On my all-time favorite album reviews was a Rolling Stone critique of Jackson Browne’s “The Pretender”. The music critic titled the review, “Chilled White Whine”, describing his disdain for Jackson Browne’s sensitive music and his mellow approach. Yet, there is a healing quality to so many of these slow, emotional songs. It’s almost as if you’re not alone. Others have experienced these the same emotions you’re going through. Here are three special songs that have truly helped a lot of people over the years.
Chris Martin’s band first hit it big with their melancholy anthem, “Yellow” in 2002. On their debut CD, Parachutes, the British band channeled Neil Young with sensitive vocals accompanied by moments of electric guitar frenzy. The song speaks of unrequited love, emotional devotion, and despite the subdued whispered vocals, it’s actually a happy song of hope. When that guitar riff takes over the song, there is something almost spiritual to “Yellow”. The video was shot in one fluid moment on Stutland Bay in England, the moody rainy weather perfectly compliments the song’s tone.
“IN THE SHAPE OF A HEART” JACKSON BROWNE
A wonderfully written “love song” that expresses the innocence of new love, the doubts of trusting in love, making mistakes in a relationship, and the consequences of your actions. When I first heard the line,
“It was the ruby that she wore
On a stand beside the bed
In the hour before dawn
When I knew she was gone “
I assumed the song was about the woman giving up on the relationship and walking away. Actually the song was inspired by Jackson’s heartbreak after the death of his wife, Phyllis, from a drug overdose. Either way you interpret the lyrics, it’s an incredibly dramatic lyrical moment.
“DRY YOUR EYES” THE STREETS
If you’ve never heard this song before, you’re in for a real treat. The Streets are led by English rocker/rapper, Mike Skinner. He’s got a very British accent and on “Dry Your Eyes” he’s essentially talking over a slow, melodic hip hop beat. The devastating effects of a breakup can be overwhelming but Mike’s lyrics cut to the heart. Even cliched lines like “there’s more fish in the sea” sound believable here. The stages of moving on are all captured here: loss, frustration, utter hatred, regret, acceptance…..the perfect song for the right time. The beautiful string accompaniment and the dramatic conclusion is jawdropping.