Sad Songs Say So Much…
Ah yes, love. The bread and butter of pop music, and heartbreak, the jelly on top. Bust it, break it, doesn’t matter what side you are on, it sucks so bad. Actually, I think if you are the breakee, and you have anything approaching a heart (by which I mean, if you’re not a woman), it is actually worse. But it sucks either way, as Peter Perrett (not represented here, though maybe he should be), “love becomes a habit”.
Anyway, sad songs don’t really say that much (which is why I didn’t include it here)…
Green Green The Rushes, Oh – Druidsong – An old English folk song that runs a variant on “The Twelve Days Of Christmas,” an act of extended breath control. According to Wikipedia, “an unusual mixture of Christian catechesis, astronomical mnemonics, and what may be pagan cosmology.” It’s quite difficult to figure out but also somewhat clear as well:
I’ll sing you twelve, O
Green grow the rushes, O
What are your twelve, O?
Twelve for the twelve Apostles
Eleven for the eleven who went to heaven,
Ten for the ten commandments,
Nine for the nine bright shiners
Eight for the April Rainers,
Seven for the seven stars in the sky,
Six for the six proud walkers,
Five for the symbols at your door,
Four for the Gospel makers,
Three, three, the rivals,
Two, two, the lily-white boys, Clothed all in green, O
One is one and all alone And evermore shall be so
So what does it mean? Well the ten commandments are obvious, so are the ten disciples, but who the heck went to heaven? Anyway, for me it is a sad song and a lonely song, and a really big truth: “One is one and all alone and evermore shall be so” is a great thought about death. One of only two things we do completely alone (the other is have sex).
Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On me – Elton John – Whatever Elton, or you, might believe, Elton isn’t a legend because he plays piano, he is a legend because in the 1970s he composed maybe eight years of great pop songs and Bernie, certainly in this case, wrote great lyrics. This heartbreaker about being dumped soars right into the sun where he burns up.
Alone Again (Naturally) – Gilbert O’Sullivan – I was never quite sure why Gilbert didn’t really maintain, in effect he is a one, maybe two, album wonder, his stardom. Yet every album he has ever released has been excellent. This song about being left at the alter with suicide the solution. Plus, one of those lines you wanna quote and I do quote often: “In a little while from now, if I’m not feeling any less sour…” I don’t continue, it is enough to give you the taste of misery. I wonder why “sour” isn’t used more in songs… it’s a great word and rhymes with everything except thing, of course.
Nobody Loves You (When You’re Down And Out)” – John Lennon – This isn’t only John’s epitaph, it is also mine. This song wrecks me and that bridge is the final word on fame: “Well I get up in the morning and I’m looking in the mirror to see, ooo wee…” Then it goes beyond cynicism, as he answers whether he loves someone by telling her “It’s all showbiz”. One of my fave Lennon songs and therefore one of my favorite songs period. I prefer it to “Imagine”. It is truer and more helpful.
I Am Not A Robot – Marina And The Diamonds – This is the only song Marina has ever done that I’ve liked but I just adore it. An epitaph for every break up: “It’s better to be hated than loved for what you’re not”.
You’re Stronger Than Me – Patsy Cline – The great Hank Cochran and Jimmy Key wrote it but Patsy has never sung better, the gasp and pause between “if It’s easy to say” and “it’s better that way” will take out your heart and stomp on it.