I Hate Myself and Want to Die: The 52 Most Depressing Songs You've Ever Heard Hardcover – 13 Jun 2005
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The book that EVERY music fan will want this Christmas: an unforgettable examination of the songs we all cry along to What is it about depressing songs that make such a lasting impression on people's minds - the lyrical tugging of the heartstrings? The melancholy melody? If you're a true connoisseur, these elements are just the beginning, as Tom Reynolds illustrates brilliantly in this addictive book. With a heavy heart and a tear in his beer, Reynolds painstakingly analyses the mysterious allure of songs that crush our spirits by looking at 52 depressing songs - from top-10 hits to cultish dirges - that have earned our slavish devotion over the years. Breaking up his list into 10 categories of gloom and doom - from Teenage Car Crash anthems to She-Hates-Me-I-Hate-Her ditties - the author pines away over musical elements before digging in to reveal the suicidal heart of each and every song - a list that includes artists as diverse as Joy Division, Bobby Darin, Counting Crows, Evanescence, Bruce Springsteen and Barry Manilow.Complete with a ranked countdown from 52 to 1 and wonderfully dreary black and white line drawings throughout, I Hate Myself and Want to Die is a must-have compilation of melodic misery - and a perfect Christmas gift.
Top customer reviews
There's no affection shown to most of the songs listed, which I think is a major fault with the book.
Worse still, in the case of 'Brick' by the Ben Folds Five, he actually admits to having misunderstood the story behind the lyrics while he was compiling the book, then STILL proceeds to rate it based on his original belief - now that's just damn lazy writing.
A missed opportunity that makes me hate the writer - although I stop short of wanting him to die... as long as he doesn't write a follow-up (and he did, so die Reynolds, die!).
Tom Reynolds covers a whole host of genres in this book, covering five or so decades. It was interesting to jump from The Carpenters "Goodbye To Love" to Metallica's "One".
If like me, you like to learn about musicians and artists. Then you will be pleased with this book. While it goes into detail about the meaning of the songs and how they came to be. For instance Tom explains the meaning of the Kiss song "Beth". Apparently, one of the band members wives became obsessive with phoning her husband during their rehearsals, thus resulting in the band writing a song about the experience...like you do.
With other titillating musical facts and dark humour, this is most likely a book that you will pull out of the bookcase to read again. Or else recommend to a friend.
So why not 5 stars? Well some of the songs are a little obscure, and the musical deconstruction gets very technical. As another reviewer said, a CD would be great and including one in the book (difficult I know for permisson purposes) would have been an excellent touch. Nonetheless for 10 quid you really cant go wrong.
He left out the ultimate in exploring the human condition and orchestrating doom: the no-wave band, swans. All of their repertoire could have been included. They were the masters of that large looming sound with waves of repetitious epic arrangements. As bleak and harrowing as lead singer Michael Gira's life. Look at the titles: "Raping A Slave", "Failure", "Turned To Stone" etc. Apparently so loud that they caused members of the audience to vomit.
I realise it is his list of what he finds depressing and there's different kinds of sadness. Phil Collins, who's music you wouldn't necessarily describe as depressing, depresses me greatly for instance.
I did enjoy his flowery descriptions of his response to THE CURE's Prayers For Rain although I wouldn't class them as one of the most depressing bands. They after all do a lot of pop songs.
I think he missed GG Allin too right?
Anyway, an entertaining if flawed book.
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