27.9.12

The SFW Survey: Which Song Never Fails To Make You Cry?













Here's our deal: we're asking everyone in the world to answer song-related questions for us so that we can share your responses on Strawberry Fields Whatever and then all get to know each other so much better. Our next question is "Describe in detail the most perfectly soundtracked makeout experience of your life thus far." If you'd like to answer, please email your response here (letitbebeautiful at yahoo dot com), sometime before October 16th. Unfortunately, we will not be able to publish every submission we receive. (Our most sincere apologies go out to everyone who submitted to this week's round under the impression that all responses would be featured on SFW. We were overwhelmed with submissions and have decided to cap off all SFW Survey entries at 25 writers in the name of not crashing our blog. We loved reading all the words you wrote us and hope you will submit again.)

For this week: WHICH SONG NEVER FAILS TO MAKE YOU CRY? 


I relate to Ray Davies more than I relate to any person I’ve met or any other person I haven’t. I have an unfunny inside joke with myself which is that I should set up a fake Twitter account called “Only Ray Davies Understands Me” where I just Tweet the sentence “Only Ray Davies understands me” every time I think it which would be about a hundred times per day followed by long periods of silence followed by a hundred times per day again etc. Sometimes I have to take some serious time off The Kinks because listening to Ray’s words forces me to acknowledge some pretty dark and deep basal truths about myself that when I’m feelin’ easy I like to pretend don’t happen or at very least will never happen again. It’s always when I’m saddest that I fall into an all-consuming Kinks phase and it’s always the Kinks that save me from said all-consuming sadness. I’ve never met another human whose eyes I could look deep into while saying the sentence “I hate everything except the sky” and understand that they knew what I meant. And I would never want to test out saying “I hate everything except the sky” on any person that I love because the only person who’s allowed to tell me it’s not true about me is me.

I hate everything except the sky and running and writing and my friends and my family and the Kinks and some other bands but when I’m sad I only love the sky and only Ray Davies understands and so that’s why I go in for the Kinks when I’m bumming at my personal hardest. Only Ray Davies knows how to explain sadness in words and tunes in the exact way that I feel it, and I don’t know how I could ever feel closer to anyone than I do to the person who feels sad the same way I do. Happy’s the same for everyone, but sadness is subjective, and “Too Much On My Mind” is mine.

At my saddest I’m sad for no reason. When anything actually sad happens I just get weirdly exhilirated; God knows I love a tragedy. When I’m sad I think so hard my head hurts, and it’s awful. I hate thinking, because if I’m thinking it means I’m not writing, and if I’m thinking a lot, it means I’m not writing at all. I can’t sleep and I can’t turn it off. I get bad-up never solemn and the part that really kills me is the resignation, There’s too much on my mind and there is nothing I can do about it- it’s true, he’s right, that's exactly what it's like. There’s nothing you or anybody else can say and when somebody tries coaxing you into saying it the thoughts don’t know how to make themselves into words. You are only the inside of your head which you hate and your loved ones are a nuisance and you jump around your room and run as fast as you can trying to sweat all the life out of you but once you come back it’s all the same. Your skin is a dewy trap keeping your insides from falling out and your blood is some syrupy red stuff that keeps you alive for some reason you’ll never understand because ugh science and wouldn’t it be nice if it could all just be math and that would be you; you’d never have to know anything but the actual most boring though truest truth of it- you’d never stretch it anywhere, you’d never care.

There must be more to life than just to live it, he sings, and it gets me every time. That sentence is the point of me and the end of me. 

-Laura Jane




-Liz

"Ohio" by Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. "What if you knew her & found her dead on the ground" really upsets me. The riff alone is triggering.

-Jen 







I can't watch this video of old Mick Jones playing Stay Free on the day after Joe Strummer's woulda-been 57th birthday without crying. I can't really think about Mick Jones without crying. I love Mick Jones so much.
         Look at Mick Jones in this video: he's a lame old man. His hair looks terrible. He's wearing an ugly, ill-fitting suit. He's the Paul McCartney of the Clash. I'm 27 years old and Joe Strummer had always been my guy, my favorite, the only one angry and bitter enough to ever really get me. Until this spring. This spring I learned to love Mick Jones, and in turn to stop feeling shameful about what a sentimental, sappy sucker I actually am, deep down in all the places you think you have to hide to be punk. 
         Mick Jones never hides. At 3 minutes and 3 seconds into this video, he looks like nothing more than someone’s embarrassing uncle. But you can still see it: somewhere inside him is the gangly 21-year old who invented the sound of those guitars. Those guitars, the only ones that matter. Who wrote love songs about his friends instead of singing about politics. You look at Mick Jones in 2009, and you can see his whole life.
         If I were a Clash song, I'd be "Garageland," but if life were a Clash song, it'd be "Stay Free." Every day life makes me cry in the stupidest and most beautiful ways, and Mick Jones makes me okay with that. 

-Nadine Vassallo

About ten years ago my Mom tagged along with my Dad to a work conference he had in Disney World. Everyday while he was working, my Mom would go to the parks with the other spouses. But on the last one she went by herself to finish the trip with her favorite ride: It’s A Small World.
        And it’s the thought of her getting on the shuttle to the Magic Kingdom in the morning. Walking in the front gates. Grabbing a map, maybe asking someone for directions. Waiting in line by herself. Then maybe having to tell an attendant how many people she was with before boarding a boat (that part kills me). And then sitting in the boat with her hands folded in her lap and letting the music and creepy stares from those dead-eyed monster child robots wash over her, genuinely enjoying it and not feeling sorry for herself at all in that selfless mom-way she has. I can’t think of any of these things or hear any part of "It's A Small World" without tears welling up.
        I wish the song that makes me cry were something cooler. A track off of Joe Strummer’s posthumous last album, some gritty Tom Waits ballad, anything from Johnny Cash’s later years. All of these and many others can and do make me really emotional, but I don’t normally have a reaction of physical tears to music for whatever reason, except for one song. And it’s a shrill, repetitive Cold War era song about how we’re all happy and miserable in the same ways on this dumb little planet so let’s not kill each other. Because really it’s about the time my Mom went to Disney World by herself.

-Charlie Frohne

I'm a supes huge crier and a supes huge music-loving type person, but somehow I rarely cry because of specific songs. I'll work myself into a loser frenzy reading accounts of animal rescue on Buzzfeed or weep at a poignant episode of Cold Case but most music fails to make my eyes leak. Except for Carole King's "You've Got a Friend". I don't know if it's due to a Gilmore Girls frenzy when I was 15 (the reworked version for the theme song is not the best version for sure), but something about that non-romantic platonic friend-love sentiment is so pure that I can never handle it. I'll listen to all kinds of shit cover versions of it and cry a little bit, but the Carole King version rules all. I guess I've heard so many love songs that I don't even believe that shit half of the time, whereas a deep tribute to friendship feels so legit and reaaaal.

-Carly Ogonek

The first time I heard anything by the Kinks, I was nine and my sister who was seventeen and had just moved to the city and was eons cooler than I could ever be took me to the Museum of Natural History. We sat on the cold blue subway benches, enjoying the blasting ac and our escape from the city heat, each holding one ear of detachable set of headphones. A fuzzy “Skin and Bones” flowed from the wires through the Styrofoam and into my brain and I wiggled back and forth in time. When we got to the museum I ran around the base of the skeletal reconstructions of dinosaurs and Paleolithic turtles, teasing them with the lyrics “Don’t eat no mashed potatoes! Don’t eat no buttered scones!”
        The Kinks wrote the song “Moments” for the soundtrack of a really weird movie called Percy where this dude needs a penis transplant after another naked dude falls off a building onto him. The movie is ridiculous but the “Moments” is eighteen layers of perfection. The first time I heard it, I flashbacked to a winter afternoon at my community college when I sat on the roof of Larrison Hall instead of going to Brit Lit class and smoked Marlboro Reds with a boy who had a Black Flag tattoo on his arm and a perfect amount of stubble on his chin. He put his hand on my knee. He called me absurdly pretty. I think that is the nicest pairing of words that I have ever heard. I remembered that day which was absolutely perfect and it seemed impossibly far away and permanently gone and I got into my car and lit a cigarette as some sort of tribute to that moment and I cried.
         It is obnoxiously pleasing to believe that at 22 years old, you have acquired a lifetime of achingly nostalgic moments to reflect on. Remember that time? That was a good time. What was I thinking? We were crazy. We were probably pretty lame, actually. A good rock and roll song makes you the center of the universe. Every lyric is written specifically for you about that one time that no one knows about and you didn’t think it was really significant but now you realize it’s the most momentous thing that’s ever happened to you. They sing about that time when you were screaming Al Green’s cover of “I Want to Hold Your Hand”, while popping wine corks with your thumbs and swigging cheap red wine in the backseat of your best friend’s boyfriend’s Subaru. Or the time you slipped on the wet uneven steps of the deck at your cute coworker’s kegger and you bled all over your kind-of-new yellow sneakers. Good songs make you relive those moments. A great song makes you relive them all.
         Now when I hear that song, different moments sift through my brain. The slow draining organ makes me feel like I’m in a pub, drunkenly swaying with old men who tell me stories about losing things more heartbreaking than moments. When I’m driving, I never put my iTunes on shuffle. If it comes on accidentally, I panic and switch it before my eyes swell and the lines on the road blur. Last year I was on the N train up to Queens listening to myPod and sat silently behind my green heart-shaped sunglasses while tears oozed down my cheeks. I felt like people were staring but I couldn’t move to wipe them. One after another they dripped into my mouth until the train hit Astoria Boulevard and I stiffly walked out onto the platform, into the sunlight and another moment.

-Christiana Hart


I have to be very careful about when I listen to Atmosphere's "Little Man." Each verse from Slug is a message to his son, his father, and himself. It's rough, because my relationship with my dad is complicated. I first met him when I was, I dunno, nine or ten? I met him before I was old enough to really think about the fact that I was born a bastard, which made getting older and realizing how screwed up that whole situation is a pretty bad time. I'm still trying to work a lot of it out, even though I'm much older now. But this song mirrors so many of my issues, fears, and hopes that it's like an emotional landmine. Slug shares custody with his ex, and the conversation between him and his son is the sort of thing I never got to have. Especially the bit about how Jacob has picked up some of Slug's mannerisms. Apparently I walk like my dad, even though I've only ever spent the equivalent of maybe a month with him over the course of my entire life. The last verse is Slug talking to himself, checking in with his emotions and issues. It's one of those things that's super sad but uplifting at the same time, like he's aware of his issues and consciously working his way through them. It hits almost all of my buttons. I love it, but I rarely listen to it on purpose for that exact reason.

-David Brothers (writer, 4thletter!)

“Where the Streets Have No Name” is my favorite song ever. It’s all I can do not to get at least a little choked up every time I listen to it. I could play it dozens of times in a row, which is exactly what I did as I wrote this, and find a new moment or aspect of the song to get worked up over.
        The chiming, arpeggiating guitar fades in, and, at times, I start weeping like a family member just died. “What’s wrong?” people ask me when they see my reaction to the song in some dreadfully undesirable place in which to suddenly become emotional. But I’m not sad or heartbroken. I don’t need your pity or consolation, I JUST NEED TO YOU TO UNDERSTAND.
         It’s all I can do not to snap at them, “Do you get what it means for the world inside and outside of you? Don’t you FEEL ANYTHING when you hear this?” I feel like comedian Paul F. Tompkins in a rant on his You Should Have Told Me stand-up special about Ann Margaret’s “You Needed Me”. “You don’t even get it!” he screams. Then, lowering his voice, he whispers creepily, “I’ve been inside that song.”
         I’ve been inside “Streets” many times but I’m not going to get too emo about it. I know the interior landscape too well to just puke out emotion about it on a page. Besides, it deserves better. I’ll do all I can do:
          I’ve always valued the kind of uninhibited passion I hear in “Streets” in music. All music, I feel, should have some kind of intense personal passion behind it. But as motivated as it should be by that passion, it helps when the music also speaks to something bigger than just oneself, too. It lets a song soar to something higher and brighter than just a moment in time. It can transcend a moment. It can be timeless.
          There’s so many things to consider when scrutinizing a song: subtext, context, content, and intent are all so important; the body of the song (its structure, musicality tone, production, etc.) and so on. But I judge the overall quality of a work of art on one overriding quality: how much pathos does it evoke from me? It doesn’t make me terribly objective, but it’s an earnest lens which I wish were used more often in music writing and by artists making not just music but any art form.
        To evoke empathy-- brutal, unrelenting empathy-- is a powerful, consuming thing. Sometimes it’s why we listen to music. Sometimes it gives us a reason to go on living. And the emotional, tearful result can make you look foolish. But we all need to be a bit more earnest and ridiculous. We should all summon to the courage to say what we feel, even if it’s embarrassing. Especially if it’s embarrassing.
        “The right to be ridiculous is something I hold dear,” Bono sings on another chiming U2 anthem, “I’ll Go Crazy If I Don’t Go Crazy Tonight”. To be foolish is good for the soul. It’s all we can do.

-Paul de Revere 


"Down To You" by Joni Mitchell always makes me cry. All I need to hear is the opening line: Everything comes and goes / marked by lovers and styles of clothes. How perfect is that? It's a song about isolation, fleeting intimacy, and ultimately: personal responsibility. It's one of the few Joni Mitchell songs that I would describe as epic, largely due to the gorgeous instrumental arrangement at 2:35.


-Chelsea Fairless (blogger, Cat Party)

Ryan Adams's cover of "Wonderwall" by Oasis- I love this question because it's at the core of why we love music. So many of us are in a vicious cycle: we hate feeling sad, but we like vulnerability because it's when we're closest to our emotions. We love pining for the idea of happiness, but it scares us that we don't feel the 'realness' of our previous vulnerability; we feel guilty when we're happy. We oscillate between the two, trying to find something, someone that gives our feelings "meaning." So we turn to music. I first heard Ryan Adams' version of Wonderwall while watching Seth and Summer slow dance on The OC in Seth's dino-laden room. It was so precious. I started crying about how I felt that The OC was so precious and I haven't stopped crying since then. I'm drawn by its fragility, its bare bones approach to an original that no band fails to cover. I love that I can hear every note, every Ryan Adams finger movement. It's paralyzing in the best way possible.

-Lee Levin (writer/editor, Knox Road)

I'm trying to be a real adult these days. I own at least three pairs of pants I shudder to call "slacks," I give slightly younger adults grades on things they've written, and I rarely cry when listening to records. It's just not really my move; I've always preferred to court the stormier and more sullen recesses of bad feelings when it comes to music. But there's this thing I like to do sometimes, and that is to put on Kurt Vile’s song "He's Alright" (also called "Unknown," on his album Childish Prodigy) and listen to it alone for a few hours in a row, nonstop, while feeling a small emotional golf ball grow inside of me. This song hits my bitterest sweet spot: two layers of guitars, kind of chiming and chopping and melting atop each other, and lyrics that draw you in with rock and roll's same old adolescent promise, "I swear I thought I was the only one." I court it. I feed the golf ball. Am I crying because I just listened to a medium-depressing song for three hours straight, and then drunk-dialed my best friends to tell them I love them without even being drunk? Or am I crying because the memory is still so clear of Kurt Vile ignoring friends and fans to instead tickle his young daughter all night after playing a show in Hoboken, and I choose to remember this while listening to a perfect song about apathy and aging? "I don't care, I don't care, I don't care." 

-Laura Fisher (writer) 


One song that could make me cry every time if I let it is "Racing in the Street" by Bruce Springsteen, from his 1978 album Darkness on the Edge of Town. Sure, "Born to Run," "Thunder Road," almost any epic Springsteen song could make me cry. I was raised on the Boss. Hell, I have "Born to Run" tattooed on my backside. But, there's something extra raw and real about "Racing in the Street." Just the piano alone on that song makes my heart and stomach somersault before Bruce even starts to sing.
          When I was little, my dad would play it on cassette tape while driving our family Oldsmobile. I'd sit in the backseat with the windows down and he'd crank it up. I knew it was a sad song then, but I also felt its hopefulness. It made me feel badass.
          "Racing in the Street" is a redemption song -- it was for my dad and it is for me. It reminds me you've got to have something to live for, otherwise you've got nothing! Like Bruce says, "Some guys they just give up living and start dying little by little, piece by piece. Some guys come home from work and wash up and go racing in the street." Yesssss! I think I feel my next tattoo coming on.

-Shannon Flaherty (writer, editor of Hustle Up









When I was ten or eleven years old, my dad played my sisters and I "Glycerine" by Bush. Roughly seven years later, I am a sophomore standing at 5'5 with wry, bleach-ended brown hair. A dry, leaf-cracking, lip splitting winter has just begun and I am wracked from the guilt of distancing myself from friends who mattered a lot to me. I am browsing a selection of new releases at the video store near my house when the song begins playing from the speakers. Nearly everyone over the age of 25 hums along to the lyrics. They are, of course, off tune with Gavin Rossdale's raspy vocals as he unapologetically confesses his affection for something so raw and enchanting, yet nothing he is willing or able to compromise himself for. I immediately find the contrast of his voice against the heart wracking cello a rare species of beautiful. I went home that night and played that song a number of times, sitting on my bed, winding my arms around my knees and sobbing into my raspberry comforter. 

-Alexandra Vasquez 

"Good Woman" by Cat Power. I broke up with my fiancé then listened to this on repeat for months, I guess as a kind of justification ("I want to be a good woman / and I want for you to be a good man / and this is why I will be leaving / And this is why I can't see you no more"). He died a few months later from an overdose. I haven't heard that song in a decade without breaking down. 

-Amy Herschleb (editor, The Fanzine)

Elliott Smith's "Waltz #2" - that line that goes "She appears/Composed/So she is/I suppose", or every time he sings "I'm never gonna know you now/But I'm gonna love you anyhow". Then, there is Brian Wilson's solo version of "Surf's Up" - especially when he hits that sad, mournful high note at the end of "A choke of grief heart hardened I/Beyond belief a broken man too tough to cry". I've listened to the song countless times and yet it never fails to give me chills or have me on the verge of tears. Finally, Gram Parsons' "$1000 Wedding" is, I think, the saddest 5 minutes of music ever committed to tape - and I'm not sure anything else comes close. The lyrics alone, which tell the tale of a groom left at the altar when "with all the invitations sent the young bride went away" (an early version is even more explicitly sad: she "passed away"), would be heartbreaking enough, but when Gram and Emmylou's voices get tangled together, it becomes almost too much to bear, and as painful as the groom's realization that his wife is gone. If you don't believe me, I'll send you the tissue I had to use to wipe my eyes after listening to it again while writing this.

-Thierry Côté (music writer, Sonic Weapons)

"An Ending (Ascent)" by Brian Eno. Usually tears of joy. The song didn't gel with me until I saw it over the end credits of the film Traffic. The movie ends at a kind of banal location, but with this track playing over top it's gifted this sort of mythic, cosmic quality. Anyway, it's a got to song for sitting an thinking about some seemingly significant moment in my life and mythologizing it for five short minutes, then losing that notion as soon as it's done. That's the best part, what it does for those five minutes.

-Morgan Jeske (illustrator)








"On the Nature of Daylight" by Max Richter is like a stubbed toe on the afternoon you put your dog to sleep. It's achingly beautiful. Even better is this ballet by David Dawson, which makes gorgeous use of Richter's music. One of my new favorite things to do (when I should be writing) is to get drunk on a cheap Malbec and watch ballets on YouTube late at night. There's a moment at 1:47 that kills me.

-Brady Hammes (writer, photographer)

Strangely, I don't cry much to music. I cry at movies often, and I've definitely moped and wallowed in self-pity and despair to music, to the point where it feels like my heart will explode. But I rarely shed tears to songs, which is really kind of odd, especially considering what a total cornball and utter sap I can be. Therefore, it takes the ultimate in sap -- a girl singing a ballad at a piano -- for me to cry. 
          I was at the hospital during one of my dad's illnesses -- lymphoma, and a pretty serious, aggressive form of it. To treat it, they were basically destroying his entire lymph system and replacing it with a set of new stem cells; it's a really toxic process, really harsh on the body, almost as malignant as the cancer itself. It's hard to see your parent suffer so much and be utterly unable to do anything about it; I spent my days at the hospital feeling overwhelmed and helpless, having to stay competent and on top of it as I watched his skin darken and get ashy, the whites of his eyes turn yellow, the room get stuffier with the smells of disinfectant and a dying immune system. It was really rough, and there were times when I wondered if my dad was going to make it. I'd spent hours in the room, just waiting to hear from doctors. And then to "get away from it all," I'd spend hours in the waiting room, writing and watching TV. I lived at the hospital, basically, and to this day I really can't stand them.
          One evening I was feeling especially down and feeling like I couldn't really talk about it with anyone. I've been trained to be super-competent and calm during crises, even though it's not my inclination. And no one really wants to talk to you about your parent being sick; they sort of don't know what to say, and they feel awkward, and then you feel awkward about their awkwardness and you sort of lose faith in humanity. But sometimes you just feel really raw and desperate inside, with no outlet at all for your emotions, and the pressure just builds up inside of you. And then for some reason a live performance of Tori Amos' "Winter" came on the TV; it was like some VH1 thing, I think? Or maybe PBS. "Winter" is a really tender ballad about a father and a daughter, and it kind of just ripped me open and killed me from the inside out, because, you know, I'll never be a little girl protected by my dad again, and my dad will never again be stronger than me. But it was like the song gave me permission to be sad, and weak, and devastated at a time when people are really counting on you to be strong. It cleaned me out and made me feel strangely light after it was done. Three weeks later, we got through the treatment and brought him home. These days, songs about fathers and daughters always echo in a darker place inside of me, whether it's "Winter" or "Oh Father" by Madonna -- much more than any song about romantic heartbreak.

-Kat Asharya (writer, filmmaker, subversive romantic)

As a ten-year-old girl I fell in love with the English rock band Genesis. Head over heels. I'm not sure if I was initially hooked by the band's album cover art, their epic ballads or Phil Collins' voice, but throughout my adolescence I loved the hell out of them. This would later transition into fantasies of Phil Collins proposing to me.
        Stevie Nicks and Whitney Houston were reserved for singing in my bedroom but Genesis deserved a bigger stage, so I blasted them from my dad's stereo in the living room whenever I had the chance to be alone. While my peers gorged on "Like A Virgin" and "Time After Time," I was listening to "Home by the Sea" and "Me and Virgil." Believe me, no one else understood my fascination either. 
I have lots of Genesis favorites but the one that always leads to goose bumps and tears is "Afterglow." I first heard this song on their Three Sides Live album (1982) although it was originally conceived of and delivered on the album, Wind & Wuthering (1976). While recently researching the evolution of this song I was fascinated to read that Tony Banks composed it as a "spontaneous piece that was written in about the same time as it takes to play it." True, it sounds like a random blowout when you hear it for the first time but all you have to do is watch it on YouTube, performed multiple times at concerts all over the world, to know that the song is intentional and complex and incredibly kick-ass. 
          I didn't get to see Genesis in concert until 2007 when they came to Hartford on what would be their final tour. I bought two tickets months and months in advance - not knowing then that the person I thought I would be taking would leave me. So I went to the Civic Center alone (which seemed fitting given my solitary love for the band over my lifetime) and managed to finagle an exchange: my two not-so-great tickets for one ticket on the floor. I pinched myself. There I was in a foldup chair in the very front. Close enough for a Phil Collins marriage proposal.
           I didn't even consider that "Afterglow" would be on the set list because it seems like one of those fringe songs that no one clamors for at a concert. But boy was I wrong. When Collins announced that they were going to sing it, the crowd went wild. And before I knew it I was lost in the song; its expansiveness and sense of wonder, loss and longing kills me every time. And I was surrounded by people singing along, word for word, just like me. And something about the entirety of that moment – of being with thousands of other people who loved Genesis and maybe even related to the lyrics of "Oh, but now I've lost everything" like I did -- broke me down like never before. And it was the most comforting feeling I had experienced in a long time. 
          I can think of other songs that affect me when I hear them: "Hurt" by Johnny Cash, "Bridge Over Troubled Water" by Simon & Garfunkel or "Father and Son" by Cat Stevens -- but who hasn't cried at those at one time or another? The songs that really tear the scab off again and again are the ones that resonate deep down on the inside, pulling at some part of you that might not be there for anyone else.

-Lisa Mecham (writer, former music blogger for Gundlach Bundschu)

"bankrupt on selling" by modest mouse always makes me cry. once i had this boyfriend who really loved me a lot but i was like 13 and he was like 19 and it was creepy so i sort of broke his heart in a really bitchy way and he was a musician so he played it on guitar and sang it directly at me at a show once, and it was horrible and i always felt guilty and i still do.

-Kitty Pryde (rap game Taylor Swift, Laura Jane's spirit animal)

I'm not sure if it was on a mixtape, or if he just played it while I was with him, but I have a bittersweet association with The Beatles' "If I Fell," and realizing that someone I considered myself having fallen deeply for would never allow himself to reciprocate in any meaningful way. On the one hand, it's a hopeful song, because the person is aware of the depth of possibility; on the other hand, the boundary is clear. It also makes me think of how rare it is that two people want the same thing, and how beautiful it is when things actually come together.

-Lauren Cerand (publicist, blogger, purveyor of elegance)

First of all, I'm a real man who enjoys fine cigars and high-proof bourbon, so I don't know what you're talking about. But if I did, I might pick Bob Schneider's "Flowerparts," which is also, incidentally, a terrific example of why I continue paying attention to Schneider even though he's frighteningly prolific and bewilderingly eclectic. Every so often he'll remember he needs to pay the bills and release an album that's more or less of a piece, but the album that "Flowerparts" is from, The Californian, is vintage unrestrained Bob -- it goes from profane, drunken lunacy like "Blauu" and "The Sons of Ralph" to this beautiful ode to "empathy, compassion, and sympathy."
          "How do you make a superman?" asks Schneider, and lists a few standard ingredients -- courage, conviction, a steady hand, a steely jaw. "But don't forget the flowerparts," he cautions -- a soft touch and an open heart -- because "it's the little things that separate the good from the great."
         Nothing particularly profound, I suppose. But it's wise. And there's something about hearing such unrestrained tenderness from a guy who's just as likely to sing about sniffing your girlfriend's poop -- like Harry Nilsson, I think Schneider's bursts of sentimentality are more powerful because they're part of a broad (and occasionally jarring) patchwork. Nobody needs to listen to the weepy shit all the time, but all of us can be affected by a well-timed audio Hallmark card between bouts of good old-fashioned rock and roll. Or so I've been told, anyway.

-Jeff Giles (editor-in-chief, Popdose.com)

Being a man, I've been conditioned not to cry at mere music, although Weezer has brought me close. However, I think it's universally accepted that men are allowed to cry at movies. Every single time I watch The Life Aquatic, and Bill Murray carries Owen Wilson's lifeless corpse onto the beach and then no less than The Zombies come on with "The Way I Feel Inside," I completely fall apart.

-Pat Barrett (designer, illustrator, cartoonist)

3 comments:

  1. Rainbow Connection as performed by Kermit the frog (Jim Henson). I danced with my step-dad to this song at my wedding and my sister and I cried our eyes out. I'm not an easy crier, actually, so I was pretty caught off guard to my emotional response to the song. Now, 7 years later, I am going through a divorce, so there is a different kind of heartbreak and poignant tone assigned to the tune.

    ReplyDelete
  2. every song never fail to make me cry when i at my wit's end :p
    good work admin
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