I have loved sad songs for as long as I can remember; I was only 7 years-old when Austin Roberts’ song Rocky came out. The haunting lyrics reverberated through my mind for years, “Rocky, I’ve never had to die before, don’t know if I can do it”. The song played often in 1975 as I rode the school bus back and forth from school in the cold Wyoming winter. Certainly, I would not have sung out loud, but in my heart I was singing as loud as I could, probably wishing I was the girl dying at the end, the one Rocky was in love with.
Later, I obsessed over Bobby Goldsboro’s Honey; many times I’ve had discussion about the line, “One day while I was not at home, while she was there and all alone, the angels came.” I have often debated the side I believe she committed suicide while the opposing side, if you can call it that, would rather not discuss it. My point, inquiring minds want to know. Somehow, I know it was suicide; sadly, I always wanted it to be.
My most recent obsession has been the song about Vincent Van Gogh and his painting Starry Night, well, mostly just Van Gogh and his mental illness, but it refers to Starry Night. The poignant lyrics of Don McLean’s hit song remind me so much of my own battle against the demons in my mind, that I have obsessively played the song time and again, sometimes looking for answers that I know do not exist.
There are songs that make me sad for other reasons, because they remind me of my dad, like Seven Spanish Angels, just a “dad thing”; or a song that is reminiscent of something fun with my girls, Meatloaf’s Two out of Three Ain’t Bad, when they were little, we used to sing it into hairbrushes and fall onto the bed giggling and laughing; and a song that reminds me of my cousin that died when she was 26, Seasons in the Sun, a real tear-jerker.
Strangely enough, when I want to be sad, as sometimes happens, I play one of my favorite, suicidal thought inducing songs and wait for the sadness to set in. It does not take long at all, one or two notes and the memories, the pain, whatever trigger I need it floods my mind and the tears flow. Usually. Occasionally, I sit faced with no emotion and simply listen to the notes, each staccato sound punctuating a feeling I am suppressing. So it goes. So it goes.
The dichotomy of this side of my personality is I abhor anything depressing in any other form of entertainment. A few years ago I was incapacitated while having 15 surgeries over a 3 year period; as a result, I watched far too much television. It was even challenging for me to read a book, as one of my surgeries was an incredibly painful shoulder surgery followed up by six months of intensive physical therapy.
With so few choices in television, I watched a few (read – a few too many) of the reality based, contest television shows. However, I would watch the first 45 minutes of the show and then change the channel, and I would not watch the last episode when they determined the winner of whatever challenge they had. I seriously did not want to watch anybody being hurt or disappointed.
Additionally, I do not watch horror films of any sort or movies where there is gratuitous violence. Romance, comedies, documentaries, or dramas are all fine, but blood and guts, or anything where somebody is going to get hurt, and I am out.
Still, a song where somebody dies, commits suicide, or loses their loved one; I guess I’m all in. Not in the gangster rap kind of way, as you can tell by my music choices; but in the way where you can listen to the song and still understand the words.
I wonder daily, what’s wrong with me?