Every once in a while a writer gets to taking on the task of categorizing the saddest songs put to record. Self-prescribed “miserabilist” Adam Brent Houghtaling is a man who just dedicated 368 pages to it, dubbing the collection, This Will End in Tears. Weaving history upon stereotype, chord-progression upon lyrics, it’s not a railing against “sad” music, but rather a defense against naysayers – those who just can’t commiserate. Or rather, those not so lonesome they could cry, if we were to borrow some words from Hank Wiliams, who definitely notched in on Houghtaling’s 100-artist-stocked list.
Though the point is that you don’t need to be lonesome at all, really, that sad songs, like all great songs, mine their greatness from the soul of the listener. So goes our shout out to Elliott Smith‘s bitter-sweet geniusry in “Waltz #2,” dancing in the major key, tumbling forth into its perfectly pliable punchline: “I’m never going to know you now/But I’m going to love you anyhow.” But we want to hear what y’all would choose?