Songs that make you cry (and aren't about romance)

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Songs that make you cry (and aren't about romance)

Postby cmsellers » Mon Nov 16, 2015 4:47 am

So we already have a thread about tear-jearker love songs.

But love songs, at least romantic love songs, don't make me cry. Maybe it's because they're everywhere, and I've exposed to them since before I could talk. Maybe it's because I've never been in a romantic relationship. Maybe it's because of the autism. But whatever the reason, songs about new love, unrequited love, love lost, and love rekindled just don't make me cry.

However there are songs that make me ruin tissue after tissue, and I can think of at least two that stand out.

One is Susan Werner's "Different Son"
This is definitely a love song, but not a song about romantic love. It's a song about a mother's love for her child, and the lines are things I could imagine my own mother saying. It also is a song about an autistic boy (I asked her at a concert, along with questions about several of her other songs), but it almost seems like it doesn't really matter what his problem is.


I usually lose it at least three times over the course of this song. The line about "he's always gonna be a different boy somehow" is something I still have difficulty coming to terms with. And the lines about her son's potential and about wanting him to build a life he can be proud of lose it every time, because I feel like I haven't lived up to my potential, know I haven't built a life I can be proud of. Knowing that my mother wants the best for my I realize how difficult it must be for her to watch me struggle.


Another song that makes me cry (though not as much) is Blaine Larsen's "How Can You Get that Lonely"
I first heard this song in high school, carpooling with a neighbor who was really in to modern "country" music. I didn't like most of the songs on the station, and this one had a lot of turns of phrase that make me cringe. But I still like this song, and it still makes me cry when I listen to it, which I think demonstrates how powerful it is.


I know the answer to this song. It's not necessarily about loneliness, though it certainly helps to know you have people who care. But the desire to commit suicide is about an intense, overwhelming feeling of despair. When you're depressed and used to feeling nothing, it doesn't feel good just to feel something, not if that something is despair, which by its nature seems like the only thing you'll feel again. This sudden rush of horrible feeling leads to a desire to feel nothing again, to end the pain. And yet, I obviously haven't actually committed suicide, so I don't know myself what it feels like to people who actually go through with it.

Both of these songs are written from the perspective of someone trying to understand something that I've struggled with, and almost getting it, wanting to help yet not knowing what they can do to to help. One is about a mother's love for her son, the other is about a man mourning for a stranger, but they both feel like they know me, and I guess that makes me cry.
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Re: Songs that make you cry (and aren't about romance)

Postby ghijkmnop » Mon Nov 16, 2015 5:18 am

Music has a tremendous amount of power over me. Depending on the circumstances, nearly any song can bring me to tears. But in the spirit of the thread--some songs just make me so happy that I can only smile and tear up at the same time--especially when I play/sing them:











Call me a sap now. I'm not ashamed that I like great writing, harmony, hooks, and guitar work.
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Re: Songs that make you cry (and aren't about romance)

Postby Tuli » Mon Nov 16, 2015 10:29 am

It's too early in the morning to be bawling my eyes out but here I am... Two songs that always make me cry are What a Wonderful World and Always Look on the Bright Side of Life. Now for a little more obscure stuff:

St. Vincent - Oh My God

Emiliana Torrini - Thinking Out Loud

Chris Garneau - Winter Song #1

All of those songs are about mourning. :/

Emiliana Torrini - Gollum's Song

Emiliana actually has a number of sad songs actually but I will contain myself.

Tom McRae - Ghost of a Shark

Tell me now what's the difference
between a shark and a ghost of a shark
because all I have are secrets
and memories of the dark

The lyrics of this song just kill me.

Oh yeah, and guess I should put this here too:
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Re: Songs that make you cry (and aren't about romance)

Postby reallifegirl » Mon Nov 16, 2015 5:18 pm

Random song, but 'Annie' by Vanessa Carlton. It's a song about her real-life meeting with a girl with leukemia on tour for her first album, and it's just fucking sad.



Also, I could basically make an entire soundtrack just based on showtunes that make me bawl. I suppose partly because they have an entire two-hour run to imbue emotion into their stories before dropping the hammer.

(Fun story: apparently, when my mother was pregnant with me when she was Les Miserables with my Dad and she bawled her guts out. Which I suppose is how I grew up to be a Broadway nerd.)

Best examples I can think of off-hand:

'I Don't Care' from Cabaret



'Empty Chairs at Empty Tables', from Les Miserables



'How Could I Ever Forget?' from Next to Normal (contains spoilers)



'Wicked Little Town (reprise)' from Hedwig and the Angry Inch

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Re: Songs that make you cry (and aren't about romance)

Postby 52xMax » Mon Aug 15, 2016 2:46 am

American Pie and Vincent (starry, starry night) always bring tears to my eyes, but everybody knows those two.
(I know there's already a thread specifically about guys named Don that's a bit more recent, but I'm bumping this one because I'm posting songs by other artists too)

Not many people know about Empty Chairs, a song about a man who finds himself alone after the love of his life finally made good on her promise to abandon him. It's said to have inspired "Killing Me Softly"


There's something very melancolic about Don McLean's voice. His renditions of Love Hurts (originally by Everly Brothers, but perhaps made famous by Nazareth) and Roy Orbison's Crying are also very, very sad.



Pixar movies were making me weep a decade before Up came out.

There are a few other songs that make me sad when I listen to them, for different reasons, like Adam's song by Blink 182 (about Suicide), The Freshmen by The Verve Pipe and Ben Folds Five's Brick (about abortion), Boomtown Rats I Don't Like Mondays (mass killing) and even songs like Fake Plastic Trees by Radiohead whose lyrics are total nonsense but it has a very distinct sad vibe. However, the reason I bumped this thread is because the other day this song came on the radio.


Desapariciones - Rubén Blades

In addition to being a very popular musician, Blades is very active politically, to the point he ran for the presidency of Panama in the nineties, and he's also an actor who's currently a cast member of Fear the Walking Dead. This song resonates with many people who have lived in countries under military dictatorships and similar regimes, particularly in Latin America where we've had our fair share of those to this day. The lyrics talk about the all too common phenomenon of people "disappearing", after being picked up unofficially by police or other authorities, but never reaching their destination, nor being seen or heard from again.

As far as Spanish protest songs go, this is one of the most famous, and there are popular versions by bands like Maná and Los Fabulosos Cadillacs, so I've probably heard this song hundreds of times. But this time around, something really resonated with me, and as I tried to put myself in the position of someone who's lost a loved one and is desperately looking for them, even when they know deep inside they'll never see them again because they're lying in a ditch somewhere because their existence somehow inconvenienced someone at a higher position, and I couldn't help breaking into tears thinking of how many thousands of people have lived this, and it's still happening somewhere as I write this.

A fair translation of the lyrics on this link. You can look it up, but I'm posting the chorus just to give you some context

Where do the disappeared go?
Look in the water and in the bushes.
And why is it that they disappear?
Because we are not all the same.

And when do the disappeared come back?
Every time you have them in your thoughts.
How do you talk to the disappeared?
With a gripping emotion inside you.
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Re: Songs that make you cry (and aren't about romance)

Postby Twistappel » Wed Aug 17, 2016 10:12 pm

There are very few songs that can make me cry. Most of them have more to do with the associations than the content of the song. One of the less personal is The World I Know by Collective Soul. The day the 9/11 attacks hit, a local radio station was playing a montage of clips from the news coverage, that used the song as a soundtrack. It was about 5 years before I could listen to it without cracking up, and even now I still sometimes get a little teary.



I think I've mentioned it in another thread, but pretty much the only song that can make me cry in and of itself is I Was Only 19 by Redgum. The song relates the experiences on of an Australian soldier who fought in the Vietnam war, and packs far more of an emotional punch than most of the songs I've heard with similar subject matter:

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Re: Songs that make you cry (and aren't about romance)

Postby Marcuse » Wed Aug 17, 2016 10:40 pm

Very little moves me to tears now, there's a few songs I'd prefer not to share that have specific associations to bad times in my life that really wouldn't translate so well.

One that I found a bit more universal was one of the last songs on the Devin Townsend album Ziltoid the Omniscient, particularly the song Colour Your World. The album comes across as a wacky fun space alien thing, and you gradually realise that it's actually about someone escaping from their drudge job by imagining something fantastic because their world is so crappy.



But it doesn't just state that, it works through the emotional mess of someone handling that through the avatar of Ziltoid. He loudly protests how he's such a badass and so amazing, and then it segues into this quiet section, that just tears into the heart of people who stay indoors and can't cope with the real world so they hide online and keep themselves safe. It just cuts into too much of my life to not move me.

Lyrics:
Spoiler: show
See how the ways of the world keeps lying to me
See how the weight of the world keep lying on me
Sooner or later the nights with the satyr
Will bring back the memory in time

See how the sight of it all keeps flying to me
Years of the power of all he's trying to be

Who's the weakest now?
Caught up in the wire...
I'm already gone
Who's the weakest?

I concede to life to do whatever I need.
What's in a life, but bodies?

"So confusing... confounding..."

But I'm Ziltoid!!! I don't give a shit!
I live above Earth in a big rocket ship!
I'm Ziltoid...the horror! The horror!

I'm Ziltoid!
The horror!
The horror!
The horror!
I'm Ziltoid!
The horror!
The horror!
The horror!

(far far far away)

Stay at home for me
You and I are free
To love, by the firewall
Tune out, for awhile

Stay at home for me (Ziltoid the Omniscient)
Comma lined are we
In time, you'll be gone again
Tune out for awhile...

Say I'm wasting all my life,
Say I'm wasting time...

Stay at home for me (Ziltoid the Omniscient)
You and I are free,
To love...


Omnidimensional Creator:
So in the end, it's beautiful...It's beautiful
Yes in the end, it's beautiful...So beautiful

You say you wanna know?
You say you wanna take it down...
You say you wanna know, no no!!!
Well Now's the only time...
Are you sure you wanna know?
Are you sure you wanna take it down,
Are you sure you wanna go, go go!!!

You're a puppet!

You are a puppet!
You are a puppet!
You are a puppet!
You are a puppet!

I am a puppet!
I am a puppet!
I am a puppet!
I am a puppet!

We are all puppets!
We are all puppets!
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Re: Songs that make you cry (and aren't about romance)

Postby Taluun » Thu Aug 18, 2016 2:46 am

There are not many songs that will make me tear up unless I force myself to make certain associations. That being said the OP for Barakamon does this really well.



The song appears to be about a person who isn't sure who or what they are while looking back on the past and trying to define themselves. Part of what makes it difficult for them to define themselves is how different they are and how they are scared of changing as they fear they will lose themselves. To reconcile this issue they look at others definitions of what they should care about and ultimately comes to the conclusion that they are themselves and thats all there is to it. They don't need to change their life or or be scared of change or live the way anyone else things they should.

They just need to live life and go where it takes them.

For me I am constantly second guessing myself and comparing myself to others as a measuring stick of success and while I try and tell myself the same message from the song its tough to at times. I don't find the song sad but I find it infinitely inspiring and that makes me happy enough to cry.
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Re: Songs that make you cry (and aren't about romance)

Postby reallifegirl » Thu Aug 18, 2016 4:23 pm

Adding to my list, I've really started appreciating Tracy Chapman's 'Fast Car' recently. Jesus, it's a bleak song. Also for some reason a dance remix exists and I don't know why.



I think I've mentioned it in another thread, but I also adore Amanda Palmer's "Bigger on the Inside", which partially deals with her best friend's slow death from cancer.



And in a similar vein, there's Death Cab for Cutie's "What Sarah Said".



Also, there was recently a musical made out of Alison Bechdel's "Fun Home", the graphic novel where she talks about discovering her father was gay right before he committed suicide. And while I thought 'there is no way they can make this into a musical', apparently it's very good! I haven't seen it, but there's a song towards the end that is heart-wrenching, where she remembers the night she spoke to her dad for the last time.

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Re: Songs that make you cry (and aren't about romance)

Postby aBagofYoughurt » Sun Aug 21, 2016 5:20 pm

There are some Guy Clark songs that brought a tear to my eye when he passed away earlier this year.

Desperadoes Waiting for a Train


L.A. Freeway
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Re: Songs that make you cry (and aren't about romance)

Postby ghijkmnop » Sun Aug 21, 2016 7:05 pm

These two tunes have been frigging with my emotions lately:

A Little Bit of Everything - Dawes


How Have You Been - John Sebastian - A lot of this has to do with my recent trip to Maine. I played it for a Woodstock Remembered show last Sunday, and had a difficult time getting through it.
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Re: Songs that make you cry (and aren't about romance)

Postby DoglovingJim » Fri Aug 26, 2016 3:28 pm

The Richard Wolfe Children's Chorus: Have a Holly Jolly Christmas [1970]

2:00


Ugh... The other ones without the flute (recorder?) are making me as well.
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Re: Songs that make you cry (and aren't about romance)

Postby Kivutar » Fri Aug 26, 2016 6:10 pm



This song always gets me because, well, it's about the singer's unhealthy relationship with a manic-depressive partner. I can't speak for everyone, of course, but I used to have a close relationship with my brother, who is manic, and that has now completely broken down. I find the song to be pretty accurate.
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Re: Songs that make you cry (and aren't about romance)

Postby cmsellers » Mon Sep 26, 2016 11:03 pm

I need to add the Harry Chapin song "Flowers are Red" to this list.



It reminds me too much of the way I went from loving math to hating it. I've shared that story elsewhere here before, but will share it again:

I was doing awesome in my seventh grade course and having fun with it. Then a school administrator found out that I was a Special Education student in advanced math and said that SpEd students aren't supposed to be in advanced courses. I had to retake the whole course the next year with people less enthusiastic about math for no reason other than a school administrator's inability to distinguish autism from a learning disability. The class was boring and tedious and slow because my classmates were slow. The next year was much of the same. And after that, I decided I hated math.

I still think about how my live might have been different had I maintained my childhood love of mathematics through middle and high school.
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Re: Songs that make you cry (and aren't about romance)

Postby cmsellers » Thu Nov 09, 2017 6:38 pm

I've realized that there are two anti-war songs that actually make me cry, and they were both written by the same Australian guy about the same war.

"No Man's Land" (often sung as "The Green Fields of France")


"And the Band Played Waltzing Matilda"
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