It occurred to me, as I wept like a small child to the song "Beautiful Children" at the Jeremy Messersmith show on Saturday night, that I have a small handful of songs that inevitably cause me to get choked up, misty-eyed, and sometimes, if the mood is right, broken down into complete tears every time I hear them.
I call them my crying songs, and they tend to center around the same five or six tunes at any given time. Sometimes, when I'm feeling down, listening to the saddest songs actually make me feel better. Other times, the crying is the best part. A few of my crying songs get me for sentimental reasons, while others are effective just for their beauty or sadness or composition. For the longest time, I thought that this was a strange and deeply personal part of my personality; but recently I've come to realize that many of my friends and colleagues (I won't out you here, but feel free to leave a note in the comments) have their own sets of crying songs.
Which is one my favorite parts about music, and why I got started writing about it in the first place: music is a universal form of expression, and something we can all relate to on some level. The idea that all of the people around me (well, the honest ones anyway) can cop to getting all soft inside when a certain chord is hit or a certain verse is sung is soothing, somehow. It means we are all human, connected, real.
The other night, I was hanging out a friend's house and digging through her iTunes playlist, and she showed me one of her favorite mixes. It was simply titled "I love to cry!" And it was beautiful.
Here's my list of crying songs -- for the moment, anyway. Leave your own below, if you can.
Ani Difranco, "Dilate"
Jeremy Messersmith, "Beautiful Children"
Romantica, Leonard Cohen, Jeff Buckley, or anybody talented, "Hallelujah"
Bach, "Cello Suite No. 1"
Mark Olson, "Clifton Bridge"
Marketa Irglova, "The Hill"
Ryan Adams, "Come Pick Me Up"