—Josh Jackson. The Starman ascended; did he turn into a “black star” (the opposite of a black hole)? The minor-key piano chord that opens the tune is the musical equivalent of a catch in your throat, as if to prepare you for what is to come. Over a simple piano backing, Adele sings of seeing her ex-lover with someone new and resolving to do better in love next time; her voice remains steely, but crests into desperation as she pleads to not be forgotten. This track off singer/songwriter Laura Veirs’ most recent 2013 album Warp and Weft is a tribute to Sadako Sasaki, a Japanese child who lived about a mile from the epicenter of the Hiroshima blast, and was 2 years old when the bomb fell. Superchunk: “Me & You & Jackie Mittoo”, 37. It’s melodically poignant, vocally burnished, arranged in a way I can’t not call “stellar,” and a kaleidoscopic exploration of his lifelong master trope: Stars, literal and figurative. Because the characters seem so real, so does the sorrow. It’s easy to see why this one in particular was so tough for her to play live—“Go Home,” the album’s final track, is a slow-burning piano ballad where Baker details her lowest point, pleading to God while drunk (and likely much worse) in a ditch on the side of the road. There’s a compelling case to be made for the best songs of the decade being given to us by holdover voices from the ‘00s—and truly, ... sad girl supreme, flower child, American oracle. And the only conclusion is a chorus of angels whose weeping turns into something like joy as a triumphant trumpet kicks in. “All About That Bass” – Meghan Trainor 75. “Don’t know how to keep loving you,” she sings. Even when falling in love is mutual, it can often remain a solo experience — the fear, the trepidation, the unknowing of it all. After a final tour the following year, the Grammy-winning country singer, TV host and actor recorded a farewell song for a the documentary Glen Campbell: I’ll Be Me, even as he could feel his mind slipping. The early decade Alice in Chains singles were great. It’s filled with regret for the way things went. But the admission that however claustrophobic the love was, there’ll always be a place for him in her heart is the clincher. —EB, To Pimp a Butterfly’s ambition pushed Kendrick Lamar’s already-fervent praise into messianic worship. Here's our list of the top 50 saddest dance music picks of all-time, from sad love songs to depressing songs about death. Just a few soft riffs and gentle drum hits are all that’s needed to back the wavering twang in her voice as she encourages a friend to move on from their dark past. Music is a potent force—it can create friendships and help us get in touch with our feelings, both as listeners and creators—but as all-powerful as it feels when you’re hanging out with your friends in your teens, its limitations grow impossible to ignore with time and age. But it wouldn’t have quite the effect without that bleak, pulsating piano line.—Tess Duncan, I still remember the exact spot where I first I heard “Trapeze Swinger,” which is pretty unusual for me—I have a decent memory for where I’ve read certain unforgettable books, but songs tend to blend in space and time, since you can listen to them over and over and gradually erase the point of origin. Loading... Unsubscribe from Lyr? Shelby Lynne: “Heaven’s Only Days Down the Road”, 26. It’s to her that he addresses the painful refrain over and over in the song. Even at home, her friends have reason to still worry (“‘Cause I know you’re still worried I’m gonna get scared again/ And make my insides clean with your kitchen bleach/ But I’ve kissed enough bathroom sinks to make up for the lovers that never loved me”). —Eric R. Danton, Folk songs are especially good at stirring up emotion, and the first line of this acoustic tear-jerker from The Head and the Heart’s self-titled debut is enough to inspire a buyout of Kleenex stock: “A year from now we’ll all be gone, all our friends will move away.” Lyrics predict those friends will be off to “better places,” perhaps to new cities and careers, but the impending loneliness and separation take emotional control from congratulations’ grasp. Though she’s watching her former love get frisky with his “new friend” in the club, the chorus doesn’t come across as self-pitying. Top streaming songs from each year in the 10s. But it’s through songs like this one that he transcends even that. Despite being literally blown through a window by the blast, Sadako appeared to be relatively unharmed and lived a normal childhood until she developed leukemia at the age of 11 from the lingering radiation. To compile this list, each panelist nominated their 30 favorite songs from the years 2000-2009 (so don’t yell at us for excluding Miguel or H.E.R., they’ll be on the 2010-2019 list, playa). “Let Her Go” – Jasmine Thompson 72. Rebekah del Rio (with David Lynch and John Neff): “No Stars”, 33. It’s easy to forget that a beautiful song may only exist because an artist has suffered, but in “Funeral,” the listener, too, is in the trenches. —Ellen Johnson, When Thom Yorke wrote “True Love Waits” in 1995, it was an acoustic love song for his partner of a few years, Rachel Owen. Greta Van Fleet, Weezer, even liked the STP stuff. Songs about love gone wrong remained a pop staple in the 2010s: All the decade’s technological advances didn’t do much for romance, when all was said and done. Nowhere is this clearer—that is, clear by Blonde’s cryptic standards, an album without a singular recognized spelling for its title—than on “Self Control.” With a pitched-up intro reminiscent of Prince’s “If I Was Your Girlfriend,” the track oozes lust before abruptly transitioning that longing into something more mournful, repositioning Ocean as squarely exterior to someone else’s relationship. But John Prine, as it is abundantly clear, wasn’t most artists. At heart, “People Get Old” is a joyful song, as McKenna celebrates a lifetime’s worth of memories with her dad, who turns 83 this year. —Steven Edelstone, It’s probably safe to assume that Robyn advocates dancing your worries away, so it makes sense that she’d write a song that’s empowering in its self-awareness. Earl says he could never really fit in at school, unable to explain his feelings toward his dad as a child: “And I just used to say I hate him in dishonest jest/ When honestly I miss this n***a, like when I was six/ And every time I got the chance to say it I would swallow it.” This lead him towards drinking heavily and later wanting to call it quits on his burgeoning career after years of “brush[ing] the dirt off [his] psyche.” Thankfully, his experience led him to bond with Tyler, the Creator, who also shared a similar father-less upbringing. Highlighted (lowlighted?) Then he sings about God: “All the glory when he took our place / But he took my shoulders and he shook my face / and he takes and he takes and he takes.” He’s trying to reconcile the generosity of Jesus allowing himself to be sacrificed on the cross with a god who would let a young girl die from leukemia. In her dying days, Sadako therefore worked on folding her own 1,000 cranes, but passed away having only completed 644. She sings about the devastating death of a friend and the survivors who help her through it. There is one moment in one song in the world that gives me chills every time I... 2. —BJ, In the midst of a legal battle with former collaborator Dr. Luke, Kesha released “Praying,” the lead single off her third studio album, to universal acclaim. I defy you to listen to this song and not feel desperate for a return to a glittering moment of young love and infinite possibility. “Wrecking Ball” – Miley Cyrus 76. Radiohead: “True Love Waits” (2016 version), 28. When it comes to sad songs (oh, the sad songs), country music does it so right, capturing those somber, sick-at-heart emotions like no other genre can. 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