So you think you are a tough guy? You watched the movie Ghost; no tears. People call you the human robot. You hate showing emotion because you think that it will make you appear weak or feminine? You think that those who freely show emotions are sissies or not a man’s man, not a tough guy. Regardless of how much emotional kevlar you have surrounding your tear ducts the following sad songs will most likely cause you to cry; if only a little. If at least one of these sad songs doesn’t evoke even the tiniest amount of emotion…check your pulse. So, my fellow readers, prepare to cry.
10) The Living Years – Mike & The Mechanics. From the 1988 album of the same name, this song about the failure to communicate with your father (before he passes) about how much you love him and what he means to you, hits too close to home for many guys. If your relationship with your dad isn’t as strong as it should be you need to listen carefully to the lyrics and then give him a call. Regret is a heavy weight to carry for the rest of your life. Key line – “I wasn’t there that morning, when my father passed away. I didn’t get to tell him all the things I had to say.”
9) Time – Alan Parsons Project. Found on 1980’s The Turn of a Friendly Card album, this song gets me every time. I’m crying as I type this; sitting alone in my living room, after midnight, listening to this song. This song is so beautiful and touching that you can hear his heart breaking as it is sung. Key line – “Goodbye my love. Maybe for forever.” “Who knows when we shall meet again. If ever.”
8) Same Auld Lang Syne – Dan Fogelberg. This is a song that speaks of the joyous pain of meeting a former lover years after you’ve parted ways. It’s a sudden trip down memory lane where you realize that the trip is laced with emotions you once had. It’s a heart-wrenching tale of love long lost. Key line – “We drank a toast to innocence. We drank a toast to now. And tried to reach beyond the emptiness but neither one knew how.”
7) Wasted Time – Skid Row. Found on 1991’s Slave To The Grind, this song shows that heavy metal has a heart, and it is bleeding. Yes, it is a cold slap in the face when you believe that all the time you spent with a former love is wasted time. Skid Row, metal gods that they were, bleed loss on every note played. Sebastian Bach, one of the most gifted vocalists of the era, literally has his heart smash in two when he wails “I never thought, I never thought you’d let it get this far.” Key line – “Can you live with yourself when you think of what you’ve left behind.”
6) Here Comes The Flood – Peter Gabriel. This gem is from Peter Gabriel’s 1977 self-titled album. The song is about the bigger picture, the world that exists within all of us, not just the singular state. Interpret the meaning as you will but there is no denying the raw emotion in the simplicity of the words. It is grace personified; as Peter Gabriel always is. Key line – “Lord here comes the flood. We will say goodbye to flesh and blood.”
5) Kite – U2. This song, about letting go, is from U2’s 2000 album All That You Can’t Leave Behind. Everybody has lost somebody and listening to this song is a great way to cope. Try finding U2’s live performance from Boston (online). When Bono sings “I’m a man, I’m not a child” it will be waterworks for you. Key line – “I know that this is not goodbye.”
4) Love Is Blindness – U2. Originally recorded on the 1991 masterpiece Achtung Baby; ladies and gentlemen…pain. Try to find a live version of the song to maximize the emotional power that it possesses. Key line – not found in the words. Listen to The Edge’s guitar solo at the end of the song. Never before has a solo expressed such heartache. That solo HAD to come out of reality. That sadness could not be faked.
3) I’ll Be There – The Escape Club. Quite possibly the saddest song ever written. Chances are you’ve never heard this song, found on 1991’s Dollars and Sex. The Escape Club were famous for the song Wild Wild West (a #1 hit in 1988) but it’s this song that speaks from beyond the grave. Written from the perspective of the lover lost, and not the one left behind, it actually hurts to listen to this. As sad as the lyrics are, it’s the music that gets you. Key line – “I’m on your side and I still care. I may have died but I’ve gone nowhere. Just think of me and I’ll be there.”
2) Black – Pearl Jam. Hailing from the epic 1991 Ten album, this song just might be the best song of the entire grunge era. Every now and then you stumble upon greatness and you won’t find a better example than this song here. I won’t describe it. Just listen. Key line – “I know someday you’ll have a beautiful life. I know you’ll be a sun in somebody else’s sky but why why why can’t it be, why can’t it be mine.”
1) Here Comes The Dawn Again – Billy Vera and the Beaters. This song is very tough to find. As of this writing it is not found on YouTube. It can be found on the Billy Vera and the Beaters’ 1987 By Request album. This song is about loss. Listen to the intro. Billy explains it all. If you think you are a tough guy, a time is going to come that will get you. And that’s alright. This song is both about loss and hope. Hope for a better tomorrow. Hope that you will make it through another dark, soulless, depressing night. It is a song that offers the chance of a better tomorrow by taking it one second at a time. This song lets you know that you are not alone, and you will be fine. Trust in that and only then will you grow. Key line – “I’m not that strong. I’m not that brave. Sometimes I think that I won’t make another day. Since you’ve been gone all I seem to do is cry.” “I cried from midnight straight through to daylight.”