Sad songs say so much.

Have you ever noticed that there aren’t that many happy songs. Songs about joy and good times. And when I say good times, I’m not referring to “drinking jack and coke with my bitches and my ho’s.”

There are few songs that feel like happiness. Interestingly, most of them make it big on the charts. In the 80’s there were songs like: Walking on the sunshine, Oh Mickey You’re So Fine,  Girls Just Wanna Have Fun, Celebration, 500 Miles, Don’t Worry Be Happy,  and Jump For My Love.

More recently happy songs have included: Suddenly I See, Celebration remix, Spinning Around, Love Generation, Amazing, and I Got a Feeling.

Mostly, the charts are dominated with sad love songs, songs inspired by unhappiness, bad times, loneliness…. And of course sex.

I’m sure sex makes a lot of people happy. But that is not what I’m talking about. I’m referring to the songs that make you want to jump and skip not bump and grind.


I get that these kind of songs (the upbeat tempo and the melodious tunes) don’t appeal to all tastes. There’s a whole lot of music on the market that I don’t even know about.

Here is the current ARIA Australian Top 10: 

  1. California Gurls – Katy Perry feat. Snoop
  2. Airplanes – B.o.B feat. Hayley Williams
  3. Smile – Uncle Cracker
  4. OMG – Usher feat.
  5. I Like It – Enrique Iglesias feat. Pitbull
  6. Billionaire – Travie McCoy feat. Bruno Mars
  7. Not Afraid – Eminem
  8. Love the way you Lie – Eminem feat. Rihanna
  9. We speak no Americano – Yolanda Be Cool and DCup
  10. Getting Over You – David Guetta feat. Chris Willis, Fergie & LMFAO

My first question is who the hell is Uncle Cracker and why does he think he can release a song all by himself? Because clearly – the way it’s done these days (according to the list) is to have someone else featuring in the song.

Second – when did Enrique get cool again? And finally, who is B.o.B, Hayley Williams, Travie McCoy, Bruno Mars, and DCup????

See? I thought I was up to the musical minute for knowing who David Guetta was, and he’s like, at the bottom of the list. Yes, I know this doesn’t say a lot for my musical tastes but they have never been particularly highbrow.  I think my admiration for George Michael, Kylie Minogue, Madonna and Ricky Martin have made that clear.

But I also love Barnes. James Barnes. Well actually Jimmy, but we all know its short for James, and how 007 was that?

Jimmy will be releasing a new album. And guess what? It was inspired by his ‘down and out’ times.

Regarding his latest album Rage And Ruin, Jimmy has said the following:  

‘At the point when I was writing the lyrics, I felt that there was no way out and it was a downward spiral to death. I wrote a whole lot of stuff between 2000 and 2002, and for a lot of that time, I was really, really, heavily addicted to coke and drugs and alcohol – drinking three bottles of vodka a day.

 I didn’t know how I was going to die, because I’ve got the constitution of a horse, nothing was going to kill me, but I kept looking at myself thinking ‘f**k, you’re still standing’.

‘But it was whether I wanted to live or not’.

So these songs are probably about the darkest times of my life, but from a perspective of having been through it. You don’t have to have gone through the same thing as me to have the same fears.

Drugs and alcohol magnified my fears, but everybody has the same fears, same hopes, same worries, same dreams. I think that’s when a song touches people.

Yes Jimmy, you’re right. Sad, depressing songs appeal to our insecurities and fears, and we relate to the empty, cold, lonely, sad feeling because who’s never been depressed? We all have.

(On a side note: 3 bottles of Vodka a day???? Yes, you should be dead. Glad you’re not! Or I might never have got to dance front row at your concert a week before giving birth…. but truly??? THREE?)

When Leona Lewis released Bleeding Love, she made history with the number of consecutive weeks her song was number 1.

Naturally! Not only did it appeal to all the Emo’s, but who hasn’t felt like bleeding love when the guy you think is IT, turns out to be a controlling anxious arrogant mixed up mean selfish heartless insensitive commitment phobic prick.

But much fewer people have had the experience of spinning around on a dance floor in gold sequined hotpants, followed with a boogie on the bar top. I have, and it’s a hoot! (well, minus the hotpants) and perhaps why Spinning Around by Kylie made me feel alive whenever it came on the radio.  I could relate. Good times. GREAT times.

And I think I know why we prefer to hear sad songs than happy ones. It’s because secretly, we all love to wallow. Just a little. Some more than others.

 There are few opportunities in life these days when we’re allowed to feel grief. Death of a loved one is a given. Although not permanent and nowhere near as devastating, losing a lover can be equally as hard. People are ok if you’re sad for a bit. Sure, she’s been dumped, she’s not 100% today.

But the expectation to get on with it and move forward with your life is mandatory in today’s society. There’s too much to do. We’re too busy to be sad. We are expected to function 100%.

I have a secret confession that I’ve only ever told one person. In my second year of university I broke up with my first love. (We actually got back together and broke up about 4 times afterwards but at the time I thought we were permanently caput).

So I had all these assignments due, and I just couldn’t think straight. I was in a haze of grief and all I wanted to do was listen to George Michael “One More Try,” Celine Dion’s “All By Myself” and Melissa Etheridge “Somebody Bring me Some Water” while staring at his photo. In bed. Alone. Surrounded by all the love notes he’s ever written me.

(We actually put pen to paper back in those days. Mobile phones were just for calling).

Doing my marketing assignment on “Barbie in Japan – A phenomena or a flop” was very unappealing.

So I made an appt with the guidance counsellor at uni, and told her the biggest fib. I’m so ashamed to say this, but I told her my brother died in a car accident. Because telling her my boyfriend and I had broken up wouldn’t cut it. I would NEVER get an extension for that. Harden up she would tell me. Move on. There’s plenty to feel happy about. Wouldn’t she?

I should apologise now: not only to both of my gorgeous brothers who I can’t imagine not in my life, but also the genuinely caring and concerned guidance counsellor who saved me from failing. I’m also sorry to my lecturers who obviously got told and took pity on me. Oh, and sorry to myself: the insecure and naïve girl I was back then. For not thinking my sadness was validated because my heart had been ripped out of my chest.

But I think my story proves a point. The perception that a broken heart shouldn’t last too long is alive and well. ‘Move on’ everyone tells us. ‘You’re better than him.’

Blah blah blah….

So we go to work, we go out with friends and pretend we’re fine, we go to family gatherings and act together, and then we go home, put on a CD and find enormous comfort and familiarity with the emptiness and sadness that our pop and rock  idols are telling us all about. Because we understand.

Who amongst you – that have been cheated on.. can tell me you do not find a morbid comfort in the following words….

Tonight I feel so weak
But all in love is fair
I turn the other cheek
And I feel the slap and the sting of the foul night air
And I know you’re only human
And I haven’t got talking room
But tonight while I’m making excuses
Some other woman is making love to you

Somebody bring me some water
Can’t you see I’m burning alive
Can’t you see my baby’s got another lover
I don’t know how I’m gonna survive
Somebody bring me some water
Can’t you see it’s out of control
Baby’s got my heart and my baby’s got my mind
But tonight the sweet Devil’s got my soul

When will this aching pass
When will this night be through
I want to hear the breaking glass
I only feel the steel of the red hot truth
And I’d do anything to get it out of my mind
I need some insanity that temporary kind
Tell me how will I ever be the same
When I know that woman is whispering your name

Somebody bring me some water
Can’t you see I’m burning alive
Can’t you see my baby’s got another lover
I don’t know how I’m gonna survive
Somebody bring me some water
Can’t you see it’s out of control
Baby’s got my heart and my baby’s got my mind
But tonight the sweet Devil’s got my soul

Oh, the Devil’s got my soul

Somebody bring me some water
Can’t you see I’m burning alive
Can’t you see my baby’s got another lover
I don’t know how I’m gonna survive
Somebody bring me some water
Can’t you see it’s out of control
Baby’s got my heart and my baby’s got my mind
But tonight the sweet Devil’s got my soul


Well I think Jimmy made it clear that if he was singing that song, it would be Bring Me Some Vodka… but I’ll be interested to hear his new album. Not that I’ve ever been a druggie, but as he said, I’m sure we’ll all relate!



  1. Sian Bell · July 8, 2010

    And I’m a little bit lost without you

    and I’m a bloody big mess inside

    and I’m a little bit lost without you

    this aint a love song this is goodbye.

    I don’t know who sings this but……….. sob, sob, sob. Even I get teary when I hear this.

    Sad songs are theraputic though. That’s why they’re so popular.

  2. Meggles · July 8, 2010

    DCup is Adventure Man’s Brother…

  3. cyclonecindy · July 8, 2010

    SO TRUE!
    Now I want to hear that song. I’m going to search it…

  4. cyclonecindy · July 8, 2010

    Oh! It’s by Scouting For Girls…. This Ainta Love Song. It’s in the top 20 I think…

  5. Pippa Skye · July 9, 2010

    Hey Cindy, “Uncle Kracker” used to work with Kid Rock in the ol’ days andwent solo in 2000 with the song “Follow Me” (great song!!) and sings the song “Smile” that is on all the promo adds for this season of “Packed to the Rafters”… Just so you can keep informed 🙂
    ❤ Pip

  6. xeronia · July 22, 2010

    I read somewhere once that sad songs were good because they brought out the sadness in us, as that they made us feel better and a little less sad. They’d get us to reflect and help us to move on, just enough so that we don’t forget the sad. I suppose that wallowing is part of that.

    • cyclonecindy · July 22, 2010

      I agree. I’m all for a little wallowing. I think it does help you move on. Not faster, but better!

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