10 Most Gut-Wrenching Songs of the Aughts: Weigh in - Reverb

10 Most Gut-Wrenching Songs of the Aughts: Weigh in

Do you realize what your words do to people, Wayne Coyne? Do you?? Reverb file photo from Red Rocks.

Do you realize what your words do to people, Wayne Coyne? Do you?? Reverb file photo from Red Rocks.

This is just one man’s random, subjective and sadly experienced countdown of the 10 most gut-wrenching songs of the Aughts. Join the conversation by adding your suggestions as comments below, and together we’ll come up with a veritable compendium of heartache, loss and regret … Let’s have some fun!

The most common response I’ve had to this list so far is, “Wait, I thought that was a happy song.” Well, one man’s bliss is another man’s misery. The difference between a happy song and a gut-scraper … is whether it’s the person hearing it is happy or not.

Click all the way through to find our list of the “second 10″ (including many local bands), as well as bonus lists of Aughts cover songs, and one dedicated to the master scrapers … the Avett Brothers.

Here we go!

1. “Do You Realize,” by the Flaming Lips

Year: 2002

“Do you realize that you have the most beautiful face? Do you realize we’re floating in space? Do you realize that happiness makes you cry? Do you realize that everyone you know someday will die?”

2. “Love Letter,” by Nick Cave

Year: 2001

“Rain your kisses down upon me. Rain your kisses down in storms. And for all who’ll come before me. In your slowly fading forms.”

Reader reaction: “Thanks for ripping my heart out. Love and hate that song, all at the same time.” Kristin Stork.

“Ex-boyfriend flashback! Ex- boyfriend flahsback! Permanently ruined that song and that group for me.” Sara Horle.

“Go get her, Go get her.” Michael Kingsbaker

“You can NEVER go wrong with Nick.” Heidi Gartland.

3: “Find My Love” by the Avett Brothers

Click here to listen

Year: 2006

‘”Where do you go when it’s perfectly clear. You might find your way … but you won’t find it here?”

“How can you tell when goodbye means goodbye? Not just for now, for the rest of your life? How can you stand there with love in your eyes and still be walking away?”

4. “I’ll Be on the Water” by Akron/Family

Year: 2005

“Thinking of you … there’s lightning bolts in my chest.”

Reader reaction: “You must must check out ‘Reckless Burning’ by Jesse Sykes and the Sweet Hereafter. Might bumped some of your top 10. Or ‘Lullaby’ by Low. ‘Smokey’ by Red House Painters, the acoustic version. And. ‘Morning Theft’ by Jeff Buckley and ‘Wonderwall’ by Ryan Adams.” Jamie Wollrab

5. “Naked As We Came,” by Iron & Wine

Year: 2004

“One of us will die inside these arms, eyes wide open, naked as we came. One will spread our ashes ’round the yard.”

Reader reaction: “ ‘Faded from the Winter’ is my all-time favorite Iron & Wine tune. It’s haunting.” Haley Johnson.

6. “Murder in the City,” by The Avett Brothers

Year: 2008

“Always remember, there is nothing worth sharing like the love that let us share our name.”

Reader reaction: “I’m going to disagree and say ‘It’s the Beaches’ is the most heartwrenching Avetts song. Also, if this doesn’t feature some Microphones we’re through. In a Jens Lekman ‘I’m Leaving You Because I Don’t Love You’ kind of way.” Patrick Collins

“ ‘The Ballad of Love and Hate’ is the one that gets me every time.’ Julie Polito

“Stupid John Moore, making me cry.” Michelle Baldwin

“This would have been my pick. And I f***ing love the video.” Ricardo Baca

7. “Paint the Moon” by The Czars

Year: 2004

“Paint me cool blue waters, with shades of gray. Just don’t let me live my life this way. Without you.”

Reader reaction: “Man, I forgot about these guys. How sad. Thanks for the reminder.” Patrick Collins

8. “I Wish I Was the Moon Tonight” by Neko Case

Year: 2002

“Last night I dreamt I had forgotten my name. ‘Cause I had sold my soul but awoke just the same. I’m so lonely. I wish I was the moon tonight.”

Reader reaction: “Anything by Neko is so gut wrenching- what a voice. I Always feel like my ribcage and heart is expanding when I listen to her.” Michelle Baldwin

“Love that song! I’m gonna enjoy this countdown.” Michael Kingsbaker

“Thank you for reminding me of that song. I seriously needed it.” GerRee Hinshaw

9. “After I Made Love to You,” by Bonnie Prince Billie

Year: 2001

“In the dark i see you glisten. To your breath I lay and listen. After I’ve made love to you.”

Reader reaction: “Yes, that qualifies as gut-wrenching.” Kyle Shepard

“Love this… The dude who played the boy in ‘Matewan’? Cat DiBella

10. “Silver and Gold,” by Joe Strummer

Year: 2003

“I’m gonna go out dancing every night. I’m gonna see all of the city lights. I’ll do everything silver and gold. But I got to hurry up before I grow too old.”

    The second 10

1. “Never Felt Like this Before,” by Paul Westerberg
“My hand is shaking on the left. My heart is breaking all that’s left. Since I met you.”

2. “Lua,” by Bright Eyes
“I know you have a heavy heart; I can feel it when we kiss. So many men much stronger than me have thrown their backs out trying to lift it. But me, I’m not gamble. You can count on me to split. The love I sell you in the evening, by the morning won’t exist.”

3. “Leave Me Like You Found Me,” by Wilco
“I’m somebody just like you. Content with being blue, honestly. Leave me like you found me.”

4. “Fred Jones” by Ben Folds
“Twenty-five years he’s worked at the paper. A man’s here to take him downstairs. And I’m sorry, Mr. Jones. It’s time. There was no party, there were no songs. ‘Cause today’s just a day like the day that he started. No one is left here that knows his first name. And life barrels on like a runaway train.”

5. “A Form to Accommodate the Mess,” by Everything Absent or Distorted
“We’re born gasping for air … and we die gasping for air.”

6. “Your Blood/The Very Modern Dance,” by Destroyer
“Ride towards the dawn, Quicksilver on the side of nothing. Never had a chance. Never had to choose Your Blood versus Your Blues.”

7. “Summer Clothes” by Porlolo
“It’s so cold out in December. Never would I pray, no, summer to come. Hate how I look in my summer clothes. Arms and legs all sticking out. Man, I’m so exposed.”

8. “Don’t Kiss Me Yet,” by Hobbs, N.M.
“What a pretty picture we might make. But the words fall from both sides of your mouth. I don’t know which ones to catch if I can’t defend you.”

9. “Over the Ocean,” by Low
“I’m over the ocean. Over the hills, over the dell. Over the fireline. Over the sand. Over the plan. Over the empire. And if I belong, then I’ll be longer than expected. And if I’m wrong, the mighty and strong will be rejected.”

10. “Beat Beat Pound,” by Andrea Ball
“I asked all the wrong questions at the time. And I know you never really got me. That’s all right. Life has a funny way of working things out.”

    A few gut-wrenching cover songs recorded during the Aughts:

“One Man Guy”
Original: Loudon Wainwright III
Covered by: Rufus Wainwright
“I don’t know why I’m a one man guy, or why I’m a one man show. But these three cubic feet of bone and blood and meat are all I love and know.”

“Someday Some Morning Sometime”
Original: Woody Guthrie
Covered by: Billy Bragg and Wilco
“I’d like to hold your hand in mine. Someday some morning sometime.”

“I Don’t Want to Set the World on Fire”
Original: The Ink Spots
Covered by: Clem Snide
“I don’t want to set the world on fire. I just want to start a flame in your heart.”

“True Love Will Find You in the End”
Original: Daniel Johnston
Covered by: Beck
“This is a promise with a catch: Only if you’re looking will it find you. ‘Cause true love is searching too. But how can it recognize you, unless you step out into the light?”

“Origin of Love”
Original: John Cameron Mitchell and Stephen Trask for “Hedwig and the Angry Inch”
Covered by: Rufus Wainwright
“I was looking at you. You had a way so familiar, but I could not recognize. ’Cause you had blood on your face; I had blood in my eyes.”

    More Gut-Scrapers from the Avett Brothers

“If it’s the Beaches”
“If it’s the beaches’ sands you want, then you will have them. If it’s the mountains, bending rivers, then you will have them. If it’s a wish to run away, then I will grant it. Take whatever you think of while I go gas up the truck. Pack the old love letters up. We will read them when we forget why we left here.”

“Please Pardon Yourself”
“Well, there’s only so many ways you can give your loving to me. But I’d give my soul for just for one of them now. I’d give up the drinking – just tell me how.”

“Pretty Girl at the Airport”
“Everyone I know out here is lonely. Even those that have someone to lie beside at night. Leave me when the dawn is almost gone. Leave now, while you can. I’m not your man. I know, I know.”

“Incomplete and Insecure”
“I haven’t finished a thing since I started in my life; I don’t feel much like starting now. Walking out lonely has worked like a charm, I’m the only one I have to let down.”

“Salvation Song”
“And if you take of my soul, you can still leave it whole, with the pieces of your own you leave behind.”

“Left on Laura. Left on Lisa.”
“Nobody knows it but I am so sad. Nobody knows it but I am so sad. And that is the saddest of all, my girl. That is the saddest of all.”

“Living of Love”
“For just one chance to find love with someone that you’d love to find. For just the sense to try. To walk ahead – and leave the pain behind.”

“The Weight of Lies”
“The weight of lies will bring you down, and follow you to every town. ’Cause nothing happens here that doesn’t happen there. So when you run make sure you run to something and not away from … ’Cause lies don’t need an aeroplane to chase you anywhere.”

“I Would be Sad”
“I would be sad because you left me all alone. I would be sad for the lies that you had told me. I would be sad because I got left by a girl that I adored. I would be sad for all the love I had before.”

“Signs”
“I didn’t mean for me to see things I see in you and me. But know I know that we can’t live together. The way I want to live … free, forever.”

“When I Drink”
“When I drink, I spend the next morning in a haze. But we only get so many days … Now I have one less.”

“Will You Return?”
“I wish you’d see yourself as beautiful as I see you.”

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John Moore founded The Denver Post Underground Music Showcase in 2001 and is now the paper’s theater critic. If you care about such things, check out his web page here..

Join the conversation by adding your suggestions as comments below.

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  • Lily

    Great No. 1. That's easily their best song ever.

  • DenverThread

    Fantastic list, MooreJohn! From one of my favorite influences. So glad to see this song here, the tribute to the only guy who really mattered in the only band that truly mattered. Not a day goes by that I don't think of some Clash lyric. Thanks for this!

  • lewiscooper

    How about the legend Daniel Dale Johnston's, To Go Home; “God, it's great to be alivetakes the skin right off my hide, to think I'll have to give it all up someday” “I'll be true to you oh yeah, you know I will, I'll be true to you forever or until, I go home”

  • Tom Nash

    Perfect – definitely top 10…any song that reminds us that the one we love will either bury us – or we'll bury them…beautiful, heartfelt and dismal. This would ahve been my I&W choice as well…

  • Kaylie

    My honorable mentions…-Antony & The Johnsons' “Spiraling”. “Fistful of Love” is a close second – the lyrical content is so different, as is the music itself. I'm going off the way it makes my heart ache. Both songs from the album “I Am A Bird Now” ('05)-Other Lives' “Epic” from their self-titled ('09).-Coldplay's “We Never Change” from “Parachutes” ('00).-Colin Hay's “I Just Don't Think I'll Ever Get Over You” from the Garden State soundtrack ('04)-Passion Pit's “Drowning In The Flood” from “Manners” ('09)-The Maccabee's “Toothpaste Kisses” from “Colour It In” ('07)-The Cure's “Underneath The Stars” from “4:13 Dream” ('08)-Sigur Ros' “All Alright” from “Med Sud I Eyrum Vid Spilum Endalaust” ('08)

  • http://tometotheweathermachine.blogspot.com/ Crawf

    Cool post, John!I'm nominating Tom Waits… I'm torn between two:• Alice: “And so secret kiss brings madness with the bliss, and I will think of this when I'm dead in my grave. Set me adrift and I'm lost over there. And I must be insane to go skating on your name, and by tracing it twice I fell through the ice of Alice”• Flower's Grave: “When one rose blooms, then another will die. It's always been that way… I remember the showers, but no one puts flowers on a flower's grave”

  • kptron

    Seriously, we have to click through 13 pages?

  • kptron

    Seriously, we have to click through 13 pages?

  • kptron

    Seriously, we have to click through 13 pages?

  • kptron

    Seriously, we have to click through 13 pages?

  • kptron

    Seriously, we have to click through 13 pages?

  • kptron

    Seriously, we have to click through 13 pages?

  • kptron

    Seriously, we have to click through 13 pages?

  • kptron

    Seriously, we have to click through 13 pages?

  • kptron

    Seriously, we have to click through 13 pages?

  • kptron

    Seriously, we have to click through 13 pages?

  • Unfound46

    If you would be so kind,  before I weigh in I thought it would be smart to clarify what the aughts exactly are. Thank you.