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Tear Jerker / Peter Gabriel

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This former front man of Genesis has a lot of incredibly depressing songs.


  • "Blood of Eden", especially the Carnivale fanvid.
    • The wordless note he hits at the end of the bridge is heartrending.
    • Much of Us qualifies for this trope, really, on account of the Creator Breakdown Gabriel experienced during its production; the album's content overall is a reflection of his failing relationships with people close to him.
  • His cover of The Magnetic Fields "The Book of Love". The song earns extra points by being pretty darn hilarious as well.
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  • The alternate version of "I Don't Remember" that serves as the B-Side to the "Games Without Frontiers" single evokes this; while the album version is nightmarishly chaotic, the alternate version sounds a lot more... defeated... like a cry of desperation.
  • One Word: "Biko".
  • "Father, Son". God, this has to be the saddest of them all. Especially with children who lost their father. What made it worse is that Peter's father died in 2016.
  • The quiet, ending section of "Family Snapshot" (a song about Lee Harvey Oswald, or someone similar; Gabriel has sourced inspiration to Arthur Bremer, the attempted assassin of George Wallace).
    All turned quiet. I have been here before
    A lonely boy, hiding behind the front door
    Friends have all gone home... there's my toy gun on the floor
    Come back Mom and Dad
    You're growing apart, you know that I'm growing up sad
    I need some attention
    I shoot into the light.
  • "Don't Give Up" is a prime example. Sounds like a cheesy title, but the lyrics, melody and Kate Bush doing supporting vocals all make it really work.
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    • And then there's Shannon Noll and Natalie Bassingthwaighte's cover...
  • "My Body Is A Cage", originally by Arcade Fire, has always been a tearjerker. Peter Gabriel took it and made it a triumphant one.
    • Pretty much all of Scratch My Back.
  • "Here Comes the Flood".
  • "I Grieve". First released in 1998, the song took on more poignancy when in an interview in 2002 he revealed both of Gabriel's daughters were in New York City during the 9/11 attacks, and he had no way of contacting them to make sure they were okay. He dedicated the song to people who have been in similar situations.
  • "Red Rain" as well.
  • "Sky Blue".
  • "The Drop".
    One by one, they're going out
    You watch them dim
    One by one, you watch them fall
    And wonder where they're falling to.
  • "Wallflower" from Security veers between this and Heartwarming Music.
  • "Home Sweet Home".
  • His cover of "Heroes" amps up the poignancy from David Bowie's original with a much more minimalist composition, giving more weight to his vocal performance, highlighting the deceptively simple lyrics and their underlying bittersweet tone.
    I, I can remember
    Standing, standing by the wall
    And the guns, shot above our heads
    And we kissed, as though nothing could fall
    And the shame, the shame was on the other side
    Oh we can beat them, for ever and ever
    And we could be Heroes, just for one day
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  • "Mercy Street".
    Anne with her father
    Is out in the boat
    Riding the water
    Riding the waves
    On the sea...

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