see how-”
    He said, “The shit that used to work-
    It won’t work now.”

    I had a dream
    Ah, shucks, oh, well
    Now it’s all fucked up
    It’s shot to hell

    Yeah, yeah, my shit’s fucked up
    It has to happen to the best of us
    The rich folks suffer like the rest of us
    It’ll happen to you

    That amazing grace
    Sort of passed you by
    You wake up every day
    And you start to cry
    Yeah, you want to die
    But you just can’t quit
    Let me break it on down:
    It’s the fucked up shit

  8. says

    I’ve got two. Is that allowed? I’m going forward anyway :)

    First is another from The Eels, It’s a Motherf*cker.

    It’s a motherfucker being here without you
    Thinkin’ ’bout the good times, thinkin’ ’bout the bad
    And I won’t ever be the same

    The other is The Verve, Freshmen.

    We’ve tried to wash our hands of all this
    We never talk of our lacking relationships
    And how we’re guilt-stricken, sobbing
    With our heads on the floor
    We fell through the ice when we tried not to slip
    We’d say …
    I can’t be held responsible
    ‘Cause she was touching her face
    I won’t be held responsible
    She fell in love in the first place

  9. says

    When I was in Montreal, a TV crew was wandering around looking for people who knew Leonard Cohen lyrics, so I wound up being broadcast across the Great White North singing “Sisters of Mercy”:

    And you won’t make me jealous
    If I hear that they’ve sweetened your nights
    We weren’t lovers like that
    And besides it would still be all right

    I’ve always thought those were among the saddest lyrics ever written, masking a world of envy and pain. Probably just me, though. Leonard may well have been playing it straight.

  10. says

    Oh……how could I forget Swans and the laugh-riot which is FAILURE. Benefits a great deal from Michael Gira’s lugubrious delivery.

    I, I’ve been lonely
    And I, I’ve been blind
    And I, I’ve learned nothing
    So my hands are firmly tied
    To the sinking leadweight
    of failure

    I’ve worked hard all my life
    Money slips through my hands
    My face in the mirror tells me
    It’s no surprise that I’m
    Pushing the stone up the hill
    of failure

    They tempt me with violence
    They punish me with ideals
    And they crush me with an image of my
    life that’s nothing but unreal
    Except on the goddamned slaveship
    of failure

    I’ll drown here trying
    to get up for some air
    But each time I think I breathe
    I’m laid on with a double share
    of the punishing burden
    of failure

    I don’t deserve to be down here
    But I’ll never leave
    And I’ve learned one thing
    You can’t escape the beast
    In the null and void pit
    of failure

    When I get my hands on some money
    I’ll kiss it’s green skin
    And I’ll ask it’s dirty face
    “Where the hell have you been?”
    “I am the fuel that fires the engine
    of failure.”

    I’ll be old and broken down
    I’ll forget who and where I am
    I’ll be senile or forgotten
    But I’ll remember and understand
    You can bank your hard-earned money
    on failure

    I saw my father crying
    I saw my mother break her hand
    On a wall that wouldn’t weep
    But that certainly held in
    The mechanical moans of a dying man
    Who was a failure

    My back hurts me when I bend
    Because I carry a load
    My brain hurts me like a knife-hole
    Because I’ve yet to be shown
    How to pull myself out from
    The sucking quicksand
    of failure

    Some people live in hell
    Many bastards succeed
    But I, I’ve learned nothing
    I can’t even elegantly bleed
    Out the poison blood
    of failure

  11. says

    I have a ton of sad songs, but mostly they aren’t depressing per se, just melancholy.

    However, old Tom has one that never fails to leave me crushed.

    Cold was the night, hard was the ground
    They found her in a small grove of trees
    Lonesome was the place where Georgia was found
    She’s too young to be out
    On the street.

    Why wasn’t God watching?
    Why wasn’t God listening?
    Why wasn’t God there for
    Georgia Lee?

    Ida said she couldn’t keep Georgia
    From dropping out of school
    I was doing the best that I could
    But she kept running away from this world
    These children are so hard to raise good

    Why wasn’t God watching?
    Why wasn’t God listening?
    Why wasn’t God there for
    Georgia Lee?

    Close your eyes and count to ten
    I will go and hide but then
    Be sure to find me. I want you to find me
    And we’ll play all over
    We will play all over again

    There’s a toad in the witch grass
    There’s a crow in the corn
    Wild flowers on a cross by the road
    And somewhere a baby is crying
    For her mom
    As the hills turn from green back
    To gold

    Why wasn’t God watching?
    Why wasn’t God listening?
    Why wasn’t God there for
    Georgia Lee?

  12. says

    Townes Van Zandt was the master poet of depressing though uplifting songs.

    Waiting Round to Die is one of my favorites:

    Sometimes I don’t know where this dirty road is taking me
    Sometimes I can’t even see the reason why
    I guess I keep on gamblin’, lots of booze and lots of ramblin’
    It’s easier than just a-waitin’ ’round to die

    One-time friends I had a ma, I even had a pa
    He beat her with a belt once cause she cried
    She told him to take care of me, she headed down to Tennessee
    It’s easier than just a-waitin’ ’round to die

    I came of age and found a girl in a Tuscaloosa bar
    She cleaned me out and hit it on the sly
    I tried to kill the pain, I bought some wine and hopped a train
    Seemed easier than just a-waitin’ ’round to die

    A friend said he knew where some easy money was
    We robbed a man and brother did we fly
    The posse caught up with me, drug me back to Muskogee
    It’s two long years, just a-waitin’ ’round to die

    Now I’m out of prison, I got me a friend at last
    He don’t steal or cheat or drink or lie
    His name’s codeine, he’s the nicest thing I’ve seen
    Together we’re gonna wait around and die

  13. says

    Almost anything off of Annie Lennox’s “Songs of Mass Destruction” CD. I can’t listen to it in its entirety, or I get damn near suicidal. It sucks my soul right from me.

  14. Sung says

    Here is one with a tell-tale title ‘Everything is Sorrow’ by The Boo Radleys

    And you know you shouldn’t have another cigarette but
    Nothing else makes sense, nothing else will recompense
    And you get your loneliness out of a magazine, you never
    Felt nothing at all, no-one else will ever know another one
    Has dragged you home and sworn that you’re the only
    One you dream they’ll play a special part you’ll write their
    Name across your heart but then it’s back inside your
    Head the thought that it will turn out bad a fleeting
    Glimpse of what is bound to be. Now the phone has lost
    Its voice you’re on your own again spend your time on
    Endless bedroom floor soliloquies the only voices youll
    Hear all day will it always be this way (yes) once you
    Recognise the truth that all is sad and youre the proof you
    Might as well fight the day kick back at the pricks that say
    All is school and work no more break your back it’s not
    Your war disengage the only way to win opened up my
    Paintbox it had all turned to blue I worked in birkenhead
    For you it brings me tears even now you tried to kill me
    Break my will you almost won I hate you still the hated
    Suffer not whats worse the hater carries round the curse it
    Eats me up the cancer that is you. Don’t paint blue all the
    Time know the truth read the signs live your life as a lie
    You don’t have to die.

  15. says

    I’m a sucker for sad songs.

    Ray Lamontagne has a couple of great depressing songs.

    “Jolene”

    Cocaine flame in my bloodstream
    Sold my coat when I hit Spokane
    Bought myself a hard pack of cigarettes in the early morning rain
    Lately my hands they don’t feel like mine
    My eyes been stung with dust, I’m blind
    Held you in my arms one time
    Lost you just the same
    Jolene
    I ain’t about to go straight
    It’s too late
    I found myself face down in the ditch
    Booze on my hair
    Blood on my lips
    A picture of you, holding a picture of me
    in the pocket of my blue jeans
    Still don’t know what love means
    Still don’t know what love means
    Jolene
    Ah, La, La, La, La, La
    Jolene
    Been so long since I seen your face
    or felt a part of this human race
    I’ve been living out of this here suitcase for way too long
    A man needs something he can hold onto
    A nine pound hammer or a woman like you
    Either one of them things will do
    Jolene
    I ain’t about to go straight
    It’s too late
    I found myself face down in the ditch
    Booze in my hair
    Blood on my lips
    A picture of you, holding a picture of me
    In the pocket of my blue jeans
    Still don’t know what love means
    Still don’t know what love means
    Jolene
    La, La, La, La, La, La, La
    Jolene
    La, La, La, La, La, La, La
    Jolene

  16. says

    Mr. Coulthart, you have excellent taste.

    Anne – Is that the same “Jolene” as the Dolly Parton song? (You also have excellent taste, by the way. TVZ = brilliant.)

    From an old blog post about sad songs:
    http://junkiesthievesandcrazies.blogspot.com/2008/04/sad-songs.html

    ——-
    Nick Cave – Long Time Man
    It’s a fairly typical murder ballad until you get these lines, “She looked up at me and began to smile/She said, ‘Baby, I love you’/Then she closed her baby blue eyes”, and you can almost feel sorry for the wife-killing protagonist. Almost.

    Johnny Cash and June Carter – If I Were A Carpenter
    Because when they sang this song they meant it. Absolutely and completely

    John Parrish and PJ Harvey – That Was My Veil
    “Was she a pretty girl/Did she have pretty hair/Was she soft spoken/Was there a love there?” And you go, “Polly, what are you doing to me?”

    Mark Lanegan Band – Wedding Dress
    “Would you put on that long white gown/And burn like there’s no more tomorrows?/Will you walk with me underground/And forgive all my sicknesses and my sorrows?/Will you be shamed if I shake like I’m dying/When I fall to my knees and I’m crying/Will you visit me where my body rests/Will you put on that long white dress?” …and everyone knows she won’t. That the backing vox are done by Lanegan’s ex-wife, well…

    Radiohead – Lucky
    The odd one out on my list. I don’t particularly like Radiohead, but I can get behind this song. “It’s going to be a glorious day,” everyone knows it’s not.

    Tindersticks – Traveling Light
    Almost any Tindersticks song would work here. They don’t call them miserablists for nothing.
    ——–

    Tom L. gave us a list too…
    http://junkiesthievesandcrazies.blogspot.com/2008/05/thomas-ligotti-knows-sad-songs.html

  17. Dr Fidelius says

    There’s a great book called
    I Hate Myself And Want To Die: The 52 Most Depressing Songs You’ve Ever Heard. The author draws a useful distinction between sad and depressing. ‘Hurt’ by Johnny Cash: sad. ‘Hurt’ by NIN: depressing.

    The saddest song I know is Eric Bogle’s ‘And The Band Played Waltzing Matilda’ (memorably covered by the Pogues on Rum, Sodomy and the Lash) but it’s moving rather than depressing.

    So they gathered the crippled, the wounded, the maimed,
    And they shipped us back home to Australia.
    The armless, the legless, the blind, the insane,
    Those proud wounded heroes of Suvla.
    And as our ship sailed into Circular Quay,
    I looked at the place where me legs used to be,
    And thanked Christ there was nobody waiting for me,
    To grieve, to mourn and to pity.

  18. Marmot Dancin' says

    John: This might be my favorite line ever: “My brain hurts me like a knife-hole”.

  19. says

    Like John Goodman’s character in the Talking Heads musical True Stories, I really like songs that make me wanna lay on the floor. That said, the line between depressing and simply beautiful–or hilarious–blurs substantially depending on my mood. A lot of my favorites have joyous music to offset the bleak lyrics, so rather than going with the Tiger Lillies or some such I submit Children’s Story by Tom Waits:

    Once upon a time, there was a poor child,
    With no father and no mother,
    And everything was dead,
    And no one was left in the whole world.
    Everything was dead.
    And the child went and searched day and night,
    And since nobody was left on the earth,
    He wanted to go up in to the heavens,
    And the moon was looking at him so friendly,
    And when he finally got to the moon,
    The moon was a piece of rotten wood.
    And then he went to the sun,
    And when he got there,
    The sun was a wilted sunflower.
    And when he got to the stars,
    They were little golden flies, stuck up there like the shrike sticks among the black thorn.
    And when he wanted to go back down to Earth,
    The Earth was an overturned piss-pot, And he was all alone.
    And he sat down and he cried.
    And he is there to this day.
    All alone.

    Okay, there’s your story.
    Night night.
    (Laughs)

    Although, in all honesty, it’s pretty goddamn funny when you hear it performed. Damn. As someone else pointed out, Nick Cave always does in a pinch:

    Across clinical benches with nothing to talk
    Breathing tea and biscuits and the Serenity Prayer
    While the bones of our child crumble like chalk
    O where do we go now but nowhere

    I remember a girl so bold and so bright
    Loose-limbed and laughing and brazen and bare
    Sits gnawing her knuckles in the chemical light
    O where do we go now but nowhere

    You come for me now with a cake that you’ve made
    Ravaged avenger with a clip in your hair
    Full of glass and bleach and my old razorblades
    O where do we go now but nowhere

    Not too off topic, but I really liked Guy Maddin’s Saddest Music in the World. I’m inclined to agree with the good Dr. F____ that there’s a distinction between depressing and sad, but I think this film encompasses the trinity I mentioned earlier: it’s depressing, but also hilarious and beautiful.

  20. says

    Brian – You go wrong with Skip James…Devil Got My Woman, his ver. of Crow Jane, etc…

    Anne – I will have to investigate. You have links?

    Was discussing this w/a friend of mine and she said, re: Waltzing Mathilda, “What can really beat that Pogues song? Seriously. All the heartbreak, baby our love was awesome, now it’s over, why’d you go and shoot yourself songs kind of wither up and die next to that one.”

    The Pogues/Trad. song is Waltzing Mathilda – well known to anyone in Ireland/Australia/Newfoundland…
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/yt-dKj2ZPEY7pY/the_pogues_and_the_band_played_waltzing_matilda_live/

    When I was a young man I carried my pack
    And I lived the free life of a rover
    From the murrays green basin to the dusty outback
    I waltzed my matilda all over
    Then in nineteen fifteen my country said son
    Its time to stop rambling cause theres work to be
    Done
    So they gave me a tin hat and they gave me a gun
    And they sent me away to the war
    And the band played waltzing matilda
    As we sailed away from the quay
    And amidst all the tears and the shouts and the
    Cheers
    We sailed off to gallipoli

    How well I remember that terrible day
    the blood stained the sand and the water
    And how in that hell that they called suvla bay
    We were butchered like lambs at the slaughter
    Johnny turk he was ready, he primed himself well
    He us with bullets, he rained us with
    Shells
    And in five minutes flat hed blown us all to hell
    Nearly blew us right back to australia
    But the band played waltzing matilda
    As we stopped to bury our slain
    And we buried ours and the turks buried theirs
    Then started all over again

    Now those
    In mad world of blood, death and fire
    And for weeks I kept myself alive

    Then a big turkish shell knocked me arse over tit
    And when I woke up in my hospital bed
    And saw what it had done, I wished I was
    Dead
    Never knew there were worse things than dying
    no more Ill go waltzing matilda
    the green far and near
    For to hump tent and pegs, a man needs two legs
    No more waltzing matilda for me

    So they collected the cripples, the wounded
    Maimed
    And they shipped us back home to australia
    , the blind insane
    Those proud wounded heroes of suvla
    And as our ship pulled into circular quay
    I looked at the place where legs used to be
    And thank christ there was nobody waiting for me
    To grieve and to mourn and to pity
    And the band played waltzing matilda
    As they carried us down the gangway
    But nobody cheered, they just stood and stared
    turned all their faces away

    And now every april I sit on my porch
    And I watch the parade pass before me
    my old comrades, how proudly they march
    Reliving dreams of past glory

    The forgotten heroes a forgotten war
    And the young people ask , what are they
    Marching for?
    And I ask myself the same question
    And the band plays waltzing matilda
    And the old men answer to the call
    But year after year their numbers get fewer
    Some day no one will march there at all

    Waltzing matilda, waltzing matilda
    Wholl a-waltzing matilda with me?

    Her list, buy the way is…

    Hope There’s Someone – Antony and the Johnsons
    There’s nothing sadder than hope. Hoping that you don’t have to sleep, or die, alone takes it beyond simple melancholy to a kind of visceral, transcendent sorrow.

    Faith – The Cure
    Propelled only by a relentless bass, the song wallows in hopeless isolation. Everything about it is subdued, resigned to that stark, gray place where there’s nothing left… but faith.

    Heroes – David Bowie
    We all know there’s no hope for Bowie’s star-crossed lovers. Even if they can beat them for one day, there’s no question how it’ll end up; nothing will keep them together.

    Fade Into You – Mazzy Star
    Perhaps the penultimate exquisitely forlorn song, the kind of gentle ache that you can get lost in forever.

    Atmosphere – Joy Division
    Bleak and beautiful in that particular way only Joy Division could do. Over the restrained cascade of the melody, Ian Curtis implores, admonishes: don’t walk away in silence.

    The Band Played Waltzing Mathilda – The Pogues
    So sad that I can’t actually listen to it. The horrific cost of war, the Battle of Gallipoli in this case, is presented in a wholly human context; there are no grandstanding political condemnations here, only tragedy and waste.

    Untitled – The Cure
    A wistful, pretty melody married to some of Robert Smith’s bleakest lyrics: “I’ll never lose this pain/Never dream of you again”.

  21. says

    I would choose a Joy Division Song by default, but which one?
    After a few moments consideration and a quick crack of the whip upon Google’s hindparts I’d go for what is coincidentally my favourite song of theirs, ‘Decades’, which I see, with my 30th birthday looming, as a treatise on being trapped within an oppressive middle age while looking back on a failed youth now gone.
    I might be looking at that through somewhat subjective spectacles, admittedly.
    —-
    Here are the young men, the weight on their shoulders,
    Here are the young men, well where have they been?
    We knocked on the doors of Hell’s darker chamber,
    Pushed to the limit, we dragged ourselves in,
    Watched from the wings as the scenes were replaying,
    We saw ourselves now as we never had seen.
    Portrayal of the trauma and degeneration,
    The sorrows we suffered and never were free.

    Where have they been?

    Weary inside, now our heart’s lost forever,
    Can’t replace the fear, or the thrill of the chase,
    Each ritual showed up the door for our wanderings,
    Open then shut, then slammed in our face.

    Where have they been?
    —-

  22. HistoryDave says

    I agree with the commenters who have drawn the distinction between sad songs and depressing songs, though sometimes I’m not sure the artists who produce individual songs are aware of the difference.

    The saddest song I know is “Kilkelly,” by Peter Jones (my favorite version is by Maloney, O’Connell and Keane). It’s just a series of letters from an Irish father to his son in America, one a decade from 1860 to 1892. The last line – “we’d all love to see you again” kills me every time.

    But for pure, unadulterated, depressing schmaltz, I cannot believe nobody has mentioned Terry Jacks’ “Seasons in the Sun.” Death as camp.

  23. says

    Late to this, but anyway, sad songs. Nick Drake, Black-Eyed Dog.

    “A black eyed dog he called at my door
    The black eyed dog he called for more
    A black eyed dog he knew my name
    A black eyed dog he knew my name
    A black eyed dog
    A black eyed dog.

    I’m growing old and I wanna go home
    I’m growing old and I don’t wanna know
    I’m growing old and I wanna go home.

    A black eyed dog he called at my door
    A black eyed dog he called for more.”

    TIndersticks, oh yes, lots. Raindrops perhaps most of all for me, the total weary despair of that first line, “Silence is here again tonight.”

    Not who you’d normally think of for this sort of thing, but Billy Bragg’s Tank Park Salute brings a tear.

    Sufjan Stevens’ Casimir Pulaski Day is not the most chirpy of songs, either.

  24. Suin says

    I’m inclined to say, as a general observation, that any song performed by any band whose name looks like it came out of a random word generator or involves any disorder listed in the DSM-IV should be disqualified. That being said, if we’re talking over-the-top schmaltz, while it’s hard to beat “Seasons in the Sun”, I’d put “Honey” up against it in a smackdown. After our songster’s girlfriend/wife suffers multiple unexplained crying fits, “One day when I wasn’t home/while she was there and all alone/the angels came.” Ack pthpht.

  25. Moya says

    One of my personal favorites is “Any Other Way” by the Captains Intangible. Not much to it and it’s hard to find, but it’s good (to me atleast).
    So I’m f**King off/don’t miss me/don’t
    So you gave it your all/still fell apart/don’t cry/don’t
    It won’t change a thing to want it any other way.
    It won’t change a thing
    Don’t
    It won’t change a thing to want it any other way.
    Like I said not much but it’s melancholy, you have to listen to it, I hope you enjoy.

  26. MC says

    Saddest song ever for me is Gary Jules’s ‘Mad World’ or Gilbert O’Sullivan’s ‘Alone Again (Naturally)’.

    Mad World:

    All around me are familiar faces
    Worn out places, worn out faces
    Bright and early for their daily races
    Going nowhere, going nowhere

    Their tears are filling up their glasses
    No expression, no expression
    Hide my head I want to drown my sorrow
    No tomorrow, no tomorrow

    And I find it kinda funny
    I find it kinda sad
    The dreams in which I’m dying
    Are the best I’ve ever had

    I find it hard to tell you
    I find it hard to take
    When people run in circles
    It’s a very, very mad world, mad world

    Children waiting for the day they feel good
    Happy birthday, happy birthday
    Made to feel the way that every child should
    Sit and listen, sit and listen

    Went to school and I was very nervous
    No one knew me, no one knew me
    Hello, teacher, tell me what’s my lesson
    Look right through me, look right through me

    And I find it kinda funny
    I find it kinda sad
    The dreams in which I’m dying
    Are the best I’ve ever had

    I find it hard to tell you
    I find it hard to take
    When people run in circles
    It’s a very, very mad world, mad world

    Enlarge your world
    Mad world

    Alone Again (Naturally) (thing is about this song, it has almost a happy beat).:

    In a little while from now,
    If I’m not feeling any less sour
    I promised myself to treat myself
    And visit a nearby tower,
    And climbing to the top,
    I will throw myself off
    In an effort to, make it clear to who
    Ever what it’s like when your shattered
    Left standing in the lurch, at a church
    where people saying,
    “My God that’s tough, she stood him up
    No point in us remaining.
    We may as well go home.”
    As I did on my own,
    Alone again, naturally

    To think that only yesterday,
    I was cheerful, bright and gay,
    Looking forward to, but who wouldn’t do,
    The role I was about to play
    But as if to knock me down,
    Reality came around
    And without so much as a mere touch,
    Cut me into little pieces
    Leaving me to doubt,
    Talk about God in His mercy
    For if He really does exist
    Why did He desert me
    In my hour of need?
    I truly am indeed,
    Alone again, naturally

    It seems to me that
    There are more hearts
    Broken in the world
    That can’t be mended
    Left unattended
    What do we do? What do we do?

    Alone again, naturally

    Now looking back over the years,
    And what ever else that appears
    I remember I cried when my father died
    Never wishing to hide the tears
    And at sixty-five years old,
    My mother, God rest her soul,
    Couldn’t understand, why the only man
    She had ever loved had been taken
    Leaving her to start with a heart
    So badly broken
    Despite encouragement from me
    No words were ever spoken
    And when she passed away
    I cried and cried all day
    Alone again, naturally
    Alone again, naturally

  27. ntc says

    Check out this the manic street preachers Motorcycle Emptiness. Depresses me

    Culture sucks down words
    Itemize loathing and feed yourself smiles
    Organive your safe tribal war
    Hurt maim kill and enslave the ghetto

    each day living out a lie
    life sold cheaply forever, ever, ever

    under neon loneliness motorcycle emptiness
    under leon loneliness motorcycle emptiness

    life lies a slow suicide
    orthodox dreams and symbolic myths
    from feudal surf to spender
    the wonderful world of purchase power

    just like lungs sucking on air
    survivals as natural as sorrow, sorrow sorrow

    under neon loneliness motorcycle emptiness
    under neon loneliness motorcycle emptiness

    All we want from you are the kicks youve given us (x4)

    under neon loneliness motorcycle emptiness (x2)

    Drive away and its the same
    everywhere death row, everyones a victim
    your joys are counterfeit
    this happiness corrupt political shit

    living life like a comotose
    ego loaded and swallow, swallow swallow

    under neon loneliness motorcycle emptiness (x3)
    under neon loneliness everlasting nothingness

  28. says

    Happy Birthday, A Dirge

    Happy Birthday
    Oh, Happy Birthday
    Anguish, pain and despair
    people dying everywhere,

    Oh, Happy Birthday
    Happy Birthday

  29. JCD says

    IRVINE by KELLY CLARKSON

    From her album MY DECEMBER (that her label didnt want to release) they said it wasnt mainstreet and didnt have a single hit. She didnt care and released it anyway. I believe one of the most emotional albums ever from SOBER (about leaving a relationship) to JUDAS (about a freindship gone wrong) to HAUNTED (about a friend who committed suicide) to MAYBE (hope for a relationship after its over) to IRVINE (an open plea to god)! She is just amazing!!!

    Are you there?
    Are you watching me?
    As I lie here on this floor
    They say you feel what I do
    They say you’re here every moment
    Will you stay?
    Stay ’till the darkness leaves
    Stay here with me
    I know you’re busy, I know I’m just one
    But you might be the only one who sees me
    The only one to save me

    Why is it so hard?
    Why can’t you just take me?
    I don’t have much to go
    Before I fade completely

    Can you feel how cold I am?
    Do you cry as I do?
    Are you lonely up there all by yourself?
    Like I have felt all my life
    The only one to save mine

    How are you so strong?
    What’s it like to feel so free?
    Your heart is really something
    Your love, a complete mystery to me

    Are you there watching me?
    As I lie here on this floor
    Do you cry, do you cry with me?
    Cry with me tonight

    Are you there?
    Are you watching me?

  30. Joseph Balaich says

    Cure my Tragedy
    By the band: Cold

    Remember all the times that we used to play?
    You were lost and I would save you
    I don’t think those feelings will ever fade
    You were born a part of me
    I was never good at hiding anything
    My thoughts break me
    Do you understand what you mean to me?
    You are my faith

    [Chorus]
    Won’t you cure my tragedy? [x2]
    Don’t take her smile away from me
    She’s broken and I’m far away
    Won’t you cure my tragedy? [x2]
    if you make the world a stage for me
    then I hope that you can hear me scream
    Won’t you cure my tragedy?

    When I sit and think of the days we shared
    and the nights you covered for me
    Every little thing that I ever did
    You would stand by me
    Everytime you cried it would take my wind
    My heart would break
    If I could be strong like you were for me
    You are my faith

    [Chorus]
    Won’t you cure my tragedy? [x2]
    Don’t take her smile away from me
    She’s broken and I’m far away
    Won’t you cure my tragedy? [x2]
    if you make the world a stage for me
    then I hope that you can hear me scream
    Won’t you cure my tragedy?

    Can you hear me scream? [x2]

    [Chorus]
    Won’t you cure my tragedy? [x2]
    Don’t take her smile away from me
    She’s broken and I’m far away
    Won’t you cure my tragedy? [x2]
    if you make the world a stage for me
    then I hope that you can hear me scream
    Won’t you cure my tragedy?

    I can’t take this anymore
    I can’t feel this anymore
    Won’t you take and give her pain to me
    ‘Cause my whole life I’ve made mistakes
    Can you hear me scream? [x2]

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  32. says

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  33. says

    I agree that the song was really depressing. I know the difference between sad and depressing songs but this one is really depressing

  34. Carl says

    ‘New Dawn Fades’ by Joy Division is probably the darkest song I have ever heard speaking for myself. I love it.

    I heard Lou Reed’s ‘Berlin’ for the first time today and that shot me down- hard. Very short though.