Archive for the ‘Melancholy Monday’ Category

Melancholy Monday: Ghost in this House (Alison Krauss)

May 19, 2014 11 comments

Alison Krauss loves sad songs. The sadder, the better, according to her when she spoke to the audience during a concert my wife and I were lucky enough to attend a few years back. She went on to say that if she was given a song and she liked it, the first thing she’d do is arrange it to make it as sad and depressing as she possibly could. Given her lengthy career and continued popularity, she’s good at it. And, based on what everyone knows about me, it makes her a good fit to be right there at the top of my melancholy playlist. One of her most depressing and sorrowful tunes is this wonderfully melancholic song, Ghost in this House.

A short sample from the chorus reveals the source of the pain in this song: a passionate love affair burned out, leaving but one lonely soul to ruminate on the emptiness of their life. These beautifully sad lyrics are complemented perfectly by an arrangement that heightens the torment of the broken hearted person left behind.


I’m just a whisper of smoke
I’m all that’s left of two hearts on fire
That once burned out of control
You took my body and soul
I’m just a ghost in this house

Melancholy Monday: My Immortal (Evanescence)

April 21, 2014 4 comments

My Immortal is a heartrending song. Its dolorous melody and haunting lyrics create an overwhelming sense of regret and despair. Some might categorize it as yet another tune about a broken relationship, but there’s really much more to this song than that. To paraphrase the songwriter, his intent was to convey the sting of death and the loss it inflicts on those left behind (the immortal). There are times, he thought, when the spirit of the departed can linger and haunt the one still living, until eventually the pain is so great, being left alone and feeling nothing of the one who passed seems a better alternative to the constant agony brought by their ever-present spirit/memory. Regardless of the interpretation, though, this song is the epitome of melancholy.

You used to captivate me by your resonating light
Now I’m bound by the life you left behind
Your face—it haunts my once pleasant dreams
Your voice—it chased away all the sanity in me

Here’s the song (and video) for any of you who’ve not yet heard it.


Melancholy Monday: sad songs (The House That Built Me)

March 10, 2014 20 comments

Almost three years ago, I wrote a blog post about a song that touched upon a yearning I think most of us have at one time or another. It’s that desire to go back to simpler times, to those days when were kids with nothing more to worry about than growing up and what was for dinner. This song, for me, is bittersweet. It brings back so many wonderful memories, yet at the same time I feel an overwhelming sense of loss. If nostalgic were a genre of music (and perhaps it is), this would be right up there at the top of the list representing the category.

The original post can be found here.

For those who don’t want to go back to the old post, I can summarize it here: I took copies of my family’s old 8mm films, edited them together, and added the song, “The House That Built Me”, to the final video.

If you’re interested in a small slice of this person’s childhood while you’re listening to the song, you can watch the first video. Note: Of the two young boys you’ll see, I’m the younger (and I might say, cuter) of the two. Otherwise, you can watch the second video, which is the official one produced by the original artist, Miranda Lambert.

Obligatory disclaimer for those who eschew country music: Yes, this is a country song, but bear with me and give the song a listen anyway. It’s not a beer drinking, love my tractor, honky tonking, my wife left me kind of country tune. It’s actually quite touching, with lyrics I think many of us can identify with.


Melancholy Monday: sad songs (Mad World)

February 17, 2014 26 comments

The first time I heard this song was when it was sung by a young man by the name of Adam Lambert on American Idol. He modeled his performance, which was mesmerizing, on a version of the song as done by Gary Jules for the movie Donnie Darko. Both Lambert’s and Jules’ versions of the song, though, differ dramatically from the original, which was written and performed by Tears For Fears. Personally, I dislike the original version because of what I feel is a disconnect between the mood evoked by the lyrics, which is somber, versus how the tune itself was sung and played, the latter being upbeat. I think the jarring nature of that difference was probably intentional, but to me it didn’t work.

Lambert’s (like Jules) version of the song is slow, dark, and moody, and in my opinion the lyrics and the music blend perfectly to create an overwhelming sense of despair and loneliness. How could this not be the case with lyrics such as this:

And I find it kinda funny
I find it kinda sad
The dreams in which I’m dying
Are the best I’ve ever had

You can listen to the song here:

To watch the original performance on American Idol, you can watch this video. A testament to how good it was, you’ll see Simon Cowell (my favorite judge) give one of only a few standing ovations he ever felt were deserved. Skip forward 45 seconds to see just the performance.

And finally, if you find yourself with time on your hands and an interest in seeing where this song really came from, here’s the original video as performed by Tears for Fears

Anyone prefer the original version over the new one? If so, why?


Melancholy Monday: sad songs

February 10, 2014 16 comments

When I first heard this song, I wept. Even today as I sat in my office and listened to it once more before pressing “Publish”, my eyes welled up and I found myself holding back the tears.


Ben Folds’ pensive tune, Still Fighting It, is all about a man recognizing what it means and how it feels to be the father of a young boy who will, all too quickly, grow up. As it happens, Ben did, in fact, write this wonderfully reflective song for his son, so the emotions you hear and feel are all real. And though he did write it for his son, I think it applies universally to anyone who is a parent. My favorite line, and the most poignant, is this all to true observation:

And you’re so much like me I’m sorry