10 Melancholy Masterpieces

1.  Song to The Siren – This Mortal Coil
Original by Tim Buckley was special but Liz Fraser’s rendition positively bleeds emotion. A tear stained classic.


2.  Famous Blue Raincoat – Leonard Cohen
Take your pick from any one of a dozen songs from his back catalogue – the Sultan of Sadness knew how to tug at the heartstrings like nobody before or since.


3.  Fruit Tree – Nick Drake
Produced three albums of exquisite loveliness in a life cut tragically short at the age of twenty six. Painfully shy and introverted, his whispered words & delicate acoustic songs continue to attract lovers of miserabilia.


4.  Don’t Explain – Billie Holiday
Pain and resignation etched into every single groove of this heartbreaking tale of infidelity. And that voice…


5.  Between the Bars – Elliot Smith
Beauty and sadness in equal measure. Smith lived these songs, wore his heart on his sleeve and left behind a body of work that documented his constant and grim battle with depression. In the wake of his untimely death, songs like this one are almost unbearably poignant.


6.  Hurt – Johnny Cash
Original was by Nine Inch Nails, but a frail and aging Johnny Cash took this and somehow turned it into something completely and utterly his own. The cracked voice, the hurt of a lifetime, it’s all there and let’s not even talk about THAT video – get a lump in the throat just thinking about it…


7.  Broken Heart – Spiritualized
Better known for their fuzzed up, space rock blues, Spiritualised produced this stunning six minutes of string drenched despair as Jason Pierce bared his soul about a relationship breakup. Sadness has rarely sounded so epic.


8.  Holocaust – Big Star
Unremittingly, unapologetically bleak. No chink of light whatsoever. From their third and final album, this was the sound of a band falling apart. A song that will suck you into its orbit and keep you there if you are not careful.


9.  Bright Eyes – Art Garfunkel
From the soundtrack of an animated movie about fluffy bunnies.  Fluffy bunnies in peril. Guaranteed to get the tears flowing before we have even got to the first chorus.


10.  Well I Wonder – The Smiths
Morrissey and his cohorts took extreme misery into the pop charts in the eighties. Sometimes it was tongue in cheek and sometimes it was just cruelly and unimaginably beautiful. Like this.