Sad Happens, Music Helps

Sometimes things happen that make you want to lay down and listen to sad music. I have a few playlists for such occasions. I thought I’d share a few of my most comforting sad time songs.

Dear Prudence – The Beatles

Wild Horses – The Rolling Stones

Heart Cooks Brain – Modest Mouse

Once I Was – Tim Buckley

Pink Moon – Nick Drake

Sittin’ On the Dock of the Bay – Otis Redding

The First Days of Spring – Noah and the Whale

Bridge Over Troubled Water – Simon & Garfunkel

Asleep – The Smiths


Algo diferente para ustedes

The professor of my Latin American culture class has us listen to a song or two before every class so that we can dissect them as a group. Today’s song was featured in the motion picture The Motorcycle Diaries. I just like it, and I thought some of you might enjoy it as well.

Festival Finds: John Butler Trio

I attended Outside Lands music festival this summer and saw a lot of great bands, many of which I had never heard of previously, which is one of the best things about music festivals. One of these bands was John Butler Trio. One of my friends, a guitar buff, convinced me to see them and they ended up being one of my favorite acts the whole three-day festival.

I don’t know exactly how to classify their music. iTunes calls them alternative. There are certainly elements of rock but with a twist of bluegrass and sometimes a bit of funk. What really stood out, however, was the guitar stylings of John Butler himself. Man can he shred. Here is a taste of Butler solo, but check him out with the band too!

The Mouse that is Modest

Although the majority of writers and readers on the site are no longer angsty teens, you all once were, hence your love of rock and roll. As a young woman still experiencing/ suffering from this angst, I have found solace in the music of Modest Mouse. Though they would not necessarily be considered a rock and roll group, the members and music epitomize many of the same values and ideals that make up the very spirit of rock and roll.

There are so many things I love about this band. First of all, their sound. While it is easy for today’s bands to succumb to the typical monochromatic pop sounds to make money and be on the radio, MM sticks to their own unique sound. They are a band that continues to experiment with new sounds and be real while so many others are not. They know how to make a popular record, and yet they are true to their own style. Heartmelting guitar riffs combine with killer drumming, bass, and a multitude of other intruments such as horn, fiddle, banjo, and keyboards, and songs are often accompanied by an overarching violin melody. They have killer instrumentalists all around and even more amazing vocals by my main man, Isaac Brock.

What gets me the most about MM is the lyricism. Brock manages to capture the essence of angst felt by teens and adults alike and put it in words that make me and many others like me swoon. He provides a dark social commentary for cynics like myself to hold onto in this world of sin and materialism. Together, these elements make MM a perfect band for teens and adults alike to hold close as we watch the world go down from our suburban bubbles. Some of my favorite quotes include:

 I like songs about drifters – books about the same, they both seem to make me feel a little less insane (The World at Large)

So all of the businessers in their unlimited hell where they buy and they sell, and they sell all their trash to each other, but they’re sick of it all and they’re bankrupt on selling (Bankrupt on Selling)

I had a drink the other day, opinions were like kittens I was givin them away (Out of Gas)

On my way to God don’t know, my brains the burger and my heart’s the charcoal (Heart Cook Brain)

I’m on a road shaped like a figure eight, I’m going nowhere but I’m guaranteed to be late (Interstate 8)

As life gets longer, awful feels softer and it feels pretty soft with you, and if it takes shit to make bliss then I feel pretty blissfully (The View)

I could easily write an essay about my love for Modest Mouse, but I will leave it at this for now. If you haven’t already, go check them out!

Night Music: tUnE yArDs: “Doorstep”

Lindsay dropped this cut on my Xmas disc a couple of years back, and there is something so basic and rhythmic about it, although to be truthful, I cannot put my finger on specifically what kills me about the song.

I do think there is something hypnotic about repetition in music when pulled off right. Prince’s Purple Rain being a great example of a song that seems like the only real words are in the chorus, for example, although there is some actual substance beneath that repetitive portion of the tune that draws us in.

Much the same is this one by the tUnE yArDs (hey, that is their spelling, not mine, though I confess as a fan of e.e. cummings, I love lower case letters dominating) during which we only seem to hear the scary chorus over and over (listen carefully, cos it ain’t pretty) although the sweetness and innocence of the voice of band brain child and leader Merrill Garbus somehow transcends the ugly scene.






Night Music: Temple of the Dog, “Hunger Strike”

This is another tune that was on the birthday disc Lindsay burned for me in October.

As I listened, I kept thinking “man this sounds like Eddie Vedder.”

In fact on Christmas Day this year, we were sitting in the living room at Lindsay’s parents’ home (with Lindsay’s shuffle plugged in, of course) and Hunger Strike played and we both agreed it really did sound like Vedder.

Well, that is because it is Vedder.

Temple of the Dog were indeed a grunge band who released one disc in 1991, with Vedder, Mike McCReady, and Matt Cameron, Stone Gossard, and Jeff Ament–who would collectively release big disc, 10, as Pearl Jam a year later–along with Soundgarden core Chris Cornell.

The album was a tribute to the late Andrew Wood, singer for Mother Love Bone out of whom Temple of the Dog was born, and then the evolution completed with Pearl Jam or Soundgarden, depending upon who you were and where you went.

As with the best of Pearl Jam, I would call this song haunting. And, I know there are those who really dislike PJ, and well, likes are subjective. I happen to really like them. If nothing else they are excellent musicians and songwriters, even if not your cup of tea.


Night Music: Modest Mouse, “The Whale Song”

Modest Mouse is a band I really like a lot, and yet I forget to listen to even more than I like them for some reason (I do own a couple of their CD’s).

Not so niece Lindsay, who keeps me honest and dropped this killer cut on the birthday CD she burned for me. In fact, that disc is so good it prompted me to create the “Lindsay Says” category which I tagged to this piece.

But, I figure I can share the stuff she turns me onto to:

  • Give credit where credit is due.
  • Show that she is keeping me current on new shit (and that I am trying to keep up).
  • Make sure the site covers some bands more on the College list, which is always more interesting that what they play on the standard formats.

Either way, I love this song all the way through.