It’s about making peace with your “enemies” and learning to appreciate life while it’s happening, in both its “loveliness” and “ugliness.” Do that, and then when the end really does come, all that’s left is “just Hallelujah.” —Ellen Johnson, Written a quarter century after her father shot and killed her mother then himself in the driveway of their home in Monroeville, Alabama, the hurt still feels fresh for singer/songwriter Shelby Lynne. Together, Case and Bachmann sound at once wounded and bewildered, as though their characters know full well that their bond is crumbling and are powerless to stop it. Lynch’s signature themes are much in evidence: Nostalgia, expressed in the lyrics and also in the drawn-out 3:4 tempo. We kept it to one song per artist, though several had multiple nominations. “Love is watching someone die,” a quote from his friend Sarah, sings Ben Gibbard virtually a capella before asking, “So who’s gonna watch you die?” Sure, this is a love song at its heart, but in a dark and twisted way—“What Sarah Said,” one of the highlights on Plans (which includes another saddest-song contender “I Will Follow You Into the Dark”), envisions the strength of love in the emergency room, “a place where we only say goodbye,” decades into a relationship when it is—quite literally—on life support. Blackstar is the wise and self-aware work of a mature artist but retains Bowie’s almost childlike spirit of wonder at the vastness and weirdness of what we cannot perceive-at least not while we’re in our bodies. —Ellen Johnson, While the traditional marriage vow includes a mention of “in sickness and in health,” we tend to always focus on latter—weddings are happy occasions after all. The story behind this song is heartbreaking as well, though. After a final tour the following year, the Grammy-winning country singer, TV host and actor recorded a farewell song for a the documentary Glen Campbell: I’ll Be Me, even as he could feel his mind slipping. 30 Songs To Get You Through Every Breakup. Great art doesn’t necessarily tell you something new, but rather puts words to something you always knew, but couldn’t name. Going through a break-up you feel all of these different things. Adele is the queen of the sad song and like most of her album 21, "Someone Like You" was inspired by a failed relationship. This song is thought to be a response to President Kennedy's assassination since it was released just three months after the event in 1964. If you've ever found yourself awake at four in the morning, watching TV when a commercial for the ASPCA comes on, you know this song. The elusive (and allusive) lyrics oscillate between dissonant, moaning chant sections, meditative pop and witty swagger (including a parting swipe at Snarkoholic novelist Martin Amis, who has had his loafer firmly in his mouth ever since he called Bowie a “flash in the pan” in 1974 (Bowie’s rejoinder, “You’re the flash in the pan (I’m not a Marvel star); I’m the great I-Am…” seems to get DC’s Barry Allen mixed up with Marvel’s Quicksilver but I’m sure Amis had some toothmarks in his gabardines anyway). —Matt Fink, Months before SZA dropped her hotly anticipated debut studio album Ctrl, “Drew Barrymore” introduced listeners to precisely how Solana Rowe’s Pop Album of the Decade contender would sound. Smith wrestled his demons in his music, and “Fond Farewell” feels like his goodbye note in song. —Ellen Johnson, When Thom Yorke wrote “True Love Waits” in 1995, it was an acoustic love song for his partner of a few years, Rachel Owen. Bright Eyes: “At the Bottom of Everything”, 46. 20. As this character is withering away due to cancer’s effects, everyone tries to ignore the “elephant” in the room and just make her final moments as joyful as possible. Though a warm display of fingerpicking and pedal play, there’s no light at the end of this song’s tunnel: Bridgers addresses her depression as she wails, “Jesus Christ, I’m so blue all the time/ And that’s just how I feel/ Always have an always will.” “Funeral” is a brave declaration of grief and likely requires a lot of courage to perform. Lynch has always loved to flirt with melodrama, and this torch song found its perfect expression in del Rio’s full-throated, bell-like voice. Playing with the expression “stars in your eyes,” the lyric mourns a relationship, and a world, from which the light has vanished. The subject just feels worn-out and drained, done in by a daily routine where, “He screams in the night, I scream in the day/ We weep in the evening and lie naked and pray.” While most of the breakup songs on this list deal with the sudden and sharp feeling of heartbreak the moments and days after a relationship is finished, “Night After Night” is the opposite—here, Marling portrays a lover not at the end of her rope, but years after the rope has all but disappeared. Her 2017 album Stranger in the Alps is replete with mournful ballads and stories of longing and loss, but “Funeral” may just be the most woeful. "Hate To See You Heart Break" is about Paramore's guitarist Taylor York, who was struggling during the creation of the band's album, Paramore. James Murphy questions someone’s priorities when he sings, “You spent the first five years trying to get with the plan/ And the next five years trying to be with your friends again,” but he switches to first person by track’s end, singing, “If I could see all my friends tonight.” Before cranking this one up, make sure your closest pals are on speed dial. The 100 Best Songs of the 2010s From Robyn to Taylor to Kendrick to J Balvin to Drake — here are the greatest songs of the last 10 years It’s filled with regret for the way things went. Song by song, line by line, he speaks directly to her and into her absence. The remaining cranes were finished by friends and family, and the poor young victim of WWII was ultimately buried with them. 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. Glen Campbell: “I’m Not Gonna Miss You”. When the album version was finally released 21 years later, a melancholy piano ballad complete with ambient sounds throughout, they had recently broken up and Owen was diagnosed with the cancer that killed her later that year. It’s easy to see why this one in particular was so tough for her to play live—“Go Home,” the album’s final track, is a slow-burning piano ballad where Baker details her lowest point, pleading to God while drunk (and likely much worse) in a ditch on the side of the road. 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. That feeling he’s having, I can personally attest to its level of suckiness. The past tense of that opening line, whispered and bitter, sets the tone for “Night After Night,” a track about a woman becoming increasingly detached and indifferent throughout a relationship that overstays its welcome by years, possibly decades. That the words are set to his impossibly lovely melodies just makes it harder to hear.—Josh Jackson, A great song can help you see the world from a different perspective, as Patty Griffin often proves. Because the characters seem so real, so does the sorrow. 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. While many may assume that this is a song about love, in actuality, the writer Jeffrey Steele was inspired by the passing of his father. Every clever, colorful verse teases a course to victory while stoically accepting defeat: “We must blend into the choir, sing as static with the whole/ We must memorize nine numbers and deny we have a soul/ And in this endless race for property and privilege to be won/ We must run, we must run, we must run.” Joy in the face of hopelessness or the existential equivalent of gallows humor, it’s a nihilistic glimpse into the empty void that ends: “Oh my morning’s coming back/ The whole world’s waking up/ All the city buses swimming past/ I’m happy just because/ I found out I am really no one.” —Josh Jackson, Following the passing of his wife, visual artist and musician Geneviève Castrée, Phil Elverum took a couple months to grieve and then sat down in the room where she died and recorded the 11 songs that make up A Crow Looked at Me. Seventeen participates in various affiliate marketing programs, which means we may get paid commissions on editorially chosen products purchased through our links to retailer sites. Sara McLachlan wrote the track following the death of Smashing Pumpkin's Jonathon Melvoin who died of a drug overdose when he was 34. The lyric sheet could read like a musing on death, an invitation from an estranged family member to mend broken ties, a note from a longtime lover or partner post-conflict, or, if you’re of the spiritual type, even the call to return to one’s rightful home with God. Billie Joe Armstrong wrote it after a break-up with a girlfriend who moved to Ecuador. “You live long enough and the people you love get old,” she sings, and all too soon, they’re gone. 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. You probably know all of the lyrics to this song, but did you know that it is a tribute to the late actor Paul Walker, who died in a car crash back in 2013? Few people like classic music and few love to listen to romantic songs. She sings about the devastating death of a friend and the survivors who help her through it. —Eric R. Danton, Serious audiophiles will point out that one of the saddest things about this song is the intrusively obvious pitch correction in the version used in Episode 10 of Twin Peaks: The Return (bummer), but setting aside that technicality, “No Stars” is still a heartbreaker even by Twin Peaks standards. I didn’t prepare for how fricking lonely it would be to just be all alone in a country where no one knows me, while everyone else I know is having holidays with their family and friends.". Sufjan Stevens revealed in an interview that this song touches on his feelings following his mother's death, when he started indulging in her previously self-destructive behavior. Ideal for listening after a college graduation or prior to a cross-country move, “Rivers and Roads” is a bittersweet reminder that some relationships are always in reach. A Star is Born is a pretty heartbreaking movie, but nothing is as sad as the final scene when Ally (Lady Gaga) sings this ballad at her final concert following the death of her husband Jackson (Bradley Cooper). Or, as Seth puts it, “Holding the love I’ve known in my life.” This is an end-of-the-world song for the faithful folks who just believe everything works out the way it should. From the 90s to 2020 there are so many romantic Bollywood songs available but we always want to listen to only a few best songs. The track is a brutal listen; Yorke’s vocals, while probably the clearest on the entirety of A Moon Shaped Pool, feel distant, like he’s looking back on the song as a bittersweet memory from long ago, now knowing what would eventually come next. This song about lost love is the most covered in music history. —Eric R. Danton, Eric Bachmann wrote this mournful duet for Crooked Fingers’ 2005 release Dignity and Shame, and sang it with Lara Meyerratken. “What have I become, my sweetest friend?/ Everyone I know goes away in the end.” Trent Reznor’s dissonant original—recorded for the second NIN album, 1994’s The Downward Spiral—is often interpreted as a suicide note. “Skinny Love” was the first single, and the tune that helped launch Bon Iver into the public consciousness and make Vernon into a reluctant indie-rock star, a record producer (Kathleen Edwards, the Blind Boys of Alabama), creator of the Eaux Claires music festival and, not least (if perhaps least likely), a musical collaborator with Kanye West. This content is imported from YouTube. Next time you know it's time to go but you need a little help, throw on this series of 15 goodbye songs and see if it doesn't help ease the awkwardness of leaving. Shelby Lynne: “Heaven’s Only Days Down the Road”, 26. But “Pristine” aims a bit higher, with soaring choruses and crisp guitars crafting a shimmering backdrop for Jordan’s musings on young love. Avril really knows how to rock a power ballad and "Keep Holding On" proves that. “I was far away.” Reckoning with the realization that he may lose her because of his inability to communicate, the protagonist is helpless. “It’s dumb and I don’t want to learn anything from this,” he sings over the final strums. Last Updated: 2020-01-22. “Why’s it so hard to accept the party is over?” SZA asks at the song’s outset, and at the track’s end, listeners will wonder the same. How often you want to do that will depend on how comfortable you are staring into the face of real death. Top 30 Sad Songs [2010-2019] Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/escmkd/?hl=en Mitski described her inspiration to Genius, saying that she wrote the song when she decided to stay in Malaysia one holiday season. " Of all the tragedies on the record, “Carissa” is the most gruesome and harrowing. Play on Spotify —Josh Jackson, “I have such an appreciation for people who discuss the ugliness of love,” Julien Baker (who also appears on this list) explained in an interview about Frightened Rabbit’s 2008 magnum opus, The Midnight Organ Fight for the Village Voice (RIP). Listen to Sad Songs from 2010-2020 in full in the Spotify app. In her dying days, Sadako therefore worked on folding her own 1,000 cranes, but passed away having only completed 644. This track off singer/songwriter Laura Veirs’ most recent 2013 album Warp and Weft is a tribute to Sadako Sasaki, a Japanese child who lived about a mile from the epicenter of the Hiroshima blast, and was 2 years old when the bomb fell. Runaway - Kanye West (featuring Pusha T) 7. Not many songs can sum up being dumped for an ex as well as Winehouse does when she woefully sings, “I died a hundred times.”—Tess Duncan, Self-proclaimed adopter of the sadcore genre, indie folk crooner Phoebe Bridgers knows how to write a melancholic tune. Even at home, her friends have reason to still worry (“‘Cause I know you’re still worried I’m gonna get scared again/ And make my insides clean with your kitchen bleach/ But I’ve kissed enough bathroom sinks to make up for the lovers that never loved me”). Within the narrative, “Mad World” builds a universe of nameless faces in common situations, from birthday parties to school classes. 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. It’s melodically poignant, vocally burnished, arranged in a way I can’t not call “stellar,” and a kaleidoscopic exploration of his lifelong master trope: Stars, literal and figurative. Then she gets to the refrain: “I can’t wait ’til we’re afraid of nothing,” she sings, and it’s honest and brutal as Van Etten begins the exquisitely painful work of detaching herself from a relationship where one, or maybe both, of them is always holding something back. The best sad songs will always make you cry. "Skinny love doesn’t have a chance because it’s not nourished. "No Cryin" - DVSN ft. Future. Yet it’s his sad songs that resonate the most, maybe because we need them more. Here are the saddest songs of the 21st century so far: 50. 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