Friday, 24 August 2012

10 Songs That Always Make Me Cry

Most people who know me know that I have a bit of a penchant for depressing music or films. A great night for me is sitting in bed alone and weeping over Titanic with a large order of chinese. I have actually done this before. How embarrassing. But at least it means that when it comes to tear-jerkers I know my shit. I say embrace it, everyone loves a good emotional release every now and then. 
Obviously each to their own, some people will find different music moves them more than others depending on personal taste and when or where they heard it. For me personally, the following songs or pieces never fail to leave me in a bit of an emotional state.

1) Baby Birch by Joanna Newsom

I know I've actually posted this song before on my blog but I CAN'T HELP IT IT'S SO BEAUTIFUL. Most of Joanna Newsom's lyrics tend to be a bit ambiguous (and a LOT poetic) but it always seems to me like she's talking about an abortion or miscarriage. Usually the tears start at this verse:

'Your eyes are green, your hair is gold
Your hair is black, your eyes are blue
I closed the ranks and I doubled back
But you know, I hated to close the door on you.'

And by the time she sings 'Be at peace, baby, and begone' at the end I am a complete wreck. Uuurghhh I love this song SO MUCH.

2) re: stacks by Bon Iver

Justin Vernon actually went into a sort of hibernation in a wood cabin in Wisconsin to write the album For Emma, Forever Ago after he broke up from a long term relationship, which may be why the songs on it are so so moving. My favourite by far is re:stacks, a simple song where Justin uses only acoustic guitar chords as accompaniment. Like Baby Birch, in which Joanna Newsom plays her harp and sings, the lyrics are cryptic but come across as extremely personal. The final verse especially strikes a chord:

'This is not the sound of a new man or a crispy realisation
It's the sound of the unlocking and the lift away
Your love will be
Safe with me.'

3) A Case Of You by James Blake

As you've probably gathered by now, I'm not too phased by singers with unusual voices. James Blake's, especially, makes his cover of Joni Mitchell's A Case of You all the more sad because he sounds constantly as if he's on the verge of bursting into tears. Every time he sings the chorus it tears me up:

'You're in my blood you're my holy wine
You taste so bitter and so sweet,
Oh I could drink a case of you darling
And I would still be on my feet,
Oh I would still be on my feet.'

Another favourite line is when he sings ''Cause part of you pours out of me in these lines from time to time.'

3) Your Love Means Everything Part 2 by Faultline

I've posted this song before as well... I'll just have to subject you once again to the cringeworthy video specifying that the song comes 'with clouds'. I had to use that one because all the other ones say that the song is by Coldplay. IT'S NOT, it's Faultline. Anyway I've loved this song for years and years, ever since it became an anthem to my angsty pre-teen years. For me, it feels so sad because in a way it's kind of emotionless - It's more still and understated. Like the feeling you get when something's just happened and you're in a bit of a numb state of shock. *WEEP*

'It was a strange reaction
For someone like you to remain so sure
And in a chain reaction
I dissolve and break and then away I crawl'

4) Siegfried Idyll by Richard Wagner

I always feel like you can appreciate music more when you've actually played it, as it requires more of an emotional investment, and that may be why I love this piece so much. I REALLY hope other people can see why I'm so in love with it though because if they can't then they are missing out. Unlike the other songs I've posted, this piece isn't actually depressing or anything, Wagner actually wrote it as an expression of love for his wife. She woke up one morning to the sound of a small chamber orchestra playing it outside of her house, which is why a lot of it is written to sound like birds in the morning. It just brings tears for me because it's so fricking BEAUTIFUL. It swells towards a sort of climax towards the end of the piece and it was actually at the chord at 17:34 in the recording and then again at 18:04 that I almost started crying when I was performing it. It's stuff like this that makes it easy to forget that Wagner was actually a bit of a bastard. 
Anyway, rant over. If  you ever get the chance to see it played (by a good orchestra, don't let a crappy one ruin it for you) then definitely go see it. It's a shame that so many people these days don't appreciate classical music because they just can't be bothered to give it the time of day.

5) Casimir Pulaski Day by Sufjan Stevens

A sweet, innocent song about losing a friend to cancer. While the music itself is light and happy throughout, the lyrics tell a simple but inexplicably sad story about death and doubting faith in God. The last paragraph is particularly telling:

'All the glory when He took our place
But He took my shoulders and He shook my face
And He takes and He takes and He takes...'

6) Baby Mine by Bette Noyes

This is entirely due to the scene in Dumbo. Oh god, it's heartbreaking. Worse than that scene in Up, I swear.

7) In The Shallows by Daughter

In all honesty, singers with voices like hers usually annoy me a bit but this song is so good and her voice suits it so well that she can be forgiven. 

'Come out, come out, to the sea my love
And just
Drown with me.'

8) Threnos by John Tavener

There weren't any good recordings of this on YouTube so I had to use a Spotify link but if you don't have it and then oh my god get it, it's SO worth it for this. I'm a huge fan of John Tavener and there are so many of his pieces, especially choral works, that are haunting and beautiful and amazing. But this piece of sweet cello goodness is just in another league. The word 'threnos' comes from the word for 'wailing' in Greek and that actually happens to be another obsession of mine - like, any song or film soundtrack with wailing voices in and I am sold. Look at the Troy soundtrack, the one for The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, Passion  of the Christ, etc. The list goes on. 

9) Hector's Death from the soundtrack to Troy by James Horner

Oh god, this list just gets more and more embarrassing but my previous rant about Threnos reminded me of this one. BEAR WITH ME. I know many of you may criticise me for my choice of film and may well just think that Troy was rubbish with its only redeeming feature being Brad Pitt in bum-skimming armour. Don't get me wrong, that was a definite highlight. HOWEVER, the soundtrack is also completely brilliant and when the wailing voice comes in as Achilles kills Hector (which also makes me cry because Eric Bana is too beautiful to die) then I usually shed more than a few tears. Which I can do so when listening to the soundtrack on its own. I refuse to feel shame about this, I cannot be the only one this emotionally fragile.

10) The Road by Zero 7

Zero 7 is one of my favourite artists of all time and very nostalgic for me as well because I've been listening to them since I was about 8 years old. This song is pretty personal to me but I think the lyrics are so comforting and soft. 

'Spirits will climb
Into a time of your design.
All that I know
Never will be told, oh, child of mine.'

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