I Hate Myself and Want to Die: The 52 Most Depressing Songs You've Ever Heard

by Tom Reynolds | Nonfiction |
ISBN: 1860746284 Global Overview for this book
Registered by Regulator of Fort Wayne, Indiana USA on 3/1/2013
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3 journalers for this copy...
Journal Entry 1 by Regulator from Fort Wayne, Indiana USA on Friday, March 01, 2013
From the book flap, "What is it about depressing songs that make such a lasting impression on people's minds--the lyrical tugging of the heartstrings? The melancholy melody? Or their ability to make you want to gnaw your arm off and beat yourself to death with it? If you're a true connoisseur, these elements are just the beginning, as Tom Reynolds illustrates brilliantly in I Hate Myself And Want To Die. Reynolds analyses the mysterious allure of 52 songs that have crushed our spirits over the years--from top-10 hits to cultish dirges, creepy drug ballads in siucidal epics, anthemic tear-jerkers to horrifiying attempts at profundity. Breaking up his list into 10 categories of gloom--including Teenage Car Crash anthems, She-Hates-Me-I-Hate-Her ditties, and the ever-daunting Perfect Storms--the author examines the self-loating heart of 52 unforgivably depressing songs by artists as diverse as Joy Division, Bobby Darin, Counting Crows, Evanescence, Bruce Springsteen, and Barry Manilow. Complete with a ranked 'countdown of doom' and wonderfully dreary black and white line drawings throughout, I Hate Myself And Want To Die is a must-have compilation of melodic misery."

Journal Entry 2 by Regulator at Fort Wayne, Indiana USA on Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Released 7 yrs ago (3/20/2013 UTC) at Fort Wayne, Indiana USA


Taking this to the Post Office today to go on its way to hyphen8!

Journal Entry 3 by Regulator at Fort Wayne, Indiana USA on Thursday, March 21, 2013

Journal Entry 4 by winghyphen8wing at Honolulu, Hawaii USA on Saturday, March 23, 2013
Arrived today - thank you! The artwork looks like it goes perfectly with the text; now I just have to get the soundtrack set up... ;)


Note to self: according to the forum thread, Holly2978 is next, followed by Bookworm-lady, Sintra, Merolia, and Beitaljawzaa.

Journal Entry 5 by winghyphen8wing at Honolulu, Hawaii USA on Monday, March 25, 2013
You thought I was kidding about the soundtrack, didn't you? I figure the fairest way to evaluate the book is to listen to the songs, and I'll post links here in case anyone else wants to listen along with me.

Disclaimer: I take no responsibility for the effects of these songs. Listen at your own risk. :p

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

From the introduction:

* What Child Is This? by the The Ray Coniff Singers
* Billie Holiday's version of Gloomy Sunday (in English)

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

More info on Gloomy Sunday from Snopes.

Journal Entry 6 by winghyphen8wing at Honolulu, Hawaii USA on Wednesday, March 27, 2013
Section 1: I Was a Teenage Car Crash

* Tell Laura I Love Her performed by Ray Peterson
* Mark Dinning sings Teen Angel
* Last Kiss sung by J. Frank Wilson and the Cavaliers

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

On a much goofier note, I think I heard comedian Rap Reiplinger's 1980s spoof version in Hawaiian Pidgin (Fate Yanagi) before I ever heard Tell Laura I Love Her.

Journal Entry 7 by winghyphen8wing at Honolulu, Hawaii USA on Wednesday, March 27, 2013
Section2: I Hate Myself and Want to Die

* Goodbye to Love by The Carpenters
* Janis Ian's At Seventeen
* My Immortal by Evanescence
* Vicki Carr sings It Must Be Him
* Official music video for One by Metallica

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Wait, I like At Seventeen. When I was a kid I used to listen to 1970s "easy listening" on the radio all the time because it was stuff I could sing along to and I still remember most of the words to this one.

I'd never paid attention to My Immortal before but it's good to see that the depressing ballad is alive and well in the 21st century.

It Must Be Him: I agree with the book on this one; it makes me crazy to listen to it.

Gotta love the flying hair in the video for One: watching it makes my neck hurt. Johnny Got His Gun really is a depressing (and memorable) book, so it's not surprising that a song based on it is, well, less than cheerful. The clips from the movie make the video seriously trapped-in-the-Twilight-Zone creepy. The book was well worth reading (once), but I feel no urge at all to go watch the full-length movie now: none.

Gak. I've had Goodbye to Love drifting in and out of my head all day: just what I needed. :p

Journal Entry 8 by winghyphen8wing at Honolulu, Hawaii USA on Thursday, March 28, 2013
Section 3: I'm Trying to Be Profound and Touching, But Really Suck at It

* Round Here by Counting Crows
* Emerson, Lake, and Palmer present Lucky Man
* Beth by Kiss
* Richard Harris sings MacArthur Park
* Don't Cry Out Loud by Melissa Manchester
* Zager and Evans on a really strange set singing In the Year 2525
* Same Old Lang Syne by Dan Fogelberg
* Bette Midler from the movie The Rose
* Mandy by Barry Manilow

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Some of these are more weird than anything else. Beth is depressing, sure..for Beth. I don't have much sympathy for the boys in the band on that one.

I never did understand MacArthur Park, but it's good to know that I'm far from alone. On the plus side, looking for a link to this one led me to Weird Al Yankovic's terrific parody: Jurassic Park.

Some of the others in this section I like..and can still sing along with; yeah, they're pretty sentimental, but that's ok by me. (Although I'll concede that the idea of spending Christmas eve sitting in a car drinking beer with an ex-lover could get you down if you let it...)

Journal Entry 9 by winghyphen8wing at Honolulu, Hawaii USA on Thursday, March 28, 2013
Section 4: If I Sing About Drugs, People Will Take Me Seriously

* Billy Joel's Captain Jack
* Let Her Cry from Hootie and the Blowfish
* John Prine sings Sam Stone

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Interesting to read the history about Captain Jack and Billy Joel.

Sam Stone has "a hole in Daddy's arm where all the money goes": charming image, that.

This section really should include Amy Winehouse's Rehab: even though I think the song came out after the book, it would fit right in.

Journal Entry 10 by winghyphen8wing at Honolulu, Hawaii USA on Wednesday, April 03, 2013
Section 5: She Hates Me, I Hate Her

* Love Will Tear Us Apart by Joy Division
* Neil Diamond & Barbra Streisand say You Don't Bring Me Flowers
* In the Air Tonight written & performed by Phil Collins
* Ben Folds Five perform Brick
* Ruby, Don't Take Your Love to Town by Kenny Rogers and the First Edition

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Agreed: most of these are pretty sad stuff. Love Will Tear Us Apart doesn't do much for me either way. It might be more depressing if I could understand the lyrics better.

I never did know what In the Air Tonight was about, so I've learned something from this book!

I still have a Kenny Rogers album on vinyl, somewhere...but Ruby was never my favorite song of the bunch. I don't have Flowers but I think I have Neil Diamond's soundtrack for The Jazz Singer on tape. I must be a fossil. :p

To be fair, relationships gone bad don't usually provide much to be cheerful about. On the other hand, there's always Christine Lavin's Happydance (Stop Your Sobbing He's an Idiot): lyrics on her website.

Journal Entry 11 by winghyphen8wing at Honolulu, Hawaii USA on Wednesday, April 03, 2013
Section 6: Horrifying Remakes of Already Depressing Songs

* All By Myself as performed by Celine Dion
* Mariah Carey sings Without You
* I Will Always Love You by Whitney Houston
* Smashing Pumpkins does Landslide (The video is something else entirely, but I think the audio is the version the book is describing)
* Send In the Clowns by Judy Collins

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

The book's author takes on the big pop divas for singing ballads in their over-the-top style, but that's just what they do.

On the other hand, in general, I do prefer the originals:

Eric Carmen
Harry Nilsson
Dolly Parton
Fleetwood Mac

The bit on Send in the Clowns was interesting because the author's focus is primarily on the song itself rather than the singers.

Journal Entry 12 by winghyphen8wing at Honolulu, Hawaii USA on Wednesday, April 10, 2013
Section 7: I'm Telling a Story Nobody Wants to Hear

* The River by Bruce Springsteen
* The Verve Pipe sing The Freshmen
* Comfortably Numb by Pink Floyd
* Gordon Lightfoot and The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald
* Maggie's Dream by Don Williams
* Jim Carroll sings about People Who Died
* Strange Fruit as performed by Billie Holliday
* Bloodrock sings about being DOA
* Sylvia's Mother by Dr. Hook and the Medicine Show
* The Doors sing about The End

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Well, at least there's a *reason* for The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald. As far as I know, The Perfect Storm's Andrea Gail didn't get a song.

People Who Died does sound like it belongs on Dr. Demento.

I would describe Strange Fruit as haunting and painful rather than depressing.

Sylvia's Mother probably won't make much sense to anyone who grew up with everyone having a personal cell phone. Fascinating that the lyrics are by Shel Silverstein.

I'm surprised the author doesn't mention the length of The End - the recording I found is almost 12 minutes long.

Journal Entry 13 by winghyphen8wing at Honolulu, Hawaii USA on Sunday, April 14, 2013
Section 8: I Had No Idea That Song Was So Morbid

* Gilbert O'Sullivan is Alone Again (Naturally)
* Artificial Flowers from Bobby Darin
* R. Dean Taylor sings Indiana Wants Me

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

This section is all about incongruity. Alone Again has such a deceptively cheerful sound that I never thought much about the lyrics, until now. As for Artificial Flowers, I dont' think I'd heard it before but...wow. If you set the story of "The Little Match Girl" to the tune of "Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer" you might get a similar effect.

On the other hand, you can put an entirely different spin on Indiana Wants Me if you can convince yourself that "Indiana" is the name of the singer's wife. :p

Journal Entry 14 by winghyphen8wing at Honolulu, Hawaii USA on Sunday, April 14, 2013
Section 9: I Mope, Therefore I Am

* Prayers for Rain offered by The Cure
* Marianne Faithfull and her Sister Morphine
* Hurt by Nine Inch Nails
* Loretta Lynn visits Women's Prison

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

I listened to the Johnny Cash version of Hurt and I agree with the author: Cash's version is far superior.

The video for Women's Prison seems to have the end of another song inserted at the beginning.

Journal Entry 15 by winghyphen8wing at Honolulu, Hawaii USA on Tuesday, April 16, 2013
Section 10: Perfect Storms

* Seasons in the Sun by Terry Jacks
* Bonnie Tyler sings about a Total Eclipse of the Heart
* Honey by Bobby Goldsboro
* Harry Chapin sings The Shortest Story
* The Christmas Shoes by Newsong

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Interesting to read the backstory on Seasons in the Sun. Sounds like the original French version would be interesting.

Um, I may still have that Bonnie Tyler tape too. On the other hand, I've never had cable, so I missed out on the (bizarre & creepy) video until now. Gee, shucks: I've been eyeliner-deprived all this time. Still, this one doesn't strike me as all that depressing.

I'd never heard The Shortest Story before, but it's defintitely a guilt-inducing downer. You know: background music for one of those "Feed the Children" type commercials with the big-eyed starving kids. Ouch.

I listened to all the other songs featured in this book, but I actually skipped The Christmas Shoes. I've already had my fill of that one, thanks. Since this song has generated both a book and a TV movie I have to presume that many people like having their emotions manipulated but I just couldn't make myself listen to it again. I highly recommend the Cake Wrecks response to this song. But then, I recommend Cake Wrecks anyway. Especially on days like today when I need a lift (written on Monday 4/15).

Journal Entry 16 by winghyphen8wing at Honolulu, Hawaii USA on Tuesday, April 16, 2013

* Patches by Dickey Lee
* Michael Martin Murphy sings about Wildfire
* Official video for Perfect by Simple Plan
* John Michael Montgomery sings about The Little Girl
* No Lies, Just Love by Bright Eyes

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

I understand why people might write downer poetry/songs, but sometimes I wonder how they manage to get them recorded and distributed. And then, like the author, I think about them having to perform them over & over.

At least Wildfire has a catchy chorus.

I think I'd only heard it once before, and I didn't remember the title, but the image of The Little Girl hiding behind the couch is certainly memorable. Country music is very good at this sort of thing.

..and now I'm off to find something more upbeat to listen to for a while. I think the Ghostbusters are calling my name. :p

Journal Entry 17 by winghyphen8wing at Honolulu, Hawaii USA on Saturday, April 20, 2013

Released 7 yrs ago (4/20/2013 UTC) at Honolulu, Hawaii USA


Thanks for letting me join in - it was fun!

This book is now headed for Holly2978 - I'll post the tracking number here once I have it.

Edit: Dad was supposed to take this book to the post office yesterday (4/20) and bring the delivery confirmation number home on the receipt. When I asked him about it today, he said Mom told him to drop it in the mailbox. So I don't have a tracking number (although the postage on the package included 90¢ for tracking)...and hopefully the book doesn't go astray. It weighed 15 oz, and anything over 13 oz with stamps on it is supposed to be taken to the post office, so it may come back to me. Or it might just get delivered anyway. As long as it doesn't end up in a dead letter office! I'll keep my fingers crossed (although it's hard to type that way) and if necessary I'll replace the book. Sorry about this.

Update 4/24: oh, thank goodness, it arrived safely...and quickly too!

Journal Entry 18 by Holly2978 at Neptune Beach, Florida USA on Wednesday, April 24, 2013
It came today! Yay! I'll read it tonight and send it on its way soon! So.....who's next?

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