Track one. The Dead Flag Blues by Godspeed You, Black Emperor!
Warning: This song may startle you when it begins, and the speech will probably seem overwhelming. I had the same reaction upon first hearing it, and it probably took me a few months before I could push myself all the way through the monologue. Although I've known the song for years now, it took seeing The Road for me to truly appreciate it. I can't say that any other movie has ever affected my emotions the way that one did. When I got home from the theater, I just sat silently for hours, thinking of how foolish our senses of stability truly are. But I digress. If you have seen The Road, you will understand the emotions this piece can invoke. At the very least, I recommend listening to the last six minutes or so of the song. It is perfect.
Tracks two and three. Les Marionettes and Be Faithful, Go by Zebigniew Preisner.
I recently made a post about how thrilled I was with my discovery of Preisner. This discovery is also owed to the cinema. Since I was a little girl, The Secret Garden has been one of my favorite books and films. Preisner's score for the film is hauntingly beautiful, and from my limited experience, his work with Kieslowski produced equally magnificent pieces. Les Marionettes is from La Double vie de Veronique, which I am dying to see.
Track four. ONE by Yeasayer.
Here's a peppy one for you. I miss the old Yeasayer sound, but I guess you can't help but love the new album. True story: I almost knocked my shower rod down while dancing to this song a few nights ago.
Track five. Signs by Bloc Party.
Kele and the boys hit all of the right notes (on the glockenspiel.) If the imagery of these lyrics combined with the somber melody doesn't give you chills, I don't think you are human.
Track six. New World by DeVotchKa.
DeVotchKa is an amazing band. You've probably heard their signature song How It Ends, whether you know it or not. Treat yourself to another.
Track seven. Sisters of Mercy by Leonard Cohen.
My relationship with Leonard is very love/hate. This song exemplifies what I love most about him. Soft acoustics, poignant lyrics, and, most of all, a mellow, soothing voice. I absolutely cannot handle his later albums with all of the heavy beats and synth. Songs like this are the reason he can get away with atrocities like Jazz Police.
Unavailable Tracks: I wasn't able to find copies of Heaven by Jimmy Scott or Sad Water by Nick Cave. However, I HIGHLY recommend that you track down the recording of Nick Cave's "Secret Life of the Love Song" lecture. He delves into the concept of duende, and in essence explains my love for these sad songs more eloquently than I could ever dream of. A link to his lecture is found here--however, the recording gives you gorgeous acoustic versions of Sad Water, People Ain't No Good, Love Letter, and a few others.