While I have long ragged on emo/pop punk/screamo/whatever music for capitalizing on the clinical depression of some suburban teens as an excuse to sell really shitty music to millions of people, there are actually some pretty good songs that fall into one of its sub-genres or into the saddy scene as a whole.The Killers - "Mr. Brightside"
To me, this song is obviously about jealousy, but not of the usual variety. This song dwells not on righteous jealousy (involving someone involved in some sort of commitment), but rather the sort that one feels that they have no right to feel. Whether it is an unrequited love, a "really good friend," a one-time hookup that you wish had been more, an ex-girlfriend/boyfriend, or whatever, this is the sort of jealousy that, if expressed, would lead to someone saying "how the fuck is it any of your business?" And, well, it isn't, and that makes it sting a little more. While I haven't experienced this emotion in years, I remember it all-to-well, and this song does a spot-on job of picking up on the kick-in-the-gut feeling that lasts about two weeks or so. When a work of art expresses a certain common and painful emotion for a new era/generation, it becomes a classic and that is exactly how folks will describe this song in ten years.The All-American Rejects - "It Ends Tonight"
To me, this is one of those songs that deals with transitions. You know, the moments where your life is fundamentally different after a given event. On the surface, this song is about ending a emotionally destructive relationship on a given evening. On a metaphysical level, however, the song can mean so much more than a basic boy-leaves-girl song. This song can also symbolize any life transition, from graduation to parenthood to death, I suppose. It can even be applied to the beginning of the end of the reaction to said transition, ie the relief of grief, making new friends in your new city, or starting to getting over that ex. The sadness and emotion of the finality of all things in the human experience is the liquor that is chased with the Sprite-like knowledge that things will indeed improve, but to get to the point of letting go/forgiveness/getting over yourself, one must make a painful break with the past and this song conveys that emotion as well as any song of the decade thus far.Morrissey - "First of the Gang to Die"
As far a saddening music goes, Morrissey was helping depressed kids wallow back when today's bands were still eating Smurfberry Crunch for breakfast. As for this 2004 song, I've probably listened to it 1000 times or so and I'm still not sure what it is all about. Something about homoeroticism in Latino gangs in LA is the face value of the song, but when has that ever been a good enough explanation for a song by Morrissey? I guess I take away from it a sort of sense of irony that misery is, to a degree, always present, even in the idealized "good ol' days" we like to wax nostalgic about. Yup, even the days who chose to remember as the best days of your life possess some degree of pain or anger that we chose to forget or ignore. On the flip side, however, in times of strife there are always positives. In other words, nothing is ever as good or as bad as we chose to allow it to seem.
Keep your eyes open for more trolling of not only more sad music, but also songs from more of my favorite acts, genres, and eras coming soon to ...ASAT.
Labels: emo, Morrissey, Music, pop punk, The All-American Rejects, The Killers, Youtube