Monday 29 February 2016

10 Songs I've Cried To

10 Songs I've Cried To

When I briefly pause and contemplate what I’m trying to achieve here, I realise all of this is pretty stupid. I am yet to feel pride for any of my articles which focus specifically on songs (2014’s The 20 Greatest Songs Of All Time was not even my opinion, and 2015’s The 100 Best Songs Of The Decade So Far was understandably laughed at by most people), and similarly, I am yet to like any of those autobiographical music pieces either (remember 2013’s 25 Albums That Changed My Life? No, me neither). But here I find myself writing not only a combination of those two regrettable themes, but doing so whilst exposing the weaker side of my human by admitting I have indeed cried before. Which, according to Robert Smith, boys don’t do.

Well, here’s the thing: I wrote this blog because I don’t have much time this month, and it’s a very easy filler piece, one which I can quickly shove out with minimal effort and then relax afterwards, so whatever, Becki. Also, Robert Smith has definitely cried before, I think that's what he was actually saying, and you just know the dude couldn’t take a punch to the face. Anyway, if nothing else, this article shows I have a heart and you should love and care for me.

10 Songs I've Cried To: 1. Eric Clapton - Tears In Heaven

1. Eric Clapton - Tears In Heaven

It's poetic how the first song I recall reducing me to tears, was in fact focused upon the very act of crying itself. My exact age is long forgotten, but I was definitely a mini-kiddie, sitting in my lounge, probably smiling along to this great little guitar piece, because I smiled a lot when I was a child. That’s when my father sadistically informed me that this emotionally driven single told the painful tale of loss and suffering, as Eric was mourning his four-year-old son who had fallen to his death from a 53rd story window. Well, naturally my delicate undeveloped heart couldn’t quite comprehend a father and son being forced apart in such a tragic manner, and I burst into a puddle of my own grievance for this poor man, while my own father just laughed at me. In fact, my dad still finds the story hilarious, and continues to tell this very narrative at every family gathering he can.

10 Songs I've Cried To: 2. Placebo - My Sweet Prince

2. Placebo - My Sweet Prince

Fast forward many many years later when I was already a corrupt teenager, and naturally I knew my masculinity card removed all rights to weep at anything—let alone something as trivial as music. So I built a nice little wire fence around my feelings and swallowed any pathetic melancholy down into the depths of my stomach until they boiled over into an aggressive anger, which was a much more acceptable manly response, and still is to this day. However, my security system kinda stopped working when I was perhaps 14 or 15 and had dedicated a large portion to my life to smoking weed, which inadvertently crumbled these walls of defense one by one, rendering any sort of regular emotional balance impossible (or at least not as important as getting high). And that’s when this song came in, as my one friend and I got perhaps a little bit too stoned, put on this record, and shared a little snivel in each other’s arms. These sobs were less provoked by the song’s emotion, mind you, but rather by the overall beauty of the moment. “It’s like, a jellyfish, man,” I distinctly recall my mate telling me. Oh wow, soooo truuuuue.

10 Songs I've Cried To: 3. John Legend - Ordinary People

3. John Legend - Ordinary People

And this is where things get dark, I’m sorry. I guess it was bound to happen sooner or later, as by the time I was 21 years old, I could no longer sustain the harmony between reckless self destruction and the art of staying alive. I think anyone playing this type of dangerous game would inevitably find themselves crashing into one direction or the other, being forced to make the drastic decision whether they wanted to live or die. In my case, 2005 was coming to an end, and my life had melted into a string of shit. I wasn’t particularly interested in being myself and had resigned to letting myself slowly waste away until I hopefully disappeared completely. Which is why, thinking back, I’m surprised I made the last minute dive towards rescue like I did, and ended up checking myself into a clinic. Proud of my chosen path, I called up the love of my life and enthusiastically told her the news that I was finally going to get better. “That’s great,” she responded. “But I can’t do this anymore. It’s over.” In hindsight, it makes sense why she would break up with the miserable fuck I was, but at the time, it felt like I had been kicked at my lowest point. To combat this inner dilemma, I embarked on a four day binge without a blink of sleep, finally crashing out and then waking up some time later in a state from Satan, an hour before my dad was set to pick me up and take me to the loony bin. To kill the excruciating waiting time, I turned on the TV, and this Legend song was the first thing that came on. Damn, I remember it so well, it perfectly summed up all the things I felt for my ex in that moment, and when coupled with the nasty after-effects of the yesterdays indulgence (as well as the apprehension towards a two month lockdown with crazy people), I dramatically broke into pieces on the floor, sobbing my life out into the carpet, leaving this as probably the most bleak entry on the list. In fact, when I think about the 'song I’ve cried to', this is always the first that comes to mind.

10 Songs I've Cried To: 4. The Beatles - For No One

4. The Beatles - For No One

Following on flawlessly from that last entry: a month after I had been committed to the mental ward, I started feeling pretty damn perky. I had been stuffed fill of professional home cooking, I had attended countless therapy sessions, I had met plenty of fuckups who were much worse than me, and I had completed the first stint with a badge of honour. The medication was working! My brain-chemicals were balanced for perhaps the first time in my life! And because of my good behaviour, I was granted a much more lenient second month, of which allowed such luxuries as music and visitors! Wow! Which was fucking perfect for me, because it was around here that I had become a terminal Beatlemaniac, and needed my regular fix of The Fab Four to keep my happy pouches wet. However, this song specifically had a bit of an opposite effect on me, as once again its words seemed to describe the latter days of my ex-girlfriend so accurately, and I cried to it more than once. But, being the vengeful asshole I am, I did utilise the track to my own gain, forcing the aforementioned girl to listen to the song herself when she visited me, whilst brutally explaining the turmoil she had put me through. She cried too that day. Bless her, really.

10 Songs I've Cried To: 5. Tracy Chapman - Fast Car

5. Tracy Chapman - Fast Car

In all fairness, there isn’t much of a story here. I was 23 years young, sitting at my desk during my very first job, and this song invited itself into my headphones. The weird thing is that I’d heard it many times before as one of my mother’s favourites, but I think on this occasion I was super hungover or something, and I totally choked up at the potent lyrics of hope and the charmingly simply guitar work. Thankfully, no one noticed my unprofessionalism, which was lucky, but I still happily consider this track to be one very cry-worthy composition which nobody should be ashamed of letting go to.

10 Songs I've Cried To: 6. The Chariot - Cheek

6. The Chariot - Cheek.

And then I guess I grew up and ran out of tears, because it wasn’t until 2012 that I can recall crying over a song again. In fact, to label this ‘a song’ is to almost do it a disservice, as it is essentially a soundbyte from the final Charlie Chaplin speech in The Great Dictator film, which has actually grown bigger wings and become even more popular on social media in recent times. However, my first introduction to the delivery was many years earlier, extended from the metalcore hands of The Chariot, who added to these powerful words with an aggressive strength only the metal genre could accentuate. And it picked at my tear ducts, not out of grief or distress, but out of encouragement as a member of the human race. It gave me incentive to take action. It inspired me to stand up to the harsh realities of our system. But then I put Rihanna back on and forgot what I was doing.

10 Songs I've Cried To: 7. Dustin Kensrue - Pistol

7. Dustin Kensrue - Pistol

The 27th of March 2012 was not only the day I met Mike Skinner from The Streets, but was also the day when my current brother-in-law proposed to my little sister. He did the deed by performing the above song to her, complete with a live band and in front of a large audience, which obviously takes guts and I respect the dude for it (even if anything to do with love is totally gross and makes me want to vomit). Perhaps these were the reasons as to why this particular rendition didn’t provoke my sadjuices, but it was the first time I’d even heard of the tune, and found myself compulsively revisiting the track over the course of the next few weeks. And each of these listens brought me back to the moment my sister was promised to another family, and that is what eventually produced a tiny cry at how beautiful life can be. And they lived happily ever after.

10 Songs I've Cried To: 8. Eddie Vedder - Sleeping By Myself

8. Eddie Vedder - Sleeping By Myself

Fucking girls, man! It was a few mere years ago, near the end of 2013, where I had my second (and last, please God) truly atrociously painful breakup, a result of a girl who I thought I loved, sleeping with a dude I thought was a friend. The dissolution hit me a touch harder than the one before in some respects, perhaps because I was an adult now, and such an irrational agony tends to be more scary when you are expected to have some control over your emotions. It got real bad too, I cried plenty without the need for any music, and there were even a few occasions where I’d completely forget to breathe, I’m not even joking. It was so so fucking horrible, I cannot express this enough, I was extremely depressed. Anyway, at some point during my self loathing, this song invaded my usual trusty playlist, and even though I had heard it a few times before, the lyrics suddenly related quite specifically to my situation at the time. I should have know there was someone else! I will forever be sad and lonely! I will be sleeping by myself tonight! Oh, Eddie, I hear you, buddy! ::cry emoji::

10 Songs I've Cried To: 9. La Dispute - I See Everything

9. La Dispute - I See Everything

An unlikely candidate to sob like a child to would be La Dispute. Because, you know, they're all post-hardcore and shit. But the lyrics on I See Everything are still some of the most genuinely gut-wrenching words that I have ever come across, turning my eyes damp on multiple occasions and never ever failing to infect me with goosebumps. I don’t know, call me a softy, but songs about kids dying from cancer kinda bother me a bit. A really hard to comprehend factor of life. A scarcely addressed topic in the music world.

10 Songs I've Cried To: 10. The Beatles - In My Life

10. The Beatles - In My Life

This is a wonderful choice for our send off, because as I previously mentioned, I’ve been a Beatles fanatic for many years now, and the doctors say they can’t do anything to help me. However, there are some of the group’s more highly regarded songs which I never really connected to as much as the general population, and In My Life was definitely one of those offenders for a long time. I can’t accurately explain it now, but I think said song just seemed like some run-of-the-mill Lennon throwaway, forcing an aura of nostalgia without ever quite getting there. Well, that was until 2014, when my little sister married that Pistol boy in one of the most beautiful ceremonies I’ve ever had the pleasure of attending. Afterwards at the reception, the bride and bride’s daddy (my daddy too!) took their customary dance, which as you had already assumed, was held to this song. And then suddenly ... within that context ... it made so much sense. I’m not sure if Lennon even considered his composition to be interpreted from the standpoint of a dad and daughter connection as he hands her over to another man, but the idea simply destroyed me. I burst out, and looked over to my mother for reassurance. Her cheeks too were streaming in liquid, and so we hugged and that felt a bit better.