Arbitrary Numbers: Top # Saddest Songs on Jessel's Playlist

Not too long ago, I put my headphones on, grabbed my little mp3 player, and listened until I found the happiest songs I could!  It was a great exercise, and was incredibly fun for me to do, and I loved hearing other people's  playlists as well, and really enjoyed the game of making this playlist through randomness.  So I decided to do it again!  And I know I can do it again and again.

Music is magical.  I am a very musical person, myself.  I have played piano for twenty years at least, and have sung for just about as long, mostly as a choir member, but also working to get better on solo performance stuff.  Music lets you jump into emotions you need to get to, to work through problems, stresses, and feelings that you have a hard time finding the catharsis for.  You see, life has gotten very stressful for me recently.  Not necessarily in a bad way, actually it will all probably end up getting better than ever after this rough patch.  But still, it hasn't been easy.

So I've decided to put on my headphones (new better ones I got for my birthday!) and get my mp3 player going (new better one from my past that I got for my birthday as well, just one of the best gifts, even if it is an old old model!).  The goal this time around is to find songs about sadness.  Not necessarily songs that make me want to cry, but songs that help me find that melancholic state, that lets me sit in my emotion and release them slowly.  Happy songs make you want to dance and sing.  Sad songs make you want to sit, and wait, and listen, and feel.  They are melancholic, and cathartic.  It isn't as easy of a criteria, but I'm going to give it a whirl.  Also, links to each song will be provided.  Just click on the linky parts.

Top 12 Saddest Songs

The rules, so you can play along and share your playlists:
1) Turn on the mp3 player, preferably on Random
2) Skip anything that doesn't immediately make me feel that sadness and melancholic state
3) Write down what it is immediately
4) Sit and enjoy, breathing calmly and deeply
5) Keep going until you get bored of making this list

Daniel Bedingfield "If You're Not the One"

Freshman year of college was the first time I heard this song.  I remember walking into my college compatriot's room, Joe's room, and he had this playing on his laptop.  We were both dealing with long-distance relationships, and were both musical guys, and were exactly what we needed in that transition from kid to adult.  This song feels like fall.  It reminds me of all those emotions, the bittersweet yearning.  I am incredibly happy to now be married to a woman that is the "you" of this song.  I do not mean to be sappy about it, but it is true.  It is just the right mood and feeling to begin this whole thing correctly.  I should definitely drop Joe a line sometime, as well.  

Regina Spektor "Samson"

DEFINITELY what Regina was singing about, right there. ~sarcasm

I do not care for Regina Spektor.  As a piano player, I find her sometimes incredibly irritating, and as a writer, her lyrics come across as super super pretentious.  But this song ... is beautiful.  As she plays and sings of the doomed romance of Samson and Delilah from Delilah's point of view, it is beautiful.  The strings come in on the second chorus and it just moves me.  There's all sorts of simple imagery, interesting thoughts on the version of the story, and just an engaging performance in its simplicity.  It is powerful, and one of my favorite songs of yearning.

U2 "Sometimes You Can't Make It"

U2 is not a band I normally listen to.  Very similarly to my thoughts on Regina Spektor, just I find most of their stuff uninteresting and pretentious sounding.  Like Coldplay, really.  But man, does this song hit hard.  It is another simple song that has a deep longing and yearning, though now it is a pleading voice who is asking a friend or loved one to just let them in, let them help through all the fights and all the depression.  

I heard this song first performed at a church service.  The music leader for the church had philosophy I do with God and music: if it is truth, it is godly.  God = truth.  So he liked to find "secular" songs and perform them verbatim, showing that those songs' truth can be just as relevant to a church setting as anything else.  This song, and his performance live, will always stay with me.  Depression is difficult, and I've not only been going through it for many many years, but I have friends and loved ones who deal with it like I do.  And I absolutely want to let them know I'm here!  Sometimes, you can't make it ... on your own.

Poets of the Fall "Maybe Tomorrow Is a Better Day"

I see a recurring theme in some of these lyrics.  This song is more than just a beautiful song that helps me find emotional catharsis.  It is one of my favorite songs.  Just, period.  I don't remember how I found Poets of the Fall, I suspect it was a Pandora find, or a proto-Pandora find.  But I do know this was the first song by them I heard.  And it has stuck with me forever.  Heck, I could fill this list with just Poets of the Fall songs.  But luckily, this one came up.  Here, look at the chorus: 

"This day will die tonight and there ain't no exception
We shouldn't wait for nothing to wait for.
Love me in this fable, babe, my heart is in your hand,
Our time is waiting right outside your door.
And maybe tomorrow is a better day."

I don't normally like just leaving lyrics here, but this song just moves me.  And that chorus is powerful for me.  I love Poets of the Fall, and this song's chorus has become a mantra for me when stress gets too much and weighs me down.

Steam Powered Giraffe "Honeybee"

This song just keeps popping up this week.  My friends and I have a running joke that one of them hasn't heard this song, even when put on his page, emailed to him, or even played right in front of him in the same room.  This song is beautiful and incredibly simple (catching a theme?) as a love song.  It has incredible harmonies and the singers in Steam Powered Giraffe have wonderful voices, filled with emotion and character.  The gimmick of the band is that they are robots, come to life and singing songs.  But this song, more than any other song in their repertoire, is just a wonderful song.  Many times their gimmick can get in the way of the music, especially in their original album and their newest album.  But "Honeybee" is just a lovely song, filled with character and is just a joy to listen to.  Rabbit in particular, the lead on this song, has a lot of great moments.  One that always gets me, is this slight catch in Rabbit's voice before a sigh and going into the chorus the second time.  

I linked to the video above, like I do with all these playlist articles, but please, you have to watch and enjoy one of the most unique, original, and pleasant videos and songs I've heard.

Jars of Clay "Frail"

This is a song that I could just listen to over and over, allowing it to wash over me as I just listen and breath and let all my stress melt off.  It is the perfect next song on my Saddest Song playlist.

Jars of Clay, if you aren't sure who they are, are a Christian band.  They made a big splash when I was in middle school.  Their debut album, which featured Flood on it, did them very well.  But I always, ALWAYS preferred their sophomore album, Much Afraid.  Just like Poets of the Fall, I could fill this list with songs from Much Afraid.  

Frail is one of the first songs written by the group, though it was instrumental.  It got a lyrical addition and a slight change to the instrumentation for Much Afraid.  It's instrumental beginnings are easy to see, as the layering and work of the musicians is flawless.  This is a very complicated song, as opposed to many of the others on this list, as it is musical intricate and soft, masterfully crafted.  On top of all that, you have its lyrics,  The lyrics are about being broken.  Broken of the mask we where in life, and hide behind.  The walls we put up.  The song is about being vulnerable.  It is both terrifying and exhilarating, just as the instrumentation leads us on the same journey.  

Imogen Heap "Hide and Seek"

Yes, yes, yes, "oo whatcha say," Dear Sister, all that.  Got it out of your meme-y system?  Good.  Because this song is is three times longer than that meme.  

I'm not sure if you've heard this song from beginning to meme, but its opening is intoxicating.  It is just tight harmonies with an auto-tuney filter on their voices.  The song is haunting.  It is just their voices rattling around and their words, and their breaths.  The rhythm of their breath and the visceral nature of hearing them breath as they sing is intoxicating.  The imperfectness of their singing with their robotic voices creates an amazing juxtaposition.  I love this song, and hearing the actual opening 2/3's really makes the "oo whatcha say" section have a lot more weight.  Honestly, that is my least favorite section because of how beautiful and haunting the song is in its opening.  Give it a listen, and don't shoot anyone.

Incubus "Here In My Room"

Incubus.  Gotta love a mainstream, or formerly mainstream, band that really really knew how to make a complicated song.  The lyrics are visceral and heavy: "Your love is a verb here in my room."  The music is haunting and dripping with emotion.  

I remember taking my jogging class in college.  I took it winter semester, and while South Carolina never got THAT cold, getting up in November every Tuesday and Thursday at 8:30 and doing a two-mile jog ... it is very very cold.  I loved it.  I love that cold, I love that feeling.  I actually like walking and jogging, my headphones on and listening to music.  I was listening to Two Crows Left of a Murder a whole lot that semester, and this song always stuck with me.  I loved it.

This song is so hard to talk about.  Just give it a listen.

Trevor Jones "Sarah"

Labyrinth is my favorite movie.  Of all time.  Subjectively, of course, but objectively too-ish.  I mean, yeah, there are some movies better made.  But ... whatever, Labyrinth is the ONLY A++++ film for me.  Lots and lots of people know it, and they enjoy to "Dance Magic Dance" and other fun David Bowie songs.  But Trevor Jones, the composer who made all the score, very rarely gets any kind of recognition.  And that is crazy unfortunate, because his score is MASTERFUL.  

This song always brings tears to my eyes as I listen.  The subtle instrumentation and slight changes each time we hear the melody flip through in this small repeat that shows the passage of time and the creeping presence of the unknown, as nothing stays the same.  There is not a repeated bar, though the motifs are constantly repeated throughout the song.  And when the final chord hits, when all is still and finally all together, and we get a major chord out of all the minor arpeggios ... this song is masterful.  I love it.  Give it a listen, folks.

Jamie Foxx "Fall For Your Type"

I had just started my divorce a few years back.  It was Christmas.  It was not a happy time, even with family and Christmas and all that.  But I had my P-Chan and ... well, that was really basically it.  And I saw this video.  

I'd put a gif, but they are all of Drake, and that's ridiculous.

I was blown away.  No, not because it totally hit home or made me think of my former marriage.  In fact, it really didn't have any emotional resonance with that situation.  But musically ... musically this song kicked my butt.  I just cried the first time I saw it on the TV while everyone else was asleep in the house.  I got a copy immediately, and listened all night.  The music is so dark and brooding, and the visuals of the music video are so expressive.  This song just hit me hard when I was already emotional.  It made it ok for me to let my emotion out.  Not because I related to the song, but because I could relate to the music.

Vertical Horizon "Miracle"

What a sad, sad love song.  Not just because of its lyrics and its music, but my memories.  Happy, sad memories.

I was a hopeless romantic, still am really, growing up.  A poor boy who dreamed of romance and didn't have anywhere near the confidence to even begin dating.  I wrote so many really really embarrassing notes expressing my feelings for girls I liked.  It ... oh man, it was NOT a pretty sight.  I have normally, when counting relationships, only counted official relationships.  You know, boyfriend/girlfriend ones.  But my hopeless romantic nature was shaped by other, non-boyfriend/girlfriend relationships.  And one of them was with Kay.

Kay and I, with my best friend and a group of other online-friends, all roleplayed a long-running ridiculous X-Men based rp we called Mutant High.  It was incredibly fun.  I've always been a writer and a storyteller, playing Dungeons and Dragons and the like, and this just fit perfectly for me.  Some of my best friendships, both in real life and online, were fostered in that game, with Deamon, Wayne, Skye, Kat, Lee, Kay, and a good handful of others.  Well, my character, Wraith, and Kay ended up in a relationship.  Which means that I and the girl who played Kay (Amanda, I think, I unfortunately don't quite remember, though I vividly remember talking about her living in Michigan) became whatever the Instant Messenger Pen-Pal/Online friend word would be.  We talked all the time, and I had wonderful, teenage, hopeless romantic-y crush feelings for this girl, outside of just our characters.  We talked about David Bowie, comic books, movies, real life things going on (of which I had plenty I needed someone to talk to about them).  It was ... very special.  As special as an Instant Messenger Pen-Pal/Online friend relationship can be.

Miracle was Wraith and Kay's song.  I don't remember how or why.  Maybe Kay found it.  Maybe I did as I found most of my music then, just downloading everything I could of Napster and listening to it.  But this song is special.  I'm happy to still have it, buried in my many, many, MANY gigs of music.  

And no story like this is complete with me sharing my silly, only slightly embarrassing picture of my character.

Kind of funny that I finally have hair like Wraith's.  I really need to buy a maroon knit sweater with a cute in the left arm, patched with black thread.

25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee "The I Love You Song"

I heard a few musical's songs as I was skipping everything that didn't fit my criteria for this playlist.  Stuff from the Wedding Singer and Chess almost made it, though it never got to that melancholy ballad that I was looking to showcase with this article.  Then ... this song.

The song is powerful.  Moving, character driven, simple until it builds to its painful chorus as our singer sings her lament of her non-existent loving home life, with both her parents showering her with love, all of it a falsehood, all of it "Chimerical."  I love this song.  I love this musical.  And this song is the perfect way to end this list.  This song is tear-jerking, and incredibly beautiful and powerful.

((-=-))        ((-=-))       ((-=-))

Eesh, twelve of them, huh.  I bet I could keep listening and keep adding songs.  I added three as I was writing up the other nine, so I should probably just force myself to end it for now.  

So what was all of you guy's "saddest" songs?  I'd love to have all of you play this game like last time and share your saddest song playlists.  Put them in the comments.  Tell me if you liked the songs I showcased here.  Tell me if they are new to you, or if you have a song that hits that sweet emotional memory spot that a few of these did for me.

Bah, emotions are stupid!  See you tomorrow for more Saw!

EDIT: Here we go, a link to the full playlist on youtube.  LISTEN TO IT ALL IN ONE GO HERE!

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