Sad Bastard Music: Jilted January (John Gross)

January 16, 2015


Lost hope? Dreams ended? Spilled milk? This is Sad Bastard Music – a monthly column of the best sad songs of all time and this exists solely for your comfort. Come here buddy … bring it in. There you go …. that’s better. Let it all out. Let it all go and have a good cry. It’s not your fault. It’s not your fault.

The sadder the song, the better the song – that’s the motto!  Let’s begin!

:Hank Williams – There’s A Tear In My Beer:  I can already tell that you’re not listening to enough Hank Williams today so far so let’s change that right … now. Crying at the honky tonk is my favorite country music trope and it can likely all be traced back to this 1950 megaclassic. If you need a resolution for 2015 it should absolutely be to listen to more Hank Williams and to get his likeness tattooed on your forearm.

:Azure Ray – Raining in Athens:  These two girls, man. They can be brutally sad. Wait – not can be … they ARE brutally sad. This poetic song tells tale of a hypothetical universe of what could have been between a failed couple, an alternate universe where things worked out and the couple grow old together. A false reality where the main character has “mastered the art of dealing and slipping away without falling apart.” The realization and confession of this is a hugely complex thing to grapple with and it’s tackled in three short stanzas in about four minutes. For more, I strongly recommend the record Burn And Shiver but really any Azure Ray from our sadsack pals at Saddle Creek will do the trick. Brutally Sad.

:Bruce Springsteen – My Hometown:  You can’t escape. Racial tension, shotgun blasts, hotrod races, unemployed factory workers and the Americana cycle that goes on and on and on. This could be viewed as an uplifting something or other about the American dream we’re promised and the glory of being able to make your own way in the land of milk and honey or whatever – but it’s a sad one to me. The glass is half empty in my hometown.

:Mac DeMarco – Brother:  Here, DeMarco and his devil may care attitude takes a jab, like a lackadaisical Springsteen, at the modern American dream. With mellow, chorus pedal drenched guitar and almost monotone melody, Mac warns against conformity and the meaningless existence of the rat race in corporate America. There’s more to life than work/work/work/work/die. Right? For instance: there are great music blogs to read and kitty cats to pet!

:Beck – Cut in Half Blues:  This is some of that textbook “anti-folk” stuff that the kids are going wild for these days. It’s certainly not serious but in it’s humor there is sadness. Heck, I don’t envy a protagonist that’s literally been cut in half by his old lady! Hey – she loves power tools! Even in the bedroom! Some may know this song from Stereopathetic Soulmanure but this version here is much more rare – it’s from an unofficial collection of weirdo Beck demos called Don’t Get Bent Out Of Shape from 1992, two years before Loser-mania swept the nation. “Well, the last thing I saw was a big long saw, I got the cut in half blues”


I’ve been wildly into the Everly Bros lately and after absorbing all of the greatest hits CDs that exist commercially – the only other place to go is to the internet to find 50 year old live TV performances from the UK. These bouffant haircuts were captured live on the Alma Cogan Show and the backing band just so happens to be the Crickets just two years after the day the music died and Buddy Holly passed away. There must be something in this fresh 2015 air that is making internet nerds like me revisit their musical luster, because right before posting this I ran across this recent love letter to the Bros from Esquire that has a sweet Spotify playlist and everything! Check it out HERE!


The next No Dancing: Sad Bastard Music night at the Volstead will be in honor of Valentine’s Day and all attendants will receive one of a kind cards from me to you featuring the best gut wrenching pop lyrics of all time! February 10th 2015- mark your calendars!


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