What is it about sad songs that we as a music community find appealing? Do we truly benefit from music that doesn’t leave us with a positive outlook or cause us to wallow in our sadness?
Actually, there is something good that can come from sad songs: the comfort that someone else has actually walked a mile in our shoes.
Some artists built their careers on music of a heart-broken nature, including legends like Johnny Cash, Harry Chapin, Dolly Parton, Eric Clapton and more. Sad songs, as illustrated in the official list by Paste Magazine covering the Top 50 of all time, aren’t restricted to certain styles of genres when it comes to what connects best.
Paste has given us one of the most comprehensive lists for “all-time collections” available, diving into both well-known performers as well as those on a more esoteric nature. Drive By Truckers, Angel Olson, Iron & Wine, and other growing names in music can appreciate the references now made to their greater songbooks. Though I believe we can all agree that some very powerful and sad songs have been left out that could just as well been a part of this list.