I make a lot of playlists with pick-me-up lyrics or peppy foot stompin’ beats because what I love about music is that it has a real way of lifting people out of the dumps and making you want to groove. But sometimes you very much want to exist solely in those dumps and wallow in their stinkiness. And never a discriminatory playlister, I made this one for you. It’s equivalent to popping on The Notebook when you need a good cry. Get in touch with this playlist when you want to sob your face off and feel sorry for your single-never-gonna-find-true-love ass. Then when it’s done, mop up your snot, take a shower, put on a red lip and pop on over to my Bitch, I’m Limited Edition playlist for a confidence boost.
1. Dreaming With A Broken Heart – John Mayer. I’ve never hidden my very public boner for John Mayer’s album Continuum as a whole piece of art that I want to crawl inside of and listen to on repeat forever. It also, happens to be a breakup album. Turns out ole Johnny boy really hit his stride when he was in heart turmoil. I wish he hit his stride by playing it in full when I saw him in concert last year instead of choosing to play it for dirty NYC instead. But obviously I’m not still holding onto that bitterness (I 100% am.) Every song off of this album is amazing–except Waiting on the World to Change because I’m not a hippie. However, nothing quite screams depression like his very detailed description of what it’s like to sleep when you’re heartbroken and wake up and remember that you lost the love of your life. If you’d also like a visual of that to really make sure your heart feels full of holes, look no further than this performance to it from So You Think You Can Dance (100 years ago.) The male lead in it is now the official DJ of The Ellen (soon to be cancelled) Show.
2. Everybody Hurts – R.E.M. I honestly had forgotten completely about this song until I read a romance novel last night cleverly titled “Beach Read” (10/10 would recommend) and the guy blasts this song at his birthday party and gets roasted by his soon to be love interest REAL hard for how depressing this song is. And it’s SUCH a quintessential cry song. I mean even Dwight Schrute popped this classic on with his windows rolled down in the parking lot when Michael Scott was giving more attention to Ryan the temp. Sometimes when you embarrassingly have tears streaming down your face, it’s comforting to know that EVERYBODY CRIIIIIIIEEEESSSSS.
3. It’s All Coming Back To Me Now – Celine Dion. I’ve never been more confident in my car concert performance skills than I am with this song. I will never ever get the words right no matter HOW hard I try to learn them, and yet people are MOVED by the notes I’m able to hit right up there with my girl Celine. This song is all about emotion. You breathe deep from your belly and let that sadness and regret come screaming out. Crying can certainly be a therapeutic release, but nothing will ever top the buildup of AND I BANISHED EVERY MEMORY YOU AND I HAD EVER MADEEEEEEEEEEE to go back down to a soft sadness of “but when you touch me like this.” I got goosebumps just thinking of it and now I think I’ll need to take my car for a spin down I-90 for a little cathartic Celine solo sesh.
4. What Hurts the Most – Rascal Flatts. Nobody knows heartbreak like country singers and that seems pretty obvious. This one’s a heart-wrenching song about trying to get through each day but the worst part being the regret. Oof. Let that tasty nugget sink in and simmer in your overactive brain before bed. Nope, just me? Cool, cool, cool.
5. I Don’t Know You Anymore – Savage Garden. About 0.01% of you will know this song. In fact, I would go out on a limb here and say about half of this playlist is obscure sad songs. I really dug deep for this. And that’s exclusively because this playlist is subjective and since it’s my blog and I write whatever I feel like writing about, I get to do that! I get to force the songs that I’ve cried to for years right in your faces and say HAH, check out these sobworthy tales that you may have never discovered before. Savage Garden became my crying CD (I believe they only made one) via my sister Nikki. Shoutout to her for passing down the sad. Whenever mom and dad were mean and punished me or a boy tripped me instead of smiling at me when I had a raging crush on him, I smashed play on the ole Savvy G. They just GET me, yaknow?! Just kidding, they just happen to have mellow delicate voices that soothe a sobbing pre-teen into a lull and make her relate her dumb 11 year old problems to adult tales of loss and abusive relationships (Two Beds and a Coffee Machine will make you want to rip your eyeballs out from sadness.)
6. Someone Like You – Adele. Ah yes, the fiery Brit with pipes beyond belief who started churning out breakup songs right out the gate. Nothing will make you sit and ponder life and stare out into the abyss like a deep Adele song. Even though I’m anticipating what type of music glow-up Adele will be releasing into the wild in the near future, this is a nice nod to her early days on the scene. Her voice is like a warm cup of tea that you immediately want to cry into.
7. Happier – Ed Sheeran. Honestly just hearing the beginning notes of this song makes me want to immediately burst into tears. Having someone love you so much that they just want to see you happy is the ultimate thing and YET that’s nearly impossible. WHO THE HELL WANTS TO SEE THAT? I’d rather go blind than see someone I was happy as a clam with being happy as a clam with someone else (probably on social media because that’s where people want to show that they’re SUH hAPpY.) Obviously this is why I’m a terrible human being and Ed is a phenomenal one. He even displayed this selfless unconditional love via puppets and balloons in the music video. A puppet could never date a balloon anyway so it’s for the best that she left his ass.
8. Reminds Me of You – Van Morrison. Normally when I make mixes I sprinkle the sads throughout and what I’m realizing is that having a playlist JUST FULL OF SADS is probably how people end up offing themselves. Please don’t do that. Crying is good. Wallowing with ice cream is encouraged. Watching a movie on Netflix where SPOILER ALERT you know the ending has the lead dying in the twin towers on September 11th (shoutout Remember Me) so you don’t have to see a happy ending is self-care. Listening to the depressing crooning of Van Morrison reminding you that everything in your life reminds you of your ex lover is NECESSARY.
9. You’ll Think Of Me – Keith Urban. This is a nice balance from Keith. It’s a little bit of GFY, mixed in with some feeling down and out. Keith has been cheated on and he’d like to remind this hussy ass ho that one day she’s going to circle back to him with regret and love and he’ll be like HAH no thanks. And that’s a nice mentality to have. An even better mentality to have, is thinking for SEVERAL years that he was singing “take your cat and leave my sweater” and that was HIGHLARIOUS to me. I think I grew to love this song even more just from believing that Keith was telling his girl to kick rocks and take her stupid cat with her too. Since I cannot stand the existence of cats, leaving one behind in a breakup seems like a normal thing to do because cats are assholes and probably would just hiss at you if you ever tried to cry and snuggle with them anyway. Nobody wants that cat. Or, if you finally google the lyrics for accuracy (10+ years later)…nobody wants that cap. Who the hell says CAP anyway?! It’s a hat, Keith. Or for our friends up north, a toque.
10. Breathe – Melissa Etheridge. I was scrolling through my iTunes library and had completely forgotten about this gem of a song. When I refreshed my memory with a play, I couldn’t fathom a boohoo playlist without it. I don’t think there’s ever been a MORE dramatic chorus than “I’m all right, I’m all right, it only hurts when I breathe.” Can you IMAGINE saying that to someone’s face. Like hey how ya doing? Oh I’m alright, it only hurts when I breathe. I LOVE THAT. I LIVE FOR THE DRAMA. This seems like something I would’ve written in my middle school journal. And I KNOW for a fact that I used it as an AIM away message. Everyone buzz off, the act of being alive is hurting me right now.
11. Amnesia – 5 Seconds of Summer. I thought it might be nice to hop from a rock n roll lesbian who my parents can’t get enough of, to an edgy boy band with a variety of shades of neon hair. Something for everyone to get their sad face on to! This song that this band 9000% did not write grapples with the idea of wishing we could just erase our brains completely because having memories makes heartbreak one trillion times worse. A little Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind for your eardrums.
12. Hurts Like Hell – Wrabel. This one can probably go hand in hand with ya gurl Mel. Not only does it hurt when I breathe but it HURTS LIKE HELL. This is for the lingering case of the sads that lasts for several years and WOOF does that suck. Bet Wrabel wish they had amnesia, amirite?!
13. Drunk Me – Mitchell Tenpenny. I try to stay away from substance abuse when I know a stiff breeze could make my eyes unstoppable waterfalls of sadness and Mitchell seems to feel the same way. He’s not really into drinking when he’s going through a breakup because booze brings out all his emotions and also THERE AiN’T nO HaNGoVeR like you, gurl. And ain’t that the truth. Also, I genuinely get crippling hangovers and fun fact: alcohol is a depressant so getting more sad the day after is typically how that bitch ruins your weekend and you end up needing to turn on Teen Mom to see someone who’s struggling harder than you so you can find the strength to get up off the couch and make some Kraft Mac & Cheese.
14. Walking on Broken Glass – Annie Lennox. Yeah I could be shouting out our current lady popstars who know how to twist the knife BUT it seems like today’s generation is much more forgiving and less about the poor me’s. And that’s great and all, good for them, girl power, THANK U NEXT, I needed to LOSE you to LOVE me. But first, I need the wah wah’s. I need to feel V. sorry for myself before I can snap my fingers and declare that everything I need is standing right in front of me as I look in the mirror like Demi Lovato. And that’s where Annie comes into play. Annie’s like this sucks so bad it literally feels like I’m stepping directly onto shards of glass. YES, QUEEN. First we cry and make everyone feel sorry for our hardships, and then we sweep that glass up (when we’re ready and done feeling our feels) and pop in the Kelly Clarkson tell-off anthems.
15. Let Her Go – Passenger. Naturally songs are one of those things that can transport us right back to a place that we heard it first or a time in our life. This song brings me back to Fall of 2013. I had just graduated college and was living in an apt in Saratoga Springs with my dad and I was the MOST unemployed. (Kinda like now, it’s the CIIIIIRCLLEEE OF LIIIIFEEEEE.) Every morning I would get up, make myself a cup of coffee and turn on VH1 because they played music videos in the morning and I would start my job searching for the day. This song was hot to trot in their artsy new releases on VH1 (yes I realize I just admitted being into the morning equivalent of TRL in 2013, but I LOVE MUSIC VIDEOS, SUE ME) and it played quite literally every single day. And every time I heard it I teared up. What a sad ass song and this guy, who I can only assume never released a song again, has the sad ass voice to go with it. Either way, I soaked in the sad as I tried to convince someone to hire me. So whether it’s 2013 or 2020, you’ll find me crooning AND YOU LET HER GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO as my laptop becomes soaked with tears.
16. Incomplete – Backstreet Boys. Historically speaking country crooners have been the best at relaying their heartbreak and typically somehow involving alcohol (cough cough whiskey lullaby) but a hat tip to the boy bands as well, because you’ll be hard pressed to find more dramatic sadboi lyrics than this song right here. Plus, 5 guys singing their hearts out about swimming in an ocean all alone really packs a punch. I think the appropriate way to blubber to this song is on your knees staring up at the sky while it downpours directly into your face. Tears mixing with rain. You’re welcome. Without that visual, your life was incomplete.
17. I’m Never Getting Over You – Gone West. Gone West put out exactly one album before they broke up as a band and ironically enough, it was two couples who had formed together and one of the couples also broke up. And even more ironically, their album was all about breakups. SO GONE WEST KNOWS A THING OR TWO ABOUT HEARTBREAK. Absolutely recommend giving their album a listen because they’re not all downers (shout out Confetti for being an upbeat breakup tune) and also because you’ll apparently never hear what they sound like as a band ever again. Colbie Callait and her bubbly ass ruined everything and I’ll never get over it.
18. Someone You Loved – Lewis Capaldi. I’d liken Lewis to a little bit of an Ed Sheeran but I’m guessing that offends him. But he is British just like Ed and does have some orange-ish unfortunate looking hair like Ed. And also he’s a phenomenal singer-songwriter. This one became a smash this past summer and made me want to curl up in a ball and die every time I heard it. In all of the good ways, of course. Like when the day bleeds into nightfall and you’re ALONE.
19. Un-Break My Heart – Toni Braxton. This is such a cocky way to be sad and I respect Toni for it. It’s not like ugh my life sucks and I’m walking on broken glass and I’ll probably die alone. It’s like no you better come over here and fix this. You did this. Reverse-REVERSE it. That wasn’t at typo. Ever since the Cupid Shuffle was beaten into my brain at middle school dances and weddings with shitty DJ’s I’ve been physically incapable of saying the word reverse without shouting in my head REVERSE, REVERSE! So now it’s time to get funky with it and un break Toni’s G-D heart and uncry her tears because far too many have been shed and I’m SICK OF IT.
20. The Scientist – Coldplay. I’m not sure if there’s anything that sounds more like giving up than “take me back to the start.” Thank you so much Chris Martin for giving us that gift along with “no one ever said it would be this hard” because you know what? There’s no adequate warning for how much being sad sucks until you’ve lived through it. It’s impossible to go back to the start though (cause, science) so let’s get right in our feelings and sob our way through.
21. Gone – *NSYNC. I’ve used this song on my Boy Bands Slow Jamz playlist (shameless plug, another sick mix of tunes) but it’s so heart-wrenching it deserves to be recycled on here. When you have five guys harmonizing over why you left, you know they must be sad. WHAT DID THEY DO TO MAKE YOU LEAVE?! Seriously though, if you’re all out of tears at this point, the least you can do is nail JT’s howling OHHOHHHOHHHOHHHHHH at the 3:50 minute mark. Make sure you get up in the high register at the end with a little rasp. Never mind…I’ll take it from here. Nothing brings me more joy than playing JT’s part in this song going from depressed as hell to angry and repeating what everyone else is singing with an aggressive tone. SITTIN HERE. TO GET YOU OFF OF MY MIND. MY BEST TO BE A MAN. Ok I’m done. DONEEEE.
22. All Too Well – Taylor Swift. I realize that Taylor just released an entire album of sad and dramatic breakup songs and almost all of them could make this ugly cry list (lookin specifically at exhile and my tears ricochet) and that obviously she’s written a bajillion breakup songs and there’s a reason why everyone thinks she’s just a big ole serial dater crushing hearts left and right…BUT…there is only one breakup song in Taylor Swift world that trumps them all. And there is only one breakup song ever that is quite possibly the greatest masterpiece of all time. And it is All Too Well. The details of falling in love and basically tying it in with the leaves dying in the fall…I mean, she made a breakup a SEASON. And rightfully so. The dramatics of the piano and getting REAL heated and the sadness when she drops back down again to remember it all too well. I could talk about this song for the rest of my life and it still wouldn’t be enough. I’ve performed it solo in my car, hands slamming on the steering wheel even more than I’ve screeched Celine’s flashes of light. I’ve used the lyrics when I wanted to get a dramatic point across. And when I went through my own breakups, I ugly cried my damn face off to it remembering my own moments singing in the car (this song ironically) getting lost upstate–she was OBVIOUSLY singing about upstate NY. This is the pinnacle of breakup boohoo songs, so do yourself a favor and lay there like a crumpled up piece of paper and let the loss of Jake Gyllenhaal (or whatever dum dum who dumped you and will never compare to Jake) course through your veins.