I think we can all agree at this point that sad country songs are just the best.
Of course, there are different levels of sadness, and I don’t particularly want to listen to the really sad songs when I just need a cry.
While songs like “God’s Will” by Martina McBride and “Alyssa Lies” by Jason Michael Caroll are beautiful songs about topics that should be discussed, they aren’t songs you choose to listen to more than once or twice.
Heaving sobs and pits in my stomach are not . . . cathartic. I just feel worse afterward…
The songs I want to talk about now are those songs that are perfect for that 2 am cry.
You know, when you can’t sleep and you’re sitting up in the middle of the bed with all of these emotions swirling around in there, and you need some way to let them out.
Well, yeah, same… you’re not alone.
But here are the perfect songs for that moment. The ones that are just sad enough that the tears will run out.
“Don’t Take the Girl” by Tim McGraw
Maybe this is just me, but this song never fails to make me cry.
I don’t know if it’s the love story or the unknown of whether the girl dies at the end, but this has always been my go-to “cathartic cry” song.
Memorable lyrics: “Take the very breath you gave me / Take the heart from my chest / I’ll gladly take her place if you let me”
“Stay” by Sugarland
This song is so heartbreaking (especially if you watch the music video) because we all that fear of not being chosen by the person we love.
But the last verse in this song in which the singer stands up for herself is also very cathartic and very cry worthy because of the relief of letting go.
Memorable lyrics: “I’m so tired of bein’ lonely / You can’t give me what I need”
“Whiskey Lullaby” by Brad Paisley and Alison Krauss
Okay, so I may be verging into really-sad-sob-fest territory, but I feel like Alison Krauss’s voice has this beautiful, melancholic quality to it that just makes me cry.
You also can’t deny that this is a guaranteed tear-jerker.
Memorable lyrics: “Life is short, but this time it was bigger / Than the strength she had to get up off her knees”
“Fire Away” by Chris Stapleton
I went between a lot of songs by Chris Stapleton for this list. My first thought was “Maggie’s Song,” but that song emotionally destroyed me as I drank coffee in a college parking lot . . . so not cathartic.
“Fire Away” is that beautiful type of love that is all-consuming, and you can’t help but get emotional (but don’t watch the music video unless you want to be hurt really bad).
Memorable lyrics: “Choose your words that cut like a razor / And all that I’ll say / Is fire away”
“Die from a Broken Heart” by Maddie & Tae
Do you need a post-breakup cry? This song about the adjustment and confusion that comes with a breakup is perfect for you!
Memorable lyrics: “Was it ever really real / If he don’t feel like I feel?”
“The Night” by Morgan Wade
This song is perfect for when you want a frustrated cry about whatever hardships you’re going through.
Morgan Wade’s honest lyrics about addiction and the stigmatization of mental health in the south is very relatable to many people, which makes this song perfect for a cathartic cry.
Memorable lyrics: “I tell my friends and they tell me that time will only do me well / I won’t shut my mouth, is it a rule down in the south that you can’t talk about your mental health?”
“Saving Amy” by Brantley Gilbert
Again, this song is slightly venturing into heart-wrenching territory, but I think the unique POV of grief from the person who died helps to lessen the sadness because it’s interesting.
Plus, it will make you cry, and it’s a very underrated song.
Memorable lyrics: “Yeah sometimes she goes crazy screaming out my name / Saying baby please come and save me / I wish she knew I’d do anything”
“I Will Always Love You” by Dolly Parton
If you have never cried while listening to Dolly Parton sing about loving someone even after they’ve left, you’re lying.
This is the perfect crying-and-screaming-in-your-car song.
Memorable lyrics: “Please don’t cry / ‘Cause we both know that I’m not / What you need”
“Travelin’ Soldier” by The Chicks
This song is beautiful and devastating, and the vocals alone could reduce you to tears.
I played this song as I was writing this article and started to cry again, so, you know, I have first-hand experience.
Memorable lyrics: “I cried / Never gonna hold the hand of another guy”
“From a Lover’s Point of View” by Zach Bryan
Of course, Zach Bryan had to be on this list. Sad country is his thing, and he’s fantastic at it.
I had to choose this song because the first time I heard it, it made me put forehead on the steering wheel of my car and take deep breaths to keep from crying.
Memorable lyrics: “But now’s about the time, look, you really got to decide / are you gonna be a good man to me or die the way your mother died?”