Top 5 Songs For Sad Times

No matter your circumstance, music has the ability to bring people together and ease feelings of loneliness and isolation. Studies show how music has the power to impact your mood positively while sparking feelings of nostalgia and belongingness in its listeners.

Now is the time to bring out those tissues and let your tears flow – here are our favorite songs for sad times.

‘Hurt’ by Nine Inch Nails

“Hurt,” by Nine Inch Nails’ classic 1994 album The Downward Spiral is the kind of track that brings your pain into focus. This powerfully emotional tune from 1994 can make you cry; its lyrics speak of heartbreak, loss and despair while also reflecting feelings of isolation caused by darkness consuming us all. While its dark themes may make some uncomfortable, its message provides support and empowerment to those feeling misunderstood by society; many consider this track one of the essential sad songs ever written.

With Teeth was the album that signaled a shift for NIN. Instead of dwelling solely on personal pain and emotional turmoil, this record explored global political unrest and social injustice while still dealing with personal demons on an intimate level – marking NIN as a truly great band for generations to come.

This song exemplifies this transition. It’s an emotionally wrenching ballad with low-end keyboards creating an eerie atmosphere while vocalists express sorrow with emotions of sorrow and grief – a true tearjerker worthy of anyone seeking out good sad songs to listen to.

If you prefer listening to something other than ballads, here is an amazing live version of NIN’s classic song to keep the emotion going strong: This live rendition may differ slightly from its original but is still an incredible and moving tune that will cause your hairs on your neck to stand up!

Mad Hatter’s Daughter offers another stunning cover of an NIN classic song with their rendition, taking the haunting piano melody and adding strings for a more emotional rendition. Their rendition will have you sobbing tears of sorrow all the way through it’s duration! It truly beautiful rendition that’ll have you crying like never before.

‘Tears to Heaven’ by Sinead O’Connor

Sinead O’Connor’s hit ‘Tears to Heaven’ remains one of her most powerful works, recording at the height of her political activism and spiritual curiosity at her death in 2023. O’Connor sang of her disintegration of faith in trying to cope with her mother’s death – as O’Connor sang her lyrics, the hip-hop beats mimicked its dull metallic ache; O’Connor moved from singing in a low croon to straining falsetto to soulful keening throughout – creating an unflinching portrait that remains timeless yet heartwrenching in every aspect.

Sinead O’Connor was renowned for her emotive yet emotionally raw music, be it traditional Irish ballads on her Sean-Nos Nua albums or reggae classics recorded at Jamaica’s Tuff Gong studios. But her most powerful work came in the form of her duet with Irish musician Oisin Lunny in their duet ‘Falling Down’: an intimate portrait of their grieving relationship that showcases both of their breathtaking vocal talents; Oisin Lunny provides equally stunning backing vocals while O-Connor herself provided powerful vocals as her own performance.

Trip hop was often used as the go-to weeper during the ’90s for tasteful music enthusiasts looking for comforting lyrics like Portishead’s ‘Roads’ by tasteful fans to soothe late-night bedroom sob-alongs, but O’Connor’s raw and honest vocal delivery gave ‘Teardrop’ its distinct identity as a powerfully cathartic performance – made even more so as she recorded this three years before she went viral for torning up a picture of Pope John Paul II by religious fans on Saturday Night Live and becoming the target of religious bigots who went viral for religious hatred against her religious faith!

O’Connor may have been an outspoken critic of society, yet her refusal to let go of her past made her an expert in mourning it. From her debut album, this cover of Sam Cooke’s 1963 original is an exceptional demonstration of how a simple melody can transform into an anthem of lament and defiance; O’Connor’s restless vocals stretching across an easy guitar refrain are filled with tragedy and yearning, offering yet another reminder that singing can offer its own special form of beauty in song form.

‘Nothing Compares 2 U’ by Prince

“Nothing Compares 2 U” is one of those timeless songs that everyone knows by heart, featuring its iconic synth chorales, black turtleneck and Sinead O’Connor’s shaved head – an icon in music fans’ memories. However, when experiencing heartbreak or just having one of those days, its somber ballad about love lost can take on new significance – reminding of good memories, yet serving as a painful reminder that some things cannot be replaced.

If you’ve ever been heartbroken, this song can make everything seem hopeless. With its haunting vocals on its chorus and haunting chord progressions, its haunting melody makes every rejection and betrayal felt acutely; perhaps you even begin to believe they’ve died. We The Kings even recorded their version as part of their 2023 release for us all to enjoy; its recent version being an spine-tingling ballad that will have you remembering your last relationship and all its sweet lyrics shared between both sides.

Though its lyrics and melody may have become part of cultural dialogue over the years (think Oscar Isaac’s sad folk musician in Inside Llewyn Davis telling Billie Joe Armstrong to wake up), Amy Winehouse’s heartbreaking vocals coupled with its tragic lyrics about Blake Fielder-Civil make this song timeless and relevant for anyone experiencing relationship abuse or hardships of any sort. It will remain timeless because no matter who writes the next bestseller on your book shelf!

Prince is actually responsible for writing this song – writing music and recording a demo version in 1984 but not releasing it until 1990. After realizing it wouldn’t make an effective single release, he gave it to The Family; O’Connor made her version famous through her emotional rendition, while its music video features close ups of O’Connor wiping tears from her cheek.

‘Enjoy the Silence’ by Basildon

This song is one of the most emotional songs ever written. It conveys all of the frustration associated with being stuck in an undesirable situation and wanting out as fast as possible, something Cyndi Lauper has unfortunately been doing since 2016. Her lyrics in this slow and haunting song will strike a chord in any listener who’s felt something missing in their lives.

Celeste’s exquisite vocals combine with piano keys and velvety strings to form a powerful and heartfelt track about human connection’s ever-ebbing nature. Reminiscing on past relationships reminds you that things will never be the same; no matter how hard you try to hold on, and reminds us all how devastating breakups can be.

Basildon are synthpop superstars known for balancing between sleaze and sadness in their music, such as this tune from their Violator album that addresses both subjects simultaneously. It explores how words can often be violent and destructive while at the same time providing us with the only outlet we need for expressing what’s in our hearts.

Dance-pop band Saint Etienne’s jauntier version of Young’s folky ballad often overshadows Young’s original, as both versions are equally depressing – they both encapsulate someone resigned not just to heartbreak but to an eternity of misery. Thanks to its infectious earworm hook and subtle Booker T organ work, many artists such as Natalie Imbruglia, The Corrs, Psychic TV and Sia have covered this classic tune.

Anton Corbijn-directed music video for this song references themes found in Antoine de Saint-Exupery’s philosophical children’s book, The Little Prince, with Dave Gahan dressed as The King wandering Scotland and Portugal before finally relaxing with a deck chair in Switzerland Alps. Lyrically it references drugs, depression and suicide – making this track an emotional ride and truly incredible production/songwriting feat.