Professor’s Playlist: Patrick Lawler

I asked English Professor Patrick Lawler what he thought were the saddest songs, and this is what he said:

“At first, I thought; I don’t like sad songs, and then after some reflection I realized all the songs I like are sad—if by sad we mean a song with emotional depth. At that point it became nearly impossible to limit it to five.  What about ‘One,’ ‘I Am A Rock,’ ‘I’ll Be Missing You,’ or ‘Hey Jude’?  What about B.B. King, Muddy Waters, The Smiths, or Amy Winehouse? What about Mahler’s ‘I’ve Become Lost To The World’ and the sad voice of Neil Young singing in ‘MacArthur Park’?  It just seems that all the songs I like are a little sappy and a little snappy—catharsis you can dance to. Some heartbreak to go with break dancing.”

  1. “Tears in Heaven” by Eric Clapton
  2. “The River” by Bruce Springsteen
  3. “Love Will Tear Us Apart” by Joy Division
  4. “Cat’s in the Cradle” by Harry Chapin
  5. “Everybody Hurts” by REM

“Oh, wait.  What about Laura Viers’s ‘Sadako Folding Cranes’ ? Even the title is sad. And then there’s every song I’ve ever listened to while driving down a highway through a town we call the Past.”