I want to listen to songs that make me cry.
May 24, 2012 5:08 PM   Subscribe

Tell me about songs with lyrics that make you cry.

Pandora seemed intent on playing all the songs I cry over today. I found it.. oddly soothing. Almost cathartic. I want to listen to more! Could you share with me some of the songs that touch your heart and make you cry?

Here's some examples and why they make me cry:

Nickelback - Lullaby I have been the person he's singing to. Someone so depressed and desperate that ending it all was a serious consideration. Every so often those feelings creep up and I listen to this. It makes me cry and reminds me of all the people in my life who would miss me.

Fergie - Big Girls Don't Cry I worry that this is how my boyfriend and I will split up. Our relationship isn't everything that I want it to be.. and I'm worried that one day I will decide that it's best for me to leave. She seems to hit all the things I would tell him and myself.

I'm open to sad songs because the story of the lyrics are sad.. or songs that are uplifting and give you so much hope it makes you cry.

(I seen this previously. It's been awhile since that one though! How about some newer songs?)
(if you can link to youtube of those songs, that'd be awesome but not required!)
posted by royalsong to Media & Arts (148 answers total) 92 users marked this as a favorite
Flaming Lips - Do You Realize
posted by gnutron at 5:12 PM on May 24, 2012 [7 favorites]

PJ Harvey - Good Fortune because PJ Harvey is so beautiful and so happy.
posted by KokuRyu at 5:13 PM on May 24, 2012

The Eagles - The Last Resort.
posted by yoga at 5:17 PM on May 24, 2012

Plane Wreck At Los Gatos. Every time.
posted by Fiasco da Gama at 5:19 PM on May 24, 2012

If Do You Realize? does the trick, may I suggest Beck's cover of it.

Almost anything by Jason Molina.

Okay, this one is from pretty far out in left field, but Kanye's Crack Music has caught me in the right mood more than once. Something about how defiant the song is talking about the systematic repression of black people and how it keeps coming back to bite "them."
posted by cmoj at 5:22 PM on May 24, 2012

Willie Nelson singing "You Were Always on My Mind' reduces me to tears every time I hear it.
posted by Dolley at 5:37 PM on May 24, 2012 [6 favorites]

The hymn Finlandia, also known as "This Is My Song".
posted by brainwane at 5:38 PM on May 24, 2012

Queen — Friends Will Be Friends

Regina Spektor — Samson

Michael Jackson — Man in the Mirror

Yeah Yeah Yeahs — Runaway

Buddy Holly — True Love Ways (I randomly saw that the most recent comment on that YouTube clip says: "This beautiful song brings tears to my eyes everytime I hear it, tears of joy as to the profound timeless beauty of both the lyrics and music.")

Sam Cooke — A Change is Gonna Come

George Harrison — Isn't it a Pity

Cyndi Lauper — Time After Time

The Skyliners — Since I Don't Have You (there's also a version by Guns 'n' Roses)

Alice in Chains — Don't Follow

The Five Keys — The Glory of Love (not to be confused with Peter Cetera's "Glory of Love")

The Postal Service — Nothing Better
posted by John Cohen at 5:39 PM on May 24, 2012 [1 favorite]

Ben Folds - Brick and The Luckiest
Barenaked Ladies - When You Dream (this may be only applicable for new parents)
posted by Rock Steady at 5:41 PM on May 24, 2012

Anything from Jane Siberry's When I Was a Boy. But maybe that's just because I listened to it a lot right after my mom died.
posted by rtha at 5:42 PM on May 24, 2012 [1 favorite]

Funeral for a friend - Roses for the dead (more so after seeing the video clip)
Blink 182 - Adam's song
posted by jacalata at 5:43 PM on May 24, 2012 [1 favorite]

Hope There's Someone by Antony and the Johnsons
posted by kimdog at 5:45 PM on May 24, 2012 [3 favorites]

How about, not necessarily lyrics, but what the lyrics mean at a specific time and place?
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 5:47 PM on May 24, 2012

I'm a sucker for a sad lyric. Country music, being overtly sentimental a lot of times, tends to choke me up quite often. Notable examples include "Don't Take the Girl" by Tim McGraw, and "Where've You Been" by Kathy Mattea. Both are sentimental songs about love and loss, and both are lovely.

Also, this is a self-link to a blog post I wrote about a song that is nuclear-grade weepy material, especially if you're a dad, "Waltz for Debby."
posted by jbickers at 5:50 PM on May 24, 2012 [1 favorite]

The National's "Baby We'll Be Fine (lyrics) is one of the most truthful accounts of depression I've encountered. Their song "Green Gloves" (lyrics) also hits a pretty poignant note for me because it hits that feeling of knowing you're drifting away from old friends but not being able to do anything about it.

Ben Folds Five's "Evaporated" (lyrics) has some pretty good phrases paired with sad piano music that's gotten me going on more than one occasion.
posted by lilac girl at 5:51 PM on May 24, 2012

Everlong by Foo Fighters
Everybody hurts by REM
posted by 3dd at 5:51 PM on May 24, 2012 [5 favorites]

Dude, Simple Man by Lynyrd Skynyrd, every fucking time.

I don't care what anyone says, that shit tears me up. Like, right now...fuck.
posted by Pecinpah at 5:51 PM on May 24, 2012 [1 favorite]

Mountain Goats' Woke Up New slays me, and Transatlanticism was mentioned in the previous thread.
posted by KGMoney at 5:53 PM on May 24, 2012 [1 favorite]

Ron Sexsmith, Pretty Little Cemetery and Honest Mistake (not on YT for some reason).
posted by bricoleur at 5:53 PM on May 24, 2012

Oh, and for a song that's so uplifting and optimistic that it makes you cry, there's "This Isn't Everything You Are" by Snow Patrol. Every. Damn. Time.
posted by jbickers at 5:54 PM on May 24, 2012 [2 favorites]

Dan Mangan, Basket. :(((
posted by bewilderbeast at 5:58 PM on May 24, 2012

Alicia Ross by Kathleen Edwards.

(Alicia Ross on Wikipedia for some background, which certainly adds weight to the song)
posted by backwards guitar at 6:00 PM on May 24, 2012

Dire Straits' "Romeo and Juliet"
posted by rmd1023 at 6:02 PM on May 24, 2012 [5 favorites]

I made myself a Spotify playlist earlier this year called "Make Yourself Cry," so I understand the appeal.

One Crowded Hour--Augie March
The Littlest Birds--The Be Good Tanyas
I Heard Your Voice in Dresden--Elvis Perkins in Dearland
There's So Much Energy in Us--Cloud Cult
In the Aeroplane Over the Sea--Neutral Milk Hotel
River--Joni Mitchell
Why I Cry--Magnetic Fields
The Trouble With River Cities--Pela
Campus--Vampire Weekend
By the Time it Gets Dark--Yo La Tengo
Book of James--We Are Augustines
Orpheo Looks Back--Andrew Bird
Someone Like You--Adele
Handle With Care--Jenny Lewis cover
posted by rumposinc at 6:12 PM on May 24, 2012 [1 favorite]

David Bowie- Space Oddity
posted by kettleoffish at 6:13 PM on May 24, 2012

"I don't want to talk about it" by Donnie Ray Whitten sung by him and Nils Lofgren, accompanied by Ry Cooder on the slide guitar.

Most beautifully and heartfelt song ever.

Donnie died shortly after recording this and was quite ill at the time. Nils L said he had to put his headphones on him and all he could do was sing and play the guitar and that was it.
posted by Tullyogallaghan at 6:15 PM on May 24, 2012

VNV Nation's Illusion might hit the same nerve as Nickelback.
posted by MinusCelsius at 6:16 PM on May 24, 2012

The Weakerthans - Plea From a Cat Named Virtue
posted by yellowbinder at 6:17 PM on May 24, 2012 [2 favorites]

Sara Bareilles - Between the Lines, especially the last 10 seconds
James Blunt - Goodbye My Lover
Yazoo - Only You
posted by yawper at 6:17 PM on May 24, 2012

I was going to suggest The Luckiest by Ben Folds. We made an eclectic mix CD for my mom's wake and hearing that was brutal.
posted by kat518 at 6:17 PM on May 24, 2012

Warren Zevon - Don't Let Us Get Sick
posted by Aznable at 6:18 PM on May 24, 2012 [1 favorite]

Eric Clapton - Tears in Heaven.
posted by JuliaKM at 6:19 PM on May 24, 2012 [1 favorite]

Deine Lakaien - "Wasted Years", "Walk to the Moon"
posted by MinusCelsius at 6:20 PM on May 24, 2012

Seems Ben Folds has come up a lot. Here's another one:

Fred Jones Part 2
posted by ronofthedead at 6:22 PM on May 24, 2012

Pedro The Lion - Options
posted by sc114 at 6:37 PM on May 24, 2012

Concrete Blonde - Tomorrow Wendy
posted by kyrademon at 6:41 PM on May 24, 2012 [3 favorites]

Death Cab for Cutie - I Will Follow You into the Dark
posted by demiurge at 6:43 PM on May 24, 2012 [9 favorites]

Yo La Tengo - Black Flowers
Agree with 'Nothing Better' by the Postal Service, would add Deathcab's Title and Registration.
Iron and Wine - Naked as we Came
Pretty much the whole Disintegration album, particularly track 1 and 12.
Rumposinc's list is great - One Crowded Hour is a gloriously sad song.
The Shout out Louds - Impossible
Billy Bragg - Tank Park Salute
A whole lot of The National (as linked above)
Fleetwood Mac - Landslide
Sinead O'Connor - a whole lot. Try 'this is the last day of our acquaintance', 'or John I Love You'

There's a post on the blue from nme.co.uk which has a list of 30 beautiful song lyrics, there's a bunch to explore in that post and its comments
posted by pymsical at 6:44 PM on May 24, 2012

Mason Jennings - The Field (arguably one of the most heartbreaking anti-war songs I've ever heard)
First Aid Kit - Tiger Mountain Peasant Song (cover of Fleet Foxes)
Elvis Perkins -
While You Were Sleeping (song about his dead mommy)
Tim Hardin - Reason to Believe
Otis Redding - That's How Strong My Love Is
Cake - End of the Movie
Feist - Inside+Out (Apostle of Hustle Unmix) or The Park
posted by scarykarrey at 6:44 PM on May 24, 2012 [1 favorite]

For some reason, Israel Kamakawiwoʻole's rendition of "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" always puts a lump in my throat.

Also, Ben Harper's Walk Away. A song for anyone that has ever had to willingly part with a loved one.
posted by Kevtaro at 6:45 PM on May 24, 2012 [3 favorites]

Alan Jackson performing Hank Williams Jr's song The Blues Man breaks my shit up every time. I can't listen to it every day.
posted by vozworth at 6:45 PM on May 24, 2012 [1 favorite]

These two songs always bring me to tears:

Even When I'm Sleeping - Leonardo's Bride
(tends to be selected as a funeral song for mothers who die young, usually from cancer).

Straight to You - Nick Cave (he performed it at his good mate Michael Hutchence's funeral, and then again that night at a concert... it was the most heartwrenching performance I have ever seen).
posted by malibustacey9999 at 6:45 PM on May 24, 2012 [2 favorites]

Cats in the Cradle, by Harry Chapin.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 6:51 PM on May 24, 2012

Here's the post I mentioned above but was too incompetent to link.

And, hell yes 'Straight to You'.

And, Paul Kelly's Careless.
posted by pymsical at 6:51 PM on May 24, 2012 [1 favorite]

Gypsy Biker - Bruce Springsteen

I defy anyone to listen to this tune and not choke up like a sodden bastid. Bruce will destroy you when he's in this mode.
posted by Lipstick Thespian at 6:52 PM on May 24, 2012

Johnny Cash - Hurt
Free flowing tears every single time.
posted by PorcineWithMe at 6:53 PM on May 24, 2012 [6 favorites]

Joe Jackson - Hometown

Every damn time.
posted by humboldt32 at 6:55 PM on May 24, 2012

"Learn to be Lonely" sung by Minnie Driver (was made for the movie Phantom of the Opera) - available on YouTube.
posted by sandyp at 6:55 PM on May 24, 2012

Peter Gabriel - I Grieve
Rufus Wainwright - Hallelujah (it's a cover, but I love this version)
Nine Inch Nails - Hurt
posted by aldebaran at 6:56 PM on May 24, 2012 [2 favorites]

Whole buncha Townes Van Zandt will turn on the water works, but especially "The Highway Kind", "Marie", and, for me, "Catfish Song".

Emmylou's "Boulder to Birmingham" generally makes a mess out of me.

Uncle Tupelo's "Tear Stained Eye" actually made me pull off the road. First time I heard it, I was actually driving past Sainte Genevieve, the town mentioned in the song.

Also, Lyle Lovett covering "Step Inside This House." Hell, most of that album, and plenty of Guy Clark songs will do that.
posted by notsnot at 7:02 PM on May 24, 2012 [3 favorites]

Not just a song, a specific performance of a song: U2 and Brian Eno - One (Pavarotti & Friends concert, Modena, Italy, 09/12/1995).

You'll find the MP3 on sharing sites under the filename "One (best live acoustic ever)." Close your eyes; somewhere between the audience-as-chorus and the string section I start sobbing.
posted by nicebookrack at 7:14 PM on May 24, 2012

These both get me every single time:

Wonderful - Everclear
Family Portrait - Pink
posted by WaspEnterprises at 7:18 PM on May 24, 2012

Pearl Jam's cover of Dead Moon's "It's Ok" live from Jone's Beach, NY http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uW1ovyAJiMk

Neko Case- We Never Met http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VfYbh8Y10Ac

Eddie Vedder's Cover of Bruce Springsteen's 'Bobby Jean". Thank goodness it was dark in that theatre.

There are so many more, but this will do for now.
posted by eq21 at 7:23 PM on May 24, 2012

Sharon Van Etten "Love More"
Cat Power "The Greatest"
Sufjan Stevens "John Wayne Gacy Jr."
This Mortal Coil "I Come And Stand at Every Door"
Jane's Addiction "Jane Says"
Throwing Muses "Hate My Way"
Kate Bush "The Morning Fog"
Cat Stevens "Morning Has Broken"
Simon and Garfunkel "Bridge Over Troubled Water"
posted by cocoagirl at 7:34 PM on May 24, 2012

I love this stuff. My songs are mostly depressing. From my itunes playlist "a good cry":

Lucy Kaplansky (she makes me cry the most)
Song for Molly (about her grandmother and alzheimer's - couldn't find a video)
The Red Thread (mothers, daughters, adoption)
This is Home (love & family)
Land of the Living (9/11)

Dar Williams
After All (depression)
This is Not the House that Pain Built (rebuilding)
Mortal City

Cry Cry Cry cover of By Way of Sorrow

Ani Difranco
You Had Time (I thought it was a breakup song but a friend thought it was about parent/child relationship)
Hearse (I almost drove off the road when I first listened to it)

Eddie from Ohio - In Paradise (from the point of view of a child in heaven, I don't think anyone that understands English could make it through this without choking up, but I can't find a video)
Atlantic (long-distance relationship)
Candido and America (based on the book Tortilla Curtain)

Moxy Fruvous
Fly - young love won't last

Patty Griffin
Rain (hearbreak, yay)
Top of the World (Dixie Chicks also covered)
Burgundy Shoes (happy childhood memory)
Tony (teen suicide, extremely depressing lyrics but catchy beat)

Death Cab for Cutie
What Sarah Said

And for my own Ben Folds makes-me-cry (Brick and Luckiest do too):

Long Time Gone about dealing with cancer

Paul Simon
Hearts and Bones

Simon & Garfunkel
Old Friends/Bookends

Cat Stevens
Father and Son

Ok I'll stop now!!!!!
posted by wannabecounselor at 7:37 PM on May 24, 2012 [4 favorites]

I was going to say "Cats in the Cradle" by Harry Chapin, but someone beat me to it, so my backup is a song I've only heard once, and it made the interior of my car suddenly very dusty: Family Reserve, by Lyle Lovett.
posted by AzraelBrown at 7:37 PM on May 24, 2012

Ray Charles' recording of If I could
posted by shortycool at 7:45 PM on May 24, 2012

One more that I want played at my funeral: When the River Meets the Sea
posted by wannabecounselor at 7:49 PM on May 24, 2012

Science vs. Romance - Rilo Kiley
Wherever You Will Go - The Calling
Does He Love You - Rilo Kiley
posted by ichomp at 7:49 PM on May 24, 2012

Just the songs, not the videos:

Goo Goo Dolls - Slide

Pink - Who Knew

Joe Jackson - Steppin' Out

Bread - Everything I Own
posted by caclwmr4 at 7:56 PM on May 24, 2012

"Kiss the Bottle" by Jawbreaker (and covered by Sparta). A very bleak look at very bleak lives.
posted by GenjiandProust at 8:10 PM on May 24, 2012

Moray McLaren-- We Got Time
posted by oflinkey at 8:11 PM on May 24, 2012

Puff the Magic Dragon. (But maybe just because I have young kids.) Sob.
posted by dreamphone at 8:16 PM on May 24, 2012 [3 favorites]

Cat Power's The Greatest

Sufjan Steven's Casmir Pulaski Day

Flaming Lips' Superman
posted by msali at 8:31 PM on May 24, 2012 [2 favorites]

Mad World, from Donny Darko. Also from Gears of War. (Yes, really!)

Adam Lambert did a good job with it, too.
posted by misha at 8:34 PM on May 24, 2012 [1 favorite]

Prefab Sprout - I Remember That

It's, I think, about unnamed people in singer-songwriter's Paddy McAloon's life who have passed away. Not sure, but that's what it feels like.
posted by droplet at 8:38 PM on May 24, 2012

Get Lonely by the Mountain Goats is the saddest song in the world.
posted by griphus at 8:39 PM on May 24, 2012

Lots of songs give me goosebumps or choke me up, but the two that immediately come to mind are "Trouble" by Cat Stevens and, oddly enough, "The Rainbow Connection", as sung by, uh, Kermit the Frog. The first one is a typical, sad song, but "The Rainbow Connection"? It makes me cry now as an adult & it made me cry as a kid in my dinky choir class. I cannot get through that song without bursting into freaky tears.

The lovers, the dreamers and me....

posted by but no cigar at 8:42 PM on May 24, 2012 [5 favorites]

Lost in the Tree's Golden Eyelids is another one that slays me. Especially since the album the song is off (A Church that Fits our Needs) was written following the suicide of the lead singer's mother. The whole thing is about her.
posted by msali at 8:49 PM on May 24, 2012

This Year - The Mountain Goats

When he first says 'I am gonna make it through this year if it kills me' I lose it, every time. Sobbing now. Fuck. Onions.
posted by Cosine at 8:54 PM on May 24, 2012 [2 favorites]

Straight Time - Bruce Springsteen

"...you get used to anything, sooner or later it just becomes your life..."
posted by Cosine at 8:57 PM on May 24, 2012

Lucky - Radiohead.

Something about the hope of the line "it's gonna be a glorious day" and the way Yorke sings it. It has probably been the song with the greatest impact on my mental health. I cry almost every time, and I can tell if I'm really sick if I don't cry. If I don't cry, I've lost all hope. If I get a prickle in my eyes I'm on the edge. If I outright cry I'm doing alright.

If I cry just thinking about that line? Crisis time.
posted by geek anachronism at 9:04 PM on May 24, 2012 [2 favorites]

Keep Me In Your Heart For A While - Warren Zevon

Just knowing that Warren knew he was dying of lung cancer when he sang:

Shadows are falling and I'm running out of breath
Keep me in your heart for a while
If I leave you it doesn't mean I love you any less
Keep me in your heart for a while

Really gets to me.
posted by Cosine at 9:09 PM on May 24, 2012 [1 favorite]

It Ought To Be Easier - Lyle Lovett

"But you look at me when you wake up
With eyes that are angry and mean
And I turn away and walk into the kitchen
And I pray for the strength to leave"
posted by Cosine at 9:11 PM on May 24, 2012

Not newer songs, but here goes:

Natalie Merchant - Life is Sweet. I used to listen to it after my friend Tonya died.

Tegan and Sara - Where Does the Good Go?. It doesn't have the same effect on me now, but it made me weep when my marriage was breaking down.

Grateful Dead - Looks Like Rain. First serious break-up. (Nowadays, the lyrics about "street cats makin' love" kinda make me laugh, but it's still a great song.)
posted by Majorita at 9:26 PM on May 24, 2012

Operator (That's Not The Way it Feels), by Jim Croce. I can't sing it through without weeping for lost friends. By the time I reach the anachronism "You can keep the dime," I'm sobbing.
posted by tomboko at 9:26 PM on May 24, 2012

Brandi Carlile's "That Year" is about coming to terms with a friend's suicide

Patty Griffin's "Rain" is about someone pleading for a little more time in a relationship that's ending.

Also Patty Griffin's "Long Ride Home" is narrated by an old man riding home after the funeral of his wife.

Again with the Patty Griffin: "Kite Song" I've always imagined it was about the Sunday after 9/11.

Actually, just anything by Patty Griffin. Can't go wrong.
posted by elizeh at 9:35 PM on May 24, 2012 [1 favorite]

Iron & Wine - The Trapeze Swinger

Please, remember me,
My misery, and how it lost me all I wanted

I have cried while driving listening to this, unable to skip the song because I love it so much and have to ride it out. It can absolutely wreck you when you listen closely.

The Civil Wars - Poison & Wine (Something about the ache in their voices always gets me.)
The National - Santa Clara
Swell Season - The Hill
This Mortal Coil feat. Elizabeth Fraser - Song to the Siren
posted by yasaman at 9:38 PM on May 24, 2012 [1 favorite]

Oh yeah: Swell Season's "Falling Slowly"
posted by elizeh at 9:42 PM on May 24, 2012 [4 favorites]

And: Josh Ritter's "Girl in the War"
posted by elizeh at 9:59 PM on May 24, 2012 [1 favorite]

Bette Midler's "The Glory of Love" from *the end* of Beaches. It may help to watch Beaches first.
posted by pompelmo at 10:18 PM on May 24, 2012

Nthing Cat's In The Cradle.

Also No One But You (Only The Good Die Young) by Queen. I also love the version sung by Kerry Ellis in We Will Rock You.

The Letter and The Letter (Reprise) from Billy Elliot. I was bawling in the theater.
posted by SisterHavana at 10:20 PM on May 24, 2012

Almost forgot: I Know It's Over by The Smiths. They have lots of sad songs, but I think this is the saddest.

Empty Garden (Hey Hey Johnny) and Daniel, both by Elton John.
posted by SisterHavana at 10:28 PM on May 24, 2012 [2 favorites]

Indigo Girls - Gallileo

also that fucking "Sunrise, Sunset" song from Fiddler on the Roof
posted by Mchelly at 10:28 PM on May 24, 2012 [2 favorites]

Anchorage - Michelle Shocked
posted by Cosine at 10:44 PM on May 24, 2012 [1 favorite]

Townes van Zandt's Ballad of Pancho and Lefty.
posted by dismas at 10:57 PM on May 24, 2012

My Immortal - Evanescence
posted by jacanj at 11:44 PM on May 24, 2012

There are songs that make you cry, and then there are songs that make you cry.

Plenty of songs are able to put an OK sized lump in my throat, but there are only a couple I can think of where tears were actually shed:

Sufjan Stevens - Heirloom

Sufjan is taking over the "sing/songwriter supreme" mantle from Cohen/Simon/Dylan. This quote from the song just gets me - it simply and powerfully illustrates this reverence and chivalry the narrator feels towards his lady love. His language is just gorgeous and arresting.

"And when you walk inside I feel the door
I'll never let it push your arms no more
And when your legs give out just lie right down
And I will kiss you till your breath is found"

And second (and most of all) is,

Sufjan Stevens - Casimir Pulaski Day

The entire tale being spun here is heart breaking. But there's something about the end that illustrates how heartbreaking faith in a higher power can be. Whether or not you're religious, this battle between something you believe to be true and the doubt that creeps in because of heartache and despair is a beautiful thing.

"All the glory when He took our place
But He took my shoulders and He shook my face
And He takes and He takes and He takes"

And lastly, an odd sort of pick:

Thom Yorke - Analyse (Live at 2006 Mercury Awards)

At the 4:20 when he just gives into the song just kills me. You rarely get a mix of hopeless darkness and beauty so dangerous that it becomes the most beautiful thing ever. The dissonant syncopation of the piano and Thom's haunting falsetto are so damn moving. More than the lyrics of this song is the mood and ambiance Thom creates that gets me emotional. It's also seeing an artist give himself so completely to his craft and to his creation - by the end you're so sucked in with him that you forget he's creating this intensely personal experience in the most impersonal of settings.
posted by Detuned Radio at 12:37 AM on May 25, 2012

Dickey Lee - Patches, especially the part where she was "found floating face down in that dirty old river that flows by the coal yards of old Shantytown".
posted by ouke at 12:39 AM on May 25, 2012

oops, Dickey Lee - Patches
posted by ouke at 12:40 AM on May 25, 2012

Oh, damn -- one more.

Jeff Buckley - I Know It's Over (The Smiths cover)

Don't get me wrong, I hold the Smiths version of this over Buckely's, but the real emotion comes in Buckley's ability to emote so intensely and profoundly in a live performance, his close relationship with his mother, and his early, untimely and tragic death.

The song weaves and builds the the 5:20 mark, and then it turns into this last gasp kind of lament until at 5:53 I just break down into tears and sobs every time.
posted by Detuned Radio at 12:46 AM on May 25, 2012

He ain't heavy, he's my brother - The Hollies

Let it be - The Beatles

And another vote for Rainbow Connection. Sob!! Jason Mraz did a good cover of it with similarly tear-jerking properties.
posted by Ziggy500 at 2:51 AM on May 25, 2012

Two Little Boys by Rolf Harris.
posted by rongorongo at 3:04 AM on May 25, 2012 [1 favorite]

Gorecki - Lamb. It sums up how much I love my partner - almost an overwhelming, Fierce Love. When his cousin played it at their wedding, over a montage of photos of them growing up, I cried.

And so much so on Sia's Breathe Me. Because of its use in the finale of Six Feet Under, I instantly think of my own - and my partner's - mortality.

And both of them create some pretty cathartic joy. I'm glad I only listen to these while driving by myself!
posted by chronic sublime at 3:49 AM on May 25, 2012

Marguerita Red by King Creosote
posted by TheOtherGuy at 3:50 AM on May 25, 2012

NPR's "All Songs Considered" had an episode dedicated to this called:
Cry Baby Cry: Songs That Make You Weep
posted by mrmarley at 3:52 AM on May 25, 2012

Long Long Long, Beatles
posted by telstar at 3:58 AM on May 25, 2012

No Elliott Smith yet? Madeleine Peyroux covers Between The Bars beautifully.
posted by killuglyradio at 5:51 AM on May 25, 2012 [1 favorite]

Patty Griffin - Whem It Don't Come Easy.
posted by theBigRedKittyPurrs at 5:54 AM on May 25, 2012 [1 favorite]

Meryl Streep sings an Irish drinking song at an AmFar Benefit in tribute to her late friend Natasha Richardson.
posted by DMelanogaster at 5:58 AM on May 25, 2012 [1 favorite]

Michael Penn - Figment
Jets To Brazil - Psalm
The Promise Ring - Things Just Getting Good
Ann Beretta - Long Distance (this one more than any other is guaranteed)
The Ataris - San Dimas High School Football Rules (I know, I know, but I can't help it) and Looking Back On Today
Jawbreaker - Bivouac
posted by namewithoutwords at 6:36 AM on May 25, 2012

Whiskey Lullaby-Brad Paisley and Alison Krauss.

Answer-Sarah Mclachlan, from the movie The Brave One.
posted by sybarite09 at 6:42 AM on May 25, 2012

couple of mine have already been mentioned (geek anachronism, I completely get you on Lucky) so I will offer:

Cyndi Lauper - Time After Time
Arcade Fire - Neighbourhood #1 (Tunnels)
posted by corvine at 7:24 AM on May 25, 2012 [1 favorite]

Man, I almost have a harder time finding songs I like that haven't made me cry at some point in my life.

Townes van Zandt- She Came and She Touched Me
Wilco- One Sunday Morning
Wilco- Red Eyed and Blue
Wilco- Hummingbird
Bright Eyes- First Day of My Life (watch the video for extra tears)
The Beatles (or Johnny Cash)- In My Life
The Beatles- Blackbird
Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds- Where Do We Go Now But Nowhere
The Flaming Lips- Spiderbite Song
Bon Iver- For Emma, Forever Ago (the whole album)
Elliott Smith- Say Yes*
Bob Dylan- Don't Think Twice, It's Alright
Bob Dylan- He Was a Friend of Mine
Bob Dylan- Just Like a Woman
Johnny Cash- Hurt (again, another that's more likely to make you cry with the video)
Johnny Cash- Love's Been Good to Me

*I've listened to so much Elliott Smith that I'm pretty much innoculated to his tear-inducing ways, but you could pick basically anything of his to make you cry if you're a new listener.
posted by quiet coyote at 7:59 AM on May 25, 2012

My Young Man - Kate Rusby, about how the singer's grandfather dying of emphysema, and how this affected her grandmother. This is, as it taps out, the saddest song ever written.
posted by my face your at 8:00 AM on May 25, 2012

Response by poster: Thank you everyone for sharing your songs with me. I have cried a lot of tears already!

Also, I appreciate all of you who ended up crying as you listened to the songs you suggested. It had to be tough and I thank you.
posted by royalsong at 8:19 AM on May 25, 2012 [2 favorites]

The Bullet and Big D

Remember whe I'd carry you, and lay you in your bed, and promise to take care of you, but I just left instead...
posted by jeffamaphone at 8:35 AM on May 25, 2012

More Kate Rusby: Who Will Sing Me Lullabies
posted by Mister Bijou at 9:07 AM on May 25, 2012

The Drugs Don't Work by The Verve
The Last Hour by Elliott Smith
posted by meggie78 at 9:22 AM on May 25, 2012 [1 favorite]

When the Tigers Broke Free - Pink Floyd
posted by alasdefuego at 9:24 AM on May 25, 2012

It's A Wonderful Life by Sparklehorse
posted by yaymukund at 9:44 AM on May 25, 2012

Oh, WITH lyrics, sorry.
posted by yaymukund at 10:01 AM on May 25, 2012

Jeff Buckley's cover of Hallelujah makes me tear up every time.
posted by ceramicblue at 10:12 AM on May 25, 2012 [1 favorite]

Oh, Father by Madonna.
posted by amro at 10:21 AM on May 25, 2012

These are old, but:

Tom Waits, Ruby's Arms
So Jesus Christ
This goddamn rain
Will someone put me on a train
I'll never kiss your lips again
Or break your heart

Tom Waits, A Little Rain
She was 15 years old
And never seen the ocean
She climbed into a van
With a vagabond
And the last thing she said
Was "I love you mom"

Saw Doctors, Carry Me Away
And some where up near inchagoill
In the embers of the night
Switch of all the engines
At the birth of dawns first light
And someone sing a happy song
When everyone's arrived
And scatter me forever
Where I've felt most alive

and the trump card:
The Pogues, And the Band Played Waltzing Mathilda
So they collected the cripples, the wounded, the maimed
And they shipped us back home to Australia
The armless, the legless, the blind, the insane
Those proud wounded heroes of Suvla
And as our ship pulled into Circular Quay
I looked at the place where my legs used to be
And thank Christ there was nobody waiting for me
To grieve and to mourn and to pity
And the band played Waltzing Matilda
As they carried us down the gangway
But nobody cheered, they just stood and stared
Then turned all their faces away.

posted by Kafkaesque at 10:31 AM on May 25, 2012 [1 favorite]

Pretty much anything by Nickelback.

Without irony, I can't believe that they're the most popular band in the world, and it makes me honestly sad.
posted by talldean at 11:50 AM on May 25, 2012

I find it hard not to listen to Bright Eyes's First Day Of My Life without tearing up, but it is impossible for me to watch the video without crying. I just cried again upon rewatching it, and I'm at work! It has a devastating mixture of happysad. I think it's the woman with the picture at 1:18 that does it.

I also get weepy listening to Death Cab for Cutie's I Will Follow You Into the Dark.
posted by zoetrope at 12:25 PM on May 25, 2012

Oh, god, also, Jeff Tweedy (of Wilco)'s solo version of "Remember the Mountain Bed." (Lyrics by Woody Guthrie, I think the original recording was on Mermaid Avenue Vol. II)
posted by dismas at 12:45 PM on May 25, 2012 [1 favorite]

Oh man, I just remembered the Elliott Smith song that really does it for me. Everything Means Nothing to Me (find the version from Figure 8 if you can; I don't love this live version)
posted by quiet coyote at 1:36 PM on May 25, 2012

Last one, I swear. Joni Mitchell- Both Sides Now
posted by quiet coyote at 3:14 PM on May 25, 2012 [1 favorite]

I suggest "June 18, 1976" by David Bazan. Gets me every time.

Lyrics are here.
posted by tacodave at 3:49 PM on May 25, 2012

Bah, Kafkaesque! Got almost all the way down without "And the Band Played Waltzing Mathilda," and then you had to go and steal it. That song, oh my. The whole thing is pretty brutal.

Then there's 30k Feet by Assemblage 23 (of all bands). Which is narrated by someone leaving a message on his spouse's answering machine as his plane goes down. The last verse kills me. It's about to do it right now ...And the end is... excruciating.

There's one more in that triad, but I can't think of it now. Which, considering, is probably for the best. However, "Horseshoes" by Moxy Fruvous (can't find a decent youtube video, sorry) recently hit me way harder than it used to.

I dreamed I went to heaven 'cause I told my lover lies
When I woke up I went to her and looked her in the eyes
I said, "Help me cry, 'cause I can't deny this union's feeling wrong
Then a flashback to the dream and angels singing songs

Look straight at the coming disaster
Realize what you've lost
You keep handing out horseshoes
Horseshoes have got to be tossed

Always used to seem a bit hokey. Not anymore. Guess you have to be there.
posted by Because at 10:27 PM on May 25, 2012 [1 favorite]

Bah, Kafkaesque! Got almost all the way down without "And the Band Played Waltzing Mathilda," and then you had to go and steal it. That song, oh my. The whole thing is pretty brutal.

In a similar vein I'd recommend The Men They Couldn't Hang's version of Eric Bogle's The Green Fields of France.
posted by rongorongo at 2:10 AM on May 26, 2012

Lately it's been Robbie Schaefer's Fits Right In.
posted by The corpse in the library at 2:23 PM on May 26, 2012

Moxy Fruvous's Gulf War Song gets me every single time.
posted by House of Leaves of Grass at 2:45 PM on May 26, 2012

The Scotland Yard Gospel Choir - In Hospital
posted by hydrophonic at 3:37 PM on May 26, 2012

rtha mentioned Jane Siberry above. Her song The Taxi Ride still kills me long after the breakup many years ago when I could not stop listening to it ("a fall of cards in an idle man's hands").

The National, Cardinal Song

This makes me cry not only because it's gorgeous, but because of what I've lost Wave

Richard Thompson, of course -- Withered and Died

And mayhaps only if you are an an animal/dog/greyhound lover, but Matt Dahan's The Race. I start crying right at the first "I can't go home", no matter how many times I listen to it.
posted by vers at 6:51 PM on May 26, 2012

And Burns Supper. Jesus.
posted by vers at 7:16 PM on May 26, 2012

You've got to bear with the song for this one. It's Rolf Harris, so you may or may not be able to get to the end depending on your tolerance for cheesiness. If you want crying music, it's worth every saccharine note.

It's about as emotionally manipulative as any music is able to be; it starts off like something the Wiggles might sing or that you'd hear in a kindergarten—but the last variation on the chorus, even though you know perfectly well what's coming, is a horrible emotional suckerpunch.
posted by Fiasco da Gama at 10:52 PM on May 26, 2012 [1 favorite]

Harry Nilssons Remember

Love is only but a dream

posted by vozworth at 6:32 PM on May 28, 2012

Birds by Neil Young
posted by OrangeCat at 3:33 AM on May 29, 2012

Don McLean's Vincent (Starry, Starry Night) gets me everytime.
posted by poolsidemuse at 1:27 PM on May 29, 2012

Sleater-Kinney - Good Things
posted by yellowbinder at 1:32 PM on May 31, 2012

Tom Waits- If I Have to Go
posted by quiet coyote at 7:58 AM on June 2, 2012

To A Poet- First Aid Kit
posted by quiet coyote at 7:24 PM on June 5, 2012

He Stopped Loving Her Today
posted by trivirgata at 8:40 AM on September 15, 2012

BARR - Untitled

"I'm here beckoning..."
posted by muteh at 5:00 PM on November 26, 2012

I had to come back to this thread to post another one. It's a song from a musical, and sung by children, so may not be your thing - but it makes me cry every single time: When I Grow Up, from Matilda. One of the top-rated comments goes into some depth about why this song makes some listeners cry. So it's not just me.
posted by Ziggy500 at 3:49 AM on November 27, 2012

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