Staff Recs: Best Songs to Cry To


For some, next Wednesday will be just another hump day in our trivial existence, but for those who buy into the Hallmark industrial complex, Feb. 14 will be celebrated as Valentine’s Day. For those who don’t have a date or are just plain cynical, you are in luck. The WSN Staff compiled a playlist of the best songs to cry to as you fight against the mononormative, patriarchal holiday. Sit back, relax and feel all the feels.

“Africa” by Toto

Tom Miritello, Audio Engineer

While audio engineering seems like an emotionless task, I cry more often than anyone I know. And when I cry, I make sure to listen to the song “Africa” by Toto. Despite the song’s lyrics being a very strangely worded depiction of David Paich’s love of Africa, I can’t help but think of it when I begin to shed a tear about any of the several issues that are plaguing my life. The lush vocal harmonies, the virtuoso-esque keyboard solo, the ornate extended outro — they’re always there for me when I’m reminded of how poorly my life is going.

“Baby Blue” by King Krule

Alejandro Villa Vásquez, Deputy Copy Chief

Archy Marshall, better known by his angsty stage name, King Krule, proves his prowess for gloom and doom time and time again — basically, everything you want out of Valentine’s Day. This popular song, especially loved by hipsters and trash art students alike, “Baby Blue” opens with delicate guitar chords that drip like tears out of the speakers. It is a frigid ballad between Marshall and his guitar. He sings about painting skies and shadows crossing paths, and as the song comes to solemn close with rocky interferences and Marshall’s trademark moans, you are left with nothing but some ghastly notes and a feeling of deprivation. Perfect for snuggling with yourself.

“Call Me By Your Name: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack” by Various Artists

Ryan Mikel, Arts Editor

The “Call Me By Your Name” soundtrack is 71 minutes of reckless emotional turbulence that evokes a poignant nostalgia of your first love –– or for some, a lack thereof. The soundtrack is a mixed bag of classics, John Adams, Johann Bach and Maurice Ravel, that make you long for a romance-filled summer in Northern Italy with Timothée Chalamet. Then, there are the Sufjan Stevens’s compositions, “Mystery of Love” and “Visions of Gideon,” that remind you every good thing must come to an end. Sufjan, why do you hurt me so much with your tiny voice?

“Chelsea Hotel #2” by Leonard Cohen

Jemima McEvoy, Editor-in-Chief

Leonard Cohen is not a good singer, but that doesn’t stop me from listening to his music and, more specifically, sobbing over one of his greatest songwriting feats, “Chelsea Hotel #2.” The song captures a moment of pure intimacy where nothing in the outside world matters — everything is momentarily still in the cityscape of New York. There are no expectations beyond the moments described in his lyrics, and with an aching intensity of ambiguous emotional intent, Cohen proclaims in the chorus, “I never once heard you say: I need you. I don’t need you.” It strips love down to its bones and leaves my brain swirling about what it really means to connect with another person.

“Closure” by Hope Waidley

Tyler Crews, Opinion Editor

“Closure” by Hope Waidley is the perfect song for when you’re in the mood to wallow. It is best listened to when already sad; however, it can effectively bring down your good mood if that’s your thing. Waidley has yet to garner much attention, but her raw vocals and vulnerable lyrics set the scene for the perfect breakup song. With lyrics like “I wish I could give you back what you want, what you never got,” Waidley sets a tone of regret that many of us can recognize in our own breakups. Whether you are the dumper, the dumpee or just someone looking for a good cry, this song will give you all the feels.

“Drew Barrymore” by SZA

Natalie Whalen, Film Editor

I judge a song by how easy it is to cry to, and SZA’s “Drew Barrymore” was my favorite song released last year. Not only is it highly resonant for all my ladies (and gentlemen) who have ever felt underappreciated, less-than or unsure about their feelings towards a past or present significant other, it is a tear-soaked, certified jam. For best listening, pour yourself a glass of wine and turn up the volume all the way so that you can’t hear your choked sobs as you sing along. Remember there’s a Drew Barrymore in all of us — and we all deserve more love than we’re often given.

“How To Disappear Completely” by Radiohead

Matthew Holman, Entertainment Editor

If the title of this track is any indication, this is quite the distinct vibe. Rather than just paint the simple portrait of longing for a lover or heartbreak, Thom Yorke and crew have wrought an extenuated mural of a song portraying the simple yet endlessly complex feeling of wanting to hide from the world after making a mistake with that special someone. Yeah. Deep. This one’s best coupled with reflecting out of a rainy windowsill and herbal tea to profoundly drain personal toxins, or something like that.

“Kentucky Rain” by Elvis

Anubhuti Kumar, Highlighter Editor

This song is so sad. This guy’s girl just leaves him out of the blue, and he doesn’t even know why. He obviously loves her –– “I’ve loved you much too long. My love’s too strong. To let you go, never knowing. What went wrong” And get this, the guy is Elvis! If there’s no hope for Elvis, what hope is there for the rest of us? I am wrestling with this question and probably still will be as I cry to this song on Valentine’s Day. I know “Kentucky Rain” is sad and everything, but it so catchy and melodious! It is the kind of soothing that makes you feel better listening to Elvis’ buttery voice, while also making you feel inadequate because of Elvis’ dynamic singing ability. Cue renewed waterworks. Clearly, lots of feelings here.

“This Bitter Earth” by Dinah Washington/Max Richter

Ryan Mikel, Arts Editor

The title says it all. This song is so depressing that it appeared in three major motions pictures of the last decade, “Shutter Island,” “Arrival” and “Disconnect.” It is a melancholic arrangement for strings juxtaposed against the great Dinah Washington’s soulful surveillance of this, in fact, bitter earth we inhabit. Lyrics like “today you are young, too soon you are old” make you question your very own existence and “my life is like the dust that hides the glow of a rose” gives you all the feels. Who hurt you, Dinah?

“Vienna” by Billy Joel

Kristina Hayhurst, Deputy News Editor

Billy Joel’s “Vienna” is the perfect song to put on during the small hours, after dawn and before daylight. It’s the only time when reality escapes you, and for an hour or two you’ll actually believe you can leave your apartment, hop on a plane and move to Austria. It’s only when the sun comes up that you’ll realize you are alone, with no money and already late to class.

“WALLS” by Kings of Leon

Natasha Roy, Editor-at-Large

This song makes me tear up a little every time I listen to it, and sometimes I have to skip it when it shows up on a playlist. You can hear how heartbroken Caleb Followill is when he sings “WALLS.” The last time the chorus is sung really shows his full emotion, and you can’t help but feel for him when you listen to it. The bass drum also gives the feeling of a heartbeat throughout the entire song, and honestly I’m just a mess by the end of it.

“Wicked Game” by Chris Isaak

Yasmin Gulec, Features Editor

As soon as the song starts and you hear Chris Isaak’s heartbreakingly beautiful voice, you will feel a couple of tears slowly streaming down your cheeks. “The world was on fire and no one could save me but you.” Let’s be real here, a song about losing someone you love and feeling like they are the only ones for you is a sensation worth crying about, and there is no better person that understands this pain than Isaak does here. The coolest thing about the song is how it was written. Isaak got a call from a woman he liked, but also knew was toxic for him. She wanted to come over and “talk” to him, and right after he agreed, he started writing the song. He was so inspired that by the time the woman came to his apartment, “Wicked Game” was finished. Knowing someone is bad for you but loving them anyway is one of the most painful things the human heart can experience, especially on Valentines day.

“With or Without You” by U2

Emily Fagel, Theater and Books Editor

“With or Without You” is the quintessential “looking out the window while it rains and you’re sad” song. I don’t know about you, but hearing Bono repeat “and you give yourself away” 11 times really gets the tears flowing. This song is also featured in an episode of “Friends,” and Ross and Rachel basically taught me what love is, so there’s an extra layer of sentiment there.

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