Sorrowful, emotionally-driven songs that not enough people know about

I like sad songs.

Not because I like to feel sad, but because I prefer songs that are grounded in reality.

The perfect song to me is one that speaks to you about the harshness of life, but at the same time, expresses optimism. Sort of like, “Yeah, it can all suck sometimes, but it’s going to be all right.”

Nobody in this world is immune from sadness. Throughout the course of our lives, we will experience death, heartbreak, failure and sickness. There’s no escaping it.

And yet, life is pretty damn amazing. And there’s no where else I’d rather be than here.

I enjoy songs that can express that type of emotion. But the beauty of music is that it affects everybody differently. What I’d like to do right now is list several songs I believe most people are not aware of, that, to me, are deeply emotive and affecting.

Pour yourself a glass of whiskey and give ’em a listen. And my apologies for the YouTube overload.

Damien Jurado — Everything Trying

This song touches on all of the emotions. It’s so raw you can almost feel the sorrow inflecting in every single note, reminiscing about love lost. It was also featured in the Academy Award winning Italian film The Great Beauty.

Ryan Bingham — The Weary Kind

This country ballad centers around a feeling of regret. You could have done so much more in life.And yet, it tells us that it’s never too late to give it one more try. This song comes from the 2009 film Crazy Heart.

The Pierces — Give it All Back

These sisters have been making music for almost two decades and have criminally flown under the radar. I say it’s criminal because they’re extremely talented and deserve more recognition. This song is an anthem of emotion and I especially enjoy how it starts slow and builds to a momentous climax.

Alexi Murdoch — All of My Days

This too speaks to the long-winded, exhausting nature of life, with a reflective tone. It’s a simple song, just a man and his guitar, and that’s what I like about it.

Adam Cohen — Out of Bed

Apathy is the theme here. We all have so much to express, so much we want to do, and the only thing that’s stopping us from doing it is … ourselves.

A Fine Frenzy — Ashes and Wine

Alison Sudol, also known as A Fine Frenzy, also has never received her fair due. She’s released four great albums, has a fantastic voice, and listening to her music feels like you’re just sitting in a meadow, watching nature happen. This song is as emotionally haunting as it gets.

Nina Nesbitt — The Hardest Part

This 20-year-old Scottish singer-songwriter is about a year or two away from becoming big in the United States. I can feel it. This song about heartbreak is told from a girl’s perspective. But if you can’t sense the raw emotion involved, man or woman, then you’re just heartless. Or a sociopath.

Neil Halstead — Digging Shelters

What you have here is a very pleasant-sounding, flowing song that’s as captivating as it is melancholy. It’s also in last year’s film Enough Said starring Julie Louis-Dreyfus and James Gandolfini.

Neko Case — I Wish I Was the Moon

She wishes she was the moon. Need I say more?

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One thought on “Sorrowful, emotionally-driven songs that not enough people know about

  1. Digging Shelters was my personal favorite of your list.

    I’d like to contribute a couple of my own– one lesser known and one more well-known.

    “The Girl” by City and Colour. Dallas Green’s voice. *sigh* I think this is about how he worries that his love isn’t enough, but of course it is.

    “Hurt” by Johnny Cash. It was originally written and performed by Trent Reznor /NIN and Cash covered it. Reznor said that he was moved to tears upon hearing his version. I agree. You can hear the pain in Cash’s voice as he sings. His wife, June, died a bit before he sang this song. Cash himself died not long after.

    Those are my favorite sad songs. Thanks for sharing yours!

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