Last Updated on March 24, 2023
Music has the ability to evoke deep and powerful emotions within us. When we’re feeling sad and melancholy, sad songs resonate with the raw intensity of emotions we often feel when we’re down. Since music plays a big role in how we process our feelings when we’re sad, I’ve compiled the best sad songs to get you through dark times. Whether you’re heartbroken, need a good cry, or simply need to sit with your thoughts, the songs on this list will capture the aching feeling in your heart and soul.
1. The Sound Of Silence – Simon & Garfunkel
The haunting tone and lyrics of this Simon & Garfunkel masterpiece have made it one of the most popular songs for expressing a dark cloud hanging over your mental state. The song paints a bleak picture of the loneliness and isolation we can sometimes feel when it seems like the world around us is meaningless.
2. In The Arms Of An Angel – Sarah Mclachlan
Sadness often brings a feeling of longing and wanting to escape the dark, painful state that may seem ever-present. Sarah Mclachlan captures that desire to escape in this song. The singer expresses a desperate desire to find comfort away from darkness in the arms of an angel. Although melancholy and dark, the song has served as a source of hope to me several times with the idea that you can always find an angel to act as your anchor out of the darkness.
3. Tears In Heaven – Eric Clapton
Eric Clapton truly embodies the pain that comes with losing a loved one in this ballad written after the death of his son Conor. Listening to the lyrics, you’ll hear the singer Clapton speaking to a longing desire to be reunited with his son in heaven and his hope that there will be no pain or suffering in the afterlife.
4. Fix You – Coldplay
When you’re at your worst and breaking down in despair, knowing that someone is willing to offer some comfort and redemption is a soothing respite that is often very important to keep you going. Cold Play provides that much-needed hand on the shoulder with this uplifting ballad about wanting to help someone at their worst and struggling.
5. How To Save A Life – The Fray
The despair that comes with feeling like you didn’t do everything you could to help a loved one during a difficult time is often a haunting regret I and many others are all too familiar with. The Frays gained a rise in popularity with this piece about the regret you feel after losing someone to suicide or depression and the feeling of wishing you could have done more to help save their life. The haunting message behind this song has left me laying awake in bed more times than I can count
6. God Only Knows – The Beach Boys
Ever been in a relationship plagued by doubt and uncertainty? The pain and constant fear of betrayal in a situation like that are enough to bring tears to any face. The Beach Boys Know just how we all feel and express that fear and struggle in this song about lost love and the feeling of being unable to live without that person.
7. When You’re Gone – Avril Lavigne
There’s no denying that losing love is a very common cause of sadness across different generations, and Avril Lavigne sure knows how to tug on the heartstrings, especially with this poignant piece. The song speaks to the emptiness and helplessness you feel in the absence of your loved one.
8. Angie – The Rolling Stones
Keeping with the theme of sadness brought on by lost love, The Rolling stones will get you all up in your feelings with the slow and powerful tone and lyrics of Angie. The lines,” Angie, Angie, When will those clouds all disappear? Angie, Angie, Where will it lead us from here?” expresses the anxiety that comes after heartbreak as you are often left unsure when the pain will stop or if you’ll ever be able to move on.
9. Wish You Were Here – Pink Floyd
If you find yourself feeling emotionally detached and numb about the world around you, Pink Floyd tries to remind you to come back to the people who love you with “ Wish You Were Here.” The song, written about Pink Floyd frontman Syd Barret reminds a friend about the importance of being present to experience the world around you.
10. Skinny Love – Bon Iver
Bon Iver’s Skinny Love is a heartfelt song about the sorrows of a lover towards a love that is deprived of all things it needs to flourish. It expresses the sadness of knowing a relationship has to end but being reluctant to admit the reality. The lyrics of this emotional song were penned down when the band’s frontman was going through a painful breakup in his life. I often find myself coming back to this song several times after a breakup and you probably will too.
11. Breathe Me – Sia
With her powerful voice and passionate lyrics, Sia expresses a need for connection and comfort while feeling down and broken from pain you seem to have no control over. If you need a space to be vulnerable and comforted about your pain, this song might just be where you need to get lost in.
12. Supermarket Flowers – Ed Sheeran
Ed Sheeran always knows how to deliver an emotional sucker punch with his music, and Supermarket Flowers is no different. Singing about the pain and heartbreak he feels after losing his grandmother, the singer lets a little hope shine through with the idea that she was an angel who has now returned home to God.
13. Gloomy Sunday – Billie Holiday
Few songs encompass the hopelessness that comes with loss and loneliness, like Gloomy Sunday. The singer expresses the haunting feeling of wanting to leave this world because of how unbearable the dark cloud of loss hanging over them and if you’ve ever been in a dark place you’re likely no stranger to that feeling.
14. Sine From Above – Lady Gaga Ft. Elton John
Sine From Above is a song about the healing power of music. Although sad and melancholy, this collaboration between Lady Gaga and Elton John talks about a sign from above to get you out of dark times. For the singer, that sign was music, which got her moving again after a difficult time.
15. Ain’t No Sunshine – Bill Withers
No one better understands the state of doom and gloom we find ourselves in when things don’t work out in a relationship than Bill Withers. In Ain’t no sunshine, the singer talks about how difficult it is to go on without the one he loves, explaining that there is no sunshine when she’s gone.
16. The Lonely – Christina Perri
Christina Perri’s song about her sad relationship with loneliness and despair embodies a type of sorrow many people often feel at a lack of finding a connection with anyone around them. The song expresses the singer’s fear of remaining lonely forever.
17. Here Without You – 3 Doors Down
This emotional ballad relays the feeling of missing a loved one who is out of reach and far away. You can feel the singer’s longing and loneliness in the powerful lyrics of this indie rock song, and it will surely feel you with a deep sense of nostalgia and sadness over lost love.
18. Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right – Bob Dylan
Bob Dylan has been quoted saying this beautiful song is not a love song, but the lyrics would beg to differ. The heartfelt lyrics speak to a failed relationship and the pain of letting go. The line “Don’t think twice, it’s alright” seems to be the singer trying to act unaffected by the breakup, and if you’re trying to move on from a relationship those may just be the words you need to hear.
19. Everybody’s Fool – Evanescence
Everybody’s Fool is a timeless song about the popularization of unrealistic expectations of beauty and perfection by society and the entertainment industry. The singer speaks about the struggle and pressure to conform to society’s expectations and how hard it is to reveal your true self.
20. Mad World – Gary Jules
Sometimes letting out your emotions take center stage in true angsty teenager fashion is the best way to let all your feelings of sadness come to the surface. Gary Jules’ song about loneliness and hopelessness in a world that may be overwhelming is an excellent choice for capturing the feeling of alienation.
21. Everybody Knows – Leonard Cohen
A popular movie soundtrack, this Leonard cohen song is a deeply sad song that speaks to the negative aspects of life and society. The song talks about the unfairness of life. It shows a pessimistic view of a world where the game is essentially rigged to work against us, yet we all struggle to win against all odds.
22. How Could You Leave Us – NF
NF offers anyone dealing with loss a therapeutic expression of their pain with his song written after the passing of his mother. Addressing his mother in the song, the singer highlights the pain and abandonment he felt about his mother’s addiction and the grief brought on by her drug overdose.
23. Somebody That I Used To Know – Gotye Ft. Kimbra
When Gotye released this collaboration with Kimbra, the song quickly became a chart-topping hit in part because of the relatable message expressed in the lyrics. It is a sad expression of what comes after a broken relationship. The feelings of confusion, frustration, and surprise at discovering you never really knew this person as much as you thought are all captured in this sad musical tale.
24. Candle In The Wind – Elton John
This song, written as a tribute to the life of Marilyn Monroe, details her rise to fame and her tragic, untimely death. However, it was Elton John’s expression of the impact of fame and overindulgence on the life of young talented people. At its core, the song speaks to the haunting aftermath of a fast and glamorous life ending in tragedy.
25. The Show Must Go On – Queen
A closing song from Queen’s final studio album while lead singer Freddie Mercury was alive, the Show Must Go on is a powerful tribute to the dedication of the band’s lead singer to push through his pain and focus on his performance while battling The symptoms of HIV/AIDS which ultimately led to his death.
26. What About Us – Pink
Perhaps one of the saddest yet most powerful protest song that speaks to the state of the world today is What About Us by Pink. The song speaks to the pain of the vulnerable and often overlooked people in society who feel unwanted and unheard. So, the song’s chorus boldly asks the chilling question, what about us?
27. Torn – Natalie Imbruglia
Natalie Imbruglia released this song in the nineties, and it became a mega-hit even though hers wasn’t the first version ever recorded. The song is about the hopelessness and pain that comes from realizing the man you love is not who you thought he was.
28. I Will Remember You – Sarah Mclachlan
Ever had a relationship that ended sadly, yet you look back and cherish your memories with the person no matter how much pain it brings you? That complex feeling of love lost is what Sarah Mclachlan talks about in this song as she reflects upon the special memories of a lost lover.
29. Nothing Compares 2 U – Sinead O’Connor
When it comes to songs about the sadness and longing that comes from being abandoned by a lover, there is nothing more iconic than Sinead O’Connor’s hit song Nothing Compares 2 U. The singer captures the loneliness and restlessness that we often feel after a breakup with this passionate hit that will have you letting out a few tears.
30. Something In The Way – Nirvana
This somber Nirvana song is a deeply emotional song about isolation and living life on the brink of despair. The lyrics of the song have often been interpreted in many different ways by fans, but the slow acoustic guitar and melancholy tone of the lyrics make one thing certain, it is a very emotional song that evokes some sadness in the listener.
31. My Heart Will Go On – Celine Dion
Celine Dion’s powerful soundtrack recorded for the Titanic movie has remained a timeless classic since its release. It will always have me shed a few tears when I think about how things turned out for the couple in the movie. Singing her heart out about the need to carry on after losing a loved one, the singer promises to keep them in her heart forever.
32. Everybody Dies – Billie Eilish
With her undeniable talent at songwriting, Billie Eilish has proven she is the Queen of all things angsty and gothic when it comes to sad music. This song, contemplating human mortality, is a glimpse into the singer’s raw talent and you’ll find yourself returning to it whenever you want to contemplate anything from death and loss to the ad state of the world.
33. Landslide – Fleetwood Mac
This song is a somber reflection of the fast pace at which life moves and how quickly our youth seems to pass away. The sorrowful vocals of the song will put you in a state of self-reflection when you need to sit with your feelings for a bit.
34. Never Let Me Go – Lana Del Rey
Lana Del Rey’s impactful voice shines through in this heartbreaking song where she implores a lover to hold on tight and never let go. It is a romantic yet sad piece that expresses the eagerness we often feel when hoping for love to last forever.
35. Knocking On Heaven Door – Bob Dylan
The raw emotional reflection and contemplation of the realness of death in this Bob Dylan piece have made it an iconic anthem for loss and sadness. As you listen to the song’s lyrics about a dying deputy expressing his sorrow and regret over things that he will no longer be able to do as he dies from a gunshot wound, you’ll find yourself reflecting on a few things as well.
36. Everybody Hurts – R.E.M.
In Everybody Hurts, R.E.M. acknowledges the sadness you may be feeling at this point in your life but emphasizes the importance of seeking help and comfort from the people around us in those dark times. The line “everybody hurts sometimes, everybody cries” is a reminder that you are not alone. We all go through times of sadness and pain but if we hold on we’ll make it out in the end.
37. See You Again – Charlie Puth Ft Wiz Khalifa
When the Fast And Furious movie franchise lost castmate Paul Walker, this song was released as a tribute to the actor, and it has remained a classic song about loss and mourning ever since. The song is about saying goodbye to a loved one and the pain of holding onto memories of them with the hope that you will someday be reunited.
38. Matilda – Harry Styles
This melancholy song from Harry Style’s third studio album was inspired by the popular Musical Matilda. Embedded in the lyrics, and the soft piano sound is a message about letting go of a toxic family that causes you pain. The song encourages anyone to cut ties with certain family members and tells them to not be afraid of creating a new family as they move on in life.
39. Like I’m Gonna Lose You – John Legend Ft Meghan Trainor
If you need a song to let you cry your heart out after losing someone you care about, this collaboration between John Legend and Megan Trainor will surely get the tears flowing. As the name implies, the song is about holding on close to a loved one because you never know when you may lose them.
40. Demons – Imagine Dragons
We all have our personal demons that we battle internally, and in this song, Imagine Dragons express the fear of vulnerability we often feel while we deal with our darkest fears and darkness within. The hard-hitting drums on this rock song will have you banging your head as you take it all in, but it is still a very emotional and sad song.
41. I’m Tired – Labyrinth Ft Zendaya
Anyone who’s binge-watched Euphoria is likely no stranger to the dark themes of sadness and pain explored within the show. So, it’s no surprise that this soundtrack from the series captures the sadness of a person who fights to stay alive and do better in a world they are clearly tired of existing in.
42. Carry You – Novo Amor
The gentle yet impactful voice of Novo Amor shines through in this piece about loss, love, and an intense desire to be a source of hope and support to people we care about while they are in pain. The mix of acoustic guitar, piano, strings, and ethereal vocals of the singer makes this a genuinely underrated sad song that will keep you company while you sort through your deepest emotions.
43. If This Is Love – Ruth B
Ruth B’s delivery of the powerful lines of this song about a toxic love that brings you nothing but pain will make you question whether any love that brings you so much sadness is worth it. Amidst the overlay of piano and chords, the singer expresses her doubts about a love that breaks her heart yet seems impossible to let go of.
44. I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry – Hank Williams
Hank William’s gut-wrenching lyrics in I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry further solidifies the role of country music in expressing raw emotions like pain and sadness. Hinged upon the sadness of losing a lover, which many of us have undoubtedly experienced at some point in our lives, Williams complains about the loneliness brought on by his lost love.
45. Swim Good – Franks Ocean
If you ever need a song to echo your feeling about the bleakness of life after failed relationships, Frank Ocean’s R&B piece about lost love and the search for peace will fully capture your desire to escape the overwhelming feeling of unhappiness you may be experiencing.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do Sad Songs Cure Depression?
Sad songs do not cure depression. Depression is a complex emotion that does not have an easy fix. Sad songs offer a therapeutic experience that lets you let out all the dark feelings you may have in your heart, but they are not a solution. If you are feeling depressed, try talking to a therapist or mental health professional.
What Is A Good Song To Make You Cry?
The best song to make you cry will ideally depend on why you’re hurting in the first place. If you are heartbroken about love, some great choices include “turning table and Hello” by adele. If you are suffering from a recent loss, “Like I’m Gonna Loose You “ By John Legend Ft Meghan Trainor might be what you need to let out those tears.
What Is The Number One Sad Song?
Music is ever-changing when it comes to what’s popular, so the choice of the number one saddest song will vary each year and from person to person. However, some pretty popular options include “Nothin Compares 2 U” By Sinead O’Connor, Easy On Me By Adele, How To Cry by Sam Smith, and Hurt by Johnny Cash.
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