Recommend media that is dark, sad, and beautiful
October 24, 2013 6:01 AM   Subscribe

I love the theatrical, haunting, sad, yet, beautiful music of Lana Del Ray. Can you recommend any similar music, or accompanying literature and cinema? Thank you!
posted by blithecatpie to Media & Arts (38 answers total) 59 users marked this as a favorite
The Cave Singers are haunting spooky beautiful music.
posted by Tomorrowful at 6:09 AM on October 24, 2013 [6 favorites]

Julee Cruise's Floating Into the Night (full album on Youtube), with music composed by Angelo Badalamenti and David Lynch, is exactly what you're looking for. Several of the songs are in Lynch's Twin Peaks and Blue Velvet - both of which would be good fits for the second part of your question too. You don't get much more haunting, sad or beautiful than Mysteries of Love.
posted by cincinnatus c at 6:14 AM on October 24, 2013 [4 favorites]

The Trinity Session album from the Cowboy Junkies.
posted by marsha56 at 6:15 AM on October 24, 2013 [2 favorites]

It might just be me but I feel like Zola Jesus occupies a lot of the same emotional space as Lana Del Ray.
posted by Jairus at 6:18 AM on October 24, 2013 [2 favorites]

Lana Del Ray makes me think of Mazzy Star and Zola Jesus.
posted by neushoorn at 6:19 AM on October 24, 2013 [1 favorite]

Paris, Texas - both the movie and Ry Cooder's theme song.

I'm headed to the Forty Part Motet next week, which NYT says is so haunting, it moves visitors to tears.
posted by sixpack at 6:36 AM on October 24, 2013

Male vocalist, but I think you would enjoy Midlake.

You might also try listening to Poe while reading her brother's dark and immersive book.
posted by jbickers at 6:40 AM on October 24, 2013 [1 favorite]

Oh Land is very similar.

Baxter, although less orchestral.

Anna Calvi is much stronger, more haunted than haunting, but quite good and very dramatic.
posted by crush-onastick at 6:42 AM on October 24, 2013

LDR takes a lot of her cues from the great Goat 'n' Gal duets of the sixties, like:

Nancy & Lee: Some Velvet Morning

Gainsbourg & Bardot: Bonnie and Clyde

Nina Nastasia has put together an amazing songbook in this mode over the last decade.

Nadine Shah is newer and compelling: Aching Bones

getting a bit further out there, Lucrecia Dalt is amazingly moody: Turmoil
posted by bendybendy at 7:19 AM on October 24, 2013 [2 favorites]

bat for lashes
posted by changeling at 7:26 AM on October 24, 2013 [1 favorite]

A bit like a 1990s version of LdR: The Cardigans - Gran Turismo

Cinematic: Candie Payne - I Wish I Could Have Loved You More

Sad but classic: Dusty Springfield - Dusty in Memphis

Shouty, sad and cinematic: Florence + The Machine - Ceremonials

Low key, but poppy: Goldfrapp - Felt Mountain

Sad and ethereal: Husky Rescue - Ghost is Not Real

Sad and indie: The Sundays - Reading, Writing and Arithmetic

Haunting and bare: Cat Power - The Greatest
posted by MuffinMan at 7:34 AM on October 24, 2013 [2 favorites]

Ergo Bibamus This is by Corvus Corax, very theatrical.
posted by effluvia at 7:46 AM on October 24, 2013 [1 favorite]

You might like the Norwegian singer Susanne Sundfør! Her album, The Brothel, is her best in my opinion, but The Silicone Veil is pretty good too.

Here is the title track from The Brothel.
posted by knapah at 9:33 AM on October 24, 2013

And Jex Thoth - Nothing Left to Die is another one that might fit.
posted by knapah at 9:40 AM on October 24, 2013

Some musical recommendations:

Portishead's albums Dummy and Portishead. (Pretty sure these were huge influences on the sweeping string arrangements and trip hop beats LDR uses.)

Lisa Germano - "Wood Floors"

Mazzy Star - "Into Dust"

Other Lives - "For 12"

Fiona Apple - "Sally's Song"

Stephanie Dosen - "A Lily for the Spectre"

Marissa Nadler - "River of Dirt"
posted by wondermouse at 9:42 AM on October 24, 2013 [3 favorites]

I can't believe no one has said Björk! Totally different vocal style from Lana Del Rey but the music itself is precisely what I would call "theatrical, haunting, sad, yet, beautiful".
posted by lovableiago at 9:44 AM on October 24, 2013 [1 favorite]

ohhhhh also Lori Carson's album Everything I Touch Runs Wild. "Make a Little Luck"
posted by wondermouse at 9:51 AM on October 24, 2013

Check out Julia Holter. Hello Stranger
posted by kaspen at 9:53 AM on October 24, 2013

This question makes me think of the theatre scene in Mullholland Drive - so haunting. If you haven't seen the movie I'd recommend watching it first before viewing any random YouTube clips though. Also I've never listened to Lana Del Rey before and thanks to this question she's now my Spotify playlist for the next hour, so thanks!
posted by augustimagination at 10:12 AM on October 24, 2013 [2 favorites]

A recent question's answer reminded me of someone you might like a lot: Mirah. I am partial to the Advisory Committee album. At various times, it features swelling strings, galloping sounds, burbling synths, and much more.
Specific songs that I think have the qualities you are after (if you open the link in a separate tab rather than using the in-line MetaFilter play option, there are links to the timepoints for the individual songs):
Cold Cold Water; Mt. St Helens; Apples in the Trees

I also thought of Joanna Newsom's Milk-Eyed Mender album; subtler production than the above (usually just vocals +harp*, piano**, [***or harpsichord!]), but her unique voice and the imagery in the lyrics and the instrumentation at times sound haunted, dark, and sad; always beautiful.
Specific songs for this mood:

*Book of Right-On
*En Gallop
**Three Little Babes
***Peach, Plum, Pear
posted by mean square error at 10:35 AM on October 24, 2013 [2 favorites]

More on the pop punk side but Best Coast presses similar melancholic buttons for me. When I'm With You

UK style, Camera Obscura, especially their older album My Maudlin Career. Let's Get Out of This Country

A little further into left field but you might enjoy Dean Blunt's new solo work, The Redeemer. Excellent album. Demon.
posted by kaspen at 10:59 AM on October 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


Seconding the Cave Singers.
posted by jeudi at 11:05 AM on October 24, 2013

Book recommendations:
Bulgakov's The Master and Margarita
Nabokov's The Defense (AKA The Luzhin Defense)
A book of Alice Munro's short stories would probably do it if you're looking for relationship-related things.
Pamela Zoline's short story The Heat Death of the Universe

Into the Wild
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

And one more music recommendation, since The Cardigans were mentioned earlier - I'd recommend some songs from their album Long Gone Before Daylight, such as Communication or Feathers and Down.
posted by wondermouse at 11:53 AM on October 24, 2013

I also love those qualities of Lana Del Rey. You might like Mazzy Star, and especially Bat for Lashes (both mentioned above).

You might like the tv series Veronica Mars as well, it's a great show it its own right.

Also, Twin Peaks and all of David Lynches stuff.
posted by Blitz at 1:18 PM on October 24, 2013 [1 favorite]

Oh and, since no one's mentioned it, definitely The Cure. I don't know how old you are, but even if you think they're old music, it's got those exact qualities (and I'd say in a fairly similar way to Lana Del Rey). They had a very long career, and their sound changes a lot, so you may have to listen to several albums to find their best stuff.
posted by Blitz at 1:24 PM on October 24, 2013

Tori Amos

St. Vincent
posted by John Cohen at 7:21 PM on October 24, 2013

You might like Dark Dark Dark and My Brightest Diamond. Oh, and London Grammar!
posted by mollywas at 9:53 PM on October 24, 2013

Blue valentine
Great sad movie about relationship
posted by radsqd at 7:42 AM on October 25, 2013

When I first heard Lana Del Ray, she seemed like a poppier version of Beach House to me.
posted by taltalim at 7:47 AM on October 25, 2013

Radical Face's Wrapped in Piano Strings is about a guy who kills himself and then haunts the place where his wife lives. Much of Radical Face's music has the same heartwarming musical style and dark lyrical content.
posted by cnc at 12:28 PM on October 25, 2013

Emily Haines & The Soft Skeleton:
Our Hell
Doctor Blind
Crowd Surf Off A Cliff

Kelly Clarkson - Irvine

Natalie Imbruglia - Goodbye
posted by wondermouse at 2:04 PM on October 25, 2013

LDR's current single reminds me so much of 70's/80's era Stevie Nicks, both within Fleetwood Mac and her solo stuff. Dreams, Rhiannon, or The Chain, for example. That style is basically Stevie's specialty.
posted by MexicanYenta at 2:48 PM on October 25, 2013

Response by poster: Wow, thank you for soooo many great recommendations, everyone! I have my whole weekend planned now. ;) Can't wait!
posted by blithecatpie at 7:02 PM on October 25, 2013

Check out Olafur Arnalds. Great, sad instrumental music from Iceland.
posted by dep at 6:07 AM on October 26, 2013
posted by Sentus at 2:05 PM on October 26, 2013

Chelsea Wolfe
posted by knapah at 12:20 PM on October 27, 2013

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