So I'm Sailin, Yeah I'm Sailin' On
For those who are regular Pajiba Music readers, you know that this is our last week here. Beginning tomorrow, we’ll be moving back to The Music Is The Message, likely temporarily until we get the next iteration of this little collaborative going. So please, keep checking over there for more music news, articles, playlists and general tomfoolery. Also, hijinks will likely ensue.
Since I’m historically lousy at goodbyes, and since this isn’t really a goodbye anyway (we’re just moving down the street, and you’re never gonna get rid of me anyway), we figured we’d just put together a playlist of our favorite goodbye songs. So here it is. Thanks for reading, and stick with us as we move to our new home.
I’m going to try to stay upbeat with this and avoid becoming too seriously depressed, so I’ll say “Going On” by Gnarls Barkley, a wonderful song, still emotional, and very personal to me. Honorable mention: “Jugband Blues” by Pink Floyd. About as weird as you can get.
Terry Jacks, “Seasons in the Sun” — I was five years old when this song was popular, or when I remember hearing this song for the first time. It creeped me the fuck out. The singer talks about dying, which to me, at the age of five, seemed horrible. Why was he dying? He never says. As I got older, the song became kind of a joke. I think one of my friends used to sing, “We had joy, we had fun, we had seasons in the sun, but the cops had guns and they shot us in the buns.” Shoot me, it’s the kind of humor you’d expect from 8-10 year-olds. This song continued to creep into my life; Too Much Joy did a cover of it that I heard during my college years, and then I borrowed that Nirvana box set from my local library that had a whole bunch of video footage, and this song is done in the studio with Kurt Cobain singing and playing drums on it. Just plain…eerie.
Drive-By Truckers — “Goodbye.” This is a tune by the DBT that seems to grow on me the more I listen to it. It is sort of a mellow groove. There is an actual YouTube video of them performing this live with a highway as their backdrop. It seems so perfect in this setting. The song is about relationships and how all of them are important, but sometimes relationships end, and you don’t always get to say goodbye to those people.
I’m going to plump first of all for a song that can’t really be interpreted as a goodbye from me to the Pajiba community - namely ‘Go, Leave’ by Kate & Anna McGarrigle - in that it is specifically about Kate’s husband, Loudon Wainwright, leaving her for another. It’s a sharp song, full of regret, anger and - which is wonderful - forgiveness. I think it has one of the loveliest melodies I can think of, and the simple guitar and voice arrangement sets off the song’s emotional candour. I love the song’s closing line, “Hearts have a way of calling when they’ve been true”, suggesting that her connection to her partner will live on in some way.
And then I think I’ll have a little bit of Stevie Wonder, singing ‘Please Don’t Go’ - which I love for being so upbeat despite it being such a blatant begging song, forever warding off a terrible goodbye. Everything about it is fricking perfect in every way, from the crisp drums to his incredible singing to the bitching harmonica, celestial choir and hand-clappy freak-out ending.
Boo: “Roads” by Portishead. This is my catchall everything song. When I can’t express my emotions — good or bad, really — then I listen to this song. It feels more like a life anthem than anything else: strong, quiet, pulsing, passionate. Hmm. Kinda like me, minus the quiet and plus some profanity. It’s been a pleasure connecting with you all musically, even with my as of late limited involvement. I hope you share my love of musical expression and appreciation, even if we don’t always agree in who provides it best. Love, Boo.
I had to dig a bit more for these tunes, as I’ve already done my own “Goodbye Playlist.” I’ll begin with “The Conversation,” by Motion City Soundtrack. Primarily because it’s just a gorgeous, bittersweet, heartbreaking song whose lyrics are all too familiar to anyone who’s been through a sad breakup. It’s a painful reminder that there’s no gentle way to end a relationship. Also because I haven’t been able to give MCS the love that they deserve around here. Aside from being a mature and thoughtful and exciting powerpop group, they do this quiet, soul-bearing tune thing about once an album, and it’s always excellent.
“Stay Away,” The Honorary Title. This one’s more about trying to stave off a final goodbye, which seems fitting. “Separate yourself/from what compels/you to relinquish us.” I absolutely fell in love with this album earlier this summer. They’ve got an incredible ability to make a song sound lush and full without too much embellishment; just a perfectly-timed octave shift or vocal harmony creates a powerful musical peak. See: the last iteration of the chorus, where the vocals kick up an octave, and the ensuing harmonies. And this song is just full of appropriate sentiments: “Now I can’t dance/less it’s slow or sad/to a song that’s far less obvious.”
“These Few Presidents” by Why? pretty accurately describes every goodbye I’ve ever had to say. It pierced through my car speakers and into my eardrums shortly after I found out my grandmother passed away last year and now whenever I miss anyone, I have Yoni Wolf’s lackadaisical yet compassionate warble bouncing around in my head, muttering, “even though I haven’t seen you in years, yours is a funeral I’d fly to from anywhere.” I’ve read Pajiba obsessively over the past few years (and will continue to do so) and got overly giddy when the Pajiba Music opportunity popped up, so this place, regardless of how lame it sounds to get melodramatic over an online community, has a special place in this nerd’s heart. If there were funerals for web sites and, Godtopus forbid, the Pajiba cord ever got unplugged, I would fly to wherever to pay my respects.
I’m going to go ahead and reveal just how big a dork I truly am here, because the very first thing that pops into my head when I think of goodbye songs is “So Long, Farewell” from The Sound of Music. Yes, *that* Sound of Music. With the kids and all that singing and the hello Cap’n Von Trapp. Yeah, I know. It’s cool, I’ve accepted my own supreme dorkitude in this matter. And, honestly, it’s one of the very few musicals that I actually really love, so I’m going with it. Consider this my love letter to Pajiba. (Not that myself or the axe collection are going anywhere, I’ll still be reading and commenting. Like you fools could get rid of me.)
And now for something completely different. This one is not at all anything even remotely resembling a goodbye song. I think of it more as a “fuck you, I’m out — but by the way, I know where you sleep” sort of song. It’s called, coincidentally, “I Know Where You Sleep” and it’s by Emilie Autumn (who I’ve been obsessing over for weeks now). This represents something more like what I’d hoped to eventually force down your throats with my gushing about her. Really, she’s ten bajillion different kinds of awesome. Keep an eye out for my future love letter to her when I finally get to see her live.
And just because it’s one of the saddest and most beautiful goodbye-type songs I’ve ever heard, I’ll go ahead and leave with “Beloved” by VNV Nation. I dare you to listen to it without crying. It’s a beautiful track by one of my favorite groups ever.
I’m signing off with “Your Ex-Lover Is Dead” by Stars. It’s one of my favorite songs of all time about lovers ending a romance. So Pajiba, maybe we’ll meet again. Thank you to all the Pajiba staffers and commenters—it was quite the ride. And now I’ll leave you with “Work” by Hockey, a new band out of Portland, Oregon. Bringing new music to Pajiba and its readers was one of the biggest objectives behind this little project, and Hockey is a band I’m excited to get behind this year. So long Pajiba!
I’ve posted it before, but hell, it’s worth mentioning again. It’s a fairly tragic song, but it really calls out to me. Junior Kimbrough’s “Meet Me In The City,” as performed by The Black Keys. “Please, please, please don’t leave me right now, right now, oh no no no.”
Despite the title of this article, I’m not using Jeff Buckley’s “Last Goodbye.” It’s actually not the best song on Grace. No, neither is “Hallelujah.” His best song is by far “Lover, You Should’ve Come Over, a gorgeous, mournful song. I get worked up every time I hear it.
“Miss Misery” by Elliot Smith is always going to be the perfect goodbye song — featured as the final track in Good Will Hunting (a song written specifically for the film). Fun fact — Elliot Smith lost to fucking Celine Dion’s “My Heart Will Go On” that year at the Oscars. Fucking Oscars, man. I tell ya. It plays as Will is driving off to a bright yet uncertain future. I can think of no better closing song than that one.
Oh, what the hell. One more. “Outro” by Bad Brains. Because y’all need more punk rock in your lives.
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