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Sad Song Wednesday

25 Jul 2007

Well that came around quickly.


This weeks theme is about how different a song can be interpreted when we know why it was written, or the fate of the person who wrote it. Sometimes it's more about what you know of the band or lyricist than the words themselves that makes a song sad.

For example, Eric Clapton's song (excuse my while I puke, he's not a favourite of mine) 'If I saw you in heaven' is extremely cheesy. But knowing that his three year old fell off a hotel balcony and died puts the whole thing in a new light.

INXS 'suicide blonde' and 'never tear us apart' became incredibly ironic after the tragic death of Micheal Hutchence and inevitably Paula Yates who literally killed herself from a broken heart, even though they were written years before these events.

(The fact that the band insulted not only his memory but taste itself by hosting a reality tv show about the replacement of Micheal Hutchence - what a pathetic last ditch effort at a comeback that was.)

Not to mention the words 'and I swear that I don't have a gun' sung by Curt Cobain, when we found out that clearly he did have a gun, and was not afraid to use it.

There was an obscurish band in the eighties in Australia called Died Pretty. They sang a song called 'DC' - it was a bit repetitive but still quite successful, but under the poppyness of it there was much tragedy, because it was written about his dead friend. It's one of my favourites.

Who could forget the pain we felt for Daniel Johns from Silverchair when he wrote Ana's song about his struggle with anorexia nervosa? The haunting lyric 'that's when Ana wrecks your life' - it is a simple lyric, not that clever really, but the poor boy was only about 17 when he wrote it.

But this week, the favourite sad song on this topic for me is the Manic Street Preachers, 'a design for life' not only because of the disappearance of the mentally tortured Richey Edwards, but also for the way the lyrics were twisted by the masses to mean quite the opposite of what they intended.

From wikipedia:
The bulk of the lyrics were written solely by Wire including number two hit single "A Design for Life", which became a working class anthem, and established the band alongside the other premier British bands of the day like Oasis. The band's image changed yet again, inadvertently they gained a casual, lad culture image much like that of Oasis as A Design for Life's message was roundly misinterpreted ('We don't talk about love/We only want to get drunk' was intended as a scathing critique of those who believe working classes have no cultural or emotional depth. This line was wrongly adopted by many as a drinking anthem).

Such a shame:

Comments please - about songs you know to be sad because of what happened to the songwriter or the band.

There are so many ...

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