Rock music’s emotional power provides a natural landscape for songs about depression, perhaps accounting for why so many songs about the subject stem from this genre.
From songs illustrating unliftable emptiness, to songs about keeping your last shred of sanity intact, our playlist of rock songs about depression covers it all.
Rock Songs About Depression
1. Linkin Park – Numb
Linkin Park’s iconic 2003 single, Numb, is a hallmark rock song about depression, underlayed by the morbid reality of life-long mental illness.
With the band’s acclaimed singer now passed on from his own battles, Numb has taken on a whole new meaning in recent years, as a truthful insight into the mind of a songwriter struggling with depression.
Linkin Park’s lyrics translate seamlessly to anyone feeling twisted and torn by the throes of life and unable to find their independent sense of happiness beneath the burden of another, whether you perceive their lyrics as referring to overbearing parental pressure, a toxic relationship, or disdain for society in general;
“Can’t you see that you’re smothering me, holding too tightly, afraid to lose control? ‘Cause everything that you thought I would be has fallen apart right in front of you … All I want to do is be more like me and be less like you.”
2. My Chemical Romance – Early Sunsets Over Monroeville
My Chemical Romance’s debut album track, Early Sunsets Over Monroeville, is a blissfully macabre song entwining serenity with suicidality.
Centred in ambient layers of acoustic guitar topped by raw, melodic vocals, this track’s depressive elements truly shine in its elongated outro, evoking the thoughts of somebody bordering upon the edge of life; “But does anyone notice? But does anyone care?.. Does anything matter if you’re already dead?”
Early Sunsets Over Monroeville hints at lovelorn depression and loss, their lyrics choked in romantic reminiscence over either a relationship turned sour, or where one half has died; “And the whole time while always giving, counting your face among the living.”
3. Korn – Alone I Break
Korn’s 2002 single, Alone I Break, illustrates the dark wish for release from misery’s clutch. This track is composed from the perspective of somebody long-lost in the haze of depression, unable to either backtrack their way out or move forwards into peace again.
Riddled with themes of stagnancy and resolution, Korn’s hit is laden with the feeling of having approached a breaking point; “Am I going to leave this place? What is it I’m running from? Is there nothing more to come? Is it always black in space? Am I going to take it’s place? Am I going to leave this race?”
Although Korn’s message clearly borders upon suicidality, their cut-throat lyrics resonate equally as well under the influence of recovery; their anchoring theme of replacing sadness with ‘the light’ capturing a double meaning of both downcast surrender to death and optimistic perseverance into the future, depending on your own outlook;
“I will make it go away, can’t be here no more, seems this is the only way, I will soon be gone, these feelings will be gone.”
4. Three Days Grace – Pain
Three Days Grace’s emo rock hit, Pain, paints depression in an interesting light, anchoring their track in the line, “I’d rather feel pain than nothing at all.”
This 2006 track pads its message of simply wanting to feel human again with outreaching verses showering the listener in understanding and support to carry them through their struggles, crafting a half-therapeutic approach to their lyrics;
“You’re sick of feeling numb, you’re not the only one, I’ll take you by the hand, and I’ll show you a world that you can understand.”
Pain secretes a sultry message alluding to literal sex therapy and lustful escapism, perverting the narrator’s initially pure intentions into manipulative degradations of the weak, faithful and emotionally dependent;
“Anger and agony are better than misery, trust me I’ve got a plan, when the lights go off you’ll understand … I know that you’re wounded, you know that I’m here to save you, you know I’m always here for you, I know that you’ll thank me later.”
5. Goo Goo Dolls – Iris
Goo Goo Dolls’ Top 10 single, Iris, is a rock anthem of its era, tying a deeply despairing message into its unimaginably romantic lyrics. Iris details the painful longing for someone you can’t have, its lyrics verging upon obsession with an unobtainable crush;
“And I’d give up forever to touch you, ’cause I know that you feel me somehow, you’re the closest to heaven that I’ll ever be and I don’t wanna go home right now.”
Behind Iris’s inherent romanticism is the depressing reality of being invisible or second-best to the only person you want; “And I don’t want the world to see me, ’cause I don’t think that they’d understand, when everything’s made to be broken, I just want you to know who I am.”
6. Audioslave – Like A Stone
Audioslave’s 2002 hit, Like A Stone, is cast around a metaphor for the grey, empty feeling of depressive regret.
This track carries a loose theme of having strayed from something important and soul-nourishing, their lyrics translating to an array of instances such as heartbreak, losing faith in your religion and more;
“In your house I long to be, room by room patiently, I’ll wait for you there like a stone, I’ll wait for you there alone.”
7. Five Finger Death Punch – Coming Down
Five Finger Death Punch’s 2011 rock release, Coming Down, is rooted in an anti-suicide message, empowering those struggling to ‘step away from the ledge’ to save themselves from self-inflicted doom.
FFDP’s depict their theme of resilience alongside the insightful understanding of what depression looks like, relating to the audience whilst pulling them out of the abyss;
“It’s caving in around me, what I thought was solid ground, I tried to look the other way, but I couldn’t turn around… Step away from the ledge, I’m coming down”
This track is laced with quite a profound point regarding both the survival instinct and the causes and cures of depression, mirroring the imbalance of emotions with a physical representation of fighting to stay on top;
“I could never be what you want me to, you pull me under to save yourself, you will never see what’s inside of me, I pull you under just to save myself.”