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We all have our favourite songs that get the tears going, and there's no real set playlist of songs that work for everybody. The songs I'm going to list here are my personal top ten favourite songs to listen to whenever I feel like having a good cry.
In no particular order.
1. The Ghost of You by My Chemical Romance
This song is about losing a loved one; in the context of the music video, it focusses more on losing someone to war. As for the song being a part of the album's narrative, it talks about the main character's love interest being dead, and he is having an extremely hard time dealing with the loss. For me, this song could represent any kind of loss, whether it be a loss of a long-time friendship, a part of yourself you're letting go, etc. This entire song is one sad serenade to a lost loved soul and/or soul, but there's one specific line that always gets me teary-eyed, and that's where he belts out "Could I? Should I?"—this refers to suicide. This hits home for me, since I struggle with depression, and that question, "Could I? Should I?" is something that runs through the mind of anyone who has struggled with these feelings of loneliness and sorrow. Pair that with the haunting ambient guitar, and the raw emotion in Gerard Way's voice, it's impossible not to shed even an imaginary tear.
2. Becoming the Gunship by Islands
This phenomenal song by this underrated band, called Islands, is my second choice for this list. From my own interpretation, this song is about being self-destructive when things get hard. When we're upset, it's a lot easier for most of us to pretend everything is fine, and instead of talking about it, and letting it out in a healthy manner, we'd rather bottle it up, in turn, we "become the gunship" and explode, hurting those who want to help us. This song resonates with me a lot because I know I definitely fall into that category of folks who would rather keep things bottled up, rather than try to actually talk about things that bother me. "Becoming the Gunship" is such a clever way of referring to this kind of behaviour, and I love it because it's poetic, yet hits the nail on the head.
3. Some Rotten Man by The Taxpayers
We're going in a folkier direction with my third choice. This album is a wild arrangement of acoustic and electric guitar, screaming, and an awesome horn section. Then we get this gem in the latter half of the album. The character Henry Turner has a self-reflective monologue here, where he realizes that his toxic behaviour has driven everyone he loved away. I'm able to relate to this one, in a slightly different way, though. We've all had friendships that ended earlier than we would've liked, and if you're like me, those friends might have blamed you for their walking out on you. Then you begin to question yourself, "what could I have done different?" One of the lines in the song is, "and of course I know you coulda done much better, and I know I must've been a real f*cking nightmare." Yes, it might be a bit dramatic but the message is still the same. You think since you're not good enough for that friend, everyone else that's around you can do better. Well, let me be the one to tell you that if they say you're good enough, you are. You are far more than enough.
4. Grey Ice Water by Modest Mouse
Modest Mouse is a fantastic band and makes some killer tracks, like "Missed the Boat," "Satin in Your Coffin," and everyone's favourite, "Float On." This song is one of my favourite sad songs solely because of the sound. I've delved deep into the previous songs, so I'll go easy on you guys here. The twangy guitar and the soft drums make this song perfect for a rainy day, literally and figuratively.
5. Drunk by Noon by Andrew Bird
It would be a sin if I did not include one of my favourite songwriters ever, Andrew Bird. He's an absolute wizard on the violin, and all of his songs are so cleverly written. "Drunk by Noon" does not need any explanation; the lyrics are heartbreaking in itself, there's no metaphors hiding the real message, they're just plain miserable, and I love every second of it. It's so soft and airy, which makes it perfect for you to really understand the lyrics and soak up every sound on the track.
6. Wires by The Neighbourhood
The Neighbourhood is known for their song "Sweater Weather" which got relentless air time in 2012, however, this is the final song on the EP these were released on, and it's a personal song about the singer's friend who had tried to rise to fame and failed. It's a nightmare to think about failing at something you're crazily passionate about, and to have it not become a full-time career. This song also makes a few jabs at the music industry, and how with more popularity, comes less creative freedom, and you start to lost control of your life. In the song he has a small soliloquy where he states,
"I'm having trouble in believing
And I just started seeing
Light at the beginning of the tunnel but he tells me that I'm dreaming
When he talks I hear his ghosts, every word they say to me
I just pray the wires aren't coming"
Truly chilling lyrics backed up by a more eery sound.
7. Hey You by Pink Floyd
A beautiful song off of the classic album by Pink Floyd, The Wall. The creeping slow pace that builds ever so slowly into the amazing guitar solo, soon met with Roger Waters' solo in the bridge, then flowing into the third, and final, verse where the passion is heard through Waters' belting, makes this song one of my most beloved. The lyrics in the bridge, "The wall was too high, as you can see. No matter how hard he tried, he could not break free," refers to trying to break free from self-imposed isolation, and it's a hard habit to break; but goes a really long way once you learn how to come out of that shell.
8. Whatsername by Green Day
This song is a little more upbeat than my previous choices, but the song is just as emotional as the rest. The track itself is about a breakup, and even after all the time they've spent apart, he might not remember the name of his former lover, the memories still remain. This song is special to me, I might not have been in any relationship, but I've been in friendships I wish hadn't ended. Even though I may forget about the people, the memories are still there. I wonder how they are from time to time, but I always wish to forget them entirely.
9. Fade to Black by Metallica
This song has been a part of my life since I was a youngling, but every time I hear it, emotions run high. This song depicts the thoughts of a man who's losing the will to live, and eventually, ends his life. It's a rock ballad of the most hardcore, controversial topic of conversation. The guitar itself pulls at the heartstrings, the light plucking of the steel guitar in that chord progression never fails to make my throat swell and tears flood my eyes.
"I cannot stand this hell I feel, emptiness is filling me, to the point of agony"
10. Stubborn Love by The Lumineers
We're ending this list with The Lumineers, one of my personal favourite indie bands out there. This song has a positive message, as opposed to the rest of the list. The protagonist in this song says that even though his lover may be making mistakes that could hurt him, he understands that she's going through a lot so her head isn't so clear, and he'll help her through whatever it is, and that he will love her just as much. We all dream of having someone like that, who will love us for our flaws and will forgive us for the mistakes we've made out of defiance or anger.
And that's my list everyone! I hope you enjoyed reading my extremely, and unnecessarily long list of sad songs. I had such a fun time rummaging through my music to make this list. I would love to hear your own opinions too! If you have your own personal favourites you'd like to recommend to me, or enjoyed one of my mentions, leave a comment! (if you can, I don't know if there's a feature for that, this is my first post). You can also tweet me @musikdork.