Whatever you're going through—whether that's attempting to wrap your head around the pandemic that's left us quarantined for three months and counting, dismantling the systemic racism our country faces, coping with heartbreak after someone recently ghosted you, or simply feeling all of the feels after an excruciatingly long week, sadness comes in all forms and these new songs are here to help us take a few breaths, exhale, and release it.
From Demi Lovato to Meek Mill and Roddy Ricch, this is our running list of the best sad songs of 2020.
"Righteous" - Juice WRLD
"Over ice, I'm freezing / Beautiful eyes, deceiving / We may die this evening / Coughing, wheezing, bleeding." Juice WRLD's posthumous single, "Righteous," is a devastating listen when you realize the pain he was going through before his tragic death.
"Grieving" - Kehlani ft. James Blake
Kehlani and James Blake are the duo I didn't know I needed after listening to "Grieving" from Kehlani's incredible sophomore album, It Was Good Until It Wasn't. Play it on repeat when you just want to vibe and reflect on your emotions after a long day.
"No Cryin" - DVSN ft. Future
DVSN and Future's "No Cryin" is the song that you play on your way home from the club while you consider texting your ex. Don't.
"Inside Friend" - Leon Bridges ft. John Mayer
Leon Bridges and John Mayer dropped a melancholy quarantine bop to listen to while we stare at the ceiling and count the days we've been inside, pondering how we got here.
"To Die For" - Sam Smith
Sam Smith is the king of putting their fans in their feels, and they certainly doesn't disappoint in "To Die For," where they longs for a significant other. Really, don't we all want somebody to die for?
"Julia" - Lauv
This won't be the last time I mention Lauv—his debut album, ~how i'm feeling~, is a masterpiece. "Julia" is a heartbreaking three minutes and 37 seconds of vulnerability as the 25-year-old reflects on how he did his lover wrong. Expect to be in your feels for at least an hour after listening.
"Ladies" - Fiona Apple
Nobody could stop talking about Fiona Apple when she dropped Fetch the Bolt Cutters—"Ladies" is precisely why. It's one of those songs that perfectly describe the frustration and despair women often feel when they're misunderstood.
"Snowchild" - The Weeknd
Nobody expected After Hours to be a cheery album, but most of us didn't expect it to be this dark. The Weeknd seems to be on the verge of an awakening as he realizes that everything he's worked for up until this point lacks the depth he's been craving. L.A. is the number one culprit, as proven in "Snowchild."
"Another Day" - PARTYNEXTDOOR
PARTYNEXTDOOR fans won't be surprised to see "Another Day" on this list. While he does, of course, more often than not produce bangers with the likes of Drake, a lot of his songs are sultry and moody. "Another Day" is no exception.
"Modern Loneliness" - Lauv
Lauv perfectly describes the current state of our society in a heartbreaking song called "Modern Loneliness," reflecting on how we're "never alone, but always depressed." As we grapple with physical loneliness during the COVID-19 crisis, it's more relevant than ever. Let's figure out how to change that once this is all over.
"Sometimes" - H.E.R.
I'm not sure what we did to deserve a new single from H.E.R., but "Sometimes" pierces through your soul, much like the rest of the 22-year-old's music. This one is all about navigating unpredictable change. "'Cause sometimes shit don't go your way, sometimes / And sometimes you gon' have those days / And sometimes you'll feel out of place / You can't promise me it'll be the same."
"Walls" - Louis Tomlinson
In "Walls," Louis Tomlinson shows his #maturity, thanking an ex for the strength his heartbreak gave him. Nonetheless, it's still a bit dark when he starts and ends the song with, "Nothing wakes you up like waking up alone."
"No Time to Die" - Billie Eilish
Billie Eilish created "No Time to Die" for the upcoming James Bond movie (out November 2020). Like everything else she produces, it's an eery masterpiece of melancholy and more capital-F feelings.
"Anyone" - Demi Lovato
The world was moved to tears when Demi Lovato performed her new single, "Anyone," at the 2020 Grammys. Lovato wrote the song, which is a devastating cry for help, four days before her near-fatal overdose in 2018. "I remember being in the hospital and listening to the song and it was about a week after I had been in the hospital and I was finally like awake, and I just remember hearing back the songs I had just recorded and thinking, 'If there's ever a moment where I get to come back from this, I want to sing this song,'" she told New Music Daily.
"Wrong Direction" - Hailee Steinfeld
Hailee Steinfeld entered 2020 by releasing her heartbreaking single, "Wrong Direction," about a past relationship with a partner who was unfaithful to her. "Love me with your worst intentions / Didn't even stop to question / Every time you burned me down / Don't know how, for a moment it felt like heaven."
"Everybody - Mac Miller
Every song on Mac Miller's posthumous album, Circles, feels a bit soul-crushing knowing that we're never going to hear new sound from the rapper again. Lyrics like, "Everybody's gotta live / And everybody's gonna die / Everybody just wanna have a good, good time" give fans an inescapable feeling that Miller knew what was coming next.
"Letter to Nipsey" - Meek Mill ft. Roddy Ricch
Meek Mill and Roddy Ricch teamed up to create "Letter to Nipsey," a single dedicated to Nipsey Hussle who was killed in a shooting near his Los Angeles store in 2019. Meek and Roddy performed the song at the 2020 Grammys in front of Nipsey's wife, Lauren London, to celebrate the life of the late rapper and activist. As Nipsey would say, "The marathon continues."
"Homecoming Queen?" - Kelsea Ballerini
Kelsea Ballerini, widely known for her single with The Chainsmokers called "This Feeling," released her third album, Kelsea, in March. "Homecoming Queen?" is an empowering lead single on the album that speaks truth to dealing with insecurities and questioning your worth.
"You Should Be Sad" - Halsey
While it's unclear which ex Halsey is referring to in "You Should Be Sad," what is clear is the eclectic sound the 25-year-old artist brings to her new album, Manic. "Every song has its own identity! I’ve always said 'the album changes its mind as often as I do,'" Halsey tweeted to a fan in early January. This one goes out to all of the exes who did us wrong.
For more stories like this, including celebrity news, beauty and fashion advice, savvy political commentary, and fascinating features, sign up for the Marie Claire newsletter.