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15 Songs That Will Probably Make You Cry

by Stuart Charles Black
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Music is a moral law. It gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, a charm to sadness, gaiety and life to everything. It is the essence of order and lends to all that is good and just and beautiful.Plato

You’d be hard-pressed to find many people who openly admit that they cry.

What’s even more, most folks you’ll come in contact with act as if the subject is taboo; something they either think is “weird” to talk about, or that which should be quietly avoided altogether.

Discarded even, like last night’s empty Pizza box.

What I’ve found is that if you’re open about it (meaning you initiate some sort of dialogue), most people tend to shy away.

It’s not that they outright dismiss it, but you quickly get the sense that they’re a bit uncomfortable with the idea of discussing those salty tears of goodness.

The fact of the matter is that crying is a human emotion just like any of the others: laughter, sadness, anger, regret, and so forth.

There’s nothing wrong with a good cry, and there’s nothing wrong with sharing that experience with someone else.

If you’re reading this, you’re one of those people who enjoys waterworks. And for that, I offer you a fist bump.

Let’s cry… together.

[>>Here’s the playlist so you can cry too while reading!<<]

In fact, I’d argue that crying is an essential component of tapping into the deepest, most spiritual parts of yourself.

The infinite and eternal cries that make you realize there’s more to life than yourself and your petty desires.

It’s a release in every sense of the word.

So don’t get high, just cry.

^But not like that LOL.

Growing up in Western culture only reinforces the notion that it’s kind of not okay to be vulnerable about your emotions.

We’re raised with these bizarre stereotypes and gender norms, which only help to suppress the real soul energy inside a person that’s waiting to be tapped into.

Men are taught to be “manly” (according to society’s definition), to be “masculine”, to be ________ (insert term here).

The irony is that all of the things that society says a man shouldn’t be are what make you more of a man: crying, being vulnerable, being open and honest about yourself and your deepest feelings and inclinations.

Showing genuine love towards others. Taking responsibility for everything that happens to you.

Not reacting to every little perceived slight from another person.

Embracing your feminine side a little (and masculine if you’re a woman), and not being afraid of it or threatened by it.

Driving a truck the size of Texas, as it turns out, does not make you a man. Who would have thought?

Making said truck (or wannabe race car) sound as loud as humanly possible, while you’re speeding aimlessly around town in some bizarre, thinly veiled attempt to impress people also doesn’t.

And yes, I’ve seen it happen.

All it means is that you’re hiding something and overcompensating for some sort of strange inferiority complex.

I’ll tell you from firsthand experience that a good woman appreciates the real you; not the facade that you put on display in public, the one you use when you’re behind a keyboard, or the one you employ when you’re at some bar with a bunch of low-key alcoholics watching men wrestle around on the floor with each other – They like to call that “UFC.”

The Power

I’ll never forget the time someone opened up to me at an old job about the power music can have on a person.

This was the least likely candidate to talk about his feelings. It was mostly Panthers football, the weather, and what he was going to have for lunch that day.

In other words, trivial shit.

This was a guy who ran the 2nd main printing press all day long and was probably bored out of his mind.

Meet Danny.

I think I provided some much-needed comic relief in Danny’s life, and in some ways, I think he began to trust me a little – at least enough to talk about something other than how his load of laundry went the night before.

It’s super exciting, let me tell ya.

LOL. Thanks, Rocko.

I don’t know if he believed in God or not (not Rocko, Danny lol), but if I recall correctly, his disposition was that God basically created everything and then left it to chance.

I think they call that Deism.

That or he didn’t believe in a higher power. I say this for a reason which I’ll get to in a jiffy, so hang tight.

One day we were chatting, somehow landing on the subject of Jazz music and Miles Davis.

If peeing your pants is cool, consider me Miles Davis.

Sorry.

The conversation started out innocently enough, but then he turned to me and posed a serious question;

“What is it about music that can reduce a grown man to tears?”

I was kind of shocked, to be honest.

Now, now we’re getting somewhere (I’m not one for small talk).

He went on:

“I think music is the single best argument that there is a God. That there is something out there greater than ourselves.”

“The fact that it has that power, the power to break someone down to a sobbing, weeping mess really says something to me. Music is spiritual by its very nature.”

I’m paraphrasing a little, but the conversation got heavy in a hurry.

Music does have that power. It doesn’t make you do anything, rather, it gently encourages you to consider something other than yourself.

It beckons you to embrace what is eternal rather than what is fleeting and temporary.

It’s God, lightly knocking at your heart’s door, letting you know he’s there.

Of course, all of this is null and void if you’re blasting death metal out of your car windows in broad daylight, but that’s a discussion for another day.

GROW UP!!!

With that, let’s take a look at some of my most profound experiences listening to music.

We’ll discuss everything from love songs to Christian songs, sad songs, hip-hop/rap songs, beautiful songs, and anything in between. I can almost guarantee that if you’re open to it, these songs will make you cry too.

So let’s get those waterworks flowing. We can even have a crying party.

We’ll classify each song according to factors such as type, and genre, and I’ll list out what headphones were used (the ones I remember) and so forth.

Let’s get into it.

#15

Papa M

Krusty

Whatever, Mortal, 2001

Papa M – Whatever, Mortal (2001)

Man, how time flies. It feels like only yesterday when I first heard this song on Habitat’s Skateboarding video “Mosaic” all the way back in 2003.

It wasn’t until 20 years later did I finally log my first cry listening to it, and I’m not exactly sure why.

The musicianship on this instrumental from Papa M is nothing short of majestic, as a simple guitar pattern blossoms into a full-blown jam of epic proportions, complete with soaring melodies, a steady rhythm, and an incredibly simple but effective drum section.

So kick back, relax, and let the explosion of aural pleasure overtake you as the tears fall.

#14

Kevin Garrett

Factor In

Made Up Lost Time, 2020

Kevin Garrett – Made Up Lost Time (2020)

It’s rare to come across a song that almost verbatim describes a relationship you’ve been in (and the aftermath), but Factor In from Kevin Garrett does exactly that, so much so that I began to weep like a child when it hit me that it was really over between me and the other person (we’ll call her M), but also how perfectly it described the transition from us just being friends to something more during the hook:

“It’s sure not the worst thing, but I don’t need a replay. I miss you in the worst way, but, I keep remembering when I, built you up, and then it caught fire… my whole world is burning now. Holding on down to the wire, thinking you might come around.”

I guess it also helps that Garrett has one of the most beautiful voices I’ve ever heard (male or female), and composes brilliant music.

Plus, he’s good-looking and I would probably go gay for him given the opportunity.

It’s one of those songs that’s hard to listen to even a couple of years later for obvious reasons, but nonetheless is an incredible piece of music in its own right.

#13

DRAMA

Dead & Gone

Single, 2019

DRAMA – Dead and Gone (2019)

  • Type: Love, Mortality
  • Genre: Indie/Pop
  • Song Link: Here
  • Album: N/A (Single)

Call me crazy, but there’s something about considering your own mortality that can drive you to tears, and DRAMA’s “Forever’s Gone” somehow touches on that and love in the same breath.

If you’re a bachelor like me, waiting for the right person to spend your life with, Forever’s Gone may hit you in a profound way.

It forces you to consider what you truly value in a relationship; in a partner.

To believe deep down that it’s possible to find a meaningful connection with someone, but also be open to it instead of trying to put parameters on everything associated with it.

Again, I experienced this with the person I mentioned earlier, in that, when I first met her, I couldn’t really see myself with her – mostly due to my own superficiality and somewhat shallow disposition.

In other words, “She’s not my type”, etc., etc. basically (even though I was still initially attracted to her on some level).

It was only when I released all of that, was I able to let go and just fall in love with her.

Because I liked her.

Because I appreciated her.

Because I cared about what she had to say.

Because she was interesting to talk to. Because we had a deep connection and developed a strong bond emotionally and intellectually.

I ended up being more attracted to her physically, because I opened up to her in all of those other, more important ways.

Forever’s Gone hints at that longing for connection, but also the sense of urgency in opening up to someone before it’s too late:

“Love is for lovers and old men
Who know when to fold and go home

Bet nobody told you
You should find someone to trust
When you’re dumb and young
You’re dumb and young”

Let’s face it, none of us are getting any younger.

It can be kind of scary growing older because you tend to look back a lot, on how things used to be, not realizing that those moments in time had their own sets of problems and challenges.

I think we tend to romanticize the past a lot thinking it was better when in reality it was just as difficult, only now we’ve grown up (hopefully), have gotten better at dealing with problems, and are stronger at handling adversity.

Speaking of getting older, let’s talk about Landslide.

#12

Fleetwood Mac

Landslide

Fleetwood Mac, 1975

Fleetwood Mac (1975)

Even thinking about this song gets me a bit emo, and I will attempt to explore just why that is for the first time here.

As with Forever’s Gone, Landslide is a song that deals with age and mortality, but it feels a lot more personal because it asks questions that we’ve all asked ourselves:

What is love? (Baby don’t hurt me xD) Can I rise above my circumstances? Could I handle life if everything came crashing down?

This is in part what inspired [Stevie] Nicks to write the song while she was in Aspen, Colorado, gazing at the mountains.

That everything she had been building could come crashing down at any moment.

Because life is hard, no matter what they tell you. It’s unpredictable and weird and unfair and sad and painful, but it can also be happy and beautiful.

I think the reason the song can make you cry so easily is because of how vulnerable Stevie is and sounds here.

She completely let go and uncovered exactly how she felt, no strings attached.

There are really no vague, open-to-interpretation types of lyrics in the song. Her true soul is on full display, and it’s wonderful.

When I listen to the lyrics “But time makes you bolder, even children get older, and I’m getting older, too” it makes me think of when parents constantly tell their kids how they’re growing up too fast and how the child never understands until they have children of their own.

It makes me think of my mother and how much she’s meant to me over the years, always being there no matter what.

It makes me want to be that person for my kids if I ever end up having any.

#11

Bill Evans

Lucky To Be Me

Everybody Digs Bill Evans, 1959

Bill Evans – Everybody Digs Bill Evans (1959)

Everybody digs you indeed, Bill.

And no, YOU’RE NOT A GARDEN.

Most songs that we listen to and relate with undoubtedly end up being very personal experiences, and Bill Evans’ “Lucky To Be Me” is no different.

Because the piece doesn’t have any words, it’s even more open to interpretation than your average song and must stand on its own as a strong composition.

Fortunately for you and me, it exceeds expectations with flying colors.

There’s something about listening to this piece in the late afternoon, with the sun shining through the windows that really gives it a majestic feeling.

It evokes a sense of finality; a triumphant swan song.

A victory lap if you will.

But it also feels like Bill is truly grateful for life. To be alive.

Grateful for the opportunity to be able to sit down and write such a magnificent piece of music.

It feels… refreshing. Like a cold water splash in the morning.

Evans, once a member of Miles Davis’ sextet, left in 1959 to form his own group, dubbed the Bill Evans Trio, with bassist Scott LaFaro and drummer Paul Motian.

LaFaro would die in a car accident just 10 days after the trio recorded Sunday At The Village Vanguard, and Waltz for Debby.

Evans, though devastated, eventually recruited new bassist Chuck Israels and re-formed the trio in 1962.

Getting into Evans’ personal life is beyond the scope of this article, but let’s just say his music has a way of making you pause and reflect on your own life, tears and all.

“Lucky To Be Me” evokes a sense of gratitude, but also provides a hint of nostalgia.

It makes me think about what it’s like to be young and free. To be unbound and fearless.

To be truly limitless in the way that a child is.

Speaking of nostalgia, let’s take a step back and look at what is perhaps the greatest Jazz recording of all time (and one that Evans was also a part of).

#10

Miles Davis

Blue In Green

Kind Of Blue, 1959

Miles Davis – Kind Of Blue (1959). If peeing your pants is cool, consider me Miles Davis.

If “Lucky to Be Me” made me feel nostalgic in a somewhat cheerful way, Blue In Green is pure nostalgia at its finest; perhaps with a hint of melancholy.

OK, a lot of melancholy.

I suppose in some ways it’s more neutral, meaning I don’t necessarily feel sad or happy when I listen to it.

It just feels like life wrapped up into a 5 min. 37-second package of awesome sauce.

As with Lucky, Blue in Green can bring you to tears almost every time, but it kind of hits you harder than the former.

The piece starts out with Evans’s piano, and then Miles quickly belts out the opening solo how only he could – i.e. with a ridiculous amount of raw energy and emotion, accompanied by Evans and Paul Chambers backing him with their piano and bass respectively.

The synergy (regular readers and subscribers will understand how funny it is of me to use this term) between Evans, Davis, Coltrane, Chambers on double bass, and Jimmy Cobb on drums is undeniable.

It’s Jazz music, no, it’s music in general at its absolute peak.

The piece is basically broken up into an array of solos, centered around what is perhaps John Coltrane’s most moving performance, starting at around the 2:27 mark.

Sandwiched around that are a couple of solos a piece from Evans and Davis before Evans’ final farewell.

As good as Coltrane’s solo is, (and it is perhaps one of the greatest and/or most emotional of all time), it’s actually not the one that moves me to tears.

In fact, I can pretty much hold it together for the entirety of the song, until the end when Miles, and ultimately Evans, closes it out.

What is it about his coda that stands out so much?

There’s a finality to it that feels like the end of something special. Something that I’ve been sitting here for the last hour trying to put into words.

I can’t. Well, I kind of can lol.

The best I can come up with is that Evans’ closing number simply transcends everything I thought I knew about music.

In all my 30+ years of listening, I can’t really think of a better way to end a song, and I love how Miles gave way to Bill for the finish, knowing how aggressive his trumpet can get.

It’s like he toned it down just long enough for Evans to seal the deal.

The subtlety of Chambers’ bass, as well as Cobb’s rolling, machine gun-like, but still yet gentle, ending brush hits, also adds to the emotion as well, fusing and melding into one of those rare moments in music that will stand out in my mind for as long as I live.

Speaking of standout moments, what about this next number?

#9

Pink Floyd

Great Gig In The Sky

Dark Side Of The Moon, 1973

Pink Floyd – Dark Side Of The Moon (1973)

There are few albums in history (perhaps none) that form as cohesive of a unit quite like Pink Floyd’s “Dark Side Of The Moon”, and Great Gig in the Sky is just one of 9 other reasons why.

While not quite being the standout track on this 10-piece record (I would argue “Time” is, and to a lesser extent Money IMO for other obvious annoying reasons – cough most overplayed song in history cough), Great Gig certainly had me crying my eyes out when I first heard it with a good set of audiophile headphones; more specifically Sennheiser’s HD600.

There was something about Clare Torry belting out absolutely nothing that just made me weep like an out-of-control baby bro.

WAHHH!! *Cries*

That, in addition to the brilliance of fusion between the rest of the band, cemented in my mind what is certainly one of the rawest, most genuine displays of pure intuition ever recorded.

And it only takes around a minute or two!

Consider for a moment, not only did she have to stay on key while screaming loudly about God knows what, but she also had to make it sound good!

That to me is simply astounding. Heck, that word doesn’t even do it justice. It’s ludicrous.

Ludacris^

Great Gig in the Sky actually feels like what an improv jam session would sound like if everyone let go of any preconceived plan or structure – instead just gathering around and playing music as it was meant to be played.

It’s one of those heart drops into your stomach moments that enable you to feel what it might have been like to be a part of something so special.

Seriously, next time you listen to it, don’t just listen to it, but … listen to it.

No distractions, no phone, no internet, nothing. Just concentrate as hard as you can.

Wright’s organ, Mason’s drums, Waters’ bass, and Clare Torry’s amazing vocals all come together like the Beatles, forming something greater than the sum of their parts.

The best way I can describe listening to this song is by comparing the sounds to puzzle pieces that interconnect to form a beautiful portrait.

It’s the band members knowing their place, not trying to do too much that becomes the reason why the song is so beautiful.

It feels like triumph and defeat at the same time.

It gives me the hope to move on from a difficult situation knowing there’s something better on the other side of it.

We kind of saw these concepts with the Grateful Dead throughout the years, but like my dad famously once said, “I like the Dead and all, but listening to them on some of these live recordings sounds like they’re dying or something.”

After drying my eyes from laughing so hard, I agreed. Nice call, Dad.

He has a way of deadpanning some of the funniest one-liners ever.

No, Great Gig is one of those rare moments in music in which the sum of all its parts achieves something almost greater than life itself.

Never before have the opening words to a song been more appropriate than the ones uttered here:

“And I am not frightened of dying. (pauses) Why should I be frightened of dying? There’s no reason for it, you gotta go sometime.”

To me, the song itself transcends existence by attempting to explain it; only without the crutch of relying on words to do so.

To some that may sound like an exaggeration, but I can assure you there’s a reason why audiophiles obsess over Hi-Fi.

In other words, listening to Great Gig with upper-echelon gear can and will truly make the difference in just how incredible the song was; something you likely won’t be able to fully appreciate without good headphones.

#8

Fred Hammond & Radical For Christ

Draw Nigh (Psalm 42:1)

Spirit Of David, 1997

Fred Hammond – Spirit Of David (1997)

I’ll be the first to admit that as a Christian man, I’m not that fond of most Christian music.

I appreciate the message, but musically, a lot of the songs are just kind of… I don’t even know what the word is.

Let’s just say that for the most part, the artists’ styles don’t line up with my preferences in how I like music to sound.

That said, Draw Nigh from Fred Hammond is one of the best I’ve ever heard and really gets my blood pumpin’.

It perfectly represents what gospel music sounds like in my mind.

What gospel music should sound like in theory, if you stripped away all the theatrics that come along with the darker corners of religion.

That is to say that when I think of Gospel, I think of amazingly beautiful female voices chanting in unison – as cliche as that may sound.

Once you come across gospel music done right, it’s quite enchanting.

The most interesting thing about this song in particular is that I don’t necessarily like the first half of it all that much.

It’s only when part 2 comes in at around 3:00 do my perceptions shift.

The passion in Hammond’s voice cannot be overstated.

It stirs up my deepest longing to be closer to God because, if you’ve experienced that closeness, you know there’s truly nothing else in the world quite like it.

Hammond perfectly encapsulates the experience of getting lost in a moment, and the composition itself invokes an old-school hip-hop/r&b sensibility that simply cannot be denied.

Once it hit me, the drums, the deep sub-bass booms, the dreamy, semi-hypnotic melody of the synthesizer, the background vocals and how well they fuse with the lead vocalist, and the growing intensity of Hammond himself as the song progresses, I was simply flabbergasted beyond my wildest imagination.

I’ll never forget that moment, driving down the highway in my car, singing at the top of my lungs, without a care in the world, tears and all.

Speaking of Gospel-laden sensibilities, let’s talk about Nas.

#7

Nas

My Bible

King’s Disease II, 2021

Nas – King’s Disease II (2021)

When I think of the words “Instant Classic”, Nas’ “My Bible” off of his 2021 album King’s Disease II immediately comes to mind.

Surely the standout track on the record, this gospel-inspired instrumental from Hit-Boy, combined with Nas’ introspective, raw, and honest lyrics about the music industry (most notably), surely brought me to tears when I really zeroed in on what he was trying to say.

There’s a reason why I’ll never read a Pitchfork column ever again, and their terrible excuse for a “review” of this classic album is exactly why.

So let me give you an actual breakdown.

Certainly, as of 2021, we’re living in dark times, and the fact that such as simple message has already been lost on “intellectuals” speaks volumes about where society is headed – i.e. down a watery shit hole.

The New York City native even re-iterated his lines by saying “Let that soak in your mind” and yet it will still be lost on dim-witted immature “adults.”

Look, Nas is in his 40s now. He’s seen and done it all at this point.

“My Bible” sees him at what is perhaps his most mature and wise – he’s no longer interested in guns, “honeys” and all the juvenile bullshit that goes along with being young and stupid.

Every line he utters here is golden, and his attempt to leave a positive legacy behind for the younger generation is truly refreshing during such a turbulent time in history.

“Second chapter, and you get what you give
It’s power in how you live, I sit and talk with the kids
And tell ’em just how it is, go straight to avoid the bids
Livin’ fast can wait, stay down and work on your grades
Speak gospel for the next generation”

and…

“I wonder if it’s Jesus when a baby reach up
Sharpenin’ up myself ’cause I know they need us
My African skin gave me the passion to win (ooh, ooh)
Prayin’ this doesn’t come to a tragic end (and I pray)”

He has clearly grown up, unlike some people who are in their 60s and still act like it’s 1985 (Cough, Madonna).

No, Nas is an actual adult now in every sense of the word. Aside from maybe Common, I can’t think of a more self-aware individual in the music industry.

Someone who undoubtedly understands the pitfalls that accompany fame and fortune, as he subtly hints at both Tupac Shakur and Christopher Wallace’s deaths:

“You can have it all, just don’t side with Satan
I seen that take down most of the greatest
Hotel suites, Hollywood stars hangin’
The other side of what you think is fly
Your jewelry could be cursed and so can your ride
Let that soak in your mind, Suburbans, and Beamers
Shot up with Ninas, how to stop a young genius”

Biggie and Tupac died in a Suburban and Beamer respectively.

Perhaps Nas is stepping on toes with these lines and that’s why Pitchfork (oh the irony), doesn’t like it. That’s the issue here.

The Chinaman is not.

It’s that being real and genuine (in a time when people worship Satan and glorify evil) is now frowned upon, and that’s my main point.

So to anyone reading this, heed the warnings.

The industry will never, ever care about the common man, but Nas is certainly a light in dark times. I truly believe that.

#6

Caroline Pennell

Drive Me Home

Phases, 2018

  • Type: Love/Relationships
  • Genre: Indie Pop
  • Song Link: Here
  • Album: Phases, 2018
  • Speakers/Monitors Experienced: Yamaha HS7

There’s something special about imagining a relationship with someone exactly how you envisioned it, and Caroline Pennell’s “Drive Me Home” is a meditation on just that.

The feeling you get when you’ve finally found that person, (or listening to someone else find that person), has the power to make you weep, as she describes what it’s like to be completely content in the arms of her significant other:

“I look at you, I see myself
And it always takes me home
I think of us and where we stand
How we’ve seen each other grow

Far away we travel
But I feel it in my bones
You keep me warm
You keep me warm
A thousand miles of empty space
But you still fill the hole”

(Don’t make a Michael Scott joke, don’t make a Michael Scott joke xD)

In all seriousness, it speaks to the closeness that evolves out of a relationship; as 2 separate individuals become one. It’s the feeling every human being longs for, thus why so many relationships fail and roughly half of all marriages end in divorce.

That is to say, it’s hard to find the right person, but people are always trying. You could spend decades waiting or searching or even failing over and over in that pursuit; with partners who aren’t as compatible as you thought.

I’ve known a few females in particular who could not, for whatever reason, just be single. They constantly needed something, anything to make them feel companionship. And there is nothing inherently wrong with that. We’re wired to desire a mate, but it has to be the right person.

And that’s why this song is so powerful.  The dreamy, serene nature of the composition, coupled with her vulnerability, makes you feel as though she has finally found that.

And it’s beautiful.

#5

Bibio

Oakmoss

Sleep On The Wing, 2020

It took me a few dozen times listening to this song for it to finally hit me, but once it did, hoo boy the tears started flowing.

I always knew there were some waterworks baked into this piece waiting to be released, but it just took the right moment in time I suppose.

Oakmoss is one of those instrumentals that really has a way of getting under your skin, with its sweeping violin, dreamy soundscape, and overall feeling of quiet, almost peaceful desolation.

Desolate doesn’t necessarily denote a negative connotation here, but the piece isn’t exactly “happy” either. I think, as with “Blue In Green,” it sits somewhere in the middle. Could this one be about dying? Who knows. It’s certainly a possibility.

In other words, there’s a sense of melancholy mixed with a sprinkle of finality, a tinge of longing, and an eventual glimmer of hope.

Hope for what?

I don’t know. I feel like a bird when I listen to it.

On leisure days, I fish in a small lake surrounded by apartments, and there are a lot of regulars who show up.

And I’m not talkin’ about people. I’m talking about the ducks, geese, birds, and other animals who swim and hang out there. And let me tell you, it’s a real soap opera. Lots of chatter about God knows what (the gossip of the day, probably), playful banter, plenty of arguing, and loads of poop.

But one day I noticed one duck in particular; he seemed different, like he marched to the beat of his own drum. Of course, he was by himself, just milling about and being all cute.

Then, out of nowhere, he begins to take off like a plane, quacking all the while and gliding across the water until slowly lifting off and disappearing into the dusk. I followed his path with my eyes for as long as I could, until he vanished, never to return.

Until tomorrow, probably.

Oakmoss makes me feel like that. Like taking flight. Moving on. Remembering the past while forging ahead to the future. And let me tell you, it feels wonderful.

Try listening to this one on a sun-drenched spring or summer late afternoon near dusk while driving in your car on a windy 2 lane road near a lake.

I promise you won’t regret it.

#4

Emily Rowed

Pinball

Single, 2018

  • Type: Love & Parenting
  • Genre: Indie Pop
  • Song Link: Here
  • Album: N/A

Very few things in the entire world soften me up to the idea of parenting a child, but “Pinball” by Emily Rowed is certainly one of them.

I was always told that once I find the right person to spend my life with, naturally I’d want children. I’m still a bit skeptical of that sentiment, but I can honestly say that, in listening to this song and feeling the tears roll down my crybaby face, at least a small part of me understands and therefore is open to the idea. A little bit. 😉

This is in large part because of how powerful her songwriting is and how well she articulates the feeling of being in love and wanting to share with someone everything that may come with it – children and all.

Her voice is delicate and wispy, but there’s genuine emotion in the way it comes across.

Instead of giving you a laundry list of bullet points, she perfectly encapsulates what it must be like when you sit down and have that honest discussion with another person; the person you want to spend the rest of your life with.

And, the vulnerability she shows in recognizing her own flaws as a human being is more than admirable to me – it’s miraculous.

“If I am, turning into my mother, tell me that, you could still love her.”

If that wasn’t enough, she’s got his back too:

“If you are, slippin’ into darkness… then I will build, homemade lighthouse.”

She’s understanding and willing to work with him:

“If you had, the tendencies of your father, then I would stay, calm as water.”

But it’s not those lines that get me.

It’s always what happens right before and after the drums stop at around 1:17:

“If we are, turning into our parents, then we will… remember that hotel” (where they met)

“Talkin’ ’bout a lifetime and turning into a mother, there’s no one else I’d, rather be. Now we’re talkin’ ’bout forever, and turnin’ into a father, you say, it’s better than a dream.”

Here’s me now:

#3

Ralph Vaughan Williams, Tasmin Little, Andrew Davis & The BBC Philharmonic

The Lark Ascending

The Lark Ascending, 2013

Tasmin Little – The Lark Ascending (2013)

If you look at this song’s plays on Spotify, it’s quite astonishing (and comical, really) to see just how lopsided it is in comparison to the rest of the album.

It’s something like 31.3 million at the time of this writing, with the next closest being around 330,000. The rest of the songs?

They range from roughly 40 – 75,000 plays, with track 8 coming in at around 143k.

To put it bluntly, there’s a reason for it.

Track 9, The Lark Ascending, is clearly the best on the record, so why not save it for last?

This 15-and-a-half-minute epic display of incredible musicianship has tears written all over it.

Lots of them.

If you laughed, go ahead and share.

The Lark Ascending, to me, best represents the human spectrum of emotions and feels more like a tear-jerker film than a song.

The Lark Ascending was inspired by a poem of the same name written by George Meredith, which tells the tale of a skylark singing an impossibly beautiful, almost heavenly, song. BBC

It tries to be grand and epic and succeeds – largely on the back of Little’s violin which gives a profound appreciation of the instrument and just how hard it is to play.

The BBC Philharmonic’s subtle wind instruments are not to be overlooked here either.

In fact, like Evans’ final piano on Blue in Green, it’s the wind instruments towards the end of Lark (at around 13:00) that are what ultimately open the floodgates for me (pun kind of sort of but not really intended).

The tears here, like the sound, are too also very subtle.

It’s not a full-on scream fest with tears that could fill a river, but rather more like a gentle roll of a few select tears; The ones that run down your cheek in almost slow motion, and you, against your better judgment, stick out your tongue to taste them.

You know, the ones you feel when something is kind of sad but also maybe a bit hopeful at the same time.

Unfathomable sadness indeed, Cartman.

It’s sort of like when I think about the fact that I’m over 30 and don’t have a cool girlfriend, but believe I may have one at some point in the near future, possibly. LOL.

Okay, I think we’ve exhausted that one.

Speaking of one, what is number 1?

Hold on there, pardner. We’ll get to it.

First I want to talk about J. Cole.

#2

J. Cole

Love Yourz

2014 Forest Hills Drive, 2014

J. Cole – 2014 Forest Hills Drive

There are times when I can’t even so much as think about this song without feeling the well of emotions start to boil up inside.

In that sense, it’s hard to even play this one because I know, without a shadow of a doubt, that weeping profusely is an inevitability. So I usually skip over it.

“Love Yourz” from J. Cole off of 2014 Forest Hills Drive is both a mediation on success and also a gut punch regarding its consequences.

We all know the cliche “It’s lonely at the top” but here, Cole makes us understand it. He helps us to fully realize that life is NOT about those things: Fame. Fortune. Status. Whatever the word is.

Instead, he allows us to appreciate where we are right now.

To not dwell on what could be, but to bask in the moment and be completely present in what already is. To appreciate the blessings we already have. The people we love and who love us.

And yes, even the struggle.

I’ve found this true in my life. Success and money can sometimes just create stress to obtain more. And that’s never a good thing.

Because life is short and you could be gone tomorrow. And guess what? None of what you deemed important in this life would matter at all. It’s about your soul, but that’s an article for another day.

So let’s all take a moment, fire up the song, and just let it sink in.

I would bet a lot of money you’ll cry after he’s finished.

#1

Maurice Ravel, Louis Lortie, Hélène Mercier-Arnault

Ma mère l’Oye, M.60 (Version for Piano Duo): III. Laideronnette, imperatrice des pagodes

Ravel: Works for 2 Pianos and Piano Duet, 1990

Ravel: Works For 2 Pianos & Duet (1990)

Wow, could the title get any longer?

Sheesh, you know it’s bad when you have to find multiple different sources just to finish typing everything out.

Anyway…

The most interesting part of this song is how happy, cheery, and innocent it starts.

If I’m being honest, it’s almost overly so, but still manages not to sound artificial or contrived.

In other words, it sets a nice tone and juxtaposes the contrasting mood of the rest of the piece quite wonderfully.

The contrasting mood, you ask?

It’s what happens about a minute in that completely throws me off almost every time I sit down for a listen.

If the other songs on this list made me stop and think, Ma mère l’Oye, M.60 almost literally whisks me away into another dimension, to a past long since forgotten about.

It has a way of resurrecting old memories, of lost loves and aching hearts.

Of familiar places that haven’t changed at all, even though we have.

Beautiful, but broken all at once.

It’s a piece that invokes a deep sense of self-reflection, but also hearkens back to the good times you thought would last forever.

It’s sad, happy, melancholy, introspective, and hopeful all at once.

It simultaneously makes me think of what was, but what could also be.

It hints at limitless possibilities, even despite a somewhat downtrodden tone during the middle stages of the piece.

A stage that opens up my tear ducts, though each time it happens, I sit there, asking myself aloud as the tears quietly flow, “What is it about this song?”

Writing descriptions for the rest of the tracks on this list was fairly breezy; trying to come up with an actual good reason why Ma mère l’Oye, M.60 makes me cry?

Well, that is one of the most difficult things I’ve ever tried to pen.

The truth is that I still can’t come up with a good reason, but I hope I’ve done it justice on some level.

Well, that’s about it for today my friend! I hope you’ve enjoyed this discussion on Songs that make you cry and came away with some valuable insight.

Questions? Comments? Requests? Did I miss the mark on something? Please let me know down below or Contact me!!

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So which of these do you identify with? What are some of your favorite crybaby songs? Let’s get some comments going and the tears flowing. I would love to hear your thoughts, expand my palette, and potentially add some to the list! Until next time…

All the best and God bless,

 

 

-Stu

[Xtr@Ba$eHitZ]

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2 comments

Stuart A February 26, 2024 - 9:03 pm

Interesting article and a change of pace from headphone reviews. For me, Vaughan Williams’ Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis hits harder than The Lark Ascending, but both are truly great pieces of music. I never really cared for jazz much until hearing that Miles Davis album on a good set of Hifiman planars, and wow that really opened me up the genre for me! Some tracks here I have never heard of but I may sample a few when in the right mood…

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Stuart Charles Black February 27, 2024 - 5:19 pm

Stu,

Pleasant surprise to see you here! Love Fantasia. Going to give it a listen now. I don’t know about you, but I’m more of a Debussy/Williams/Ravel/Holst kinda guy. It may be blasphemy to some, but I’m not really into Bach, Beef Oven, Mozart, Chopin, Tchaikovsky, etc. I find some of that stuff to be kind of dull. I respect the talent, but it’s just not really my cup.

And yeah, I also found it interesting that most of Davis’ other music is not really like Kind of Blue. It’s much more esoteric and straight up weird in many instances. Which is fun. Heh.

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