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Taking the Easy Way Out: 10 Songs for Your Suicide Soundtrack

August 10, 2010
[This is the first of what may become many archive pulls, in an effort to keep the blog alive while its authors attend to life elsewhere. First published on 02/06/09.]

So you’ve got it all lined up. Time to show the world what it would be like without you. But you need a finishing touch, something to add a shiny rustproofing layer of depth to your most self-centered act yet.

The perfectly chosen song can tell the (cruel) world about your inner pain in ways that a handwritten note riddled with grammatical errors cannot. It will serve as your voice beyond the grave, communicating your essence with a few simple chords and well-chosen words.

With these choices available, you can elevate your simple “cry for help/attention” into an event of histrionic proportions, allowing you to be remembered as something other than “the guy who misspelled ‘cruel.'”

Remember, suicide is a victimless crime, like prostitution, drug use, cheating on your taxes or punching a mime.

The time has come. Push play. Do something nice for yourself.

1. Jesus & Mary Chain – Drop

jamc

This tiny gem of a downer is found nearly at the end of Automatic, in which their drummer was replaced with a more sober and less expensive drum machine. Original drummer Bobby Gillespie was kicked out after repeated requests to play “some of the songs I wrote.” They refused, shoved their guitars thru their amps and told him to “go start his own bloody band.” Thus, Primal Scream was formed and remains somewhat relevant today, unlike the brothers Reid. This quieter number shows off their mediocre acoustic guitar skills to marginal effect.

Key Lyric:

I should have guessed
When I took that pill
Do I love her still
Well did Jesus kill

Method: Gunshot to head at “kill,” thus laying the blame elsewhere. Further distance can be added if death is ruled accidental, i.e. “subject was reported to be cleaning the gun. With his tongue.”

2. Spiritualized – Medication

spir2Rising from the ashes of Spacemen 3 like a smack-soaked phoenix, Spiritualized expanded the blueprint for hazy space rock with the addition of horns, backup choirs and another chord or two. As usual, the lyrics of Jason Pierce (aka J. Spaceman; Jason Bourne) tend to be elliptical and function best as a comedown from a hedonistic night of regret and misplaced nostalgia. Can also be used as a heroin analogue if no actual heroin is available. (Bonus fact: early pressings of Spiritualized albums are considered controlled substances by the DEA.)

Key Lyric:

I’m waiting for a time
When I can be without
These things that make me feel
This way all of the time

Method: Heroin OD at peak. The song kind of comes and goes (much like you’ll be doing), but at 7 minutes and change, you should have time to determine which peak works for you. (Hint: wait for the brass section).

3. Mogwai – Cody

Key figures of the post-rock movement, Mogwai are known for their lengthy instrumentals and unintelligible Glaswegian accents. They have achieved a small amount of success in the States playing before mid-sized audiences composed solely of rock critics, rock bloggers and others who feel lyrics are “giving away the store” when it comes to interpreting music. This particular track features their trademark dynamic shifts and tons of post.

Key Lyric:

It’s an instrumental so you may be forced to do some empathetic humming.

Method: Fistfuls of painkillers and whatever else may be in the parent’s medicine cabinet (caution: “whatever” may contain dangerous levels of estrogen.) Fade slowly away from life, allowing your soul to don Levi’s jeans and run free thru a buffalo-overrun cityscape.

4. Joy Division – In a Lonely Place

joy_divisionThis cheerful group formed during the heyday of punk in Manchester, England. They began as a local blues cover band before sacking Pete Best and replacing him with Steven Morris, who brought a  metronome-like precision to the group. As the band moved on following lead singer Ian Curtis’ suicide, Steven Morris was replaced by a drum machine, who brought a metronome-like precision to the group. This selection, often a popular request at the beer tent, shows a darker side of these fun-loving Mancunians.

Key Lyric:

Hangman looks round as he waits
Cord stretches tight then it breaks
Someday we will die in your dreams
How I wish we were here with you now

Method: Form a suicide pact with three others; be the only one that follows thru, as the rest go on to live increasingly irrelevant lives.

5. m83 – Lower Your Eyelids to Die with the Sun

m83A long, slow-building atmospheric track from French electronic shoegazers, m83. They have gained notoriety on the music festival circuit for their amazing live shows and their ability to spot trainer brand names from upwards of 300 feet. They often sound like a combination of My Bloody Valentine, House of Love and m83. Mostly, though, they sound like m83.

Key Lyric:

Instrumental. Try blinking rhythmically.

Method: Razors, candles, bathtub. Toss powered Korg into tub at 9 minute mark. (The song runs around 11 minutes, so pace yourself. Drink plenty of water.)

6. Dashboard Confessional – Any Song

The story of Chris Carraba and his project, Dashboard Confessional, is a long and uninteresting one. Suffice to stay, Chris sensed a void in the sensitive stud area, wrote some introspective tunes, grabbed his acoustic guitar and sideburns and the rest is history. Or would be, if he would just stop touring and putting out albums. We can only hope. Unfortunately, as long as there is a few thousand people willing to believe each song, produced for mass consumption, speaks to them (and only them), the brand (er, band) will go on. (See also the Cure; the Depeche Mode.)

Key Lyric:

I’m sure they’re all pretty introspective. Take your pick. I’m sure as a fan of the emo scene, you should have no trouble twisting someone else’s personal experience to fit your own. If nothing else, we can thank the emo scene for giving the world a new breed of slightly slimmer goths.

Method: Well, I’m sure you’ve all been practicing already. Just try to hit a major artery this time.

7. Suicide – Frankie Teardrop

suicide1977No group says Suicide like Suicide. Martin Rev and Alan Vega formed their confrontational and controversial band after stumbling across a large stash of amphetamines. They wanted the “least commercial name ever” for their band, but had to settle on their third choice after discovering Rectal Exam Bot and Wilson Philips had already been trademarked. This number was a staple of their confrontational live shows and often lead to death of at least one audience member. Their bleak nihilism and mastery of one key on the keyboards has been highly influential and echoes of their groundbreaking work can be seen in bands as diverse as We Are Wolves, Cabaret Voltaire and Raffi.

Key Lyric:

Frankie teardrop
Frankie put the gun to his head
Frankie’s dead

Method: Fail to adjust to civilian life/fail to adjust to Russian Roulette. (First, not any gun works. You should get a revolver) Note: if leaving the CD out at the “scene,” be aware that some may think you were just trying to leave a caption.

8. Staind – It’s Been Awhile

nurockFeaturing a lead singer who combined the good looks of Billy Zane with the trim figure of Black Francis, Staind brought out a more sensitive side of the nu (aka mook) rock era. This weeper brought them to the top of the charts briefly, before the one-two punch of an overlooked misspelling and Fred Durst’s general unpleasantness brought them crashing to earth. Think of them as a meatier Dave Matthews with fewer sandals and more Red Bull. Where are they now? According to their website, they are in the middle of recording something or other. I really can’t be bothered to do any fact-checking on this.

Key Lyric:

And it’s been awhile, since I can say that I wasn’t addicted
And it’s been awhile, since I can say I love myself as well
And it’s been awhile, since I’ve gone and fucked things up just like I always do
And it’s been awhile, but all that shit seems to disappear when I’m with you

Method: Trying to show your “sensitive side” backfires as you get trolled to death by the infamous /b/. Perhaps those 320×240 Mavica shots didn’t capture the “real you.” Whatever. (Note: Cameras that use floppies for storage cannot support the resolution need to capture inner beauty.)

9. Clubfeet – Teenage Suicide

clubfeetClubfeet bring the best of both worlds with this toe-tapping dirge, bursting with self-awareness, irony and that emotion I understand is called ennui. If you’re on the verge of ending your world with some banging and whimpering and you find yourself dancing along, please reconsider. If you can’t take this seriously, you’ll find yourself perhaps maimed or disfigured, rather than good and dead.

Key Lyric:

Teenage suicide (don’t do it)

Method: Autoerotic asphyxiation, using some amyl nitrate and the Sears catalog lingerie section for stimulants.
(Will the world appreciate your finely honed ironic sledgehammer? Probably not. More likely, your eulogy will will go something like this: “<Insert name here> will always be remembered for his relentless negativity, his uncanny knack for ‘harshing your mellow,’ and, of course, his inability to follow simple instructions.”)

10. Radiohead – Fitter Happier

fitterhappierRadiohead burst onto the scene with “Creep,” a singalong of self-loathing backed by a thunderous chorus of guitar distortion. Much later, TLC paid their dues with a cover. Much, much, much later, Prince did the same at Coachella. In the meantime, the Radioheads experimented with different forms of music and free downloads, much to the dismay of their label. They also scored movies, released solo work and convinced Tom York to drop the extraneous letters from his name. As their thirst for reinvention has not been quenched, look for upcoming work to reflect their broadening horizons, including four nights at the Sands in Las Vegas, Jonny Greenwood’s collaboration with Visanthe Shiancoe and Paul Thomas Anderson for a re-scored and re-shot “Boogie Nights” and the remaining band members waiting patiently at home for the phone to ring.

Key Lyric:

Calm
Fitter, healthier and more productive
A pig
In a cage
On antibiotics

Method: School shooting/turn gun on self. Ignore requests for “Doom music”/mercy.

This list is by no means definitive, but it should give you some inspiration for your grand finale. The shockwaves of your last act should reverberate through the halls of your respective schools/workplaces as your fellow students/coworkers enjoy an unexpected day off. They may even struggle to remember some defining anecdote to sum up your entire existence. Bad poetry will probably be involved.

-CLT

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10 comments

  1. I’ll leave my comment here but I’ve been reading a number of posts and just wanted to say thanks.

    I’ve enjoyed what I’ve read (you cover a lot of territory) and will be back for more.

    Thanks too for your comments at the Food Here. I thought the Busey/Coleman reference was one of the funnier things I’ve seen come back my way.

    Good luck


  2. Ram-
    Thanks for the support. Love your blog, btw, and have added it to our blogroll, thus fulfilling our EOE requirements and the accompanying hefty fine.


  3. Why am I not surprised that you would have a post like this? It’s so kind of you to assist the down and brokenhearted by providing their final musical interludes.


    • Yeah. This is from awhile ago.

      Back when I was a kind, caring individual who would mock the pain of others with carefully selected songs.

      This is really more for those butter-knife-in-a-bathtub sort of “cries for attention.”


    • Butter knife in a bathtub. That shouldn’t be funny, but it really is.


    • “Shouldn’t be funny, but it really is.”

      Now there’s a tagline!

      Could use it on life itself.


  4. I’m deciding where to leave your compliment for the day. Maybe I’ll start sneaking them in on old posts.


  5. While only mildly familiar with most on the list, I listened to the ones with audio links and enjoyed them. It didn’t hurt that I had my Windows Media Player visualizations set at “Drug Overdose”.

    I’d have to say my favourite of the bunch is from the spawner of many a suicide and an inspiration for many a suicide inspiring band, the ironically named Joy Division.

    Of course, I have a couple of additions to the list.

    One of them is Blood by Numb.

    While industrial music is more adept at MAKING you want to kill yourself, this track is one of the few that is fit to “drift off” to. It has a gentle, yet ominous, sound and is full of beating hearts and tingling/dripping sounds. (I keep imagining a guy dying in an alley with arguing junkies in the distance.) And, with a 7+ minute running time, it’s what I call a “mood-commander”. Give it a minute and it will take over your mood. Whatever desire to live you’ve still got will be gone by song’s end.

    The lyrics, sung in a dying whisper, may be sparse for a 7 minute song without guitar/drum solos, but they have just the right mix of bitterness, love induced depression and the required touch of anger to make it a good song for me to bleed out to.

    The second song is an old classic everyone knows the tune to, but few realize what the song is actually about, which only adds to the irony surrounding it. It’s a catchy, hippie harmony; one that brings with it some social commentary. The lyrics (written by a 14 year old) speak of resignation to one’s fate, yet stresses the aspect of choice. All this in a tongue-in-cheek kind of way. As such, it matches perfectly with its intended purpose.

    It makes for a great opening to this great satirical movie, which itself is riddled with sarcasm, resignation to our fate both as individuals and a species and our comical attempts to “cheat” (or defy) the system. And, of course, lots of death and destruction…but in a life-affirming kind of way.

    It’s the perfect song for those choosing to die with a smirk on their face.

    Depending on what mood I was in that day, I’d be happy to go out with either one of them playing.


    • All in all, it reminds me that I haven’t listened to Numb in a very long time, although I do remember some quality time spent with his D:IVE side project.



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