While perusing the usual entertainment sites (EW, People, Billboard) for inspiration on a blog topic today, I finally came across one of interest on the CNN Entertainment page. They have a great article entitled “Obsessions: Crying at the Movies,” and it talks about the odd infatuation people have with ponying up good money to purposefully go to the theater and cry their eyes out into their popcorn. It’s a good article (read it), and it got me thinking about how many artists rip your heart out and turn your Friday night/car ride to grandmas/subway ride to work into a bawl session — with their music. So lets talk about some songs that straight up make you cry, but that you just can’t stop listening to.
Obviously there is a lot of room for personal interpretation here… a particular song can remind you of a past love (“Summer of 69” – Bryan Adams), a bad break up (“Nothing Else Matters” – Metallica) or the end of your favorite television show (“Good Riddance (Time of your Life)” – Green Day). But the following songs have lyrics and tell stories of sorrow that actually aim to get the waterworks flowing, and no matter who you are, should ignite some flow.
First up, Pearl Jam‘s “Last Kiss.” Have you ever listened to these lyrics? Oh man, it’s like the saddest thing in the history of the universe. Originally by Wayne Cochran, this song tells the story of a couple in a car crash which ultimately results in the woman’s death while being cradled in her lover’s arms: “I lifted her head, she looked at me and said, “Hold me darling, just a little while,” I held her close, I kissed her our last kiss, I found the love that I knew I had missed.” And, with a voice like Eddie Vedder‘s to carry us through this tragic story, good luck withstanding a tear.
Second has to be “Tears in Heaven” by Eric Clapton. If you don’t well up during this song you might as well get back on your spaceship cause the jig is up. This song about the enormous heartache of losing a child is touching, sung beautifully and provides a glimpse into the heart of the man who wrote it: “Would you know my name, if I saw you in Heaven, Will it be the same, if I saw you in Heaven?” I hope that the honesty portrayed in this song has helped others facing the same tragedy find strength to carry on.
Third is “Cat’s in the Cradle” by Harry Chapin. I basically scream “play ball with your son!” when this comes on the radio. This songs tells the all-to-often tale of a father who is too busy to spend time with his son and how the cruel hands of time then occupy the son later in life when the father is wanting to rekindle the relationship: “When he hung up the phone, it occurred to me, my boy was just like me.” Lesson: life is short, don’t work too hard.
Many songs competed for the final spot on my list (“Yesterday” by The Beatles, “Time After Time” by Cyndi Lauper, With or Without You” by U2) but I have to go with “Hallelujah” by Jeff Buckley. Oh, what a sweet, sad song where Buckley’s voice carries us between glory and sadness, beauty and pain: “And I’ve seen your flag on the marble arch, and love is not a victory march, it’s a cold and it’s a broken Hallelujah.” Oh, it just makes me sad.
So now, vote on which of these sad songs listed is your favorite, tell us some of your personal favorite sad songs on Facebook and go ahead and blast “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” by Bobby McFerrin to get you out of the slump I just put you in with all this sad song business!
“Cat’s in the Cradle” by Harry Chapin
“Hallelujah” by Jeff Buckley
“Last Kiss” by Pearl Jam
“Tears in Heaven” by Eric Clapton