30 Day Music Challenge Day 9: A song/album that makes you sad

In yesterday’s post about songs that make me happy, I found it very easy to think of multiple songs and had to restrain myself not to include more. But today I find it harder to think of a song or album that makes me sad, because what I find is that I have particular music I listen to because I am sad, but that music does not, in itself, make me sad through listening to it. Even downbeat albums often make me happy or content – I guess I like to indulge in the sound of the melancholy quite often, and if I feel the same beforehand then it becomes a comfort.

So I am only going to name one album for today’s entry, an album which I guess could make me sad, although mostly I have listened to it when I’ve already been down. This album is the debut album by Bon Iver, titled For Emma, Forever Ago, which was released a few years ago and swept many listeners away with its beautiful and heart-breaking songs of lost love. Interestingly, the frontman for the band, Justin Vernon, had apparently gone through a break-up as this album was written, while later he would found love again when working on his second album, which ended up a lot more upbeat.

Although the song “Skinny Love” is perhaps better known, I have chosen to put up the song “Flume” – the album’s opening track – as I personally find it a much more haunting and sad song, and it immediately establishes the tone for the rest of that album. But, to be honest, the whole album is very beautiful and well worth a listen if you haven’t managed to hear it yet.

Are you a fan of this first, more downbeat album by Bon Iver?

What songs or albums make you sad, or do you listen to when you’re sad?

15 thoughts on “30 Day Music Challenge Day 9: A song/album that makes you sad

  1. yes a beautiful haunting track to be sure. I have to say that in my case sad music often moves me but doesn’t “make me sad” in fact I think that in some odd way listening to sad music when I am a little down is rather comforting. I can indulge my melancholy!!!

    • Yep, that’s exactly how I feel about sad music. I think I go through phases where I indulge in melancholy music more, and then eventually I need to bounce back out of it by going through a phase of listening to louder, more upbeat music.

  2. What a beautiful album, and song, and blog post! You nailed it with this one. I guess that is what happens when you write and record an album in an isolated cabin in Wisconsin (when I write at coffee shops, I tend to write about coffee).

    I’d offer up James Blunt’s You’re Beautiful from Back to Bedlam. As you recall, this album went massive, and despite the popularity I became very fond of it – but mostly because my mother would sit in the kitchen doing bills and whatnot with this album on repeat (alternating with Il Divo). She wasn’t the most musical, but she’d tick and tie bills to her check-book while humming along to that album. It’s a great memory for me, though it brings along with it a profound sadness that I am only now starting to realize. In any event, music can help us through sad times – in this case by having a good memory tag along.

    Keep the posts coming, loving this challenge!

    • Thank you, glad you liked it, and agree! 🙂 And yes, I think it is definitely a case where the location of the songwriting and recording was very influential on the final outcome, and there is something about that I like. I must admit, I have written in a few places but I am actually yet to write in a coffee shop for some reason – I think I need to try this soon.
      That is a good choice, and an artist I had forgotten about (what happened to him? He hasn’t done anything in years since his second album has he?). I do remember James Blunt’s first album especially becoming massive, which I think sadly meant he could never match it with his second album. But as you say, one of the most powerful aspects of music is how it can help us in sad times, and how it can attach itself to memories. And I think with the passing of time that music can really embed itself in the memory as much as the memory does in the music – there are some songs and memories which for me are inextricably linked, and even if they make me sad, they are sadnesses I need to remember and think upon from time to time, to keep them alive to some extent.
      Anyway now I’m just rambling. Thank you so much for your great comment! 🙂

  3. Pingback: 30 Day Music Challenge – The Beginning! | wantoncreation

  4. My daughter recently saw Bon Iver in concert. She is a huge fan. I had never heard of them (him?) and meant to look them up but forgot. Thanks for send the sample. I can see why she is a fan!

  5. Ah, I love Bon Iver! Both albums are beautiful, as is the Blood Bank EP. I actually just realized I haven’t really done the “I’m going to listen to sad music because I’m feeling sad” thing in quite a long time, but Bon Iver is my go-to “feeling melancholy while driving long distances” music; it makes a good backdrop for lonesome mediations on the road.

    Oddly, Karma Chameleon always makes me sad, which has nothing to do with the song itself and everything to do with my memory of hearing it on one of the most horribly lonely and confused nights of my life. Everything turned out okay, but hearing that song always takes me back to that moment and every once of happiness gets sucked from my being for a few minutes. It’s amazing how songs can trigger memories and emotions like that.

    • Yes, I agree – I always forget about that Blood Bank EP, but I loved that too. 🙂
      That is odd that Karma Chameleon makes you feel sad, but I can understand if it’s attached to a very sad memory. I have some very happy songs which trigger similar feelings in me, because I made the mistake of listening to them at a bad time in my life. Music is a funny old thing, really 😛

  6. I was retrenched this week and am strangely quite cheerful about the whole situation. On a subliminal level I must be aware however that the prospect of penury is scary and depressing because I’ve been listening to James’ Laid in the car (on repeat). “Damage the dream…I feel nothing. I feel nothing at all”. Oh hang on…maybe I am a little sad. I’ve also had a complete OCD episode with Marcy Playground’s Sex and Candy. For no good reason, I listened to it approximately 70 times yesterday.
    I love your sad song by the way and will listen to it approximately 70 times today 🙂

    • Sorry to hear about your retrenchment, even if you are cheerful about it! It is nice though to indulge in music like that. I have had moments in the last couple of weeks (in which I’ve been off work) where I’ve just laid back, listening to music up loud, and let it soak in, like a bubble bath for my ears. Can never get tired of doing that! 😛
      Glad you liked the song too! You should listen to the whole album if you can, it’s quite stunningly beautiful! 🙂

  7. This was the perfect song for a day like today. Even the album cover looks like the weather outside – very misty and still with a gentle rain falling.

    To answer your question, I can’t think of any music I listen to specifically that either makes me sad or something I listen to because I’m already a little blue. Maybe because that mood hits me so rarely, fortunately. 🙂

    Sorry I haven’t had time to spend listening to you beautiful music choices for a few days, as this week has been more than a little busy. I like to savor these musical moments, when I don’t feel the pressure to be somewhere or the need to be doing something else. 🙂

    • I must confess, it IS a great album to listen to on a rainy day, just lying in bed watching the rain against the window.
      That’s okay, I totally understand what you mean about being busy – I am about to be run off my feet for the next 2 or 3 months (with work becoming busier, planning an overseas trip, and attempting to shed close to a quarter of my bodyweight, not to mention all my writing and, you know, having a life), and frankly don’t know how I am going to keep my sanity intact. But I am glad you are enjoying these music posts, and I agree that it is nicer to listen to them when you can actually relax and enjoy them. 🙂

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