|Amy Winehouse — ‘Back To Black’. Beautifully sad songs, starting with Amy Winehouse –‘Back To Black’. Beneath the brassy outside, Winehouse had a true fragility which was never better bared than with this iconic track and its monochrome video.|
Arctic Monkeys — ‘Love Is A Laserquest’.
Arctic Monkeys — ‘Love Is A Laserquest’. On the face of it, a laserquest should be a terrific day out. Needless to say, there is more
to this tale than that. Alex Turner’s on form that is brilliant here. It is a bleak, desperate picture of heart-break.” I will pretend that
you’re just a few lovers”, he says — but all of us know he is kidding himself.
Frank Ocean — ‘Swim Good’.
Frank Ocean — ‘Swim Good’. The lyrics to Frank Ocean’s breakthrough song paint a dark picture of a heartbroken, suicidal man intending to push his Lincoln car to the sea. Desperation at its very best.
The Beatles — ‘Eleanor Rigby’.
The Beatles — ‘Eleanor Rigby’. Paul McCartney’s baroque masterpiece told a darkly lonely story about a girl who died in the church and was buried along with her name — no one came”. The protagonist of the song was called Miss Daisy Hawkins by McCartney.
Radiohead — ‘Street Spirit’.
Radiohead — ‘Street Spirit’. Even Thom Yorke believes this is one of Radiohead’s funniest tunes, describing it as the dark tunnel with no light at the end”. When covered by The Darkness didn’t sound so sad.
Blur — ‘This Is A Low’. Britpop was not about knees-ups and corn blimey, missus type stuff. This tune from ‘Park life’ is the most hopeful track of Blur. So loaded has never been sounded by the shipping forecast.
The Cure — ‘Pictures Of You’.
The Cure — ‘Pictures Of You’. The goth picture means The Cure are unfairly painted as masters of the morose and it is not always correct. ‘Pictures Of You’ is, however, desolate stuff inspired.
Pink Floyd — ‘Wish You Were Here’.
Pink Floyd — ‘Wish You Were Here’. Alienation was a frequent motif in Roger Waters’ lyrics, but he never pinpointed it succinctly or poignantly as in this song, the title track from the 1975 album. “We’re just two lost souls swimming in a fish bowl, year after year”, it states.
Flaming Lips — ‘Do You Realize?’.
Flaming Lips — ‘Do You Realize? That everyone you know will die?” asks Wayne Coyne. It’s not but hearing this with your friends. It is sad but uplifting, especially the shamelessly manipulative changes that are important.
Nick Drake — ‘Pink Moon’.
Nick Drake — ‘Pink Moon’. A tragic character, Nick Drake’s glorious music tapped into a gorgeous, serene and very English type of melancholy.
Alex Turner — ‘Piledriver Waltz’.
Alex Turner – ‘Piledriver Waltz’. In the brilliant ‘Submarine’ soundtrack, this song starts off with some of the best lyrics, as mentioned by you, the readers: “I etched a face of a stopwatch/ On the back of a raindrop.” It is a miserable theme — he has heard that the woman will dump him with a stunning rhythmic change that keeps it from being a Debbie Downer.
The Velvet Underground — ‘Candy Says’.
The Velvet Underground — ‘Candy Says’. Composed about transsexual Candy Darling, the New York socialite and celebrity of Andy Warhol’s coterie, The Velvet Underground find despair and shyness beneath the outside in this small, delicate, slow tune. “Candy says, ‘I have come to hate my body’, it starts.
The National — ‘Sorrow’. The National — ‘Sorrow’. Depression isn’t a simple thing to discuss, nor sing about, but this gloomy track by The National feels appropriately spiraling and claustrophobic. “Sorrow found me when I was young, sorrow waited, sorrow won,” it states.
Elliot Smith — ‘Needle In The Hay’.
Elliot Smith — ‘Needle In The Hay’. It’s tough to separate ideas of Elliott Smith’s songs from ideas of his tragic death. He always looked like a troubled soul and especially with this dire course, used to great effect in Wes Anderson’s The Royal Tenenbaums.
Grizzly Bear — ‘Slow Life’.
Grizzly Bear — ‘Slow Life’. It is always a nice surprise how great the Twilight soundtracks are. The ‘New Moon’ included this track from the Brooklyn four-piece featuring Victoria Legrand. The song plays during a scene. So that is cheery!
Sharon Van Etten — ‘We’re Fine’.
Sharon Van Etten — ‘We’re Fine’. “Trying hard to breathe, head between my knees, take my hands and squeeze, say I’m alright”, says Van Etten in one of the most wrenching tunes on her desolate album ‘Tramp’. “We are fine” and “I’m fine” are repeated so frequently in this song they become a sort of mantra to get through. “It is OK to feel” soothes Beirut’s Zach Condon.
Johnny Cash — ‘Hurt’. Johnny Cash — ‘Hurt’. Although it’s a cover of a Nine Inch Nails song, the late Johnny Cash brought a delicate poignancy for this track. It was the noise of a guy who was himself staring death in the face, and had lost his love. A painful listen.