“DELICATE” Damien Rice (2002)
I think I first heard this song back in 2004 in a film called “Dear Frankie.” Ever since, it’s been one of my favorite songs of all time. There’s something about the combination of Damien’s vocal performance with Lisa Hannigan’s, and not to mention the beautiful cello arrangement.
“LUA” Bright Eyes (2004)
Conor Oberst, who founded Bright Eyes, is one of my favorite lyricists of all time. This song proves why: “We might die from medication, but we sure killed all the pain” — my middle school angst-y self loved that line.
“DAY IS GONE” Noah Gundersen and the Forest Rangers (2013)
After hearing this song on the Season 6 finale of the FX show “Sons of Anarchy,” I decided to put a cover up on YouTube. Little did I know, Kurt Sutter (the creator of the show) ended up stumbling across it and tweeting it to the world. I had a fan girl moment.
“BLACK, BLUE” The Avett Brothers (2008)
This was one of the first songs I ever learned on guitar. I remember I had to ask my roommate’s boyfriend to help me with the chords. I couldn’t figure them out because I was trying to do it by ear. Good times.
“LOVER, YOU SHOULD’VE COME OVER” Jeff Buckley (1994)
Although I love Buckley’s rendition of “Hallelujah,” this song has always been my favorite of his, hands down. The lyrics and the way that the song builds really allow listeners to feel as if they are going through the same situation themselves.
“I CAN’T MAKE YOU LOVE ME” Bonnie Raitt (1991)
Bonnie Raitt knows how to write a sad break-up song, and that I can appreciate.
“GIRLFRIEND IN A COMA” The Smiths (1987)
This song may be morbid, but it is one of the first songs I remember my dad showing me. The Smiths became one of my favorite bands shortly after. Also, Morrissey’s cynicism and arrogance have always been amusingly entertaining to me.
“DOWN SO LOW” Tracy Nelson (1966)
Tracy Nelson knows how to sing the blues, and the fact that this song changes key three times shows that she just didn’t really care what the “rules” for writing songs were. She just wrote what she was feeling, and it came out how it came out. Heartbreak isn’t a structured song.
“PICTURES OF YOU” The Cure (1989)
My parents would listen to a lot of ’80s music while I was growing up, so this is just another one of those bands I took a liking to. Plus, you can’t argue with Robert Smith’s hair and melancholy lyrics.
“MY MY, HEY HEY (OUT OF THE BLUE)” Neil Young (1968)
Neil Young is the man. Enough said.
“A CASE OF YOU” Joni Mitchell (1970)
The lyrics of this song have always stood out to me, and I’ve seen many of my favorite artists cover this song. If you’re looking for someone with a similar sound, check out Seattle musician Courtney Marie Andrews.
“I WISH IT WOULD RAIN” The Temptations (1968)
This is a quintessential sad song from the Motown era. It’s also one of the saddest songs that the Temptations ever recorded, so naturally I gravitate toward it.
“ALL OF ME” Billie Holiday (1949)
Before I made the decision to move to Seattle, a friend and I took a trip up to Washington for the Sasquatch! music festival. We stopped in Seattle for a day, and I flew home with a Billie Holiday record. I found it in a thrift store in the neighborhood I live in now.
“A LACK OF COLOR” Death Cab for Cutie (2003)
I first heard this song on that horrible, guilty-pleasure TV drama “The O.C.” Terrible taste in shows aside, teenage Brittany finally started to get into good music right around the time this song and album came out. It’s one of the few albums from my youth that I can still listen to from start to finish.
“A LONG TIME AGO” First Aid Kit (2014)
Here’s a very recent song. First Aid Kit’s album came out this past June. It’s worth a good, long listen if you enjoy heavenly Swedish harmonies.