For some people, all it takes are the soft sounds of an Adele track playing in the baking aisle of No Frills for them to start to feel tears. Others are more prepared, creating entire playlists of songs in case they need a good therapeutic cry when suddenly single or unemployed. What made this list an interesting one to put together was not only realizing that there are a huge amount of artists who create almost entire discographies out of sad music, but, when asked about songs to cry to, how many people chuckle and say things like, “boy, do I have a winner.”
And so the list begins…
The Fresh Breakup
Feist’s “Let it Die” and The Verve’s “The Drugs Don’t Work” take different approaches to feeling crap after breaking up (acceptance v. hope), but, with any luck, one of the two will manage to help you through things.
Loving a Jackass
Slowly this is becoming a list of break-up anthems… “Another Love” by Tom Odell is the sacred song of the emotionally unavailable, but also cathartic for someone who’s found themselves involved with one of those train wrecks.
Not Heartbroken, Just Feeling Terrible
So many people automatically think of love related songs when asked about sad tunes. It’s as if death, family, and income inequality never enter the modern recording studio. But “This is How It Feels” by Inspiral Carpets covers family dysfunction, “Set it Right” by How to Dress Well is about loss, and, at 10 minutes in length, Sigur Ros’ “Svefn-g-englar” is for those who like to feel sad without hitting “repeat” as often. And then there’s Wilco’s “A Ghost is Born” album for anyone who just really needs to sadsterbate.
The Theatrically Sad
You can only imagine how many sad songs were listened to in order to put this list together. At first this project was fun, but now it’s getting depressing. Are these songs even still sad? Or is it just that the acoustic tidal wave is starting to make an overall impression? Now is when you have to listen to Newsongs’s “Christmas Shoes” or Pearl Jam’s “Last Kiss”, tunes that try really, really hard to be sad in such an over-the-top way that you have to laugh and feel a bit silly about all your misery.
The Reality Check
If you’re still feeling self-pity but feel like it’s time to check out of there, listen to old Eric Clapton’s “Tears in Heaven”. It’s about his young son dying tragically and will probably give you a bit of a reality check. If what you’re feeling isn’t as sad as that, it’s time to wash your face, get a snack, and go outside.