• Heart of Steel by Manowar
○ All aspects, from every direction, this is very definition of manly tears.
• Great Hall Awaits A Fallen Brother by Bathory
○ All 8 minutes are a powerful journey about death in battle and the trip to warrior’s heaven that takes you through ~3:38, with lyrics like “Stricken down, my brother, this was your day / Rest you now, we will meet again”, finally culminating in the part starting at ~5:15 with that eye-punching bass guitar and “Close your eyes, lay still, no more pain / Washed away, your blood, a gentle rain / The blood shed is blood of mine”…
• Death and Resurrection of a Northern Son by Bathory
○ Not as much as Great Hall Awaits A Fallen Brother, as only the singing and lyrics of ~3:25-6:42 from the late should-be-heavy-metal-legend, multi-instrumentalist, singer-songwriter Thomas Börje “Quorthon” Forsberg is the tear-jerker here, the first part on glorious combat leading up to getting sent to the great hall in the sky by “missing the unseen blow that cut me down from behind”.
• Honorable mentions from Bathory: Mother Earth Father Thunder, The Land, Blood Fire Death, Enter the Eternal Fire, and everything on the masterpiece album Hammerheart which, while wasn’t the first to do so (like Manowar in the early-80’s), was arguably the biggest catalyst (alongside the debut of Amon Amarth) to forever seal the deal in linking heavy metal and the Vikings much like you can largely blame Slayer, Black Sabbath, and most the First Wave of Black Metal like Venom and early Bathory (yep, they’re responsible for this, too!) for making metal and Satan go together like milk and protein powder
• Embrace of the Endless Ocean and Fate Of Norns by Amon Amarth
○ Not so much the brütal music, and especially not Johan Hegg’s death-growls, but here the lyrics (especially the first one about a father’s suffering the loss of his 6-yo son) are the gut-punchers.
• In Longing Spirit and Towards The Pantheon by Emperor, and Life Eternal by Mayhem
○ Let these bands’ grotesque beauty and harsh majesty lead you on a journey through the cold darkness of the depths of pain and horror, sadness and wrath. That line can describe many select songs from bands of the Second Wave of Black Metal like Darkthrone, Burzum, Satyricon, and Immortal, and their hundreds and hundreds of inspirations over the next near-quarter-century — especially bands of the later sub-subgenres of depressive, ambient, & atmospheric black/doom metal and mixes thereof like Drudk, A Diadem of Dead Stars, and Blut Aus Nord.
• The Meditant (Dialogue with the Stars) by Blut Aus Nord
○ Crank up the bass, turn this on, and close your eyes for the next ten minutes. No, I take that back: crank up the bass and close your eyes for the full hour of the album Memoria Vetusta II: Dialogue with the Stars; when next your eyes open you will be changed. You will be changed every time you do this, but not as much as your first. In fact, this will occur with every one of their albums (Ultima Thulee, Odinist: The Destruction of Reason by Illumination, Memoria Vetusta I: Fathers of the Icy Age…), but not as much as Memoria Vetusta II.
• Honorable mentions by Blut Aus Nord: The Plain of Ida, ‘Till I Perceive Bifrost, Slaughterday (The Heathen Blood of Ours), The Last Journey of Ringhorn.
• Metastatic Resonance by Lustmord
○ Leave the bass at normal, turn this on, and meditate for the next 25 minutes. You will be changed. Too bad I can’t find this anywhere online; I got a copyright strike trying to upload to YouTube.
• Other metal because I’m getting bored with this post and want to move on:
○ Sign of Evil by Andrew Hulshult (among other remakes and remixes like Demons on the Prey, They’re Going to Get You, and Victory
○ [NSFW WARNING] Lucifer by Behemoth
○ Through The Ages by Bolt Thrower
○ The Heathenish Foray by Falkenbach
○ Sons of Fire and Steel by Graveland
○ Triumph of the Will by Iuvenes
○ Beneath the Burial Surface by Limbonic Art
○ The Dead of the Night by Masque
○ Wrought by Nile
○ Perun’s Celestial Silver by Nokturnal Mortum
○ Father Time (Beneath The Gaze by Sacrilege
○ Destroyed & Damned by Venom
○ Hope and Shadow (Ash Memory Part II) by Wilderun
And as for the opposite side of the spectrum: girly pop songs, all Japanese, many otaku.
• Out of the several handfuls of less happy-joy-joy tracks from Love Live!, these (because if I listed them all I’d spend the rest of today on this post and I have cooking and exercise and writing to do on my second day off this week) tug my tearducts the hardest:
○ ありふれた悲しみの果て (The End of Ordinary Sorrow) by Yoshino Nanjou (voice actress of Eli Ayase). There’s a reason she’s my second-favorite singer out of the VAs of all nine Muse’s (#1 being Mimori Suzuko [Umi Sonoda], whereas #3 I can’t pick between Emi Nitta [Honoka Kousaka] and Hori Eriko / Pile [Maki Nishikino]): every sound she makes is beautiful, and in this solo work of hers the most so. I can’t listen to this music coupled with her deeply-thrumming, sorrow-filled singing without having to suppress the urge to run to the nearest box of tissues.
○ もうひとりじゃないよ (You’re No Longer Alone) by Emi Nitta (Honoka). Whether or not she’s voice-acting, there’s something about Emi’s sweet-serene voice (as opposed to her usual cutesy-cheerleading which she’s equally good at; she’s can even do both at once like in 新田海惠 / Tankyuu Dreaming!) that gets to me. Not as much as Mimori Suzuko or Yoshino Nanjou (and non-LL! J-Pop singers), but she’s up there. At the risk of sounding like a fruit-basket candy-boy, even though I barely understand a word she’s saying, just with her soft tone (here and in others like in 愛してるばんざーい！ [I Love You, Hooray!]), it’s almost as if she’s telling the listener “I love you” and “everything is going to be okay” over and over that skips right past the ears and hits straight in the heart — not in a motherly way, more like what you’d hear from a younger wife or girlfriend. Be right back, blasting Evil Force by Waco Jesus to balance things before I inadvertently commit mass-murder-by-embarrassment with that sheer candy-boy display.
○ Snow Halation (Honoka Mix). All versions (particularly the original, and the mixes of Rin [Riho Iida] and Kotori [Aya Uchida*]) do the job very well, but this one a bit moreso. Very hard to pick this over the Umi and Eli mixes, which overall I like the best of all.
○ ときめき分類学 (The Taxonomy Of Excitement) by AZALEA, 夜空はなんでも知ってるの (Does The Night Sky Know Everything?) by CYaRon!, and 待ってて愛のうた (Song of a Waiting Love) by Aquors. If these are any indicator (along with their quicker tracks like Daydream Warrior by Aquors and Strawberry Trapper by Guilty Kiss), these ‘upstarts’ won’t have any trouble filling the shoes of µ’s: either solo/duo/triplet, full-team, or sub-unit to sub-unit.
• Hello Little Girl by Yoko Hikasa. (VA of Mio Akiyama from k-ON!) Years before I discovered Umi/Mimori of Love Live!, Mio/Yoko was my #1 beauty-sex-voiced cartoon/star. Yoko Hikasa, as Mio or not, is still just as good as Mimori Suzuko at singing that inspires concentrations of blood-flow to… specific areas. Like my fists and feet with heroic and speedy pieces, at which Mimori is no slouch. What I’m trying to say is I can’t decide if Hikasa-sama or Suzuko-sama is mah seiyuufu❣ ♥
• Jasmine by Yui Makino. No matter how she sings: happy, playful, lovely, sexy, all she sounds is angelic. And Jasmine is the most sadness-curing of all, strong runners-up being Undine and Euforia. She doesn’t sound any worse live, a rare trait shared only by the likes of Nana Mizuki.
• Serenato by Kalafina. These three women and their ‘neo-classical’ tunes are who dragged me from the full darkness of metal-only elitism and introduced me to lighter but no less good faire. Many of their songs (like Gloria, Sandpiper, and Snow Falling) are perfect for sitting by the fireplace with a martini in one hand and Cuban cigar in the other. Others (like Ongaku, Oblivious, Te To Te To Me To Me & Magnolia, and Mata Kaze ga Tsuyoku Natta) are perfect for throwing yourself onto the dance for and jumping up and down. Did you already guess Kalafina are my #1 favorite non-metal band/group/singers of all time? Their albums (especially After Eden and Red Moon) are worth $30, get them now, you need Kalafina in your life.
• Memoria by Aoi Eir. Oh mein gott, Memoria. This is my #1 feminine/yin emotion-trigger, contrasted by my #1 masculine/yang gut-punch Heart of Steel by Manowar. Was that TV-short not enough? Here’s the far superior orchestral version, which is THE most beautiful song I’ve heard in my entire life; only the likes of The Meditant by Blut Aus Nord come close to this level of artform. Now where’d I put that box of tissues…
* Speaking of Aya Uchida, what I’ve discovered from watching hundreds of anime and listening to thousands of J-Pop/etc involved with anime or not (almost always voice-actresses), is the following rule: if an anime girl has a high-pitched cutesy voice (like Kotori, Hanayo, and Nico of LL!), and/or a song featuring sugary singing like Yuki Tamura in Beautiful Amulet and Yui Makino in Sangatsu Monogatari, that same singer/VA will often sound gorgeous, dead-sexy, or at least unrecognizable as the same woman if she adopts a deeper or more normal tone. For example, contrast the above with Yuki Tamura in S-A-G-A ~Rinne no Hate ni~ (as Rika Furude of Higurashi; I was shocked), Yui Makino in Jasmine, and Aya Uchida in Ruby Eclipse. (I still can’t believe this lovely voice is the same that empowers the shrill, nasally Kotori — and she still sounds better than Nico, Nozomi, and Hanayo combined, even if their VAs sound pretty [Nico’s Sora Tokui is dangerously sexy when she wants] when not in character.)
• Non-weeaboo bonus round! Wounded by Kevin MacLeod. Everyone who’s spent more than a day on YouTube has heard at least one of Kevin MacLeod‘s hundreds of royalty-free background tracks for just about every mood and occasion. Wounded in particular is appropriately part of his Heartfelt Melodies collection, as is Rains Will Fall — scroll down to the comments and I challenge you not to giggle-snort at least thrice at those cheeky little buggers. But if you’re looking for a long, lovely evening, right-click and put that on Loop, and in a few background tabs load MyNoise‘s Rain, Fireplace, Tibetan Choir, In The Sky, Twilight, Stardust, or whatever soundscape(s) / tonal drone(s) / atmosphere(s) is/are to your liking, and let your worries melt away over the next few hours.