40 Sad Songs for When You Just Want to Sit with Your Feelings

 
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If you're feeling burnt out (which, FYI, the World Health Organization has officially defined as a workplace problem) or stressed about life in general, never underestimate the power of a great sad song. Sure, it may feel counterintuitive, but some of the best slow, emotional tracks allow us to acknowledge our feelings—a painful but necessary step in the right direction. Here's 33 of them to listen to as you stare plaintively out of a bus/car/train window.

If you’re thinking about suicide, are worried about a friend or loved one, or would like emotional support, the Lifeline network is available 24/7 across the United States. Call 1-800-273-8255.

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1 "Dancing on My Own" - Calum Scott

Remember the group of New Yorkers who sang Robyn's "Dancing on My Own" in the middle of the subway platform? Calum Scott's version will, in fact, not have you do that (instead you'll likely be crying on the subway)...and that's all you really need to know.

2 "Slow Burn" - Kacey Musgraves

Golden Hour may have won four Grammy's, but "Slow Burn" deserves 100 more—simply for every tear I've shed listening to it and allowing myself to process my emotions.

3 "Be Alright" - Dean Lewis

Australian heartthrob Dean Lewis gave us the perfect excuse to let go of someone who, unfortunately, just doesn't want us back. Reminder: It will be alright.

4 "You Say" - Lauren Daigle

Lauren Daigle's "You Say" is deeply emotional if you're struggling with feelings of self-doubt: "You say I am loved when I can’t feel a thing / You say I am strong when I think I am weak / You say I am held when I am falling short."

5 "I'll Never Love Again" - Lady Gaga

Even if you didn't see A Star Is Born, you can infer the emotional complexities of the song from the title.

6 "Hope Is a Dangerous Thing for a Woman Like Me to Have, But I Have It" - Lana Del Rey

You can't create a sad songs list without a Lana Del Rey song...or five. "Hope Is a Dangerous Thing for a Woman Like Me to Have" was one of the first singles from her upcoming album, Norman F*cking Rockwell—a heartbreakingly beautiful reminder that sometimes hope is all we have.

7 "The Scientist" - Coldplay

Officially drafting a petition to classify "Coldplay" as the Original Sad Song™ in the dictionary.

8 "Past Life" - Maggie Rogers

Maggie Rogers' "Past Life" is a far departure from other songs like "Fallingwater" and "On + Off" on her new album, Heard It in a Past Life, which may be what makes it so great. It's a clear reflection of who she was, and who she's becoming—something we should all make room for every once and a while.

9 "Palace" - Cam

Cam's cover of Sam Smith's "Palace" (which she originally wrote, btw) is a heartbreakingly mature tribute to an ex lover who she clearly still loves. "And I'm gonna miss you / And I'm still there / Sometimes I wish we never built this palace / But real love is never a waste of time."

10 "Self Care" - Mac Miller

Mac Miller's tragic death at 26 is still fresh in our minds. It seems appropriate to just sit quietly and listen to this song while reflecting on his life. Call it self-care.

11 "I Can Feel a Hot One" - Manchester Orchestra

Manchester Orchestra's 2009 song wins the rip-your-heart-out award every time you listen to it with its harrowing instrumentals and the lyrics to go along with them.

12 "Hallucinations" - dvsn

Some songs put you in the mood, others put you in the mood to cry—"Hallucinations" somehow fits squarely in both categories. Whether you're sending a risky late night text or re-reading old texts from your ex through tears, this song is sure to give you all the feels.

13 "The End of Love" - Florence + The Machine

"The End of Love" makes itself a home on Florence + The Machine's newest album, High as Hope. The title pretty much sums up the vibe.

14 "Heartbreak Warfare" - John Mayer

"Heartbreak Warfare" makes it to the number five spot on our "Best John Mayer Songs of All Time" list because, well, it's really good and will immediately put you in your feels.

15 "Call Out My Name" - The Weeknd

When he says, "I almost cut a piece of myself for your life / Guess I was just another pit stop / 'Til you made up your mind / You just wasted my time" ...I felt that.

16 "Goodbye" - Secondhand Serenade

If you're looking for the adult version of Secondhand Serenade's "Fall for You," this is it.

17 "Purple Rain" - Prince

Want to make everyone at karaoke cry? This epic ballad will definitely do the trick. Between Prince's powerful guitar solo and the dreamy lyrics (which The Purple One so poetically described as the "end of the world and being with the one you love"), there won't be a dry eye in the house.

18 "Liability" - Lorde

Say hello to the magnum opus of Lorde's second studio album, Melodrama. You feel her heart (and yours simultaneously) being ripped out in every single line. It makes you want to stick it to anybody who thought you were "too much" for them. Good cry guaranteed.

19 "Re: Stacks" - Bon Iver

This sad, reflective song plays in my yoga class every time we sit in shavasana. It's very relaxing, but also very emotional.

20 "I Have Nothing" - Whitney

The third single from the hit film Bodyguard is right up there in top five songs to sing at the top of your lungs in the shower. You won't be able to tell whether it's tears or water from the shower head cascading down your cheeks, but it doesn't really matter, does it?

21 "Stone Cold" - Demi Lovato

"I was your amber, but now she's your shade of gold." Demi giving us all of the feels with this raw, emotional single from her 2015 album, Confident.

22 "Marvin's Room" - Drake

Ten out of 10 would not recommend putting this Drake throwback on your pregame playlist.

23 "Be Be Your Love" - Rachael Yamagata

Yeah, this is the song you hear in the movies when the good girl doesn't get the guy. Now you're just sitting there wondering what you did to deserve this tragedy.

24 "Coke" - BLOXX

Someone put this in a teen movie where the heroine drives around pondering the "what are we?" relationship question. (I hear this continues well into your 30s, so this sort of good guitar music could work for a movie about that too—if Hollywood ever decides to acknowledge women of that age.)

25 "Why Do You Feel So Down?" - Declan McKenna

Don't be fooled by the cheery morning-aerobics video concept—the introspective lyrics put a happy face on such universal struggles as trying to be cool and feeling like you're constantly messing up.

26 "Dreaming of You" - Selena Quintanilla

You're going to need several boxes of tissues for this one. The 90s mid-tempo is about longing for your beloved, but its heartbreak factor multiplies times a million when you realize that it was one of the last songs Selena recorded before her tragic passing in 1995.

27 "Never Be Like You" - Flume feat. Kai

Electro-pop can be sad, especially when the lyrics describe your exact life situation: "Hey, the narrator (you) did something wrong to warrant the ending of a relationship, and now he/she (you) should feel regret about it."

28 "Bad Religion" - Frank Ocean

"It's a bad religion to be in love with someone who could never love you." You really feel for Frank as he sings about struggling with his sexuality, though the sense of impossibility is much more pervasive than that.

29 "Agnes" - Glass Animals

Let's put it this way: When this comes up on shuffle, remove yourself from any group situations or you might frighten someone with a sudden emotional outburst. How could you not with this epic, chest-cavity-filling track about watching helplessly as someone deals with overwhelming heartache?

30 "Try Sleeping With a Broken Heart" - Alicia Keys

Nearly ten years after its release, this heartbreaking Alicia Keys song has rightfully earned its place on every sad girl™'s "songs to cry to" playlist.

31 "Appointments" - Julien Baker

So beautiful, so emotional, you'll find yourself welling up (at the very least). It's Julien Baker, after all.

32 "Is This Happiness" - Lana Del Rey

When did you get so dark, LDR? With lyrics like "One gun on the table / Headshot if you're able," this is a morbidly pretty single that perhaps should've made the cut on her third studio album, Ultraviolence.

33 "Blackberry Stone" - Laura Marling

"I'd be sad that I never held your hand as you were lowered / But I'd understand that I'd never let it go." This song cuts to the chase quickly, but you'll enjoy it as you bleed out.

34 "Without Me" - Mac DeMarco

This song is even sadder as an acoustic, which is why we've included this version featuring ol' Mac strumming his guitar while sitting on a tree stump in the woods.

35 "I'm Not God" - Samoht

Anyone's who ever had to walk away from a toxic relationship for the sake of their own sanity will relate to this song a little too much. "I want to save you, but I'm not God," Samoht sings sorrowfully on the track. "I want to heal you, but that's not my job." Brb, crying.

36 "Cold" - Mating Ritual feat. Lizzy Land

Can a song make you feel shivery? Even though this track is outwardly a love song, you still get hints of past regrets, which—coupled with a massive hook—make for prime wrapped-up-in-a-blanket-burrito-on-the-floor material.

37 "If I Ever Feel Better" - Phoenix

The answer to Why am I crying in the club? every time.

38 "How to Disappear Completely" - Radiohead

A song so melancholy you'll feel like you're an astronaut who's become untethered from the space station. Line that'll most likely make you say "same:" "I’m not here / This isn’t happening."

39 "Lost Ones" - J.Cole

J.Cole is a skilled storyteller, and in "Lost Ones," he tells the story of a couple that is forced to confront their respective traumas when they're faced with a major hurdle in their relationship. Taking on the perspective of both the guy and the guy in each verse, the song gradually gets sadder and sadder until you realize that you've been straight weeping for four minutes and 23 seconds. *sniffs*

40 "On Hold" - The xx

Romy Madley Croft really goes for the jugular here with no-holds-barred emotion in her vocals. Doesn't hurt (slash help) that the subject matter is, once again, a relationship that didn't work out.

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