Why we as a species find solace in the dark and depressing is something I’ll never quite understand. All I know is that there’s something strangely uplifting about listening to a stranger wallow in sadness through their music. On the other hand, sad songs can also help you get through a really dark time in your life. Whichever the case, find some comfort in the melancholy and listen to the saddest songs of 2015 (so far):
Beach House — “Days Of Candy”
Although released in late August, the closing track off the brilliant album Depression Cherry from the Baltimore darlings should become the new “song played at my funeral” pick. Somber and reflective, Victoria Legrand’s angelic voice shines. Meanwhile lyrics such as “I know it comes too soon/The universe is riding off with you” bring a lump in one’s throat. Excuse me, there’s something in my eye…..
Father John Misty — “Bored In The USA”
One of the deeper cuts from Father John Misty’s album I Love You, Honeybear is this string-laced nugget. This acerbic look at the death of the American dream and consumerism is led by Josh Tillman’s piano with strings (and canned audience laughter) in the background. “By this afternoon I’ll live in debt/By tomorrow I’ll be replaced by children,” he sings.
Courtney Barnett — “Boxing Day Blues”
Another album coda is this little jewel from Sometimes I Sit And Think, And Sometimes I Just Sit. “Lover I’ve got no idea,” she sings with a sense of resignation. I doubt the song has any link to missing out on Boxing Day bargains.
Of Monsters And Men — “Organs”
Nanna Bryndis Hilmarsdottir bares it all (metaphorically) on this tender tune. With a sparse arrangement behind her, she leads the song with an innocence resembling a blend of Bjork and Sharon Van Etten. Lyrics about taking off her face and pulling out one’s tongue might not work well on paper but here she nails this song which instantly draws the listener in.
James Bay — “Let It Go”
James Bay hit gold with this ballad about the end of a relationship. The video was nearing 18 million hits on YouTube as of late August and shows no sign of slowing down. While not as morose musically, lyrics such as “Trying to push this problem up the hill/When it’s just too heavy to hold” pull at the heartstrings.
Tom Waits — “Take One Last Look”
With less than a week to go retiring David Letterman got a surprise gift from Tom Waits. “This is for you Dave,” Waits said on the May 14 telecast before starting “Take One Last Look,” a bittersweet song he specifically wrote for the host. “Take one last look at the place that you are leaving,” Waits sings in his signature gruff delivery accompanied by accordion and upright bass.
Elle King — “See You Again”
The closing song (based on a night in Paris) from her strong album Love Stuff is this barren effort about a twosome sadly counting the days until they are away from each other. “See You Again” has a great Southern hue which works perfectly with King’s hushed performance.