I suppose we all have these weird things about us we can’t explain. They could be the things we like or things we are scared of. I feel like I have quite a few of these idiosyncracies. But there’s one that I always found quite curious.
I have always loved sad things.
That might be a stranger sentence to write than it was to read. You’re probadly wondering what I mean when I say that, but I don’t think it really needs to be analysed all that deeply. Depressing music, sad stories, grey skies: these are a few of my favourite things.
I do not take joy in the suffering of others; in fact sometimes I’m quite empathetic. Nor do I revel in tragedy on a grand scale. What I do enjoy is the conveyed feeling of melancholy, loss, loneliness, sometimes disappointment. I think these feelings drive some of the greatest art, and I feel that art that stems from these emotions can have a disproportionate impact on the way I’m feeling at any given time. I feel like we learn a lot about ourselves in these moments. Grey may seem like just a shade between black and white, but in reality the difference between the two absolutes is so broad. There is so much subtlety there, such a huge area to explore in any number of ways. Sadness is just way more interesting to me than joy.
Let’s run some examples and see if other people can explain it better than I can.
This is from an episode of a show called ‘Louie’. This scene is just heartbreaking. It has stuck with me ever since the day I saw it. It’s so beautifully shot, written, acted, everything. It’s an emotional hail mary if I’ve ever seen one take place on screen. I feel sick for Louie just watching this, but at the same time I can’t help but relate to it and admire his courage and forthrightness. Few scenes of television have occupied my brain like this one has. I just love it.
This is a song called ‘Dire Straits Pt. 1’ by a hip-hop group called Horrorshow. It’s a real stark instrumental; I suppose you could say it was both lush and melancholy. It’s not really a rap per se, more like a poem or free verse I suppose, which adds to the drama and the tension of the whole thing. It’s so introspective, but it’s delivered in third person so it’s sort of like he’s talking about someone else rather than himself, but it’s pretty obvious it’s autobiographical when you hear it in context. It’s a really great headphone track, in fact the whole album is perfect for a set of cans. The track immediately after this one is even more depressing actually. Go and take a look for 'The Grey Space' if you’re into that kind of thing.
This is ‘Vermillion’ and ‘Vermillion Pt. 2’, off the ‘Vol. 3: The Subliminal Verses’ record’. Part one is a grinding hard rock monstrosity with a anthemic final section. Part two is an acoustic strummer where Corey Taylor shows that he has the most devastating clean voice in rock. The these two songs contrast so beautifully, but they also feel like part of a whole.
I don’t fully understand why I feel this way about this stuff. The clips I posted are all things that I love, things that make me happy by drawing upon sad, desolate feelings. It’s strange in that most people who know me would probably say I’m a pretty positive kind of guy, and that’s the way I’d generally like to be perceived. I’m no moper or defeatist; I’m a proactive, happy person. It’s partly an aesthetic thing, but it runs deeper than that as well. I like the weight these things carry, the impact they can have on what you are thinking and feeling. Few things can cut you down or lift you up like a sad song. I don’t know what it means; I just know that for me this is a real thing, that this stuff affects me.