21 Most Depressing Songs of All Time

There is an unfathomable joy in feeling all the feels again. Although we’re pretty aware of the fact that upbeat music will help us elevate our mood, the desire to listen to sad music is recalcitrant when we’re feeling low. Sad music has the tenderness and peacefulness of a sea breeze. When people fail to apprehend our desolation, we turn to music, because discovering that there is indeed someone who has felt the same and been through similar things in life is like finding a long lost friend. And however sad the music is, it resonates most beautifully with our broken hearts. Contrary to popular belief, not all sad songs are about a flunked love affair. People write about war, depression, the loss of a loved one and ample of other things that you will find in this list.  Elton John, on listening to sad music, once said “It feels so good to hurt so bad”. Well, we couldn’t agree more. So, here is a list of 21 most depressing songs of all time.


21. Asleep – The Smiths:

The Smiths have captured the loneliness of a man’s anguish so beautifully, it hurts. There are scores of songs dedicated to this genre but Asleep has to be the most depressing songs they ever wrote.


20. Sylvia’s Mother – Dr. Hook:

Sylvia’s Mother immediately topped numerous charts all around the globe when it was released in 1972. The song, written by Shel Silverstein, is based upon his failed relationship with a girl named Sylvia Pandolfi. It has amazing lyrics and beautifully heart wrenching voice of Dennis Locorriere that make us all fall in love with this song.


19. Under the bridge – Red Hot Chili Peppers:

“It’s hard to believe that there’s nobody out there

It’s hard to believe that I’m all alone

At least I have her love, the city she loves me

Lonely as I am, together we cry”

This song makes me cry like a baby! The song is both written and performed by Anthony Keidis about his loneliness and impact of drugs on his life.


18. Pink Moon – Nick Drake:

Nick Drake’s voice is the most magical thing I’ve ever come across in my life. Trust me, it will give you an eargasm! Drake suffered from depression almost all of his life till he died of alleged suicide at a tender age of 26 and his music is a complete reflection of his mourning soul.


17. Untitiled#1 (Vaka) – Sigur Ros

Sigur Ros’ single Vaka brought tears to everyone’s eyes as it showed a world after an apocalypse, where its wrath has fallen upon innocent children. In the music video, mask clad pupils are shown playing with whatever is left after the destruction. One of the girl’s mask then mistakenly fells off amid their jaunty play and she dies. The song is only a repetition of the four-five words that comprise all of its lyrics, but is one of the most influential and depressing songs of all time.


16. How to disappear completely – Radiohead:

With exquisite vocal and instrumentals, this song leaves a sedative effect on the minds of the listener. They were ranked 73rd in Rolling Stone’s list of “The Greatest Artists of All Times” in 2005. With most of their music inspired from war, their music goes straight into the heart. How to disappear completely is as beautiful as it is sad.


15. Total eclipse of the heart – Bonnie Tyler:

This song reaches a whole another level on loneliness. Sung by Bonnie Tyler, a Welsh singer, this song touched million hearts worldwide. Ever since the song released, she performs this single in every concert. So, I guess Tyler is as much in love with the song as we are!


14. Thief – Our Lady Peace:

The song is about a young cancer stricken girl and her tumor is referred to as the “thief”. The music video starts with following lines, “Each year, terminal illness steals the lives of thousands of children, Mina Kim was one”.

13. Changes – Black Sabbath:

Black Sabbath gave birth to Heavy metal, we know that very well, but they are a lot more than that. With numerous songs written about loneliness and broken heart, this one surely bags the prize.

“It took so long to realize

That I can still hear her last goodbyes

Now all my days are filled with tears

Wish I could go back

And change these years.”

Tears are streaming down my face, already!


12. I know It’s Over – The Smiths:

The Smiths know how to make you cry! I Know It’s Over profoundly elucidates the feelings of a suicidal person. Everything is calling him to death, the knife wants to slit him, the sea wants to take him, and he is not able to shut these thoughts out but is asking his mother for help. Ah, the feels!


11. Everything means nothing to me – Elliot Smith:

The song is only about one thing, the title, “Everything means nothing to me”, and that is enough to make us cry. If you’re planning on listening to this right now, be sure to bring some tissues.

10. At seventeen – Janis Ian:

This song was released in 1975 about the senseless fixation on society’s beauty standards. Forty years have passed and here we are, still relating to this exquisite piece of work.

09. Angels – Robbie Williams:

Angels is said to be responsible for holding credit for Robbie William’s carrier. The lyrics are heart wrenching and the music breath taking.

08. Bohemian Rhapsody – Queen:

Bohemian Rhapsody is one of a kind song. It includes a ballad, an opera and hard rock all in one song. It was recorded in a time where technology wasn’t very sound and because of which it took very long to record various parts of the song. It is about a man’s story who has just killed someone and how this has completely destroyed his life, now. The man now says that he has to go too and “face the truth”. The song is sure to give you some chills!


07. I will remember you – Sarah McLachlan:

Sarah McLachlan’s song was inspired from an instrumental, “Weep not for the memories” by Seamus Egan. This song might happen to be your favourite if you’re dealing with a broken heart.

06. Kettering – The Antlers:

The song is about a man who works in a hospital, who eventually falls in love with a terminally ill woman. It is said to hold some autobiographical reference to Silberman, the lead singer.

“ But something kept me standing

By that hospital bed I should have quit but instead I took care of you

You made me sleep and uneven

And I didn’t believe them

When they told me that there was no saving you. “

05. I’m so lonesome I could cry – Hank Williams:

The song, obvious from its name, is about loneliness. The singer wrote this about his distressing relationship with his wife. The lyrics literally pinch when he talks about “his lost will to live”.

04. The Gunner’s Dream – Pink Floyd:

The Gunner’s Dream was released in 1983 in the album The Final Cut. The song describes the last thoughts of a soldier, dying at war. This man is flying a warplane as it brought down by the enemies. He dreams of a world without war. He bids his goodbye to everyone, his mother and friends and imagines everything that is going to happen after his death. The song will melt you into a thousand tears.


03. Tears in heaven – Eric Clapton:

Tears in heaven was written for a movie but Clapton later admitted in an interview that song was about the death of his four-year-old son. Clapton writes about how he wonders if his son will remember him, when he will meet him in heaven. He dreams of being happy and at peace after death, as there will be no more tears once he crosses the “door”. At the same time, he convinces himself to be strong until then as he doesn’t really belong up there.

02. When a blind man cries – Deep Purple:

Can we just agree that merely the title was able to build a frown on our otherwise happy face? Well, if you’re reading this, obviously you cannot relate to the song, and yet it is powerful enough to dissolve you into tears.

“ If you’re leaving close the door I’m not expecting people anymore Hear me grieving, I’m lying on the floor Whether I’m drunk or dead, I really ain’t too sure. “

01. Hurt – Nine Inches Nails:

Originally performed by Nine Inches Nails, this song was later covered by Johnny Cash only a few years before his death. The song deals with what the singer has become after all these years, and this “Kingdom of dirt” that he owns doesn’t mean anything to him. He only wishes to get one more chance to start it all again, and this time he would find a way to save everything.


There is nothing bad about sadness as long as it doesn’t overshadow your gaiety. So, dive into the empathetic works of these brilliant musicians and give your soul the healing it requires.


Related posts:

Tagged as: