While music is often dominated by songs of love...romantic love, fleeting love, spiritual love, love of place, love of country, love of Waffle House delicacies, there is a dark side to that jukebox coin. An obsession we all have with the darkness. A bleak reality that is as unknown as it is universal. It is riveting, enthralling, and oddly comforting to delve into other people’s tragedies. And honestly, we can’t get enough of it. Everyone loves a train wreck. Quite literally and especially if it’s being sung about by the likes of Johnny Cash.
Today, we are examining an old tradition that keeps being reborn in tragedy, public and private, national and local. Songs that are constant reminders that our hubris has blinders, our safety merely an illusion, and our demise inevitable. Often acting as moral reminders of what happens when we flaunt our disregard for our environment, become too enmeshed with technology, or forget the true nature of mankind. Songs that ensured that the victims, and sometimes the perpetrators, would never be forgotten and the tales would be sung for generations. Music of the calamities that are part of national consciousness and of the grim cataclysms that we collectively yearn to forget. Equal parts eulogy, sermon, and tabloid. Today, we bring you the history of disaster songs. Ode, what a feeling.