I feel like everyone has a go-to sad song that they listen to whenever they need a good cry.
For me, that song is “Don’t Take the Girl” by Tim McGraw.
I don’t know why this song gets me, but it does… Every. Damn. Time.
Now, there are also those songs that are so sad, so heart wrenching that you can never, ever listen to them again.
Unless, of course, it’s 3am, and you find someone on YouTube reacting to it for the first time. Misery love company, you know?
But, seriously, a lot of these songs feature heavy topics of death, loss, abuse, violence, and more surprising twists that will break your heart. You know, all the fun stuff.
At the same time, these songs will make you cry so hard that you have a headache for the rest of the day.
So, be warned if you decide to listen to any of these songs… you will be hurting, in more ways than one:
“Maggie’s Song” by Chris Stapleton
This is a sad dog song. If you need any more information about why this song is emotionally destructive, then we are very different.
But seriously, this is a beautiful homage to a beloved dog who has passed away. If you’re someone who has had to put a dog down, then this song will really hit you hard.
Chris Stapleton is just able to incorporate all of those small details that make the song feel specific and authentic.
Memorable lyrics: “She put her head on my hand / Like she’d done so many times / I told her she was a good dog / Then I told her goodbye”
“Concrete Angel” by Martina McBride
This song is about a child who passes away because of abuse they are suffering. It is a very heavy song, and I recommend that you only listen to it if you’re in the correct headspace.
Though the content is heavy, it is poetic and poignant, so if you can, definitely give it a listen.
Memorable lyrics: “A fragile soul caught in the hands / Of fate / When morning comes / It’ll be too late
“Alyssa Lies” by Jason Michael Carroll
Having the same content as “Concrete Angel,” Jason Michael Caroll’s song gives a unique perspective. It is about a father having to explain to his daughter that her friend is being abused and has passed away.
The switch in the last chorus from Alyssa lying about the abuse to her lying with Jesus because she has passed away is horrifyingly sad.
Memorable lyrics: “The lump in my throat grew bigger / With every question that she asked / Until I felt the tears roll down my face”
“Whiskey Lullaby” by Brad Paisley and Alison Krauss
I feel like this a classic sad country song and kinda toes the line between being a good crying song and being one of those songs you can’t listen to more than a handful of times.
Still, this beautiful song about love gone wrong, alcoholism, guilt, and grief will absolutely make you cry.
Memorable lyrics: “She put that bottle to her head / And pulled the trigger / And finally drank away his memory”
“Just a Dream” by Carrie Underwood
The first of the sad soldier songs, “Just a Dream” definitely scarred me as a kid.
I remember watching the music video for the first time and thinking this was going to be a really sweet song about high school sweethearts like “All-American Girl.”
Well, it’s definitely not, and I sobbed as Carrie Underwood’s white dress faded into black.
Memorable lyrics: “Baby, why’d you leave me, why’d you have to go / I was countin’ on forever, now I’ll never know”
“If You’re Reading This” by Tim McGraw
And here’s our second sad soldier song. Honestly, I had a lot of options, but I think this song is so devastating because we hear the words of the soldier who has passed away.
Knowing that the soldier in the song was having to think about what he wanted his last words to be to his family is just awful.
Memorable lyrics: “I won’t be there / To see the birth of our little girl”
“Saving Amy” by Brantley Gilbert
Love songs about couple where one person has died just mess me up, man.
“Saving Amy” is especially difficult to listen to because it is from the perspective of the person who has died as they beg for God to help save their fiancée from themselves and their grief.
Memorable lyrics: “Yeah, sometimes she goes crazy, screaming out my name / Saying, baby, please come save / I wish she knew I’d do anything”
“This Ain’t Nothin’” by Craig Morgan
While this song has a great message about there being more to life than material items, it’s framed in a really sad way with a man describing all of the people he has lost in his life.
And when the old man talks about losing his wife, I break every time.
Memorable lyrics: “And last year, I watched my loving wife, of fifty years waste away and die / We were holding hands when her heart of gold stopped pumping”
Sidenote: “Craig Morgan’s “The Father, My Son, and The Holy Ghost” will wreck you too.
“The Dress” by Emily Scott Robinson
“The Dress” covers another heavy topic, so if you are sensitive to discussions of assault, then do not listen to this song. Take care of yourself when listening to a lot of these songs.
I find this song to be incredibly important because of its contents about blaming oneself for assault and that it is never the victim’s fault.
But it is a heavy song that may not end up on very many of your car-ride playlists.
Memorable lyrics: “I don’t cry or go crazy, I just hold my breath / Keep it all locked up in my chest”
“Build Me a Daddy” by Luke Bryan
Yep, believe it or not Luke Bryan stopped singing about beer and trucks long enough to put out a pretty gut-wrenching song about a kid who wishes he had a dad. And it hits home for Luke, who adopted his nieces and nephew after the death of his own sister, and brother-in-law.
This final song is another sad soldier song. I actually forgot that detail because I have listened to this song literally only once because it made me cry very much.
Songs with kids having to learn about death and grief are just sad because we never want to take away that innocence of a child. But these songs exist to help us process those sad emotions more than the children in the songs.
Memorable lyrics: “I sure miss him / Maybe you could bring him back / If I walked in with him, it’d sure make momma happy”