Who Will Sing Me to Sleep?
September 3, 2009 3:33 PM   Subscribe

Aural Joy Filter: which songs, performed live and on YouTube, combine simplicity, beauty and quietness into a haunting, moving whole that will make you cry when the mood is right? There are such lists on Ask MeFi, but often without links.I'm thinking of things like this by Kate Rusby, which is just the most gorgeously sad thing.
posted by Holly to Media & Arts (44 answers total) 64 users marked this as a favorite
Here are two from Fiona Apple: "Why Try to Change Me Now" and "I Know". The latter makes me cry almost every single time I hear it.
posted by sabira at 3:47 PM on September 3, 2009

Everyone's different. But for me this. And this.

Guess what a band I really like is...
posted by kitcat at 3:49 PM on September 3, 2009

Maybe this?
posted by aheckler at 3:51 PM on September 3, 2009

This is the best live interpretation of any song I've ever heard, it's better than the studio version which takes some doing. This is also good, although there once was a far superior version on youtube.
posted by fire&wings at 3:54 PM on September 3, 2009 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: I'm having my eyes opened here. Thanks. Everything's good. Great to be reminded of the Cocteaus there.
posted by Holly at 3:58 PM on September 3, 2009

This performance of Noir Desir's Le Vent Nous Portera will often do just that for me.
posted by raztaj at 4:05 PM on September 3, 2009

This one comes close; Leonard Cohen's Hallelujah by four swedish artists.

Sarah McLachlan has one called "Ben's Song." It doesn't sound live (no crowd noise) but it's from a live EP. I'm guessing they edited it out. "Angel" is pretty good too.

Annie Lennox' "Why."
posted by Hardcore Poser at 4:09 PM on September 3, 2009

Also, Jose Gonzalez's cover of The Knifes' "Heartbeats", Joshua Radin's "Winter", and Joseph Arthur's "In The Sun". Not live, but Del Amitri's "Tell Her This" as well.
posted by aheckler at 4:13 PM on September 3, 2009

Damon & Naomi: Song to the Siren
posted by K.P. at 4:19 PM on September 3, 2009

Sigur Ros, despite not singing in English, also have that effect on me: Here's Agaetis Byrjun and Vaka.
posted by Hardcore Poser at 4:20 PM on September 3, 2009 [1 favorite]

Look for Gorecki's 3rd symphony, preferably with the vocal by Dawn Upshaw.
posted by neuron at 4:33 PM on September 3, 2009 [1 favorite]

Some Tori Amos songs have this effect on me, especially Me and a Gun.
posted by snugglebunny at 4:43 PM on September 3, 2009

Damien Rice & Lisa Hannigan - Cold Water or anything else by these two, either together or seperate.
posted by theDrizzle at 5:11 PM on September 3, 2009

Leonard Cohen is a genius—but for me Jeff Buckley's rendition of "Hallelujah" on Grace (Live) is THE version.

You probably don't remember Jane Siberry's "Calling All Angels" duet with k.d. lang from way back in the early 1990s. (Sorry! Can't find a workable mp3 link.) Siberry is now Issa and here's her myspace page with links to explore. Also check out her back catalog. I especially recommend When I Was a Boy.

I think you'll also like the Tindersticks.

And Dusty Springfield!
posted by dogrose at 5:29 PM on September 3, 2009

Seconding Sarah McLachlan, Good Enough is a good song, but her cover of "Gloomy Sunday" is moving. It's on Her Rareties, B-Sides and Other stuff Album. Interesting back story to that song as well. Look it up before, or as you are listening. Gloomy Sunday

Others I may be so bold to recommend:

Katie Melua - I Cried For You, Faraway Voice

Jewel - Near You Always
posted by swimbikerun at 5:38 PM on September 3, 2009

Imogen Heap performing "Just For Now" live makes me cry pretty every time.
posted by tristeza at 5:50 PM on September 3, 2009 [1 favorite]

Lou Reed - "Sad Song" from Berlin: Live at St. Anns Warehouse 2006. Lou fuses ecstatic guitar to the orchestral pomp of Berlin.
posted by porn in the woods at 6:53 PM on September 3, 2009

Without a doubt, Stained Glass by Danny Schmidt, an amazing singer/songwriter out of Austin, TX. It's one of those "WOW" songs that just speaks to your soul and will make you cry "when the mood is right" every time.
posted by ourroute at 6:58 PM on September 3, 2009

Middle Cyclone from Neko Case.
posted by mollymayhem at 7:23 PM on September 3, 2009

~Fade Into You~ by Mazzy Star

This version of ~Run~ by Leona Lewis

~Show Me Heaven~
by Maria Mckee
posted by Muirwylde at 7:45 PM on September 3, 2009

The Drugs Don't Work - Ben Harper
posted by swimbikerun at 7:51 PM on September 3, 2009

Bjork's version of Gloomy Sunday

These two aren't live, but they fit, IMO.

I was actually bummed the following song wasn't on the concert setlist, as it's my favorite on that album.
Christina Aguilera - Save Me From Myself

Sophie B. Hawkins - As I Lay Me Down
posted by cmgonzalez at 8:19 PM on September 3, 2009

The entire Portishead NYC concert is fantastic Roads is a Highlight for me. For album versions of all of their beautiful haunting music check out their first two albums Dummy, and Portishead.

Use Somebody - Karima Francis a cover of the brilliant Kings of Leon song. If your tastes run a little more to the soul diva side of things, I secretly love Pixie Lott's version of the same song.

Ani Difranco - 32 Flavors, Both Hands(this version is ok, but nothing beats the version on her Living in clip concert album.)
posted by swimbikerun at 8:48 PM on September 3, 2009

I don't know about making you cry but this acoustic cover of a reasonably well-known song by a not-so-well known duo is pretty mellow. The effect is probably better if you listen but don't watch the video.
posted by fuse theorem at 9:35 PM on September 3, 2009

These Pages - Chris Pureka
posted by hippugeek at 9:43 PM on September 3, 2009

Zoe Keating's Sun Will Set.

That's a clip of her playing at San Francisco Airport. She's sampling herself as she plays so her single cello turns into 16 playing in concert with each other.

Wordless, project on it what you will, I always well up at its beauty.
posted by unsupervised at 10:18 PM on September 3, 2009

Another vote for Song to the Siren. Elizabeth Fraser's version.
posted by well_balanced at 10:42 PM on September 3, 2009

Seconding Portishead. Their NYC performance is legendary. Roads is a great choice, but for dear-god-I-want-to-die levels of sadness, my vote is on Undenied. If only the clip wasn't interrupted by interjections from the sound tech.

I have a live version of Tori Amos singing Winter that's simply incredible. I can't seem to find the particular performance on YouTube, however, and in any case, the effect would be ruined—it's hard to watch Tori performing live without laughing or feeling awkward.

One last suggestion I'll throw out: Round the Bend by Beck (begins at 4:02, though the first song is good too). Both off of Sea Change.
posted by dephlogisticated at 11:49 PM on September 3, 2009

These two versions by the Norwegian duo Susanna and the Magical Orchestra do it for me: Love Will Tear Us Apart and Hallelujah.
posted by lux at 1:16 AM on September 4, 2009

Response by poster: This is great - thanks all. We have a great Ask MeFi list going here. I think we should put out a compilation CD, to be sold with a couple of packs of Kleenex thrown in.
posted by Holly at 1:54 AM on September 4, 2009

low - most of the album "things we lost in the fire". so heartbreaking and beautiful.

arvo part - fratres. there's this single note in a progression about three quarters the way through that kills me every time.

red house painters - the first few tracks off the the selftitled/rollercoaster album. actually, the whole album's brilliant and sadmaking really.

i know you asked for individual songs, but i find it too hard to pick one...
posted by soi-disant at 3:51 AM on September 4, 2009

Lebe wohl, Gute Reise

Sally's Piegeons / Time after Time

Fire and rain

Message to Michael

most of The Boatman's Call

big finish:
Stand by Me

(this list is what they play in the churches to make the statues weep on cue. true story.)
posted by runincircles at 4:19 AM on September 4, 2009

Doves - Sea Song
posted by KathyK at 7:43 AM on September 4, 2009

Imogen Heap - Just For Now
posted by KathyK at 8:02 AM on September 4, 2009

Imogen Heap - Hide and Seek

Okay, now I'll stop.
posted by KathyK at 8:07 AM on September 4, 2009

by Talk Talk: I Believe In You, Taphead, The Rainbow, Myrrhman, Ascension Day, and anything by their singer, Mark Hollis.
posted by not_on_display at 1:02 PM on September 4, 2009

Bon Iver always does it for me. Their Takeaway Show is incredible, but this clip, where they perform "Flume", is my favorite of the bunch.

How about some Andrew Bird? Here's his reassuring song "Take Courage".

And then there's Beirut.
posted by pxe2000 at 1:25 PM on September 4, 2009

"Murderer" - Low
posted by ifjuly at 3:59 PM on September 4, 2009

"Silence" - PJ Harvey

Something about this particular performance kills me every damn time. It's so fragile.
posted by ifjuly at 4:02 PM on September 4, 2009

"Anoint" (Peel Session) - The Field Mice
posted by ifjuly at 4:06 PM on September 4, 2009

G'ah, I keep thinking of more and don't want to wait to hit post, lest I lose steam and forget about the whole thing.

"Sundrops" - Kristin Hersh

"Pour Toujours" - Julie Doiron
posted by ifjuly at 4:12 PM on September 4, 2009

k.d. lang-- Bird on a Wire
Iron & Wine-- Upward Over the Mountain
Brandi Carlile-- Tragedy (Austin Cello Version)
Joe Purdy-- Suitcase
posted by jschu at 8:31 PM on September 4, 2009

The Duhks: Dover, Delaware
posted by eritain at 11:58 PM on September 5, 2009

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