Sometimes the pain is obvious. What are some more example?
“Little girl, little girl
You know you move me.
Move me so much I bring you home my pay.
Little girl, little girl
It should move you too
when you see your good man broke down this way.”
(Can’t find a YouTube video for The Loch Tay Boat Song, but that’s another one and oozes pain.)
Buddy Guy’s Baby Please don’t Leave Me from Sweet Tea. IMO it’s his best album, partly due to the intentionally raw sound he sought during recording. The whole album is raw, but this track is just fucking on fire.
Portishead - Glorybox
- Sure, it’s “trip-hop”, which normally aims for a cool-sounding beats over emotional outpouring - but on this track, Beth Gibbons’s demanding, wailing voice reminds everyone exactly what that feels like, whatever the hell that is. Sour Times, indeed.
Rilo Kiley - Does He Love You?
- Similar to the Portishead track, but approaching it instead from an American country/indie perspective, rather than an English trip-hop one.
Ryan Adams - Come Pick Me Up - I really may as well have just put damn near the whole Heartbreaker album. Sigh. Ryan Adams is oft (and somewhat justly) maligned for the fact that for a period of time it seemed he was personally releasing more albums than most record companies do with all their artists. A lot of it was interesting but not quite there, so I like to reckon him to a sketch artist. But I think on this album, he shows why we continue to check out everything he does. It’s alt-country at its most lovesick, with all the highs and lows that follow.
Bright Eyes - Poison Oak
- Unabashedly melodramatic, a Bright Eyes track can be either unbelievably affecting, laughably pathetic, or both. On this one he reins it in a bit more, allowing for a powerful climax.
Burial - Archangel
- Burial is an English producer/dj/electronic music artist/whateverthefuck who works in a murky, downbeat sort of sound template that sounds like the sort of thing that would soundtrack you being alone in a phone booth at night when its raining. Here he adds vocals that are pitch-shifted, stretched, and otherwise distorted over his characteristic beats, and the results are haunting.
Wow, I didn’t know Willie had died. What a loss. If anyone is unfamiliar with Mink DeVille, you owe it to yourself to check them out.
Back on topic:
Me and Bobby McGee–Kristopherson and/or Joplin
The Last Thing on my Mind–Tom Paxton
So Long Marianne–Leonard Cohen
The White Stripes cover of Jolene.
I suspect that the proper course of action would be to simply to slap Jolene in the face, but regardless, the song is full of emotion.
The Replacements, Unsatisfied.. I can’t think of anything pithy to say, this song is just what I think of when someone says “raw.”
Richard Thompson does loads: -
Falling to Pieces, The Script.
I also love the reggae dancehall remake of it by Angele Smith.
There are countless more, of course. I am a sucker for the ‘raw’ songs. But since I just heard Falling to Pieces, that one is sticking out for me.
“Baby It’s You”, especially the version by Smith.
Most of John Lennon: Plastic Ono Band, plus “Cold Turkey”.
John Prine’s “Lake Marie” - especially the live version.
This was the first that came to mind and the one I came in to mention.
No YouTube access at work for me, but I’d throw in “16, 16, Six” by The Drips and (this sounds like a joke, it’s not) Mariachi El Bronx’s cover of “I Would Die 4 U” by his purple majesty. Anything that Matt Caughthran is singing tends to go that way.