Thursday, November 21, 2013

HELP, I HAVE DONE IT AGAIN:  50 Songs That Are Guaranteed to Make You Cry. (no slideshow!)


  1. Jim Bell9:27 AM

    Adding (or probably substituting) any version of Dolly singing her versions of her song I Will Always Love You. And a recent, brilliant, magnificent, super find, Emmy Lou Harris and Rodney Crowell on Back When We Were Beautiful on the Album of the same name. It will make your dog weep. Oh, and that album has a special bonus of Emmy Lou doing a Patti Scialfa song, "Spanish Dancer" oh so very very well. Thank you.

  2. Surprised they didn't include Cat Stevens's Wild World.

  3. It think this was the first song to make me cry.

  4. Nothing by Rodriguez? Please. This is the world's saddest song. The first line is "cause I lost my job two weeks before Christmas" and then promptly takes you on a trip as the narrator gets high.

  5. victoria9:38 AM

    Casimir Pulaski Day by Sufjan Stevens is #1 on my list by a mile:

  6. Not named Fred9:56 AM

    That Angel Haze song? My God.

  7. Fred App9:57 AM

    I think "what makes you cry" is a very quirky personal things. For example, since my son was born, I always cry when I hear "Puff the Magic Dragon." Why? Because of the one line: "Dragons live forever, but not so little boys." It's just such a simple but direct way to describe growing up and losing innocence, and it makes me realize that there is a part of my children that one day will be gone forever. And it makes me sad.

    On the other hand, the first song that I can ever remember making me cry, back when I was about 10, was "Sylvia's Mother," by Dr. Hook. And I have no idea why.

  8. Jim Bell9:57 AM

  9. Adam C.10:23 AM

    I've said it before and I'll say it again, "You're Missing" off of Springsteen's The Rising gets me Every. Single. Time. There's plenty of survivor grief and survivor guilt to be had on that album, but that song just wrings me out.

  10. They picked the wrong Winehouse track — "Love Is A Losing Game" was the correct answer — and there are five tracks you could replace on that list with "The Luckiest" by Ben Folds. I got hired to play that song for a thing next month, had never heard it before, and found myself fighting a heaving sob on my way from my office to the train. You'd have to be a robot not to cry at that song.

  11. Glad to see "Into My Arms" by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds on the list. It always gets me - not just an amazing love song, but its use in one of my favorite movies, "Zero Effect" makes it doubly powerful for me.

  12. MidwestAndrew11:03 AM

    And you picked the wrong Ben Folds song -- that's a great love/wedding song that does the happy/sweet cry perfectly (it was a must at my wedding), but it's DEFINITELY not his most tear-inducing. His sad songs are devastating. "Brick" is about he and a girlfriend having an abortion when he was younger, and "Missing the War" is great. But for my dollars, the one that absolutely wrecks me is "Picture Window." Lyrics by Nick Hornby basically amount to woman/parents go to hospital with very sick child on New Year's, knowing he'll still be sick next year and trying not to get their hopes up that the new year will be any better. This is the chorus (!): "You know what hope is? / Hope is a bastard / Hope is a liar / A cheat and a tease / Hope comes near you? / Kick its backside / Got no place in days like these."

  13. bristlesage12:13 PM

    Tori Amos's "Me and a Gun" is brutal.

  14. Adam C.1:11 PM

    Agreed - that's one I almost can't even listen to because of the sadness. I'd also add "Land of Hope and Dreams" (mostly for the indelible tie to Clarence Clemons), "My City of Ruins" (that call to "come on, rise up!") and the last verse of "Long Time Comin'."

  15. Tosy and Cosh3:45 PM

    "Devil's Arcade" may be my favorite Springsteen song since "Brilliant DIsguise." Just gorgeous.

  16. Jim Bell3:47 PM

    I wish I could like this twice for My City of Ruins.

  17. Tosy and Cosh3:49 PM

    Here's one that I'm pretty sure no one
    else will claim. It's not a sadness one, but simply a "this music is so
    powerful it makes me weep" thing that almost never happens to me
    otherwise. But if I put on the English National Opera's recording of
    Pacific Overtures (DOES NOT WORK with the OBC), and play the final song, "Next," very loud, the sheer
    power of that piece, especially as the volume grows and grows and then,
    halfway through, these monster Japanese drums kick in, can literally
    bring tears.

    Another is the instrumental track "Locke'd Out" from the first season LOST soundtrack. It got used a few times in slightly different versions, but I'm pretty sure it first appeared in the first Locke episode, to score the moment you probably assume it did. (Am I dumb for avoiding spoilers on an episode of TV almost 10 years old?)

  18. Speaking of spoilers, the music at the moment in Star Wars when Luke comes upon the smoldering carcasses of Owen and Beru still gets me very often.

  19. Watts6:13 PM

    "Smoke" hits me pretty hard. I find "The Luckiest' a bit sappy. And it's somewhat spoilt for me by knowing he's on his fourth wife. The song was written while married to his third, I believe.

    Also, I was at a wedding where that was the first dance song and yeesh does it take forever when the rest of you are politely watching a couple sway.

  20. Watts6:15 PM

    Or, gosh, pretty much anything he did for the "Harold & Maude" soundtrack. I get choked up just THINKING about "Trouble."

    And if you've seen "Harold & Maude" as many times as I have, you can recall exactly the montage "Trouble" plays over.

  21. Watts6:15 PM

    This one gets me, too.

  22. Watts6:24 PM

    Since a lot of the songs on that list are about death and dying, I think growing old is fair game for crying. To that end, I nominate Elton John's "Sixty Years On." It's the extremely bleak flip side to "When I'm 64." (Or, I guess, given the age of the singer at the time of recording, it's more like "When I'm 84.")

    The lyrics are brutal enough, but the instrumentation gets me too. The song starts with a drone of strings that almost sound like a swarm of bees. That sound also has more than a tinge of "tragic heroine walking down the dark hallway in a horror film." Which, come on, feeling elderly and useless is pretty terrifying. And then there's the beautiful harp solo, Elton's ragged edge to what was then his sweet voice. I also find the orchestral sweeps gorgeous throughout the song.


    P.S. This song is so sad that the dog doesn't die, the DOG IS ALREADY DEAD.

    PPS - The song is the first song on the second side of the LP and it's always a jarring way to start the side, that creepy bee swarm noise.

  23. bill.6:58 PM

    The Inaudible Song II, by Jared Mees & the Grown Children

  24. bill.7:13 PM

    these don't make me cry, but they're some of my favorite sad songs:

    Angel From Montgomery, Bonnie Raitt version
    Every Little Bit Hurts, Charles Brown
    My Dad, Paul Westerberg
    A Year, Loudon Wainwright III
    Beeswing, Richard Thompson
    Unsatisfied, The Replacements
    Drowning, Joe Jackson
    Death of Butterfly, from Madame Butterfly
    O Lonely Soul, It's A Hard Road, Mary's Danish
    People Ain't No Good, Nick Cave
    Country Death Song, Violent Femmes

  25. MidwestAndrew9:17 PM

    Yeah, the other two that kill me are Cigarette/Fred Jones Pt. 2, mainly because I work in a newspaper.

  26. The Pathetic Earthling1:25 PM

    The devotion to Springsteen is so peculiar to the Midatlantic. Adam B. is actually the first person I met in my life who was a truly devoted Springsteen fan -- they just don't exist in California unless they're transplants.

    I don't mean this as a criticism of his music; I recognize the talent it's just never done anything for me.