Mope Rock Paradise: The Most Depressing Albums

A survey of British music fans has proclaimed veteran Leonard Cohen’s decades old “Greatest Hits” as the most depressing album of all time, according to England’s PA News. Second place went to Lou Reed’s “Berlin,” while third was Nick Drake’s “Way To Blue,” a 1994 retrospective of Drake’s short career. Drake died of an overdose of anti-depressant medication at his parents home in 1974. Shockingly, The Cure doesn’t hit the list until 13th place.

For that matter, three, possibly four, of the Top 20 artists committed suicide. Aside from Drake, Joy Division’s Ian Curtis died shortly before the band released “Closer,” which came 4th in the poll. Richie James of the Manic Street Preachers, whose album, “The Holy Bible,” came 6th on the list, disappeared three years ago after abandoning his car on a bridge, leading to a suspicion of suicide. And of course Kurt Cobain offed himself in 1994. Nirvana’s “Unplugged” was ranked 19th.

The survey appears to indicate that while
morose lyrics may be the more obvious element, the tone of voice may well be a key factor. Droner Cohen’s best known hits are songs about his rather pleasant, introspective experiences with women (“Suzanne,” “Sisters of Mercy,” “So Long Marianne”). The same can’t be said lyrically for the romantically morose Drake or Reed’s darkly depressed “Berlin,” however.

Many of the albums chosen were surprisingly old, which is likely at least partially due to the age group of the respondents. The PA News reports that roughly 800 people filled out the survey, which was taken via Britain’s The Band magazine’s website.

Here’s the Top 20 um… winners.

  1. Leonard Cohen – Greatest Hits
  2. Lou Reed – Berlin
  3. Nick Drake – Way To Blue
  4. Joy Division – Closer
  5. Tindersticks – Second Album
  6. Manic
    Street
    Preachers
    – The Holy Bible
  7. Red House Painters – Double Album
  8. Baby Bird – Dying Happy
  9. Tricky – Pre-Millennium Tension
  10. Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds – Murder Ballads
  11. American Music Club – Mercury
  12. Pink Floyd – The Wall
  13. The Cure – Disintegration
  14. Bob Dylan – Blood On The Tracks
  15. Japan – Tin Drum
  16. Bruce Springsteen – Nebraska
  17. Depeche Mode – Black Celebration
  18. R.E.M. – Automatic For The People
  19. Nirvana – Unplugged
  20. David Bowie – Low