14 August 2009

friday five - 14.08.09 - sad songs that make me happy because i'm a horrible person

Do you ever find those songs in your playlist that make you feel a certain way regardless of their emotional intent? I do. For the longest time, I simply chalked the phenomenon up to the fact that I'm unquestionably insane, and left it at that.

However, I'm noticing more and more songs these days that make me feel happy/gleeful/good despite the fact that they're intended to be the most depressing songs in the world. At least for that moment. Now, any normal person would say, "Maybe I'm just getting more abnormal!"

I just think they're doing it on purpose.

And if I come across a mournful piano ballad about birthday cake, new shoes, and smiley faces, I assure you I will be broken for life.

The Hush Sound - "City Traffic Puzzle" (mp3|3.99MB): Nothing says "depressing" or "painfully awkward" like dance-y swing-pop, right? I know, that's what I thought, too! This song was one of those weird "stumble-upon" songs from a couple of years ago. I was obsessed with a video game, and someone else belonging to an online self-help fan group said, "Hey! This reminds me of [insert character here]!" (By the way, did I mention that I'm an incredible nerd?) At first I was like, "oh, but this cannot be so; it seems so happy!" Then I listened to the lyrics. Ha ha, warm fuzzy fail.
(from the 2005 album So Sudden)

The Long Winters - "The Commander Thinks Aloud" (mp3|6.43MB): Despite my undying love for this song (and the future remix thereof), it is not the most substantial Long Winters-related thing in my life. I found out about a year ago that John Roderick is my high-school music teacher's brother, and I'm pretty sure that'll weird me out for the rest of my life considering how obsessive I am with their catalogue. Among numerous other things. Still, though this song isn't really happy-sounding, it has a soaring quality that has a tendency to lift the spirits. If it weren't, you know, about an exploding spaceship, hopelessness, and death.
(from the 2005 album Ultimatum)

Pas/Cal - "What Happened to the Sands" (mp3|4.46MB): Let's put it this way: nothing puts me in a more cheerful mood than demolition. Demolition, and happy memories reduced to a pile of rubble. Actually, that's not true at all. I kind of like happy memories. A lot. Still, you have to admit, this cheerful, poppy relation of an iconic hotel's obituary makes it really difficult to avoid grinning, even with wistful lyrics like, "there is concrete and dirt / where it once stood / and where it once stood, you stood."
(from the 2004 EP with one of the best names ever, "Oh Honey, We're Ridiculous")

Pet Shop Boys - "What Have I Done to Deserve This?" (mp3|4.00MB): If the Pet Shop Boys were masters of any art, it would be the art of making depressing music sound misleadingly like mindless, bouncy 80s pop. However, this is one of those songs that catches you by the title alone, leading you into a strange, conflicting spiral of "wow, I can groove to this," and "oh my God, that poor man" from the very start. If anything, it serves up a sizeable portion of mindfuckery; however, taking into consideration my ever-present state of mind, it should be a natural assumption that I would find this to be an addicting and exemplary piece of music.
(from the 1987 album Actually)

Ra Ra Riot - "Dying is Fine" (mp3|4.88MB): I don't know exactly how to describe this song. It's rife with mixed emotion; one minute, they're talking about the similarities between life and death, and how life sucks, and then they're like, "wait, death sucks too," and then you go to, "hey, maybe life isn't so bad" with an undercurrent of "death might be better." It's kind of like eating cranberries. At first, you're simply admiring how succulent and juicy the fruit appears to be, and then you bite into them and HOLY SHIT they would be so much better as a juice and maybe mixed with apples. Or maybe I'm just horrible at analogies. Either way, this song is so good at being indecisive that it gives me a headache and an existential crisis. It's awesome. Enjoy.
(from the 2008 album The Rhumb Line)

And because it's totally uncool to know how to count:

Voxtrot - "Kid Gloves" (mp3|4.01MB): I fell in love with this song (and this band) based solely on the incredible rhythmic devices they employ. You can't not move when listening to them. They have such a unique sound, and their success is testament to how much it works for them. However, as made out by his online presence, Srivastava seems to be a conflicted person, and this shows in how his lyrics tend to be at least slightly angry and/or depressing. This either makes you wonder why they chose this particular musical form to express them, or perfectly explains it. It's up to you.
(from their 2007 self-titled debut LP, Voxtrot)

I'll leave you alone until next Friday, I promise.1

1 I am notoriously bad at keeping promises.

Everything except for animal carcasses should be sent to fridayfiveradio@gmail.com. It's not that we don't like animal carcasses; we just have nowhere to put them.

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