Over the years I’ve noticed that I have a pool of songs that I always want people to hear when I make a mix disc. This continuing series will highlight these songs, provide me an excuse to write about music, and hopefully do what I love most: turn people on to new music.
This is the saddest song ever written. Not because of what has been done to the singer, but because of what the singer has done.
I could never love you back
I could never care enough
in these last days
I’ve spent an unfortunate portion of my life not dating people for fear of causing them pain. Certainly I’ve been dumped and it sucks, however it never sucks as much as breaking up with someone you like but with whom you know you are not in love. You feel like a monster. It is the worst emotion. The only thing that has made me feel worse is the time I shut a car door on an old lady’s arm at the grocery store where I worked in high school. This song captures hurt from the point of view of the inflicter – the pain, the sad resignation, the lingering affection…everything but the regret.
Sun Kil Moon is, of course, just Mark Kozelek. Whether he calls his group Red House Painters or Sun Kil Moon, he remains the master of melancholy. He makes Morrissey look like Norman Vincent Peale. Unlike Morrissey or Robert Smith, there’s no elaborate mask for him to hide behind. He’s just a regular guy, strong but quiet, not crotchety like Neil Young nor self-destructive like Kurt Cobain. Nor does he suffer from any of the requisite machismo of nearly every other rock musician. He’s actually kind of a blank canvas onto which those of us listeners who don’t identify with whiny English gits, emo screamers, whiskey-drunk balladeers or melodramatic dramaturgists can project ourselves. He vaunteth not himself, he is not puffed up.