Blue Period: Songs for the New Same Old Depression

The kick inside is in the line that finally gets to you
And it feels so good to hurt so bad
And suffer just enough to sing the blues

—Bernie Taupin/Elton John

I’ve long been a believer in the catharsis that occurs when periods of depression have a soundtrack. That unnamed darkness that envelopes you when you are in your lowest moments has no voice—it is up to you to provide that, to give it some form or substance so you can engage it, perhaps handle it, keep it from killing you in small increments.

Such blue periods can be long and unsettling, and we sometimes fear they will do us in. This soundtrack is here for you, for those times; the catharsis is real, and healing. – RS

Smithereens — Blue Period, from Smithereens 11 (1989)
Mary-Chapin Carpenter — Hometown Girl, from Hometown Girl (1987)
Melissa Etheridge — You Can Sleep While I Drive, from Brave and Crazy (1989)
REM — (Don’t Go Back to) Rockville, from Reckoning (1984)
Replacements — Skyway, from Pleased to Meet Me (1987)
Syd Straw — Golden Dreams, from Surprise (1989)
Nanci Griffith — Once in a Very Blue Moon, from Once in a Very Blue Moon (1984)
Eels — A Line in the Dirt, from End Times (2010)
Ian Hunter — Read ‘Em and Weep, from Shrunken Heads (2007)
Elvis Costello — I Want You, from Blood and Chocolate (1986)
Little Village — Don’t Think About Her When You’re Trying to Drive, from Little Village (1992)
Stevie Wonder — Never Dreamed You’d Leave in Summer, from Where I’m Coming From (1971)
Morrissey — I Know Very Well How I Got My Name, from “Suedehead” / “I Know Very Well How I Got My Name” (single) (1988)
Ray Charles — You Don’t Know Me, from Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music (1962)
Cowboy Junkies — Sun Comes Up, It’s Tuesday Morning, from Radio One Sessions (2002)
Shawn Colvin — Monopoly, from Fat City (1992)
Everything but the Girl — I Don’t Understand Anything, from Amplified Heart (1994)
Simon & Garfunkel — Kathy’s Song, from Sounds of Silence (1966)
Bob Dylan — 90 Miles an Hour (Down a Dead-End Street), from Down in the Groove (1988)
Eva Cassidy —Over the Rainbow, from Songbird (1998)

About the Author

Rob Smith

Rob Smith is a writer, teacher, wage earner, and all-around evil genius who spends most of his time holed up in his cluttered compound in central PA. His favorite color is ultramarine blue. His imaginary band Mr. Vertigo tours every summer. You can follow Rob on Twitter, if you desire.

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