Songs that make me cry

April 16, 2011

OK, so I was reading this article in the Guardian about songs that make people cry: http://www.guardian.co.uk/music/2011/apr/08/nick-clegg-songs-make-writers-cry

Inspired by this, here is a small selection of some of the songs that (usually/often) make me cry.

Cocteau Twins – Half Gifts
A lovely, pretty sounding song to describe heartbreak and pain.”That’s what grown ups do”, the way Liz Fraser sings it just sounds so lost to me, like she’s repeating it to herself to convince herself that it’s true. It’s something I tell myself sometimes when I’m sad or confused by the world and when I just want to run home (as in, to my parents’ house) and curl up in my bedroom with my headphones on. Grown ups are meant to act maturely and wisely because that’s just “what they do” but of course it’s not always so easy.

Spiritualized – Broken Heart
Yes, I know, the first choice by the first writer in the Guardian piece, how original of me! This song has always made me cry but my reasons are very different from Dorian Lynskey’s reasons. It’s probably because I heard this at a particularly bad time in my life. I thought I was heartbroken, I wasn’t really. I was more…tired of not feeling loved and tired of feeling so overwhelmingly sad all the time. I think “I’m too busy to be heartbroken” is the line that made me the saddest because I had so much I needed to do at the time and this neverending sadness just seem to paralyze me. I got through but I still try not to listen to this song if I can help it. Disturbing as it sounds, this song also made me sad because listening to it made me imagine what heartbreak might feel like in the future!!

 Kate Bush – This Woman’s Work/Deeper Understanding
Again, there’s a sort of tiredness about This Woman’s Work that makes me feel sad. Or, a weariness rather. The video just makes it even sadder, I can hardly stand to watch the video at all!
I guess the reason I don’t like the new version of Deeper Understanding as much as the version on The Sensual World (I’m sorry Kate Bush! I love you!!) is because the chorus doesn’t soar. I felt that in the original, the computer voice was a kind of…heavenly voice coming to the narrator from the computer. It sounded ghostly enough for me to register it as something other than human. Sometimes just hearing something like “Hello, I know that you’re unhappy” is enough.

Radiohead – No Surprises
Well, I could choose almost any song from OK Computer and a lot of  The Bends and Kid A as these were some of the albums I used to shut myself in my room with and play repeatedly. Climbing Up the Walls used to destroy me but I would say it’s a kind of desperate song rather than a sad song exactly. No Surprises frequently turns up in unexpected places like cafés or bars and I just have to try to zone out for fear of crying! Again, it’s the feeling of giving up, of being so tired and wanting someone to comfort you or at least not to be subjected to any more emotional turmoil. While writing this I suddenly remembered another Radiohead song that I used to cry while listening to: Lozenge of Love. I haven’t heard that song in years so I have no idea if it would still produce the same effect!

Interpol – The New
I listened to this a lot right before going away to university but it’s meant different things to me at different times. I like (if that’s the right word to use?!) the line “I gave a lot to you, I take a lot from you too”. He just sings it in such a worn out sounding way, it’s so sad.

Low – Words
This song is very connected with the video for me as I used to watch the DVD that came with A Lifetime of Temporary Relief over and over again when I was home alone in the flat I shared during my third year of uni. Just hearing the first chords is enough to make me feel a bit wobbly and lost. Again, it was a time when I was so full of sadness (although far less than I was in my first and second years! Progress!) and also hating myself for feeling so sad all the time! “Too many words, too many words” just seemed to sum up how I felt. There were too many words I couldn’t say, too many words I didn’t feel I was able to write, too many negative words being poured into my diaries, and too many words in my own head, telling me again and again that I was a massive failure and that everyone around me was sick of me being such a depressed idiot half the time. It’s a beautiful song though!

Tindersticks – Pretty much their entire first album/Waiting for the Moon
Yeah, it’s hard to choose any one song from the first Tindersticks album, I really do tend to listen to the whole thing in one go. Like The Boatman’s Call it’s a surefire trip to Sadnessville.

Waiting for the Moon, from their album of the same name includes the lovely line: “Ease this raging heart, this raging love. Sometimes it feels like a knife, but not tonight” Even though the lyrics refer to “we”, for some reason this song makes me feel like the protagonist in Bjork’s ‘Hyperballad’ (another song I love which could, at times, go on this list!), like someone trying their best to deal with their sadness at night while everyone else is sleeping so that the people they love don’t have to.

Death Cab for Cutie – Your Heart is an Empty Room
“And all you see is where else you could be”. Dissatisfaction, emotional numbness, but made to sound so beautiful! It’s a really pretty song and I guess, whatever it’s supposed to mean, the lyric I quoted really stands out to me because I’m always struggling with a dissatisfaction with wherever I’m living. Not because of the people I’m there with but because I just never seem to be entirely happy no matter where I am, I’m always longing for that perfect country/city/town where I’ll feel happy and complete. I just haven’t found it yet. I know, it’s a very self-indulgent way to feel. I’m sorry.

Smashing Pumpkins – Perfect
This is the sound of teenage love, unrequited love, endless summers, school, blablabla. I never listened to this song until years after it came out, I had some kind of problem with the Smashing Pumpkins. Then one of my best friends in senior high school made me listen to the Rotten Apples compilation and I got really into them. I don’t know, this song feels like it’s about all the things that never happened and (thanks partly to 1979 companion piece video, which is also excellent) a sadness about things that didn’t go quite the way they maybe should have. It makes me feel like a kind of bruised happiness can come from jadedness or that, even when adult life doesn’t seem to be working out the way we hoped, we should hold on to all the things in life that are  beautiful.

Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds – Into My Arms
In a similar way to Words, this song is sad, but also signifies the opening of the emotional whirlpool that is The Boatman’s Call. I hear this and I think “I’m going to be in tears for the next forty minutes”. This song is so caring and so sweet compared to the bleakness of a lot of the other songs on the album. It’s the sound of someone picking up a broken person and telling them they’ll take care of them. The video is lovely too.

OK, I’m done. Just writing about these songs is making me feel a bit upset! That reminds me of a childrens’ book… I won’t tell you which one, it deserves it’s own blog post actually! I’ll find a picture of the cover and then I’ll write about it!

I left lots of songs out, either because I don’t want to explain why they make me sad or because I can’t think of any good reasons for finding them so upsetting. I left others out because well, there really are an awful lot of songs that make me cry! Billie Holiday, Jeff Buckley, The Cure, Mew, Kings of Convenience, Bjork, Nina Simone, the list could go and on! Then there are songs that don’t normally make me cry but have done due to my hearing them at a very specific time or in a specific place or something.

I was also going to include links to the songs but then I thought: wait a second, these are really sad songs, people shouldn’t be listening to them!! I also worried that people might listen and then think “Wow, these songs are terrible, who could possibly find any emotional meaning whatsoever in stupid songs like these, she is a total idiot!!” So, if you want to listen then feel free to head to youtube/spotify but don’t come back and tell me that you hate the songs or I’ll be very upset! I might cry!

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