This summer has been quite the bummer, right? We here at Tell Me Something got to thinking: What is the biggest bummer song? You know, that song that you put on and to make yourself feel sad and super Zach Braff-y. Well, there's really only one way to find out and that's an incredibly sad, deeply depressing and somewhat biased look at the songs that bring us down the most presented in a confusing and, again, biased form. Here we go...
M. Ward - "Transfiguration #2"
I put this record (Transfiguration of Vincent) on late last night and it's wonderful for two reason. First - it seems to naturally emanate from the summer atmosphere with all of its floor creaks & barrel whacks AND secondly - this last song is the one to end it all. No words, just a haunting piano melody that's PROBABLY being played by a skeleton (sans top hat). I picture this song being played on repeat from a dusty record player in an abandoned barn in the middle of nowhere - I scare myself thinking about stumbling upon this. It would be so terrifying and probably weirdly beautiful. Someone call the creators of "X-Files", have them re-assemble and then have them make an episode revolving around this idea - maybe we'll throw some snakes in the barn just to make the plot more interesting. M. Ward successfully bottled 'atmospheric sadness' when he wrote this one. -Tim Cahill
Daniel Johnston - "Story of an Artist"
It's upsetting, sure, but some of the greatest songs in the world are written by the mentally and emotionally unstable. The frankness and unyielding truth comes from the moments when we're at our most broken and confused and hurt. No one artist is this more true about than Daniel Johnston. I know Tell Me Something's audience and I'm sure you all know about Daniel Johnston. He is the quintessential tortured artist and though his songs range from the silly and absurd to the beautiful and tragic there is one common thread in that they are distinctly him.
"The Story of an Artist" is Daniel's open letter to people who see his art and him as an artist. "Listen up and I'll tell a story / About an artist growing old" he sings in his broken voice. This song is about anyone who has ever felt like an outsider written and recorded by an outsider. The song for as beautiful of a story it is about Daniel I can't help but insert my own narrative into it. There was a time when I considered myself an artist. As the years go by and the hair gets thinner, the songs become more derivative and the projects become fewer and further in between the more I realize that my days of creative expression have come and passed. We all have plans but the world has a way of sorting out those of us who have what it takes and those who sit on the sidelines. This song reminds me that I am the sidelines kind of person. "Some would try for fame and glory / Others just like to watch the world". -Dylan Wise