Five Songs That Devastate ME

KCRW DJ Anne Litt posted “5 Songs That Devastate Me” and I figured I would do the same. I’m a list maker and organizer in my day-to-day life (yes, I’m that OCD about my business) but this list was off the top of my head and in no particular order. Let’s go:

* Jeff Buckley – Hallelujah. This is a no-brainer. I was given Grace as a birthday gift not long after Buckley’s death.  I got as far as his cover of Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah. This song floored me. Stopped me dead in my tracks.  I played it on repeat not even bothering with the rest of the CD until I had heard it at least a dozen times.  He had a voice that can only be described as haunting and the sparse instrumentation really adds an ethereal element to it.  This song has been covered by just about everyone you can think of but no one has in my opinion, been able to top this although K.D. Lang’s is also inspired.

*Nine Simone – Just In Time. This has always been one of my favorite Nina Simone interpretations and it was featured in what is quite possibly the most romantic ending to a movie ever.  The song alone is enough to alter my mood but in the context of the movie it is simply sweet.  I remember watching this opening weekend sitting next to the man that would eventually become my husband and I’ll never forget the gasp of the two girls sitting a couple seats over from us when the screen faded to black.  The clip of the scene is below.

Mozart: Lacrimosa. As a kid I eagerly studied music theory and nothing captured my imagination more than the stories/myths surrounding Mozart’s final work: Requiem. In particular Lacrimosa which has long been the subject of much debate as to who actually wrote the piece. I don’t have a specific memory attached  to Lacrimosa, it is just a stunning piece of music.

Radiohead – No Surprises.  OK Computer was released in 1997 but I didn’t come across it until a couple years later during my senior year of high school.  I obsessed over this CD. I have since bought several replacement CDs because they get played so much they become unusable. This record was the reason I decided to pursue a life/career in music after high school, the reason I went to school to learn all about recording and record production. This record is nothing short of perfection. Each song perfectly captures the theme of the record: paranoia and modern alienation but No Surprises always stood out for me. (I’ve attached a live version since EMI was kind enough to disable embedding of the official video.)

Damien Rice – The Blower’s Daughter.  This song starts out so quiet and graceful and slowly builds to a crescendo and then just as quickly as it builds comes back down with the line “can’t take my eyes off of you” that SLAYS me every single time I hear it. If you can get past the clips of that movie with Natalie Portman and her stupid hair you’ll be rewarded with shots of Rice in all his brooding sepia-toned glory.

So here they are and in writing this I’ve come up with at least another 5 songs that destroy me each time I hear them but that’ll have to wait for another day.