Day Four: While I Rot With the Rest

Last night I searched a couple other 30-Day Song Challenges/Music Memes/Song Memes/whatevers because this one is kind of dull.  Favorite song, least favorite song, happy song, sad song.  But they were even dumber.  Ergo:

Day Four: A Song that Makes You Sad.

I’ve picked a couple of songs, because I think they cover different types of wallowing.  I have a specific playlist called “Melancholy Piece of Shit” for just such wallowing occasions, and I realized as I was going through to pick the song for today that under normal circumstances, the self-indulgence of them can be kind of a turn-off.  Here’s an old standard for moments when you’re feeling so low you require a first-person narrator.

Johhny Hartman and John Coltrane, “Lush Life.”


There is sort of an empowerment narrative going on here.  “Empowerment” may not be the right word…it may be more like “to hell with everything.”  The penultimate verse even borders on hopeful, but I don’t really believe that Johnny Hartman is that hopeful about his romantic future.  So even if “Lush Life” makes you feel better for a bit, it just leaves you feeling worse—which, when you’re wallowing is all you really want, right?

Well, maybe.  Then we have Contestant #2:

Cat Power, “Names.”

This might be the most depressing song ever—or at least it’s the most depressing I can think of.  I guess, then, “Names” would be more of a song that makes me sad than “Lush Life,” which kind of needs a pre-existing sadness that it can amplify.  There is definitely a way to make “Names” about you if you’re upset, though.  You lose touch with people as you get older, you hear about how their lives have taken an unfortunate turn, and some were always just unfortunate to begin with.  “Names” presents a parade of adolescents whose problems are much greater than whether they can get a Hannah Montana backpack or watch rated-R movies—and by listening to Chan Marshall list off their falls from innocence, you’re reminded that we live in a terrible world.

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