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Music like Up's; up, then down
April 19, 2011 4:00 PM   Subscribe

I'm looking for songs that start out cheerful or sweet and turn sad. My best example of this is the Marriage Song/Theme from the movie Up. It doesn't suit my purposes, however. Can you help me find some others?

The music will accompany a sort of slideshow that is telling a story. The story's arc is sweet, but then turns tragic. Think of scenes of a happy couple, then one has a fatal car accident. It's not that exactly, but that helps give the idea.

I'm looking more for instrumental work, because the visuals are supposed to carry this story. It should definitely not be a song where the sadness is evoked only through the lyrics.

I thought the theme from Up was pretty good for the feeling that I want, but it's too Jazz Age for this story, which is set in the 80s.
posted by HE Amb. T. S. L. DuVal to Media & Arts (11 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
 
This 17-minute mostly-piano track by 'of Montreal' has so many happy-to-sad transitions it'll be hard to pick one: The Hopeless Opus or The Great Battle of the Unfriendly Ridiculous. It's from the album Coquelicot Asleep in the Poppies: A Variety of Whimsical Verse, and again the band is of Montreal. There's a bit somewhere in the middle with lyrics, but most of the track is just rollicking, evocative piano in a sort of ragtime/American style. At work, so I don't have a good lead on tracking down a version you can preview.
posted by carsonb at 4:13 PM on April 19, 2011


Elegia by New Order (from the Low-life album) has this feeling to it.
posted by perhapses at 5:00 PM on April 19, 2011


I found someone playing the of Montreal track on YT. I don't know if he hit any of the sadder-sounding parts. That ragtime feel seems too upbeat, although it came close, at times, to being sad.

perhapses That almost worked, but it wasn't quite sweet enough, or sad enough. It seemed to hover in between.

I guess another thing that I would really appreciate is if the song itself has some sort of very noticeable break. Fleet Foxes Tiger Mountain Peasant Song has this sort of obvious rupture, but the lyrics are too overt for my purposes. The second part ("Jess, I don't know what I have done...") is also a little too short.

Does Keith Jarrett, perhaps, have any songs that fit the bill?
posted by HE Amb. T. S. L. DuVal at 5:24 PM on April 19, 2011


Diary by Bread
posted by walleeguy at 5:38 PM on April 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


Iron and Wine & Calexico - 16, Maybe Less
posted by ashabanapal at 6:31 PM on April 19, 2011


I thought of Wedding Singer but it probably would not really work :)
posted by lundman at 7:07 PM on April 19, 2011


(The instrumental parts of) November Rain by Guns N Roses?
posted by ainsley at 11:08 PM on April 19, 2011


Well, you mentioned Up, so:

When She Loved Me, from Toy Story 2, starts with Jessie the cowgirl on a high (coz she's loved, see) and ending on a bummer, though the melody is quite sad throughout. Instrumental versions galore here.
posted by obiwanwasabi at 11:33 PM on April 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


Listening to the music from Up, it signals the sad parts by switching from a lively tempo to soft and slow, which seems like something waltzes might do well. It makes me think of accordion music or something like "American Pie." Maybe something useful in here?

I think these two (totally different) songs are ambiguously sweet and sad at the same, so that the visuals could signal how to interpret the music:

Claire de Lune by Debussy
The Air That I Breathe by the Hollies
posted by Dixon Ticonderoga at 12:26 AM on April 20, 2011


Silver Jews - I Remember Me

It actually involves a happy couple and a car accident! Sounds a little bit sad from the beginning, but maybe that's just me since I know what's coming.
posted by orme at 5:50 AM on April 20, 2011


The music will accompany a sort of slideshow that is telling a story. The story's arc is sweet, but then turns tragic. Think of scenes of a happy couple, then one has a fatal car accident. It's not that exactly, but that helps give the idea.

This made me think of the Peter Gabriel song "I Grieve," which starts out sad, gets peppy and happy for a little bit, then ends sad again. Evidently it was used in the Nicholas Cage film City of Angels.
posted by AugieAugustus at 7:24 AM on April 20, 2011


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