I wonder if crying gets an unfair press. There’s nothing inherently wrong with crying. Yes, we do it when terrible or painful things happen to us, but we also do it when beautiful and wonderful things happen to us.
Such as when we listen to a particularly beautiful or moving song.
So I thought I’d write about five songs that I often have a little sob to.
The Beatles – She’s Leaving Home
When Paul McCartney previewed this song for Beach Boy Brian Wilson and his wife the couple burst into tears. Don’t we all when we listen to it? The family in this song, about a daughter running away from home, is so ordinary. They could be any of us. Which is partly why it is so emotionally overwhelming. ‘Why would she treat us so thoughtlessly’, ask the parents. Sometimes, as this song shatters my heart to pieces, I wonder the same about Lennon and McCartney.
Ralph McTell – Maginot Waltz
Chris and I have enjoyed many a lovely day trip to Brighton. So this song about a group of friends, including a couple, taking a similar trip really makes me smile… until the final few lines, which brings immense sadness to the table. Have a listen. I knew Ralph McTell when I was a teenager, he lived around the corner from us and taught me to play another of his songs on the guitar. When I told him I was suffering from insomnia as I gave-up smoking, he suggested I try a pint of Guinness with a healthy dash of port stirred in. ‘That should get you off to sleep,’ he told me. Oh, it did.
Amy Winehouse – Tears Dry On Their Own
I promise you I am not being cheesy in choosing a song with ‘tears’ in the title. Up until Amy’s death in 2011, this song would never prompt a tear from me. But a few days after she died, I joined the vigil of fans that had assembled around her Camden home. Fans had left cards, flowers, guitars and full vodka bottles for Amy. The mood was just turning from one of sorrow and shock, to one of celebration of Amy’s life and music. This song suddenly rang out of the speakers someone had set up. Fans sang along and lifted glasses – some metaphorical, plenty literal – to Amy. It was shambolic and defiant: I think she might have approved. So I always feel emotional when I hear this song now as it reminds me of that week. ‘So we are history, The shadow covers me,The sky above a blaze that only lovers see…’
Tim Minchin – White Wine In The Sun
I love this Xmas song because it is about so much more than Xmas. It’s about life, love and family. I’ve never completed a listen of this song without having a little weep – particularly during the second half. Many of my family live in Australia and I spent my sixth Xmas there, but I think this song would make me weep all the same even if that wasn’t the case. It’s lovely.
Ed Sheeran – Wake Me Up
I adore Ed Sheeran, and his gentle, vulnerable songs. This is his most gentle song of all. Many love songs ask us what love is, some try to tell us what love is, while others make such grand, yet ultimately vague, claims for love that they can leave the listener feeling inadequate. In this song, I feel Ed is trying to show us what love is. It works for me. The musical simplicity of this track adds to its emotional punch. It is the third verse that is, for me, the real weepy…
In a week or so I’ll post about five songs that make me smile. In the meantime, I’d love to hear which songs make you cry…