Wednesday, September 17, 2008


My iPod has been missing for a long, long time. A year? Eighteen months? Longer? Obviously, I haven't been feeling exactly bereft.

But the other day, someone discovered it in the darkest recesses of who-knows-where and now I have my iPod back. My blank, tuneless, song-free iPod.

I know I've confessed time and again that I'm kind of a musical idiot, who generally gets more out of the lyrics than the actual, you know, music. So I'm counting on you to help refill my iPod with lots of cool stuff.

Songs that I can listen to when I'm savoring my own sadness, like Cleopatra sipping pearls dissolved in vinegar or when I'm trying to make myself sprint out those last few tenths of a mile on the treadmill or when I'm on a long drive in an empty car, heading somewhere I don't particularly want to go.

Give me a song -- just one wonderful song -- old or new, pop or rock or country or some genre that I've never even heard of -- that I should put on my playlist. Give me a song that will change my life.

or, since as Elizabeth points out, that might be a bit of a tall order -- how about one that you just think I'd like?

ETA: You guys are fantastic. This is just one of the many advantages to having readers who are way cooler than I could ever dream of being. I *love* these suggestions, especially since there may not be a single one that I've ever knowingly heard or even heard of. I foresee a weekend spent with youtube. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.


Elizabeth said...

Wow, that's a tall order! I'll give you my favorite song - from the album "Cry Cry Cry" - "By Way of Sorrow."

Close second: Tori Amos, "Parasol." I'd have to confess that both are in the sadness genre.

Joy said...

I'm loving "Long Before," by the Roches.

h2o girl said...

Hoo boy. Well, I don't know if these will change your life, but they are the songs I like to listen to when I feel like wailing and gnashing my teeth and rending my garments:

Persephone - The Cocteau Twins
Tame - The Pixies
Hex - Neko Case

Aunt Becky said...

Bob Dylan's "Isis."

Aunt Becky said...

Oh, and anything by Leonard Cohen.

painted maypole said...

when I was a boy by dar williams

Meg said...

Just one song?!?! No can do....
"New Soul" by Yael Naim
"Black & White Town" by The Doves
"Hey Mama Wolf" by Devendra Banhart
"Top of the World" by Patty Griffin
Anything by Imogen Heap
Ohhh - that was painful only leaving a few songs!
Email me if you want more :-)

Antigone said...

"Miss Otis Regrets" preferably performed by Ella Fitzgerald.

Read more here

Antigone said...

If you're who I think you are, you'll appreciate it.

Lori said...

"Bongo Bong" by Manu Chao.

SmartOne said...

I'm a music freak, so here are a few of my good music/good lyrics songs. A few are lesser-known and are older, but I've been able to find them on Rhapsody or other places.

"Harlequin" from the album of the same title. This was a collab album between Spyro Gyra and Lee Ritenour. The lyrics are haunting and are sung in Brazilian Portuguese by Ivan Lins. The lyrics in the original language and English are here:

"Alonzo," "This Time," and "Distracted" by Al Jarreau.

"Uninvited" by Alanis Morrissette from the City of Angels soundtrack.

"Any Major Dude" by Steely Dan

"Four Cornered Room" by War

If I think up any others I'll be back.

Anonymous said...

I think you might get a kick out of the lyrics to "my sister" by the tindersticks. The music is very pretty but the song itself is incredibly depressing.

Wordgirl said...

I'm all about the lyrics too and there's two I can't get enough of right now:

Ryan Adams

Lucinda Wiliams

Rachel said...

Eric Clapton, Tears in Heaven
Dixie Chicks, Wide Open Spaces

You should get a wide variety of music building your playlist this way.

Jillian said...

By My Side by INXS. Just heard it on the car radio and my eyelashes are still stuck together lol.

thordora said...


One band you'd really dig for sadness is World of Skin-the folks from the Swans doing sad goth music-VERY awesome, very early 90's. It's hard to find sometimes, could always send you the files.

Legendary Pink Dots-The Maria Dimension-the entire album is incredible.

Almost Lover-A Fine Frenzy-SAD SAD SAD

Neutral Milk Hotel-Three Peaches

Sarah Slean-Get Home

This Heat-they have an EP that is worth digging for.

Labradford-anything-very bass, very melancoly

You know I could go on for days. :P

flutter said...

"Tongue" Bell x1
and "electric" by tristan prettyman

The Nanny said...

In terms of the savoring your own sadness bit, Stairway to Heaven (Led Zeppelin, for whom I usually don't care) always makes me teary-eyed. It's my favorite song.

Anonymous said...

Hurt by Nine Inch Nails.

I have it on my ipod, my Blackberry and anywhere else I can stick it.

Tash said...

Wait, you do know that YOU recommended my current theme song, Bishop Allen's "News From Your Bed"? And that it's my ringtone? The line the that goes,

"When your family calls you make nice to them all
And assure them you're fine and you're great
Then you cry in the bath, cry so hard that you laugh
Then you watch television til late"


So I don't really know what I'm doing recommending songs to YOU. But my latest theme song is Ingrid Michaelson, "Be Ok"


I'm going to have a mass dedication on my webiste when I figure out how to embed music over there. I don't think it's as grim and hair-pull-y as some of the stuff mentioned here, it's about just being . . . ok. Just feeling anything, really. It's a message I can hang with, with a tiny guitar!

Anonymous said...

Homeward Bound OR America
Simon and Garfunkel

Yolanda (the callipygian chronicle) said...

Okay, if it has to only be one song, I guess I'm going to say That I Would Be Good by Alanis Morissette.

But I am one of those people who worship melancholy music. This song has sent me to the floor for about ten years, now.

Magpie said...

Hmm. I think I might just have to make you a CD.

susan said...

Dar Williams' February.

Rachel said...

Not quite so appropriate for the current state of your life, but I think you'll appreciate

"A Common Disaster" by the Cowboy Junkies.

sweetsalty kate said...

K-OS's new album called 'Atlantis: Hymns for Disco'... I defy anyone to listen to Flypaper and not cut a rug.

Heather said...

"The One" by the Old 97s for your traveling music.

Dayna said...

Dar Williams, "Iowa." Kelly Clarkson, "Because of You." Stevie Nicks, "Too Far From Texas." Clint Black, "Desparado." Jewel, "Barcelona." Nine Days, "Absolutely." 3 Door Down, "Be Like That." (Which is both my favorite and breaks my heart a little.) Jars of Clay, "Tea and Sympathy." Rainer Maria, "Hell and High Water." The Starting Line, "Left Coast Envy." Leona Hess, "New York Baby." Joan Armatrading, "The Weakness in Me." Garbage, "The Trick is to Keep Breathing." Vonda Shepherd, "Vincent." Suzanne Vega, "Tom's Diner." Further Seems Forever, "On Legendary."

Warning: I am not cool. If you are expecting cool, I am going to disappoint.

Anonymous said...

"Out of my League"
Stephen Speaks. gorgeous. gorgeous song.

Anonymous said...

"Out of my League"
Stephen Speaks. gorgeous. gorgeous song.

LawMommy said...

I love music but my taste can run from mundane to bizarre.

As I recall I posted a link on my blog some months back to Patty Griffin's "Rain" and you remarked that you thought it was beautiful. I also love her song, "Nobody's Crying." Her music gives me goosebumps.

Amos Lee's "Supply and Demand" and "Night Train" are two of my favorites right now.

Mike Doughty's "Unsingable Name" is a great song.

Pat Green's "Wave on Wave" and "Lost Without You" are great rock/country cross-overs.

It probably won't change your life but it might get you to finish your time on the treadmill - Eminem and Nate Dogg's "Shake that A**". (Keep in mind, it is Nate Dogg and Eminem, so, very nearly pornographic lyrics.)

One last, but kind of obscure one, Tilly and the Wall's "Pictures of Houses" is very nice.

debbie said...

Considering I actually thought of you while listening to this song last week, you MUST put this one on your ipod. I was at work, cranking my music through the headphones and when I got here, I thought, "If I were Niobe, and if I were driving, this is the song I would want to be listening to." I kid you not. STG. I even searched for it on youtube so I could send it to you, but couldn't find it. I wish I could link you to it, but all this anticipation,
it's This is Where, by the Wailin Jennys. You must listen to it loudly, in the car.

I love everything they sing.

debbie said...

but my most fav wailin jennys is One Voice. Oh, I love that song. And Tegan and Sara are fun for the treadmill.

missing_one said...

"Shut up and Drive" Rihanna (for the treadmill)

Ya Chun said...

"I'm sorry" by Bushcherry


all the songs we did at Serenity's memorial service. Great when I need a good cry.

It's from an April post if the link doesn't work.

Just Meim said...

How about this one. It has currently been dubbed my "theme song" for my newly rediscovered IF battle, but what-the-hell. I'll share. It's a great 'determination' song.

Rascal Flatts, Stand

Julia said...

My sister brings me "new" music. Quotation marks are because it is usually only new to me. Not cool, that's me. I am glad to see that the artist I want to pass on has already been mentioned a few times here. Dar Williams. She has a lot of good stuff. Teen for G-d" is great for driving and snickering. The Hudson (the song starts around the 2 min mark in that clip) is just good-- melody, words, everything. Make sure to play both at high volume-- they work better that way, though for different reasons.
And here's the one that it took me a while to be able to hear without crying (and you know I do not, normally, cry)-- The One Who Knows.

Monica H said...

we've been listening to a lot of O.A.R. lately and you can't go wrong with Tracy Chapman. I love "The Promise".

Have fun building it up!

Emily said...

Burgundy Shoes by Patty Griffin

(Or anything else by Patty Griffin)

Anonymous said...

"Calling All Angels" by Jane Sidberry. "Sense of Wonder" by Van Morrison. "La mer du nord" by Jacques Brel. (none of which are treadmill songs).
I want to heae the songs the others have mentioned!

Katie said...

Wires by Athlete, a great British band who have yet to make it in America.
Hallelujah, I like the Rufus Wainright version but there are lots of good ones out there.

A cheerful one - Accidentally in Love by counting crows, always puts a smile on my face.

Mummalicious said...

I'm not sure how much exposure you get to Australian music over there but I particularly love "Wish you well" by Bernard Fanning (of Powderfinger, but solo here).

You might also like "Je suis un rockstar" by Bill Wyman, cause who doesnt love a dirty old man picking up french chicks? :P

Sam said...

How about an album? Morphine: Cure for Pain. The title track can be heard here. It's different and hard to explain, good for wallowing and my 11 year old likes it for some reason.

m said...

I have to echo Jillian and say By My Side by INXS - an oldie but a goodie.

Oooh so many more - did I send you my Aussie cd? There's a few on there, John Butler Trio's 'What you Want' gets me every time. And Epicure's 'Life Sentence' is awesome.

I could go on....


m said...

Oh, and our mutual friends' husband is incredibly talented and has some amazing songs....

thirtysomething said...

REM's 'Familiar Faces'. Anything by REM actually.
FERGIE's Big Girls Don't Cry is also good, though somewhat overdone.
Enigma has great instrumental/chanting music

Enya is also a favorite of mine.

And it goes without saying that anything from the 80's!

Anonymous said...

what about...
-Suddenly-Ryan Ferguson
-Piss Bottle Man-The Lemonheads
-Moon Shadow-Cat Stevens
-Coat of many colors-Dolly Parton

calliope said...

playlist for you:
Your Ex-Lover is Dead by Stars
Trouble by Ray LaMontagne
New York is a woman by Suzanne Vega
Myriad Harbor by New Pornographers
Release the stars by Rufus Wainwright
Chemicals Collide by Cloud Cult
What's a Girl to do by Bat for Lashes
Sunday by Sia
I am a thing by The Eames Era

Molly said...

Oh, so many! But here are a few:

For relaxing with a glass (or two) of wine - the entire Funnel Cloud album by Hem. It's amazingly beautiful.

For a rock out with your cock out travelling song - Fishnet Woman by Ted Wulfers.

For a melancholy lost love song - Reason Why by Rachel Yamagata

For a couple other melancholy songs: Something Pretty by Patrick Park and Casimir Pulaski Day by Sufjan Stevens

For the treadmill: Zombie Nation by KernKraft 4000 and Sandstorm by DaRude

For cheesetastic wondertude: Nothing's Gonna Stop Us Now by Starship. (Oh, Grace Slick...) This is seriously one of my all-time favorite songs. I loved the movie "Mannequin" when I was 8.

Grad3 said...

Feel Good Inc- Gorillaz (this always, always puts me in a good mood)

The Joker and Dance, Dance, Dance- Steve Miller Band

Sweet Home Alabama- Lynyrd Skynyrd

My Immortal- Evanescence

Sweet, Sweet Baby- Michelle Featherstone

Grad3 said...

PS- if you ever get the chance you should create a playlist of the songs that you did like and share it with us... gl!!!

Anonymous said...

Love this!! Try Yellow by Coldplay, On The Radio by Regina Spektor, What's The Name of the Game by ABBA, Choux Pastry Heart by Corine Bailey Rae... gosh there are so many more I can't even think of right now...Enjoy!

Anonymous said...

Stuck Between Stations by The Hold Steady

Elspeth said...

Angels on the Moon, by Thriving Ivory.

Battle, by Colbie Caillat

Pocketful of Sunshine, by Natasha Bedingfield

Farther of the Road, by Mick Hucknall

You said just one, so I'll stop at four *smile*

Elspeth said...

Hmm Farther Up the Road (not 'of')

Anonymous said...

"Whole Thing", Peter Gabriel from The Big Blue Ball


Megan said...

Someone else suggested Rufus Wainright but the song I like best when I'm savouring my saddness is by his mother and aunt – Why Must We Die? by the McGarrigles.

Anonymous said...

I'll add another aimed at your "last sprint on the treadmill"... when I'm out on my walk/run, "Snakes on a Plane" by Cobra Starship never fails to make me smile and pick up the pace. It's a silly story about a girls weekend behind why I even have the music to that whacked movie, but I love hearing Samuel L. Jackson start the song with "...That's it! I'm tired of these mother effing snakes on this mother effing plane!" HA


Anonymous said...

Painting pictures of Egypt by Sara Groves

DD said...

Joan Jett's "Do You Wanna Touch Me There?" always brings out my rocker chick and sing loudly.

Anonymous said...

in the garden, van morrison

Amelie said...

"A day without rain", by Enya. It doesn't have lyrics, but I love the music.

Janus said...

I love "The Waters of March" (or in the original Portuguese "Aguas de Marco"). The Portuguese version is gorgeous, but the lyrics are so beautiful I recommend the English just for comprehension. Two artists who combine the English and Portuguese lyrics are David Byrne and Emilie-Claire Barlow. The classic all-Portuguese version is by Antonio Carlos Jobim.

While not intrinsically sad, it does often make me cry.

Leslee said...

Neutral Milk Hotel's album "In the Aeroplane Over the Sea." I listen to it lots, especially when I forget who I am.

I just got my first iPod last month, so I'm planning on reading through the other comments and checking things out!

Kirsten said...

For the treadmill = Citizen of the Planet by Alanis Morisette.

For renewing your faith in life and love = Simple by kd lang.

andrea_jennine said...

Anything by Over the Rhine. They make the most beautifully melancholy music.

thordora said...

I forgot. The band Espers. You'd like them I think. Try last fm so you can hear tidbits of all this-my profile on there has a bunch of these bands on it. :P

Ruby said...

Purple Rain from Prince.

Alice said...

I love an old English folk song called The Turtledove. No-one else has ever heard of it but it's beautiful.

Thanks for all your comments on my blog.


Jill said...

I don't have anything that will change your life. But when I'm sad, I listen to "Secure Yourself" by the Indigo Girls. I've loved that song since I was in high school. Who knew I'd end up playing it at my baby's funeral? I like to play "Closer to Fine" by the Indigo Girls really loud, singing along, when I'm in a better frame of mind.

Anonymous said...

"Dancing" by Elisa

Furrow said...

I'm a bit intimidated by some of the much-cooler-than-I suggestions already here, but someone mentioned the Cowboy Junkies, and I remembered one of my favorite bittersweet, kind of melancholy, but kind of digging it songs:

"Horse in the Country" by Cowboy Junkies

AnnaMarie said...

Finally thought of one for melancholy moments. Henryk Gorecki's Symphony # 3 with Dawn Upshaw.

Ok, so it's a really long song but can take me through deep sadness and leave me feeling cleansed by the end.

Amy said...

I'm late to the ipod party, but when I'm feeling blue, Coldplay's "Fix You" fits rights in. So does REM's "Everybody Hurts," Joan Baez's "Play Me Backwards," and Superchick's "Beauty from Pain."

For feel good songs, I love Blondie's "One Way Or Another," Feist's "1234," India.Arie's "There's Hope," Peter Mayer's "Magic Beans," and U2's "Beautiful Day."

mo*reezy said...

first of all, I can't believe someone else has heard of Cry Cry Cry (the first commenter) but I LOVE that song too. My recommendation is "All these things that I've done" by The Killers.

DayDay said...

H iI just stumbled across your blog and couldn't take my eyes off it :)

Just a fun great blog. Anyway, for me the song that will always alter my thoughts is: William Orbit - Water from a Vine Leaf

and also William Orbit - Adagio is a fantastic rendition of a classic but water from a vine leaf is a beautiful beautiful song.

DayDay (David Farquharson) said...

Oh and also. David Farquharson - Starchild ;-) lol. I need all the publicity :)

Anonymous said...

The Story - Brandi Carlile
(album) Flyer - Nanci Griffith

Jennifer said...

Sia, Breathe Me.

Cindi Lauper and Sarah McGlauchlan....time after time.

Disturbed,The game, from the album The Sickness....for something to run to.

Jennifer said...

Also Stupify, by Disturbed will to do keep you on the treadmill.

I've done hoola hoop workouts to Alice in Chains. Also to The Crystal Method, Tweekend.
I like to stretch to repeats of Pantera,Planet Caravan. Or Smashing Pumpkins,Disarm.

Karen said...

I'm really late to the party, having recently found your blog, but thought you might like "This Year" by The Mountain Goats. The chorus has seen me through a lot of stuff: "I am gonna make it/through this year/if it kills me."

kris said...

I just found your blog. Who knows if you even get updates on old entry comments, but:

Easy People by the Nields
Eloise by Nerissa & Katryna Nields
Little Jack Frost by Kate Rusby
You are My Joy by Reindeer Section

and so many more!