We all love a good music-induced sob every now and then. Be it a heartbreak or the news that Great British Bake Off is changing as we know it, day to day like is, inevitably, going to give us the sniffles now and then. To aid your Ben & Jerrys saturated tearful nights of Netflix and self pity, we’ve compiled a list of our favourite sad tracks. And don’t worry, this list shan’t include the likes of ‘How To Save a Life’, ‘Jar of Hearts’ or ‘Winner Takes It All’ (though we acknowledge that they make wonderful shower singing tear-jerkers). And no, not a Taylor Swift in sight.
Daughter // Medicine
Probably one of the most injuriously solemn and inexhaustibly emotionally painful to listen to tracks you’ll probably ever hear. In fact, anything these guys have produced will leave you feeling inexplicably raw and in a bitter sweet bubble of content sadness; the notion that sometimes sadness can be warming, calming and/or clearing.
5am // Amber Run
Amber Run’s growth has been one that has been charming to watch. There’s always an element of the melancholy across these guys’ discography, but ‘5am’ is a chilling track that sticks out as one of the most beautiful and heartbreaking tracks on their glorious debut.
You’re Like Me // AQUILO
Though not yet released, Aquilo’s ‘You’re Like Me’ is a darling of a song. Trying to pick one Aquilo song to include in this playlist was tough enough (seriously guys, cheer up), but this beautiful live rendition is quite the special aural moment. We just can’t wait for the produced version. Downing the ante as per, the low-lit homemade nautical feel to the video gives it the honest integrity always boasted throughout AQUILO’s career. Edgily crafted by practically honorary member of the duo, the video gives Harvey Pearson a chance to capture the sombre track on the industrialised backdrop of the Wharf’s Lightship95 (and if you haven’t been to Bow Creak Cafe just adjacent, you really should).
Holes // LAYLA
Before the world was graced with the aural pleasures of Oh Wonder, there was LAYLA aka Josephine. Though a little heartwrenching, the track possesses empowering and encouraging lyricism; “I will fight beyond all the barriers they set down”. Tissues well and truly at the ready.
To The Hilt // BANKS
It’s not uncommon that the industry can be wicked, though it is uncommon for artists to make a statement about it in their lyrics. To end the album on such a sombre note is a brave tactic; we’ve heard BANKS’s angsty side throughout the entire record, but in all, she’s as raw as an artist comes, and To the Hilt exhibits the trembling emotion in her voice faultlessly.
These Days // Wet
With the glorious release of their worth-waiting-for debut album, Don’t You, Wet have rewarded loyal fans with a handful of incredible tracks. The reviews speak for themselves, with barely any reviews going below four stars. These Days is one of the album’s previously unheard tracks and an evident gem that the trio have been waiting on for you to hear. These Days is the adult lullaby on the album and ventriloquises how amazing lead singer Kelly’s voice is. A soothing wave of comfort and a brilliant closing track. This was worth waiting three years for.
Cancer // twenty one pilots
I mean the proof is in the pudding/title. Any song themed around such a disease is bound to touch many a home. Twenty one pilots’ recent release of the My Chemical Romance track is certainly one that plays on the heart-strings, delving into the world of terminal illness, chemotherapy and the social disruption it causes to so many families. It’s a tough listen, but a good one if you want to get it all out of your system.
The Kitchen Floor // Little Green Cars
What happened on said kitchen floor is both ominous and anonymous, with the band offering little to no explanation of the pain behind the lyricism. It torments you more than the heart-breaking melodies that has you whimpering away time and time again. A must listen to folk who adore a heavy harmony that cuts to the bone.
No Me, No You, No More // The Staves
On the note on hard-hitting-harmonious-heart-break, The Staves’ beautifully crafted ‘No Me, No You, No More’ is no doubt on the sadder end of their sophomore album’s sadness spectrum. Formulated with Bon Iver, it’s a stand our Staves moment that dominates every tearful playlist (or should at least). The Staves are no doubt one of the most innovative, exciting and original sounds from recent years, with the triptych of sisters telling HISKIND that they their music “to explore what the hell it means to being a human being on this planet”.
Me // The 1975
An old one but a good’un and quintessential track to get those tears flowing in heavy capacity. An ambient and perfumed The 1975 track, ‘Me’ takes down the ante from a reasonably up-paced album and adds a tonne of raw emotion and integrity. Drugs, death, suicide and the contemplation of self, this is Matty Healy as stripped back as you’ll ever see him, offering an insight to a world we do not necessarily know in quite a personal format. “I love you, don’t you mind, don’t you mind”, he sings to a soundscape of synths and saxophones. It’s glorious.
Four Walls // Broods
No doubt one of Broods’ most stripped back tracks, Georgia Nott’s almost raspy voice married with a stripped away backing adds a whole new dimension to Broods’ emotional capacity and capabilities. Often performing the track live aided with an added strings section adds a regality to the heartbreak. It’s a soft and delicate track that melts on the tongue just as effortlessly as it will have you sobbing.
Not About Angels // Birdy
The apparent queen of providing the world with some really heart-breaking tracks, Birdy’s ‘Not About Angels’ (crafted for the The Fault In Our Stars soundtrack) sets of a ripple of powerfully induced feelings right through the body. Following in the footsteps of ‘Skinny Love’ and ‘Wings’, this is no doubt a minor-keyed masterpiece.
Words // Dean Eastmond