40 Sad Songs for When You Want to Feel Something

Updated on January 10, 2018

Sometimes it's Just One of Those Days

It's healthy to listen to some sad songs every now and then. Usually more personal and thought-provoking sad songs help us to feel nostalgic, at peace, and in a state of admiration for just how moving artists can be.

The stories are gripping, brutally honest in every way possible, and can leave you in ruins when they strike the right note.

If you're ever going through one of those days were you just need a song to cry to, there might just be a song in this playlist that can help you along. If you want to know that there's someone else who's also going through hell, you might just find one of these songs relatable.

1. The Antlers: Epilogue

On an album as depressing as The Antler's Hospice, this is the last track. The entire album is a depressing joinery in and of its self, but the conclusion is just as jarring as a song can be. It's a love that always had an expiration date and the ghosts that are left behind when it reaches it's inevitable conclusion. Epilogue is great as a stand alone song, but to feel it's true power be sure to listen to Hospice in it's entirety.

2. Imogen Heap: Hide and Seek

There is some ambiguity around the mean of this song, but the common interpretation is that this is Imogan's description of her home when her parents divorced. The lyrics illustrate the reality of just how destructive and emotional the experience can be for a child losing her understanding of her family. It's definitely a story many can relate to.

3. Jeff Buckley: Hallelujah

Hallelujah has been covered hundreds of times by hundreds of artists, but Jeff Buckley's rendition remains an iconic hallmark of an profound song. It's not just the lyrics, but the intensity in Jeff Buckley's vocals that makes the song so moving. Although not the original by Leonard Cohen, this cover is what gave the song it's dark, cold, and broken reputation.

4. Elliot Smith: Needle in the Hay

A song about drug addiction and a jaded young man, Needle in the Hay tells the story of someone trying to break away from his sins as he's alienated by those he's disappointed. It's a man trying to fight his demons as he falls deeper in the pit and in the end it's as futile as finding a needle in a haystack.

Your hand on his arm
The hay stack charm around your neck
Strung out and thin
Calling some friend trying to cash some check

He's acting dumb
That's what you've come to expect
Needle in the hay
Needle in the hay

5. Johnny Cash: Hurt

Although this is a cover to the original by Nine Inch Nails, Cash's version is something special. It's the end to a legend career like no other. The music video in particular speaks to how fleeting fame really as it cuts between clips of Cash from the hight of his career to his state decades after. It's a song gripping in every way, the lyrics, intensity, vocals, and theme all coming together to leave the listener in ruins. This song is considered to be everything from a suicide note to a final confession, but it is undoubtedly honest.

The Cinematic Orchestra
To Build a Home
Bon Iver
For Emma
Band of Horses
The Funeral
Billie Holiday
Love Me or Leave Me
First Fires
Gary Jules
Mad World
The Scientist
Samuel Barber
Adagio for Strings
Don McLean
Sufjan Stevens
Casimir Pulaski Day
El Mañana
The Mountain Goat
No Children
Tracy Chapman
Fast Car
Brad Paisley and Alison Krauss
Whiskey Lullaby
Luthor Vandross
Dance With My Father
Let Her Go
Late Night Alumni
Empty Streets
Amy Winehouse
Back to Black
Dash Berlin
David Bowie
Space Oddity
Harry Chapin
Cat’s In The Cradle
Forget What You Look Like
The Civil Wars
Poison and Wine
Above & Beyond
Sun & Moon
Aretha Franklin
Ain’t No Way
Sara Bareilles
Breathe Again
Sarah McLachlan
I Will Remember You
Pearl Jam
Last Kiss
The Velvet Underground
Pale Blue Eyes
Raise Your Weapon
Nicolas Jaar
Time For Us
Sinead O’Conner
Nothing Compares 2 U
Florence + the Machine
Never Let Me Go
Ray LaMontagne

© 2017 Cyril Figgis


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