March Sadness
March 10, 2016 11:58 AM   Subscribe

 
No "What Sarah Said"? The Elliott Smith song is "Waltz #2" instead of "Between the Bars"?

I have issues with this tournament.
posted by curious nu at 12:02 PM on March 10, 2016 [2 favorites]


This is perfect
posted by deadbilly at 12:05 PM on March 10, 2016


This is extremely relevant to my interests. Mope madness.
posted by naju at 12:08 PM on March 10, 2016 [11 favorites]


Apparently, a choir and lit magazine buddy of mine from college is involved in creating this (a fact I discovered after I'd done my first round of voting and somebody told me)
posted by MCMikeNamara at 12:09 PM on March 10, 2016 [3 favorites]


My area of expertise!

Well, it needs more Belle and Sebastian and less Morrissey. Moz too often taps into his inner Sid James to be a real contender on his own.

The Elliott Smith song is "Waltz #2" instead of "Between the Bars"?

Waltz #2 wouldn't be my choice.
posted by betweenthebars at 12:09 PM on March 10, 2016 [3 favorites]


Divorce Song is way sadder to me than Fuck and Run.
posted by misskaz at 12:11 PM on March 10, 2016 [8 favorites]


Can I nominate Pink Floyd?

Two Suns in the Sunset.

The Final Cut

posted by Splunge at 12:13 PM on March 10, 2016 [2 favorites]


Mexrrissey - Suedehead

(slightly relevant)
posted by betweenthebars at 12:13 PM on March 10, 2016 [3 favorites]


HOW CAN I CHOOSE BETWEEN ALL MY BABIES
posted by phooky at 12:17 PM on March 10, 2016 [18 favorites]


I'm seeing a suspicious absence of Mountain Goats on this bracket.
posted by Mayor West at 12:19 PM on March 10, 2016 [12 favorites]


There was a great book about sad songs that came out recently and for the life of me I cannot remember it right now and I wish I could.
posted by wyndham at 12:20 PM on March 10, 2016


Something in me suspects Hope Sandoval is going to slowly sweep this bracket as everyone who was a teen in the 90s realizes that finally FINALLY "Fade Into You" is need of a depressing prom song resurgence.
posted by Kitteh at 12:20 PM on March 10, 2016 [5 favorites]


Atmosphere is a understandable choice, but the saddest Joy Division song ever is The Eternal. No discussion.
posted by sukeban at 12:20 PM on March 10, 2016 [2 favorites]


I dunno, a lot of these songs aren't especially sad to me. You want sad, try "She Sends Kisses" or "Virtute the Cat Explains Her Departure."
posted by Mothlight at 12:22 PM on March 10, 2016 [9 favorites]


I'm seeing a suspicious absence of Mountain Goats on this bracket.

Tallahassee came out in 2002, just missing the cutoff. Otherwise No Children would be an obvious selection.
posted by misskaz at 12:24 PM on March 10, 2016 [2 favorites]


Don't forget Plea From A Cat Named Virtute Mothlight!
posted by wyndham at 12:24 PM on March 10, 2016 [5 favorites]


If someone held a gun to my head and told me to pick the perfect sad song, "Fade Into You" would probably come to mind first.
posted by naju at 12:24 PM on March 10, 2016 [2 favorites]


Neutral Milk Hotel's "Two Headed Boy" but not "Two Headed Boy Pt. Two?" Have they even listened to the album?
posted by Hey Dean Yeager! at 12:25 PM on March 10, 2016 [4 favorites]


If you're masochistic enough to use Google Play Music (which is sadness inducing in of itself) you'll find that there is a version of the playlist there as well. I'd link to it, but, well, I can't, because you can only search for playlists on the android client, not on the web. Yes. Really.
posted by phooky at 12:25 PM on March 10, 2016


No country. Meh. No "He Stopped Loving Her Today", no "Seven Spanish Angels". I mean, the article says they were going after the whole 120 minutes feel, but ignoring 80's country for sad songs just leaves out so much.
posted by zabuni at 12:26 PM on March 10, 2016 [3 favorites]


Oh, I missed the 2001 cutoff. That explains some omissions, I guess.
posted by curious nu at 12:28 PM on March 10, 2016


No country. Meh.

It says right on the header that it's a College Rock bracket. I don't see the problem.
posted by naju at 12:29 PM on March 10, 2016 [5 favorites]


I think we're all overthinking the "but 'insert song here' here isn't on the list????" plate of beans. I think I can tell from a huge chunk of commenters here, like myself, that holy shit I think owned all these albums in high school and university. It is very very clear what demographic is being catered to here.
posted by Kitteh at 12:29 PM on March 10, 2016 [10 favorites]


I mean, the article says they were going after the whole 120 minutes feel, but ignoring 80's country for sad songs just leaves out so much.

A sad-songs tournament without country music is like the World Championship of American Football -- you gotta let the other people play a little.
posted by Etrigan at 12:29 PM on March 10, 2016 [10 favorites]


You can take my goth card away from me, but the Johnny Cash cover of "Hurt" could replace Trent Reznor's in the bracket.
posted by sukeban at 12:30 PM on March 10, 2016 [18 favorites]


Atmosphere is a understandable choice, but the saddest Joy Division song ever is The Eternal. No discussion.

I'll see your The Eternal and raise you Twenty Four Hours.
posted by chimaera at 12:30 PM on March 10, 2016 [1 favorite]


"Virtute the Cat Explains Her Departure" came out after 2001.
posted by betweenthebars at 12:31 PM on March 10, 2016 [1 favorite]


Say what you will about Bush, but the lack of Glycerine reeks of pretension.
posted by General Malaise at 12:31 PM on March 10, 2016 [2 favorites]


I would certainly add Vashti Bunyan's "If I Were", and many songs by Stina Nordenstam, probably "A Walk in the Park" or "His Song". And Television Personalities' "Paradise State" leaves me depleted, so probably that one too. And so many others!
posted by fmoralesc at 12:31 PM on March 10, 2016


Came in here expecting to have to post my usual: No 'God Damn The Sun'? Amateurs.

Pleased and surprised to see it was the third on the list. Albeit it's not so much sadness as life-crushing, hollowing despair.
posted by Pink Frost at 12:32 PM on March 10, 2016 [3 favorites]


I'll see your The Eternal and raise you Twenty Four Hours

It's Joy Division. There are sad songs for everyone. "Decades", "Heart and Soul", "Disorder", take your pick :)
posted by sukeban at 12:32 PM on March 10, 2016 [1 favorite]


Pyramid Song always used to make me tear up and Fake Plastic Trees never did, if we wanna talk Radiohead sads. Could be a time/place thing, though.
posted by misskaz at 12:33 PM on March 10, 2016 [2 favorites]


Came in here expecting to have to post my usual: No 'God Damn The Sun'? Amateurs.

Sure, but given the recent news surrounding Swans, I want Tori Amos to trounce that song on principle.
posted by naju at 12:33 PM on March 10, 2016 [5 favorites]


Say what you will about Bush, but the lack of Glycerine reeks of pretension.

If you want alternative flavored gloomy pretentious mainstream rock with a cello there is "Disarm," which makes "Glycerine" kind of redundant and Smashing Pumpkins over Bush anyway.

I love both songs but I mean seriously we are being honest here right?
posted by graymouser at 12:34 PM on March 10, 2016 [2 favorites]


You can take my goth card away from me, but the Johnny Cash cover of "Hurt" could replace Trent Reznor 's in the bracket.

I had the same reaction (and likely Reznor would too), but it's from 2002.
posted by Etrigan at 12:34 PM on March 10, 2016


It's Joy Division. There are sad songs for everyone. "Decades", "Heart and Soul", "Disorder", take your pick :)

I'm with you on that one. Joy Division should get its own bracket. I would've raised with New Dawn Fades, but that wasn't in the time window.
posted by chimaera at 12:35 PM on March 10, 2016


If you want alternative flavored gloomy pretentious mainstream rock with a cello there is "Disarm," which makes "Glycerine" kind of redundant and Smashing Pumpkins over Bush anyway.


You're not wrong, but I never drove home from a high school breakup in tears with Disarm blasting in my tape deck.
posted by General Malaise at 12:35 PM on March 10, 2016 [5 favorites]


The part where he screams "GLYCERIIIIINE! GLYCERIIIIINE!" makes me want to laugh rather than cry *shrug*
posted by naju at 12:37 PM on March 10, 2016 [2 favorites]


"Disarm" is a monster Cinderella candidate in the #10 seed.
posted by Rock Steady at 12:37 PM on March 10, 2016 [5 favorites]


Sarah McLachlan got knocked out by the dazzling Indigo Girls live show in the final of the Lilith Fair conference tournament

This is the most weirdly funny sentence I've ever read.
posted by Rock Steady at 12:42 PM on March 10, 2016 [3 favorites]


Sure, but given the recent news surrounding Swans, I want Tori Amos to trounce that song on principle.

Oh yeah. 'kin hell, forgot about that. Agreed. And holy shit the Tori song is Me And A Gun and it's is probably going to be matched with Swans in the next round? Is that genius or stupidity or coincidence?
posted by Pink Frost at 12:44 PM on March 10, 2016


there is an OUTRAGEOUS lack of rilo kiley in this bracket

the initial friend EP came out in 99 and takeoffs and landings came out in 01 so there is zero excuse
posted by burgerrr at 12:49 PM on March 10, 2016


From the "so obvious it took me half an hour to realize it" category: where in the ACTUAL FUCK is "Brick" on this list? If you can't get your sad on to a song about abortions at Christmas, what CAN you get it on to?
posted by Mayor West at 12:50 PM on March 10, 2016 [14 favorites]


Is There is a Light That Never Goes Out considered a downer? I don't find it nearly as sad as other Smiths songs (like Asleep). And do covers qualify? If so I'd throw in Beth Orton's I Wish I Never Saw the Sunshine.
posted by ghost dance beat at 12:51 PM on March 10, 2016 [2 favorites]


The saddest Elliot Smith song I've ever heard is 2:45 AM.
posted by four panels at 12:51 PM on March 10, 2016 [3 favorites]


"I'm Free Now" by Morphine? Not "Gone For Good"? There must be some contractual reason.
posted by Lucinda at 12:52 PM on March 10, 2016 [1 favorite]


I'm looking for the man that attacked me
While everybody was laughing at me
You beat it in me that part of you
But I'm gonna split us back in two

posted by four panels at 12:52 PM on March 10, 2016 [1 favorite]


Damien Jurado - "Medication"
posted by Atom Eyes at 12:55 PM on March 10, 2016


Is There is a Light That Never Goes Out considered a downer? I don't find it nearly as sad as other Smiths songs

It's up there with Girlfriend in a Coma. Cemetry Gates is kind of cheery in comparison.
posted by sukeban at 12:55 PM on March 10, 2016 [2 favorites]


And holy shit the Tori song is Me And A Gun and it's is probably going to be matched with Swans in the next round?

Looks like it's "Silent All These Years", at least at the moment.
posted by Etrigan at 12:57 PM on March 10, 2016


In the sad anime songs bracket: Komm, Süßer Tod or We Were Lovers anyone?
posted by sukeban at 12:58 PM on March 10, 2016


Looks like it's "Silent All These Years", at least at the moment.

This is why I should stop posting while theoretically at work and answering client emails. My bad, thanks Etrigan.

[Also I agree with those who argue that plenty of these songs aren't that sad...]
posted by Pink Frost at 1:00 PM on March 10, 2016


They should have done this in Smarch.

Too bad about their time and genre criteria, 'cause Boom Bip's The Matter (of our Discussion) is plenty sad.
posted by aubilenon at 1:03 PM on March 10, 2016 [1 favorite]


Uh. Regret has nothing on Doubts Even Here. Also, no Butler-era Suede?

there is an OUTRAGEOUS lack of rilo kiley in this bracket
Wasn't he on the last Star Wars?
posted by lmfsilva at 1:03 PM on March 10, 2016 [1 favorite]


Atlantic City has an unreal haunting sadness I only recently discovered after being inundated with his big power hits for most of my life.
posted by four panels at 1:04 PM on March 10, 2016 [3 favorites]


Is there really nothing by The Cure on there?
posted by bongo_x at 1:08 PM on March 10, 2016 [1 favorite]


there is an OUTRAGEOUS lack of rilo kiley in this bracket
Wasn't he on the last Star Wars?


Real talk, I have had the hardest time getting my brain to remember the names of the new SW characters (Rey and Kylo Ren) because of Rilo Kiley. I've seen the damn movie twice and still have to pause to think about their names.
posted by misskaz at 1:09 PM on March 10, 2016 [6 favorites]


SO RELEVANT TO MY INTERESTS. I was about to disqualify the entire list based on the lack of Casimir Pulaski Day and Farewell Transmission until I saw the 2001 cutoff date. Phew!

My own personalized bracket replacement suggestions:
  • Swans, God Damn the Sun Failure (1991)
  • Low, Words I Started A Joke (1996)
  • Tom Waits, Downtown Train Train Song (1987) or Falling Down (1988) or House Where Nobody Lives (1999) or Georgia Lee (1999) or wait just all of them
  • Jeff Buckley, Hallelujah Lover, You Should've Come Over (1996)
  • Counting Crows, A Long December Raining in Baltimore (1993) or Another Horsedreamer's Blues (1996)
  • eels, Dead of Winter Elizabeth on the Bathroom Floor (1998)
  • Tori Amos, Silent All These Years Marianne (1996) or Playboy Mommy (1998)
  • nine inch nails, Hurt Ruiner --> The Becoming (1994) or the entire Left disc of The Fragile (1999)
  • Neutral Milk Hotel, Two-Headed Boy Oh, Comely (1998)
  • Elliott Smith, Waltz #2 Last Call (1994) or The Biggest Lie (1995)

    I'd also tack on D-Plan's The First Anniversary of Your Last Phone Call (1998) because oof.

  • posted by amnesia and magnets at 1:09 PM on March 10, 2016 [7 favorites]


    The saddest Elliot Smith song I've ever heard is 2:45 AM .

    For me it's Between the Bars. Remember all that potential you had, when you were young? Everything you could've done? Were going to do? It was going to be amazing. You were going to be amazing. Where'd it all go wrong? How'd you end up here?

    It's too hard to think about. It's painful. Physically painful.

    So drink.

    Just drink me. Forget about it. I'll make it so you don't have to remember. You and your life are still a miserable pile of shit, but it'll be easier, because you won't have to compare it to what might've been.

    The bottle is singing to you, and it's a song about suicidal alcoholism and it is crushing.

    Really we could just have a "what is the saddest Elliott Smith" song tournament and it would be all of them. Personal preference is probably hiiiighly illuminating for each individual.
    posted by curious nu at 1:11 PM on March 10, 2016 [13 favorites]


    Also yes the Tori song should obviously be "Me and a Gun" and it's baffling why it's not.

    I agree with amnesia and magnets on "Another Horsedreamer's Blues".
    posted by curious nu at 1:15 PM on March 10, 2016


    Is there really nothing by The Cure on there?

    Top of the list on the left, 'Pictures of You'. Maybe it's the ironic choice because it's up-ish? I've never really liked it. Feels more whiny than sad to me at this point. I don't what Cure song I'd pick.
    posted by curious nu at 1:18 PM on March 10, 2016


    "From the Edge of the Deep Green Sea", or anything from Faith?
    posted by sukeban at 1:24 PM on March 10, 2016


    Also from the '90s alternative scene, did Gin Blossoms just get missed because "Hey Jealousy" is all jangly and upbeat and has a nice hook to cover up the actual lyrics?
    posted by graymouser at 1:25 PM on March 10, 2016 [4 favorites]


    Holy shit! Wild to see this here. A couple of my friends are behind this project, and I had a little bit of tangential involvement in a small number of the picks (and the Spotify playlist's tied to my account).

    These are the things I've learned from this so far:

    1. There are a lot more people who want to go to bat for Counting Crows as a sad band than there are Eels fans, but Eels people seem to want it more.
    2. For some reason, the No Alternative compilation seems to be total anathema to Spotify's right-clearance lawyers.
    3. Megan and Ander have pretty good taste in sad pre-2001 rock songs, but the Replacements slot should very clearly have gone to "Unsatisfied," which is the Platonic ideal of a sad song.

    also, while you're over there, click on the Nowhere Band ad link for some great webcomic-about-music-with-an-appropriately-wistful-tone action.
    posted by the phlegmatic king at 1:25 PM on March 10, 2016 [4 favorites]


    You want sad, try "She Sends Kisses" or "Virtute the Cat Explains Her Departure."

    That last one isn't so much sad, as slit your throat depressing.
    posted by MartinWisse at 1:27 PM on March 10, 2016 [3 favorites]


    > I don't what Cure song I'd pick.

    They definitely have a few.

    Early years maybe Seventeen Seconds or Secrets.

    Mid years maybe One More Time.

    Later years maybe Apart or Same Deep Water As You.
    posted by four panels at 1:31 PM on March 10, 2016


    Would replace the Bob Mould entry with Husker Du's "Too Far Down" or "Hardly Getting Over It"...
    posted by AJaffe at 1:38 PM on March 10, 2016 [4 favorites]


    > You're not wrong, but I never drove home from a high school breakup in tears with Disarm blasting in my tape deck.

    I think Glycerine is a terrible song but your comment is hilarious.
    posted by four panels at 1:40 PM on March 10, 2016 [4 favorites]


    If we're going to talk Glycerine I'm going to mention "Left Behind" by Candlebox.

    Naw naw naw.
    posted by four panels at 1:42 PM on March 10, 2016 [1 favorite]


    Orange Ball of Pain by The Mountain Goats is one of the saddest songs ever written. Just pure tonal despair.

    For Elliott Smith, I'd vote No Name #5, because it sounds the way that depression feels. Not just sad, but dry and harsh and tired. Or maybe something from New Moon. Placeholder is so soft and bittersweet, just a lovely feeling of loss.

    As much as I love In the Aeroplane Over the Sea, I'd actually vote for April 8th as the saddest from Neutral Milk Hotel.

    How is there no Portishead on this list? Roads would be the obvious choice, though I'd actually go with Undenied, with its plaintive rawness and vulnerability. I save that one for when I really need to hurt.

    Seconding Hey Jealousy from Gin Blossoms, though Found Out About You is right on par.
    posted by dephlogisticated at 1:46 PM on March 10, 2016


    > Seconding Hey Jealousy from Gin Blossoms

    I don't know, have you listened to it lately? This and "Runaway Train" by Soul Asylum just sound like cheesy bar bands that got lucky and thrown into the 90s 'Alternative' money machine
    posted by four panels at 1:52 PM on March 10, 2016 [1 favorite]


    Oh my god the Virtute songs, Jesus Christ. It's like you guys want me to be a snotty mess.
    posted by en forme de poire at 1:57 PM on March 10, 2016 [2 favorites]


    The first song that made me tear up while I was driving, even though I'd play it many times before, was Mandalay - Believe

    edit: just noticed the "college rock" restriction. this is kind of a stretch then, I guess, but you guys should still check it out!
    posted by numaner at 2:01 PM on March 10, 2016


    I have a poor feel for this because I'm of an age such that I was the weird little sister who decided she could become very cool by having an encyclopedic knowledge of this kind of music, so I know and have feelings about all of it but can't accurately judge how "everyone" felt about it at the time. That said, Brick is indeed the glaring omission for me, and I'm curious to hear if anyone thinks Freshmen by The Verve Pipe belongs here too.

    amnesia and magnets' assertion that Lover, You Should've Come Over is the sadder J.Bucks song is 100% accurate, but I think Hallelujah has a better shot at taking the bracket for obvious and annoying reasons.
    posted by telegraph at 2:04 PM on March 10, 2016 [2 favorites]


    Liza's version of Rent has caused me to have a solid two hour conversation about punctuation. It is also the saddest, most grandiloquent song on this list.

    (i'm fond of Fuck and Run, which is angier than sadder and Silent all these Years, which I can't listen today, because it's grey and pissing rain outside)
    posted by PinkMoose at 2:07 PM on March 10, 2016


    OK so they pick a Tom Waits song, but it's Downtown Train? WTH

    Don't they know Dirt in the Ground? A Soldier's Things? Even just sticking with something from Rain Dogs, Downtown Train is not even the saddest song on that album.
    posted by Hoopo at 2:09 PM on March 10, 2016 [1 favorite]


    I'm curious to hear if anyone thinks Freshmen by The Verve Pipe belongs here too.

    I do!
    posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 2:11 PM on March 10, 2016


    The album In the Aeroplane Over the Sea is a machine that first prepares you for listening to Oh Comely, and then makes you listen to Oh Comely, and finally helps you recover from having listened to Oh Comely.

    From a certain point of view, Oh Comely isn't just the saddest song, it's the only song.
    posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 2:13 PM on March 10, 2016 [6 favorites]


    I'll just drop this here (and then run away REAL fast).
    disclaimer: I got labeled as 'hopelessly unhip' as a college DJ in 1975 by playing Elton's "Levon".
    posted by oneswellfoop at 2:13 PM on March 10, 2016 [3 favorites]


    That said, Brick is indeed the glaring omission for me, and I'm curious to hear if anyone thinks Freshmen by The Verve Pipe belongs here too.

    "Brick" is a unique melancholy. I mean I'm pretty sure there is lost love there too but the focus on the little details of an abortion are heavy.

    "Freshmen" is a pretty fucked up song when you think about it. Because it's not about "I" it's about "we." But it definitely could make it on this list.
    posted by graymouser at 2:13 PM on March 10, 2016 [2 favorites]


    While Atlantic City is a sad song, I'm not sure it's even the saddest song on Nebraska. I haven't listened to in a while but I seem to remember it being pretty bleak overall. Highway Patrolman maybe? I can't remember what all is on the B side.
    posted by axiom at 2:13 PM on March 10, 2016 [1 favorite]


    The Pogues' version of And the Band Played Waltzing Mathilda should be here, beating everything in its path, as listeners sniffle and claim there is something in their eye, just there. Hand me that Bushmill's.

    My final four:
    This Mortal Coil - Song to the Siren
    Smashing Pumpkins - Disarm
    Nirvana - All Apologies
    Mazzy Star - Fade Into You

    --those aren't necessarily the saddest songs on the list, but I play to win.
    posted by Kafkaesque at 2:28 PM on March 10, 2016 [4 favorites]


    All the sad animals in the world take exception to the choice of Sarah McLachlan song. "Angel" or GTFO.
    posted by Huffy Puffy at 2:34 PM on March 10, 2016 [5 favorites]


    I really love that second BF5 record a lot, although not as much as the first one because the first one is PERFECT, but I haaaaaaaaaaate Brick. So much. For a lot of reasons, most of which have to do with the fact that I could not possibly be less interested in listening to a dude singing about abortion, but also because I find it mawkish and I think Selfless, Cold, and Composed is way sadder. Whoo boy, how many sad teen mixtapes did I put that one onto? (Trick question! The answer is all of them.)

    Come to think of it, if 'college rock' leaves enough room for Tori, there's gotta be room for Ani, which means this list is hampered by its exclusion of Untouchable Face. Not to mention Done Wrong, the title of which I can barely type without getting a little choked up.

    how could you do nothing
    and say "I'm doing my best"
    how could you take almost everything
    and then come back for the rest
    how could you beg me to stay
    reach out your hands and plead
    and then pack up your eyes and run away
    as soon as I agreed


    Got-damn.
    posted by amnesia and magnets at 2:35 PM on March 10, 2016 [1 favorite]


    Tom Waits, Downtown Train

    my vote is for Christmas Card from a Hooker in Minneapolis (Blue Valentines).

    You gotta lift people up to properly get them in the place it hurts.
    posted by bonehead at 2:35 PM on March 10, 2016 [5 favorites]


    Just make the whole bracket Jason Molina songs.
    posted by palbo at 2:35 PM on March 10, 2016 [2 favorites]


    Songs selected needed to be sad (though as you can see there's quite a spectrum of sadness here) and in the orbit of the college rock/MTV 120 Minutes (or its prequels/sequels) world, and released between 1980 and 2001, with a bias toward 1985-1995.

    Am I missing something or is Creep/Radiohead not on there as well? Seems to really nail the college rock song, and at '92/'93 it's right in their golden window.
    posted by bonehead at 2:41 PM on March 10, 2016


    And Tom Waits is a gold mine. How about A Little Rain?

    She was fifteen years old
    And she'd never seen the ocean
    She climbed into a van with a vagabond
    And the last thing she said was I Love You, Mom.
    posted by Kafkaesque at 2:43 PM on March 10, 2016 [2 favorites]


    My final four:
    This Mortal Coil - Song to the Siren
    Smashing Pumpkins - Disarm
    Nirvana - All Apologies
    Mazzy Star - Fade Into You

    --those aren't necessarily the saddest songs on the list, but I play to win.


    OK, I'll bite. I see chalk in the Northeast with Elliott Smith going wire to wire. People are saying it's not even his saddest song, but all his songs kind of blur together for me, and I think they will for the voters too. I can't see anyone else coming out of the Southeast, so yeah, Mazzy Star with the big upset. I know I picked Pumpkins as a Cinderella earlier, but bracketologizing it, they are in a tough region, and Hallelujah is still smarting from not getting a #1 nod. The Northwest is the Region of Death, with NIN, Tom Waits, Indigo Girls and Tori, but I'm going to go a little crazy here and give it to Indigo Girls.

    Indigo Girls - Romeo and Juliet
    Jeff Buckley - Hallelujah
    Elliott Smith - Waltz #2
    Mazzy Star - Fade Into You
    posted by Rock Steady at 2:44 PM on March 10, 2016


    Their rule seems to be only one song per artist, which, fine.

    Though Cohen manages to sneak in two via Buckley.
    posted by bonehead at 2:45 PM on March 10, 2016 [2 favorites]


    And Nick Cave sneaks in two by collaborating with PJ Harvey, I guess.
    posted by koeselitz at 2:48 PM on March 10, 2016


    This has to be more trolling than anything. The give-away is Violent Femmes "Add It Up". I wouldn't even qualify that as a sad song. It's certainly not the saddest song of theirs. It's not the saddest song on that album. It's not even the saddest song on that side of the record.

    I think they just chose a bunch of bands that have famously sad songs and chose the obviously wrong one so that people would talk about them.
    posted by team lowkey at 2:48 PM on March 10, 2016 [5 favorites]


    Also missing: Tindersticks - Cherry Blossoms
    posted by Kafkaesque at 2:49 PM on March 10, 2016


    See also: REM Everybody Hurts.
    posted by team lowkey at 2:50 PM on March 10, 2016 [5 favorites]


    Also disappointed Long December is a fifteen seed. I sing that song to myself all the time while I'm crying or feeling wistful! It's a great song for that! Pulling up Long December on YouTube is usually an excellent sign that it's time for me to stop drinking and go to bed.
    posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 2:56 PM on March 10, 2016 [3 favorites]


    Come on everyone, "Sometimes It Snows in April" by Prince is objectively the saddest song.
    posted by triggerfinger at 2:57 PM on March 10, 2016 [2 favorites]


    scans bracket for Bauhaus' "Crowds"... nope. THIS IS A SHAM
    posted by queensissy at 2:58 PM on March 10, 2016 [1 favorite]


    *constructs playlist*
    posted by phooky at 2:59 PM on March 10, 2016 [1 favorite]


    The really crazy thing about the period from 1980 to 2001 is that absolutely no music was made before 1987. I guess.
    posted by koeselitz at 3:00 PM on March 10, 2016 [4 favorites]


    Or possibly, that's when someone started (junior) high school.
    posted by bonehead at 3:02 PM on March 10, 2016 [1 favorite]


    From the "so obvious it took me half an hour to realize it" category: where in the ACTUAL FUCK is "Brick" on this list? If you can't get your sad on to a song about abortions at Christmas, what CAN you get it on to?

    And that just one omission from the single-word-title-song-that-begins-with-the-letter-B-and-is-is-about-abortion category, because I don't see The Antlers' Bear on here either.
    posted by rtimmel at 3:12 PM on March 10, 2016


    For an alternative The Cure track, I would go with Charlotte Sometimes.
    posted by Pistache at 3:15 PM on March 10, 2016


    I think context matters for the sadness quotient. Knowing that Three Babies is about Sinead O'Connor's pregnancy losses makes it the clear sad winner for me. Likewise they missed the opportunity to list The Last Goodbye for Jeff Buckley, a more poignant choice in light of his tragic death.
    posted by terooot at 3:29 PM on March 10, 2016




    And that just one omission from the single-word-title-song-that-begins-with-the-letter-B-and-is-is-about-abortion category, because I don't see The Antlers' Bear on here either.

    "Bear" is time-barred, having been released post-2001. I think, however, that we can all agree that The Antlers' Hospice is one of the most emotionally devastating, entirely agonizing albums in existence. The only album that's gotten close to taking that one off the top of my "almost too sad to bear" list is Sufjan Stevens' Carrie and Lowell.
    posted by yasaman at 3:37 PM on March 10, 2016 [1 favorite]


    Also, should I be alarmed by how many of these songs I don't find especially sad. Because "Song to the Siren" is one of my favorite songs in the world, but I think it's more yearning than sad, and I don't know how to classify "Fade Into You," but it's not on my list of crying songs. And then a lot of the other songs are just sort of gently sad, not rip your heart out and step on it sad. I think Hospice has permanently adjusted my sad song meter.

    Still, I can't believe none of you have accepted yet that "Fast Car" is the clear winner here. What a devastatingly detailed portrait of a particular kind of dead-end despair.
    posted by yasaman at 3:46 PM on March 10, 2016 [4 favorites]


    I love "Fast Car" and honestly feel exactly the opposite (although I accept that's not fully justified if I were to pay closer attention to the lyrics).
    posted by triggerfinger at 4:22 PM on March 10, 2016


    Was reading though the list thinking, oh these are interesting choices, then I got to Fast Car and had the wind audibly knocked out of me. The sadness of middle age, of choosing the wrong partner, of seeing your dreams slip away, all the more painful because the memory of youth and hope and ambition are still there... It's almost too much to contemplate.
    posted by Tentacle of Trust at 4:45 PM on March 10, 2016 [6 favorites]


    Does Richard Thompson not qualify somehow?


    *SIDE-EYE*



    And yes The Pogues cover of The Band Played Waltzing Matilda is also a most unforgiveable oversight.

    *SIDE-EYE that is totally not crying just thinking about that song I AM NOT*
    posted by louche mustachio at 4:47 PM on March 10, 2016


    Also, for the Psychedelic Furs they could have chosen Book of Days which is WAY sadder than Heartbreak Beat.
    posted by louche mustachio at 4:50 PM on March 10, 2016 [1 favorite]


    THIS IS ALL WRONG.
    posted by louche mustachio at 4:51 PM on March 10, 2016 [2 favorites]


    Seconding dephlogisticated, needs more Portishead. Roads.
    posted by jzed at 4:56 PM on March 10, 2016


    Is it just recorded during that period? Like, could June Tabor's version of The Reaper be on there?

    Shipbuilding

    Amber and the Amberines (not strictly a sad song, more a rousing bit of Communist propaganda, but oh! that melody! That voice!)
    posted by Grangousier at 4:57 PM on March 10, 2016


    Gold by Peter Blegvad. Alright, the ending is, if not happy, then heartwarming, but it does get me every time.
    posted by Grangousier at 5:05 PM on March 10, 2016


    I have issues with this tournament.

    Ditto. It's like "Sad Semi-Alternative Music the Author Liked in the 80s and 90s)"

    I'll contribute two songs NOT to listen to in the bathtub while depressed.

    The National - About Today

    vs.

    Vic Chestnutt - Flirted with You All My Life
    posted by mrgrimm at 5:16 PM on March 10, 2016


    Without "Calling All Angels", this tournament is, sadly, irrelevant.
    posted by Bron at 5:26 PM on March 10, 2016 [2 favorites]


    I insist Don't Give Up cannot be the saddest song, as it features Kate Bush telling you not to give up.
    posted by terooot at 5:50 PM on March 10, 2016 [3 favorites]


    Bullshit.

    No "Long, Long, Time by Linda Ronstadt, yet Jeff Buckley will surely to make it to the Final Four because popularity.

    Just bullshit.
    posted by sourwookie at 5:50 PM on March 10, 2016


    ... and I like So. Central Rain much better as a song, but Everybody Hurts is sadder.

    and The Smiths, c'mon. I Know It's Over or even Please Please Please?

    Actually no. ASLEEP. (mentioned).

    So I doubt. I truly doubt.
    posted by mrgrimm at 5:51 PM on March 10, 2016


    and wait a minute .. Three Babies?! there are 2 obvious choices there: Nothing Compares 2 U (the correct choice) or Black Boys on Mopeds.

    basta.
    posted by mrgrimm at 5:54 PM on March 10, 2016 [2 favorites]


    If you want to level up to exciting new levels of soul crushing sadness, try Jeff Buckley's cover of I Know It's Over. It causes me physical pain when he sings "oh mother, I can feel the soil falling over my head."
    posted by yasaman at 5:59 PM on March 10, 2016


    > No country. Meh. No "He Stopped Loving Her Today", no "Seven Spanish Angels".

    "He Stopped Loving Her Today" is so sad that my wife gets angry if I play it, or sing it or even bring it up. And she's a lifelong Cure fan.
    posted by The Card Cheat at 5:59 PM on March 10, 2016 [6 favorites]


    And also

    and let's argue about sad music instead of politics.

    Thank you for this post.
    posted by curious nu at 5:59 PM on March 10, 2016 [1 favorite]


    So, no love for "Joey" coming out of the bottom right bracket huh? That's where my money's going. But, yes, "Fast Car" wins this tournament for me.
    posted by snwod at 6:25 PM on March 10, 2016


    Needs more blues. Also, Loaded Gun.
    posted by sfenders at 6:57 PM on March 10, 2016


    Doesn't fit the ground rules of the bracket, but just to remind everyone of the horror that was the 70s - there is a set of songs from my junior high school years that I associate as being the worst songs of all time: Having My Baby, Muskrat Love, Thank God I'm a Country Boy, Love the One You're With; but dedicated to the girls of Stephen M. White Jr. High, I give you the sadness of Seasons in the Sun.

    1977 arrived in the nick of time.
    posted by Edward L at 7:41 PM on March 10, 2016


    This bracket is horrible. Literally any Galaxie 500 song is sadder than every other nomination, even the ones that are just Dean Wareham's LSD musings on fast food and television. "Fade Into You" is a close one but Mazzy Star has better ones.

    The Cure choice is "Just Like Heaven." C'mon.

    I can deal with All Apologies and Fake Plastic Trees. But if you're going to include songs that lose their sadness after being heard 10 million times, where's Blind Melon's "No Rain?"

    And the saddest song from the brilliant brilliant Violent Femmes first album is clearly "Good Feeling."

    But really, this entire bracket should be Galaxie 500, Neutral Milk Hotel, and a couple of Smiths and Joy Division songs.

    The winner is Galaxie 500's cover of "Ceremony"
    posted by Slarty Bartfast at 7:44 PM on March 10, 2016 [1 favorite]


    3 other obvious omissions:

    Pale Blue Eyes

    Japandroids "The House That Heaven Built"

    Nothing Compares 2 U, or hell anything from that Sinead O'Connor album.

    Also, I agree with the "Divorce Song" recommendation.

    Also Bob Mould's "Hear Me Calling"

    Ug, this thread is going to ruin my night.

    hello, I'm a depressed guy that came of age in the 90's
    posted by Slarty Bartfast at 7:56 PM on March 10, 2016 [1 favorite]


    I know this is just a silly list, but I really wish people would stop coming in here and naming songs from the past 15 years as omissions. It's 1980-2001. Stop talking about tracks from fucking two year old records! This isn't 'Nam, there are rules! Grar!
    posted by axiom at 8:11 PM on March 10, 2016 [9 favorites]


    Oh Jesus,

    "Here Comes a Regular," "Swinging Party" and "Can't Hardly Wait" by The Replacements.

    This night is ruined.
    posted by Slarty Bartfast at 8:12 PM on March 10, 2016 [1 favorite]


    The 80s and early 90s were a good time to be clinically depressed. Funny thing is, i think of some of these as uplifting, but then again, I liked to get my saddies on. Galaxie is beautiful-sad in that way, so they get my vote as well, also beautiful-sad is "Song of the Siren"- TMC. But one of my faves needs to be on this list or it is poop: Gun Club's Breaking Hands. Heartbreaking with sweeping beauty. Back in the day, I liked to bum out to American Music Club, "Western Sky", Bettie Serveert's overly weepy "Brain Tag" and any Leonard Cohen or Tom Waits whatsoever. Daniel Johnston gets depressing but he was so wacky at the time it sort of offset it; "True Love" is sad when you're pretty sure that True Love won't find you in the end.

    I also vote for New Order's "Doubts even Here" : "The day begins, collapsing without warning..." that'll kill your morning.
    posted by GospelofWesleyWillis at 8:31 PM on March 10, 2016


    Like others, I have some issues with this tournament. I've got some street cred from my days as the Southern Illinois Regional Foremost Expert of Sad Songs 1989 - 1991. And, as someone else mentioned upthread, there is a lack of earlier 1980s music in their brackets. My additions to this list, keeping in tune with college rock, would be:

    3. Basically, anything by The Apartments. I mean, look at the title of the tracks from their album A Life Full of Farewells. The most wistful, for me, is Paint the Days White, but I suspect, by popular vote, the saddest song would be She Sings to Forget You. A case could certainly be made for Thank You for Making me Beg.

    2. Wedding Hotel by Rowland Howard and Nikki Sudden. Mood killer beyond compare.

    1. After breaking up with a girlfriend I met at Southern Illinois University, someone I had moved with to Chicago, I returned to SIU in Carbondale and enrolled is post-bac classes, trying to reclaim the heyday of the spirit of my undergraduate college life. On a rainy Saturday, I had returned from the vet, where I had just had my cat put to sleep after a battle with a brain tumor. In my studio apartment, I stared out the window and played the only song I knew could capture the moment. (Northshore Train by Heidi Berry, released in 1989 before she signed with the label 4AD.) "Many words are in my heart than I'll never say."
    posted by perhapses at 8:32 PM on March 10, 2016


    Let's face it, Ian Curtis wins the whole contest across the board, delivering roundhouse kicks to Morrisey who seemed amateur by comparison to the King of Despair.
    posted by GospelofWesleyWillis at 8:33 PM on March 10, 2016


    Oh and shit how could I forget Marianne Faithfull's "Ballad of Lucy Jordan"? (pretty sure that album came out in 80) Or anything off of Stormy Weather or whatever that suicidal LP was that I wore down into the ground. Anything of Faithfull's after 1980 is pretty depressing.
    posted by GospelofWesleyWillis at 8:35 PM on March 10, 2016


    Cowboy Junkies, So Lonesome I Could Cry. Not the only contender from that album.
    posted by sfenders at 8:51 PM on March 10, 2016 [1 favorite]


    Runners-up:
    Shoot Me Down by Everything But the Girl
    When Ye Go Away by The Waterboys
    posted by perhapses at 8:55 PM on March 10, 2016 [1 favorite]


    Last one (trigger warning, domestic violence):
    When Poets Dreamed of Angels by David Sylvian
    posted by perhapses at 9:02 PM on March 10, 2016 [1 favorite]


    I guess I feel like this is really sort of a narrow list, exclusively populated by a certain kind of grungy sadness which (while, yeah, that's "college rock" for you) I'm not sure is the most fulfilling kind of sadness, and there are plenty of wonderful sad songs in the time period listed that aren't on it. For example, Pet Shop Boys' magnum opus, "Being Boring," which is one of those records that so excellently captures a moment in time that it makes even those of us who didn't share in it part of it somehow, while testifying for history about the important qualities of that moment which can't be forgotten. And how can one avoid finding beautiful, wistful, wrenching sadness in this?
    Now I sit with different faces
    In rented rooms and foreign places
    All the people I was kissing
    Some are here and some are missing
    In the nineteen-nineties

    I never dreamt that I would get to be
    The creature that I always meant to be
    But I thought in spite of dreams
    You'd be sitting somewhere here with me...
    Just a perfect song, really. And breaks my heart every damned time I hear it.
    posted by koeselitz at 9:03 PM on March 10, 2016 [3 favorites]


    The Morphine song isn't In Spite of Me? Huh. I just CANNOT be the only one to have had this on a breakup mix tape...right?? I mean, come on. These lyrics!
    Late last night I saw you in my living room
    You seemed so close but yet so cold
    For a long time I thought that
    You'd be coming back to me
    Those kind of thoughts can be so cruel
    So cruel
    posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 9:51 PM on March 10, 2016


    Came for "Fast Car", was not disappointed. (Only a #7 seed, really?) "Joey" is a good choice too.

    Biggest omission: where the hell is Pink Floyd? Or Chris Bell's "I Am the Cosmos"?
    posted by equalpants at 10:10 PM on March 10, 2016 [1 favorite]


    I do approve of "Fast Car" and "Joey." However, I need to point out the tragic omission of The Cat Carol. Too seasonal, perhaps. But a guaranteed tearjerker.
    posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 10:15 PM on March 10, 2016 [1 favorite]


    Well like an idiot I went straight to the bracket and missed the 1980 cutoff.

    But even in the chosen timeframe I'd nominate "Twin Falls" (Built to Spill), "Black and White" (dBs), "Jane Says" (Jane's Addiction), "I Often Dream of Trains" (Robyn Hitchcock), "Broken Heart" (Spiritualized). Or like a dozen different Scott Miller songs if he qualifies.
    posted by equalpants at 10:26 PM on March 10, 2016 [1 favorite]


    "Don’t Dream It’s Over" and "Fake Plastic Trees" are strong for melancholy, but I agree "Fast Car" is hard to bear for making you want to curl up on the couch all day.
    posted by bongo_x at 10:49 PM on March 10, 2016 [1 favorite]


    Or hard to beat, but I guess they both work.
    posted by bongo_x at 10:54 PM on March 10, 2016


    There are some mystifying choices on that list. I concur that there is a disturbing lack of Galaxie 500, though I would accept Damon & Naomi as a substitute. I mean, their first record was actually called "More Sad Hits."

    I also agree with the earlier mention of Robyn Hitchcock, though I might go with "Flavour of Night," or perhaps something from "Eye".

    The Richard Thompson, Clive Gregson & Christine Collister cover of The Byrds' "Here Without You" is even sadder than the original. Though they might be pushing the definition of college rock, it was released on a comp released by Imaginary/Communion, so I think it should pass.

    I'd also nominate Antony & The Johnsons "Cripple & The Starfish," which I find devastatingly sad, but also so harrowing that it should perhaps come with a trigger warning.
    posted by talking leaf at 11:10 PM on March 10, 2016


    Thank you so much for this post, misskaz! Been obsessing about it and jawing with some friends over the picks and matchups. A few years ago my friends and I had a long email discussion on best track 3s from our collection, and it got me to thinking today that it would be fun to set up something like this for that. Granted, it would be extremely particular to myself and my friends and the music we own. Still, fun thought.
    posted by snwod at 12:43 AM on March 11, 2016 [1 favorite]


    The Replacements song should be "Within Your Reach."
    posted by Lyme Drop at 12:52 AM on March 11, 2016 [1 favorite]


    There is never any love for The Refreshments, but "Mekong" deserves a shot. Knocked out early, maybe, but still.
    posted by wintermind at 3:50 AM on March 11, 2016 [1 favorite]


    I'm late to the party but I would suggest "Luka" by Susan Vega. Listening to it now as a parent is an entirely different (and considerably painful) experience from back when it was just a hit song on the radio.
    posted by tehjoel at 6:17 AM on March 11, 2016 [1 favorite]


    Built to Spill is a treasure trove of sadness, but I'd have to go with You Were Right.
    posted by whuppy at 6:31 AM on March 11, 2016


    New matchups are live, FYI, in case you want to vote. This sentence in the writeup for "Suedehead" provides some insight into the committee's thinking that might explain some of their more controversial decisions (the Brick snub, for instance):

    (the committee had no tolerance for songs that were mostly about wallowing)

    Also, Morrissey is another artist that sneaks into the bracket twice, once solo and once in The Smiths.
    posted by Rock Steady at 7:28 AM on March 11, 2016


    I'd have loved to see the meta-sad-song about the advantages of being sad, which, at the same time is also quite sad, by David Byrne (1994, so it qualifies): Sad Song.
    posted by holist at 11:33 AM on March 11, 2016 [1 favorite]


    I would propose a dark horse candidate -- Elton John's "Ticking".
    posted by Ben Trismegistus at 11:36 AM on March 11, 2016


    Here are my angry write-in candidates:
    "I've Seen It All" by Bjork & Thom Yorke
    "Fox In The Snow" by Belle & Sebastian
    posted by zeusianfog at 12:11 PM on March 11, 2016 [2 favorites]


    > "Luka" by Susan Vega.

    I don't pay that much attention to lyrics when I'm listening to a song, so I until koeselitz' comment I hadn't realized how sad "Being Boring" is. But Suzanne Vega, with her voice and her music, so often hits the sad point for me. I'll nominate The Queen & The Soldier. There's the sadness of loss, the sadness of abandonment, and the sadness of alienation, but that song hits me with the sadness of unsatisfied yearning so hard, even though I'm still not sure I know what it's about.
    posted by benito.strauss at 12:20 PM on March 11, 2016 [1 favorite]


    Masochistic, I know but I came back b/c (I think) I saw Robyn's Dancing On My Own in the bracket, which is about as far from a "sad song" as you can get.

    It's a song about female empowerment, i.e. she's not going to sit at home wallowing b/c you've got a new girlfriend, she's gonna dance all night, and sure, she's human, she wants to take a look at your new skank, but really, she's just gonna dance all night.

    So I must insist the author doesn't know what the fuck she or he is writing about.

    Or else I am in complete aesthetic disagreement. Sad songs should be slow and provoke tears, not joyous dancing.

    Also, The Cure's One More Time is their saddest song. Pictures of You is an HP commercial. It's just NOT a sad song, like more than half of the picks in that bracket ... OK, I'm really out now.
    posted by mrgrimm at 12:41 PM on March 11, 2016


    If we can do covers, and apparently we can, it's gotta be Cowboy Junkies doing To Lay Me Down. Margo Timmins' voice can make rocks cry.
    posted by Purposeful Grimace at 1:35 PM on March 11, 2016 [1 favorite]


    Nothing from Bonny Prince Billy's I See A Darkness? Blasphemy!
    posted by shucksitsjeremy at 8:46 PM on March 11, 2016


    A theoretical playlist loosely based on some above comments:

    Joy Division, 'The Eternal' (the slowest crawling BPM imaginable, the downest of JD's down-ness);
    The Smiths, 'This Joke Isn't Funny Anymore'
    Portishead, 'Glory Box'
    Tom Waits, 'Town Without Cheer'
    This Mortal Coil, 'Another Day'
    Nick Cave & Bad Seeds, 'Foi Na Cruz'
    The Gun Club, 'Yellow Eyes'
    American Music Club, 'I've Been A Mess Since You've Gone' (Mark Eitzel can be really grumpy);
    Marianne Faithful, 'So Sad'
    Cowboy Junkies, 'Crossroads' (that obscure first album 'Whites Off Earth Now' was their best);
    Everything But The Girl, 'Fascination'
    David Sylvian, 'Nostalgia'
    Radiohead, 'Exit Music for a Film'
    posted by ovvl at 9:58 PM on March 11, 2016


    Mark Hollis A Life (1895 - 1915)
    posted by ovvl at 10:02 PM on March 11, 2016


    Phil Collins was not college radio, and often a critic's punching bag, but if you're feeling glum, then his lush pop ballad Take a Look at Me Now (Movie Title) has exquisitely anguished vocals. Like the radio DJ said: imagine the last high school slow dance of the night with your date that you won't stay with forever;

    For more slide/banjo glum Collins, The Roof is Leaking;
    posted by ovvl at 10:28 PM on March 11, 2016


    Okay, so this fails on the college rock criterion, but it's from 1983 and it's one of my all time favourite sad songs. And the lyrics:

    Once more, love is here again
    Once more, my palms are sweating again
    What for? What for? What for?

    Once more, I'm only thinking of her
    Once more, I only want to have a big one
    What for? What for? What for?

    Once more, I only see her everywhere
    Once more, I only hear her everywhere
    What for? What for? What for?

    Love, love, love
    Love, love, love
    Gotta spit, phew,
    Gotta spit, phew,
    Gotta spit, phew
    posted by holist at 11:07 PM on March 11, 2016 [1 favorite]


    I keep coming back as I remember things, but one that should be noted: Dead Milkmen's classic "Life Is Shit."

    Life takes from us the things we love
    And robs us of the special ones
    And puts them high where we can't climb
    And we only miss them all the time...

    posted by koeselitz at 9:39 AM on March 12, 2016


    you only need to see the title to know this is Metafilter's spiritual home
    posted by maiamaia at 5:31 AM on March 13, 2016


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