Chimes of Depression

Perched slouching against slits of wee afternoon light glimmers deviously casting shadows across the deep ebonies of the room, I indulged myself into the melancholy of yesteryear’s downcast hymns, gradually finding myself sunken into an excavation of bleak melodic dispirits. I painted pictures of disparity and hopelessness as iTunes utter the mournful vibes of rasp sentiments, orchestral theatrics and desolated vocals ranging from Lana Del Rey to Gary Jules. This captivation of murky emotions have aroused the intentions to create a list of songs that capture mournful stories, heartfelt agonies, feelings of torment and depressing tunes to cater a gloomy ambience.

10. Born To Die – Lana Del Rey (2011)


Regarded as one of the best new artists in recent years, Lana Del Rey’s sophomore smash-hit to “Video Games” is just as haunting. Perceived as a song of relationship strain, she opens up a new dimension for sad-core music to be enlisted amongst today’s mainstream generation of quirky dance pop by peaking at #9 on the UK charts. A definite mood-dampener if you are seeking a modern twist to your song collection.

9. No Surprises – Radiohead (1998)


This track moves at a seemingly lullaby pace, displaying the acidity of Thom Yorke’s hauntingly beautiful tenor vocals in transpiring the suicidal characteristics of the song. It is the ability to shiver listeners at such an unravelling pace that sees no surprises for the English rock outfits to chart #4 in the UK.

8. Shape of My Heart – Sting (1993) 


One of Sting’s lesser known releases, “Shape of My Heart” tells a tale of a card-game player that has lost his emotions through his mass involvement in the game. A poker face; masking his feelings even when he doesn’t want to.

7. Here Without You – 3 Doors Down (2003)


“Here Without You” became an instant commercial success during the Iraqi war, making it an anthem for deployed troops and their friends and families back home. The pain of solitude while missing somebody has taken Brad Arnold and the boys top of the Billboard’s Hot Adult charts.

6. The Blower’s Daughter – Damien Rice (2001)


The mesmerizing vocal delivery of both Damien Rice and the female backing vocalist can’t help but rekindle reminiscences on having strong affections for someone you’d never expect to have. The anger and fear implicated by the Irish singer-songwriter for wanting something he’ll never get has transposed into a well-crafted anthem of sorrow.

5. My Immortal – Evanescence (2003)


Arguably the best exemplary of modern rock desolation, Evanescence’s Grammy-award winning rock ballad begins with chilly piano riffs, Amy Lee’s dauntingly powerful dynamics, climaxed with the band coming in to give an aggressive edge before Amy’s alluring vibrato epilogue. The song is said to be inspired by the death of someone close.

4. Back to Black – Amy Winehouse (2006)


Perhaps the best song to describe the troubled R&B singer’s declining career before her untimely death in July 2011; a life revolved around the misery hyped by drugs, booze and bad relationships. Her signature deep contralto vocals were all but eminent in this number, serving as the perfect tribute for a talented artist’s departure from the music world. RIP Amy Winehouse.

3. Everybody Hurts – R.E.M. (1992)


Voted the most depressing song of all time by Telegraph, the American rock band has produced possibly one of the very few songs in pop-music history to make real men weep. The beauty of it is that it could relate to anyone, with it’s directive and simple lyrics describing how everyone go through life’s struggles; a song of reassurance; a song telling you that you are not alone.

2. Hallelujah – Jeff Buckley (1994)


Probably the best wretch among covers, Jeff Buckley exposes the exquisite divinity of pain and grace with his cunning approach towards the song. On an emotional level, Jeff has outdone Leonard Cohen through his artistry of making this song completely his own. Sadly, he didn’t live long enough to witness the success of his recording, which went on to top charts around the world a decade after its’ original release. However, this should be remembered as one of the most enchanting and saddest songs ever to be sung.

1. Mad World – Michael Andrew and Gary Jules (2001)


This list would appear to be irrelevant without the inclusion of the dismal rendition of Michael Andrews and Gary Jules. Considered as feasibly the most depressing song in recent decades, it discloses paradox, ignorance, insignificance, obliviousness, alienation, loneliness, hatred, trivial to live and everything that spells depression. It proved to be a huge commercial success by reaching the chart summits of several countries around the world.

The past couple of decades have provided series of pop-music glooms spanning genres from R&B to rock; thus, I conclude my personal list of depressing songs in the last 20 years and am secretly hoping that more contemporary artists will supply compositions that will match the harrowing heights of Billie Holiday or Frank Sinatra’s heartedness.


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