Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Music That Makes Me Cry

A recent open thread on a blog I follow asked "What songs make you cry?"
The answers ranged across musical genres, and some people even said that there is no music that makes them cry.

Music is so essential to my life and expresses so much that is ephemeral and transcendent.

Here is my list:

“Moments of Pleasure” by Kate Bush—This song makes me WEEP, especially at the end where she recounts all the people who are gone.

“Watching You Without Me” by Kate Bush—A devastating song from HOUNDS OF LOVE… part of the NINTH WAVE, a story about a girl who fell through the ice while skating and is trapped, encountering her last moments of life. In this song, she has a vision of her loved one at home, waiting for her, wondering why she is not home yet, why she is late. This is holy music.

“A Coral Room” by Kate Bush—Yet another Kate song that makes me WEEP. This one is about the grieving process after the death of a loved one (her mother in this song).

“Secret World” by Peter Gabriel—Sad, plaintive musings on the destruction of a relationship.

“The Feeling Begins” by Peter Gabriel—The incredibly powerful opening theme to the film THE LAST TEMPTATION OF CHRIST.

“Gravity” by Rickie Lee Jones—Heavy emotional piece about feeling isolated, and how sometimes nothing makes sense.

“The Headmaster Ritual” by The Smiths—Because I lived it. (Read the lyrics.)

“The Letter” by Kristin Hersh—About a break with reality, filled with such despair and agony.

“Little Rough Rhinestone” by Soft Cell—“I never knew sorrow could hit me this way/ I once had a friend but he moved away/ And even my mother when she turned on me/ Couldn’t put emotion like this in me.” Wow.

“Svefn-g-englar” by Sigur Ros—Rolling Stone magazine said “If heaven had a house band, it would be Sigur Ros,” who make music of such cosmic beauty and intensity. This song never fails to wring a tear.

“Track One” from ( ) by Sigur Ros—Another cosmically enormous ditty—the high falsetto at the end of the song when that crescendo happens is like voices of universal compassion crying for all of us.

“Hejira” by Joni Mitchel—Well, just listen to it. I mean, really... with lyrics like "We all come and go unknown/ Each so deep and superficial/ Between the forceps and the stone," how can you NOT cry?

“Coming” by Jimmy Sommerville—Yet another cosmically enormous song about birth, life, death, existence. From Sally Potter's brilliant film ORLANDO starring the heavenly Tilda Swinton.

“Cornfield” by Michael Nyman—From the soundtrack to the Peter Greenaway film PROSPERO’S BOOKS.

The Barber Adagio…

“Move On” and “Sunday” which is the final piece from SUNDAY IN THE PARK WITH GEORGE by Sondheim... the glorious finality of it...

“Symphony #3, Op. 36, 1st movement” by Gorecki—It rises from the depths of nothingness, shows us the kernel of the universe, and descends back into nothingness. Truly holy.

“Music was invented to confirm human loneliness.”
--Lawrence Durrell

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