“The End of the World” by Skeeter Davis

This 1963 hit by Skeeter Davis is one of the all-time horrors of bad Pop music. The song, which is from the very beginning of the maudlin Sixties-era Country Music that would eventually give us acts like Kenny Rogers, has some of the most melodramatic, morbidly hyperbolic lyrics of all time, combined with a tune that is far too calm and placid for such an overheated lyric. The effect, especially when combined with Davis’ dead-eyed, soulless performance, is that of one of the most unintentionally creepy songs of all time…there’s a reason they chose it for the suicide scene in Girl Interrupted. But while it is true that that movie managed to harness its creepiness for a dramatically effective purpose, the original song gives no indication that its skin-crawling sense of horror is intentional, and given the context of the period and genre it comes from, it seems unreasonably charitable to assume that this horrifying result was what its creators had in mind. Besides, the fact that it can only effectively be harnessed for a harrowing, incredibly disturbing scene in a psychological horror movie makes it virtually useless for casual Pop listening purposes, and the fact that this of all songs from that era has hung on as a standard is both confusing and frightening.

Verdict: Horrific.

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