Looking to discover some new tunes while you’re stuck at home? The Bluebird staff has you covered! Each weekend, we’ll be putting out a new quarantunes playlist curated by one of our staff members. Today’s playlist is brought to you by The Bluebird Cafe Kitchen Manager, Patrick Hook. Find out what he’s listening to while he is cooking, prepping Grubhub takeout orders, and more!
Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds
I love the the “Looka, looka yonder” line in the song. A reference to Leadbelly’s song “Black Betty” which Nick Cave has also covered. Of course, leave it to Nick to make a storm and the birth of Elvis Presley sound apocalyptic.
Written from the perspective of a disabled girl, the song is a brutal look at the cruel perceptions of others. Add to it the anguished moans of Mary Margaret O’Hara and the end result is one of his most sublimely uncomfortable songs.
The Rolling Stones
One of the best songs about depression in general, with the titular color black serving as a symbol of the singers unfavorable moods.
Townes Van Zandt
Holy Cow! It’s delicately heartbreaking and eerily prophetic to Van Zandt’s early demise at 52 from alcoholism. “His name’s Codeine, he’s the nicest thing I’ve seen/Together we’re going to wait around and die.” This song is everything!
Not just one of country music’s most evocatively ripe lyrics, but maybe also its most acute diagnosis of clinical depression: Everything the singer encounters — from the weep of a robin to the whine of a train to the fact that a falling star makes no sound at all — mirrors his dark mood.
Back in the 1980s, there were news stories about Japanese men killing themselves and their families by driving off piers because they had failed in business. Reading that probably didn’t make you feel like writing a song, but that’s why you aren’t Black Francis of Pixies.
Nine Inch Nails
Even before Johnny Cash broke everyone’s hearts with his transformative cover, Nine Inch Nails’ “Hurt” was a tragic, beautiful wrecker of a song that perfectly bookended the epic, tortured journey of The Downward Spiral.
Almost 30 years after its release, this duet about a couple who have fallen on hard times is still considered by many to be the greatest Christmas song ever. Perhaps not in the traditional sense, but definitely in what the holidays can bring to some.
Perhaps not the best INXS song ever, but one of my favorites. This song is about a frightened runaway who the singer has befriended and is wanting to protect in a fatherly way. She goes from “doorway to doorway, corner to corner” trying to survive.
Where to begin with Prine? Wow! So many…Only John Prine – with his laid-back style and personality – could made this timeless evergreen about a man’s final moments – and his last instructions – sound in any way like a beautiful or funny way to go. But, alas, that is the magic of John Prine. He can make you think, as well as smile all in the same line.
Bruce Springsteen’s “The River” isn’t just sad—it’s absolutely soul-crushing. And if that’s not enough, it also contains one of the biggest bummers of a line ever: “Is a dream a lie if it don’t come true, or is it something worse?”
Rebekah Del Rio
Not sure what to add about this song, have followed her for years now. The fact that it’s in both English and Spanish I love, but lyrically it’s a brilliant and beautiful song.
– Patrick Hook