All this week, Rocks Off is previewing Saturday and Sunday's Westheimer Block Party by asking WBP performers to fill out a list from Lisa Nola's Music Listography book we're so fond of. Next up, Jesus and Mary Chain-y alt-rockers Flowers to Hide tell us the saddest songs in the world.
Jonathan Espeche (guitar, vocals) and Stephen Anderson (vocals, guitar) JE: The promise of good times and fun are always used in popular music to sell something because it doesn't challenge people and appeals to their basest sensibilities. Counterfeit happiness is cheap, easy to fabricate, and easy to digest. I don't know about you, but I usually look for a deeper level of expression in music. I recognize these as songs that strike a chord within and resonate. They're bittersweet like how a stirring scene from a movie can make your eyes well up. They give you goosebumps or send a chill down your spine. You recognize your own emotions in others even when maybe you're hesitant to embrace them yourself. It just depends on whether you let it spur you on or drag you down. Maybe these songs don't that for you, but whatever the case, here's a sampling of some that do for us...
SA: Sadly, this band is only known here for one song ["Bitter Sweet Symphony"] and considered to be a one-hit wonder, which is shame becauseNorthern Sou
l is just as good asUrban Hymns
. This is the sound of a band falling apart and man is it beautiful. You can hear it in Richard Ashcroft's voice, like his voice just might give out. There is a lot of soul in this song and I don't know if he is singing to his band or to a lover or both.Brian Eno, "An Ending (Ascent)" from Apollo: Atmospheres & Soundtracks
JE: so still and serene. a very calming and blissful song yet sweetly melancholy at the same time. what i would imagine heaven sounds like. it sounds like letting go of everything that has ever hurt you.John Cale, "Big White Cloud"
SA: When i first heard Vintage Violence I couldn't believe this was the guy from the Velvet Underground. This song sounds like something The Band wished they had written. Something very Americana about it, very earthy yet very ethereal. When I hear it I feel like crying and flying at the same time... saying goodbye.The Sound, "Total Recall"
JE: no, nothing to do with the Arnold here. very underrated post punk band from the 80's. a very intense and harrowing vocal performance from the late Adrian Borland who met a very tragic fate. you feel every word here.Chris Bell, "I Am the Cosmos"
"Every night I tell myself I am the Cosmos, I am the wind...but that don't get you back again" SA: I have to thank the goths or 4AD for my love of Big Star and Chris Bell, because through This Mortal Coil I discovered both. Chris Bell, like his life, is haunting on this song. What is truly sad is that he didn't give us any more music. JE: You can hear the pain in his voice every step of the way and the struggle to live and to love. One of the most beautiful songs I've ever heard. In the opening lines he reassures himself and then tears it down immediately. Chris Bell was another fallen hero, another tragic story, but lives on through the beauty he put to tape.Bat For Lashes, "Sad Eyes"
JE: if there's no one to hold you sometimes a song can. i think i fell in love with her before the song was over.The Cure, "Pictures of You"
JE: Sometimes there's more solace found in longing for something than the actuality of it. It's not always as perfect as it was in our head and this song encapsulates that feeling perfectly.Nick Cave, "The Ship Song"
SA: I think Nick Cave could recite my grocery list and make it sound sad or a nightmare. He is one of those artist you either love or hate like Waits, Cohen, or Dylan. "He sucks, He can't sing etc etc etc!" This song is sentimentally sad for me. A torch song that burned my bridges down.Pink Floyd, "The Final Cut"
JE: A devastating song from a misunderstood album. One of Roger Waters most poignant set of lyrics and one of David Gilmour's best guitar solos which just pierces your soul. "I never had the nerve to make the final cut". Sometimes a song can keep you from the edge. Sometimes all you need is to know that you aren't the only one who feels that way.R.E.M., "Sweetness Follows"
JE: A haunting autmnal hymn. A very understated and elegiac vocal delivery from Michael Stipe. The distance we put between each other and love with all our petty reasons and selfishness "altogether lost in our little lives..."Smashing Pumpkins, "Mayonaise"
JE: "Fool enough to almost be it, cool enough to not quite see it..." aren't we all? one of my favorite songs. beautifully written and probably their finest moment. the last bar of lyrics before the outro gets me every time. breaks your heart and lifts you up all at the same time like any great song should.American Music Club, "Johnny Mathis' Feet"
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SA: I discovered AMC by way of R.E.M, the Red House Painters and Radiohead. The three "Rs" of my high school life, if you will. I am a sucker for those crooners and Mark Eitzel is crooner. this song has brought me to tears before and i know it will again.Blur, "No Distance Left to Run"
SA: I remember putting this song on the stereo as my ex-girlfriend packed up her things and said goodbye. We got back together a month or so later and for the next few years if this song came on tears welled up in both of us. This is the ultimate break up song.