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 admonish 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 really 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 societies definition), to be “masculine”, to be ________ (insert term here).
The irony is that being all of the things that society says a man shouldn’t be are what actually makes 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.
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”).
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 anything other than Panthers football, the weather, and what he was going to have for lunch that day.
In other words, trivial shit that means absolutely nothing.
This was a guy who ran the 2nd main printing press all day long and was probably bored out of his mind.
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 of, God basically created everything and then left it to chance. I think they call that Deism.
That or he didn’t really 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.
The conversation started out light 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).
“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, genre, and I’ll list out what headphones were used (the ones I remember) and so forth.
Let’s get into it.
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.
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.
Dead & Gone
- 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 glorify 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 stronger at handling adversity.
Speaking of getting older, let’s talk about Landslide.
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 told you. It’s unpredictable and weird and unfair and sad and painful, but also happy and triumphant.
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 own 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 own kids if I ever end up having any.
Lucky To Be Me
Everybody Digs Bill Evans, 1959
Everybody digs you indeed, Bill.
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 feel.
It evokes a sense of finality; a triumphant swang 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 art.
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.
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 really 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).
Blue In Green
Kind Of Blue, 1959
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 finest.
The piece is basically broken up into an array of solos, centered around what is perhaps 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 literally 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 blows my mind.
In all my 30+ years of listening to music, I can’t really think of a better way to end a song, and I absolutely 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?
Great Gig In The Sky
Dark Side Of The Moon, 1973
- Type: Life, meaning
- Genre: Classic Rock/Progressive Rock
- Song Link: Here
- Album: Dark Side Of The Moon (1973)
- Headphones Experienced: Sennheiser HD600
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 less 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 really just made me weep like an out-of-control baby bro.
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 jack squat, 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.
Dat beard tho.
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 really 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 in listening to them on some of these live recordings it 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.
Fred Hammond & Radical For Christ
Draw Nigh (Psalm 42:1)
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 really quite addicting.
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 can’t 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.
King’s Disease II, 2021
- Type: Life/Reflection
- Genre: Hip-Hop
- Song Link: Here
- Album: King’s Disease II (2021)
- Headphones Experienced: Sennheiser HD58X
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. a 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 basically 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 gun-play, “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”
“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. 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 Wallaces’ 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.
Ralph Vaughan Williams, Tasmin Little, Andrew Davis & The BBC Philharmonic
The Lark Ascending
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 they are 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.
It tries to be grand and epic and succeeds – largely on the back of Little’s violin which really gives you 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?
Maurice Ravel, Louis Lortie, Hélène Mercier-Arnault
Laideronnette, imperatrice des pagodes
Ravel: Works for 2 Pianos and Piano 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.
The most interesting part of this song is how happy, cheery, and innocent it starts off.
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,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 despite the fact that 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 invokes a sense of 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 whymakes 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 this song 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!!
If you love what I do here and want to support the blog and channel in a more personal way, check me out on Patreon and discover all the value I have to offer you.
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,