Saturday, April 14, 2007

Scars on my heart

I've only listened to the new Lucinda Williams record all the way through once since getting it as a gift from my brother for my birthday, but so far, one track, "Are You Alright" has really stood out to me. The album was written in the aftermath of a traumatic breakup and the death of her mother, within the same year, so naturally, it's incredibly sad and introspective.

"Are You Alright" is one of those rare, incredibly bittersweet broken heart songs penned for a former lover, just hoping that they've managed okay. It's a song that's written past the real heartbreak, past the anger, and resentment, and just gets to the heart of the matter, which is that she simply misses him. He's vanished from her life, as former lovers are so often wont to do, and she thinks of him fondly. She even hopes that he's found someone new to hold him and make him feel good. The chorus goes like this:

Are you sleeping through the night?
Do you have someone to hold you tight?
Do you have someone to hang out with?
Do you have someone to hug and kiss you,
Hug and kiss you,Hug and kiss you?
Are you alright?

I really like how undramatic the song is; it's a wistful plea for a "sign," and an acknowledgement that her lover might be as lonely as she is. Or he might be incredibly happy. Either way, she just hopes that he's okay. It's about forgiveness and moving on, but still always having that little ache always present in your heart when someone you truly loved has come and gone.

Someday I'm going to compile a top 10 or 20 list of the saddest songs ever. This will be on it, along with "Good Woman" from Cat Power's Free record. Sometimes I swear I just sit in the dark with that song on repeat until it makes me cry. Eddie Vedder's background vocals, verging on that thin line of cracking and holding it together, make me shiver everytime I hear it.

Oh, this will be fun! I want readers to either email me or leave a comment about what songs they think are the saddest, or always get them choked up when they hear. This will be fun. Then maybe I'll take the results and make a Saddest Mix Ever or something.


mark said...

Since you got me thinking of Lucinda Williams, I think "Jackson" is very bittersweet.

I know you aren't a big Bob Dylan fan, but "If You See Her Say Hello" is one that instantly comes to mind for me as a tearjerker

Same for The Beatles' "Yesterday". Especially the part where Paul sings "Why she had to go/I don't know/she wouldn't say".

Oh...and "A Change Is Gonna Come" by Sam Cooke.

Mandy said...

Oh man, that "Cat Power" song is so good.

Do you know that Morrissey song "I'd Love To?" It's pretty darn sad. Nothing like unrequited love to get me down.

I'll have to think on this some more.

bryan h. said...

i'm still thinking, too, but i will et back to you...

Warwick said...

That's so strange. Lucinda did "Are You Alright?" on Letterman a little while back, and I went directly out and bought the album. Why do I listen to sad songs on purpose?

The Fire Next Time said...

Because sad songs say so much.

Turn em on. Turn on those sad songs!

When all hope is gone, tune in and turn em on.