Schadenfreude filter: I am looking for music videos that clearly convey a sad plot.
March 10, 2010 7:37 PM   Subscribe

Schadenfreude filter: I am looking for music videos that clearly convey a sad plot. Happy ending acceptable, but not necessary.

I'm interested in music videos that have a distinctively sad plot that is clearly conveyed in the video. As in, watching the video makes you feel bad for some of the characters or just sad in general. The song itself doesn't have to be lyrically sad, just the video. Happy endings are fine, but not necessary. Examples of videos in the same vein as I'm looking for: Whiskey Lullaby by Brad Paisley and Alison Krauss. Pas Toi by Jean-Jacques Goldman.

posted by derogatorysphinx to Media & Arts (39 answers total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
The World Spins Madly on by The Weepies is the first to come to mind.
posted by amro at 7:40 PM on March 10, 2010

Coldplay's The Scientist, perhaps? Maybe it's not exactly what you're after, it seems OK for the majority of the video - you'll need to watch it to the end to see why it's not exactly happy.
posted by Nice Guy Mike at 7:43 PM on March 10, 2010

"Always" by Bon Jovi is a pretty epically sad video, if you can get past the song.
posted by juniperesque at 7:46 PM on March 10, 2010

Jeremy by Pearl Jam (uncut version, more explicit violence)
posted by ALongDecember at 7:52 PM on March 10, 2010

The Ocean Breathes Salty - Modest Mouse. If sad lonely kids is what gets to you.
posted by Solon and Thanks at 7:54 PM on March 10, 2010

Bone thugs & harmony - crossroads
posted by 2legit2quit at 7:57 PM on March 10, 2010

November Rain by Guns'n'Roses. It has a sad ending, but if you're impatient for the sadness, it probably isn't what you're looking for. It's built up on good times, tho'!
posted by Atreides at 8:00 PM on March 10, 2010

Thanks for all the answers so far! In all of my Coldplay loving years, I'd never watched the video for The Scientist. Hmm.
posted by derogatorysphinx at 8:20 PM on March 10, 2010

No Rain, Blind Melon. Happy ending but sad, mostly.
posted by ethnomethodologist at 8:25 PM on March 10, 2010

More: not exactly a music video, but a wonderful, sad, short film with New Order's "Elegia" as its soundtrack.
posted by googly at 8:30 PM on March 10, 2010 [1 favorite]

Everybody Hurts.
posted by Dipsomaniac at 8:42 PM on March 10, 2010

posted by andoatnp at 8:47 PM on March 10, 2010 [1 favorite]

Brian McKnight -- Back at One, I think -- plane crash scenario.
Right Now - Van Halen
Michael Jackson Heal the World
Sarah McLachlan - World on Fire
posted by thorny at 8:57 PM on March 10, 2010

Rabbit in Your Headlights
posted by sanko at 9:13 PM on March 10, 2010

Do they have to be the actual official video?

Because this video mashup for Used to Be by Beach House is sad.
posted by Ironmouth at 9:40 PM on March 10, 2010

Pretty much any Death Cab video, but A Move Script Ending and What Sarah Said are especially sad.
posted by elsewhen at 10:06 PM on March 10, 2010

This video for the Arcade Fire song Neighborhoods #1 (Tunnels), by the Neistat Brothers, is not the official video for that song, but it is like a bittersweet punch to the gut every time. I just got a little choked up watching it now.

The video for "If I Were a Boy" by Beyonce is sad in a completely different way.
posted by lunasol at 10:10 PM on March 10, 2010

The Fray's "How to Save a Life." Not sure if it fits your definition of plot, but I think of the people shown as characters.
posted by tantivy at 10:19 PM on March 10, 2010

The White Stripes: Dead Leaves and the Dirty Ground -- boy returns home and finds his girl having abandoned him and his home having been trashed. Told in a way I dare call interesting.
posted by Anything at 10:30 PM on March 10, 2010 [1 favorite]

The Dears - 22: The Death of all the Romance.
Sniff. Chalupas.
posted by herrdoktor at 10:33 PM on March 10, 2010 [1 favorite]

Massive Attack - Live With Me
posted by kampken at 11:22 PM on March 10, 2010

I apologize OP, I can’t separate lyrics and the stories behind the songs that are sad (vs imagery?), so this is a hit or miss

Mad World by Gary Jules.

Hurt by Johnny Cash

For the next two songs it is also the stories behind the songs, disappearance of people in Chile during the Pinochet regime and the Mann Gulch Fire, respectively, that make these songs sad:

They Dance Alone by Sting

Cold Missouri Waters by Richard Shindell

These next 2 songs have a similar feel to the JJ Goldman song and video that you reference:

Quatre mots sur un piano by Patrick Fiori et al

La bas by JJ Goldman I think the lyrics are needed to make this really sad...
posted by Wolfster at 11:25 PM on March 10, 2010 [1 favorite]

Stan by Eminem
posted by bam at 12:07 AM on March 11, 2010

Your Ex-Lover Is Dead by Stars
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 12:39 AM on March 11, 2010

I always found the video for Kate Bush's Cloudbusting terribly sad, even though there's a slightly happy ending. Bonus: it stars Donald Sutherland!
posted by platinum at 12:51 AM on March 11, 2010 [1 favorite]

UNKLE - Eye For An Eye
Massive Attack - Inertia Creeps
Kwoon - I Lived On The Moon
Interpol - Evil
Radiohead - Pyramid Song
Menomena - Evil Bee
Sigur Rós - Viðrar Vel Til Loftárása
Sigur Rós - Vaka
posted by churl at 1:06 AM on March 11, 2010

U2 - All I want is you
posted by vaneska at 1:16 AM on March 11, 2010

Everywhere by Fleetwood Mac (taken from my teenage-angst favourite poem, The Highwayman).
posted by ninazer0 at 1:37 AM on March 11, 2010

Kenna - Hell Bent
posted by FakePalindrome at 4:56 AM on March 11, 2010

Johnny Cash - Hurt
posted by The White Hat at 5:43 AM on March 11, 2010

No youtube link because I'm at work, but Madonna's video for "Bad Girl" (directed by David Fincher) fits the bill, in addition to being one of the best examples of character development in a music video I can think of. Multiple viewings are required to unravel all the details of its tightly compressed narrative. Bonus: it has Christopher Walken.
posted by Prospero at 5:49 AM on March 11, 2010

I came in to post two videos by Sigur Rós: Viðrar vel til loftárása and [Vaka], but after seeing andoatnp's post, I'm wondering if I should just refer you to Sigur Rós' full corpus.
posted by dilettanti at 7:28 AM on March 11, 2010

Doh! - I missed that churl posted both of those. Sorry for the redundancy.
posted by dilettanti at 7:29 AM on March 11, 2010

You didn't mention English was a requirement so I offer Because I'm a girl from Korean pop group KISS.
posted by tksh at 9:57 AM on March 11, 2010

Toni Braxton's Un-Break My Heart

(Can't remember the plot of a book I read a year ago, but a music video I saw probably twice 15 years ago, that's vivid...hmmmm)
posted by MCMikeNamara at 4:56 PM on March 11, 2010

U2 - Sometimes you can't make it on your own
posted by Wanderer7 at 8:04 PM on March 11, 2010

Concrete Angel by Martina McBride is really tragic.
posted by datarose at 11:06 PM on March 11, 2010

Since I Left You is all nice and cheery... til the end.
posted by wzcx at 12:29 PM on March 12, 2010

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