Synopses & 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 — from torch songs to country weepers to emo classics. Loaded with recommended playlists and insights into our favorite sob songs, This Will End in Tears is a fascinating immersion into the "miserabilist" genre, a musical marker with increasing resonance.
"Freelance writer Houghtaling initially defines 'miserabilist' music by scrolling through some of the artists on his iPhone: David Ackles, Patsy Cline, Joy Division, George Ligeti, and Radiohead, among others. All of them share what Houghtaling calls 'a natural affinity for melancholy, an elemental leaning towards the sour side,' and he describes their music as well as that of more than 70 other artists in this enlightening collection of short descriptions. A random dip in and out of this alphabetically arranged survey reads like the list on a really, really good mix tape/CD, one that includes Samuel Barber and Frank Sinatra alongside the Shangri-Las and the Eels. But Houghtaling has a bigger agenda: he wants 'to coalesce disparate artists separated by time and traditional genres into a new system based on emotional cues (sad is the new jazz).' To this end, he attempts to show connections between melancholy artists from all ages in a few longer essays on Miserabilist themes such as heartbreak, cheating, depression, and disease. However, any guide to melancholy musicians that includes an essay on Morrissey but not one on Joni Mitchell has to be seen as highly idiosyncratic although overall, Houghtaling is highly entertaining. (Sept.)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
This Will End in Tears is the first ever and definitive guide to melancholy music. Author Adam Brent Houghtaling leads music fans across genres, beyond the enclaves of emo and mope-rock, and through time to celebrate the albums and artists that make up the miserabilist landscape. In essence a book about the saddest songs ever sung, This Will End in Tears is an encyclopedic guide to the masters of melancholy — from Robert Johnson to Radiohead, from Edith Piaf to Joy Division, from Patsy Cline to The Cure — an insightful, exceedingly engaging exploration into why sad songs make us so happy.
About the Author
Adam Brent Houghtaling is an editor, writer, musician, and digital consultant living in Brooklyn, New York.