Tricky one this, as I don’t make a habit of listening to many songs that make me feel sad, especially in terms of ‘upset’ sadness. So this will do. It’s how I discovered The National.
“You’ve got sucker’s luck. Have you given up?”
Written for the game Portal 2, it’s melancholic and emotional. Discovering it within the game was one of those moments where it just hits you – instantly bringing a depth to the story, situation and characters, making you wonder what you’ve not been told yet. But you only really hear snatches on a broken radio. Listening to it on full volume, outside the game, it really hits you.
“Does it feel like a trial? Does it trouble your mind like you trouble mine?”
It feels like a plea to a lost cause – an acknowledgement of such – indeed, it feels like it’s a statement of familiarity, of surrender. Comforting and yet wallowing in the sadness.
“Vilify – don’t even try….did you fall for the same empty answers again?”
Underneath it all, though, there’s a steely resolve to carry on – the repetition of lines gives it that. It gives it a feel of a hint of anger in there too.
The strings and piano give the song a cinematic scope, as it gently tosses the listener from side to side, rolling from peak to trough but never advancing – stuck in a rut. And that single, lasting piano note at the end – not a crescendo, but a stasis.