26 April 2008

Sad songs that sound happy

Edited: 04 June 2011

I find it interesting that lots of people come to this page, so I decided to make a nice list of sad songs that sound happy.

In the old version of this post (further below), I wrote my thoughts on why we love listening to sad songs. But the following is a list of 10 songs (in no particular order) that - in my opinion - are sadder or more emotional than they actually sound.

Sad song in disguise #1 (Pop/Folk):

Marit Larsen - If a song could get me you

Sad song in disguise #2 (Pop/Jazz/Blues):

Lykki Li - I'm good, I'm gone

Sad song in disguise #3 (Pop):

Jason Mraz - The Remedy

Sad song in disguise #4 (Pop):

Lilly Allen - It's Not Fair

Sad song in disguise #5 (Pop):

The Cardigans - My Favourite Game

Sad song in disguise #6 (R&B):

Mike Posner - Please Don't Go

Sad song in disguise #7 (Pop):

Owl City - Vanilla Twilight (actually, just buy his whole album)

Sad song in disguise #8 (Pop):

Plan B - She Said

Sad song in disguise #9 (Pop):

Eliza Doolittle - Skinny Genes

Sad song in disguise #10 (Pop/Raggae):

Bruno Mars - Liquor Store Blues

There you go.


Why do people enjoy listening to sad songs?

I came across a humourous article today - in Today - written by Ravi Veloo, a media consultant who does not listen to sad songs. He doesn't understand it (at all) why people enjoy listening to them because apparently after asking many people why they listen to sad songs he came to the conclusion that nobody knows. I guess he forgot to ask me.

I enjoy sad songs because I can either relate to it or learn from it. There are many positive lessons in sad songs to learn from, do not be surprised. Sad songs make some people feel better, so they could get back up on their feet, and fight back if they must. I don't listen to sad songs to deliberately wallow in eternal misery, it just gives me something to relate to, and I'd know that someone else had gone through similar things I have, and hey they survived. So it's obviously not that bad.

Honestly speaking, I think in a more specific way, the writer meant sad love songs. I don't think sad love songs are romantic, though, as he mentioned people had said. Love songs are romantic. Sad love songs, nu'uh. For example Eamon's "Fuck it (I Don't Want You Back)", it's a break up song that's not the slightest bit romantic, but Simon Cowell himself thought it was one of the best written songs he's ever come across in his career.
Simon Stuck-Up-Cold-Emotionless Cowell holding up a sad song. Priceless. I had to make an exception myself because I like that song.

Songs like that not just give away emotions, but lessons to live by. Then again, I don't enjoy listening to love songs that much because they are simply full of fantasy crap (I have yet to come across one realistic love song), so listening to sad love songs isn't really my cup of tea either.

Individually, people are different, we all know that. Some enjoy listening to sad songs because it's probably the only thing they feel like doing in that moment. What are you gonna force them to do for happiness sake? Suggest drinking their sorrows away? Go clubbing? Watch Teletubbies or Hi-5? You'll be lucky if they don't kill themselves after that. Colliding two extremes in this case would be dangerous.

For some people this is how they pull themselves together. No doubt that some people find it funny and weird because you might think Why would he listen to a sad song when he is sad?, but I find it is for the same reasons people listen to love songs when they're in love, happy songs when they're happy, and angry songs when they're pissed. What's even 'normal' anymore in this world? Haven't you heard "Mad World" by Gary Jules? This world is mad... and unfortunately we're all in it.

Then there are songs like R.E.M's "Losing My Religion" and Coldplay's "Trouble". The words are deep and thought-provoking. Just the few of the many songs which I would've done crazy things instead hadn't I listened to them and came to my senses.
Personally I'd rather see people enjoy listening to sad songs than seeing them enjoy jumping off high-rise buildings or jumping on the tracks ahead of an oncoming train.

Sad songs aren't dangerous, they're honest and definitely anytime better than songs about love, sex, women or money. Sad songs are even possible to manipulate. A song can hide its sad element as good as a person can hide his sadness. You can't do that with a happy song because it just doesn't make sense when a song that sounds sad is supposed to be a happy song (unless it's parody). On the contrary, songs that sound happy is likely to be mistaken as a happy song but when carefully listened to are actually sad songs. You just can't beat that.
Listen to the likes of Björk, PJ Harvey, Tori Amos, Alanis Morissette (I recommend "Narcissus"), Jason Mraz ("The Remedy") or Marit Larsen.

The whole idea is that you shouldn't take yourself too seriously. The more you do so the more you make a fool out of yourself. It's okay! Try to laugh at yourself once in awhile, or cry your eyes out once in awhile. It's okay. Listen to sad/happy/angry/love songs as often as you want, it's okay. You don't need to explain yourselves to other people. And other people don't need to explain themselves to you.

Happiness is merciful because you don't need a reason to be happy.
I quote Andrew Matthews for the 100th time: "Be miserable if that makes you happy".

So in conclusion, sad songs are infectious and not everyone is immune to it. Like me... *grins*. Sad songs are not for the not-faint-hearted. Definitely not for those of the likes of Mr Ravi. But I look forward to the sad song he said he should write about people not knowing why they listen to sad songs. Who knows, some people might consider playing it at their funeral, I mean, wedding.

In the meantime, here is a sad love (mind you) song of the day. Those of you who can relate to it might like it, those of you who can't, won't like it at all. And here is a sad kitten for you to cuddle up to.

Presenting BS with "I Run Away"... Aww..


  1. You're right. Happy songs do not make sad people feel better. They'd listen to sad songs when they're sad. I'd do that too.

    But I think there are realistic love songs out there. Some of the stuff Marion and Marit did sound pretty genuine to me.

    If you want a sad song to drown into, try Coldplay's The Scientist. It doesn't sound ultimately sad, but it's hard not to feel lost in it when you hear it.

  2. "[...] Watch Teletubbies or Hi-5? You'll be lucky if they don't kill themselves after that."
    The teletubbies, the best form of torture there is, better than forcing them to listen to Whitney's songs.
    I just listen to sad songs too much now. More like heavier stuff. Blah, don't need to think about life.

  3. I like the song on your blog.LOL

  4. Thanks for the comments.
    Yelly, heavy stuff is good eh? I should dedicate "Down with the Sickness" to you (Disturbed). It'll help you fall asleep.

    And Aysh, it's Prèsence by Dark Santuary. Glad you like it :)