Sunday, April 26, 2009

Songs that Break My Heart

I've decided as a fun little thing to do, every Sunday I will (try) to come up with a List. This inaugural list is of songs that break my heart. Doesn't necessarily mean they are sad or about love and loss, there is just something about them that makes me melancholy, verklempt, nostalgic. So, in no order....

1) Mad World - Michael Andrews. This is from Donnie Darko, not the original Tears For Fears version which I find just too bouncy...the juxtaposition of the lyrics and the beat throw me off. In this version you can hear the pain behind the lyrics, the disenfranchisement, the sense of nothingness.

2) Hurt - Johnny Cash. Shit, this is almost painful to listen to. Knowing the story of Cash's life makes Trent Reznor's words just beautiful and agonizing. Don't try to watch the video if you are depressed. And, as much as I adore Trent Reznor (and I do) his version doesn't make the hair all over my body stand up.

3) Baby Mine - Yes, this is from Dumbo, but it has always made me cry. Damn Disney and his mother issues!!!

4) Slipping Through my Fingers - ABBA. I'm not sure this would have made any sense to me before I had kids, and especially daughters, but now the words and sentiments behind it make me weep at the thought that some day my babies aren't going to need me.

5) Fire and Rain - James Taylor. It makes me hurt for my husband and in-laws.

6) Red Guitar - David Sylvian. This is one of those "moment in time" songs. Every morning my brother and I would load into his car to make the drive from the South Shore to Downtown Montreal to go to our private schools. We always got stuck in traffic on the Champlain Bridge. To me this song is my 17 year old brother in the driver's seat, window rolled down, hair blowing in the breeze coming off the St. Lawrence River. Despite everything he has accomplished and done since those long-ago days, this is the image that pops into my head when I am asked to describe him. Shit, now I'm crying.

7) The Theme song from Star Trek the Next Generation - don't ask, I don't understand it either, but whenever I watched this show the opening always left me a little misty. I think it is something tonal in the actual piece of music.

8) Killing Me Softly - Roberta Flack. How can you not understand this one? Obviously she was feeling some very heavy emotions.

9) I Don't Want to Talk About It - Rod Stewart. Yup, I have a soft spot for Mr. Stewart who saw me through my biggest break up.

10) I Can't Make You Love Me - Bonnie Raitt. I am in love with the rough, smokey quality in Bonnie Raitt's voice, but I love the way it smooths out here. Also, she tapped into the way I felt about someone in University. Thank god for Maturity and Mr. Right (a.k.a P-Daddy).

11) I Will Follow You into the Dark - Death Cab for Cutie. I always imagine P-Daddy and I as really old people when I hear this song, and it makes me sad to think about one of us leaving the other one behind. Love isn't painful, but full of joy. The thought of losing love is what hurts. Bloody Hell, I'm misting up again...I'm blaming it on the onions I was just chopping this time. I never cry in real life - I seem to reserve it for commercials and music.

12) How Soon is Now? - The Smiths. Oh come on! I was a teenager in Montreal in the 80s and 90s. You knew I was going to have this song on. It is a plea that shot straight to my soul...I didn't feel loveable, but I still wanted to be loved. Oh yeah, did I mention I had issues.

13) Ordinary World - Duran Duran. This is just a beautiful song about the loss of popularity and youth and how to relearn how to live. Reminds me of my youth and reminds me that I too am getting older.

14) The Mission - Ennio Morricone. The tonal quality of this piece is so moving, and gets me every time.

15) Tears in Heaven - Eric Clapton. I can't understand how anyone survives the death of a child, especially in such a horrible accident. I would spend the rest of my life wondering what my child was thinking as he was falling, if he thought about me at the end, if he felt much pain, and worst of all, if he knew what was about to happen. Even before I actually was a parent this song just killed me.

16) Landslide - Fleetwood Mac. This is another one about getting older and remembering youth. Jesus Christ, I'm really not that old, maybe I am just nostalgic.

17) Superstar - The Carpenters. Okay, so this one is really personal. This song makes me sad for the loss of such a brilliant talent, and it makes me sad for the years I spent destroying my body in the same way - at least I didn't die. The song itself is sad because it is about loving someone who has lied to you and left you. Luckily I have never experienced it, and never wanted to be a groupie so I can't personally relate to the song. (the song is about a fan who has had an affair with a superstar and still believed that they will be coming back for them).

18) O Mia Babbino Caro - Puccini. Otherwise known as the song in every Merchant Ivory film...makes me long for places I have never been in times that will never be again. I am so going to add Room With a View to the Netflix queue. The lyrics are about a girl expressing to her father how much she loves a boy and the lengths she will would go to to be with him.

19) Grace of God Go I - Flogging Molly. It's just sad but true - our lives are destined and shaped by chance; pick one path and you change the course of your travels through life and you lose everything that you would have had if you had picked the other path. One path could contain joy and love while the other pain and sorrow. It is just chance, grace, kizmet which path you choose.

20) One More For my Baby - Frank Sinatra. I have always loved this song and the story it tells about the "end of a brief episode" and how you can tell that it was much more to him. However, now it has much more meaning to me as it was the song playing on the Ipod when Lorelei was born.

21) Stairway to Heaven - Led Zepplin. "There's a lady who's sure that everything that glitters is gold". Took me a long time to realize that money doesn't buy or assure happiness and I regret all the years I literally spent trying to buy joy and love.

22) Paint it Black - Eric Burdon. I like his cover of the Stones song. It is another moment in time thing - Jen Abe and I and Tour of Duty a Vietnam show from the 80s. This song is forever associated with war for me. Besides which, I love Eric Burdon and think he is very under appreciated. I couldn't find a link to his studio recording of the song which is waaaaaaayyyyyy better.

23) Fade Into You - Mazzy Star. Let's all pause for our 90s emo moment and our desire to totally be consumed and consume someone.

24) In Your Eyes - Peter Gabriel. Do I even have to tell you what moment I associate this with? Lloyd Dobler!!! As a young girl all I wanted was the grand gesture of a guy standing outside my window blasting this tune at me. Then as I got older I lost the desire for grand gestures - they don't keep you warm at night, rub your aching feet nor act as your anchor when you are adrift in a sea of pain and doubt. Lloyd was a brilliant dream, but I prefer a real man. Still, Lloyd has a special place in my heart and always will.

25) This Woman's Work - Kate Bush. Equally beautiful is the Maxwell version, but I am a big Kate Bush fan so my heart stays true to her.

1 comment:

  1. This is such a good idea! I like how you prefaced it by saying it was "a fun little thing to do" and you ended up crying.

    Well, so did I actually {shamefully?} when I read the part about my dad. Just... there are very few people who know him now that see him like that. That's how I remember him from when I was a kid, and I'm glad that's how you still think of him too. I don't want that to ever be forgotten-- it's really who he still is deep down.

    Sylvian will always remind me of my dad. There's a lot of music that I love that I got from him.

    Thank you for writing this. I know it's just a list, but it is done beautifully.