Eventually, you'll have to pull it together.
October 7, 2011 7:10 PM   Subscribe

make yourself cry. listen to that song, the one you used to listen to when you lay between someone’s sticky arms.
posted by hugandpint (152 comments total) 93 users marked this as a favorite
Don't cry out loud is the best song to bring out the waterworks.
posted by Renoroc at 7:14 PM on October 7, 2011 [1 favorite]

Even though I knew this song since I was a young teenager, and could play and sing it without much thought, once I passed a certain age and had a certain set of hard realizations, I found I could no longer perform this song without choking up.
posted by Miko at 7:33 PM on October 7, 2011 [4 favorites]

Toward the end, when she kept calling to check up on whether the divorce papers were going through and whether I was sending the check and whether I was going to pay this bill or that debt or whatever, every single time she called I'd hang the phone up on the floor, turn on this song as loud as possible on repeat, fall on the floor and cry and cry and cry.

Now – years later, when I'm finally precisely where I need to be – this song doesn't make me cry any more. I hear it and my eyes are wet, but I just smile, like the song says.
posted by koeselitz at 7:33 PM on October 7, 2011 [13 favorites]

"... hang the phone up, fall on the floor..."
posted by koeselitz at 7:34 PM on October 7, 2011

I broke up with my fiancé over a year ago. The pain and hurt have passed, and just recently I realized I'm not constantly thinking of him in idle times. I definitely embraced the songs that would make me bawl my eyes out, but there is one I haven't heard since. I honestly don't know if I'll ever be able to listen to it again. I'll post it here, and maybe later I'll click the link and have a good cry. Probably not though.

My Favourite Book - Stars
posted by yellowbinder at 7:35 PM on October 7, 2011 [3 favorites]

The Cure - Trust
posted by nzero at 7:38 PM on October 7, 2011 [1 favorite]

It was a good & nice & even day, which got thrown completely off kilter just now, listening to the Lemon of Pink in the 3rd link, & now the night is sad & lonely & longing & beautiful.

Haven't listened to this in ages. Thanks.
posted by herrdoktor at 8:07 PM on October 7, 2011 [1 favorite]

"Fields of Gold" - Eva Cassidy
"My Life" - Iris DeMent
posted by Iridic at 8:17 PM on October 7, 2011 [5 favorites]



He Stopped Loving Her Today

both blow me apart.
posted by Mister Moofoo at 8:18 PM on October 7, 2011 [4 favorites]

"My Life" - Iris DeMent

Good call! And she has two more heart-tuggers for me: Our Town, and Wall in Washington, which just never seems to be in video form online.
posted by Miko at 8:23 PM on October 7, 2011 [3 favorites]

And Two Seconds.
posted by Mister Moofoo at 8:28 PM on October 7, 2011

Nanci Griffith: Gulf Coast Highway.
posted by Miko at 8:28 PM on October 7, 2011 [3 favorites]

and i've been standing in a cloud of plans
standing on the shifting sands
hoping for an open hand
one time
posted by Devils Rancher at 8:30 PM on October 7, 2011 [1 favorite]

fiona apple i know
bach erbarme dich
bach ich habe genung
bach chaconne
posted by facetious at 8:34 PM on October 7, 2011 [3 favorites]

There's something about Galaxie 500's music that evokes such an emotional response that can bring me to tears at times. I don't get it, there's nothing really particularly sad about the lyrics, but the music just hits me in that sensitive place from which compassion, vulnerability, regret, and love spring. The most compelling example is their cover of New Order's Ceremony, the lyrics I still don't get after 2 decades of contemplation, but Dean Wareham's plaintiff guitar riff hits me in the gut and evokes this emotion from me every time.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 8:41 PM on October 7, 2011 [2 favorites]

Ok, I'll be the "mainstream" guy. Since becoming a dad, Cat's in the Cradle and Tears in Heaven do it every time.

BRB, gotta go hug some kids.
posted by CaseyB at 8:44 PM on October 7, 2011 [3 favorites]

"Eventually, you'll have to pull it together."

Sadly, that's not always the case.
posted by Relay at 8:44 PM on October 7, 2011 [3 favorites]

Since becoming a dad

I'm not going to link to the Youtube video because that execrable Rug Rats show stole my mind's eye version of it, but Paul Simon's Father & Daughter just wallops me, especially this last year, after driving her across the country to college, and driving home alone.
posted by Devils Rancher at 8:52 PM on October 7, 2011 [1 favorite]

There are songs that I can listen to and appreciate their sadness or poignancy but they don't come close to making me cry until I get out the guitar and try to sing them. That's when my voice goes shaky and my eyes well up. It's a weird phenomenon.
Anyway here are a few that do it every time.
At Seventeen
Soldier's Things
She's Leaving Home
posted by rocket88 at 8:55 PM on October 7, 2011

Gets me every time. Even when it made an appearance on Glee, which I'm somewhat ashamed to admit.
posted by erstwhile at 9:08 PM on October 7, 2011

Sticky arms? Is this an octopus thing?
posted by Splunge at 9:27 PM on October 7, 2011 [3 favorites]

Janet Napolitano (often with the help of Andy Prieboy) has created a number of songs that hit me the exact right way, including Joey and Tomorrow, Wendy (Andy's original version).
posted by bpm140 at 9:42 PM on October 7, 2011 [3 favorites]

Speaking of tears in heaven...

sad songs are natures onions
posted by symbioid at 9:46 PM on October 7, 2011 [1 favorite]

But in seriousness... I'm dealing w/my own breakup for the past 7 months. I don't have any songs right now that I can think of... But ... Probably something by the cure.

Fuck breakups.
posted by symbioid at 9:58 PM on October 7, 2011 [1 favorite]

please don't go
posted by changeling at 9:59 PM on October 7, 2011

Funny enough, the song Smile almost always makes me cry. And Baby Mine, but that's partly due to the associated imagery from the film.
posted by cmgonzalez at 10:02 PM on October 7, 2011

Mike Hart, "Almost Liverpool 8." (Produced by the one and only John Peel, before he managed to make it big in radio.)
posted by koeselitz at 10:04 PM on October 7, 2011 [1 favorite]

Dead Can Dance : Stretched on your Grave

VNV Nation - Beloved

Both curiously from vastly different things at vastly different times in my life, but they were what came to mind for this discussion.
posted by Archelaus at 10:23 PM on October 7, 2011 [2 favorites]

You Don't Love Me
posted by obloquy at 10:37 PM on October 7, 2011 [1 favorite]

This is the one for me: free of distortions
posted by ohkay at 10:45 PM on October 7, 2011

Also: like girls in stilettos trying to run
posted by ohkay at 10:51 PM on October 7, 2011

Here's mine. I love you.
posted by Polyhymnia at 11:17 PM on October 7, 2011 [1 favorite]

Death Cab For Cutie - I Will Follow You Into the Dark

Jacques Brel - Ne Me Quitte Pas (watching his facial expressions gets me every time)
posted by nzero at 11:47 PM on October 7, 2011 [2 favorites]

You can see his face better in the version without subtitles. Lower sound quality though, so I guess it's a wash.
posted by nzero at 11:50 PM on October 7, 2011

Brian Eno - An Ending
posted by stinkycheese at 11:53 PM on October 7, 2011 [3 favorites]

North Dakota
posted by cali at 11:56 PM on October 7, 2011 [1 favorite]

It's become such a familiar classic now that this probably seems a bit tame and predictable.

I suppose it was partly a matter of timing in that I'd only bought the album just before she dropped the bombshell and walked out on me when everything seemed to be so perfect, plus I was only just starting to realise exactly how powerful this music was, but in those devastated weeks and months after the blow I'd just lie on the floor and let the final three tracks absolutely paralyse me with grief. The lyrics all seemed to stick the knife so perfectly and precisely into each vulnerable area. By the time the sequence ends with that perfect, sad little "ding" on the triangle at 5:15 I'd be a wrung-out husk.

It's almost fourteen years later now. Good god. Almost fourteen years. Yet it still chokes me a bit if I listen to them as they are on the album - in sequence and with no interruptions. I guess I'm never going to be completely over it. Which is annoying and inconvenient. Damn her. Damn me.
posted by Decani at 12:25 AM on October 8, 2011 [3 favorites]

She's Leaving Home and other songs of people moving on in their lives seem to have the most effect on my these days. I can get misty-eyed, now that I'm older and clearly losing the ability to do certain things (I can feel them slipping away), when I think about missed opportunities from my youth...not sure why, I find my life reasonably satisfying. Meh.
posted by maxwelton at 12:56 AM on October 8, 2011 [2 favorites]

This one caught me by surprise yesterday. Having mortal parents is something that most of us don't like to realise on a daily basis. But at some point, this song will be relevant to my life, and... *sigh*
posted by Harry at 12:57 AM on October 8, 2011 [2 favorites]

Phil Collins, A Groovy Kind of Love. Nothing annihilates those last pesky shreds of dignity and ego like trying to numb the pain with all your 'cool' music, only to find yourself losing it to a short, bald, English drummer doing a cover of some ghost-written record label filler / fodder and feeling like he'd spent a decade writing it just for you. Once it's all gone, you can start rebuilding.

Thanks Phil. I owe you a pint.
posted by obiwanwasabi at 12:59 AM on October 8, 2011 [4 favorites]

I've mentioned this one before but Billy Bragg's Must I Paint You A Picture can wreck me if I'm feeling particularly tender. "... and when I see you, you just turn around and walk away like we never met. Oh, we used to be so brave! I dreamt the world stopped turning as we climbed the hill, I dreamt impossible dreams that we were lovers still".

posted by h00py at 1:23 AM on October 8, 2011 [1 favorite]

And if you come and see me,
you will upset the order.
You cannot come and see me,
for I set myself apart.
But when you come and see me,
in California,
you cross the border of my heart.

Well, I have sown untidy furrows
cross my soul,
but I am still a coward,
content to see my garden grow
so sweet & full
of someone else's flowers.

But sometimes
I can almost feel the power.
Sometimes I am so in love with you
(like a little clock
that trembles on the edge of the hour,
only ever calling out "Cuckoo, cuckoo").


While I wait all night, for you,
in California,
watching the fox pick off my goldfish
from their sorry, golden state--
and I am no longer afraid of anything,
Save the life that here awaits.

I don't belong to anyone.
My heart is heavy as an oil drum.
And I don't want to be alone.
My heart is yellow as an ear of corn,
and I have torn my soul apart, from
pulling artlessly with fool commands.

Some nights I just never go to sleep at all,
and I stand, shaking in my doorway like a sentinel,
all alone, bracing like the bow upon a ship,
and fully abandoning any thought of anywhere
but home, my home.

Sometimes I can almost feel the power.
And I do love you.
Is it only timing,
that has made it such a dark hour,
only ever chiming out,
"Cuckoo, cuckoo"?
posted by kaibutsu at 1:34 AM on October 8, 2011 [2 favorites]

1952 Vincent Black Lightning by Richard Thompson makes me sob every time. Not because of sad associations, just because it's such an evocative, powerful song.

But the song that makes me bawl and spend the day in bed thinking bleak thoughts and pointlessly chewing over the past is a happy song, "Kiss Me On The Bus", by The Replacements. It was Our Song. It's a celebration of being young and strong and in love and in the moment. And then we weren't. And that was OK. She was happy without me, I thought. I was all fucked up. She moved on. I moved away. Life went on. And then it didn't. And no one told me until 20 years later that she died alone and friendless and angry with a belly full of pills. Over nothing. Nothing.

And that's what aches, the why. I'll never know.

"Hurry hurry, here comes our stop."
posted by BitterOldPunk at 1:42 AM on October 8, 2011 [16 favorites]

Love Reign O'er me - The Who

Decades - Joy Division

(Actually that whole "second side" of the LP Closer --Heart and Soul, Twenty Four Hours, The Eternal, and Decades-- is utterly and completely devastating.)


posted by Skygazer at 2:43 AM on October 8, 2011 [3 favorites]

Bird Gerhl does it to me every single time. Especially live versions ... his voice just goes off into stratospheres only touched by Elizabeth Fraser...
posted by mykescipark at 2:54 AM on October 8, 2011

Here's mine.
posted by tumid dahlia at 3:23 AM on October 8, 2011

Quite a lot of my top tracks on last.fm are down to (broken) romance induced melancholy combined with alcohol and then falling asleep (and at times over backwards in the chair) with the track on repeat.

So: http://www.last.fm/user/NotWavingButBunty/charts?rangetype=overall&subtype=tracks. (just reading through, and it's almost comedically maudlin).

Not on the list (yet) Adagio for Strings
posted by titus-g at 3:24 AM on October 8, 2011 [2 favorites]

Of course, in a pinch just about anything Songs: Ohia ever did was appropriate for tearing your guts out if you were in the right state of mind. See Lioness, Love Leaves Its Abuser, How To Be Perfect Men and Captain Badass for further examples (this last one especially poignant if it was your "our" song).
posted by tumid dahlia at 3:29 AM on October 8, 2011 [1 favorite]

Gillian Welch's Hickory Wind
posted by hal9k at 3:34 AM on October 8, 2011

I didn't quite know what the lyrics were about at the time, but I'll be darned if Ben Folds' "Brick" isn't the most heartbreaking hit single I'd ever heard on the radio. I can't even keep it on my mp3 player for listening to at work.

As for the Beatles, it'd be "Yes It Is," followed by "For No One."
posted by TheSecretDecoderRing at 3:35 AM on October 8, 2011

Also: Górecki.
posted by tumid dahlia at 3:41 AM on October 8, 2011

Sorry to overcomment, but I think we also need some Dead Can Dance.

And stay clear of Xiu Xiu if you're in "that" mindset, they will break your mind.
posted by tumid dahlia at 3:48 AM on October 8, 2011 [1 favorite]

I don't cry anymore, but when I did, this would do the trick. This, too. And anything from this.
posted by eric1halfb at 3:49 AM on October 8, 2011

This is all very good and I'm currently lost in listening to every backtrack from Dead Can Dance I can dig up on YT, but I have to say, I very much at a certain point in my life decide that I couldn't listen to so much sad melancholy spirit dissolving music lest I vaporize and lose all direction and toughness, and made a conscious decision to listen to music that was more hearty, more direct and defined, less liable of turning me into a quacking mass of weeping keening longing and ache and the beauty and complexity of IT all....

Basically some really powerful sad music sorta makes me want to set myself on fire while I'm ejactulating and then seeking out immediate defenestration.

Ahh...music. What was it that Cranky German with the Syphilitic brainpan say?
Life without music would be a mistake.
Truer words were never uttered.

But you can't have the sadness without the humor and the love or it's just an empty fetish.

But if administered right, the catharsis it can bring and the cracking through of frozen emotions is worth a bazillion therapy sessions.

/Ex-Joy Division fanatic in recovery rant
posted by Skygazer at 3:50 AM on October 8, 2011 [1 favorite]

The song's been done to death, but if you understand the lyrics, Danny Boy is a soul-crushingly sad song. I've linked to the wikipedia page instead of a YouTube video because all the common renditions of it are really schmaltzy and fail to do it justice.

Also, Vaughan Williams' Wither Must I Wander, from his cycle Songs of Travel.
posted by Philosopher Dirtbike at 4:04 AM on October 8, 2011 [1 favorite]

"To Lay Me Down", by the Dead, the Cowboy Junkies cover. Can't find it on YouTube to make your Saturday all weepy.
posted by Purposeful Grimace at 4:29 AM on October 8, 2011

Decani: ...plus I was only just starting to realise exactly how powerful this music was, but in those devastated weeks and months after the blow I'd just lie on the floor and let the final three tracks absolutely paralyse me with grief.

"Let down" on the same album hits all my buttons, but listening to it makes me happy that I don't consider it a "sad" song. It's more of a wow this song is so good *tear* experience for me. Definitely emotional, but in a more abstract way that I can't put a particular label on. Other than "a chemical reaction," I suppose...
posted by Philosopher Dirtbike at 4:36 AM on October 8, 2011 [3 favorites]

Greensleeves. Every time.
Related AskMe, naturally.
posted by klarck at 5:01 AM on October 8, 2011

Thirteen horses, innocent animals dying...I've cried to this like a baby.

It's apparently based in a Russian poem.
posted by Tarumba at 5:03 AM on October 8, 2011

also, (trigger alert) the self explanatory Suicide is Painless, this particular version by Lady and Bird. I have had crying festivals with this song.
posted by Tarumba at 5:11 AM on October 8, 2011 [2 favorites]

This song came out the year after my dad died of (diagnosed, untreated) pancreatic cancer. We were settling his estate when Aeroplane came out and it was the only thing to which I could listen.

This song came out ten years after my dad died, and made me feel less alone as I bumbled through my life.
posted by pxe2000 at 5:12 AM on October 8, 2011 [3 favorites]

Just for note, Danny Boy is the nuclear option of emotional music. Use with caution. Only slightly less radioactive is Hallelujah. It's Saturday and thus those will not be linked for fear of ruining the weekend.


Saying goodbye to a good friend with a tremendous heart who had made unfortunate choices and left college for destination unknown. His dorm room was empty, that light which had always been on and welcoming, sat dark.

When I'm a good dog, they sometimes give me a bone... Nobody Home – Pink Floyd


Parked on Mulholland Drive in Los Angeles with a great friend who was being deported back to an active conflict zone with a high chance of being forced into Army infantry.

Here am I sitting in my tin can far above the moon... Space Oddity – David Bowie


Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, and although we arrived at the fork together, happy and deeply in love, our time had run out.

Light up, light up, as if you had a choice... Run (BBC acoustic live version) – Snow Patrol


The last conversation with stepfather before he succumbed.

You could have it all, my empire of dirt..." Hurt – Johnny Cash


Watching a loved one waste away and eventually disappear, forever gone, only spectres remain.

Why would he come back through the park. You thought that you saw him, but no you did not... The Park – Leslie Fiest


One day, they were planning the future together. The next day, he was alone. He had nowhere to go. She had been his everything. Thus, I brought my mate a bottle of single malt. We drank it in his back garden on a warm summer evening.

It wears me out. And if I could be who you wanted... Fake Plastic Trees – Radiohead
posted by nickrussell at 6:07 AM on October 8, 2011 [10 favorites]

Neutral Milk Hotel captured something on Aeroplane that I still can't fully explain. All I know is that the album is devastating yet hopeful and that it never fails to fill my eyes with water.

Two-headed boy part 2 kills me...it's the final song of the album.
posted by DavidandConquer at 6:18 AM on October 8, 2011 [2 favorites]

Martha - Tom Waits
I Still Do - Stu Davis (not on the internet anywhere that I can find, but a ballad written from the viewpoint of the ghost of a man welcoming his beloved wife of many years to the afterlife)
posted by The Card Cheat at 6:29 AM on October 8, 2011 [1 favorite]

Just for note, Danny Boy is the nuclear option of emotional music. Use with caution.

Definitely don't try to perform it for people, it doesn't end well.
posted by hugandpint at 6:40 AM on October 8, 2011

Songbird - Fleetwood Mac
posted by maloon at 6:41 AM on October 8, 2011 [2 favorites]

Songs from U2's "Achtung Baby" used to send me into a swirling vortex, especially this one. Time and place. These days, I try to stay away from Maria Callas unless I don't mind being a trembling heap for 15 minutes or so.
posted by Currer Belfry at 6:43 AM on October 8, 2011

This'll do it too
posted by Philosopher Dirtbike at 6:56 AM on October 8, 2011 [1 favorite]

I can't watch When Somebody Loved Me from Toy Story II without having to control my breathing very carefully. I'm a 48 year old man with a mortgage.
posted by bonobothegreat at 7:08 AM on October 8, 2011 [6 favorites]

Seasons, by Chris Cornell
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 7:23 AM on October 8, 2011

"Atmosphere" by Joy Division"Your funny uncle." by Pet Shop Boys"Stars 4 Ever" by Robyn.

Each of these for a different reason.
posted by beaucoupkevin at 7:49 AM on October 8, 2011

Arvo Pärt - Cantus in Memory of Benjamin Britten
posted by calculon at 7:55 AM on October 8, 2011

Since I guess this is just about crying about various things, not just music, Tom Junod's essay My Mom Couldn't Cook has reduced me to tears on multiple occasions. In fact, there it goes again...
posted by koeselitz at 8:12 AM on October 8, 2011

This song doesn't even need lyrics
posted by tommyD at 8:13 AM on October 8, 2011 [1 favorite]

This redo of Pink Orange Red, by the Cocteaux.

End Come Too Soon by the Wild Beasts.

Divers Joanna Newsom songs, damn her.
posted by everichon at 8:17 AM on October 8, 2011

tommyD: Thank you so, so much for that. My copy of "The Queen's Suite" is one of my prized possessions. Might be the best record he ever cut.
posted by koeselitz at 8:20 AM on October 8, 2011

Kind of hard to believe nobody's linked to this yet.
posted by koeselitz at 8:32 AM on October 8, 2011 [4 favorites]

I guess it's gotten pretty popular, based on all the youtube versions, but still:
Calling All Angels, Jane Siberry & kd lang.

And A Long December, Counting Crows. "The smell of hospitals in winter..."
posted by Bron at 8:38 AM on October 8, 2011 [1 favorite]

Lake Charles by Lucinda Williams. When you've lost/are losing people close to you to addiction, it'll make you a tad... um... sad. Shit, most of Car Wheels does that to me.
posted by Devils Rancher at 8:43 AM on October 8, 2011 [2 favorites]

None from the angry box? I like Baby Bitch for that. If we have to do sad, I Want You. Or bitter - Killing Moon.
posted by imperium at 8:44 AM on October 8, 2011

You're my only home.
posted by pts at 8:44 AM on October 8, 2011 [3 favorites]

For some reason bagpipes make me cry - probably because they're often played at funerals and always at Remembrance Day in Nova Scotia. So the bagpipe version of Amazing Grace sets me sobbing every time.

Also, because of the scene in Casablanca, the Marseilles will cause me to tear up.

My sister is the same way so sometimes I do the opposite of Rick Rolling and send her links to these songs and then laugh when she starts crying. Why yes, I am the older, why do you ask?
posted by hydrobatidae at 8:57 AM on October 8, 2011

Sappy, cheezy 80's music, but Against All Odds always reminds me of failed relationships and lost friends from back then.
posted by freakazoid at 8:57 AM on October 8, 2011

When I first found my daughter my dog Chance, I was working as a consultant and therefore spent most of my time at home at my desk, writing code and absently stroking her fur while I worked. I listened to an odd mix of music while I worked, and this piece played more than once while she was on my lap, snoring peacefully.

This past July, my wife and I took her to the vet because she was drooling a lot, and he prescribed her a commonly used antibiotic for dogs. Within a couple weeks, her back legs began to get weak, and we took her to the vet again. He thought it was a pinched nerve, and referred us to a doggie neuro (never knew there was such a thing) and prescribed a pain med in the meantime. By that evening, she was peeing on herself and seizing, and we took her to the emergency vet in sheer terror. It turned out she was having a fairly rare reaction to the antibiotic, and she began to recover within hours of discontinuing the meds (I had continued to give her the antibiotic even after she started to get weak, which I kick myself for every time I think about it).

We had to leave her at the clinic on IV fluids and pain meds for a few days while she recovered. I'd managed to hold together fairly well during the whole drama, but while I was working the next day, Pandora played that song and I absolutely dissolved into sobs. Listening to it right now, with my little girl safely beside me, I still get a lump in my throat.

Gonna go rub her belly now.
posted by Mooski at 9:01 AM on October 8, 2011 [3 favorites]

Paul McCartney's tribute to John absolutely devastates me. As does Elton John's.
posted by punkfloyd at 9:04 AM on October 8, 2011

No name #5 by elliott smith...
posted by yodelingisfun at 9:10 AM on October 8, 2011 [1 favorite]

Giving away my age perhaps but after my first girlfriend (sexual encounter) left me because she all of a sudden was becoming popular at her school and she wanted to explor her new options. That Friday night I parked on the side of the mountain where we always went parking and put this on repeat on my tape player in the car. Nazareths Love Hurts Laid on the hood smoked a pack of Camels and cried. It ruined that song for me as I can't listen to it today without tearing up.
posted by Folkways at 9:12 AM on October 8, 2011

forgot one -

counting crows - murder of one
posted by facetious at 9:29 AM on October 8, 2011

This doozy and the looming fate that all romantics will meet someday makes me weep.
posted by Lisitasan at 9:36 AM on October 8, 2011 [1 favorite]

Janet Napolitano (often with the help of Andy Prieboy) has created a number of songs that hit me the exact right way, including Joey yt and Tomorrow, Wendy yt (Andy's original version yt ).

Janet Napolitano????
posted by Clyde Mnestra at 9:38 AM on October 8, 2011

Read it and weep. I certainly did.

RIP, Spalding Gray. Bisexual, polyamorous genius. I wish there had been a place in this world for thee.
posted by xenophile at 9:44 AM on October 8, 2011

I offered this elsewhere on site recently, so apologies, but: Jesse Winchester, Sham-A-Ling-Dong-Ding, made me and Neko misty-eyed.

Also Linda Ronstadt's Long Long Time. The nod to futility always appealed to me.
posted by Clyde Mnestra at 9:44 AM on October 8, 2011 [1 favorite]

Ugh, yeah. Though as Decani said, the last three on OK Computer do the trick, too.
posted by papayaninja at 9:54 AM on October 8, 2011

Regina Spektor's Ode to Divorce and Fistful of Love by Antony and the Johnsons.
posted by smirkette at 9:57 AM on October 8, 2011

Edith Piaf - Non, je ne regrette rien

Elliott Smith - Clementine

Madeline Peyroux - Between the Bars (cover)

The Majestic Arrows - I'll Never Cry for Another Boy (rehearsal)
(an amazing find from MF)

And as I stare at another woman whom I've fallen for, who has already told me she she doesn't love me but lets me stay anyway in this borrowed house above Las Tres Hermanas, I know I will remember this view, and this smell, and the way her neck curves so gracefully while she reaches over to feed her pup. I bet she'll ask me what I'm playing.

I'm going to reply, "Nothing."

(Wrong again: she didn't even ask.)
posted by notion at 10:02 AM on October 8, 2011

posted by datawrangler at 10:04 AM on October 8, 2011

The Highway Song - Aztec Two Step (lyrics available here).
posted by gudrun at 10:06 AM on October 8, 2011

The National - Lucky You
posted by DrKatz at 10:19 AM on October 8, 2011 [2 favorites]

Joe Henry - Want Too Much

Kathleen Edwards - In State

Neko Case - Hold On, Hold On

And then once it's all left me scraped out and empty... Audioslave - Doesn't Remind Me

Ow. If you need me I'll be over there on the floor.
posted by cmyk at 10:32 AM on October 8, 2011

Oh, just remembered: Ani Difranco, "Recoil"
posted by exlotuseater at 10:52 AM on October 8, 2011 [1 favorite]

This one. I'm slain.
posted by Spinneret at 11:10 AM on October 8, 2011

...and this one, and anything else by Harold Budd.
posted by eric1halfb at 11:16 AM on October 8, 2011

World of Good.

About a month after my very worst ever break up, I got my hands on this single. I played it for him, and it was like this burst of light between us when we both realized (and both knew that we both realized) that the split was actually the very best possible thing, and that we were still going to be friends-- real friends, better friends than we could ever have been if we'd stayed a couple.

Still makes my eyes wet, but in a good way.
posted by palmcorder_yajna at 12:02 PM on October 8, 2011 [1 favorite]

It's not a song, it's Sagan.
posted by Buckt at 12:21 PM on October 8, 2011 [1 favorite]

What Happens when the Heart Just Stops, by the Frames

My big brother played this for me after I was dumped by my first real boyfriend, and listening to it now, I still remember the feeling of sitting next to him on the cool concrete of our driveway, both of us leaning against my car, me crying, my brother unable to comfort me except with this song - which is, incidentally, a horrible song to play for your kid sister who just got dumped.

There's a version of this song with a wonderful intro:

And this song is called what happens when the heart just stops. This song is about um, um waking, um, waking up, under a bush, in your ex-girlfriend's garden. Um, yeah. This is a song about getting drunk, and forgetting that you don't go out with her anymore. Forgetting that she doesn't love you anymore. So, um, this is about, needing, being, this is about wanting too much, wanting to be close to someone too much, wanting to know where they are all the time, and when they're going out, you're like where're you going or what time will you be back, or, I'll come with you. And it's about trying to do the right thing, trying to withdraw, so that you don't love so much, trying to go okay, and in doing so, something inside you just dies, and you turn off, and like all things in life, then she falls in love with you, and you don't care. And it's a song of hope...
posted by punchtothehead at 12:30 PM on October 8, 2011 [1 favorite]

Max Richter, "H in New England".

Obadiah Parker "Hey Yah"

The Cinematic Orchestra "To Build A Home"

Antony and the Jonsons, "Epilepsy is Dancing"

Damien Rice "9 Crimes"
posted by fake at 12:49 PM on October 8, 2011 [1 favorite]

"I stand in front on you/take the force of the blow." Protection. (Vevo link, sorry.)
posted by jokeefe at 1:02 PM on October 8, 2011

And Cowboy Junkies: To Love Is To Bury.
posted by jokeefe at 1:05 PM on October 8, 2011

Sure, they broke up after it was written, but the whole album is an excoriating trip through every heartbreak and heartbruising.
posted by carbide at 1:07 PM on October 8, 2011 [1 favorite]

Lots of great ones on here, but there's two by The Kinks that get me every time:

The Way Love Used to Be

posted by sleepy pete at 1:34 PM on October 8, 2011

The ending of Antennas to Heaven by Godspeed You! Black Emperor always gets me.
posted by Acey at 1:51 PM on October 8, 2011

Hayden, You Are All I Have
posted by banjo_and_the_pork at 3:19 PM on October 8, 2011 [1 favorite]

Explosions in the Sky - "The Only Moment We Were Alone"
ditto the Songs: Ohia mentioned above (I'd throw in the Hecla and Griper EP, and "So You Can See To Go")
Hayden! "My Parent's House", "Bullet", "I'll Tell Him Tonight", "You Are All I Have"
The Wrens - "Happy" sometimes just comes off as whiny and emo, but those times it doesn't...
a lot of the Gentlemen album from Afghan Whigs, ee
PJ Harvey - "Silence" esp. live versions. That song guts me, and it's interesting bc I don't think my younger self would hurt over it, it takes getting older and having a more weatherbeaten heart.
Certain Kristin Hersh-penned songs get me at times, remind me of my emotional fragility in the past. "Hope", "The Cuckoo", "The Letter", "Houdini Blues", "Serene", "Hate My Way".
For reasons it's hard to explain, Jill Sobule's songs about caring about someone tenderly get me sometimes. I haven't heard her in like a decade and was never really enamored with her music really but my best friend liked her and made me a tape of her stuff in high school and it always reminds me of her. That line in "Houdini's Box" where she sings "I'd take such good care of you/I'd brush your hair and tie your shoes/there's nothing in the world I wouldn't do" floats to me randomly once in a while and always gets me.
posted by ifjuly at 3:21 PM on October 8, 2011 [1 favorite]

who, jinx!
posted by ifjuly at 3:21 PM on October 8, 2011

Gamera has it. I'm shocked it took so long for it to come up.

But really, the break in this song is far more powerful to me, to the point that I have to skip the song itself if it comes on at work.

And this is the first of their songs that did it to me. It was like a bolt out of the blue the first time I saw them live.
posted by bibliogrrl at 3:23 PM on October 8, 2011

Oh man, Mark Kozelek is kryptonite. "Ruth Marie" has made me look like an idiot while walking in public, times it's come up on headphones, the entire tears running down cheeks and sniffling deal. So has Cat Power's "Good Woman" and her version of "Wild is the Wind". And Bonnie Prince Billy's "I See A Darkness", good lord.
posted by ifjuly at 3:33 PM on October 8, 2011

God Only Knows - just thinking about it makes me tear up, it's like friggin clockwork.
posted by supercrayon at 3:41 PM on October 8, 2011

Low too. "Words", "Amazing Grace", the peace in "When I Go Deaf". And Julie Doiron, stuff like "Sweeter", "Will You Still Love Me in December", a lot of Heart and Crime and the earlier stuff.

Bedhead too--Beheaded. My husband had this tendency early on when we were dating to, whenever we'd have a bad argument and he was scared we might break up, go to his room (we were roommates) and listen to the saddest damn albums. Once it was that one, another time I came home to the swelling opening of the Cure's "Plainsong". Speaking of, "All Cats Are Grey" and the title track.

And fuck yes to "Martha" as mentioned above. Ouch. Agreed about certain Casiotone for the Painfully Alone tracks too.
posted by ifjuly at 3:53 PM on October 8, 2011

Believe Me
posted by Pallas Athena at 4:06 PM on October 8, 2011

Kind of hard to believe nobody's linked to this yet.
posted by koeselitz

*turns computer off and goes to hug her husband*
posted by Tarumba at 4:45 PM on October 8, 2011

Let The Happiness In - David Sylvian, and Wild Horses - The Sundays, because they remind me of people who are gone forever.

And when I first moved to Texas and was drowning in homesickness, believe it or not: Only God Knows Why - Kid Rock. The "it's been so long since I've been home" bit takes me right back to that feeling, and still chokes me up.
posted by biscotti at 4:52 PM on October 8, 2011

This Woman's Work and Forever Young (this isn't the original, but PS22 gives it an extra punch).
posted by candyland at 5:22 PM on October 8, 2011

For No One- The Beatles
Don't Think Twice, It's Alright- Bob Dylan
The Spiderbite Song- The Flaming Lips
Thrasher- Neil Young
Everything Means Nothing to Me- Elliott Smith
posted by quiet coyote at 5:31 PM on October 8, 2011

Ohh man:

Feeling Yourself Disintegrate - Flaming Lips

Low AND Wild Horses by The Sundays...fuck you wanna kill me?

*Waterworks City*

Harvest Moon by Neil Young. The whole friggin' blubbering inducing beautiful fuckin' album...

posted by Skygazer at 6:10 PM on October 8, 2011

Gillian Welch - "Annabelle"
Emmylou Harris - "Red Dirt Girl"
Neko Case - "Knock Loud"
a lot of Mazzy Star/Hope Sandoval and the Warm Inventions
Joe Pernice/Chappaquiddick Skyline/Pernice Brothers ("Nobody's Watching", his version of New Order's "Leave Me Alone", "Solitary Swedish Houses")
And there's a live version of The Twilight Singers doing their cover of "Hyperballad" floating around, KCRW if I recall, that is painful. What a great song.

And I mentioned once at Electrical Audio how Radiohead's "Kid A" is one of the most depressing songs ever, and oddly so is "Idioteque" (brilliant in its rendering as casually not sad-seeming when it's goddamn tragic, which is, y'know, the point) and people disagreed and said that stuff was merely calming/relaxing. Later I felt validated when I read Yorke said somewhere that the reason the vocals are manipulated in "Kid A" is because he didn't think he could bring himself to sing directly about such a brutal, awful subject, too painful.
posted by ifjuly at 6:52 PM on October 8, 2011

oh yeah, and Ryan Adams and Gillian Welch's well known live cover of Neil Young's "Helpless", g'ah.

which reminds, "Midway Park" off Whiskeytown's "Faithless Street" used to get me back in the day.

and the first two His Name Is Alive records, which according to Warn were break up albums, can do it too, and especially the stuff from around then that didn't get released widely ("Meet Me By Moonlight Alone", etc.)
posted by ifjuly at 6:55 PM on October 8, 2011

If it's at all possible that a song that appears long long after someone has gone from your life can somehow evoke them better than any song you actually listened to with them does, then this one is mine.
posted by donnagirl at 6:57 PM on October 8, 2011

Ivo - by the Cocteau Twins, as covered by French pianist Maxence Cyrin, w/ footage from Jean Vigo's delirious, surreal, ravishing 1934 classic L'atalante (now on Criterion btw), starring the gorgeous Dita Parlo.

If that sounds like an insane conflagration of talent, you're right. If the music doesn't get you, the imagery and Dita Parlo's vulnerable lost searching sensuality will. If you're familiar with the Cocteau's original and love it, this is going to destroy you. Sorry.)

Via Mefi's own fabulous Homunculous, who directed me to it in a music thread from a year or two ago.

*Wipes eyes. Blows nose. Goes out to buy a new box of Kleenex*

posted by Skygazer at 6:59 PM on October 8, 2011

Not Dark Yet- Bob Dylan
posted by quiet coyote at 7:21 PM on October 8, 2011

Elliott Smith's "No Name #5" I agree with, and I'd add the demo version of "Waltz #1", the way it sounds like drowned music box music, hypnotically fluttering and forgotten to match the feelings it describes. this is addictive

Yo La Tengo has some doozies too, for painful memory lane whatcould'vebeen. "Damage", "Decora", "Autumn Sweater", "Double Dare", "I Heard You Looking", "Pablo and Andrea", "Last Days of Disco"...the acoustic versions of their amped songs often do this well.

Rachel's "Last Things Last" hurts too ("I hope last things last past these first charms/these pale charms/I hope last things last, a hook or a flake/to hold on so you don't break"). Spiritualized/Spacemen 3 can do it too at times.
posted by ifjuly at 7:26 PM on October 8, 2011

Andy - The Front Lawn
posted by Canard de Vasco at 7:52 PM on October 8, 2011

Dirty Three. especially Authentic Celestial Music or Everything is Fucked (Topnor One Thousand Miles. Those are all live so their a bit more foot stompin' and combustible and cathartic as is the D3 live.

Actually anything off of Ocean Songs, more or less or off anyone of their other long players. They're just superb.

And short of the Cocteau Twins, the best fucking music you'll ever here if you like your fucking deep and personal and a little drunk and a little wasted.. (Hey...there's an idea for an FPP: Best music for fucking.)

Their live shows will set you free in ways you weren't aware you needed to be set free...

posted by Skygazer at 7:54 PM on October 8, 2011 [1 favorite]

I can't find video of these, but

"The Kind of Love You Never Recover From" by Christine Lavin
"Ten Complaints" by Dee Carstensen
"February" by Dar Williams
"Doug at the Gates of Hell (Epilogue)" by Electric Bonsai Band
"Oh, My Brother" by Eddie From Ohio
"Wings of the Ragman" by Peter Mulvey

... wow, lots and lots of songs make me cry. I could probably put together a three-CD set and not even scratch the surface.
posted by tzikeh at 8:25 PM on October 8, 2011

Also "Horses" by Dala. Have the tissues ready.
posted by Spinneret at 9:18 PM on October 8, 2011

The day came when I found a song that made me cry because it addressed literally the exact situation I was facing at that moment...it's not much of a song, it's too short and ends before it even really starts...so you have to listen to it over and over again, asking yourself, asking the universe: What Do You Do ( When Your Lover Leaves You ).
posted by bonefish at 11:06 PM on October 8, 2011

Across The Universe" always gets me right in the heart.
posted by Lynsey at 11:14 PM on October 8, 2011

Actually, this You Tube is better because its music is better and there are Beatles pics in it!
posted by Lynsey at 11:20 PM on October 8, 2011

Nizlopi - JCB Song. I haven't been able to watch it now.
posted by feelinglistless at 2:27 AM on October 9, 2011 [1 favorite]

This one made me cry for a long time but doesn't anymore (I still remember the tears, though): Shame - PJ Harvey.
posted by h00py at 4:18 AM on October 9, 2011 [2 favorites]

Elbow, "August And September" (The The Cover).

"I knew what you were doing, and I knew what you'd done
Your life with me was ending, your new life had begun
But I was cursing your name, and I was cursing that room
And I was praying for the strength to stop loving you"
posted by MonkeyToes at 8:44 AM on October 9, 2011 [1 favorite]

The Trouble With River Cities--Pela

"and yeah, there's an undertow, but it ain't got me."
posted by rumposinc at 11:51 AM on October 9, 2011

This perfectly sums up all those conflicting emotions I am going through right now one feels at times like these.
posted by malter_witty at 1:21 PM on October 9, 2011

Quatuor Pour La Fin Du Temps (Quartet for the End of Time) -

5. Louange à l'Eternité de Jésus (Praise Eternity)

Composed by Olivier Messiaen

The sound of silence, beyond silence and despair. The Quartet for the End of Time was written by Messiaen while he was in a German concentration camp, which might seem like a reason perhaps to avoid this, but this is some of the most strangely calming, uplifting and beautiful cycles of music you will ever hear. Unearthly really, much in that Arvo Part sort of way.
posted by Skygazer at 7:09 PM on October 9, 2011

Joanna Newsom - Does Not Suffice.

This one is so hard to listen to right now.
posted by screamingnotlaughing at 9:50 PM on October 10, 2011 [1 favorite]

Hell...even Burton Cummings seems to make it a bit dusty in here for me these days.
posted by screamingnotlaughing at 9:52 PM on October 10, 2011

so many sad songs. It's as if existence is really just a veil of tears.

I prefer this Burton Cummings moment ... though he was still in the Guess Who at the time. It's just like 46201 ...

And then there's Johnny Cash's exploration of Bonnie Prince Billy's darkness.

But Grandaddy still sets the bar, I suspect. New to me when 9/11 hit, and then it popped up again when my dad got sick, never to return.
posted by philip-random at 11:34 AM on October 13, 2011 [3 favorites]

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