8 Beautiful Songs Featuring Dark Content | Playlist
This playlist features eight songs that are beautiful, but contain dark thematic content. Featured artists include Logic, Randy Newman, and Sam Smith among others.
There’s nothing better than a beautiful song. In some respect, we’re all attracted to beautiful things, whether shallowly or bigger picture. In the case of the eight selected songs on this playlist, they are all beautiful. The catch is, the content is darker – not nearly as beautiful as the song itself. These songs deal with suicide, murder, illness, and devastation. Just because the content is dark doesn’t mean that there’s no hope in some of these songs, but the central themes tend to air on the depressing, sometimes hellish side.
1. Logic, “1-800-273-8255”
Ft. Alessia Cara & Khalid
Album: Everybody, 2017
Keeping it real, “1-800-273-8255” has appeared on a number of playlists on The Musical Hype. Simply put, this Logic gem checks off the boxes for a number of the topics selected. In case you weren’t already aware, the title is the phone number for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. Logic approaches the song as a progression, starting from the suicidal perspective, encouraging the suicidal person to embrace life, and the suicidal person coming to the desire to live. He’s assisted by an angelic Alessia Cara (I know that you’ll thank God you did”) and Khalid, who provides the punctuation mark, as the suicidal person who’s seen the light.
“I don’t wanna be alive…/ I just wanna die today…/ I want you to be alive…/ You don’t gotta die today /…I finally wanna be alive…/ I don’t wanna die today.”
So, a lot has been mentioned about suicide. What’s the significance of the song, and suicide itself to the LGBTQ community? Suicide is a major issue. While the song doesn’t explicitly mention homosexuality, it’s a key component of the accompanying music video, which focuses on a black gay teen struggling with his sexuality. He contemplates suicide, but gets the proper help, as well as acceptance, a driving factor in his suicidal endeavors.
2. Randy Newman, “In Germany Before the War”
Album: Little Criminals, 1977
Randy Newman is a marvelous musician through and through. While his distinct, expressive voice is fantastic in itself, his songwriting may very well be his best attribute. One of his most beautiful songs is “In Germany Before the War,” appearing on his 1977 album, Little Criminals. Unfortunately, the source of inspiration for the record isn’t beautiful. Newman based this particular song on the crimes committed by a serial killer in the 1931 film M.
“In German before the war / There was a man who owned a store / In nineteen hundred thirty-four / In Düsseldorf…”
However, part of the inspiration behind the film was a real-life German serial killer named Peter Kürten. Kürten has been nicknamed The Vampire of Düsseldorf as well as the Düsseldorf Monster.
“A little girl has lost her way / With hair of gold and eyes of gray / Reflected in his glasses / As he watches her / A little girl has lost her way / With hair of gold and eyes of gray… / We lie beneath the autumn sky / My little golden girl and I / And she lies very still.”
3. Declan McKenna, “Paracetamol”
Album: What Do You Think About the Car? 2017
“Paracetamol” is arguably most moving song from What Do You Think About the Car? the debut album by British singer/songwriter Declan McKenna. Situational, numerous relevant topics are covered throughout the song, including suicide.
“…A boy, fifteen with a gun in his hand / And the people with no audience say should be hanged /…A girl, fifteen, with her head in a noose / because she’s damned to live, well she’s damned to choose.”
The significance of the girl leads to the subject of love, which takes on a number of meanings contextually, including acceptance, embracement, and various relationships. “Paracetamol” was influenced by the death of Leelah Alcorn, an Ohio transgender teen whose story affected the world. This record is aimed at building respect and acceptance of the LGBT community. Paracetamol is a pain reliever. McKenna seeks to ease the pain of a troubled community.
4. Richard Thompson, “Love in a Faithless Country”
Album: Faithless, 2004
Sometimes, the darkest songs can be the most beautiful. That is the case with “Love in a Faithless Country,” one of the most radiant, yet blackest songs ever. This song originally appeared on the 1985 LP by veteran British singer/songwriter Richard Thompson, Across a Crowded Room. In the United States, however, the only available version appears on Thompson’s 2004 effort, Faithless.
“Always move in pairs and travel light / A loose friend is an enemy, keep it tight / Always leave a job the way you found it / Look for trouble coming and move around it.”
“Love in a Faithless Country” “deals with a mass murderer and his wife roaming across Britain,” even though, the Moors Murderers – Ian Brady and Myra Hindley – aren’t explicitly mentioned in the song. Nonetheless, as beautiful as “Love in a Faithless Country” is, it’s also unsettling, as are the lyrics. However, That’s the way we make love.
“Always make your best moves late at night /Always keep your tools well out of sight / It never pays to work the same town twice /It never hurts to be a little nice.”