This Will End in Tears: The Miserablist Guide to Music
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This Will End in Tears: The Miserablist Guide to Music

3.44 of 5 stars 3.44  ·  rating details  ·  112 ratings  ·  23 reviews
Sad music moves us like nothing else, and despite its gloomy nature it also has the curious power to make us happy. In This Will End in Tears: The Miserabilist Guide to Music, author Adam Brent Houghtaling explains why, while offering up a compendium of history's masters of melancholy and the greatest sad songs of all time, featuring artists across genres and through time—...more
Paperback, 416 pages
Published August 7th 2012 by It Books (first published November 29th 2011)
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Natalie Tyler
This book has got an excellent concept; the organization is stylish and intriguing: it's a collection of essays about individual artists, songs, pieces of music, and categories of music interspersed with an alphabetically organized list of artists.

Some of the chapters include "Breaking Up, Breaking Down, Cheating, and Divorce," "Decay, Disintegration, Disease," and "Seasonally Affected: Falling Leaves, Falling Snow, FallingTears." The book culminated in a list of the 100 saddest songs. Individua...more
Cami
Okay, while I cannot even come close to guaranteeing that this book would be amazing to, well, most of you, to me it was amazing. Adam Houghtaling should be my new music buddy. The contents of this book are precious to me.

Houghtaling embraces those who pour their hearts into their cup o' lyrics, then flush the proverbial cup out with corrosive chemicals, aching guitar riffs and paralyzing vocals.

I have had a pained heart (and in some cases, wept to) eleven of the top hundred saddest songs . I th...more
J.J. Lair
I’m happy I read this book! At first I didn’t know what to expect from it. It’s a well put together book. There are biographies of singers and songwriters known for sad songs, essays, the science behind depression and music.
Some of the singers I didn’t know, but thanks to Youtube and Itunes, I discovered Nick Cave, Jacques Brel, and heard Nico. I already knew Morrissey, Johnny Cash, Patsy Cline (her biography movie starring Jessica Lange is very wrong), The Cure and Joy Division, but I also got...more
Jessica
You know how sometimes when you're sad, you need to listen to really sad songs? This is the ULTIMATE guide to music for every type of misery!
cherrytreegirl
Difference of opinion is inherent to the subject of This Will End in Tears.... So it came as an expected given i would find myself using it less like a simple checklist than as a marker by which to examine why and how i personally define my own world of sad songs. Adam Houghtaling's writing allows the reader such contemplation by being accessibly informative and enthusiastic in opinion; not overbearing. After all, a book can only be so long, and a list of one hundred can contain, well, just 100...more
Alan
Mar 29, 2014 Alan rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: music
This was an interesting collection of short articles about roughly 80 composers/songwriters/performers whose music can roughly be categorized as "miserablist" as in the sense of "sad or melancholy" music. They range from the English Renaissance composer of laments John Dowland, to singer songwriters such as Nick Drake & Elliot Smith, to country stars such as Hank Williams & Johnny Cash to present day bands/groups such as Nick Case and the Bad Seeds & Radiohead with some blues & j...more
Richard
Part of me wants to rate this book more highly than 3 stars. There is a tremendous amount of information presented on the artists and topics Houghtaling covers. The author takes the somewhat unique approach of alternating between topics like "Born to Be Blue: The True Color of Misery" or "Suicide, It's a Suicide: Self-Harm and Song" and the progression of his encyclopedic artist entries. So for example, we get the Suicide chapter, a song essay ("Gloomy Sunday"), and then he picks up where he lef...more
Kristen
On most days, though it's not exclusive, I tend to connect with sad or introspective sounding music above all else. It's the eternal question summed up so brilliantly by the character Rob Gordon in High Fidelity: "What came first, the music or the misery? People worry about kids playing with guns or watching violent videos; that some sort of culture of violence will take them over. Nobody worries about kids listening to thousands, literally thousands, of songs about heartbreak, rejection, pain,...more
Kate
Jan 02, 2013 Kate rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: books
An interesting guide to getting your feet wet in the "miserablist" genre of music, though it's wise to keep in mind that the descriptions in this book ultimately reflects one person's tastes (or one range, if he did crowd-sourcing).

The Top 100 list in my copy actually only has 99--"Death Letter" by Son House was listed twice. But by that point in the book I was almost wondering if it was a charm: after reading an A-to-Z list of artists where roughly 80% killed themselves either directly or passi...more
Pamela
Obviously knows a ton about music, and really got me interested in a bunch of artists I'd either never heard of or never paid much attention to. And since the world is hardly lacking in opinionated music critics tossing recommendations at you, the fact that this one made me pay attention and was consistently interesting.

However, as I kept reading the editing deficiencies got very, very tiresome. There are so many factual errors that are little more than typos that nobody caught. There are many,...more
Ben
There's a bit of bias among music critics and fans that sad songs are by definition deep and worthy of attention, and happy songs are throwaway fluff. I think there are good and bad songs on both ends of the spectrum, and more to the point, songs aren't that easy to classify. But for those whose tastes fall on the sad end, this book will give you many melancholy singers and bands to check out. I find it hard to rate it higher than 3 stars though, because it's mostly just a few pages on each arti...more
Mark
Keeping in mind this is just one person's perspective on music, I still enjoyed this book! It was missing a lot of artists/songs I consider to be considerably depressing, but I think this was a pretty good selection covering a wide variety of genres. And on the plus side, it's given me a bunch of new artists to check out. Nice! I did like the arrangement of the book around different themes, and it was cool to get some background information about artists/songs I'm not familiar with.
Amy Elizabeth
Any book with a back cover blurb by my celebrity crush Rob Sheffield earns 4 stars without even cracking cover.
Keith
Great analysis of sad songs and why we enjoy them...as well as bands/performers that usually sing or perform sad songs. This ranges from The Smiths to Portishead to John Dowland. Really interesting stuff.

The last bit of the book is a list of what he considers to be the 100 most Sad songs. It is a great list...except for ONE duplicate.
Gina
I read through this miserabilist book at random, mostly because I didn't know some of the artists but I wrote down the names of topics of interest (i.e. Breaking up, breaking down, cheating, divorce, decay, disintegration, self-harm and disease). It is funny because I am actually finding a lot of my favorite introspective artists in here (:
Bryan
It's redundant in parts, and I'd quibble over many of the selections and omissions -- which I think is half of the point of any of these High Fidelity-esque books of lists of music -- but it was a quick read, and I came out of it with a couple of dozen albums and songs to check out, so I can't say that it wasn't time well spent.
Bookation13
Oct 29, 2012 Bookation13 marked it as to-read
this book caught my attention. as music lover you can't go wrong with this book. haven't read the book yet, giving it a 5 stars . example I've seen john Waite -missing you... if your not genuinely moved by this song / have you in tears then don't bother reading the book hehe jm.. it's always good to learn things .. a must read :)
Angie
As a music lover, I really enjoyed this book. It was neat to hear the stories behind some of my favorite songs and artists. There were even some I had never heard of before, and after reading this book I had to go explore iTunes so I could create some new playlists. While the title may be depressing, this is a fun read!
Judy
Aug 08, 2012 Judy marked it as to-read
I have actually added this to my list so that my musical friends (Mike, are you there? :-) will be aware of it, if you aren't already. This was Highly Recommended in a recent email from Kirkus Reviews: http://www.kirkusreviews.com/book-rev...
Kristenyque
This book describes how "sad" music actually can (using brain chemistry) make people happy. As someone who enjoys it now and then I found some new selections through the book and I enjoyed the explanation of how this type of music can effect people.
Meril
Great concept, but so many mistakes in the editing. This may have worked better as a Tumblr project. At least most bloggers there check to make sure that they didn't transpose dates, miss names, miss parts of sentences....
Nate
So here's the thing, it's a book with a list of bunch of artists that revel in misery. I found myself reading more about artists that I was already familiar with than those that I didn't know. That is all.
Anna
Really interesting, and I am only knocking a star off due to the misprint at the end of the book (one song appears twice in the "100 Saddest Songs" list at the end of the book).
Kelly Karasiewicz
Good for the music fan. Paints a better understanding of sadness in songs. Also serves to give recommendations to what to listen to when you're heartbroken.
Christian
Nov 17, 2013 Christian is currently reading it
Shelves: music-criticism
Of course I'm reading this.
Jason
Jason marked it as to-read
Jul 20, 2014
Jen Destio
Jen Destio is currently reading it
Jul 15, 2014
Armand D'Isselt
Armand D'Isselt marked it as to-read
Jul 14, 2014
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