Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Five Songs for a Miserable Depression

Feeling a bit meh about life in general right now. Nothing serious, of course; your basic "job sucks, stuck in a rut, why isn't my play finished yet, holy shit I have no money, my god I'm a fat bastard, why does it always rain on me" type of funk. But, because I'm financially unable to afford a three-day whiskey bender at this time of the month (my preferred method of dealing with depression), I've got nothing to soothe my soul except the depths of my record collection and the knowledge that I'll never be as bad off as Kevin Federline.

Anyway, here's my top five songs for a miserable depression. No particular order, because sadness is like so totally random, man:

"Misery and Gin" by Merle Haggard

The title says it all. This is a song about drinking away your pain in a run-down honkytonk and when you're currently occupying the blue area of the emotional color wheel, that sounds like the best idea since the introduction of fermented hops to water. Haggard has a great, craggy voice that sounds like the personification of sorrow mixed with enough machismo to make certain that he's never cried, ever, though he's deeply hurt inside. What I'm trying to say is that I want to be a tough heartbroken cowboy; they wear it so damn well.

"Accidentally Like a Martyr" by Warren Zevon

This is the quintessential "long, dark night of the soul" songs that make a perfect backdrop for holing up in your bedroom and thinking about all of the love you've lost in your lifetime. Reminiscing can always be more painful if you want it to be and this tune is just the salt to rub into that particular wound. Side Note: While we're on Zevon, his song "Keep Me In Your Heart For Awhile" from his final album before his death is the perfect song to listen to after someone close has recently passed away. It'll instigate a good cry that will last for days.

"The River" by Bruce Springsteen

Springsteen is one of those rare artists who does peppy rave-ups and downbeat weepers with equal skill and this one is easily the biggest gun in the arsenal of the latter. Basically, it tells the tale of a high school pregnancy and the aftershocks of same that last a life time. It's useful for your day-to-day sadness because you can compare your life to the lives of the kids in the lyrics and, unless you're currently working in a union-run mill with a pregnant teenage bride waiting at home, you'll feel tons better about your lot in life. The Boss's album "Nebraska" is a great work of bleakness, too, but that's best saved for an absolutely crushing misery when you can't be bothered to make a mix tape.

"Hackensack" by Fountains of Wayne

This, admittedly, isn't as heavy as the previous three songs but that's okay. It's a good idea to throw on something that's still thematically gloomy, but isn't going to kick you over the edge into the inky blackness where the word "suicide" starts to sound a lot like "super idea." This one fits nicely with any feelings you have of being stuck in a miserable job, missing someone you love, and/or hating the town you're living in. Double points if the town you're hating on is, in fact, Hackensack, New Jersey.

"Where Did You Sleep Last Night" by Nirvana

This is from their live, unplugged album and it's absolutely choice for when the memories of your failed relationship are clinging to you like a too-tight sweatshirt. It starts out slow and mournful, gets loud and screamy towards the end, just like a perfect depression. Kurt Cobain's never sounded so much like a wounded animal, which is perfect because that's pretty much how you'll be feeling on the inside after listening to the aforementioned songs.

Honorable Mentions:
"Perfect Blue Buildings" by The Counting Crows
"For No One" by The Beatles
"Evaporated" by Ben Folds Five
"Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now" by The Smiths
"(Don't Go Back To) Rockville" by REM
And, of course, the entire Tom Waits catalogue.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Right under the buzzer, you said Tom Waits. I was getting ready to type it and you beat me to it. Kudos on a great selection of tunes.

11:21 AM  
Blogger Clinton said...

Yeah, you've got to have a Tom Waits song on there. I wanted something by him in the Big Five, but his whole body work is so collectively depressing that picking just one seems a little like picking a single diamond out of a big pile of other diamonds.

11:58 AM  

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