What are some songs that automatically make you reach for a box of tissues when you hear the first notes? There is no doubt that music has the ability to move people to tears, often for various reasons. Who knows, you might be crying because it reminds you of a situation or a person that you hold close to your heart. Sometimes, the lyrics can make you cry all by themselves. Every once in a great while, the music itself is so melancholy that the first few notes cause the emotions too well up inside so quickly that tears start to spill over before you even have the opportunity to realize what’s going on.
In addition to everything that’s already been mentioned, you have to admit that there are certain eras where a specific style of music dominates virtually every radio station. In the 1990s, it was all about the sad power ballads that had a tendency to tug at the heartstrings. Even when it wasn’t a power ballad per se, it was often something that was soulful enough to have you reaching for something to dab at your eyes. Below are arguably the 10 saddest songs of the 1990s. They are arranged from number 10 to number one, and each and every one of them have a YouTube clip to accompany them. If you’re feeling brave, maybe you’ll decide to take a listen. When you do, make sure you have that box of tissues handy.
10. Hallelujah (Jeff Buckley, 1994)
This is a song that might make you cry because it is stunningly beautiful. It’s all so sad, to be sure. Even if the lyrics themselves don’t get the best of you, it’s likely that you’ll be moved to tears by the sheer beauty of the song itself, not to mention the way that Buckley sings it. The truth is, his is a cover of the Leonard Cohen song which was around for quite some time before he decided to cut it. Nevertheless, many people consider this to be very much Jeff Buckley’s song. Once you hear him sing it, you’ll understand why.
9. I Swear (All 4 One, 1994)
You could argue that this isn’t really a sad song, but it will still move you to tears. Also released in 1994, it is a song that will touch you if you are or have ever been in love. It doesn’t even have to be romantic love. It can be something perfectly platonic and this song will still make you cry. If you have somehow managed to go this long without hearing it, it’s all about loving someone enough to do anything for them, even when it’s not really what you personally want to do. In short, it’s about loving someone so much that you’re willing to be completely selfless, even if that causes you personal heartbreak in the process.
8. Kissing You (Des’Ree, 1997)
You know that any song from Romeo and Juliet is probably going to make you cry. After all, how could you not cry at a story where two people love each other so much that they would rather be dead than be alive and not be allowed to be together? The song really doesn’t need that context, or any other for that matter. If you’ve ever loved someone and even thought, for just a second, about what life without that person might be like, this one will have you in tears before you even hear the bridge.
7. My Heart Will Go On (Celine Dion, 1997)
For some reason, a lot of people like to make fun of this song. The truth is, it is a beautiful ballad about losing someone that you love so completely, you can’t imagine life without them. The entire song centers around that struggle that anyone who’s ever lost someone special to them goes through. It’s all about trying to find some way to continue on when the person who meant everything to you is no longer there physically. Unless your heart is made of stone, get ready for some serious ugly crying when you listen to this one.
6. Tears in Heaven (Eric Clapton, 1992)
If you don’t know the story behind the song, you’re still going to cry at the lyrics themselves. If you know anything about the story, it’s even harder to listen to. Clapton had a young daughter who fell out of a multi-story window and died. This song is the culmination of that event and all of the horrible, incredibly heartbreaking moments that came after it.
5. Angel (Sarah McLachlan, 1997)
This song will definitely be a real tearjerker if you’re already feeling down. To tell you the truth, it might make the tears well up even if you’re having a great day and you are the happiest you’ve ever been. What else could you expect from a song that begins with the line “In the arms of an angel”? You know right from that point that it’s going to be something that will get the best of you emotionally. Things only ratchet up from there, so you might not want to listen to it when you’re out in public. In fact, you might want to wait until you’re by yourself so you can cry as hard as you need to.
4. Weird (Hanson, 1997)
1997 seems to be a big year for sad songs. This one isn’t about losing someone you love, like many of the others, but it definitely packs a punch of its own. It discusses the need to belong and how much it hurts when you are a complete outcast. The song goes on to talk about how difficult it is when you’re trying so hard to fit in, yet you don’t really feel like you fit in with anyone. If you’ve ever had a point in your life where you simply felt alone and unloved, this one will definitely get to you.
3. Nothing Compares 2U (Sinead O’Connor, 1990)
Again, it’s time to break out the tissues with a song that talks about how no one alive could ever potentially compare to that one special person in your life. It also talks about what things might feel like if you no longer have that person around. Even on your best day, this song is one that will bring out the tears. On your worst day, you might want to refrain from listening to it all together.
2. Go the Distance (Michael Bolton, 1997)
If you have ever been fortunate enough to love someone so completely that you would literally do anything for them, this song is likely to bring out the tears in all the best ways possible. It is definitely a tearjerker, but it also has something of an uplifting quality about it. In short, it gives you the opportunity to cry and feel somewhat revived, all at the same time. It’s all about persevering through struggle after struggle in order to finally be reunited with that one particular individual. It is the stuff that dreams are made of.
1. Can You Feel the Love Tonight (Elton John, 1994)
Even if you don’t have any of the context that goes with film, this song from The Lion King is enough to bring on the water works. It’s a very sweet song that talks about love of all kinds and how that love can lift a person up. You might even argue that it talks about redemption through love, something that we all dream of finding or or holding on to.
If you haven’t listened to these songs, give it a go. Make sure that you have plenty of tissues nearby. You might even decide to give yourself an entire evening where you can simply listen to some good music and have a good cry at the same time. One thing is certain, these songs will definitely get the job done.