What music do you listen to when you’re…

So as a minister, I have a question for you. When you are sad — I mean seriously sad, not just sad because you broke a nail, or because you didn’t hit the lottery (again) — when you are seriously sad, what music do you prefer to listen to?

I’ll hold off on giving my own answer for now….

14 thoughts on “What music do you listen to when you’re…

  1. Lyn C

    Great question!

    If I anticipate feeling sad for awhile, I might listen to The Offspring, Green Day, Rage Against the Machine, the Pogues, Pink, or any number of 90’s grunge bands. I might listen to soundtracks of humorous yet cynical musicals (Little Shop of Horrors, Avenue Q, Once More With Feeling).

    Some artists (Ani DiFranco, Stan Rogers, Dead Can Dance, Sarah McLachlan, The Beatles) will either cheer me up or make me more sad. It’s hard to predict.

    I have play lists of music that hold some potential to comfort me, if I’m interested in that. The play lists include Pagan rock, some “world” music (Israeli, Japanese Celtic), plus an embarrassingly high quotient of UU hymns.

  2. Widdy

    Bach, Bach, Bach – with an additional dose of William Byrd

    Specifically, Bach’s Mass in B-Minor and the solo violin works.

    And Byrd’s Masses for 3, 4, and 5 voices and the “Ave Verum”

    There’s nothing better for reminding my heart and mind that there’s beauty and order somewhere.


  3. Charlie Talbert

    When I’m sad I like sad, soulful music.

    Cuts from movie soundtracks like Sprinkler (from The Straight Story) or Goodnight You Kings of New England (from The Cider House Rules) are melancholy and moving.

    So are many of Leonard Cohen’s songs, like Famous Blue Raincoat, Last Year’s Man, Nancy (It seems so long ago), and Hallelujah.

    StevenR would probably like one of my favorites. I was thrilled last year to discover that the 1987 performance by the Everly Brothers on Lake Woebegon was on YouTube. I had never forgotten it (it had been televised) but could only find the overly-produced, studio version of their song, Why Worry. Past their prime then? I don’t think so, and their faces – making you wonder about the wild ride of a life they must have lived – are as expressive as their harmony in this beautiful song. http://tinyurl.com/2z943f

  4. E

    The Grateful Dead or Bach chamber music. It depends on why I am sad. I also play those when I am happy. And yoga chanting CDs, especially Krishna Das and Dave Stringer.

  5. Dan

    Wow, what great answers!!

    My own personal answer is Bach, preferably Art of the Fugue or Goldberg Variations, or something particularly abstract, one of those Bach works that reveal something of the inherent and ultimately incomprehensible structure of the universe. As Widdy says above, “There’s nothing better for reminding my heart and mind that there’s beauty and order somewhere.” — my feelings exactly.

    Steve Reich would probably serve the same purpose, though I have never tried….

    I find I don’t want to listen to songs when sad, no not even Leonard Cohen nor Thomas Tallis. Although a good rip-roaring opera can work for me (Puccini, Verdi, Rossini). Though I don’t listen to songs, I do like to sing folk music, from African American spirituals, to ballads and work songs, to recently composed songs in the folk tradition.

    Any more responses out there?

  6. Jean

    Glenn Gould’s 33 variations. Tori Amos. Van Morrison. Peanuts theme music. Actually it all depends: do I want to get un-sad? Do I want to understand my sadness? What kind of sadness is it? Grief? Worry? Angst? Self-doubt? Loss? It really really depends. Sometimes nothing but a walk in the woods and the music of birds and creek water (and a panting running dog) will do.

  7. Sally

    I have an itune playlist that I listen to when I am sad:

    Blue Boat Home – Peter Mayer
    We Shall Overcome – Peter Paul and Mary version
    Tell me on a Sunday – Bernadette Peters
    I know this Rose will Open – Hymn #396
    Gathered Safely In – Diane Taraz
    Not Ready to Make Nice – Dixie Chicks
    Childhood Memories – Iris Dement
    Wanting Memories – Sweet Honey in the Rock

  8. kim

    Fred Small songs, especially the album called I Will Stand Fast. The title song saved my life when I was horribly depressed.
    I used to have a tape of what I called Strong Woman songs that I had collected — mostly folk and folk-rock. I’ll see if I can find it…. Nope.

  9. Marie

    It depends on what I need. Sometimes, I need something that will touch the sad spot, and allow me to feel the vulnerability and sorrow and cry for a while. Hymn #6, which includes the line “Disappointment pierced me through, still I kept on loving you,” is one that has served me well at times when my deep sadness has involved a family member’s behavior. Meg Barnhouse’s “All Will Be Well” always helps. I almost always cry when I hear it — it is at once an acknowledgment of deep sorrow AND a movement towards hope and faith in the future. For some reason that I haven’t yet identified, Jeff Buckley’s version of “Hallelujah” also touches me that way.

    Other times, I need to just be transported away, in which case there are any number of vocal artists who appeal to me. Most are women, for whatever reason: Holly Near, Ronnie Gilbert, Billie Holiday, Patsy Cline. Folk music of almost any sort, “classic” rock — but stuff that I can sing along with. There’s something about using my own voice, too, that comforts me. Like another responder, I will also sometimes drag out my guitar and sing some of the old hymns I sang as a child — I especially like “I Come to the Garden”.

    Come to think of it, any worship service that includes lots of congregational singing brings me comfort, as does the harder work of choir practice. Wherever I am when they begin, I always feel better when they are over.

  10. Earthbound Spirit

    Like Ms. Kitty, I sing. But I don’t know old hymns, so I sing chants I learned in church; and I sing along with Indigo Girls, Bonnie Raitt, Ferron, Ani DiFranco, and others.

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