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12.03.10 Depressive Records For Depressed People

Depressive Records For Depressed People

For whatever reason, to whatever end: some examples for soundtracking indulgence and escapism in morose and melancholic states.
1Pig Destroyer
Natasha


Time with Natasha is best spent alone in darkened rooms where one can be reborn in the desolate soundscape and completely immerse themselves in the sound and the story, where thundering chords assault the senses until reality dissolves and the savage tales of obsession and destruction materialize. To slip into Natasha's coma is to personally feel the world depicted: to be helpless and afraid, to smell the honeysuckle and opium in the night air, and to desperately pray for hope, tantalizingly offered in the brief melodic interlude that is always painfully fleeting, a lullaby for a beautiful dream before you are awoken in horror.
2The Cure
Disintegration


Classic, cliched depression, the power of Disintegration lies in its ability to match and amplify whatever emotion you feed into it. Every sentiment from jubilation to despair can find a home somewhere across this hour, making it an intensely personal and contingent musical experience best approached in moments of calm contemplation and self discovery. Let Robert Smith be your tour guide and he will lead you astray each time, down back streets and alleyways you never considered or noticed despite taking the journey hundreds of times. Not as ostensibly depressing the Cure's earlier records, Disintegration nonetheless offers you much more possibility than the bleak nihilism of Pornography or Faith, a freedom that is naturally wrought with dead ends, dangerous choices, and ever-encroaching shadows.
3 Tommy Johnson
Complete Recorded Works


Tommy Johnson is the very definition of the blues, excelling at drawing the listener into his state of hopeless depression with only the bare minimum of tools: the majority of this record is simply an eerie voice creeping over crackling speakers, usually accompanied by little more than repetitive guitar plucking. Deceiving simplistic yet utterly brilliant, Johnson mourns almost every aspect of his life, from his addiction to lighter fluid to a crippling sense of loneliness, in a undiluted form of musical expression. Famous for the self-cultivated rumor that he sold his soul to the devil in exchange for his talent, a glance at Johnson?s music does leave you wondering...it has plenty of emotion, and plenty of soul, but Johnson himself seems broken, his only relief emerging from self expression at your emotional peril.
4Swans
Soundtracks for the Blind


Cop for intense hatred, loathing, and self-destruction, Public Castration for a sheer aural test of your mantle and limits, but always Soundtracks for the Blind for depression. A mammoth to surmount in one go, but one hell of a journey if ennui dictates you have nothing else to do. Many tracks are self-contained and will find themselves on repeat for nights on end, from the dreamily disturbing sweeps of Helpless Child to the depraved eroticism of Volcano. As a whole, Soundtracks for the Blind achieves a level of emotional intensity that hypercharged metal bands wish they could reach: this is real brutality, disturbing at the deepest level, while (perhaps most conformingly) inspiring, uplifting, and transcendent. Immensely complex, highly rewarding, yet deeply morose, Soundtracks for the Blind will, on each listen, be an enlightening experience, if only to reveal your own emotional ignorance and demand another listen.
5Monarch
Die Tonight


Thrashing, gnawing, grinding at a glacial pace, Die Tonight is a record that completely encapsulates a feeling of entrapment and oppression. Painfully restrained, unrelentingly intense, it offers a vision of merciless torment, of battering chords with no build up and importantly no release, just endless vats of misery and frustration: a sea of rage with no conceivable shore as only the best doom metal provides. There are plenty of records that excel at the outburst of immense rage and anger, but the power of doom metal lies in the denial of this instinct, which is required to suit a depressed mood. Deeper than anger, this is a pure hatred that is not a temporary directed outburst but an overwhelming, consuming facet of a life, an insurmountable oppression that denies the temporary satisfaction of rage in favor of utter horror and despair, and is all the more affecting because of it.
6Underoath
Lost in the Sound of Separation


Forged from a tumultuous emotional climate, Lost in the Sound of Separation aggressively seeks out every corner of helplessness, struggle, and freedom inside a man and sets it to a truly cacophonous soundtrack reflective of whirlwind nights outside of self-control. Immensely coherent, it rises and falls countless times across individual songs and flows perfectly through album as a whole. The lows plodding and deafening, the highs vicious and grandiose: it mirrors the violent mood swings of manic depression that can become debilitating and overwhelming, a pain expressed by an impressive vocal performance that only intense knowledge of these states can condition, and that, at so many points, begs participation in battle cries of uplifting strength and crushing despair, and subsequently participation in the search for relief.
7Alice in Chains
MTV Unplugged


Frail, broken, resigned to his fate, Layne Staley, in one of his final performances with Alice in Chains before his death, presents in the opening track of this album one of the finest testaments to depression possible. Deeply affecting, Staley's distinctive warble is here showcased to immense effect, aided by the subtle intricacies of a mature band that understands his struggle and mesh together with a sublime perfection. A true message of fatalistic resignation to a life ravaged by the oppression of addiction, Staley's performance is tragically restrained- he sings from the grave, and, aside from a few moments of soaring beauty, is helplessly caged in his own emotional horror with rapidly fading hope. When he sings, in Nutshell, the lines, "If I can?t be my own...I'd feel better dead," you sense how he feels this as an absolute truth, and, as similar moments ring throughout the album, how truly tragic that is.
8 Henry Rollins
Nights Behind the Tree Line


Famous for his music and his spoken word above all else, Rollins' poetry and prose writing is nonetheless known and admired by many, not for any immense literary merit, but for his ability to concisely and unashamedly wax on common emotions of loneliness, alienation, depression, and love without any restraint. While this can make for painfully awkward and stilted writing, Nights Behind the Tree Line is a great example of when Rollins truly nailed his target. Always honest and unrelenting, while retaining an indulgence that is vastly relatable, the choice cuts of prose read on this disc manage to express emotional truths in a series of brilliantly expressed metaphors that act as perfect summaries of certain nights, relationships and lives lost to depression.
9Black Sabbath
Sabbath Bloody Sabbath


Any of the first five masterpieces of Black Sabbath could make this list according to personal preference, but Sabbath Bloody Sabbath stands for me as the best journey to take amidst a heavy depression. Every riff is perfect; almost forty years on they remain untouched and pristine in their structure and appeal, yet wonderfully gritty in their execution. Highly gripping, always unpredictable, and hugely satisfying, every element of Sabbath Bloody Sabbath encourages an intense self-introspection which can only occur when deeply dissatisfied; from the wealth of internal debate over what Osborne's drugged out metaphoric rambling truly means to the insidious licks which truly trip the brain, the record is a fine exploration of discontent, retaining an undercurrent of instability even in its most upbeat moments.
10Grouper
Dragging A Dead Deer Up A Hill


Immensely ethereal and beautifully subdued, Dragging A Dead Deer Up A Hill drifts along at a contemplative pace, always understated yet wonderfully insidious. At the right time, it isn't long before the tones seep into your mind, embedding a trance where life passes as if underwater. Escapism at its very finest, this record will make you dissipate into the sky and sink into the floor, simultaneously cementing and transcending melancholy. The greatest strength of Grouper lies in this ability to find the middle way somewhere beyond ordinary experiences, paradoxically dulling one to the grander movements of life while creating a hyper sensitivity to the intricate and indescribable, revealing a new reality in which to drown.
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