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Songs to Cry To When You're In Your Feelings

I read somewhere once that there aren't "songs that make you cry" but rather songs that let you cry. I think this was from either a Lin-Manuel Miranda tweet or something Noah Centineo captioned a shirtless Insta thirst trap. A toss-up.

Anyway, it's January, the weather sucks, and if you're not in a city ravaged by global warming *yet*, it's Seasonal Affective time, my friends. So as you're laying in a bed that feels like it has chip crumbs in it despite you not visibly seeing any at all or trudging to a job, relishing the drama of having a single tear slide down your cheek in the hopes that a Tom Hiddleston-type will write a column about "The Charming, Sad Girl on the Bus" in your honor, here's a list of the songs that may let you cry as they do for me.


He Thinks He'll Keep Her- Mary Chapin Carpenter

My parents have been happily married for almost 27 years and yet this country banger about divorce makes me sob like I've never known what a healthy relationship looks like. It's about a housewife who after three kids and a thankless marriage kicks her husband out and gets a job in the typin' pool. When I was 8, I knew all these lyrics by heart and would get righteously angry at my imaginary husband, Tim, for taking me fore granted! Marriage is an economic relationship, Tim! You wasted years of my life, Tim!

Fave Lyric: Everything is right on time//years of practice and design//spit and polish til it shines// he thinks he'll keep her


Welcome Home, Son- Radical Face

Me and my dramatic ass likes to perfectly time this song to the exact moment when my plane lands at the Indianapolis Airport after at least four months away from home. It encompasses the feeling of leaving somewhere amazing, the sweet and tender love of seeing your family, and the melancholic sadness of being right back where you started. It's the feeling of pulling down wind-blown sheets off the clothing line in your backyard, pausing to breathe in the perfect air, and loathing yourself for wanting somewhere else.

Fave Lyric: Ships are launching from my chest// some have names but most do not// If you find one, please let me know what piece I've lost


All My Life- K-Ci & JoJo

Why does a song made in deadass earnest by two men named K-Ci and JoJo make me ugly cry in the shower? I dunno but it does. It's just a part of my whole deal like how I hiccup when my food is too spicy and I make all my friends communicate with me through voice notes. The thought that a guy would say such goofy, emotional things with such seriousness in such dumb sunglasses to throw himself at the mercy of a girl? Whatever, even my cold dead heart beats a bit faster.

Fave lyric: You're close to me, you're like my father// close to me, you're like my mother// close to me, you're like my sister// close to me, you're like my brother ((WHAT DOES THIS EVEN MEAN, I ADORE IT))


Umpqua Rushing- Blind Pilot

You know that feeling when you know exactly what you want but your mind is so scattered, you're convinced that you'll never be able to achieve it and you're burning with the feeling that something is coming, something is about to happen, but will you be ready? Is it for you? Are you enough? Are you just hungry? This is the song for that feeling.

Fave Lyric: Oh, I've been a forest, burning all direction


Freshmen- The Verve Pipe

Ugh, this sooonnggg! Yes, it looks like it would be just another bad 90s ballad by a wannabe Nick Carter that would be featured on an ill-advised moody 90s movie featuring Josh Hartnett. But it makes you think of the people you knew and lost along the way; the kids from high school who never made it to graduation or college who died too young, your brilliant friend who chose the guy who became abusive, the one who never reached their potential, the one who you mourn for who is still alive. It's that perfect mixture of the protection of ignorance and the pain of consequences when you're young AND IT MAKES ME CRY.

Fave lyric: For the life of me, I cannot remember// What made us think that we were wise and we'd never compromise


I Wonder- ABBA

Do I take that job in another state? Do I try for that grad program even though I risk it by never buying flight insurance on my hella risky budget airfare? Do I move to Cape Cod, live amongst the elderly lesbian couples, and open up a whimsical knick-knack shop? God, I love ABBA.

Fave lyric: Who the hell am I if I don't even try?// I'm not a coward


Fast Car- Tracy Chapman

Did y'all really think I'd get through a list of nonsensical songs that make me teary without including this essential jam? Does any song better encapsulate the feeling of driving at night, nowhere in particular but just to feel like you're moving even though you're stuck in the same place, and you let the streetlights blur into kaleidoscopes and you let you yourself feel...nothing, nothing at all, and you're so relieved?

Fave lyric: We gotta make a decision// we leave tonight or live and die this way


Lucky- Britney Spears

Sometimes the songs that you thought were like so deep when you were ten stubbornly stick around like an embarrassing reminder that you were not always quite the taste-maker you are now. I thought this song was so tragic, and honestly, it is an eerie bit of foretelling to 2007 Britney. Fun fact: when I googled this song, it turns out that she also released "E-Mail My Heart" on this album and omg, it really aged like fine wine...or rather Pepsi Max.

Fave lyric: She's so lucky, she's a star// but she cries, cries, cries in her lonely heart

What are the songs that always make you shed a tear?


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