Billy Bragg – St. Swithin’s Day
I was feeling a little low today and when that happens, I often try to make myself listen to the radio so I don’t fall into old habits and listen to songs I know will just allow me to feed that feeling. But the radio wouldn’t cooperate so I gave in and listened to a series of progressively sadder and sadder songs.
This evening Nancy posted a link to this interview with the author of a book called This Will End in Tears: The Miserabilist Guide to Music. Sounds like a book I might have written. The interviewer starts out by saying “Everyone has their favorite sad song, but have you ever thought about the sad song as a whole category of music?” Uh, have you never met a Smiths fan? I don’t have a favorite sad song, I have an extensive collection of sad songs. In college I made tapes with titles like “Morrissey’s Most Moaning Melodies” and “Anguish, Fear, Lamenting” or “Does the Body Rule the Mind or Does the Mind Rule the Body?” (subtitled, I Dunno!).
I made a conscious effort in my 20s to put some distance between myself and lots of those beloved sad songs in the interest of self preservation. And it more or less worked. I still love those songs. Many of them now, with the years that have passed helping to ease the sting, I can listen to and enjoy with a smile. “Oh I can smile about it now but at the time it was terrible.”
So after the talk of Mozzer, why the Billy Bragg song? Because no one can touch him when it comes to songs that pierce your heart. Just listen.