The 8 best sad songs ever written

The 8 best sad songs ever written-featured

When the clouds roll in and you can’t bring yourself to get out of your sweats, sometimes all you want to hear is a song that understands your plight. Rather than just moaning and making vague allusions to sadness, the finest melancholy songs appear to wallow in misery right there with you

If you’re feeling down, it helps to have someone else to commiserate with, and the finest composers can make you feel as if they’re right there in your lonely apartment with you. No matter what you’re going through—the end of a relationship, the loss of a loved one, or simply a general sense of melancholy—these 50 songs will help. The next time you feel like closing the windows, locking the doors, and snuggling up in the foetal position, put on one of these tracks, whether it’s an R&B tearjerker, a 12-bar blues, or an indie rock dismal jam. Feeling better won’t happen immediately, but at least you’ll have support.

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1. ‘Nothing Compares 2 U’ by Sinéad O’Connor

In the mid-1980s, Prince threw off a song called “Nothing Compares 2 U,” which was later recorded by Prince’s protégés The Family and presented to the public. But O’Connor turned up the sadness to 11, singing from the singer’s genuine sorrow at the loss of her mother five years earlier. One of the most popular sad songs ever was made possible by a combination of a stunning vocal performance (the sound of raw sadness), layers of sobbing synth strings, and an iconic, tear-streaked music video. You won’t find any more raw or honest pop music than this.

2. ‘Hurt’ by Johnny Cash

The concept of a country music icon covering Nine Inch Nails sounds terrible on paper; even Trent Reznor felt so. But Johnny Cash’s crowning accomplishment was the album Hurt, released less than a year before his death. Cash’s scowling baritone had lost some of its lustre due to his poor health, but he still managed to make an all-American anthem out of Reznor’s petty angstfest. The film ratcheted up the pathos with photographs of a weak but noble Cash, intercut with images of his wife June, clips from his heyday, and photos of the now-abandoned House of Cash museum in Tennessee. ‘Hurt’ is a guy singing in the face of death, harnessing a lifetime of memories, grief, hard-won triumph and unfulfilled desire.

3. ‘Only Love Can Break Your Heart’ by Neil Young

An upbeat 1991 cover by dance-pop group Saint Etienne somewhat eclipsed the mysterious Canadian singer-1970 songwriter’s original. However, that really shouldn’t have happened. Young’s beaten-down folky song is the sound of someone committed not just too temporary heartache but to a lifetime of misery – but nevertheless there’s still a trace of a ghostly, golden melody in there. Natalie Imbruglia, The Corrs, Psychic TV, and Jackie De Shannon are just some of the many artists that have covered it. Many can, it seems, identify with your state of unhappiness. Who knew?

4. ‘Teardrop’ by Massive Attack

It was trip hop, with songs like Portishead’s “Roads” prompting many late-night bedroom sob-alongs that supplied the wistful soundtrack of choice for the discerning music listener during most of the ’90s. Despite a slew of terrible cover versions and a strange afterlife as the title song for House, Elizabeth Fraser’s eerie vocals help “Teardrop” stand out. Her ex-lover, Jeff Buckley, drowned in Memphis on the day of recording, making the song very personal to her.

5. ‘I Know It’s Over’ by The Smiths

Morrissey despises the label of “miserable artist,” although he occasionally brought it on himself. In the 1980s, he collaborated with Johnny Marr to add some humorous explorations of melancholy and anguish to the literature. With only the most understated dark humour (‘I know it’s over… yet it never really begun’) to guide the way, “I Know It’s Over” may be The Smiths’ longest excursion into sorrow. By the time we reach the song’s central question, “If you’re so clever/Then why are you on your own tonight?” we have stripped down to our underwear, seen into the mirror, and realised that we have no one but ourselves to blame for our misery.

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6. “Tears in Heaven” – Eric Clapton

Put some Kleenex handy by because you’re going to need them. To my ears, Eric Clapton’s “Tears in Heaven” is the most heartfelt song ever written.

This song was written as a tribute to Eric Clapton’s son Conor, who died at the age of 4 after falling from a building 50 floors high. Clapton mourned the death of his loved one for months in isolation after the tragedy. After that, he teamed up with fellow songwriter Will Jennings to compose a song for the film Rush.

The movie Rush hired Eric and myself to compose a song. The film’s final credits include an original song we composed, titled “Help Me Up.” After that, Eric told Jennings, “I want to compose a song about my kid because I see another spot in the movie for a song.

‘Tears to Heaven’ is a top pick for sorrowful songs to weep to because of the way the lyrics are woven into the plot. You feel the melancholy sweep over you like a fog bank, and your eyes begin to water.

7. “Something in the Way” – Nirvana

Unlike the other melancholy songs on this list, “Something in the Way” by Nirvana is not about sadness or the death of a loved one; rather, it is about an individual’s search for identity.

The slow ballad is beautifully crafted by the violin, vulnerable/raw lyrics, and Cobain’s mumbled vocals. In other words, it’s an expression of absolute desperation giving way to acceptance. The slow, repetitive nature of the chord sequence and the song’s overall arrangement encourage introspection.

Many have speculated that “Something in the Way” is really Cobain’s autobiography, in which he describes living in poverty and sleeping beneath a bridge. Whether or whether Cobain really spent time living beneath a bridge is debatable, but it is generally agreed that the Young Street Bridge provided the inspiration for his eerie song.

Kurt Cobain’s “Something in the way” is an expression of his feelings and the belief that everything (including himself) stands in his way whenever he tries to improve his mood.

8. “I Will Always Love You” – Whitney Houston

Sad to bust your bubble, but Whitney Houston’s “I Will Always Love You” is not a feel-good, happily-ever-after love story. It’s one of the saddest songs ever since the singer admits she will never stop loving the other person, despite the fact that they aren’t meant to be together.

Even though “I Will Always Love You” is synonymous with Whitney, the country singer Dolly Parton wrote it. However, the way Whitney transformed it into a slow groove with her soaring craping notes never fails to evoke emotion.