If you’re like me, you have a playlist for everything. You have a workout playlist, a party playlist, and of course, a sad playlist, because sometimes, you just need to let it out and cry. Whether you’re getting over a breakup, experiencing a big change in your life, or just feeling down, it always helps to know that Adele, Avril Lavigne, and Bruno Mars have all been there. So, if you need to refresh your sad music playlist, check out these 39 songs that will pair very nicely with a pint of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream.
Never Grow Up – Taylor Swift
Growing up can be scary sometimes, and Taylor Swift describes it perfectly in this song, which she dedicated to her godson upon his birth.
See You Again – Charlie Puth ft. Wiz Khalifa
You probably know all of the lyrics to this song, but did you know that it is a tribute to the late actor Paul Walker, who died in a car crash back in 2013?
Somebody Else – The 1975
There’s nothing more sad that an old lover meeting someone new and moving on, which is exactly what this song is about.
Someone You Loved – Lewis Capaldi
Going through a breakup is hard, and Lewis Capaldi depicts it brilliantly in his hit song.
Bad Day – Justin Bieber
I’m going to assume this song, like all of Justin Bieber’s breakup songs, is about Selena Gomez.
What Hurts the Most – Rascal Flatts
While many may assume that this is a song about love, in actuality, the writer Jeffrey Steele was inspired by the passing of his father.
The Circle Game – Joni Mitchell
Nothing reminds you of the quick passage of time quite like Joni Mitchell’s “The Circle Game.”
Nobody – Mitski
“Nobody” may have a good beat, but don’t be fooled because the message behind the song is actually so sad. Mitski described her inspiration to Genius, saying that she wrote the song when she decided to stay in Malaysia one holiday season. ” I didn’t prepare for how fricking lonely it would be to just be all alone in a country where no one knows me, while everyone else I know is having holidays with their family and friends.”
Yesterday – The Beatles
This song about lost love is the most covered in music history.
When I Was Your Man – Bruno Mars
Bruno Mars has said that “When I Was Your Man” is his most difficult song to perform because of the lyrics and meaning.
Angel – Sarah McLachlan
If you’ve ever found yourself awake at four in the morning, watching TV when a commercial for the ASPCA comes on, you know this song. It’s the heartbreaking tune that plays in the background as a montage of sad puppies moves across your screen.
The story behind this song is heartbreaking as well, though. Sara McLachlan wrote the track following the death of Smashing Pumpkin’s Jonathon Melvoin who died of a drug overdose when he was 34.
Dancing On My Own – Robyn
Like “Nobody,” “Dancing On My Own” is definitely a song you can dance to, but in reality the lyrics tell the story of a girl dancing at a club while she watches her ex with another woman.
Tears in Heaven – Eric Clapton
After Eric Clapton’s son tragically died when he was just 4 years old, the singer took a 6-month hiatus from work. He returned with this song, which is about his late son.
I’m Not The Only One – Sam Smith
“I’m Not The Only One” is the official cheating anthem for good reason.
All Bad – Justin Bieber
“All Bad” is on Justin’s album Journals, which features some of his most personal songs, inspired by his own personal journals. This one discusses his attempts to prove to a girl that he isn’t “all bad,” and it may have been inspired by his relationship with Selena Gomez, which went south when he got caught up in the fame and went down a dark path.
Lose You To Love Me – Selena Gomez
This song is just all the more heartbreaking because we know it’s about Justin Bieber and their complicated relationship.
Good Riddance (Time of Your Life) – Green Day
Not only does this play behind a montage of photos at like every school graduation, but the story behind this song is actually pretty sad. Billie Joe Armstrong wrote it after a break-up with a girlfriend who moved to Ecuador. Billie was pretty mad about the whole thing, hence the title, “Good Riddance.”
Last Kiss – Taylor Swift
The song “Last Kiss” is all about a breakup, specifically Taylor’s breakup with Joe Jonas. In a post on her website, Taylor wrote about the song, saying, “You say all of these desperate, hopeless feelings that you have after a break-up. Going through a break-up you feel all of these different things. You feel anger, and you feel confusion, and frustration. Then there is the absolute sadness. The sadness of losing this person, losing all the memories, and the hopes you had for the future. There are times when you have this moment of truth where you just admit to yourself that you miss all these things. When I was in one of those moments I wrote this song.”
Keep Holding On – Avril Lavigne
Avril really knows how to rock a power ballad and “Keep Holding On” proves that.
Let Her Go – Passenger
I apologize if this song is now stuck in your head for the remainder of the day.
The Only Thing – Sufjan Stevens
Sufjan Stevens revealed in an interview that this song touches on his feelings following his mother’s death, when he started indulging in her previously self-destructive behavior. “Becoming reckless and hazardous was my way of being intimate with her,” he said.
Forever Young – Jay Z
Nothing puts time in perspective quite like Jay-Z’s “Forever Young.”
The Sound of Silence – Simon & Garfunkel
This song is thought to be a response to President Kennedy’s assassination since it was released just three months after the event in 1964.
when the party’s over – Billie Eilish
Billie has insisted that “when the party’s over” is an angry song, not a sad one, but come on, I’m shedding black tears listening to it rn.
Hallelujah – Leonard Cohen
What’s even more sad than the song “Hallelujah”? The fact that Leonard Cohen wrote about 80 different verses of the now famous tune, and he was known to often sing different ones during various liver performances. Since Leonard died in 2016, however, we may never get to hear all of his versions.
I’ll Never Love Again – Lady Gaga (A Star is Born Soundtrack)
A Star is Born is a pretty heartbreaking movie, but nothing is as sad as the final scene when Ally (Lady Gaga) sings this ballad at her final concert following the death of her husband Jackson (Bradley Cooper).
Everybody Hurts – R.E.M.
The lead vocalist of R.E.M., Michael Stipe has explained that this song was meant to be a message to the band’s young fans that everyone has bad days, but to stay positive nonetheless.
Someone Like You – Adele
Adele is the queen of the sad song and like most of her album 21, “Someone Like You” was inspired by a failed relationship.
Same Drugs – Chance the Rapper
Shortly following the release of “Same Drugs,” Chance took to Twitter to clarify the meaning behind the song, saying “Same Drugs isn’t about drugs.”
In actuality, the song is about a relationship between the rapper and a girl from his childhood. It describes their fallout after realizing that they no longer have the same interests while also reflecting on their time together.
Bleeding Love – Leona Lewis
If you haven’t belted out the chorus to “Bleeding Love” in your room alone after a breakup, you haven’t lived.
Fix You – Coldplay
“Fix You” is a super sad song on its own, but when you hear the story behind it, it becomes that much more heartbreaking. Coldplay frontman Chris Martin wrote “Fix You” for his then-wife, Gwyneth Paltrow, to comfort her following the death of her father.
So Sick – Ne-Yo
I’m sorry, if you can listen to this song without belting out the chorus dramatically, you’re not human.
The A Team – Ed Sheeran
We were introduced to Ed Sheeran with this heartbreaking song and he proved right away that he was here to stay. Ed revealed that he was inspired to write this song after performing at a homeless shelter and he met a girl named Angel, hence the lyric, “It’s too cold outside for angels to fly.”
Say Something – A Great Big World & Christina Aguilera
A classic breakup song, “Say Something” pairs best with a box of chocolates and a rom-com movie marathon.
The Gambler – Fun
Really listen to the lyrics of this one because they are haunting. “The Gambler” tells the story of Nate Ruess’ parents: how they met, raised their kids, and his father’s eventual illness.
Skinny Love – Bon Iver
Justin Vernon, the frontman of the band Bon Iver, described the term “skinny love” as a relationship that “doesn’t have weight,” in an interview with Pitchfork back in 2011. “Skinny love doesn’t have a chance because it’s not nourished.”
100 Years – Five For Fighting
No graduation montage is complete without this song.
When You’re Gone – Avril Lavigne
The closest that Avril has ever gotten to a love song, “When You’re Gone” is truly heartbreaking, especially when you consider the music video that goes along with it.
Hate To See You Heart Break – Paramore
“Hate To See You Heart Break” is about Paramore’s guitarist Taylor York, who was struggling during the creation of the band’s album, Paramore.