Can depressing songs really fuck you up? Tom Reynolds was screwed by nihilistic shit so bad that he has to pen a book entitled I Hate Myself and Want to Die: The 52 Most Depressing Songs You’ve Ever Heard. Instead of analyzing how the suicidal tunes make you want to blast yourself, Reynolds makes them sound depressingly hilarious with his wit, incisive, heartless and sometimes silly criticisms.
With the list including Ray Peterson’s “Tell Laura I Love Her,” The Carpenter’s “Good-bye to Love,” Phil Collin’s “In the Air Tonight,” Celine Dion’s “All By Myself,” and Bonnie Taylor’s “Total Eclipse of the Heart,” Reynolds discusses the lyrics (mostly his own interpretation of the stories), examines the vocal deliveries (how horrible Mariah Carey sounds when she takes the chorus of “Without You” to the next octave), and scrutinizes instrumental sounds that make you want to pull your hair out. Even though Billie Holiday’s “Strange Fruit” made the cut, I ain’t mad at him. The song meant to be miserable, and she was “telling a story nobody wants to hear.” Who wants to listen to a song about lynching with “bulging eyes,” “twisted mouth,” and “burning fresh?” But I must confess that I dig the part where she mournfully croons, “Here is fruit for the crows to pluck / For the rain to gather, for the wind to suck / For the sun to rot, for the trees to drop / Here is a strange and bitter crop.” I guess I am pretty fucked up myself for enjoying such a horrendous image.
Besides a few truly depressing songs like “Strange Fruit,” Reynold’s list includes sorry-ass songs like Kenny Rogers’ “Ruby, Don’t Take Your Love to Town.” Apparently, the song is about a “cold heartless bitch Ruby” who goes out of town to fuck other men while her husband who is a crippled Viet Nam vet rolls around in his wheelchair. Reynolds points out that listening to the song makes “you feel guilty about even having legs.” You may say that he’s a soulless dickhead, but that what makes his writing appeal to me. At least there’s another asshole who is unapologetic about what he thinks.