We’ve all been there. It’s late on a Saturday night, and, as you’re one to do, you’ve been surfing YouTube. Mouse in one hand, rocks glass in the other. You’re no longer getting drunk, you’re just drunk. In fact, give it another twenty minutes and you’ll be out cold. At this point you’re not even really operating as a whole person. It’s all emotions. It’s become primal.
You thought it would be a good idea to use music as a time capsule, and transport yourself back to your youth. The alcohol told you that would be fun, because who doesn’t like having fun? You know that it’s a liar though, but you couldn’t help yourself, and now it’s too late. You want this. You’re praying for catharsis. So, before you fade any further, you decide to just go for it, and embrace what’s about to happen. You’re going to make yourself cry. It’s okay, we’ve all been there.
Whenever this happens to me, I just go for it. Seriously, what’s the point in trying to hold back your tears? Hell, it can even feel good sometimes. It’s kind of a freeing experience, you know. For a few fleeting moments, it’s nice to escape the tyranny of our self imposed, emotional prisons. I’m not trying to be dramatic, or anything. It’s just reality. If we were to just stumble around, emotionally unchecked all the time, we’d never get anything done! Life would grind to a halt, our salty tears corroding the tracks of our lives, stopping us from being able to progress! Haha, shut-up, you know what I’m saying!
Anyways, let’s get this pity party started, shall we? So, in no particular order, here’s 5 songs that make me cry when I’m drunk! Commence the DrunkTubing!
The Flaming Lips, “Do You Realize??”
This is kind of a new one for me. I’ve been listening to this song for years, but only in the past 6 months or so has it caused tears to fall out of my face. I don’t really know why. I mean, I have my suspicions and all, but the concrete truth of the matter escapes me. I can only go by how I feel, which isn’t always the most reliable source of information. Also, I’m fairly intoxicated when it happens, so who knows what’s going on!
I guess it’s the mixture of tragedy and hope that the songs simultaneously puts out there. It’s basically saying: “Stop and smell the roses, because some day those roses are going to wilt and die.” Okay, that’s a pretty reasonable position. That’s a pretty pragmatic take on life. It’s just the way it packages it. The realization that we can’t live inside of a moment, and no matter what we do time will keep moving, and maybe even pass us in the interim. It’s about how big the universe is, and how we are all both incredibly important, and ultimately meaningless. It acknowledges the inherit contradictions that come with just existing.
Beyond that, it’s just a really beautiful song. For some reason it makes me think of my wife. It makes me think about how much I appreciate her, and even though in the larger scheme of things, in the big old universe, we may not mean much, but we’ll always have each other and how we create our own meaning and place. Honestly, if I had put more thought into it, I would have lobbied for this tune to be our wedding song. I guess I should have been drinking more?
Fiona Apple, “Every Single Night”
I’ve been listening to Fiona Apple for quite some time at this point. I can remember the first time I heard her work, actually. It was back in the days when MTV(TAKE COVER! HACK JOKE INCOMING!!) was still a channel that played music. On Saturday nights/Sunday mornings, at around 1AM, they used to have a block of “adult” music videos. Apples’s “Criminal” was one of them. Yeah, the music video could be seen, literally, at any time of day, but for some reason they included it in that block, along with all the other videos that could be seen at any other time of the day. I don’t know, I guess they were trying to trick young kids who were up late. You’d start masturbating midway through the Fiona Apple song, only to have your fantasy shattered by the abstract Tool video that would follow, and you’d be left a little weirder by the experience(Sooner or later, Maynard’s gonna getcha!). Mmmm. Good times… Moving on.
Man, this song is some kind of gut punch, isn’t it? From the simple lullaby-esque melody that the song starts out with, to the beautifully vague lyrics that allows you to project yourself on to it. I don’t know what this song is actually about, but I know what it means to me. I don’t know if I’ve ever heard something that’s spoken so directly to my inner-self, my secret person hood. In my opinion, the song is about how it feels when a persons empathy and depression intersect, and how that can tear at someone. How some days it can feel like your darker feelings, your bizzarro self has somehow manifested itself into reality, and is trying to fit inside your skin. It’s about about the fear of self imposed alienation, because you don’t want to hurt anybody, but you can’t help but be yourself. The good parts, and the bad parts; it’s all you, and nothing is ever really going to change that. It’s about how hard it can be to share this kind of inner-turmoil with another person, because it feels impossible to find a comfortable enough place to ever be that exposed. Well, that’s my reading of it. You know, my opinion, and all that good jibber jabber.
Beyond all that it’s just a really solemn and sincere sounding song. Fiona Apple has a real talent for embodying rawness, for lack of a better way to put it. I don’t know, I’ve always really liked her work, but this song, and by extension the entire album(The Idler Wheel…), is probably the best thing she’s done yet, in my opinion.
Queens of the Stone Age, “I Appear Missing”
Queens of the Stone Age is probably my favorite band. Well, currently anyways. These things tend to change overtime. If you had asked me that question 8 years ago, I would have told you that The Pixies were my favorite; while I still love them, and they remain in my top 5, for sure, things change. The older I’ve gotten Frank Black’s “random pastiche” style writing just didn’t do it for me like it did when I was in my early teens.
My Queens of the Stone Age “super fan” status didn’t happen overnight. Yeah, I always really liked them, and bought all of their albums as soon as they were released, but, for whatever reason, I never fully embraced them outwardly. The weirdest part of all that was how much I actually listened to them. Back in those days, when I bought a CD, whether I initially liked it or not, I listened to it ad nauseum. Over and over again, I’d spin those tracks in my discman, too lazy to change the disc. In this case my apathy actually worked in my favor, as it led me to reconsider a lot of music that I would have dismissed otherwise. At some point, after the release of Era Vulgaris I think, it just clicked. Suddenly their genius laid bare, like that scene early on in A Beautiful Mind, when Russel Crowe’s character realizes how the codes fit together, and he cracks that shit!
Anyways, “I Appear Missing” quickly shot up my list of “favorite songs” after I heard it. I played it 3 or 4 times in a row after hearing for the first time. It’s a song about what you leave behind after you’ve passed on, about a person’s “legacy.” It’s something I’ve thought a lot about over the past few years. Between my father suddenly passing away, my wife and I deciding to start a family in the next few years, and the fact that I’m finally old enough to actually grapple with the concept of “regret,” it’s made me think about where I fit in in this crazy world. Will I be remembered when I’m gone? Will my kids know who I am, or who “I was”? Honestly, it’s a really dumb thing to worry about. The best thing you can do in life is just go with the flow. Well, in the sense that you can’t control what you can’t control. You know what I mean?
The impetus for the song being written was Josh Homme almost dying during surgery on one of his legs. It makes sense if you’re paying attention. It basically chronicles his existential crisis, and his journey back to life. My favorite part of the tune, the part that always gets to me, is that amazing, seemingly life reaffirming, guitar solo towards the end, as Homme begins to softly wail and call out to everyone that he loves.
Devotchka, “How It Ends” (Live at Red Rocks)
I had never really listened to all that much Devotchka before I met my wife. The only work of theirs I was familiar with was the Little Miss Sunshine soundtrack, and even then I’d never listened to it independent of the movie. Having said that, I’ve come to really enjoy their stuff. They write songs that feel deeply personal and operatic at the same time. There’s a wonderful simplicity to their stuff that I really enjoy.
This song, though. Specifically this performance, gets me every time. The funny thing is that I have no idea what it’s about. Not even the slightest inkling. Yeah, it would probably be safe to assume that it’s all just gypsy nonsense, or something, but when gypsies aren’t trying to rip you off, they can be pretty magical, apparently.(I know what you’re thinking. Just stop, and consider that you might be an idiot.)
Seriously, I can barely understand a word this guy is saying, but the tone of his voice is so sincere sounding, I just go with it. This is the most superficial one for me, in a way. I don’t even think about it, there’s no deeper meaning for me. It just sounds like someone’s heart is breaking, and having had those feelings before, my empathy cackles start to rise, and before you know it tears are a flowin’!
Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, “Sympathetic Noose”
This one really gets me when I’m already feeling down on myself. In those darker moments when I just want to give up and somehow justify it to myself. Even though the song has a vaguely positive sentiment, there’s such a heavy handed sense of melancholy permeating the whole thing. It’s telling you to keep your head up, while at the same time telling you that if you fail it’s not your fault. It was just that your ambition outweighed your ability. I don’t know about you, but that terrifies me. Well, relatively anyways.
BRMC holds a really special place in my heart, especially the album from which this song hails, Howl. It was one of the last things that my entire family bonded over right before my father passed away. It was kind of weird, my family has such incredibly disparate tastes when it comes to music, the idea that all of us would like the same band seemed impossible. However improbable it was, it happened, though. Hell, I even danced with my Mom at my wedding to another one of their songs, Promise. Yes, that song also makes me cry when I’m drunk, in case you were wondering. Honestly, the entire album does that, but I don’t want to spend all day writing this!
Actually, I took my little sister to one of their concerts a few years ago(I even wrote about it.) It was her first concert, and it felt really nice to facilitate and share that experience, warts and all. Oh yeah, we all teared up that night!
End of Listicle!
Well, that was fun? I guess? Whatever?
It feels nice to just let it out sometimes. We spend so much of our existence keeping everything bottled up. When I think about art, specifically music in this instance, what I want from it is some type of “food” for my spirit. Something to move me into a feeling, or to cause me to consider something I hadn’t before. It’s kind of an amazing thing when you learn something about yourself through the work of another person/people. It’s humanity at it’s best, really.
There’s a stigma attached to crying, and I say “Fuck all that noise!” Sure, some people over do it, and I even kind of get why. There’s an emotionally curative/healing aspect that comes with shedding tears; both figuratively and literally. It feels good to acknowledge pain, and it feels good to “exorcise” yourself from it. I can imagine someone kind of getting addicted to the feelings of catharsis that is cryings byproduct. But, just like anything, it’s all about moderation. If you do it too much, I imagine the effect is lessened, so don’t over do it!
So, every once in awhile, grab yourself a drink, head over to YouTube, pull out some records(Hipster.), or however you listen to music, and just open yourself up to feel. Haha, yeah, I know. It sounds like some “think-tank” pretentious bullshit, but I assure you it’s not. Let yourself have a few moments of honesty, let your guard down, have a drink, and cry it out, you fucking pussy.