Songs to Cry to

Maybe I’m adding to my own misery or maybe I’m just seeking a connection, but I always find myself turning on my “sad songs” playlist whenever I’m feeling down. There’s just something about knowing that there’s someone else out there that is (or at one time was) going through similar emotions that makes you feel not so alone.

I’m also a big believer that working through your emotions is important, as opposed to keeping them pent up. So, sometimes it’s a good idea to just throw on a downer record and have a good cry.

Here are my top five sad songs for the next time you’re going through a tough time. Add them to your playlist and remember that you’re not alone in your feelings.

  1. “Estimate” – The Black Angels
    The first time I heard this song, it brought me to tears. Not because I was sad, but because of the pure beauty of the song. Lead singer Alex Maas has a way with words. Though I’m unsure of the song’s true story, to me, it tells the story of someone who is losing their significant other, the pain of being forced to let go, and the repercussions that follow. A breakup will really bring the tears out of you with this one.
  2. “Into Dust” – Mazzy Star
    A classic heartbreaker. This short, ’90s song shares the story of a woman who feels she is fading away and disappearing into nothing. The lyric, “Like two strangers turning into dust” gets me every time, reminding me that someone you know inside and out could one day turn into a complete stranger. The slow, melodic tone of the guitar and Mazzy Star’s soft, melancholy voice really touch the soul, too.
  3. “Life Song” – The Black Angels
    What can I say, The Black Angels are great songwriters. With a beautiful, metaphorical song of traveling through space and overcoming grief, this one is the ultimate heartbreak song. Every note that Alex Maas hits sounds like a perfect, desperate cry for help. “I’m dying to say / I love you anyway / Even though you sent me off to die / I’m dying, I’m dying” – that really is the most real, raw emotion that you’ve only felt after losing someone that you felt true love for.
  4. “Mama” – Kassi Valazza
    Country is known for its somber lyrical content and bluesy tones, and this song is no different. Pour yourself some whiskey and throw “Dear Dead Days” on. Kassi Valazza’s twangy, haunting voice is quite striking, and her “Mama” lyrics sing that of a woman going through a tough time, but her mother never taught her how to cry and she wants to know how. My therapist recently reminded me that grief is like the ocean, it comes and goes in waves, and you have to keep swimming through the big waves. You have to feel the emotions as they come. If you feel like you need to cry, cry. If you feel like you need to scream, let it out. And this song reminds me of that, too.
  5. “Nothing’s Gonna Hurt You Baby” – Cigarettes After Sex
    This songs hits a little differently than the rest. It’s probably more of a love song than anything. For me, this one feels like a friend telling me that everything is going to be okay. So, after you listen to the other songs on the list and you’re reminded that you’re not alone in your misery, throw this track on and remember that there are people out there that will continue to protect your heart and love you. “Nothing’s gonna hurt you baby / As long as you’re with me you’ll be just fine” – it’s a quite reassuring way to end the listening session.

    What’s your go-to sad song? Leave a comment below so that I can add it to my own playlist.

    *These songs are merely my interpretation of the lyrics. Give them a listen to decide the meanings for yourself.

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