You know those days where there’s nothing better than depressing country music? Days when everything is shit and you’re already feeling down and for some reason you just want to listen to sad country songs to dig yourself farther into that hole?
The best part about being sad is putting on a sad country song to intentionally get sadder.
I was having one of those days recently, and I turned to the ol’ YouTube to look for some of the most depressing country music I could find. Songs like “He Stopped Lovin’ Her Today,” “Whiskey Lullaby,” “When I Call Your Name”… that’s the good stuff. The sadder the better.
Then I came across a song that I hadn’t heard in a few years. And the reason that I hadn’t heard it in a few years was because I had been intentionally avoiding it. A song so sad that I purposefully don’t listen to it because no matter how great it is, it just fucks up my day any time I hear it because it’s so damn sad.
But this day I was having was so bad that I saw Jason Michael Carroll’s “Alyssa Lies” next up on my queue and thought “bring it on.” If I’m really looking for the saddest of the sad and depressing country music, this is it. It doesn’t get any sadder and more depressing than this.
And I was right. “Alyssa Lies” came out in 2006, and it had been quite literally years since I’d had the nerve to listen to it, but damn if it isn’t still a gut punch even after all this time. The song, and its story about a girl telling her dad about her new friend at school who is a victim of child abuse, still chokes me up after 14 years.
But as great as the song is, the video may be even more powerful. If you’ve never watched the video, it shows a classroom full of students watching the music video and listening to the song, and you see their reactions as the story unfolds. You see the tears rolling down their face as they realize what the song is about. And you see a student walk out of the classroom as Jason Michael Carroll tells his daughter that her new friend Alyssa wouldn’t be at school anymore because she “walks with Jesus because there’s nothing anyone would do.” Man, it’s such a powerful song and video.
So if you’re ever having one of those days, a day when all you want to do is listen to sad country music, go back to “Alyssa Lies” by Jason Michael Carroll. Even after 14 years, the song will probably still break your heart – just like it did to me.