This week's traditional Wednesday Question saw the folks of UG community discussing the matter of the darkest songs ever made.
With close to 1,000 comments and plenty of votes, this turned out to be one of the strongest editions of WQ in a while.
Anyhow, all of your votes were neatly summed up into a lengthy Top 28 rundown that patiently awaits to be gazed upon below.
28. Frédéric Chopin - Funeral March (Piano Sonata No. 2)
Opening the list in a very fitting manner, you folks voted for the "Funeral March" or "Piano Sonata No. 2" by classical giant Frédéric Chopin.
Associated with death and of course funerals, this composition was even played at Chopin's own funeral on October 17, 1849 at the Père Lachaise Cemetery in Paris.
27. Opeth - Blackwater Park
You folks agreed that any tune off "Blackwater Park" album could work here, but ultimately went for the title track. Telling a gloomy story of a time infected by disease and perversions, this is indeed one dark composition.
26. Giles Corey - No One Is Ever Going to Want Me
Gloomy and depressive, the Dan Barrett-led project Giles Corey is up next with "No One Is Ever Going to Want Me." UG user Stonesatreyu noted: "That album was written while he was extremely depressed and contemplating suicide, the screams on the title track are him suffocating in a plastic bag with pin pricks in it to limit oxygen to the brain, and a cloth wrapped round it to keep him in the darkness."
25. Neurosis - Times of Grace
Post-metal champions Neurosis are up next with the title track of their sixth studio effort "Times of Grace." Marking the beginning of the group's collaboration with producer Steve Albini, this effort was crafted to be played alongside "Grace," an ambient companion by the band's alter-ego Tribes of Neurot.
24. Erik Satie - Gnossienne No. 3
As another representative of dark classical music, Erik Satie is up next at No. 24 with "Gnossienne No. 3." Written in free time, these compositions mark one of the rare occasions where the composer used a brand new term to indicate a new type of composition.
23. Meshuggah - Break Those Bones Whose Sinews Gave It Motion
Picking things up a notch, up next on the list is Meshuggah and "Break Those Bones Whose Sinews Gave It Motion" off 2012's "Koloss" album. The title is an excerpt from 1952 Nobel Peace Prize winner Albert Schweitzer, who said: "Revenge... is like a rolling stone, which, when a man hath forced up a hill, will return upon him with a greater violence, and break those bones whose sinews gave it motion."
22. Portishead - Undenied
With their 1997 self-titled album, Portishead have delved into a much "darker, deeper and more disturbing" sonic realm. Representing that effort, you folks opted for "Undenied." Note that "Over" also fetched a solid amount of votes.
21. Joy Division - The Eternal
You folks agreed that Joy Division's entire opus could work just fine here, but ultimately singled out "The Eternal." According to one of the explanations, "Ian Curtis wrote this about a mentally impaired boy who lived down the street from him when he was growing up. The boy was never allowed to leave his family's yard. Many many years later, Ian returned to the neighborhood to find that the boy was now a man, and was still confined to his family's yard. Ian was struck by the fact that this man's entire world was confined just to the yard, hence the song."
20. Martin Grech - Open Heart Zoo
Written when Martin Grech was just 15 years old, "Open Heart Zoo" was featured in a Lexus ad. Standing out with distinctive falsetto vocals, this is a gloomy track indeed.
19. Metallica - One
Inspired by "Johnny Got His Gun" movie, Metallica's "One" tells a story of a soldier losing all of his limbs and being unable to hear, speak, or see.
18. Placebo - My Sweet Prince
According to Placebo frontman Brian Molko, "My Sweet Prince" focuses on two romances - one with drugs and one with a person, both of which end tragically. UG team's N-D noted: "It's about Brian Molko's ex-lover who tried (or even killed, sorry, I don't know) herself - and her last words she wrote on the mirror were 'My sweet prince'... Really haunting and grievous... In the rare moments when Placebo played that song live, Brian couldn't hold back his tears while singing... Real pain..."
17. Storm Corrosion - Drag Ropes
Mr. Steven Wilson's work got quite a few mentions in the voting process, as his solo track "The Raven That Refused to Sing," as well as Porcupine Tree's "Heart Attack in a Layby" and "Sleep Together" also fetched a solid chunk of votes. However, it was "Drag Ropes," a tune by Wilson's collaboration with Opeth's Mikael Åkerfeldt known as Storm Corrosion, that made the list.
16. Fantômas - Delìrium Còrdia
When you get Mike Patton, Dave Lombardo, Buzz Osborne and Trevor Dunn together, you get Fantômas. Their third studio album, "Delìrium Còrdia," features no lyrics and music entirely composed by Mr. Patton, and features a single 74-minute track. The theme - surgery without anesthesia.
A quote on the label backcard reads: "Like the surgeon, the composer slashes open the body of his fellow man, removes his eyes, empties his abdomen of organs, hangs him up on a hook holding up to the light all of the body's palpitating treasures sending a burst of light into its innermost depths."
15. Rezső Seress - Gloomy Sunday (Hungarian Suicide Song)
Up next, the song that drives people to commit suicide - the "Gloomy Sunday" or the "Hungarian Suicide Song." Composed by Rezső Seress back in '30s, the song was linked with at least 19 suicides. Ultimately, the composer also took away his own life in 1968. An English version of the song was recorded by Billie Holiday, and banned by the BBC for "being detrimental to wartime morale."
14. Sunn O))) - Big Church (megszentségteleníthetetlenségeskedéseitekért)
Appropriately described by Mr. Humr as "creepy as hell," Sunn O))) is up next with "Big Church."
13. Bohren & Der Club of Gore - Maximum Black
Coming from Germany, Bohren & Der Club of Gore play the so-called dark jazz. N-D noted: "Really slow, viscous, minimalistic but really atmospheric dark music... Their album 'Black Earth' is one of the darkest albums ever for me. So to nominate only one song I choose 'Maximum Black' - even its title is already dark. Just feel it:"
12. The Cure - One Hundred Years
While "Disintegration" also gained a decent chunk of votes, "One Hundred Years" gets to represent The Cure on this rundown. As Humr nicely pointed out, "If a song that begins with the line 'It doesn't matter if we all die' isn't dark, then nothing is." An interesting interpretation from the web reads: "Firstly, you have to bare in mind that so many of the songs on 'Pornography' were so psychedelically drug-fuelled, lacking in context, often attempting to merely sound dark and depressing for the sake of it - and often meaningless in reality. R. Smith said himself that he wanted to album to sound 'virtually unbearable.'
"My interpretation of the song is, taking the name literally - 'One Hundred Years' - it's essentially about a century of bloodshed, bloodlust, anger, greed and darkness. All the downfalls of human nature and their consequences. The different stanzas could be seen as referring to a different period from the last century - 'Ambition in the back of black car' (which might be metaphorical), 'In a high building [office block] there is so much to do' - suicidal or terrorist connotations. 'Going home time, A story on the radio' - Returning from the meaningless job you hate, a short-lived break from harsh reality, and listening to the radio to hear the same awful news stories about war or suffering in the world - the insignificance of a working man's life in the modern day."
11. A Perfect Circle - The Package
Coming from "Thirteenth Step," A Perfect Circle album dedicated to addiction and the 12-step program, "The Package" opens the album with the program's first step - admitting your addiction and weaknesses. Here's a neat interpretation: "The package is our addiction and the narrator says that 'Clever got me this far, Then tricky got me in\ meaning he used people to get his drugs.
"Then the narrator says 'Smile and drop the cliche 'Til you think I'm listening, Take just what I came for, Then I'm out the door again' meaning just shut the fuck up and give me what I came for. 'Lie to get what I came for, Lie to get just what I need, Lie to get what I crave, Lie and smile to get what's mine' the narrator says this is what he did to get his drugs: by lying.
"The narrator then gets aggressive and wants to feed his addiction by yelling 'Give this to me, Mine, mine, mine, Take what's mine, Mine, mine, mine, Take what's mine, Mine, mine, mine,' wanting his drugs back. This proves to us that he is weak to his addictions and needs help."
10. Burzum - Dunkelheit
Described as one of the darkest songs in black metal, Burzum's "Dunkelheit" gets to crack the Top 10.
9. Slipknot - Iowa
"Iowa" is a 15-minute mammoth piece by Slipknot about a fella who kills women and then does heinous things with their bodies.
8. Pantera - Floods
Featuring what is universally acknowledged as one of Dimebag Darrell's greatest solo pieces, Pantera's "Floods" is about that flood that comes to wash us all away.
7. Michael Andrews & Gary Jules - Mad World (Tears for Fears cover)
Originally released by Tears for Fears in 1982, "Mad World" reached the new level of darkness when Michael Andrews and Gary Jules a got a hold of it for "Donnie Darko" soundtrack in 2001.
6. Immortal Technique - Dance With the Devil
We'll just leave this explanation from PrimalScream91 here: "A song about a kid who wants to join a gang. Among other crimes, his final test is to take part in the gang rape and murder of a woman. Before he kills her, he removes the cover from her face and is repulsed to find that the woman in question is actually his mother, which leads him to commit suicide."
5. Alice in Chains - Dirt
Epitomizing hatred, "Dirt" by Alice in Chains is up next...
4. Radiohead - Street Spirit (Fade Out)
Supposedly inspired by 1991 novel "The Famished Road," "Street Spirit (Fade Out)" was described by frontman Thom Yorke as one of Radiohead's "saddest songs." He said: "'Street Spirit' is our purest song, but I didn't write it. It wrote itself. We were just its messengers. It's biological catalysts.
"It's core is a complete mystery to me. I wouldn't ever try to write something that hopeless. All of our saddest songs have somewhere in them at least a glimmer of resolve - 'Street Spirit' has no resolve. It is the dark tunnel without the light at the end.
"I detach my emotional radar from that song, or I couldn't play it. I'd crack. I'd break down on stage. That's why its lyrics are just a bunch of mini-stories or visual images as opposed to a cohesive explanation of its meaning. I used images set to the music that I thought would convey the emotional entirety of the lyric and music working together. That's what's meant by 'all these things are one to swallow whole'. I meant the emotional entirety, because I didn't have it in me to articulate the emotion. I'd crack.
"Our fans are braver than I to let that song penetrate them, or maybe they don't realize what they're listening to. They don't realize that 'Street Spirit' is about staring the fucking devil right in the eyes... and knowing, no matter what the hell you do, he'll get the last laugh.
"The devil really will get the last laugh in all cases without exception, and if I let myself think about that to long, I'd crack.
"It's why we play it towards the end of our sets. It drains me, and it shakes me, and hurts like hell every time I play it, looking out at thousands of people cheering and smiling, oblivious to the tragedy of it's meaning, like when you're going to have your dog put down and it's wagging it's tail on the way there. That's what they all look like, and it breaks my heart.
"I wish that song hadn't picked us as its catalysts, and so I don't claim it. It asks too much... I didn't write that song."
3. Nirvana - Something in the Way
Homeless, rejected by family, and allegedly living under a bridge (which was later proven as myth), Kurt Cobain wrote "Something in the Way"...
2. Nine Inch Nails - Hurt
The Johnny Cash rendition of "Hurt" also got a solid share of upvotes, but it's the original Nine Inch Nails version that triumphed, fetching Mr. Trent Reznor a silver medal for this week. Full of anger, remorse, darkness and self-loathing, this is probably the most personal song the man has ever crafted, as well as one of the most personal tunes ever. A work of art, you could say.
1. Black Sabbath - Black Sabbath
"Black Sabbath" from "Black Sabbath" by Black Sabbath gets the gold this week as the darkest song of all time in the eyes of UG community. You folks also gave plenty of kudos to Type O Negative's version, check it out below.