The legend of the Hungarian Suicide Song is one of those things that does the rounds on the blogs every few years, and it surfaced again on io9 over the weekend. The song in question — László Jávor and Rezső Seress’s “Szomorú vasárnap,” which translates into English as “Gloomy Sunday” — is famous for having allegedly catalyzed multiple suicides over the years, including its composer Seress’ in 1968. Quite how much truth there is in all this is forever unclear, but one thing’s for sure: the song’s depressing as hell. Still, it’s not always the obviously downbeat songs that cover disturbing and/or depressing subject matter — sometimes it’s the most deceptively jaunty songs that conceal the saddest lyrics.
Terry Jacks — ”Seasons in the Sun”
It’s actually about… impending death!
The classic example of the happy song that’s actually crushingly depressing. The jaunty melody belies the lyrics, which are about bidding farewell to loved ones — the most common interpretation is that it’s about suicide, but the lyrics never specify why the protagonist’s death is nigh. Anyway, it all makes slightly more sense when you discover that the song is actually an English adaptation of a lyric by Belgian poet laureate of melancholy Jacques Brel.