A couple weeks ago I finally added High Violet by The National to my vinyl collection. It’s something I’ve been meaning to pick up for a while, and when I hadn’t found any records yet that day and Rotate This had a limited edition copy pressed on purple wax, it seemed pretty much meant to be. I’ve been listening to it almost exclusively since then, and although the tracks deal with depressing and hopeless topics, they can also feel comforting and hauntingly beautiful. I’m absolutely in love with it, and if I’m not in class you can often find me in my dorm room belting out the most sentimental lyrics at the top of my lungs. It’s become one of my favourite pastimes. This playlist of sad songs was completely inspired by High Violet. I think everyone needs a good playlist to cry to once in a while, and hopefully this one will be a good one that allows you to do just that.
Sometimes sad songs feel like they could fix everything. That seems counter-intuitive, but it’s reassuring to know that there are other people out there who know exactly how you’re feeling. Even better, that they wrote songs about it. And that they still play those songs live and that they still feel those feelings and know those emotions. It can be comforting to know that you’re not the only person in the world who has ever been heartbroken or let down or dejected. And that’s where sad songs come in.
Depressing tracks seem to have hundreds and thousands of layers that other songs don’t always have. Whether the entire thing feels sorrowful or it’s just a couple lines that are filled with despair, there’s a quality there that makes you connect to the song ten times faster than you normally would. Even if it’s a single word or simply the aura of the song that’s dismal and forlorn, it seems easy to relate to and to love.
A lot of my favourite bands write absolutely breathtaking, heart-wrenching songs. Of course The National is an obvious example. The Vaccines also seem to have perfected the art of the sad track – I could probably dedicate an entire playlist to their sorrowful melodies. Alvvays do a good job of it too. Even though their tracks sound like girl-pop jams on the surface, the lyrics are often quite miserable. The Strokes write great melancholy tracks as well, and so do Florence + the Machine and Jake Bugg and Reuben and the Dark. Because I seem to love sorrowful music so much, I decided I’d compile a bunch of my favourite, most depressing songs into one solid playlist for all of you. So, without further ado, here are the best tragic songs I could think of: