i'll stay away
by Sean
Please note: MP3s are only kept online for a short time, and if this entry is from more than a couple of weeks ago, the music probably won't be available to download any more.


I think that the saddest emotion in the world just might be resignation. Deep, gaping sorrow can be devastating; the ache of loneliness can be a torture; an angry hurt can blaze and blaze; and yet, there's something even sadder in that moment when you swallow the sorrow and say that you'll move on. When you pretend to have bright eyes, when you try to have a bright smile, when you nod and say "right. fine. okay."

I've long been a collector of sad music. And the two tracks I'm posting today are perhaps the crown jewels. Not as tortured as Bright Eyes's "If Winter Ends," not as paralyzed as Beck's "I Get Lonesome," not as broken as "Pyramid Song," but maybe even more stinging. These singers don't whinge and whine about how unhappy they are; they don't tell us about their blues, as if asking for sympathy. Instead, they sing to one person in particular, a lover who isn't, and they repeat the devastatingly cheerful cliche that we saw earlier: "right. fine. okay." It's all so beautifully done that maybe you miss it, maybe you think the kinds words are sincere, that the "have a good life" isn't laced with irony, with resignation - that the song is a happy one, and not the grey-inked opposite.

Jude - "I Do". It was with this track that Jude justified his existence. His album is pleasant, it's witty, but suddenly, here, it's as if his hipster duds have been torn right open: the shirt-buttons ripped out, the sunglasses smashed, the suede shoes burning slowly into ash. It's a song about love; a song sung in a bright voice. But there's so much hidden by that sly, invulnerable tone: so much that's been left behind. Jude took a risk when he made "I Do" so terribly sweet, in voice and in instrumentation (strings, acoustic guitar); but the pay-off is worth it. The beauty gradually becomes monstrous, twisted, tragic. The pretty song only underlines Jude's masochism, the despair he's trying to obscure.

The Montgolfier Brothers - "The World is Flat". Here's a song you can hear a dozen times without realizing the anguish it conceals: there's the crystalline flutter of guitars, like a dream composed by Clientele, a slow piano and Roger Quigley's lulling voice. He seems to be singing of a perfect relationship - "we'll watch the dawn," he sings, "and we will raise a family. . . I'll be the apple of your parents' eyes / they'll raise a glass to us / and I won't drink the bottle dry." It's in that negative, the "won't drink," that there's a sign of what's going on. That the entire song calmly, discreetly proceeds from a false premise. There it is in the second line: "The world is flat and I've still got a chance with you." The lovers' idyll necessarily collapses, necessarily drifts to shipwreck: the divorce is a certainty, a yesterday. "God is good and / life is fair," Quigley sings, and there's so little bitterness left, so little misery: just that permanent heartbreaking ache, that tragic, unredeemable resignation. Ye gods. (for more on this record, see close your eyes.)

and on a happier note...

updated the blogroll. thanks for the suggestions. the following have been added to my daily mp3 blog fix (ie, they're the ones who post music that makes my heart sing). i'm sure they're old hat to all of you: but they're fresh to me, and truly delightful! to all these musicbloggers, my thanks!

fingertips music - grand, varied, outta-nowhere legal mp3s.

cocaine blunts & hip-hop tapes - tracks and news from a discerning, eclectic hip-hop ear.

new(ish) - good indie-ness, with a nice emphasis on folk + idm.

soul-sides - oliver delivers vintagesoul mp3s!

the big ticket - indie rock and sports and simple, contagious enthusiasm.

talkie walkie - group livejournal with all sorts of things: the bestest is the indie canadiana.

Posted by Sean at March 21, 2004 11:51 PM

thanks for the inclusion amongst the new blogroll. kinds words are appreciated...

luv today's melancholy post. i've been in sort of a sad romantic haze since seeing "eternal sunshine..." on friday nite, and these tunes (and your lovely descriptions) seem to fit w/the mood. oh, heartache...

Posted by mr gilbert at March 22, 2004 3:38 AM

you're very welcome!

i'm desperate to find a gap in my schedule to go see Eternal Sunshine. it's my most anticipated movie of the year, and here it is, three or four days after it opened, and i still haven't gone near a theater. i'll be posting the Beck song from the soundtrack, though, later this week. the blogosphere's concensus seems to be that the film is terrific.

Posted by Sean at March 22, 2004 8:50 AM

The best recommendation I can offer of the movie, and the one I have on my blog, is that my sister HATES Jim Carrey and Elijah Wood. She also does not like Kate Winslet, Kirsten Dunst, or David Cross (although the latter I suspect is 'cuz my brother and I are ALWAYS watching Mr. Show)and she really liked Eternal Sunshine... By the way, does anyone else mispronounce that title everytime? "I saw Eternal Spotlight of the Sunless Mind" "I saw Eternal Sunshine of the Sunlit Mind" "I saw Eternal Spotshine of the Sunny mind"

Posted by caley at March 22, 2004 12:34 PM

for this kinda song you describe, i might suggest, American Music Club , Mercury, "Nothing can bring me down " : i think is the title. great song. great band.

Posted by Brodie at March 22, 2004 2:52 PM

Those songs are stunning. Thank you.

Posted by meghan at March 23, 2004 1:28 AM

i'm glad that soul sides liked that donny hathaway cover of "jealous guy" - i have always loved it, possibly more than the original. i played it for you one time, dunno if you remember.

Posted by anne at March 23, 2004 1:45 PM

Whoa, that Montgolfier song sounds a lot like a Badly Drawn Boy song, doesn't it? I only had a dub of Bewilderbeast, so I don't know the name, but it's kind of spooky. I like this song better, though--way better lyrics, and it just sounds fucking painfully like riding a bus through the English countryside. Or, rather, the English highway system. Very, very nice.

Posted by Eppy at March 24, 2004 6:38 PM

Post a comment

(Please be patient, it can be slow.)
about said the gramophone
This is a daily sampler of really good songs. All tracks are posted out of love. Please go out and buy the records.

To hear a song in your browser, click the and it will begin playing. All songs are also available to download: just right-click the link and choose 'Save as...'

All songs are removed within a few weeks of posting.

Said the Gramophone launched in March 2003, and added songs in November of that year. It was one of the world's first mp3blogs.

If you would like to say hello, find out our mailing addresses or invite us to shows, please get in touch:
Montreal, Canada: Sean
Toronto, Canada: Emma
Montreal, Canada: Jeff
Montreal, Canada: Mitz

Please don't send us emails with tons of huge attachments; if emailing a bunch of mp3s etc, send us a link to download them. We are not interested in streaming widgets like soundcloud: Said the Gramophone posts are always accompanied by MP3s.

If you are the copyright holder of any song posted here, please contact us if you would like the song taken down early. Please do not direct link to any of these tracks. Please love and wonder.

"And I shall watch the ferry-boats / and they'll get high on a bluer ocean / against tomorrow's sky / and I will never grow so old again."
about the authors
Sean Michaels is the founder of Said the Gramophone. He is a writer, critic and author of the theremin novel Us Conductors. Follow him on Twitter or reach him by email here. Click here to browse his posts.

Emma Healey writes poems and essays in Toronto. She joined Said the Gramophone in 2015. This is her website and email her here.

Jeff Miller is a Montreal-based writer and zinemaker. He is the author of Ghost Pine: All Stories True and a bunch of other stories. He joined Said the Gramophone in 2015. Say hello on Twitter or email.

Mitz Takahashi is originally from Osaka, Japan who now lives and works as a furniture designer/maker in Montreal. English is not his first language so please forgive his glamour grammar mistakes. He is trying. He joined Said the Gramophone in 2015. Reach him by email here.

Site design and header typography by Neale McDavitt-Van Fleet. The header graphic is randomized: this one is by Neale McDavitt-Van Fleet.
Dan Beirne wrote regularly for Said the Gramophone from August 2004 to December 2014. He is an actor and writer living in Toronto. Any claim he makes about his life on here is probably untrue. Click here to browse his posts. Email him here.

Jordan Himelfarb wrote for Said the Gramophone from November 2004 to March 2012. He lives in Toronto. He is an opinion editor at the Toronto Star. Click here to browse his posts. Email him here.
our patrons
Said the Gramophone does not take advertising. We are supported by the incredible generosity of our readers. These were our donors in 2013.
watch StG's wonderful video contest winners

our favourite blogs
(◊ means they write about music)

Back to the World
La Blogothèque
Weird Canada
Destination: Out
Endless Banquet
A Grammar (Nitsuh Abebe)
Ill Doctrine
A London Salmagundi
Words and Music
Petites planétes
Gorilla vs Bear
Silent Shout
Clouds of Evil
The Dolby Apposition
Awesome Tapes from Africa
Matana Roberts
Pitchfork Reviews Reviews
i like you [podcast]
Nicola Meighan
radiolab [podcast]
CKUT Music
plethoric pundrigrions
Wattled Smoky Honeyeater
The Clear-Minded Creative
Torture Garden
Passion of the Weiss
Juan and Only
Horses Think
White Hotel
Then Play Long (Marcello Carlin)
Uno Moralez
Coming Up For Air (Matt Forsythe)
my love for you is a stampede of horses
It's Nice That
Song, by Toad
In Focus
WTF [podcast]
The Rest is Noise (Alex Ross)
My Daguerreotype Boyfriend
The Hood Internet

things we like in Montreal
st-viateur bagel
café olimpico
Euro-Deli Batory
le pick up
kem coba
le couteau
au pied de cochon
mamie clafoutis
tourtière australienne
chez boris
alati caserta
vices & versa
+ paltoquet, cocoa locale, idée fixe, patati patata, the sparrow, pho tay ho, qin hua dumplings, caffé italia, hung phat banh mi, caffé san simeon, meu-meu, pho lien, romodos, patisserie guillaume, patisserie rhubarbe, kazu, lallouz, maison du nord, cuisine szechuan &c

drawn + quarterly
+ bottines &c

casa + sala + the hotel
blue skies turn black
montreal improv theatre
passovah productions
le cagibi
cinema du parc
pop pmontreal
yoga teacher Thea Metcalfe

Cult Montreal
The Believer
The Morning News
The Skinny