Music to hurt by

Agatha yesterday mentioned wallowing in Lucinda Williams and Haagen Daaz, and the Chair, elsewhere, has spoken of Billie Holiday and scotch. For me, it's about the music.

We all have them. Those discs, artfully camoflaged in our music collections, that we keep because we know we'll need music to hurt by at some point. When we feel like we're off our heads, it's a given that we don't select the tunes we'd choose when we're fully compos mentis. It's not the cool stuff, the good stuff, the great stuff by which we want our friends to judge our otherwise-excellent musical taste. Entirely the opposite, sometimes.

It could be the cheesiest, most egregious, most awful bubblegum slush, but it doesn't matter if it helps you make it through the night. Sometimes you find yourselves singing heartfelt choruses to the most banal lyrics imaginable, feeling as if they're near-poetry. Sometimes the music has no words at all. It may be about matching one's mood, or perhaps lifting it slightly, or just saying, "Fuck it" and greasing yourself straight down the tubes and doing a splashy cannonball into the slough of despond. Sometimes it's about finding a safe place to float temporarily between the emotional storms, not unaware that you're sad, but able to shelter yourself for a bit. And of course, some of it is actually good, and good for the soul.

I don't doubt that we all have top five and top ten lists of hurtin' music. I have twelve. Hey, it's arbitrary. We coyotes tend to avoid the country and western standards -- too many bad connotations to do with guys who want to shoot us from the backs of half tons. I realise this list dates me some, but everybody's music is tied to certain times in their lives, and considering I'm a millenia-old trickster, and could've chosen a proto-Sundance drum chant just as easily, I figure I ain't doing badly:

* Astral Weeks -- Van Morrison
* Late for The Sky -- Jackson Browne
* A Night to Remember -- Cyndi Lauper
* I'm Alive -- Jackson Browne
* River's Gonna Run -- Patrick O'Hearne
* Ashes Are Burning -- Renaissance
* Flight to Jordan -- Duke Jordan
* White Ladder -- David Gray
* Outskirts -- Blue Rodeo
* Touch -- Sarah McLachlan
* Partitas for Violin Solo -- J.S. Bach, played by Viktoria Mullova
* Way to Blue -- Nick Drake

Two Jackson Brownes, I know. I just like him 'cuz he howls a lot...


Conch Shell said...

Personally, I find music hurts too much if I'm in a truly sad, grieving type state. Ballads, generically sad. Love songs, absolutely stupid. Happy songs, immature and stupid. Angst filled are the best, but still not compelling enough to bring me into the numb zone I'm seeking.
Now movies, provided their not of the "I have a terminal illness" type, that's escapism.
If the pain is agony, one doesn't really want to wallow in it.

6th Apostle said...

Some interesting picks, Coyote. I agree, that sometimes it's just the mood of the music and not the lyrics that make for some good ole' hurtin' and healin' tunes. A great local artist who masters both the lyrical and melodic elements of sad songs is Lynn Miles. This self-professed tragic/romantic is probably the right prescription for Musie's heartache. I particularly like the way she can combine a relatively upbeat tempo with wistful lyrics. One thing that listening to hurtin' tunes does for me is that it can turn your tragic little story into something more benign. Miles has a song called I Always Told You the Truth. It is a cautionary tale of getting mixed up with someone you know is not going to be good for you but reminds the listener that maybe they need to suck it up a bit and move on. Sometimes it's that kind of kick in the ass we all need to get over it.

Conch Shell said...

Okay, I'm changing topics for a moment. I too read that Citizen story. What grabbed me the most was how the mother would give her preteen daughter birth-control pills, to prevent another incest baby spawned by her husband.

Seventh Heathen said...

For some reason most of my hurtin' music moments occur while driving.

But the hurtin' moods seem to have a few kinds. I don't have a list
in my head, I just go through the CDs I have with me and throw on
ones that feel appropriate.

I also like Zebra's "Tell Me What You Want" for relationship
hurtin'. That might be a guy thing. Sometimes I just play
Patsy Cline if I want to wallow in the mood.

Melissa Etheridge's first album is good for angry hurtin'.

Concrete Blonde's "Tomorrow Wendy" is good for loss (especially in the
anger phase) although I've gone through periods where I found it
too accurate and too intense. The rest of the album ("Bloodletting")
is pretty good for relationship hurtin'.

I also sometimes dig out "Love Hurts". I like Nazareth's version.
It's cynical and painful. Or "Eyes on Fire" by Blue Oyster Cult.

Rush's "Losing It" is a hurtin' song for fading abilities or faculties. I don't play that one often. It doesn't cheer me up.

(Of course, I used to use Van Halen for thinking music when
working out difficult math proofs in University, so maybe
my mood music is not so representative.)

4th Dwarf said...

Ah, ha, ha, all you lubbers with yer hurtin' songs and yer tearjerker talkin' pictures, and Musie shows you up by going out fer a haircut.

Damnned fine therapy, says I. And I wager it'll strike home. I once ran into an ex several weeks after a break up and saw she'd shorn her long tresses down to a thin layer of fuzz.

Take care, Dwarfie, I said to meself, this woman has not been thinking good thoughts of you.

4th Dwarf said...

Say, more therapy: found this at the Hot Librarian's site:

The Sloganizer.

Type in your name and out pop slogans.

Examples using our 5M:

«Fifth Musetastic!»
«Fifth Muse's got it all!»
«Don't mess with Fifth Muse.»

-- Pure Fourth Dwarf. Pure Power.

coyote said...

Pure Something, all right...

Agatha said...

My slogan was "Aggie, to hell with the rest!"