But you don’t have to be a Bonnie—little or big or in-between—to be moved by this Drive-By Truckers track. Sufjan Stevens: “Casimir Pulaski Day”. And suffer just enough to sing the blues. Few country artists have the talent and inherent pathos to deliver these sad songs quite like George Jones did (see also: “If Drinking Don’t Kill Me, Her Memory Will”), and no George Jones song can consistently make cowboys and non-cowboys alike cry into their beer quite like “He Stopped Loving Her Today.” It’s a tragic tale of devotion (spoiler alert: he stopped loving her because he’s dead) and unrequited love, and if it doesn’t give you a lump in your throat, you should probably get your pulse checked just to be safe.—Bonnie Stiernberg, Who could write a better song to “the other woman” than the Queen of Country herself? Locking yourself in your bedroom to listen to mopey music isn’t just wallowing. Then he sings about God: “All the glory when he took our place / But he took my shoulders and he shook my face / and he takes and he takes and he takes.” He’s trying to reconcile the generosity of Jesus allowing himself to be sacrificed on the cross with a god who would let a young girl die from leukemia. Click through to see the results. With their Appalachian twin harmony, it is the sorrow of the mountains distilled.—Holly Gleason, This song leans a little harder on the angsty side of things, but it’s a lament-filled breakup song nonetheless. ... out our list of the 50 best sad songs, too. The Louvin Brothers – “The Angels Rejoiced Last Night”, 29. It’s one of the few songs that can make the phrase “best friend” feel as cutting as a four-letter word, as Lou Reed sings “It was good what we did yesterday, and I’d do it once again. George Jones – “He Stopped Loving Her Today”, 4. From Taylor Swift and Bon Iver's "Exile" to Meek Mill and Roddy Ricch's "Letter to Nipsey," this is our running list of the best sad songs of 2020. by the admonishing acoustic cut “Lost Cause,” a hallucinatory goodbye letter to an unknown lover, Beck’s repeated refrain of “I’m tired of fighting” sounds as eerily comforting today as it did over a decade ago.—Ryan J. Prado, This 1982 Tears For Fears song achieved another round of fame when Gary Jules and Michael Andrews covered it for the Donnie Darko soundtrack in 2001. It’s allowing the grief a place to breathe, allowing you to experience the pain in its fullness and hopefully come out the other side. To say she sings her heart out on this song would be trite and also a gross understatement—she turns in a wailing vocal performance so good that she manages to overpower Cissy Houston’s otherworldly backup “ooooOOOOOOOOOO”s and make you forget where you are as the horns swell and her pleas to the man who won’t love her back grow more and more desperate. The first time I heard it my senses were shocked. The song’s narrative ranges from heaven to hell, and represents Beam’s most ambitious poetry—it’s long, it meanders, and it hits you with a desperate intensity. It's a song about his dead child and his struggle with how can he be back with him. Feeling unloved at home, he wants to escape with the one he loves, but he’s too scared to do anything about that love. I feel deeply for the dying girl and the boy who can’t understand the Why of it all—because none of us really can.—Josh Jackson, © 2020 Paste Media Group. K-Pop isn't all about the bright colours, electrifying choreography and catchy tunes. Another man-fighting-with-his-wife country ballad is deceptive as the chorus swells up “You don’t know sadness til you face life alone / You don’t know about lonely ’til it’s chiseled in stone…” Suddenly, sorrow’s permanence is concrete, pride is poison and Vern Gosdin bends notes and your heart. It’s hard to separate the album from its contextual sadness—especially given the LP’s heart-stopping centerpiece, a brooding rendition of Nine Inch Nails’ “Hurt,” in which the iconic singer glimpses his own mortality. She begs him to repent. There are few things in life as tragic as dead kids, and sadly, “Little Bonnie never married, Little Bonnie never even made it four.”—Bonnie Stiernberg, When Beck released Sea Change in 2002, gone were his freeform experimentations in the jigsaw jazz and get fresh flow. Just singing about it stirs it all back up again so by the song’s end, he’s almost wailing. You have a child. Also read : 30 Best Korean Drama OST Songs of All Time Part 1 (Rank 30-16) Ballad have been one of the major genre in K-Pop that never have been dry from new talent and good song. There isn't a way. For the most part, it’s a gentle obsession, as he assures himself in songs like “One of the Millions” and “Bungalow” that his sagging skin and greying hair are earned rather than thrust upon him. Though it sounds like she’s singing through trembling lips, Olsen’s spirit is uplifting. Tammy Wynette articulates the internal struggle of so many divorcees-to-be with children, the strain and ache in her warble serving as a vehicle for her overwhelming remorse. Some days are meant for staying in a sad mood, and the best way to wallow in it is with a good playlist, right? Though she’s watching her former love get frisky with his “new friend” in the club, the chorus doesn’t come across as self-pitying. The father of eight children from four wives, Campbell has been married to Kim Woolen for more than three decades. It preys on the guilt of every career-dedicated parent—first you don’t have any time to spend with the kids because you’re always working, and then they grow up and don’t want to spend any time with YOU. The whole story is recounted in much more detail in a work of historical children’s fiction by Eleanor Coerr, Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes—Jim Vorel, Look, when your name is Bonnie, a song about a dead girl called “Little Bonnie” is going to make you sad. So I can relate to Ben Gibbard’s narrator in “The District Sleeps Alone Tonight.” He probably had such high hopes his time in D.C., but it’s just left him unwanted and unloved and a little disoriented in a strange place where he clearly doesn’t belong. 16. He refuses. Arctic Monkeys – ‘Love Is A Laserquest’.. Arctic Monkeys – ‘Love Is A Laserquest’. Cohen has a way of invoking deep spiritual longing with Biblical references that turn extremely personal, and Buckley had a way of drenching it all in tremulous emotion. Winner for most upsetting lyric is hands-down: “I am drowning, there is no sign of land/ You are coming down with me, hand in unlovable hand/ And I hope you die, I hope we both die.” Darnielle’s sheer despondency and lack of any hope for a better tomorrow is what makes this track so disheartening.—Tess Duncan, Pearl Jam’s cover of the 1960s teenage tragedy song “Last Kiss” is heart-wrenching both because of its lyrics and Vedder’s performance. We need sad songs for the comfort they can provide. 3. —Josh Jackson, Songs about unrequited love are inherently sad, but “Ain’t No Way” is one of those rare melancholy masterpieces that makes you want to nod knowingly in support and raise your hands in silent agreement while Aretha testifies. Johnny Cash: “Hurt”. “In my dreams you’re alive,” he sings, in that plaintive, keening, inimitable voice, and it builds to a climax that I, personally, find devastating: “When we break, we’ll wait for our miracle. There's nothing he can do for his child. Neutral Milk Hotel – “Two Headed Boy Pt. You’ll feel better, I promise.—Bonnie Stiernberg, Leonard Cohen wrote more than 80 verses to “Hallelujah” before paring down the epic song for release on the album Various Positions in 1984. Vedder sings the final chorus with renewed agony and then hums a hymnal-like, wordless tune before the instruments and Vedder both fade into silence. You play with him/her. She sums up those natural feelings of jealousy when an ex moves on to someone new sooner than expected. “I hurt myself today/ to see if I still feel,” Cash sings over wispy acoustic guitar and piano chords, his ancient baritone quivering in the darkness. Well, " Everybody Hurts " is one of their saddest and most popular songs of all time. “I’m never gonna hold you like I did / Or say I love you to the kids / You’re never gonna see it in my eyes / It’s not gonna hurt me when you cry / I’m not gonna miss you.” Knowing that Campbell was lucid enough to co-write and perform the song, feeling the truth of every word, and probably no longer is, is heartbreaking.—Josh Jackson, Bruce Springsteen’s “The River” isn’t just sad—it’s absolutely soul-crushing. Sinead O’Conner – “Nothing Compares 2 U”, 27. She and her sister Alison Moorer are the “two little girls better off this way,” orphaned at 17 and 13 and sent off to live with relatives.—Josh Jackson, When it comes to sad songs, I can’t think of anything quite as powerful or heartbreaking as Vic Chesnutt’s “Flirted With You All My Life.” Chesnutt is a poignant figure in general—an Athens, Ga. legend who created wild, beautiful music until his death in 2009. The remaining cranes were finished by friends and family, and the poor young victim of WWII was ultimately buried with them. © Copyright 2020 Rolling Stone, LLC, a subsidiary of Penske Business Media, LLC. It’s filled with regret for the way things went. Great art doesn’t necessarily tell you something new, but rather puts words to something you always knew, but couldn’t name. Ever. If your favorite is missing, add it to the comments section below. Whether it’s the heartache of a loss or a breakup, or general feelings of loneliness, depression, stress, or regret that have got you down, we’ve got the Ultimate Playlist of 77+ Best Sad Songs to help heal your hurting heart. Now, we look at the... 2 At the song’s end, you can hear the scuffling sound of a chair as he rises and leaves—a subtle, poignant conclusion to one of the most singular, beautiful albums ever made.—Shane Ryan, When your topic is the atom bombing of Hiroshima, the resulting tune isn’t going to end up in your “happiest songs” list. Nine Inch Nails - 'Hurt' 3. The robin, the whippoorwill, the midnight train—they all mourn with him to meet his quavering drawl, the imagery paralleling the sonic atmosphere. Camper Van Beethoven – “All Her Favorite Fruit”, 23. UGH, THE PASSAGE OF TIME. Rather than betray his love and ruin a marriage, he carries the secret to his grave, leaving his lover in a state of constant mourning.—Josh Jackson, A hauntingly beautiful tale of unrequited love, “Pale Blue Eyes” is about recognizing you’re being used and allowing it to happen anyway. Joan Of Arc Tim Melina Theo Bobby 04 December 2020. Bringing her mundane routine to life, Griffin’s song drips with the melancholy of a woman who’s accepted her fate (“I used to mind, but I don’t care ’cause I’m gray”) but can’t stop thinking of what might have been. An Explainer, Watch Meek Mill Celebrate in Stylish ‘Middle of It’ Video, Flashback: The Bee Gees Perform in Public for the Final Time, Greta Van Fleet Rip Through New Song ‘My Way, Soon’ on ‘Colbert’, 500 Greatest Albums Podcast: How Phil Spector Made Christmas Music Cool. We want to hear from you! There’s the song about the band on the Titanic, playing as the ship sinks. Its power resides in its slowly stately build up with shuffling drums, a sly bit of marimba, and those weightless strings wafting through it all. Seriously—it's science! Rico Nasty Nightmare Vacation 04 December 2020. This song hit me at the perfect time in life, and seemed to capture a kind of ineffable melancholy that went beyond the girl I was pining over, and was instead an essential part of the human experience. The track’s massive sound contributes to the punch it packs—as the strings swell and fall, the brooding piano chords mingle with Winehouse’s grief-stricken vocals and pauses are filled in by spare tambourine shakes. Votes poured in by the hundreds. In short, it’s the Smithiest of Smiths songs.—Josh Jackson, We could easily pull out half a dozen Elliott Smith songs for this list, and nearly that many were nominated. possibly not even being reunited in heaven when it's his … "Let's Stay Together" became his first top 10 pop hit and it went all the way to #1 in 1971. His wife, June Carter Cash, died six months later—followed four months after by Cash himself. I’m not a big Disney/Pixar person, but I have a distinct memory of seeing the movie in theaters with my parents as a kid, looking over during this scene and noticing that even my dad was crying. When he sings, “a fond farewell to a friend who couldn’t get things right,” it leaves you with a feeling of helplessness, wishing he were still here. Calexico Seasonal Shift 04 December 2020. That feeling he’s having, I can personally attest to its level of suckiness.—Josh Jackson, Benji is an album heavily focused on death. He surmises in first person, “Lookin’ back I’d say it wasn’t so much the girl / as it was the booze and the dope and the way he took the weight of the world up upon his shoulders.” It’s this masterful balance of attention to detail—from naming the girl who broke his heart to describing the car that caught the weight of his jumper—and empathetic universality that makes so “Yuma” so fictionally affective, but realistically relatable.—Hilary Saunders, Everyone always talks about how Toy Story 3 destroyed them emotionally (and it did for me too), but the Toy Story scene that consistently breaks me up is the one from Toy Story 2 when Sarah McLachlan sings this Randy Newman song about a toy getting abandoned by her owner as she grows up. Or the song about the evil small-town mayor who tricks his illegitimate son into hooking up with his half-sister. “I’m making pies.”—Josh Jackson, “A house not a home is a picture Satan painted / for dear little sister ’n’ me,” opens the Louvin Brothers’ twisting, minor-key lament of a family near destitution from a no-good man’s high-timing. Vic Chesnutt – “Flirted With You All My Life”, 41. And it feels so good to hurt so bad It’s 1989’s Country Music Association’s Song of the Year for good reason.—Holly Gleason, I was trying to keep this list to one song per artist and almost included Lefty Frizzell’s original version of the song, but Cash’s is just more potent. Written by Marijohn Wilkin and Danny Dill in 1959, the song tells the tale of a man wrongfully hanged for a murder because his alibi happens to be married to his best friend. Your picks include ‘Cat’s in the Cradle and ‘I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry’. The sorrow behind this Hank Williams classic is heightened by the way... 3. Harry Chapin - 'Cat's in the Cradle' 5. Finally, father gets religion. Top 50 Love Songs of All Time. Yes, sad songs do say so much. Pearl Jam - 'Black' 8. Jerry Byrd’s clever steel guitar flourishes are nestled snugly between verses until the drama of Tommy Jackson’s whimpering fiddle swoops in. Beaten women, getting hustled, crime gone bad, jail time, addiction. “She put him out like the burnin’ end of a midnight cigarette,” it begins, detailing the sorrow of a man drinking away memories until they kill him.” We found him with his face down in the pillow / with a note that said I’ll love her till I die,” it says, and the guilt of his demise leads his ex-lover to the same fate. He puts a traumatic experience into words that sound like poetry—they’re arranged in such a way that it’s almost just as heartbreaking to read them on paper as it is to hear Hadreas tenderly singing them. “Last Kiss” captures pain and grief and wraps in a simple pop beat that’s hard to forget.—Danielle Ryan, As soon as Sinead O’Connor kicks things off with that mournful “it’s been seven hours and 15 days since you took your love away,” it’s not easy to refrain from picturing the iconic music video that accompanied this, the ultimate break-up song. Instead she triumphantly announces, “I keep dancing on my own.” The situation is undeniably hurtful and uncomfortable, but Robyn wants her audience to know that she’s going to be just fine alone, and you are too.—Tess Duncan, After one particular summer romance, I visited my girlfriend at her college two hours away, and the trip went horribly. 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