For all the weird sad girls out there.
To this day, my mom swears I came out of the womb crying and didn’t stop until age six. She jokes it’s the reason my eyes are so almond-like and why I’m often mistaken for being of Asian descent. I’m still intensely in tune with my emotions. In fact, I require a good healthy cry every few hours and often head to the office bathroom midday to get the feels out. I used to be self-conscious about my need to release from emotional overload, but now I embrace it. Sometimes I even instigate it.
Crying doesn’t make you weak. It doesn’t mean you’re depressed or unhappy. You don’t need to be going through a breakup or in mourning to have a good, long crying fit. Sometimes it just makes you feel good. Rejuvenated! Born again! Even if you’re not particularly upset, working yourself into a heavy sob and releasing tension can leave you feeling lighter and more clearheaded. That’s why I listen to a lot of Lana Del Rey.
In 2014, the Free University of Berlin in Germany investigated our allure to sad tunes by analyzing how they made us feel. Their studies found that many people listen to sad music in situations of emotional distress or when experiencing loneliness. The researchers noted, “For most of the people, the engagement with sad music in everyday life is correlated with its potential to regulate negative moods and emotions, as well as to provide consolation.” The same study also concluded that sad music doesn’t just produce more sadness. It determined, “a wide range of complex and partially positive emotions, such as nostalgia, peacefulness, tenderness, transcendence, and wonder,” were brought out in the participants by sad music.
So, grab a pint of Ben and Jerry’s and some tissues, because boy do I have a nostalgic, tender, peaceful playlist of emotion to foster your afternoon blubber fest!
Some highlights as you weep:
Joni Mitchell?—?A Case Of You
Really, the Joni or James Blake version will tear your beating heart from your chest.
When To Cry:
I remember that time you told me / You said, “Love is touching souls” / Surely you touched mine / ’Cause part of you pours out of me
In 1999, this song was sad because it reminded us of the inevitability of growing older. It spoke to the notion that our childhood and was fleeting —but we’d stay friends with those we made memories with forever. In 2016, this song is sad because we’re definitely not friends with those people anymore, and for that reason, those memories sometimes feel empty.
When to Cry:
As we go on / We remember / All the times we / Had together / And as our lives change / Come whatever / We will still be / Friends Forever
Johnny Cash— Hurt
I know, I know—Cash was the Sad King. Most of what he wrote was pretty damn emotional, but this one is really drives home the tears.
When to cry:
What have I become / My sweetest friend / Everyone I know goes away /In the end / And you could have it all / My empire of dirt / I will let you down / I will make you hurt
The National—I Need My Girl
Matt Berninger’s voice is like the long and low bellow of a fog horn. IT’S GREAT!
When to cry:
Remember when you lost your shit and / Drove the car into the garden / You got out and said I’m sorry / To the vines and no one saw it / I need my girl/ I need my girl
Townes Van Zandt—Marie
Marie is about a man and woman who try to survive despite extreme poverty. The entire narrative is tragic and will have you progress from sad, to desolate blob.
When to cry: Marie she didn’t wake up this morning / She didn’t even try / She just rolled over and went to heaven / My little boy safe inside / I laid them in the sun where somebody’d find them
Literally anything by Sarah McLachlan
Didn’t think I’d hit so hard on the nose, huh? Well, surprise! She’s the queen of cries and that deserves recognition. I don’t need to tell you when to cry, because every song should remind you of someone’s funeral you’ve attended. You’ll know when the time is right—even if it’s through the entirety of each and every lamenting melody.