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8 Songs I Didn’t Realize Were About Suicide Until I Put Them on My Friend’s “Bday Bangerz” Playlist

My buddy Jeremy has been feeling pretty depressed lately and his birthday was coming up. So I decided to throw him a party and I put a lot of effort into putting together his Bday Bangerz playlist to make sure the vibes were totally copacetic. Turns out a lot of songs are, like, actually about suicide. Which was kind of a bummer because we just watched that documentary about the girl that encouraged her boyfriend to kill himself and now I’m worried he thinks I want him to jump off a bridge.

A lot of them are sneaky but something about having them blasting on loudspeaker in your cousin’s backyard while your homie pretends not to cry over the punch kinda makes it obvious. So here’s a list of songs that are secretly about suicide so you don’t make the same mistake that I did.

Molly (Sixteen Candles) (Sponge)

This one came up first. I figured, you know, sounds like a birthday song. I mean, sixteen candles, right? I really wanted it to set the tone for the rest of the party. And boy did it ever. Turns out the song was inspired by a news story about a girl who tried to kill herself after her teacher rejected her advances (rare correct choice made by a man). It did happen right around her 16th birthday though, so an argument could be made that it still has a spot on some birthday playlists.

Jeremy (Pearl Jam)

I mean it was for my friend Jeremy, and he is a harmless little fuck after all. But turns out this Jeremy and my Jeremy have a little too much in common because it’s about a depressed kid who shot himself in front of his English class. Jeremy always hated English class. He unleashed the lion when this one came on. Lions cry and make horrible wailing sounds right?

Hey Man Nice Shot (Filter)

This song is a real go-to for any party planner looking to go hard. It’s intense and it gets the crowd really in the mood for a rager. Plus I’d been reading about scream therapy and how that might help my buddy. But yeah I heard a few questionable lyrics and googled it only to find that it’s actually about a politician named R. Budd Dwyer who shot himself during a televised press conference. The cake arrived at this point.

Today (Smashing Pumpkins)

I was starting to get really nervous by this song, so I was pretty relieved when it came on. I just wanted it to be the greatest day he’d ever known, and I knew this song would deliver. But then I heard Billy Corgan saying he might not have that long left and, after a quick Google search, I was able to confirm that I had made the most cursed playlist of all time. Old Billy Boy was indeed singing about suicidal thoughts. Man, if depression can even effect the lead singer of The Smaching Pumpkins, are any of us truely safe?

I Think I’m Going to Kill Myself (Elton John)

Okay this one might have been an obvious oversight. But Jer and I love playing air piano and I hadn’t really ever listened past that.

Jump (Van Halen)

The subject of this one also seems fairly obvious in retrospect, but tell me why we’ve all been bouncing up and down at sporting events to this song for the past few decades. Eddie did in fact write this banger about a jumper and I was at this point regretting how goddamn persuasive he sounds. This shit should come with a therapy referral.

The Kids Aren’t Alright (The Offspring)

Listen, I love The Offspring as much as the next Millennial but if this is a safe space, can I admit I never try too hard to listen to the lyrics because that would require I pay extra attention to Dexter Holland’s vocals, and who wants that? Of course, I now see the error of my ways because the song tells us about a whole host of super depressing kids from a small town, one of which, of course, was suicidal. At this point I actually lost track of Jeremy and had to call in a search party.

Redondo Beach (Patti Smith)

Well we found Jeremy crying over a bowl of cheese puffs in the bathroom, and I thought he was back just in time for my go-to party ender song. You know, relaxed vibes, bring it down. I didn’t realize we were bringing it that far down. Miss Patricia started telling us all about this lady who drowned herself after they had an argument and I tried to use it as a segue into the importance of having a support system of people you can trust, but then she started talking about how she had to go looking for the girl and it felt pretty targeted given the recent cheese puff events.

This list should help start you on your journey of creating a sweet birthday playlist that won’t make your friend want to take cyanide pills. This is by no means an exhaustive list, as evidenced by the fact that I was obliviously listening to “A Day Without Me” by U2 while writing it. I would recommend doing a deep dive on any song’s lyrics and backstory before throwing it on the rotation. You can of course use this list if you really, really hate someone.