Music for the good kind of unhappy
June 4, 2009 3:18 PM   Subscribe

Music about unrequited love.

Exactly what it says. Doesn't even necessarily have to lyrically relate. Just give me the songs that make you feel the longing way down in your... feet.
posted by Gotham to Media & Arts (56 answers total) 33 users marked this as a favorite
I Don't Owe You Anything by The Smiths
posted by Precision at 3:23 PM on June 4, 2009

Older songs? She's like the wind
posted by -harlequin- at 3:25 PM on June 4, 2009

"Every Breath You Take" - Police
posted by jabberjaw at 3:25 PM on June 4, 2009

David Byrne "I Know Sometimes a Man is Wrong"
Neko Case "This Tornado Loves You"
posted by Neofelis at 3:28 PM on June 4, 2009

Eric Clapton's Layla

Lionel Richie's Hello

The Temptations' Just My Imagination
posted by ericb at 3:29 PM on June 4, 2009

the script - breakeven

death cab for cutie - someday you will be loved
posted by freddymetz at 3:30 PM on June 4, 2009

The Divine Comedy, Everybody Knows (Except You). In classic Neil Hannon meta-fashion, it's both a gorgeous love song about unrequited love and a hilariously arch send-up of gorgeous love songs about unrequited love.
posted by scody at 3:31 PM on June 4, 2009 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I Think I'm in Love by Spiritualized. Good luck to you, Gotham.
posted by chorltonmeateater at 3:32 PM on June 4, 2009

You're Beautiful by James Blunt.

She's like the wind Patrick Swayze
posted by arniec at 3:38 PM on June 4, 2009

Alicia Keys' Fallin'

Neil Young's Harvest Moon

George Michael's A Different Corner

James Blunt's You're Beautiful
posted by ericb at 3:40 PM on June 4, 2009

Tom Petty - Even the Losers
(Well, it was nearly summer we sat on your roof
Yeah, we smoked cigarettes and stared at the moon
And I'd show you stars you never could see
Baby, it couldn't have been that easy to forget about me)
posted by Bron at 3:56 PM on June 4, 2009

Jeff Buckley's Lover, You Should've Come Over hits me square in the gut every time.

She's the tear that hangs inside my soul forever.

posted by Balonious Assault at 4:02 PM on June 4, 2009 [1 favorite]

~ Is it Okay if I'll Call You Mine? by Paul McCrane
~ So In Love by Cole Porter
posted by litterateur at 4:15 PM on June 4, 2009

Happy - The Wrens
You Go to My Head - Billie Holiday
I Know - Fiona Apple
Breakfast in Bed - Dusty Springfield
My Man's Gone Now - Nina Simone
Case of You - Joni Mitchell
Jezebel - Iron & Wine
Toby - Royal Fingerbowl
posted by hippugeek at 4:20 PM on June 4, 2009

All My Little Words by the Magnetic Fields
posted by moxiedoll at 4:39 PM on June 4, 2009

Best answer: Personally I like the Guns N' Roses version of 'Since I Don't Have You' as well as "Without You' by Harry Nilsson -- why not go over the top when you are feeling like a wreck.

I once had a neighbour who played 'Nothing Compares 2 U' and 'It Must Have Been Love' loud, singing his heart out, on repeat, every night for two weeks after 1am. I still feel like I should have gone over and made sure he was OK but I was very annoyed at the lack of sleep I was getting at the time.
posted by Flying Squirrel at 4:40 PM on June 4, 2009 [2 favorites]

The Engine Driver, The Decemberists
Not a Day Goes By, Stephen Sondheim (sung here in heartbreaking fashion by Bernadette Peters)
I Can't Make You Love Me, Bonnie Raitt
What You Do, Aberfeldy
Untitled, The Cure (even if you're not a Cure fan - just read the lyrics and you'll see)
Ghost, Indigo Girls

Okay, I need to stop now.
posted by chihiro at 4:46 PM on June 4, 2009 [1 favorite]

Nothing Compares 2 U is the best! I'd wonder if I was Flying Squirrel's neighbor, except that I'm a girl.
posted by odayoday at 4:55 PM on June 4, 2009

Dire Straits, "Hand in Hand":
Now you and me go parallel, together and apart
And you keep your perfect distance and it's tearing at my heart
Did you never feel the distance
You never tried to cross no line
'Cause it's another dirty river and another dirty scar
And I don't know who's kissing you and I don't know where you are
So far from home don't you think of me sometime
Del Amitri, "Always the Last to Know":
We spent summers up beyond the bay
And you said these are such perfect days
That if the bomb drops baby, I want to be the last to know
But now you're living up behind the hill
And though we share the same city and feel the same sun
When your winter comes
I'll be the last to know
posted by kirkaracha at 4:55 PM on June 4, 2009 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Untouchable Face by Ani DiFranco - Best. Chorus. Ever.
posted by jeoc at 5:12 PM on June 4, 2009 [3 favorites]

One Dance by Dan Bern
posted by elsietheeel at 5:25 PM on June 4, 2009

"I Should Go" by Levi Kreis. (click "music" then scroll to "I Should Go" to hear it in the site's player. Or it's on iTunes.)

While applicable to other situations, the song is actually about a gay guy wrestling with an attraction to a straight guy. Which, in my experience, is just about as "unrequited" as love ever gets.
posted by dnash at 5:49 PM on June 4, 2009

Daniel Johnston - Laurie. A bit on Laurie from The Devil and Daniel Johnston
posted by backwards guitar at 5:52 PM on June 4, 2009

Complicated by Carolyn Dawn Johnson. Not my usual taste in music, but when this song came out it so perfectly described my circumstances I would feel my insides clench in resonance every time it played. It still makes my stomach flinch even now, long long after the fact.
posted by emeiji at 6:14 PM on June 4, 2009

"Fade into You"- Mazzy Star
"Unchained Melody" - Rightous Brothers.
posted by sharkhunt at 6:16 PM on June 4, 2009

I Don't Want to Talk About It.
posted by snowjoe at 6:30 PM on June 4, 2009

R.E.M. - Losing My Religion
Eddy Arnold - You Don't Know Me (popularized by Ray Charles and many others)
posted by ALongDecember at 6:36 PM on June 4, 2009

On the stalker/obvious side of things you get:
Every Breath You Take, by the Police
Crash, by Dave Matthews Band
On the lighter/Counting Crows side of things you get:
Mrs. Potter's Lullaby
On the Weezer/Pinkerton side of things you get:
Across the Sea
El Scorcho
On the self-promotional/don't-be-that-guy-Navelgazer side you get:
Summon My Jesus
Landing Song
As you can see, there are a lot of sides. But my personal favorite has to be:
Iowa (Traveling III), by Dar Williams
Which is just indescribably heartbreaking and comforting to me, for whatever reason.
posted by Navelgazer at 6:42 PM on June 4, 2009 [1 favorite]

Loney, Dear's I Fought The Battle Of Trinidad And Tobago.

I've been dreaming of you from the other side, I know you so well
I've been wanting you so from the other side, I know you so well
I've been to heaven and I've been to hell over you
I've been to heaven and I've been to hell over you
I've been a loser and I've been a fool over you
I've been a loser and I've been a fool over you

posted by thisjax at 7:29 PM on June 4, 2009 [1 favorite]

Thirteen - Originally by Big Star, covered brilliantly by Elliott Smith.
posted by grabbingsand at 7:32 PM on June 4, 2009 [1 favorite]

Neil Young's Harvest Moon

Really? It's a great love song, but I think he wrote it for his wife of many years. My Neil Young recommendation would be A Man Needs A Maid or possibly Heart of Gold.

New Slang by the Shins. "And if you took to me like a gull takes to the wind, I'd have jumped from my tree and I'd have danced like the king of the eyesores [?], and the rest of our days would have fared well."

Stockton Gala Days by 10,000 Maniacs. "Violet serene like none I have seen, apart from dreams that escape me." (Actually, the lyrics are worth a full read through on their own.)

And in case things don't work out for you, may I recommend Song for the Dumped by Ben Folds Five?
posted by A dead Quaker at 7:49 PM on June 4, 2009 [1 favorite]

Eagles of Death Metal - "Now I'm a Fool"

It certainly rang true for me when I was going through something similar.
posted by Turkey Glue at 7:55 PM on June 4, 2009

They Might Be Giants: "Withered Hope," "If I Wasn't Shy," "She's an Angel." But then, TMBG writes all the love songs for me.
posted by Countess Elena at 8:00 PM on June 4, 2009

Diary by Bread and a great deal of the fantastic album, "Why Should the Fire Die?" by Nickel Creek.
posted by OneOliveShort at 8:10 PM on June 4, 2009

elliot smith - waltz #2
imogen heap - hide and seek
joanna newsom - peach, plum, pear
death cab for cutie - title and registration
stars - your ex lover is dead
the good life - the moon red handed
lauren hill - ex-factor

and seconding the decemberists - the engine driver
posted by jus7brea7he at 8:50 PM on June 4, 2009 [1 favorite]

"Happy Together" - The Turtles
"Midnight Confessions" - The Grass Roots
"What Do I Have To Do" - Stabbing Westward
"Everybody Loves Me But You" - Juliana Hatfield
"I Know It's Over" - The Smiths
"I'm Not That Girl" - from Wicked
"The Winner Takes It All" - Abba
"When U Were Mine" - Cyndi Lauper
"Jessie's Girl" - Rick Springfield
"San Dimas High School Football Rules" - The Ataris
posted by SisterHavana at 9:33 PM on June 4, 2009

Communicate, by the Lebanese band Blend. It's in English.
posted by number9dream at 9:34 PM on June 4, 2009

You've Got to Hide Your Love Away - The Beatles
Still Without You/Conclusion: Road to No Return - Robert Earl Keen (No link for this one, it's off his album "Walking Distance")
I Still Miss Someone - Johnny Cash
There's a Fine Fine Line - The Avenue Q Soundtrack
What Do I Get and Ever Fallen in Love - The Buzzcocks
Once a Day - Mike Ness
Hallelujah - Covered by Jeff Buckley
And on a more personal, guy I know, note:
Mark Growden: covering Leonard Cohen's "I'm Your Man" and Undertaker. I'm biased, because he's my pal, but man, he's amazing.
posted by mollymayhem at 10:29 PM on June 4, 2009 [1 favorite]

Hello Again by Neil Diamond
posted by litterateur at 11:08 PM on June 4, 2009

Good Life by Francis Dunnery on the Scrubs Soundtrack:
Softly Now,
You owe it to the world
And everyone knows that you're my favourite girl
But there's some things in life that are not meant to be
I'm not meant for you and you're not meant for me
Here's to our problems
And here's to our fights
Here's to our achings
And here's to you having a Good life
From Me

Also, check out Trisha Yearwood's The Song Remembers When and Sheryl Crow's Drunk With The Thought of You.
posted by hollygirl at 11:25 PM on June 4, 2009

~ I Want Love by Elton John
~ Can't Fight this Feeling by REO Speedwagon
~ Right Here Waiting by Richard Marx
~ Petite Fleur by Sidney Bechet (Instrumental)
~ When Sunny Gets Blue by Hoagy Carmichael
posted by litterateur at 11:27 PM on June 4, 2009

The Saturday Boy, Billy Bragg.
Popular Mechanics for Lovers, Beulah.
posted by dreamphone at 2:39 AM on June 5, 2009

Oh, and (a different version of) Don't Walk Away, Renee by Billy Bragg (that guy knows unrequited I guess); contains maybe the best last line ever: "Then she cut her hair, and I stopped loving her."
posted by dreamphone at 2:42 AM on June 5, 2009

Lucinda Williams' "Something about what happens when we talk" reminds me of those kind of feelings.
posted by mustard seeds at 2:54 AM on June 5, 2009

"The One I Love Belongs to Somebody Else," covered by many, but IMHO the best one is Ella Fitzgerald's version.
posted by so much modern time at 6:57 AM on June 5, 2009

Everybody Plays The Fool
Todd Rundgren - Hello Its Me
Buddy Holly - Maybe Baby
Yaz - Only You
Eurythmics - Love Is A Stranger
Dr. Hook & the Medicine Show - Sylvia's Mother
James Brown - Try Me
Joe Jackson - Is She Really Going Out With Him
Macy Gray - I Try
Tom Waits - I Hope I Don't Fall In Love With You
posted by Sailormom at 7:48 AM on June 5, 2009 [1 favorite]

Tori Amos -Tear in Your Hand
Depeche Mode - Somebody
The Mountain Goats - Your Belgian Things and Cotton
Imogen Heap - Hide and Seek
Ani Difranco - Both Hands
Neutral Milk Hotel - Gardenhead/Leave Me Alone
Regina Spektor - Samson

Sorry for the lack of links, but all the video/music sites I could think of are blocked by the work server.
posted by Palmcorder Yajna at 8:16 AM on June 5, 2009 [1 favorite]

Best answer: No Roy Orbison yet? I'm devastated. "It's Over", "In Dreams", and "Crying". The best version of the last one that I've heard is this version by k.d. lang; the orchestration is kind of cheesy, but holy crap, when she really pulls out the stops, the world ends.

Jeff Buckley, "Last Goodbye". "Did you say, 'No, this can't happen to me'?" Well, who hasn't?

Bruce Springsteen, "Stolen Car". Even if you're thinking, hey, another song from the Boss about cars, what a shock--trust me, in this one he drives right into the abyss.

Richard Thompson, "From Galway to Graceland". (This is the only video of Thompson singing the song that I've been able to find, and the quality isn't great, but others have covered it as well.) An absolute heartbreaker about someone who is literally crazy for Elvis. Many other Thompson songs could be here as well: "Dimming of the Day", "A Heart Needs A Home", "King of Bohemia", and on and on.

The Beatles, "She's Leaving Home". Not about romantic love, but rather about a middle-aged couple who are completely devastated when their daughter elopes.

Elton John, "Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Me".
posted by Halloween Jack at 8:48 AM on June 5, 2009

Waking Up Alone -- Paul Williams
He Stopped Loving Her Today -- George Jones
You Don't Know Me -- Ray Charles

And in case you want a view from the other side: Pamela Brown -- Leo Kottke
posted by joaquim at 11:19 AM on June 5, 2009

Also, "Love Hurts", covered by all sorts of people. I think that I prefer the Everly Brothers version (although I grew up with Nazareth's) because of the contrast between the sweetness of their voices and the bitterness of the lyrics.
posted by Halloween Jack at 12:41 PM on June 5, 2009

Neil Young---Birds

When you see me
Fly away without you
Shadow on the things you know
Feathers fall around you
And show you the way to go
It's over, it's over.
posted by hollygirl at 8:34 PM on June 5, 2009

The Hold Steady - Lord, I'm Discouraged
posted by clearly at 1:58 AM on June 6, 2009

Lucky You by The National

Romeo and Juliet by Dire Straits
posted by sjthomp at 9:20 AM on June 6, 2009

Kinks - No More Looking Back
posted by cellar at 8:45 PM on June 6, 2009 [1 favorite]

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