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The 25 Sad Songs of Depression from World’s Best Singers

A bad day often calls for a shoulder to cry on. Others call for a stiff drink. And some days, you just need to throw on your headphones, crank up the volume and wallow in your sorrow to the soundtrack of an emotionally devastating song that seems written exclusively for you. Sad songs come in all flavors, from breakup anthems to 12-bar blues.

But if you’re just looking for a soundtrack calibrated to general malaise, this list is for you.

  1. “Punisher” – Phoebe Bridgers

When you need a moment to sit with your feelings, allow Phoebe Bridgers’s incredibly soothing voice in “Punisher ” to help you process your emotions.

  1. “traitor” – Olivia Rodrigo

If you’re going through a heartbreak, Olivia Rodrigo’s Sour is incredibly cathartic, but “traitor” especially hits if any emotional cheating was involved. Sending you love!

  1. “Doing It Wrong” – Drake

Drake practically invented the official breakup album with taking Care. “Doing It Wrong” makes the top of the list alongside “Marvin’s Room” from the 20-song deluxe masterpiece.

  1. “Righteous” – Juice WORLD

What makes this song incredibly sad isn’t solely the fact that Juice WORLD is no longer with us, but that his lyrics alluded to his death. “Over ice, I’m freezing / Beautiful eyes, deceiving / We may die this evening / Coughing, wheezing, bleeding.”

  1. “Cowboy Like Me” – Taylor Swift

When you’re trying to unwind from a draining week and are simply not in the mood to do anything, Taylor Swift’s “Cowboy Like Me” is perfect bubble bath music.

  1. “Landslide” – Fleetwood Mac

“Landslide” never fails to make us think about how quickly life passes by while reminding us to appreciate every moment—even during the hard times.

  1. “To Build a Home” – The Cinematic Orchestra

Cue the song that’s played during every sad/devastating/emotionally brutal moment in a movie. Nevertheless, it gets the job done.

  1. “Slow Burn” – Kacey Musgraves

Golden Hour may have won four Grammys, but “Slow Burn” deserves 100 more—simply for every tear, I’ve shed listening to it and allowing myself to process my emotions.

  1. “You Say” – Lauren Daigle

Lauren Daigle’s “You Say” is deeply emotional if you’re struggling with feelings of self-doubt: “You say I am loved when I can’t feel a thing / You say I am strong when I think I am weak / You say I am held when I am falling short.”

  1. “My Heart Will Go On” – Céline Dion

“My Heart Will Go On” never fails to strike a chord every listen, mainly because all I can think about is Rose letting go of Jack.

  1. “Lonely” – Justin Bieber & Benny Blanco

The title speaks for itself, but Justin Bieber and Benny Blanco do a masterful job of creating a vulnerable song about loneliness, especially during a time when we’re all struggling.

  1. “When We Were Young” – Adele

Not only did Adele invent winged eyeliner, but she also perfected the art of the sad song. “You still look like a movie. You still sound like a song. My God, this reminds me of when we were young.” Excuse me while I wipe away a tear.

  1. “Beyond” – Leon Bridges

This song is so sweet. The music video is so sweet. Leon Bridges is so sweet. Just everything about this song is so sweet. “Beyond” is about dating someone and feeling that emotion of knowing that it’s beyond any other feeling you have felt for someone before.

  1. “I’m On Fire” – Chromatics

I’m a loyal fan of the original version by Bruce Springsteen, but something about hearing it from Chromatics’ perspective gives the song a whole new meaning.

  1. “Somebody Else” – The 1975

“I don’t want your body, but I hate to think about you with somebody else. Our love has gone cold. You’re intertwining your soul with somebody else.” A lyric like no other, for a sad-but-happy-sounding song like no other.

  1. “Homesick” – Dua Lipa

Home is not a place but a person in the Dua Lipa song “Homesick,” sung along with Coldplay lead singer Chris Martin. Known for catchy pop tunes like her new song, “Don’t Start Now,” Lipa reminds us the best sad songs start with vocals.

  1. “How Will I Know” – Sam Smith

Sam Smith’s cover of the iconic Whitney Houston song “How Will I Know” makes you feel so many things you didn’t know you could possess. Most covers pay respect to the original in some way, but Smith gives the song a new light.

  1. “From the Dining Table” – Harry Styles

This song is so intimate I almost feel guilty listening to it. “Why won’t you ever say what you want to say? Even my phone misses your call, by the way.” For a heart-shattering listen, I recommend using headphones.

  1. “Nothing’s Gonna Hurt You Baby” – Cigarettes After Sex

“Nothing’s Gonna Hurt You Baby” is one of those songs that can transport you to somewhere else in an instant. I still can’t decide if the song or the YouTube comment section of the video is more heartwarming.

  1. “ILYSB” – LANY

The acoustic version of LANY’s breakout hit song, “ILYSB,” allows you to fully take in Paul Klein’s lyrics of loving someone so much it hurts. No pain, no gain, right?

  1. “Right Now” – HAIM

I can’t decide if the bass line or the drum solo is the best part of this song. “Right Now” reminds us why the Haim sisters are one of the best groups of the decade. I’d recommend listening to it during golden hour for the full dramatic effect.

  1. I’ll Never Love Again” – Lady Gaga

Even if you didn’t see A Star Is Born, you can infer the emotional complexities of the song from the title.

  1. “River” – Ben Platt

Ben Platt makes the Joni Mitchell song all his own when he sings it in the first episode of Netflix’s Politician (watch our video with the cast here). Platt’s voice will suck you into his world for four minutes, and we’re so thankful.

  1. “Dancing on My Own” – Calum Scott

Remember the group of New Yorkers who sang Robyn’s “Dancing on My Own” in the middle of the subway platform? Calum Scott’s version will, in fact, not have you do that (instead you’ll likely be crying on the subway)…and that’s all you need to know.

  1. “Be Alright” – Dean Lewis

Australian heartthrob Dean Lewis gave us the perfect excuse to let go of someone who, unfortunately, just doesn’t want us back. Reminder: It will be alright.

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