Dandelion Head
Dandelion Head | Supplied

Dandelion Head on the Songs That Make Him Sad

Dandelion Head is the solo project of Jason Blynn, a Melbourne/Naarm-based musician with roots in Los Angeles. Following the dissolution of his former project, Harper Blynn, the songwriter and multi-instrumentalist got to work on his debut solo album, Yay Blynn, which surfaced in 2017.

Blynn has subsequently relocated to Melbourne and adopted the name Dandelion Head. He’s also finished work on his second album, Blue Dream. Three singles have been released to date, including ‘Sad Eyes’, which is paired with a charming, lo-fi video from directors Lewis and Callum Mitchell (aka the Hotel Naomi) and Adrienne Couper Smith.

Dandelion Head – ‘Sad Eyes’

In the lead up to Blue Dream, Dandelion Head tells us about the songs that make him sad, including classics from Lee Hazlewood and Gal Costa and songs Blynn co-wrote with Rose Elinor Dougall and Say Lou Lou. You can find all of Blynn’s selections in the playlist below.

Songs to Make You Sad, by Dandelion Head

Coco – ‘Empty Beach’ (2021)

J. Blynn: One of the best breakup songs ever for my money. The lyrics capture so perfectly that silence, the vast space and endless time in which you suddenly find yourself swimming when you split with someone. It’s so lonely. When this song came out, Coco was a bit of a secret, but I knew one of the band members –Danny from Lucius – and I think that added to the feeling of intimacy and nostalgia the song gave me. It’s effortlessly beautiful, and an absolute gut punch.

F.J. McMahon – ‘Early Blue’ (1969)

Blynn: F.J. McMahon fought in Vietnam, and then made this record when he came home from the war. The whole album is a haunting kind of magic, but this gentle tune about not wanting to get out of bed just destroys me. It’s so beautiful and sad, and then you realise that he is probably wrestling with some kind of PTSD, and it’s just devastating.

Lee Hazlewood – ‘Wait and See’ (1968)

Blynn: The brilliance of this song is that the line, “Everything’s gonna be alright”, is not what you think it is. This guy fucked up big time and he’s apologising, so when he sings that refrain, I hear it as a mantra of hope sung to himself. There’s so much desperation in it, maybe even delusion, because it’s pretty clear things are very much not all right. But the music and beautiful arrangement tell me it’s the good kind of hope, the kind that keeps us alive and moving.

Rose Elinor Dougall – ‘That’s Where The Trouble Started’ (2019)

Blynn: I wrote this song with Rose, and it documents a friendship gone wrong over time based on one little lie, captured in the line, “a lie lives a long life”. The tragedy of that is massive, and the regret wrapped up in there is just so heartbreaking. A lie can be so damaging. It changes your behaviour, and maybe even yourself, because you have to act in accordance with it, lest you get caught. This song is a good argument for being honest.

Gal Costa – ‘Como 2 E 2’ (1972)

Blynn: To me this is the legend Gal at her most vulnerable, most raw. The lines that get me are, “When I sing, don’t believe it / Just come, I’m not in danger”. And then later, “Everything is the same when I’m singing and when I’m silent.” She feels this pain, and the resignation in knowing there’s nothing she can do about it is where the darkness and beauty is for me. She’s laid bare. But she loves singing, and that’s enough, she says later. The music and the sound of her voice tell the whole story.

Say Lou Lou – ‘Waiting For A Boy’ (2023)

Blynn: When I wrote this song with Elektra and Miranda, we explored their experiences of being with people who had a lot of growing up to do. While I see the song as ultimately empowering, the picture we painted is heartbreaking. It’s someone waiting for their partner to change, tolerating mediocrity, stuck with the burden of the mundane, taking on an outsized chunk of keeping the relationship stable and moving forward, then finally realising you’ve been languishing and this person won’t change. These women are deep souls and they were able to articulate these things so powerfully.

Mouth Tooth – ‘Please Don’t’ (2020)

Blynn: A sad banger from emo-folk kings Mouth Tooth. I absolutely love this band. The music is so lush and atmospheric and invites you into a unique kind of melancholic beauty. “Please don’t tell me I’m bad / I’m already so sad” has to be one of the most raw, unabashedly sad lines I’ve ever heard. It’s a plea for giving you a goddamn break, born from utter desperation. “My life is about you” conveys such earnestness that is deep and soulful, never trite, but just raw and fully committed, even if it’s wrong and never gonna work out.

Sylvie – ‘Sylvie’ (2022)

Blynn: This is one of the best examples of music and vibe carrying the feeling of a song. The music tells you everything emotionally here. It’s languid and melancholic, becoming almost a mantra when they sing, “Sylvie don’t you cry”. It takes me to a moment when painful memories begin to fade, and you’re left in the still and quiet space of reflection, with all its loneliness and isolation. Sylvie is so simple and effective in creating that feeling. I love this band.

Sibylle Baier – ‘The End’ (2006)

Blynn: Sibylle Baier’s Colour Green is one of the most haunting and atmospheric records I’ve ever heard. There’s such a lonely, melancholic mood to all the songs, but this one is the gut punch for me. The lyric, “Time is over where we could simply say I love you,” is just devastating. Time passes. Love changes. Things that were once simple get complicated, and that’s where the real work in a relationship happens. And a lot of times things just don’t work out.

It reminds me of the feeling when you break up with someone and all of the sudden, someone you adored, who made your heart skip and was the centre of your world, is just another person again. It’s such a strange and lonely feeling.

Dandelion Head – ‘Two Hands’

Stay up to date with Dandelion Head via the artist’s website and Instagram.

Further Reading

Amanda Brown, Formerly of The Go-Betweens, on Eight Songs That Inspire Her

Phoebe Go’s Favourite Solo Artists (Who Started Out in Bands)

Nancy Sinatra And Lee Hazlewood’s ‘Nancy & Lee’ Is Finally Being Reissued On Vinyl

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