Melancholy Music

October 15, 2007   |   10 Comments

Yesterday, Duncan and I were talking about what qualified a song as melancholy. Melancholy is not quite sadness. It seems to also include an element of longing, even of sweetness. As an enneagram 4, I feel eminently qualified to compose a melancholy playlist. (For more about the enneagram–and my obsessive interest in it, click here.) And so I did, and here it is:

I Can’t Stand The Rain     Ann Peebles
Kothbiro Ayub Ogada
He’s Funny That Way Billie Holiday
Too Long at the Fair Bonnie Raitt
One For My Baby Charles Brown
Blue Gardenia Dinah Washington
Sentimental Walk Diva (ST)
I Will Not Be Sad In This World Djivan Gasparyan
I Cant Tell You Why Eagles
Layla Eric Clapton
Someone to Watch Over Me Etta James
When I Get Like This The Five Royales
When Your Lover Has Gone Frank Sinatra
Unnatural Habitat The Greenhornes
There is an End The Greenhornes & Holly Golightly
For A Dancer G regson & Collister
Dark End Of The Street James Carr
Carolina James Taylor
My One and Only Love John Coltrane & Johnny Hartman
When The Roll Is Called Up Yonder Kelly Joe Phelps
Unsuffer Me Lucinda Wiliams
Round Midnight Mel Torme
You Look Like Rain Morphine
Feel Like Going Home Muddy Waters
Withered on the Vine Nick Lowe
I’ve Been Loving You Too Long Otis Redding
On the Other Hand Randy Travis
Landslide Stevie Nicks
Whole Wide World Wreckless Eric


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  • Posted by:  Ming

    I know that as an enneagram 6 I am not as qualified to respond, but will suggest the following:
    Honey and the Moon, Joseph Arthur
    You’re Going to Make Me Lonesome When You Go, Bob Dylan

  • Posted by:  susan

    You six, you! Love the Dylan suggestion. He’s a king of melancholy, no? Will have to check out the Joseph Arthur track… Love, Susan

  • Posted by:  maura

    I’m not sure if I’m a 5 or a 1, but I do listen to a whole lot of music. Badly Drawn Boy came to mind immediately – Nothing’s Gonna Change Your Mind from Born in the UK. Good call on Etta James + The Greenhornes. Great photo of Duncan.

  • Posted by:  susan

    Not sure if you’re a 5 or 1?? Now we’re onto an important topic. We must get to the bottom of this… Is this helpful?

    …they differ most markedly in the One’s emphasis on certainty and judgment and the Five’s relative lack of certainty and difficulty with discernment. (While healthy Ones have excellent judgment, average Ones are merely judgmental–still, making judgments about the world around them is one of the principal ways in which their extroverted thinking manifests itself.) Judgment is not as centrally important to Fives. They want to understand how the world works on a theoretical level or create inner worlds of imagination that are interesting and amusing to them. Thus, Fives tend to be detached from the practical world and intensely involved with complex mental constructs. And while healthy Fives observe and interact with the real world around them, average Fives, as they become more deeply enthralled by their own cerebral landscapes, lose their capacity to make accurate assessments about the truth, significance, or accuracy of their ideas. They gradually care less about an idea’s objective rightness than about how their ideas relate to other thoughts that arise in their minds. By contrast, Ones employ thinking so that they can relate more perfectly to the world: their focus is on making rules and procedures for the progress and improvement of themselves and their world. Average Ones are not as detached from the world, or as withdrawn as average Fives are: although they may be cool and impersonal, and somewhat overly reserved, Ones are keenly interested in applying their principles to daily life.

    Will check out Born in the UK!! And Badly Drawn Boy…

  • Posted by:  maura

    Thanks for the clarification. I am SO a 1. Curious about the passion + avoidance being the same. hmmm.

  • Posted by:  susan

    Yes, curious about passion and avoidance both being anger. Sort of a gas + breaks at the same time vibe. But each type has its cross to bear!!

  • Posted by:  Bangla Song

    Sounds pretty good. Anyway, in east russian language we call it moosika (music). Sounds funny little bit, isn’t it? When people dies in village, they used to sing such sort of songs. Interesting. right?

  • Posted by:  doug

    Waltz #2 – Elliott Smith
    Nothing Man – Bruce Springsteen
    Sunday Smile – Beirut
    Sad Eyes – Bruce Springsteen
    For Your Precious Love – Jerry Butler

  • Posted by:  susan

    A very soulful list. And I love love love For Your Precious Love by Jerry Butler.

  • Posted by:  Mia

    I love your blog and I am also a four. A 4w5.

    My favorite melancholic musician is Fiona Apple. Really all her music just takes me to another place…both beautiful and sad. That sadness is a bit removed. It’s almost like looking at a painting. I am fully engaged in the feeling that she is trying to convey, wrapped in it, but I can still appreciate its beauty.

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