So here we go...
1) Lady Gaga--"Speechless"
Not only is this a current favorite Sad Bastard song, it's also currently one of my favorite songs to belt in the car. I usually sing it at least once a day...if only I could use it as an audition song! This particular version is my absolute favorite live performance of it. First of all, I think she looks so beautiful here. Her dress is incredible, her makeup is classic and flawless, and she's wearing my favorite version of her hair bow. It's like a perfect balance of classic glamour and her signature outrageous, avant garde style. And secondly, I love the stripped down, raw way she sings the song. "Speechless" is a great example of how talented Lady Gaga actually is, because she's great at campy ballads as well as catchy pop/dance songs. I really wish she'd put out an album of just her on solo piano, that would make my life! Other great performances of "Speechless," in my opinion, include her performance on Ellen and the one from the AMAs where she breaks bottles (both of these performances can be found on YouTube as well).
2) Ingrid Michaelson--"Turn to Stone"
I bought this song off of iTunes a long time ago, but forgot about it until I rewatched season 5 of Grey's Anatomy this week and now I'm obsessed. (It's featured in episode #5.21: "What A Difference A Day Makes.") Ingrid Michaelson writes beautiful ballads, and this one is a perfect mix of simple, beautiful piano lilting which builds into epic explosions of rich sound. Sighhh.
3) Dresden Dolls--"Delilah" (Performed in this video by Amanda Palmer only.)
WOW. Talk about a song that makes me dissolve within seconds of the opening lines. Devastating lyrics, vocals, music, everything...I cry like a little girl. "And you thought you could change his mind / by changing your perfume / to the kind his mother wore..." AHH. Really, Amanda Palmer? Why don't you just stab me in the heart. I would really love to choreograph a solo to it using the whole song, but I can't figure out any movement that's good enough for it.
4) Black Rebel Motorcycle Club--"Feel It Now"
I first heard this song a long time ago in an episode of Bones from season one (#1.12: "The Superhero in the Alley"). I recently rediscovered it when listening to an old mix a couple weeks ago. I love the sad, simple lyrics, gorgeous piano, and his neo-classic rock voice. "I turn myself into an angel, I run myself into the ground." Gahh.
5) Evelyn Evelyn--"Evelyn Evelyn"
There's all this controversy surrounding Evelyn Evelyn, the side project with Amanda Palmer and Jason Webley, but my response to that is a whole other entry. The point is: I love them and I love love love this song. It's extremely intense but sort of airy and ethereal at the same time, with this underlying creepy music box/circus vibe to it. Lovvve.
6) Lady Gaga--"Brown Eyes"
Another great example of Lady Gaga's talent for soulful ballads and passionate vocals.
7) Rufus Wainwright--"Zebulon"
"I'm in love, but let's not talk about it..." Oh, Rufus. No one does morose quite like him. His newest album, All Days Are Nights: Songs For Lulu, is just him and his piano and is SO beautiful that it doesn't even seem real. I saw him live last fall (and MET him!) and felt the same way about his concert, which was just him and a piano. Indescribably beautiful. This song is absolutely devastating, as are my other favorites from the album which I couldn't find video for: "Sad With What I Have" and "Who Are You, New York?" Seriously, just buy the album. You won't be disappointed.
8) Jane Monheit--"A Case of You"
Steve got me into Jane Monheit when we first started dating. She is so ridiculously talented, it's absurd. Of course I love the original Joni version of "A Case of You," but I have an obsession with cover songs and collect them. Especially when they're flawless like this one. K.d. Lang also does an incredible cover of it on her Hymns of the 49th Parallel album and I've been listening to her version a lot recently as well. Another Jane Monheit song that's on my current Sad Bastard playlist is her rendition of "Spring Can Really Hang You Up The Most." It's perfect.
9) Susanna and the Magical Orchestra--"Love Will Tear Us Apart"
When it comes to Sad Bastard Music, you can't go wrong with "Love Will Tear Us Apart," which is why there are two different covers of it on my current playlist. I mentioned Susanna and the Magical Orchestra in my last entry, and here's an example of her epic moroseness! I've also been listening to her equally morose, melodic covers of "These Days" and "Enjoy the Silence." Once I get sick of these covers, I definitely want to hear more of her original songs.
10) Evelyn Evelyn--"Love Will Tear Us Apart"
When I first heard this, I honestly didn't recognize Amanda Palmer's voice and thought that it was a guest vocalist. I'd never heard her go this whispery and subdued before! But I love it. Jason Webley is equally gorgeous on this cover as well. And they accompany themselves on a damn ukulele! I love morose songs that are combined with calm ukulele strumming; it adds this perfect bit of camp to it (another great example of this is Ingrid Michaelson's cover of "Creep" in which she uses a ukulele as well).
11) Lisbeth Scott w/ Nathan Barr--"Take Me Home (Pie Cry Remix)"
Ho-ly Hell. What an incredible song! I recently rewatched season one of True Blood, and couldn't believe that I didn't own this song already. It is so, so, so beautiful I can't even take it! And of course this scene is just devastating if you've seen it in the context of the show, which adds to the song's sad beauty. I'm dying to choreograph to this. I can just see dancers all in white.
12) Sara Melson--"Feel It Coming"
This song is a little more upbeat, but still has that great Sad Bastard lyrical quality that I love. Plus it's played at the very end of a particularly sad Grey's Anatomy episode (#4.10: "Crash Into Me, Part II") so I associate it with that. But it also makes me smile, too, because I think of Meredith, Cristina and Lexie's nerdy drunken dance party. (See the scene HERE. It doesn't really contain any major spoilers.) I'm curious to hear more from Sara Melson.
of all my wrecked-up friends."
--Lady Gaga, Speechless