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Our Favorite Sad Songs Throughout History

By The Hyperhive


22 January 2024

Sad Songs

© Freepik

Have you ever noticed how certain songs just hit you right in the feels? I am talking about those tunes that make you feel a whole spectrum of emotions, especially the sad ones. Sad songs are like a musical therapy session that everyone can relate to. It doesn’t matter if it’s the melody that gives you goosebumps, the lyrics that speak to your soul, or the singer pouring their heart out – these songs have this incredible way of expressing the ups and downs of life. So, let’s take a ride through the world of sad songs, where the music becomes a companion to our emotions.

‘Fix You‘ by Coldplay

Fix You” by Coldplay is a total tearjerker. The lyrics are all about wanting to be there for someone going through a rough patch. Lines like “Lights will guide you home, and ignite your bones” hit you right in the feels. Chris Martin’s voice, paired with the music that builds up, makes it this emotional rollercoaster that just tugs at your heart. It’s like they’re saying, “I want to fix things for you,” and that mix of compassion and sadness in the song hits you in the gut. So yeah, it’s a sad one, but in that beautiful, comforting kind of way.

Sad Songs
©Coldplay / YouTube

‘I, Carrion‘ by Hozier

Hozier’s latest album, “Unreal, Unearth,” showcases his poetic storytelling through songs like “I, Carrion (Icarian).” Initially perceived as a love song, Hozier later revealed it was originally a gift for a former partner. The singer, portraying Icarus, accepts his fate before the fall. He expresses the liberating feeling of weightlessness and the transformative power of love. The chorus plays with the denial of the impending doom, asserting that if anything falls, it’s the world, not their love. In the midst of the album’s upbeat tracks, “I, Carrion (Icarian)” stands out as a deeply emotional and melancholic composition. It showcases Hozier’s prowess as both a musician and a poetic storyteller.

Sad Songs
©️ Hozier / YouTube

“When We Were Young”  by Adele

Adele isn’t just the queen of winged eyeliner; she is practically the guru of turning heartbreak into musical masterpieces. Take “When We Were Young,” for instance – it’s not just a song, it’s like a nostalgic trip down memory lane. “You still look like a movie, you still sound like a song, my God, this reminds me of when we were young.” I mean, seriously, cue the waterworks. It’s not just about missing someone; it’s like she’s painting a vivid picture of a time when everything was, well, simpler. Every word hits you right in the nostalgia feels. You can’t help but reflect on those moments that seem to have slipped through your fingers. You are just there, wiping away tears and feeling every bit of it.

Sad Songs
©️ Adele / YouTube

“Love Poem” by IU

IU has this magical way of pouring her heart into her songs, and “Love Poem” is no exception. The lyrics dive deep into the feelings of love and longing, giving you that bittersweet vibe that hits you right in the gut. It’s important to mention that IU has lost so many friends to suicide. Maybe this is a way for her to tell her friends that she is there for them.

IU’s voice adds this emotional layer. It’s the kind of song that makes you reflect on love, relationships, and all those moments that tug at your heartstrings. So, yeah, if you are in the mood for some soul-stirring music, “Love Poem” is definitely on the list.

Sad Songs
©️ 이지금 [IU Official] / YouTube

“On the Nature of Daylight” by Max Richter

“On the Nature of Daylight” music has this hauntingly beautiful melody that just hits you right in the feels. It’s got this slow, almost meditative vibe. The way Richter repeats these powerful musical phrases gives it this introspective, melancholic mood. Plus, it’s been used in films like “Shutter Island” (2010), “Arrival,” (2016), etc., amplifying its emotional impact. The sparse instrumentation lets each note linger, and the whole thing creates this contemplative atmosphere that just tugs at your heartstrings. It’s one of those songs that feels like it speaks to your soul, making it a real sad-song favorite.

Sad Songs
©️ MaxRichterMusic / YouTube

“None But The Lonely Hearts” by Pytor Tchaikovsky

“None But the Lonely Heart” by Tchaikovsky is like a musical journey through heartache. Picture this: a soulful melody that captures the essence of loneliness and unrequited love. Tchaikovsky, being the genius he is, took a poem by Goethe, translated it into Russian, and turned it into this emotional masterpiece.

The song dives deep into the pain of a lonely heart, exploring the kind of solitude that comes with love left unanswered. It’s not just a piece of music; it’s a powerful expression of complex feelings. Tchaikovsky was a master at tapping into the human soul through his compositions, and “None But the Lonely Heart” is a perfect example of that.

Sad Songs
©️ Classical Music Only / YouTube

“Earth Song” by Michael Jackson

Michael Jackson’s “Earth Song” is often considered a sad song due to its emotional lyrics and powerful theme addressing environmental and societal issues. Released in 1995, the song expresses despair and frustration about the state of the planet. It reflects on human actions that harm the Earth. The poignant vocals, along with the orchestral arrangement, contribute to the somber tone. The chorus, particularly the line “What have we done to the world?” conveys a deep sense of sorrow and regret. The music video, featuring scenes of environmental destruction, wildlife loss, and human suffering, visually reinforces the song’s emotional impact. It makes “Earth Song” a poignant reflection on the consequences of human actions.

Sad Songs
©️ Michael Jackson / YouTube

“Where Dreams Go to Die” by John Grant

“Where Dreams Go to Die” by John Grant is a real heart-wrencher. The lyrics dive into personal struggles, heartbreak, and the messy parts of relationships. What makes it hit you right in the gut is Grant’s deep, soulful voice—there’s a raw honesty that comes through. The melody is this haunting backdrop that adds to the overall melancholic vibe. It’s not your typical feel-good tune; instead, it’s like a musical journey through the complexities of life and love. If you have ever had those moments where everything feels a bit too real and heavy, this song captures that sentiment perfectly.

©️ bellaunioninc / YouTube

“Hallelujah” Jeff Buckley’s Version

“Hallelujah” is a song written by Canadian singer-songwriter Leonard Cohen. He originally released it on his album “Various Positions” in 1984. The song has since been covered by numerous artists, including Jeff Buckley, whose rendition has become particularly well-known and influential.

©️ Jeff Buckley Music / YouTube

Jeff Buckley’s rendition of “Hallelujah” in 1994 is a soul-stirring exploration into the depths of human emotion and the quest for spiritual completeness. While conventionally associated with expressions of joy and gratitude, Buckley’s rendition introduces a nuanced dimension. He transforms the refrain into a poignant cry echoing pain and despair. In this musical odyssey, Buckley’s evocative vocals and haunting arrangement invite listeners to grapple with the intricate dance between agony and exaltation. He leaves ample room for personal reflection on the enigmatic journey towards spiritual fulfillment.

“Everybody Hurts,” by R.E.M.

In R.E.M.’s 1992 masterpiece, “Everybody Hurts,” the band crafts a poignant anthem acknowledging the shared human experience of pain and suffering. Within its soul-stirring verses, the song delivers a compassionate message, urging listeners to recognize the universality of life’s hardships. The refrain encapsulated in the comforting words “Hold on, hold on,” serves as a gentle yet powerful reminder that, even in the darkest moments, resilience and support can pave the way to brighter tomorrows. This timeless tribute resonates as a musical embrace for those navigating the complexities of life. It emphasizes the importance of reaching out for solace and connection.

©️ remhq / YouTube

“Back to Black,” by Amy Winehouse

Amy Winehouse’s 2006 hit, “Back to Black,” delves into the aftermath of a fractured romance, unraveling the tapestry of love and loss. The haunting chorus, encapsulated by the wrenching lyrics, “We only said goodbye with words, I died a hundred times,” serves as a visceral testament to the profound heartache experienced by the song’s protagonist.

In this melancholic ballad, Winehouse paints a vivid emotional landscape, where the pain of separation is palpable and the echoes of farewell reverberate with poignant intensity. The song emerges as a soulful narrative, capturing the intricate nuances of heartbreak and the arduous journey of picking up the pieces after love has waned.

©️ Amy Winehouse / YouTube

Well, there you have it – a dive into the world of those songs that can make your heart both heavy and light. It’s kind of magical how music, especially the sad stuff, can make us feel so much, right? Whether you are belting out those tunes in the car or having a solo concert in your room, there is a certain comfort in knowing that others out there get it too. So, as we wrap up this musical journey through the feels, remember that sad songs are like a musical hug for your soul. Until then, keep on listening, feeling, and finding beauty in the bittersweet notes of life.

What about you, do you have a favorite sad song? Please don’t hesitate to share it with us, we would love to know.

You may also like: These Are the Best Happy Songs of All Time!

The Hyperhive

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