Ms. Ann O’Malley’s iPod Playlist From Hell-The Debbie Downer Edition

Like herpes, bad pop songs are the gift that just keeps on giving.  These were especially written to harsh your buzz.

Today we focus on songs that make you want to start taking anti-depressants.

Peter McCann-“Do You Want To Make Love?”

Forgiving the fact that the singer looks like he should be a Will Forte character on Saturday Night Live, I’m having trouble getting past what he is asking her.  I do realize that the singer is giving her an ultimatum of sorts, but taken out of context, what he’s asking sounds really crass.

Michael Martin Murphy-“Wildfire”

This song is depressing.  There is a line in here about “Oh, they say she died one winter/When there came a killing frost”. Who is she, the horse or the girl, and are they made of tender vegetation?

Speaking of equines…

America-Horse With No Name

Another popular choice for many a bad songs list and my list is no exception.  This is one of the most depressing songs ever written. ‘Nuff said.

“Summer Breeze”–Seals & Crofts

Most depressing song about summer ever.  The lyrics are not really all that depressing.  It’s the tune that brings you down and harshes your buzz.

“Shannon”–Henry Gross

I want to know if there was a segment of the recording industry that was on permanent downers in the 1970s, because that would explain why someone thought that a song about someone’s dog being caught in the tide, washing out to sea, and eventually dying would make a good pop song.

And last, but not least…

“Alone Again (Naturally)” by Gilbert O’Sullivan

Most. Depressing. Song. Ever.  By the minute-thirty mark, I’m longing to treat myself with a visit to a nearby tower.  And if I’m still feeling sour by the two minute thirty mark, I will throw myself off of it.


50 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. wineguider
    Oct 07, 2010 @ 08:43:43

    Ahhhh, the last one, Alone Again. I was hoping for that big finish to your list! Good job. Another extremely buzz-kiling suicide-enabling 70s “hit”: At Seventeen, by Janis Ian.

  2. Cipher
    Oct 07, 2010 @ 08:51:22

    I like the list. I would add Eric Carmen’s whine-fest “All by Myself”. They should play that song over loudspeakers when they need to subdue a prison riot.

  3. donna kishbaugh
    Oct 07, 2010 @ 08:53:12

    Have you heard the song “Honey” by Bobby Goldsburrow (ms?). It was actually listed in a book called “I hate Myself and Want To Die: The 52 Most Depressing Songs You’ve Ever Heard”. LOL!!! (I think!)


  4. shadowcass
    Oct 07, 2010 @ 09:11:16

    “A Horse with No Name” is NOT depressing at all. Quite cheery, in fact.
    Or don’t you like getting out of the rain?

  5. rising writer
    Oct 07, 2010 @ 09:13:46

    Love it! I was going to include one, but realize it was 80’s so it’s not part of this list.

  6. The Simple Life of a Country Man's Wife
    Oct 07, 2010 @ 09:24:58

    I love the Debbie Downer edition. Great post!

  7. The Gates of Lodore
    Oct 07, 2010 @ 09:37:23

    You won’t need to take anti-depressants after this list – just listen to some Starland Vocal Band – “Afternoon Delight” and all will be well.

  8. ryoko861
    Oct 07, 2010 @ 09:54:47

    Dan Fogelburg’s “Sketches” is really depressing

    “Late in the summer
    When the cottonwood flies
    And the fields are on fire
    Like green bottle flies
    And I’m still seeing reflections
    Of me in your eyes
    And why did you leave last summer?

    Now, the seasons are changing
    From summer to fall
    And I’ve still got that picture
    Hung on my wall
    And there’s so much forgotten
    And too much recalled
    And why did you leave
    At all?”

    Ugh, that is just so sad that someone is still lamenting over a lost love over the seasons. The music is just as sorrowsome.

    “Alone Again Naturally” was played to death back then. I hated it then, I hate it now.

  9. Laurie
    Oct 07, 2010 @ 09:55:25

    Fabulous list!! I agree with Donna about “Honey” It was a horrible song! lol Then you have “Seasons in the Sun” by Terry Jacks!

  10. misfit120
    Oct 07, 2010 @ 10:21:49

    I’m just tearing up over all those old heart wrenching songs. (sob) Like Psycho by Bobby Hendricks; They’re Coming To Take Me Away by Napoleon x1v; Patches by Dickie Lee; I Want My Baby Back-Jimmy Cross; and of course the ever loving deeply sentimental revenge song, (sigh) I Put A Spell On You- by Screamin Jay Hawkins. Yes….I have these records because I can relate to them and because I’m weird. See for yourself at

  11. girlonthecontrary
    Oct 07, 2010 @ 10:27:45

    My Mom sings Wildfire all the time. It is such a melancholy song. It makes me want to cuddle up in bed and hibernate until happier times come along. This list is brilliant and I agree with every one of your choices. Might I add, Tim McGraw “Don’t Take The Girl” because the whole song you’re thinking how cute this little romance is and then at the end you’re like “Wait, did she die!? Is she dead?!” and it’s just very upsetting.

  12. Ha_Qohelet
    Oct 07, 2010 @ 10:34:30

    Joni Mitchell, “River,” Blue, 1971.

  13. notesfromrumbleycottage
    Oct 07, 2010 @ 10:49:40

    I have to disagree with you about Summer Breeze. There is something soothing about that song. A sweet reminder in the middle of winter of what awaits us. The rest of the list however is spot on. And that Terry Jacks song is awful on top of being depressing.

  14. Joy Victory
    Oct 07, 2010 @ 10:52:17

    After reading this, I realized I was humming “A Horse With No Name” as I walked my dog. Damnit.

  15. CrystalSpins
    Oct 07, 2010 @ 11:08:21

    I love “Horse With no Name”… and several others on the list. Thanks for sharing. Do we get a cheerful playlist tomorrow?


  16. mmgoodsongs
    Oct 07, 2010 @ 11:17:34

    I embarrassed to say that I used to love belting out Wild Fire but I do agree with your assessment. If you love to sing harmony, Horse with No Name is a good one too. I did however, think of one to add to your list” O What a Lonely Boy” by Andrew Gold. Another depressing song that I just couldn’t help but sing along to…..really loud. I love this post!!

  17. srosegots
    Oct 07, 2010 @ 11:35:09

    Ha I love “Summer Breeze” and “Alone Again Naturally” and kudos to Cipher for mentioning “Al By Myself”. Extremely depressing.

  18. sayitinasong
    Oct 07, 2010 @ 11:48:37

    Aww… alone again is such a 70s classic… I love that song!! lol

  19. overthehillguitar
    Oct 07, 2010 @ 12:15:06

    My wife used to be a farm girl with cows, chickens, horses with all the smells that us “city folk” just don’t want mixed in with our double espresso machiato’s. Every time she starts to wax poetic about her horse “stardust”, I start to slowly sing, in my most gentle voice, “She was born on…….Devil’s Mountain” from “Wildfire”. It really seems to help to set the mood and capture the moment. lol

  20. Michael
    Oct 07, 2010 @ 13:14:45

    Not 1 song by the BeeGees or Gordon Lightfoot? Disappointed!

  21. wadingacross
    Oct 07, 2010 @ 13:17:30

    I actually like a few of the songs on the list. Every time I hear a song from the 70’s I feel like a kid again.

    In relation to “Wildfire”, I compiled a CD of songs for my wife when we were dating. I looked for any songs I could find that had her name in the title or in the lyrics. Well… in one of the songs, she dies! She still teases me about including that song in the list.

  22. planejaner
    Oct 07, 2010 @ 13:32:59

    Anything on the Joni Mitchell “Blue” album…my husband had to take it away from me years ago. He said he was tired of finding me on the floor, curled up in a fetal position, sobbing.
    great post!

  23. JW
    Oct 07, 2010 @ 13:42:11

    Just reading this list made me want to poke out my eardrums with a pencil.

  24. cocktailsattiffanys
    Oct 07, 2010 @ 14:17:44

    Thanks for this! Now I’m gonna go kill myself!


  25. creamcrackereduk
    Oct 07, 2010 @ 14:51:51

    Having looked at the songs mentioned by Ms. O’Malley and commentators, I should not be alive to type this because I should have already committed suicide.

    You’ve all been looking through my record/CD/download collection without me knowing it.

  26. Wednesday's Child
    Oct 07, 2010 @ 15:17:32

    Great list! I’d add The Seekers’ “Georgy Girl,” and Glen Campbell’s “Southern Nights,” because they both sound upbeat but are depressing. Oh, and Terry Jacks’ “Seasons In The Sun.”
    Sometimes I wish I was one of those people who could tune out song lyrics.

  27. izziedarling
    Oct 07, 2010 @ 15:44:59

    Alone Again – agggghhhhhhhhhh.

  28. Hesam
    Oct 07, 2010 @ 16:32:17

    Haha – good list 😀
    i like some of ’em 😉

  29. educlaytion
    Oct 07, 2010 @ 19:37:47

    I had a lot of things I wanted to say but lost my zeal and possibly reason to live after listening to your barrage of joy-stealing, soul-robbing, music. ~sigh~ nice post…

  30. Stephanie Keyes
    Oct 07, 2010 @ 20:04:34

    Nice post! It reminded me of what I must avoid in the future! I humbly submit Leader Of the Band by Dan Fogelberg. The tired horn interludes seem to be synonymous with a trip to the dentist. Thanks for making me smile1

  31. typhoidterri
    Oct 07, 2010 @ 20:52:04

    I think the is Harry Chapin’s “Cat in the Cradle.” But today on the radio I heard Social Distortion “Take Away This Ball and Chain.” Ding Ding Ding! We have a winner!

  32. Y3
    Oct 07, 2010 @ 20:55:59

    Having looked at the songs mentioned by Ms. O’Malley and commentators, I should not be alive to type this because I should have already committed suicide.

    You’ve all been looking through my record/CD/download collection without me knowing it.

  33. Thomas Stazyk
    Oct 07, 2010 @ 21:20:36

    If I were to make a list of the top ten most irritating songs of all time, your six would definitely be on it. I was so in tune (no pun intended) with where you were going I found myself anticipating the next song as I scrolled down. Of course I didn’t click on any of the links–don’t want to spoil my buzz!

  34. ASuburbanLife
    Oct 07, 2010 @ 22:04:08

    Your list is very complete! Although I will admit to having a huge crush on Gilbert O’Sullivan as a teenager, so I’d swap his out and substitute If by Bread.

  35. islandeat
    Oct 08, 2010 @ 00:05:48

    I find Fresh Pressed is worthwhile when I discover a blog like yours.

    Your list is fascinating, as the songs are truly all depressing, though some are kitschy, some are just bad, and some don’t make any sense. Seals and Crofts, I just realized, must have switched up the lyrics – which on their own, have some merit – but, with the discordant music, become really jarring.

    They are from a time when I was too young to pay attention to the lyrics, so thanks for getting me to do that (and the Danielle Staub video was even more depressing, albeit hilarious!!!).

    Thanks for the entertainment, and, dare I say, enlightenment….

  36. Vodka and Ground Beef
    Oct 08, 2010 @ 00:57:05

    I love this post and your blog. My favorite line: “Who is she, the horse or the girl, and are they made of tender vegetation?”

    And the last song . . . woah. I know what you mean. If I ever decide to end it all, that’s the song they’ll find on repeat.

  37. Moonbeam McQueen
    Oct 08, 2010 @ 01:14:26

    Hilarious! I didn’t know whether to reach for Depends or Prozac.

    I’d add “Dust in the Wind” to the list. That one makes me want to get in the bathtub with a toaster.

  38. rick dennis
    Oct 08, 2010 @ 03:08:23

    Speaking of (the late) Dan Fogelberg “Same Old Lang Syne” must surely rate a mention on this list ….

  39. svartfar
    Oct 08, 2010 @ 03:20:33

    Depressing songs are the best of songs. I have a suicide playlist….

  40. InsomniacDiary
    Oct 08, 2010 @ 03:40:54

    I think I would end up with a limitless list if I really got started. My first two thoughts are Bobby Gentry’s “Ode to Billie Joe,” and maybe Procol Harum’s “Whiter Shade of Pale,” for reasons as explained in my wordpress Insomniac Diary blog “The Soundtrack to My Live as a Motion Picture.” That’s just the first 30 seconds of thought, mind you. I’m sure there will be more in my head that enter and won’t leave over the next several weeks. What a downer!!! 😉

  41. Gori Rajkumari
    Oct 08, 2010 @ 04:28:02

    I grew up listening to all those songs so to me, they aren’t really depressing but more nostalgic reminders of cool and breezy summers laying under a tree and reading or in the back seat of my parents station wagon with all the windows down. The music back then was slower but had it’s own appeal. Maybe it’s an art and sound lost on people growing up with the 80’s and 90’s pop and rock. Summer Breeze and Wildfire are two of my particular favorites.

    Wildfire was innovative for it’s time being a story song, unique harmonies and mix of classical, jazz and western influences. It reminds me of a folklore song and in it’s own way it gives the lesson that running wild (without thought) has consequences.

    While I was NEVER a big fan of Peter McCan, I have to say you didn’t really catch the premise of his song. The song is talking about a man in love with a woman but he is questioning if she really loves him or is using him. He asks her to think about it and if she finds that it’s just for fun, for her to not hurt him but rather, move on to the next person. I’m not sure how you came up with crass or the “ultimatum” I mean, personally, telling someone to move on if they only plan on using you is not such a bad ultimatum. The Lyrics are:

    Sometimes the love rhymes that fill that afternoon,
    Lose all their meaning with the rising moon.
    Hold me and tell me that the words you say are true,
    Answer the question I must ask of you …..

    Do you wanna make love,
    Or do you just want to fool around?
    I guarantee it will bring you down,
    If you try and fool yourself.
    Do you wanna make love,
    Or do you just want to fool around?
    You can take it seriously,
    Or take it somewhere else.

    Take all the freedom that a lover will allow,
    If you feel the feeling that I’m feeling now.
    Where love goes, a fool knows that the hurt can go as deep,
    Don’t make a promise that you cannot keep.

    Do you wanna make love,
    Or do you just want to fool around?
    I guarantee it will bring you down,
    If you try and fool yourself.
    Do you wanna make love,
    Or do you just want to fool around?
    You can take it seriously,
    Or take it somewhere else.

    If you wanna get close to me,
    You could do it so easily.
    Is it love that I see when I look in your eyes,
    Or just another empty lie?

    Do you wanna make love,
    Or do you just want to fool around?
    I guarantee it will bring you down,
    If you try and fool yourself.
    Well, do you wanna make love,
    Or do you just want to fool around?
    You can take it seriously,
    Or take it somewhere else.

  42. health,health,health
    Oct 08, 2010 @ 05:07:14

    When you are sad to Tingting Ge, a variety of song A reflection of life, perhaps through her, you can find a way

  43. anwa
    Oct 08, 2010 @ 05:55:56

    Oh, I love the song “Horse With No Name”! But then, I’m also known for my Debbie Downer music and the fact that all the songs I know how to sing are depressing.

  44. vicky
    Oct 08, 2010 @ 07:37:57

    nice list of playlist.. 🙂

  45. rtcrita
    Oct 08, 2010 @ 08:17:39

    Really? I don’t think all these songs are depressing. Some, yes. Like “Alone Again, Naturally.” But even those songs have their purpose. Personally, I always felt it was cathartic to put on those soul-wrenching songs whenever I was in the middle of some kind of teenage angst. I’d feel sorry for myself, have a good cry, get it all out of my system and be done with it all!

    Then, I’d put on the good stuff. Like Earth, Wind & Fire, Heart, or Rufus and Chaka Khan. I’d sing, shout, and dance it all out–and all would be right in the world once again!

    P.S. You forgot 10 CC’s “I’m Not In Love,” my personal “love sucks” favorite.

  46. The Mental Secretary
    Oct 09, 2010 @ 01:20:52

    I would probably add “I’m Not in Love” by 10cc.

  47. Gail Morris
    Oct 09, 2010 @ 15:48:37

    Last but not least an old classic: Last Kiss by the Cavaliers. “Oh where oh where can my baby be, the Lord took her away from me………..”

  48. Arthur Dent
    Oct 11, 2010 @ 10:03:48

    I could never figure out why Summer Breeze had this weird, itchy edge …. you nailed it. It’s a downer.

  49. missdisplaced
    Oct 12, 2010 @ 10:04:43

    What, no “Cat’s in the Cradle” (depressing absent parenting song) or how about “Brandy” (a fine girl who can’t compare to the sea) or one of my ultimate downers “Sounds of Silence”