Here in London it’s officially a ‘Wet Wednesday’, possibly the most depressing type of day (admittedly less depressing, then say, a ‘Nuclear Monday’). In musical terms this means turning off the new 2 Chainz track in favour of some All Time Gloom Anthems (yes we’re in a ‘Leonard Cohen’ frame of mind).
10 Glasvegas – ‘Daddy’s Gone’
Glasvegas’ debut single was a heartfelt, tear duct-crinkling track about a kid’s dad leaving. “Forget your dad/ He’s gone,” sang James Allen, as the music tugged at the heart strings via doo-wop and some Spector-ish production. What’s more depressing, this song? Or the fact it all went a bit “white jeans” after this?
9 Robyn – ‘Dancing On My Own’
Instead of putting something by ABBA in the list, we’ve gone for this slice of sad Scandipop from Robyn. The idea of Ms. Carlsson attempting her biggest, boldest moves while the guy she’s trying to impress just ignores her is pretty depressing. Especially for anyone who’s ever tried to get the attention of a member of the opposite sex with their own, um, ‘special moves’ on the dancefloor (the emphasis here being on ‘special’).
8 Bone Thugs-N-Harmony – ‘Tha Crossroads’
Whenever a musician passes away, one can’t help but think of ‘Tha Crossroads’. Bone Thugs-N-Harmony’s track dedicated to NWA’s recently departed Eazy-E (who was also the group’s mentor) has to go down as one of the most unhappy hip-hop songs ever. Equally depressing, but in an entirely different way, is the fact Blazin’ Squad covered it.
It’s perhaps a little known fact that one of Peter Gabriel’s biggest lyrical inspirations was confessional poet Anne Sexton. On this beautifully produced number from ‘So’ , Gabriel deals with Sexton’s emotional issues and eventual suicide with his usual sensitivity. But it isn’t until you’re a few listens in that you understand how devastating the whole thing is.
6 Frank Ocean – ‘Swim Good’
This track has prompted many spods to attempt to decipher what happens at the end of the song. Does he survive? Does he go for a nice little splash about being towelling down and going to see the new Avengers flick? Um, no. After suffering too many broken hearts, our hero drives into the sea to escape the inescapable – himself. We don’t think he comes back up.
5 Bruce Springsteen – ‘The River’
WARNING: anyone having a mid-20s crisis do not listen to this song! Springsteen is so skillful in his narrative about dreams dying, that you think you are the one living in the waking nightmare he paints. Obvs, ‘The River’ is the best musical metaphor ever as well.
4 Lou Reed – ‘The Kids’
“Mummy! Mummy!” Oh gosh, those infant screams will have you feeling incredibly low for the best part of an hour after you’ve heard them. In this part of Lou’s cheery ‘Berlin’ narrative, Caroline’s kids have been taken by the social. Producer Bob Ezrin apparently told his own children that their mother had left in order to coax the requisite gut wrenching screams. Clearly coming from the Phil Spector school of ‘intense’ production techniques.
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3 The Smiths – ‘This Night Has Opened My Eyes’
Richard Ashcroft might have sung sullenly about “cats in a bag, waiting to drown,” but Morrissey got their first with this tale about cheery baby/water/infanticide. Makes ‘Please Please Please Let Me Get What I Want’ feel like a Steps song, doesn’t it? (but not ‘Tragedy’, obviously).
2 Joy Division – ‘Love Will Tear Us Apart’
Like a slow walk towards death, the lyrics of ‘Love Will Tear Us Apart’ read like a pretty explicit suicide note. If this was a Crimewatch re-construction, this would be the massive ‘well, DUH’ moment.
1 Johnny Cash – ‘Hurt’
Coming to Trent Reznor’s ‘Hurt’, Johnny Cash’s weight of experience gave the song a sepia-tinged world-weariness which was deeply affecting on many levels. Listening back to NIN’s original after Cash’s, you can’t help but shake your head dismissively and say, ‘Oh, it’s just a bit of smack, CHEER UP!’.