Friday, February 24, 2006

Song of the Week 2/24/06

Skeeter Davis - "The End of the World"

This classic tearjerker of a song has popped up from time to time in my life. My first memory of it comes from my grandfather, who was big into country, especially the start of the Chet Atkins-era of "Countrypolitian" production in the early 60s. I vaguely recall hearing this in my house at some point growing up, alongside a wealth of great country albums that I am proud to say I stole for my own collection when I was in high school.

The second time was about six years ago when it was used (to rather excellent dramatic effect) in the Winona Ryder/Angelina Jolie insane asylum flick Girl, Interrupted. This time, I scored the soundtrack from a friend of mine at TVT, and I played the song a few times, soaking in its sadness.

The latest time I was able to make a "Skeeter" reference in public was last night when Mike Viola did a cover of the song during his show at Barbes in Brooklyn. Simply put, it was a stunning performance of a song that is pretty damn great to begin with. Viola has written his share of uptempo catchy numbers, but I swear he's at his best when he's doing a slow ballad about loss or heartbreak. This cover -- which also featured a stellar pedal steel solo by Bob Hoffnar -- was no exception, and fit perfectly amongst Viola's originals.

Let's face it, I like really sad songs. Heck, I even ended up making a mix called A Heartbreak Special for my friend's bar that led off with that song.

Yeah, I know, what a sap...

UPDATE 2/26: Just to add to the Song of the Week mystique, I decided to sing "The End of the World" at some birthday karaoke in Koreatown Friday night. Alas, I am no Skeeter Davis or Mike Viola, even though I certainly can pack a lot of depression into my voice. Nobody wanted to hear it, and I was cut off before the second verse.

Drunk on Sapporo bastards.

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