This list could be even longer, but off the top of my head, I had to put together the biggest stadium self pity songs of all time; or that I remember anyway. Surely there are many others to add to this list, but off the top of my head and with a little bit of research, here is what we came up with in order of how they rank.
I have a bit of a theory about self-pity in more general terms. I think it’s fine to feel self-pity for oh, say, a day, to really say, You know, this sucks, and play all the really sad and sappy songs you want and to mope about in pajamas or not even get up or brush your teeth or your hair and wear grungy clothes or whatever particular form your pity takes, that is fine. But the rule I allow myself is this: you have one day a week to let it suck. One day. That means that every week, if something goes wrong, I mean terribly wrong (which isn’t every week, which is good and a vast improvement), but let’s say it goes wrong ~ then for ONE day, you can let it suck. After that, you get back up and go about your business. Wallowing for a time, can be healthy; wallowing for a lifetime is not healthy. So that said… Here is my brief list, that by no means covers it all and no doubt you will say, But why didn’t she add…. Well, I can’t add everything, so I trust you, reader dear, to add in the comments section your own commentary and would be even grateful. So…
Feel free to add your own at the comments section and the Why of it all and why they rank on this list. Surely there are others and we’d love hear about them for our compilation CD that we putting together (any buyers?) for those oh-so-lonely nights (or days) when you are feeling bleak and overwhelmed or under-whelmed as the case may be, but alone anyway, which brings us to number one…… any buyers?
Alone Again Naturally – Gilbert O’ Sullivan
Now this guy just has bad luck; his father dies, his mother dies, he’s left at the altar and leaves everyone in the church just waiting and so decides that perhaps in his “our of need” he truly is indeed, “alone again…. naturally.” It’s the “naturally” that seals the deal. The song brings back vivid memories for me as a child, and I like it, but it has to be the most self pitying song I have ever heard. if you can do me one better, go for it. We may have a long debate on our hands.
Seasons in the Sun – Terry Jacks
Is this guy dying of some fatal disease or is he getting divorced or is he planning on suicide or is he just running away? I don’t get it. It sounds to me like it could be either, but either way, he’s gone, outta there, scram, vroom, and etc., So what’s up with that? He sounds to me like a cancer patient about to die ~ or at least, when I had cancer, for years, I listened to this song over and over and over again while sitting in my wheelchair by the kitchen door and feeling very sorry for myself as I had every right to be but so what? It was still self pity. Merited or not, self pity is self-pity and is rarely, if ever, a good thing and serves no purpose but to hold you back.
If Living is Without You – Harry Nilsson
This one has to be pretty huge on the self pity scale. Talk about a break up. The threat of suicide, or at least, a broken heart and surely death, it sounds like, but shouldn’t he (Harry Nilsson) be in California or Seattle or wherever the weather suits his clothes? You know what I mean… “Everbody’s talkin’ at me…”
All by Myself – Eric Carmen
Ohhh, nobody ever loved this guy and nobody ever will because he’s just too damn self-pitying and too self-involved to really love in any way. I mean, whine whine whine. Oh, just shut up. That said, it’s perfect for those nights when you’ve had too much red-wine to drink and find yourself alone (a bad sign for anyone) then you will always be by yourself so long as you keep that up!
Hallelujah – Leonard Cohen and cover by Jeff Buckley
Wow, did this woman screw this guy over and boy is he embittered, though he says it so beautifully that it’s hard to put on this list… I love this song, particularly the Buckley version, and his death, awful and tragic as it was, leaves questions about whether or not it was intentional or not, given the album he had just cut and the content of sme of the songs that almost sound eerily as if they were recorded underwater.
Come Pick Me Up – Ryan Adams
Now, I love this song. I think it’s terrific and I love that he has, sort of, a sense of humor about it, but at the same time, there is a melancholy about it and a bitterness that rings all too true. He is pissed, but he’s also feelin’ angry, sorry for himself and all the usual stuff you feel after a break-up; I can’t blame him, but it’s pretty good medicine if you’re going through a break up of your own, which means…. it warrants it’s place on this list.
Angel of the Morning – Juice Newton
Ahhh, women everywhere, we won’t hold me who don’t want us (sniffle, sniffle); we are strong, but… “just call me ‘angel of the morning’ and just ‘stroke my cheek before you leave me, baby…” and then we’ll be fine. Not that we’re dependant on men or anything… cause we’re not.
If You Leave Me Now– Chicago
You’ll take away the biggest part of me… awww…. At least he’ll still have his, well, erm… you know.
I Will Always Love You – Whitney Houston
A guy in the UK who broke up with his lover played this song repeatedly for months on end, back to back, nonstop. His neighbors, a whole building asked him to stop for a while anyway. He would not relent. He was devastated he said. His lover had left him and while we feel for him, I’m not surprised that the other tenants took him to court… and won… millions of pounds. True story.
One – Harry Nilsson
…is the loneliest number. The Aimee Mann version is pretty excellent as well.
Lonely Boy – Andrew Gold
This poor kid just can’t get a break. He’s been unwanted his whole life, even by mom and dad, he’s just “a lonely boy” who a lot of shit just seems to happy to…. it sucks being him.
Two Out of Three Ain’t Bad – Meatloaf
Like Willie Nelson, this song is really cruel in many ways, and it’s more like stadium self pity for both person singing (who has, according to him, been wounded and injured in love etc etc ) and he person he’s leaving as a sort of repeat of the cycle that wounded him so deeply. That doesn’t make much sense, but there you have it.
You Were Always on My Mind – Willie Nelson
Which is just crap, because I doubt very much you or anyone was on his mind, and it’s so easy to say that shit now, but that’s just Willie and I love him and I even love this song, but you have to know b.s. when it’s b.s.
Anything by Lloyd Cole pretty much, though note this is more sardonic self pity and more, when he was with the commotions he had more of a sense of humor about himself. Since then? Seems pretty much gone: he’s the friend who always seems to have some problem with his relationship. Would you please stop calling? That said, I do like him.
A Whiter Shade of Pale – Procol Harem
I hesitated here, but it seems to fit in. All that stuff about life and it’s so damn heavy; a classic and I can even love it, as I do many of these songs, but again, you have to recognize stadium self pity when you hear it and know it for what it is. Have a sense of humor about it.