We’ve all heard the anthems to self-pity and I even did a short-list a while back last summer of stadium self-pity songs and there is likely some cross-over here. But here I try to give a deeper analysis and a bit more of the why I felt these songs made the List of Self Pity of Stadium Self-Pity and in some cases, just out and out masochism. (You’ll see.)
In some cases, these singers may as well wear hair shirts to punish themselves and/or their lovers for leaving or grieving them so, they hurt so much. Here there is bitterness and bile but mostly, there is just sorrow and hurt. So read on, and you’ll find some classics and no doubt, the minute I turn this in, I’ll think of 15 or more I should have included that I should have included but did not. There were many by Elliott Smith that could have made the list but I’ll leave that up to you to decide… I couldn’t choose just one. There are other singers as well, bands, who really belong here but again, just didn’t quite make the cut. I tried to pick those who fit the list and to keep the list within reason. Maybe if there is good response I can do a continuation of the list or if you like this idea of themes then perhaps I can drum up some others….
Obviously, I Will Always Love You by Whitney Houston almost made the list. (There is a long story behind that, involving a lawsuit in Britain and a distraught young man whose boyfriend had just left him and who would not stop playing the song. If fact, he played it over and over and over again until finally his condo board took him to court and won and he was forced to pay damages ~ apparently he played this song at all hours, so maybe he belongs on the list, not the song, hard to separate out…)
In any event here is the list at last… do feel free to talk about songs you’d include. I’d love to hear about them. One that occurred was What a Lonely Boy by Andrew Gold but I couldn’t think of what I’d really say about it. With that say, I’ve said enough…
s. r. p.
Come Pick Me Up by Ryan Adams - It may be the ultimate fight/fuck song of all time, but Ryan Adams has nailed what breaking up can often be all about in Come Pick Me Up. That said, while clearly a vindictive song, this is also a song (directed to the party who did the injuring here and the hurting and hurting and hurting and hurting …) about being hurt and about wanting to be or resigning himself, hell, even asking to be hurt again. With the line… “I wish you would…” and the rest follow from there. It’s not so much that Adams is just about vengeance, though again that is part of it, but there is also a great deal of self-pity here because he wishes she would:
Come pick me up
Take me out
Fuck me up
Steal my records
Screw all my friends
They’re all full of shit
With a smile on your face
And then do it again