Thirty Sad Songs and One Sweet Giveaway

Update: Comments closed! Thanks for playing!

If you know me at all, you know that I only listen to sad music.

I actually have a playlist for entitled "Just In Case I Die: A Musical Tribute To Kelly Bergin" on my computer, because I will haunt any fool who tries to play "Spirit in the Sky" at my funeral. I will pull a Tom Sawyer and fall out of the ceiling to shut that shit off. It may be dark, but I want to be prepared to combat any crappy music played at my dope funeral party.

So whenever I meet someone new, I almost always ask to hear their favorite depressing song. I like bulking up my library with classics I haven't heard of. I may generally a positive person (stop laughing, I'm trying!), but nothing makes me feel and write like a good sad, song.

When I first met Matt Logelin nearly four years ago, the first thing we talked about was music (and booze). Since I moved to Los Angeles, Matt has dragged me along to Amoeba on Sunset more than a few Tuesdays to pick up a new album. Sure, he may pretend not to know me as I scour the VHS tapes for a rare copy of Hanson's 1998 tour video (buy me a copy, Internet!), but I know he totally appreciates my unique musical insight. (i.e., repeating things I read on Pitchfork).

So when I talked to Matt about giving away a copy of his book, coming April 3rd to paperback, I tried to think of a unique way to introduce Matt to those of you who may not know him. Music plays a big part in his memoir, which details the loss of his wife, Liz, 27 hours after the birth of their daughter Madeline. The narrative of Two Kisses for Maddy is loosely shaped around music both Matt and Liz loved, and I know a big thrill for Matt was getting some of his favorite artists to allow their lyrics to be reprinted in his book. (I also know how much he enjoys watching Maddy develop her own awesome music taste, no doubt aided by his catalog of songs with the words 'ghost', 'ninja' and 'Batman' in them.)

Matt graciously agreed to write up a playlist of his favorite songs AND allow me to give away a copy of Two Kisses for Maddy to 2 readers. I also wrote up my favorite sad songs, in case you also love weeping in your car while stuck in traffic on the 405.

Two winners will be chosen at random but first must provide their favorite happy, upbeat song. God knows our playlists need it.

But before you try to pump us up and make us see rainbows and sunshine, here are our picks for Songs That Make You Less Dead Inside...

there are 61,467 songs currently in my itunes library. below are 15 of the saddest songs i can think of at the moment. sad, maybe because of the lyrics. sad, maybe because of the mournful tone of the song. sad, maybe because they just make me feel sad because of the memories they've become.

it doesn't matter why i think they're sad. shit. they may make you happy. i don't know. but i can promise you this…they will make you feel. so go feel some music.

1. when your bridges burned by jakob olausson from the album, morning & sunrise
2. woman, when i've raised hell by josh t. pearson from the album, last of the country gentlemen
3. trouble every day by tindersticks from the album, trouble everyday soundtrack
4. jim cain by bill callahan from the album, sometimes i wish i were an eagle
5. a place aside by beth orton from the album, comfort of strangers
6. i see a darkness from the album, bonnie "prince" billy - i see a darkness
7. everything is on the point of decline by the caretaker from the album, patience (after seabed)
8. song for bobby smith (alt. take) by gill scott-heron from the album, winter in america
9. gloomy sunday by billie holiday from the album, lady day - the best of billie holiday
10. alabama by john coltrane from the album, live at birdland
11. shoulders by larry jon wilson from the album, larry jon wilson
12. ii. solar system by the microphones from the album, mount eerie
13. april the 14th (part 1) by gillian welch from the album, time (the revelator) 1
4. northern sky by nick drake from the album, bryter layter
15. lost verses by sun ki moon from the album, april

i guess i'm going to be all casual and not use proper punctuation like matt. anyway, in the interest of being original, i won't include nick drake or bonnie prince billy on my list for fear that matt tries to take credit for my love of them.

here are some of my favorite sad songs:

1. whatever's written in your heart, gerry rafferty
2. hurt, johnny cash version
3. with you in your dreams, hanson, (1997 version where taylor's voice sounds like a beautiful girl)
4. skinny love, bon iver (when i broke up with my boyfriend, i listened to this 54 times in 1 week. oh, 2009 kelly! you were so sad and fat.)
5. somebody that i used to know, elliott smith
6. the fine art of falling apart, matthew good
7. casimir pulaski day, sufjan stevens (what, you don't like songs about people dying of cancer?)
8. i can't make you love me, bonnie raitt (i once sang this to a picture of Ed Burns)
9. late for the sky, jackson browne ("such an empty surprise/to feel so alone")
10. thirteen, big star (oh, the longing!)
11. hearts and bones, paul simon (divorce from princess leia really wrecked him! also, it's a surprise this entire list isn't all paul simon.)
12. landslide, fleetwood mac (this is the first song i ever fell in love with, and i think i heard it on a special on vh1. i just remember the vh1 logo at the corner of the screen and knowing the line "children get older/i'm getting older too" would stick with me forever. i was 9.)
13. river, joni mitchell (i will never go anywhere in my life without this song on my iPod)
14. fake plastic trees, radiohead
15. do what's easy, chris bathgate (A MUST!)

Okay, that's all we wrote. Make sure to leave a comment telling us your favorite happy song. Okay, and your favorite sad song too. There's always room for more. Make sure to include your email address. A winner will be picked at random by midnight on March 27th.

Thanks for playing!


  1. My favorite sad song is A Fine Frenzy-Almost Lover and Elliott Smith's Between the Bars.

    Happy song would have to go to Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros - Home, makes me happy every time :)

  2. My favorite happy song is I want You Back and it's my favorite sad song too!

  3. i've got a '90s theme going on (maybe the mention of hansen threw me back there)
    happy song: beck's sexx laws
    sad song: blind melon's new life

  4. and i forgot my email: palershade at gmail

  5. Sad song....the first one that comes to mind is GrudgeFuck by Scud Mountain Boys After that Jacksonville Skyline from Whiskeytown, mainly for the lyric "I was born in an abundance of inherited sadness..."

    Happy Songs...Pure by Lightening Seeds, Designs on You by Old 97's and Celebration by Kool and the Gang(it's about good times. Guilty pleasure)

    1. email chefmichelle at gmail

      I love reading people's lists. Songs I've forgotten, bands I don't know(yet).

  6. Pink Floyd's "Wish You Were Here" is both sad and happy to me! email... pirateremix at hotmail dot com

  7. "Last goodbye" Jeff Buckley - sad song

    "Simple Song" The Shins - my new current happy song

    (email: rahuljane7 at gmail dot com)

  8. Sad Song: Suicide Medicine by Rocky Votolato or anything by Dead Man's Bones. It is just too hard to pick one.

    Happy Song: Little Lion Man Mumford & Sons (yeah that is as happy as I get today :) ) At least I didn't pick Jason Mraz.

    aubieirish at hotmail dot com

  9. sad song: county line by cass mcCombs (I discovered this via matt's playlist on his blog... incidentally Matt, when do you post a new playlist post???)

    happiest song: almost crimes, broken social scene

  10. Saddest song ever: Anything in key of D minor

    Saddest Happiest song in the world: You are my sunshine - there is a lot of pain in there...

    1. OMG, I had to sing "you are my sunshine" at kindergarten graduation and I just remember my dad weeping. So sad!

  11. first off u already told me to play in the aeroplane over the sea at ur funeral so dont worry about having spirit in the sky playing
    second off u miss a few good ones:
    damn this feeling by hayden ??
    heartbeats by jose gonzalez ??
    life on earth by band of horses
    king of carrot flowers pt 1 ??(dont we have the same mother?)
    and yellow by coldplay is the saddest song of all time. ever. its the only music video played on MTV for like a week after 9/11

    happy song- fighting in a sack by the shins or someday by the strokes or wide eyes by local natives orr weed party by band of horses

  12. The song I want played at my funeral is Answer by Sarah McLachlan

    And a happy song I really enjoy is Swimming by Florence +The Machine

  13. He was a friend of mine by Willie Nelson gets me every time. And Big Girl by Mika makes me happy!

    k.t.3325 at gmail dot com

  14. 2.0! I love this post. Funny, insightful comments about music? I'm in.

    Happy song - "La La Love You" by the Pixies
    Sad song - "Pictures of You" by the Cure. When boy that I liked in college showed up at a party with another girl, I drank way to many beers, went home, cried my eyes out and played this on repeat. Good thing my roommate at the time was a saint.

    "If I Can't Change Your Mind" by Sugar (I love, love, love Bob Mould)

    christine dot conry at gmail dot com

  15. Sad Song --- Dream Scream by Daniel Johnston. Or the Death Cab for Cutie cover. Both are stark and pretty devastating.

    Happy Song --- Party Hard by the immortal Andrew WK

  16. Love this post. Kelly- you're hilarious. I'm so glad I found this blog via Matt Logelin. Loved and related to many of your song choices.

    Here are some of my picks:

    Nina Simone- I Loves You, Porgy
    Radiohead- How to Disappear Completely
    Walkmen- New Country
    Whitest Boy Alive- Figures (I listen to it when I'm sad/reflecting)
    Band of Horses- The Funeral
    Elliott Smith- Pitseleh (and pretty much everything else he wrote)
    Dylan- You're a Big Girl Now
    Midlake- Branches

  17. Saddest song: How to mend a broken heart by Al Green (sobsville! played at my dad's funeral)

    Happiest song (currently): The Sound by Human Highway (that awesome medley of perfect harmonies that remind you what true solid happiness feels like).

    Not sure it it will link to my 8tracks page, but the sad one is featured on my "heart busters" mix, and the happy one is under "unsettled soul".

    ps. love matt logelin and his blog! cannot wait to read his book.
    jbuffs(at) gmail (dot) com

  18. You and me by Dave Matthews Band!

    LisaGrant20 at yahoo dot com

  19. When I need to pump myself up, it's Slung-Lo by Erin McKeown that I go to.

    Two sad songs that get me weeping:

    How to Be Dead by Snow Patrol
    Is She the One? by Small Sins (used to be THE break up song)

  20. happy song is and always will be You Make My Dreams Come True by Hall & Oates. it's also my favorite song to dance to, which is unfortunate for my friends. Me dancing is a sight you can't unsee.

    Sad song pick would be Long Black Veil by Johnny Cash. It's freakin haunting!


  21. I think that Hurt, Johnny Cash version is probably my fave sad song. I cannot handle Fake Plastic Trees - so that's all you. :D

    Happy changes regularly. I love Teddybears singing just about anything but... Cobrastyle is wicked awesome.

  22. this is hilarious kel

    sad song =
    hospital beds - coldwar kids (florence and the machine acoustic cover)
    fix you - coldplay (always kills me)
    overkill - colin hay

    happy song =
    anything on jock jams
    one week - barenaked ladies
    you move me - poi dog pondering

    hope LA is great :)

  23. Sad~ wonderwall by oasis, round here by counting crows, all the wild horses by ray lamontagne, this woman's worth by maxwell, my immortal by evanescence

    Happy~ man in the Mirror MJ, cosmic love by florence&machine,walking on broken glass by annie lennox, enter the ninja by die antwood, i can see clearly now by jimmy cliff

  24. Oh, I could make very long lists of both, but I'll follow the rules and give you one each by two artists not mentioned yet.

    Happy: "Ugly on the Outside" by the Judybats ("You're pure light, pure delight, pure delight...")
    Sad: "Jens Lekman's Farewell Song to Rocky Dennis" by Jens Lekman ("I wish I had a proper reason to cry...")

    (email: trainman at ellwanger dot tv)

  25. Sad: You're Missing - Bruce Springsteen {lump in throat}

    Happy: One Love - Bob Marley

  26. Awesome post, Kelly.

    Sad = Waiting for a Superman, Iron & Wine
    Happy = Yeah 3X, Chris Brown (don't judge :-)


  27. Come Sail Away- Styx.
    Downeaster Alexa- Billy Joel.

    Both make me feel simultaneously happy and sad.

    And of course both make me think of you. That just makes me feel...sickened.

  28. Sad: As it Must Be by Keith Pattengale and Joey Ryan. This one makes me a little weepy every time I hear it.

    Happy: Joan Jett and Paul Westerberg "Let's Do It" from the Tank Girl soundtrack or "Crayola doesn't make a color for your eyes" by Kristin Andreasen or "Give Your Love" by Latchkey Kid

  29. I just thought of another sad/happy song:

    "Rainbow Connection" as performed by Kermit the Frog.

    It makes me cry everytime, but it is also kinda happy too.

    This is my second entry, so not sure if you can count this one, but here is my email:

    rahuljane7 at hotmail dot come

    1. oops, made a mistake, my email address is:

      rahuljane7 at hotmail dot com (not come):/

  30. Happy: Blister in the Sun by the Violent Femmes
    Sad: Everybody Hurts by REM

    Both I first heard in high school watching My So-Called Life - a show that made me both happy and sad.

    Love your writing Kelly!


  31. Sad: Sia's Breathe because I can't hear it without seeing the Six Feet Under finale and no matter what I end up getting teary. Jeff Buckley's Hallelujah will also make me tear up every time.

    Happy: (these are also great dork out songs as well) Walking on Sunshine, Jamiroqaui's A Funk Odyssey because it's fast and makes me think of the blue soup Bridget Jones is about to make.

  32. Whoa...Landslide is playing on my iPod RIGHT NOW!!!

    Happy song: Kodachrome/Paul Simon :) (even my BF dances in his seat when this one comes on)

  33. saddest song ever...

    Pedro the Lion 1976


  34. I know comments are closed, at least as far as the contest. I don't care about the contest. If you haven't heard this cover of Coldplay's "Fix You", you're missing out. Makes me bawl. Every. Stinking. Time.