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Hyper-Specific Mood Playlist: “Songs for Drinking Dark Liquor Alone”

There are some moods that beg to be set to music, some mindsets that can only be nurtured through song. With the aim of creating a soundtrack for the various emotional states we all experience, we bring you a new feature: Hyper-Specific Mood Playlists. 

In honor of Valentine’s Day, I’ve prepared a special mix for those of you who might need it: “Songs for Drinking Dark Liquor Alone.” 

It’s a playlist for staring moodily out of your window, imagining yourself as the only person to ever experience sadness. It’s the playlist for when it feels like the only salve is to lean into your despondency.

This mood requires a drink, which you swirl haphazardly in your hand, limp with self-pity. Dark liquor seems to best fit the idea of drowning sorrows, and it looks the most dramatic sweating in a highball glass. I like to pay homage to my Kentucky ancestry with Woodford Reserve and a splash of water, but the choice of liquor is, of course, up to you.

Most of the tracks on this playlist are singer-songwriter ballads. Many also have a distinct americana or country bent, all the better for you to indulge in the idea of yourself as some kind of melancholy outlaw. 

Here’s a little preview of some of the standout tracks in the lineup:

“Dead Flowers” as performed live at The Royal American by Justin Osborne of SUSTO and She Returns From War. 

My ultimate sad-song is Townes Van Zandt’s take “Dead Flowers”, and this version hits just as hard. The infinitely talented Osborne and Park, two of our most beloved local artists, pay beautiful tribute to the feeling of the original track, their voices ringing with authenticity and just the right touch of sorrow. 

“Dwight Yoakam” by Sarah Shook & the Disarmers. 

Sarah’s arresting, mournful twang makes any lyrics memorable, but I’d be hard-pressed to find a more fitting line for this particular disposition than “She said he likes to make love while he’s smokin / And he don’t walk around like he’s broken.”

“Wyoming” by Water Liars.

Potentially the most depressing song in the batch, this track from a Mississippi-based singer songwriter duo plays hopeless lyrics of overdose and despair against a backdrop of deep drums and beautifully desolate guitar. 

“Songs for Drinking Dark Liquor Alone” clocks in at just under two hours, so after a solid brooding, you can crawl out of your cave and maybe go have a drink with some people. Don’t you feel better now?

Keep your eyes peeled for more hyper-specific mood playlists to come, and let me know about any moods of your own that need a soundtrack.