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(Cracked)   "You Can Call Me Al" may sound upbeat, but it's included in the 6 Popular Upbeat Songs You Didn't Realize Are Depressing   (cracked.com ) divider line
    More: Interesting, OutKast, Lucy Liu, Hey Ya, Hey, polaroid, attention spans, upbeat, Paul Simon  
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16236 clicks; posted to Entertainment » on 19 Apr 2012 at 1:06 PM (4 years ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2012-04-19 02:56:35 PM  

kyoryu: "Anything written by Paul Simon, ever."

Okay, that's a slight exaggeration. But not much.


I knew a guy who asked his wife if they could play 50 Ways to Love Your Lover at the wedding dance. She didn't think that was funny.

Did I miss people mentioning Carnival Cruise's use of Iggy Pop?

I could also put in an 80s vote for Come on Eileen.
 
2012-04-19 02:56:51 PM  
List fails without:

synconation.com

We're leaving together
But still it's farewell
And maybe we'll come back
To earth, who can tell?
I guess there is no one to blame
We're leaving ground
Will things ever be the same again?

It's the final countdown
The final countdown

Ohh
We're heading for Venus and still we stand tall
'Cause maybe they've seen us and welcome us all, yea
With so many light years to go and things to be found
(To be found)
I'm sure that we'll all miss her so

It's the final countdown
The final countdown
The final countdown
(The final countdown)


An upbeat, jaunty song about an earth so uninhabitable that we have to leave it for the poisoned gas filled atmosphere of Venus.
It's the final countdown....to earth's destruction, Yeahhhhhhh!!!!!!
 
2012-04-19 02:57:07 PM  

Victoly: Ping Pong


I laughed when I realized the song was basically a Marxist examination of the workings of the capitalist business cycle.
 
2012-04-19 02:57:25 PM  

theorellior: OldManDownDRoad: But nothing beats "Gaucho" - a rich old man invites a boy toy up to his apartment only to have him arrive with a rent boy from Rio.

Actually, not his apartment: his skybox at the "Custerdome", where all the other old rich guys are having a good guffaw at the situation.


I go back and forth over this (as you tend to do with just about all the Becker/Fagen stuff) - I keep thinking the Custerdome is one of those ultra-expensive DFW high-rises with the glassed-walled penthouses. Old guy has party, calls up boy toy to deliver (sex, drugs, whatever) and gets pissed when he shows up with a rent boy - whom the boy toy has clearly invited up to the penthouse to show off.

The old queen does indeed have a pissy fit. It's a great bit of songwriting.
 
2012-04-19 02:57:27 PM  
Steve Goodman - Go Cubs Go
 
2012-04-19 02:57:37 PM  
Leave...
 
2012-04-19 02:58:06 PM  
Should have been number one. It astounds me how many people think it's a happy song. It's pretty much about soul crushing depression and loneliness.
 
2012-04-19 02:58:44 PM  

buntz: Alone Again, Naturally

Sounds upbeat, despite the title, but damn, listen to the words


Came for this jaunty little tune about suicidal depression, leaving... happy?
 
2012-04-19 02:59:36 PM  

theorellior: Tom_Slick: Hey 19 was always a little dark, ply a 19 year old with Tequila and Pot and you can have your way with them, just kick them out before morning.

I don't know if there are purists here who think that the latter two Dan albums are canon or not, but "Janie Runaway" is by far the sickest upbeat Dan song ever.


Fark the purists.

Yeah, that one's particularly nasty. You can practically see the track marks in her arm.

/it's a federal case
 
2012-04-19 02:59:47 PM  

theorellior: Tom_Slick: Hey 19 was always a little dark, ply a 19 year old with Tequila and Pot and you can have your way with them, just kick them out before morning.

I don't know if there are purists here who think that the latter two Dan albums are canon or not, but "Janie Runaway" is by far the sickest upbeat Dan song ever. Start with a young girl who runs away from an abusive father in Florida by burning down their house. Add a rich dilettante who picks her off the streets of New York, plies her with booze and rich food and uses her as a cum dumpster. Finally, send them off to a rural lovenest in Pennsylvania for a threesome with another starving waif, on the promise that he'll take her to Spain for her birthday. End scene.

It took me a while to parse the whole thing out, but I was soooooo impressed with the songwriting craft when I got it.



Then there is always Gaslight Abby, nubile girl at the shore for the summer hooks up with local older guy who spikes her tea with narcotics and then shiat just gets weird.
 
2012-04-19 03:00:14 PM  

OldManDownDRoad: The old queen does indeed have a pissy fit. It's a great bit of songwriting.


Sad thing about that song, Fagen intended it as a tribute to Keith Jarrett's piano style, but it sounded so much like Jarrett that he successfully sued for credit.
 
2012-04-19 03:03:36 PM  

Cisco-Kid: Bare Naked Ladies "The Old Apartment" is about a psycho stalker ex-boyfriend.

Punched a hole in the wall.
Ripped the phone out of the wall.
Why did you change the locks? Why did I have to break in? I only came here to talk...
(yeah, right.)


Ringtone for when my ex-husband calls.
 
2012-04-19 03:04:09 PM  
This is a happy, little upbeat musical number, nice and peppy. And if you don't speak German, you miss the fact that it is about a child buried alive with a music box in its coffin, which it plays with underground, the music "eine melody im wind..."

And here's another, with a lovely bit of piano work dancing above the absolutely crushing guitars, about a man on a bridge, but naturally Rammstein take a more...er...proactive approach to the situation.
 
2012-04-19 03:04:54 PM  

kyoryu: "Anything written by Paul Simon, ever."

Okay, that's a slight exaggeration. But not much.


Cecilia immediately came to mind quickly followed by "I am a Rock".
 
2012-04-19 03:06:03 PM  
"One" by U2 is a farking depressing song about dysfunction and codependence. And dipshiatty dipshiats actually play that song at weddings.

The lyric is "WE GET to carry each other" not "WE'VE GOT to carry each other."
 
2012-04-19 03:07:32 PM  

Tom_Slick: Then there is always Gaslight Abby, nubile girl at the shore for the summer hooks up with local older guy who spikes her tea with narcotics and then shiat just gets weird.


I hate to be That Guy, but that's not quite it. It's about a guy who meets a young nubile thing and they decide to drive his wife crazy so he can quietly shuffle her off to an institution instead of divorcing her..
 
2012-04-19 03:08:05 PM  

kyoryu: "Anything written by Paul Simon, ever."

Okay, that's a slight exaggeration. But not much.


Don't forget Phil Collins.
 
2012-04-19 03:10:37 PM  

theorellior: I hate to be That Guy, but that's not quite it. It's about a guy who meets a young nubile thing and they decide to drive his wife crazy so he can quietly shuffle her off to an institution instead of divorcing her..


Please be that guy that song has had me confused for years I never picked up on the wife thing.
 
2012-04-19 03:12:15 PM  
Forgots this one by Phil Ochs:

Outside of a Small Circle of Friends:
Look outside the window, there's a woman being grabbed
They've dragged her to the bushes and now she's being stabbed
Maybe we should call the cops and try to stop the pain
But Monopoly is so much fun, I'd hate to blow the game
And I'm sure it wouldn't interest anybody
Outside of a small circle of friends.

Riding down the highway, yes, my back is getting stiff
Thirteen cars are piled up, they're hanging on a cliff.
Maybe we should pull them back with our towing chain
But we gotta move and we might get sued and it looks like it's gonna rain
And I'm sure it wouldn't interest anybody
Outside of a small circle of friends.

Sweating in the ghetto with the colored and the poor
The rats have joined the babies who are sleeping on the floor
Now wouldn't it be a riot if they really blew their tops?
But they got too much already and besides we got the cops
And I'm sure it wouldn't interest anybody
Outside of a small circle of friends.

Oh there's a dirty paper using sex to make a sale
The Supreme Court was so upset, they sent him off to jail.
Maybe we should help the fiend and take away his fine.
But we're busy reading Playboy and the Sunday New York Times
And I'm sure it wouldn't interest anybody
Outside of a small circle of friends

Smoking marihuana is more fun than drinking beer,
But a friend of ours was captured and they gave him thirty years
Maybe we should raise our voices, ask somebody why
But demonstrations are a drag, besides we're much too high
And I'm sure it wouldn't interest anybody
Outside of a small circle of friends

Oh look outside the window, there's a woman being grabbed
They've dragged her to the bushes and now she's being stabbed
Maybe we should call the cops and try to stop the pain
But Monopoly is so much fun, I'd hate to blow the game
And I'm sure it wouldn't interest anybody
Outside of a small circle of friends

Happy happy bouncy bouncy ragtime Dixieland Jazz music set to lyrics about how farking apathetic people are
 
2012-04-19 03:13:39 PM  
On a slightly different note I am always suprised by the number of girls who like Police songs as "romantic" when they are about a stalker.
 
2012-04-19 03:14:06 PM  
Custerdome meaning from this site:Link
A fictional skyscraper containing the luxury apartment where the song's plot unfolds. Editor's note: I decided to make an exception to my usual "no fictional words" rule and include this in the dictionary for two reasons: A) It's the word I get asked about most frequently by site visitors; and B) Temporarily abandoning their reticence to discuss lyric interpretations, Becker and Fagen kindly explained its exact meaning during an interview: "It exists only in our collective imagination. In the Steely Dan lexicon it serves as an archetype of a building that houses great corporations..."
 
2012-04-19 03:18:14 PM  

T-Servo:
I could also put in an 80s vote for Come on Eileen.


Good call. I remember looking up the lyrics once and going, 'Wtf? There goes my happy song'
 
2012-04-19 03:18:53 PM  

liam76: On a slightly different note I am always suprised by the number of girls who like Police songs as "romantic" when they are about a stalker.


The Police find it disturbing.
 
2012-04-19 03:20:20 PM  
It's not secretly depressing so much as secretly anarchistic and badass, but the Jefferson Airplane really faked everyone out with how smiley-faced and folksy this one sounds, until you pay attention to the lyrics.
 
2012-04-19 03:21:54 PM  

Theaetetus: Abner Doon: Cisco-Kid: Bare Naked Ladies "The Old Apartment" is about a psycho stalker ex-boyfriend.

Punched a hole in the wall.
Ripped the phone out of the wall.
Why did you change the locks? Why did I have to break in? I only came here to talk...
(yeah, right.)

Uhm, it's been a long time since I listened to that song, but I think you're wrong. Aren't they both going back to the apartment they used to live in and reminising?

Nope, he's right... The singer's gone to her apartment and broken in, since she's changed the locks and he insists on talking to her.
Additionally:
"How is the neighbour downstairs?
How is her temper this year?
I turned up your TV and stomped on the floor just for fun"

Clearly, the subject of his affections still lives there. And is going to catch hell from her downstairs neighbor.


But the lyrics at the end switch to "we".

I interpreted the whole song as him actually singing to the apartment.

Broktun: My name is Luka, I live on the second floor?


More catchy than upbeat, but always a downer.
 
2012-04-19 03:25:10 PM  

KatjaMouse: Strongbeerrules: Maxwell's Silver Hammer. The most upbeat song about a serial killer I ever heard.

What about Mack the Knife?


Yes, that too, although Silver Hammer is more cheerful.
 
2012-04-19 03:25:25 PM  

Tom_Slick: Please be that guy that song has had me confused for years I never picked up on the wife thing.


The word "gaslighting" means "to deliberately drive someone insane through subterfuge". It comes from the movie "Gaslight", which had that as the plot. The song actually includes some sly references to the movie, as well as to "The Manchurian Candidate" (the hand of solitaire).
 
2012-04-19 03:26:20 PM  

FirstNationalBastard: MatrixOutsider: Every Breath You Take - a song about possession and obsession.

I love it when broads think that song is romantic... helps you know which ones are the crazy ones.


The difference betwen stalking and being romantic is pretty much whether or not the object of affection returns said affection. A real relationship grows deeper over time but in the beginning stages they are really similar. And most people who think the song is romantic arent crazy, they just arent that smart.

Clicked on the article expecting "Semi-Charmed Life". Recently the company my mother works for was using the intro "do do do" part in a flash intro on their website. I laughed my ass off when I discovered this while fixing a computer issue for her.
 
2012-04-19 03:27:05 PM  

Jake Havechek: "There She Goes" by The La's is about heroin addiction.

That was what I found funny when Christian band Sixpence None The Richer covered it.


To be fair, the rest of Sixpence None The Richer's self-titled album is also depressing as f*ck, except for the other radio single, "Kiss Me".

It's actually one of my favorite albums.

Also, speaking of musicians often unfairly pigeonholed into a religion, this list fails without Beck's "Girl"

/the lyric is NOT "sun-eyed girl"
 
2012-04-19 03:30:34 PM  

Fallout Zone: But the lyrics at the end switch to "we".

I interpreted the whole song as him actually singing to the apartment.


I looked at it as him saying "we" as back when he was with her. He has a new girlfriend now (and her body keeps him warm) but he's coming back to look at the old apartment.
 
2012-04-19 03:31:30 PM  
I love songs with upbeat tunes and depressing/dark lyrics.

My ex used to love Flagpole Sitter for the music, then I clued her in on the lyrics.

/I love Santaria and Smile by Lily Allan for the same reason.
 
2012-04-19 03:33:34 PM  
"Wonderful" by Everclear always depresses me...and yet it's so damn peppy.
 
2012-04-19 03:34:25 PM  
Well, this farking sucks. The version of "Detroit Rock City" on "Smashes, Thrashes and Hits" is edited and doesn't have the beginning news story or the crash at the end. And it has Eric Carr's version of Beth instead of Peter Criss.

I don't remember if I ever bought "Destroyer" on CD. Crap.
 
2012-04-19 03:35:01 PM  
Just about any song from Sublime. This one has a chipper, cheerful tune completely at odds with the sad story in the lyrics.

The New Radicals, too. Joyous sound, but sad story at the heart.
 
2012-04-19 03:36:09 PM  

theorellior: Can I just be the first to say that "Pumped Up Kicks" is a really catchy song the first time you hear it, but by the third time you're ready to get all stabby on random passersby?


It took me a bit longer (maybe a few weeks of hearing it every freaking day), but yep. Super catchy tune, but it started grating on me in a huge way (the whispery/processed/who-gives-a-shiat-vocals, the endlessly repeated chorus, the goddamn WHISTLING) in short order.
 
2012-04-19 03:37:05 PM  
Damn you and all your youtube links....blocked at work
 
2012-04-19 03:37:27 PM  

snowshovel: "Wonderful" by Everclear always depresses me...and yet it's so damn peppy.


Everclear rips out my heart a lot. As a child of divorce abandoned by his father, who has a child and is now divorced (no abandoning my kid) Everclear and Blink -182 can get me depressed.
 
2012-04-19 03:38:02 PM  

DeaH: Just about any song from Sublime. This one has a chipper, cheerful tune completely at odds with the sad story in the lyrics.

The New Radicals, too. Joyous sound, but sad story at the heart.


Yeah, Sublime does that too.
 
2012-04-19 03:38:20 PM  

Theaetetus: Abner Doon: Cisco-Kid: Bare Naked Ladies "The Old Apartment" is about a psycho stalker ex-boyfriend.

Punched a hole in the wall.
Ripped the phone out of the wall.
Why did you change the locks? Why did I have to break in? I only came here to talk...
(yeah, right.)

Uhm, it's been a long time since I listened to that song, but I think you're wrong. Aren't they both going back to the apartment they used to live in and reminising?

Nope, he's right... The singer's gone to her apartment and broken in, since she's changed the locks and he insists on talking to her.
Additionally:
"How is the neighbour downstairs?
How is her temper this year?
I turned up your TV and stomped on the floor just for fun"

Clearly, the subject of his affections still lives there. And is going to catch hell from her downstairs neighbor.


That last part makes sense either way. Either he's farking with the old GF that will catch hell, or just annoying the downstairs neighbor.

Eh, reading the lyrics and watching the music video...the whole thing just doesn't actually make sense either way. The video shows him and his chick both there reliving old memories, which, granted, it's a music video...they're not exactly known for being terribly accurate or literal.

But wait, there's more.

Near the beginning of the song, you're right, the whole "Why did I have to break in, I only came here to talk" part only makes sense if he's creepy stalker guy, but the rest only makes sense if he's not. Like at the end:

"We bought an old house on the Danforth
She loves me and her body keeps me warm
I'm happy there
But this is where we used to live"


So I guess they couldn't decide and wrote it both ways? Or they just threw in the "came here to talk" part for flow or something? *shrug*
 
2012-04-19 03:38:36 PM  

puckrock2000: "Born in the USA" not catchy? It's the same six-note melody repeated over and over for four and a half minutes; if that doesn't get stuck in your brain, nothing will.
As far as the verses go, everyone ignored them in favor of the chorus, leading people like George Will and Ronald Reagan to believe it was a patriotic, flag-waving anthem, rather than the rant of a bitter, unemployed Vietnam vet.


John McCain did a similar thing when he used John Mellencamp's Pink Houses during his campaign. The song is about people being depressed and realizing their American dreams will never come true. But hey, it has "America" in the chorus! Alot! So it must be awesome!
 
2012-04-19 03:41:46 PM  

Abner Doon: So I guess they couldn't decide and wrote it both ways? Or they just threw in the "came here to talk" part for flow or something? *shrug*


I took it as the idea that he has a new girl. But he's still obsessed with her.

And she does live there, since he's asking why she kept some of the things that are his. So they obviously live apart.
 
2012-04-19 03:44:24 PM  

SharkTrager: DeaH: Just about any song from Sublime. This one has a chipper, cheerful tune completely at odds with the sad story in the lyrics.

The New Radicals, too. Joyous sound, but sad story at the heart.

Yeah, Sublime does that too.



Yes they do "Date Rape" is an annoyingly catchy tune.
 
2012-04-19 03:45:09 PM  

Treygreen13: Fallout Zone: But the lyrics at the end switch to "we".

I interpreted the whole song as him actually singing to the apartment.

I looked at it as him saying "we" as back when he was with her. He has a new girlfriend now (and her body keeps him warm) but he's coming back to look at the old apartment.


Could be. Alternatively...

"We bought an old house on the Danforth
She loves me and her body keeps me warm
I'm happy there
But this is where we used to live"

...the "she" is actually the house. They moved out of the apartment to a house and settled down, but he/they still long for youth. That's what the apartment represents, faults and all.
 
2012-04-19 03:45:45 PM  

Treygreen13: Abner Doon: So I guess they couldn't decide and wrote it both ways? Or they just threw in the "came here to talk" part for flow or something? *shrug*

I took it as the idea that he has a new girl. But he's still obsessed with her.

And she does live there, since he's asking why she kept some of the things that are his. So they obviously live apart.


Hmmm. That could make sense. The video totally doesn't match the song that way, but all-in-all that's probably the best interpretation.

/ Kinda lame that way though, I mean who is serious enough about a new girl to buy a house together, but still creepy stalkerish with the old one?
 
2012-04-19 03:46:22 PM  
Surprised not to see the Pumpkins' "Today" in there. To this day I encounter people who think it's really happy, or know what it's really about and still act like it's a happy song. Bizarre.
 
2012-04-19 03:46:27 PM  

Treygreen13: Abner Doon: So I guess they couldn't decide and wrote it both ways? Or they just threw in the "came here to talk" part for flow or something? *shrug*

I took it as the idea that he has a new girl. But he's still obsessed with her.

And she does live there, since he's asking why she kept some of the things that are his. So they obviously live apart.


But again, the mousetrap and dishrack are things that you might leave behind when you move out of a place. Another hint that "she" could be the apartment itself.
 
2012-04-19 03:46:44 PM  

MagSeven: bel4sucks: MagSeven: You really underestimate the stupidity of club kids.

Yeah how dare kids dance to a good song without constantly contemplating what every lyric means.

Nothing wrong with that. I do find it funny however when girls run to the dance floor when Crazy Biatch by Buckcherry or Figured you out by Nickelback comes on. I think "have you ever really listened to what they are saying?"


Yes, they have. Girls out for a night of drinking and partying possibly ending with a casual hookup kinda enjoy embracing the dirtier side of their personality.

I'd imagine you don't get laid much if you saw this happening and thought anything other than "targets locked"
 
2012-04-19 03:47:09 PM  
This is where medtek jumps in and reminds everyone that the "horn section" in "You Can Call Me Al" is actually Adrian Belew on guitar.

thank you.
 
2012-04-19 03:47:16 PM  

killershark: John McCain did a similar thing when he used John Mellencamp's Pink Houses during his campaign. The song is about people being depressed and realizing their American dreams will never come true. But hey, it has "America" in the chorus! Alot! So it must be awesome!


His whole campaign was lulzy. I loved when he used Orleans' "Still the One". The cowriter, John Hall, had been the Democratic representative to New York's 19th District at the time and informed the campaign that they definitely did not have permission to use his song. :)
 
2012-04-19 03:51:24 PM  
I know this is a slightly different tack, but Motown was the absolute masters of combining danceable, upbeat melodies with heartbreaking lyrics:

Tears of a Clown The fast version. Later, it was slowed down and that version does sound sad. This one is a real a barnburner.

Since I Lost My Baby This one has always made me think the lyrics betray the melody. It even starts off, 'the sun is shining...' Everything is going right in this guy's life, except...well, you know.

Just My Imagination Perhaps not 'upbeat' in terms of tempo, but it definitely has a dreaminess not generally associated with unrequited love.

Ain't Too Proud to Beg You know you dance to this one.

My Whole World Ended Listen to the Detroit Symphony Orchestra and David Ruffin just kill this one.
 
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