This past week brought us some real doozies, doozys? Doozies. Week One's Winner, Lindsey Bluher will be putting on the Judge's gown (or flannel) today to take us through the past week and crown a TMSDOTORG Biggest Bummer Summer Bracket Week Two Winner. As before click the titles to read the original posts. Here we go...
Round Five - Sufjan Vs. Bright Eyes: When I noticed these two songs were going head to head, I thought to myself “Self, you should look into starting anti-depressants before even pressing play.” Sufjan and Bright Eyes are modern day masters at capturing melancholy in a melody, so of course they’re two of my favorites. However, this was a no-contest moment for me in the Bummer Summer Bracket. I have a hard time being impartial, and you see, I have a weird, sometimes consuming addiction to serial killers. This Sufjan song is one of my favorites as a result of that, and Brian’s description captured the aura of the song – we’ve all got demons, but some of us just happen to take it a dozen steps too far. Winner: Sufjan Stevens
Round Six - Bright Eyes vs. The Mountain Goats: Guys, again, Bright eyes. See, they’re fucking masters at the music sad bastards like us like I guess. This round though has to go to The Mountain Goats. Did you guys ever date someone who would send you mix tapes of themselves playing songs about your failing relationships? No? You’re fucking lucky. That sort of desperation isn’t just felt by one person, but by both people in the equation. That to me is why this song wins – in the middle of the mess these people are in, there’s that underlying knowledge that it probably isn’t going to work. That sinking feeling is something we’ve all felt, and the loneliness and pleading hopelessness is captured by Darnielle and his cassette player in a way that I just can’t shake, all these years after first hearing it. Winner: The Mountain Goats
Round Seven - M. Ward vs. Daniel Johnston: It should be noted that right now, as I write this, I’m doing it on my bathroom floor because sushi should never be purchased at a grocery store. But, that being said, this match was probably one of my favorites because I was totally unfamiliar with these songs. Sure, I know who M. Ward is (and sort of hate him purely because he’s half of She and Him and I hope Zooey Deschenel has a tragic bang related accident). But, coming across new sad music with clear ears is awesome. M. Ward’s song though doesn’t sound like anything Little Miss Giggles could wrap her mind around, which gives it bonus points. Tim Cahill describes it as summer barn music, which I just can’t hear – maybe it’s because I live in Seattle where it rains relentlessly, but this song belongs playing in an old brick building when you just can’t bring yourself to get out of bed. I really, really like it. The other song in this round, Johnston’s “Story of an Artist” sort of starts the same way, and I love that these two are back to back. When comparing the two, I can’t help but pick Johnston’s as this round’s winner. The way I hear this song, it sounds, as Dylan said, broken. The piano disjointed and wandering, Johnston’s voice is a little ugly but in such a disturbingly beautiful way, I can’t get enough. The lyrics in this song cut me too – when he talks about feeling odd and out of place, that’s the stuff man, that’s the stuff. Winner: Johnston
Round Eight - The Beach Boys vs. Whiskeytown: So when all us TellMeSomething writers were debating song choices, the subject of how amazingly sad the Beach Boys are, if you know anything about the band’s history. I’m glad this song made it on our list, because it’s a perfect example of a classic Beach Boys song that seems so uplifting! But guess what? Brian Wilson. So, when this song popped up in Round 8, I thought that it was game over. Until I read what Brian Salvatore had to say about Whiskeytown. I am not a partial judge. I majored in history, and WWII is basically my favorite event in modern history, so this song already had a leg up on anything it faced off with. But, in the way Brian wrote about it, nothing else stood a chance. Especially that last paragraph. God DAMN, stop it Brian. If you haven’t read his piece, do that now, and understand how a simple guitar and Ryan Adams could beat out the most deceptively depressing boy band of all time. Winner: Whiskeytown
Okay gang, I’m going to remove myself from the analysis here as best as I can. I obviously didn’t do that before, but I’m self centered and think my opinion rocks, so if you disagree, #SorryImNotSorry. But for the sake of this bracket’s winner, I’m looking just at the lyrics and delivery. All of these songs have the ability to cut. But, I think when it comes down to it the cuts that leave us scarred are the ones we can all relate to, rather than abstract fictional pain. So the winner of this round has to be The Mountain Goats.
Those futile attempts to save what had already fallen apart – if you HAVEN’T encountered that in a relationship, I envy you. In the song, the couple is escaping their common, failing life together and going on all these trips, but at the end he admits what any listener can tell you, “but i cannot run. / and i can't hide. / from the wreck we've made of our house. / from the mess inside.” At first, the man in the song was trying to fix it, but at the end, he seems to understand that the inevitable has already happened – everything is a mess and nothing will be recovered, no matter how physically far they get from their troubles. He wanted her to love him like she used to, but they were too far gone. That’s why this song wins – it helps give a soundtrack to the delayed, hopeless acceptance that comes from realizing an ending relationship. So, pour yourself a glass of wine and reminisce over sour love.