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My top 5 songs to cry to

What’s a fully stocked music library worth if it can’t give a little catharsis? 

By Alex Garrison

Heartbreak for a music lover means shacking up with a record player for the “I just want to feel bad for an hour” stage. And if time with a few friends helps, what’s the harm in a little self-indulgence? Here’s my go-to tracks.

1. Neil Young – “On the Beach”

I need a crowd of people
but I can’t face them day to day.
Though my problems are meaningless
that don’t make them go away.

Who knew the quintessential soundrack to 21st-century-twentysomething ennui was written in 1974? I did. “On the Beach” is an incredibly sad song about nothingness, the scariest of emotions.

2. Cat Power – “Colors and the Kids”

In all my life of writing, I want nothing more than to have half the heartbreaking emotional genius Chan Marshall does in the line “It’s so hard go to into the city ’cause you wanna say, ‘hey, I love you’ to everybody.” I also want to look a quarter as good as she does with a ponytail.

3. Bon Iver – “Skinny Love”

I actually don’t really like Bon Iver. Justin Vernon’s smugness rubs me the wrong way and I don’t think he has anywhere near the talent to move past the indie-cred hype that was the real reason anyone ever cared to listen to For Emma, Forever Ago. Anyway, that being said, “Skinny Love” has been my top 25 most played since it came out. It’s a phenomenally rare feat to effectively pull off emoting the desperation of heartbreak, and as much as the cannon of Sensitive White Boy music attempts to relate the crushing nature of failing to communicate, this song is one the very few that’s truly successful.

4. The Sonics – “Since I Fell for You”

I often quip that my favorite music genre is “gut-wrenchingly sad, but in a major key.” “Since I Fell for You” is an example of the close-second: Raucous, dissonant punk-garage rockers singing stinging, soulful 60s girl group pop.

5. The Monks – “Pretty Suzanne”

Much in the same vein as No. 4, this is actually an unreleased track that only appeared on the CD reissue of this weird, highly ahead of its time group of ex-GIs. I can’t find the track fair-use posted to the interwebz, but trust me, the crooning “Why won’t you love me?” is is perfect heart-stabbing accompaniment to 3 minutes at 55 seconds of indulgent self-pity.

What are yours? Share in the comments or email onlinecontent@kjhk.org and your post could appear on the site.