Music is the one outlet that can reach all walks of life. Whether it’s bluesy country, broken-hearted ballads, or softly strung rock-n-roll; there are some songs that, regardless of their genre, will make even the most emotionally stable of us feel completely vulnerable under their bone-chilling melodies.
The majority of us would like to build ourselves a little wall of shelter, guarding our hearts and prohibiting even the slightest of watery eyes. However, there is no shame in taping into your sentimentality. It’s healthy to shed a tear every once in awhile, so if you need a good cry, then I’ve got the play list for you.
1) “Wouldn't It Be Nice�? The Beach Boys
Depending on what mood you are in when you hear it, this song can either make you exceptionally happy or exceptionally nostalgic. If you’re having an amazing day and are in a very good place, then you’re likely to hear this track with a big goofy smile spread across your face. However, if you’re feeling even a twinge of sentimental, then this song may just hit you right in the feels. It has that youthful spirit about it—most-likely due to the fact that it is sung by the Beach Boys—to get you thinking about childhood friends, youthful ambitions, and long gone first loves. So, while this number was not meant to get you to, you may just find a few lone tears trickling down your cheeks by the ending chorus.
2) “What Do You Want�? Jerrod Niemann
Is there any person who has not been in this situation? You and your last love have parted ways, but they suddenly feel the impulse to reach out. Whether you’ve both found a new love or no, the second you hear their voice again, you’re taken “back to where I’ve [you’ve] already been.�? Oh and spoiler alert, it sucks. Jerrod Niemann perfectly sums up this situation by pairing the chorus with a female vocalist, and it causes all of us who have absolutely been there to feel his pain as it is a collectively identified feeling.
3) “Hallelujah�? Rufus Wainwright
“Hallelujah�? has been covered by a handful of artists. However, I personally think that Rufus Wainwright’s version is the best. The lyrics alone are enough to stop one’s mind from racing in its tracks for they are so completely raw. Paired with Rufus’ melodic voice, there isn’t one instance in which I’ve listened to this song dry-eyed. Regardless of the tears, I can’t help but love this little song, and it is without contest one of my favorites of all time.
4) “Samson�? Regina Spektor
Written in the past tense, this song details the artist’s first love. Although the lyrics do not specify a break-up has occurred, the listener can infer that that is so. With reoccurring stanzas that say, “the history books forgot about us, and the bible didn’t mention us—not even once,�? the audience knows this relationship was not one to last the ages. The raw vulnerability of this song is what makes this number particularly heart tugging, and if you are inclined to romanticize your first love, then you’ll absolutely relate to the message that Regina is conveying.
5) “Just To See You Smile�? Tim Mcgraw
I don’t think Tim Mcgraw intended this to be a melancholy ballad, and in fact, the tune is rather up-beat. However, once he reaches the third chorus, it’s evident that this love story does not end in a happily ever after. The singer lets his love go just because he loves them so, and he wants them to be happy. That’s what breaks the listener’s heart, and I think it affects the audience so deeply because it holds a universal truth. Although we may love someone with all of our hearts, we may not be that special someone for them. We will inevitably have to let them go. Yeah, heavy stuff. Go ahead, I dare you, just try to listen to this one untouched.
6) “Drink A Beer�? Luke Bryan
Here is another country song, but one that particularly comes to mind when categorizing sad songs. This one describes the moment the artist hears about the passing of a friend. I think we can all relate to that sort of feeling. When we first hear about the death of a loved one, time seems to stand still as we absorb the shock of it. Most times we don’t want to do anything except, “sit right here, on the edge of this peer, watch the sunset disappear, and drink a beer.�? It’s how we can cope with such horrible news, and it is important to take the time to let our minds have a moment to breathe before it catches up with the pain of our hearts. I think Luke Bryan does an excellent job conveying the pain of his heart just by the vibrato of his singing voice, and because of this, his voice will get you gosh darn every time.
7) “I Can’t Make You Love Me�? Adele
This number hits home for me every time. There’s nothing so heart-breaking as unrequited love, and the lyrics of this song perfectly captures that—“I can’t make you love me if you don’t. You can’t make your heart feel something it won’t.�? This song would be almost too painful to bear if it weren’t for Adele’s powerful vibrato. There is so much strength behind her voice that although this song puts you right in the heart-break feels, Adele’s voice gives the listener hope. There is enough hope in this song to combat the pain, and so, listening to this number breaks your heart in the very best way.
8) “I Will Always Love You�? Whitney Houston
How could this song not make the list? It couldn’t have possibly been otherwise. Made doubly tragic as it is sung by the late and great, Whitney Houston, this number will affect man and woman alike. Her powerful voice belting out the chorus and song title, “I will always love you,�? is enough to make even the strongest of us, weep like little children. She perfectly captures the steadfast certainty that no matter what has torn a couple apart that there will always be love between the two—at least held by one of the individuals. It’s tragic and breath-taking, and there really is no other word to describe it other than—beautiful. This is one of the most beautiful songs ever composed, and because it is so great, I’ve chosen to make it the last on this list for it is so monumental another couldn’t possibly follow in its place.
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