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Saddest Song in the World Challenge!

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Oh shit, we have GLOSSED over the saddest song ever written:

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Oh, if we're gonna talk Prine...

A tale of love steadily dying, and failed attempts to keep it alive.

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What, John Prine?

 

How about a song that is both about the horrors of destroying the Earth and the loss of childhood innocence?

 

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The song that Prine described as, "I wanted to write a song so sad that it would wind up pretty."

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Sting performing live September 11th 2001. His intro and then the lyrics in this context are pretty powerful.

 

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Daniel Johnston singing about being exploited is heavy shit.

I raise you Johnston's "The Story of an Artist."

 

 

Everyone, and friends and family
Saying, "Hey! Get a job!"
"Why do you only do that only?
Why are you so odd?
We don't really like what you do.
We don't think anyone ever will.
It's a problem that you have,
And this problem's made you ill."

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We're on the fifth page and we haven't brought up the saddest of all sad songs...

Stevie is absolutely overcome with loss and you can feel his pain with every lyric.  If you've ever suddenly lost someone close to you, or been through a breakup that you just didn't see coming I don't know how you can't blubber like a baby every time you hear this song.  It is beautifully brutal.

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Just a song about getting older and your life slipping away. . . 

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More chilling than sad, but still. A Strange Fruit, indeed.

 

And it's Billie Holliday live. I literally got chills as she delivered "crop" at the very end.

 

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This is partly subjective because I first heard it shortly after my parents went away in quick succession, but even by itself it's quite hopeless (even if it does have a spark of fighting spirit):

 

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Mike:

 

If you buy the "Gloomy Sunday" story (and I'm not sure that I completely do), as depressing as the Billie Holliday version is, it supposedly doesn't hold a candle to the original Hungarian version. Since I don't speak the language, I have no way of comparing how the lyrics hit one, but there's so much smoke to this story that there has to be a bit of fire somewhere... (Of course, with or without the song, Hungary had (and has) one of the highest rates of suicide per capita in the world.)  Here's what we do know to be true:

 

1. There were lots of suicides in Hungary after the song came out.

2. There were lots of suicides in Hungary before, during and after its release.

3. There is no record of the song being banned in the US or UK.

4. One of the songwriters did off himself (of course, it was like thirty years later, so I'm not sure we should blame the song.)

5. The English version is pretty dire, and the original is supposed to be much, much worse (though how, I can't really imagine).

6. Considering that there was a world wide depression at the time, it's pretty easy to imagine that sitting around listening to depressing shit on the radio would probably not end well.

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It does my heart good to know I hang out at a site that has people who love John Prine.

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It does my heart good to know I hang out at a site that has people who love John Prine.

 

Rusty? You remember 'A Better Place to Be' by Harry Chapin. That live version you played on Whiskey Zulu. God damn. That was depressing as all hell.

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Rusty, why do you make a fool out of me?

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Jackson Frank knew a thing or two about sadness. Knowing his life story certainly gives an added dimension to his music, but this tale of hopelessness and depression is sad enough on its own. "Wherever I have gone the blues are all the same", indeed. 

 

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Again this isn't about sadness so much as soul-crushing despair, and the bleak arrangement makes it so much more effective.

 

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I feel like any song I post by this artist would work here, so I blindly picked one and it's a good one:

 

 

Also, Lisa Hannigan's voice absolutely wrecks me in a beautiful Alison Krause kind of way.

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Hopefully Vimeo links work; if not, I'll figure something out.

Edit: Yay, they work.

As far as the song goes, you have a guy who takes what could be a paint-by-numbers tune, about "drugs are bad," but the way Jamey lays out the small details, like getting high in the Baptist church parking lot...man, that's good shit.

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Just the fun little tale of a small town preacher hiring hit men to kill his wife, and the aftermath that entails.

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I am really digging the eclectic nature of all the nominations in this thread. Jazz, country, classical, folk music.

 

Marlene Dietrich wonders, "Where have all the flowers gone?"

 

German:

 

 

Français:

 

 

English:

 

 

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I don't know how many Boosie fans are on this board. But this song is the detailed account of the death of one of Boosies childhood friends Lil Ivy. Boosie gets raw and emotional and doesn't hold anything back. He paints the picture well and you feel like your there, and your heart can't but go out to him.

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