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Songs To Die To - Part 3

Continuing a series about songs death and dying. These are not necessarily songs that talk about the process of dying, rather as the title suggests, songs that I could imagine listening to on my death bed, or taking as consolation during or after a funeral. 

Morbid? I think not, as death is part of life. If we all talked about it a little more, maybe we'd cope with it better.

No 1: featuring "Land Of Hope & Dreams" by Bruce Springsteen here

No 2: featuring "Look On Down From The Bridge" by Mazzy Star here


With that said here's my next choice.


No 3: Gonna Be A Darkness - The Jayhawks

From their superb collection of songs that main man Gary Louris wrote with other artists, (full review here), comes this gem co-written with Jakob Dylan.


I love the extended musical introduction, starting with the mandolin, building with the bass and piano.It sets a lovely relaxed groove that hints at the sadness to come.
Louris and drummer Tim O'Reagan blend their voices beautifully before the organ comes in for the chorus.

There is no ambiguity about the subject of this song. It is explicitly about death, dying and the afterlife. There is, however, ambiguity as to what that might mean.

These lines for example:

"Oh heaven may not get you, the devil may see you first,
he's hidden himself in both the beast and the bird"

or 

"There's gonna be a darkness, maybe colder than you guessed,
there may not be music, there may not be stairs, there may not be angels filling the air.
Your mother may be there, your father may be there, 
there may not be voices sent from a throne to carry you home."

There are no easy answers or certainties here. There is a potential of hope, there is a lot of 'may be', but the angst of disappointment and faith unrewarded undercuts everything.

The implication of younger death, perhaps suicide, adds an additional layer of pathos.

Not a comforting choice but a very fine song that directly addresses the doubts and fears that many have about death.



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