The most recent episode of the HBO Max show featured “Long, Long Time” by Linda Ronstadt and left people in tears.
Linda Ronstadt is an iconic singer-songwriter whose style spans multiple musical genres, including Latin and country, but whose most popular songs were beautiful folk-rock tales of love and loss.
The Last of Us follows two survivors, Joel (Pedro Pascal) and Ellie (Bella Ramsey), as they navigate an apocalyptic world filled with fungus-fueled zombies. The popular HBO Max show – which is based on a popular video game – blends elements of fear, hope, and loss. Proceed cautiously, because minor spoilers are below.
Fans are still drying their tears after the third episode aired on Sunday, January 29. The most recent chapter focuses on the decades-long relationship between two other characters, Bill (Nick Offerman) and Frank (Murray Bartlett), who find love despite the pressures of a post-society world. However, as gay men, they also struggled with an unforgiving pre-zombie society.
The couple first bond, as many of us do, over music when Frank discovers Linda Ronstadt sheet music in Bill’s home and they subsequently perform “Long, Long Time” on the piano. The lyrics evoke their current lonely circumstances (“there’s no one at my side”) and past unrequited feelings (“living in the memory of a love that never was”). We then watch as their relationship evolves over the years and Frank eventually deals with a physical condition similar to the one that Ronstadt has in real life, which caused her to retire in 2011.
If listening to “Long, Long Time” while watching Bill and Frank caused you to sob like the rest of us and you want to continue crying cathartically, the albums below feature themes of love and longing in a similar musical style as Linda Ronstadt. And if you still have tears left, you can explore the saddest albums of all time.
by Dolly Parton, Linda Ronstadt, and Emmylou Harris
When Dolly Parton, Linda Ronstadt, and Emmylou Harris joined forces in the 1980s, fans were ecstatic. The three stars were already friends and collaborators, so Trio was a highly anticipated collaboration that showcased their unique vocal talents and combined them in an iconic country hit. Their cover of The Teddy Bears’ “To Know Him Is to Love Him” is the next song you should queue up after listening to “Long, Long Time” 17 times in a row.
Boygenius is a modern power trio featuring Phoebe Bridgers, Julien Baker, and Lucy Dacus. Due to the overlap in their indie rock sounds, the three met on tour and subsequently recorded their self-titled debut, which features acoustic guitars, beautiful harmonies, and heartfelt lyrics. Lines like “being in love is the same thing as being alone” in “Ketchum, ID” are sure to make your eyes water. Their full-length studio album, The Record, is dropping on March 31 this year.
by Orville Peck
Orville Peck is inspired by country legends like the aforementioned Dolly Parton and Emmylou Harris. Their influence — and others — come across in Pony‘s country stylings, slower tempos, and Peck’s vibrant and crooning voice. The first song and lead single, “Dead of Night,” is the perfect place to start.