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50 Best Songs About Depression of All Time

December 22, 2023
Songs About Depression

I’ve assembled a poignant collection of the best songs about depression of all time, tracks that delve deep into the complexities and emotions of this challenging mental state.

This article explores songs from various artists and genres, offering listeners a resonant and cathartic experience through music’s unique ability to articulate and understand depression.

Table of Contents

Top songs about depression of all time

  • The Rolling Stones – “Paint It, Black”
  • Sia – “Breathe Me”
  • The Fray – “How To Save a Life”
  • Radiohead – “Give Up the Ghost”
  • Skylar Grey – “Dance Without You”
  • The National – “Sorrow”
  • Adele – “Hold On”
  • R.E.M. – “Everybody Hurts”
  • Coldplay – “Fix You”
  • Bon Iver – “Re:Stacks”

1. The Rolling Stones – “Paint It, Black”

“Paint It, Black” is arguably one of the most popular songs about depression.

It’s written from a viewpoint of a depressed person.

Therefore, the protagonist wants everything to be painted black.

Despite its lyrics, “Paint It, Black” is a rather energetic song.

“I see a red door
And I want it painted black
No colors anymore
I want them to turn black.”

2. Sia – “Breathe Me”

Without a doubt, “Breathe Me” hits differently than the previous song.

It’s a very emotional and powerful song about hopelessness and feeling lost.

“Ouch I have lost myself again
Lost myself and I am nowhere to be found
Yeah I think that I might break
Lost myself again and I feel unsafe.”

3. The Fray – “How To Save a Life”

“How To Save a Life” is one of the most beloved songs about suicide and ways to prevent it.

The thing is, when it comes to helping other people, it’s not simple.

But it’s important.

And even a small act of kindness and support can be helpful.

Sometimes, all you can do for someone is to listen.

“How To Save a Life” was also featured in several TV shows including “Grey’s Anatomy.”

4. Radiohead “Give Up the Ghost”

Radiohead has many tracks that can be interpreted as songs about depression.

But “Give Up the Ghost” is somewhat special.

It’s tender, melancholic, and calming.

And the repetitive “Don’t hurt me”  line somehow makes it very vulnerable.

5. Skylar Grey “Dance Without You”

“How can I make history, with your choreography?
Take your hands off me, Take your hands off me
Before I suffocate.”

In her song “Dance Without You”, Skylar Grey is trying to get rid of something.

It can very well be depression.

She can’t take the whispering, and she wants to be free.

6. The National – “Sorrow”

Many would agree that guys from The National are the kings of sorrow.

Yes, there might be something very melancholic in their music.

And “Sorrow” could easily be described as one of the sad songs about depression.

But the way they portray these feelings is very distinctive, artistic, and rather healing.

7. Adele – “Hold On”

“Hold On” is a track from Adele’s new studio album “30.”

The whole album was inspired by her personal experiences of divorce and big life changes.

“It’s hard to hold onto who I am
When I’m stumbling in the dark for a hand
I am so tired of battling with myself
With no chance to win.”

8. R.E.M. “Everybody Hurts”

“Everybody Hurts” by R.E.M. shouldn’t be categorized as a song about depression.

It’s simply one of the sad songs about life.

But it’s a rather comforting one.

9. Coldplay – “Fix You”

If you’re close to someone diagnosed with depression, you probably wish you could simply fix them.

But unfortunately, life doesn’t work that way.

The most important thing is, however, to offer them your support and presence.

10. Bon Iver “Re:Stacks”

In this tender indie track, Bon Iver talks about loss by using poker metaphors.

It’s a beautiful, simple song that will help you ease your mind.

“This is not the sound of a new man or crispy realization
It’s the sound of the unlocking and the lift away
Your love will be
Safe with me.”

11. Gnarls Barkley – “Just a Thought”

“All I want is your understanding
As in the small act of affection
“Why is this my life?”
Is almost everybody’s question.”

Even though the message of this song is clear, “Just a Thought” is not one of the direct songs about suicidal thoughts.

It has a very unusual atmosphere, and it ends with the essential line: “It’s crossed my mind, but I’m fine.”

12. Avril Lavigne – “Nobody’s Home”

We’re sure that Avril Lavigne’s music helped many young people.

And her song “Nobody’s Home” talks about being lost, helpless, and alone.

13. Ed Sheeran – “Save Myself”

For some reason, Sheeran’s “Save Myself” didn’t become as popular as some of his other tracks.

It’s a rather classic ballad, but it conveys an important message.

You have to save and love yourself before saving and loving someone else.

“I gave all my oxygen to people that could breathe
I gave away my money and now we don’t even speak
I drove miles and miles, but would you do the same for me?”

14. Gary Jules – “Mad World”

There are many possible causes of depression, from stressful life events to faulty mood regulation by the brain.

And everything that’s happening in the world can be very overwhelming.

To the extent that it triggers anxiety and depression.

It’s a mad world indeed.

At least its chaos inspired some great songs.

15. Blink 182 – “Adam’s Song”

Released in 1999, “Adam’s Song” by Blink 182 talks about loneliness.

According to the band’s manager, the song was written by the band’s bass player Mark Hoppus when he was away from his family and depressed.

16. Eminem – “Stan”

When it comes to songs with lyrics about depression, Eminem does it in a very powerful and creative way.

In his songs, he always tells some kind of story.

And “Stan” is a song about suicide and the fact that we can never be sure what’s going on in someone else’s life.

17. Lady Gaga “Til It Happens To You”

When it comes to clinical depression, it’s true: you don’t know how it feels until it happens to you.

Lady Gaga dedicated this song to survivors of sexual assault.

But the song can be relevant for anyone who went through something traumatic.

18. Johnny Cash – “Hurt”

This is probably one of the most famous songs about depression and dealing with pain.

It’s originally a Nine Inch Nails song though.

Both the original and the cover are fantastic, but there’s something very powerful in Johnny Cash’s voice and the way his version builds up.

19. Leonard Cohen – “Our Lady of Solitude”

Who can offer you better consolation than Leonard Cohen?

His “Our Lady of Solitude” is a beautiful, calming track with genuine lyrics.

“Dearly dead; Queen of Solitude
I thank you with my heart
for keeping me so close to thee
while so many, oh so many, stood apart.”

20. The War on Drugs – “Red Eyes”

Red eyes mean post-cry eyes.

So, this is clearly a song about not being in a good place in your life.

But these lines offer a glimpse of hope:

“Don’t wanna let the dark night cover my soul
Well, you can see it through the darkness coming my way
Well, we won’t get lost inside it all again.”

21. Placebo “Meds”

Just like many of their songs, Placebo’s “Meds” can be interpreted as a song about depression and loneliness.

Although the real story behind the song might be a little different.

But the important thing is, Placebo has a special way of expressing difficult emotions and thoughts. And their music can help process your own.

22. Soundgarden – “Fell on Black Days”

“Sunspots have faded and now I’m doing time
Now I’m doing time
‘Cause I fell on black days.”

When it comes to rock songs about depression, “Fell on Black Days” has a different meaning after what happened to Chris Cornell.

Especially because he wrote the song himself.

However, Chris Cornell did speak openly about his depression.

And in one of the interviews, he said: “I realized that if I can reveal my emotions in the songwriting world, then I can do it in the real world.”

23. System Of A Down “Lonely Day”

There’s no mistake: this is one of the songs about depression and loneliness.

Perhaps it’s more about the latter.

Either way, it’s a song that everyone can relate it from time to time.

However, it’s important to distinguish depression from occasional blues.

24. Wilco – “How to Fight Loneliness”

In one of their best tracks, Wilco tried to explain how to fight loneliness.

At least to some extent.

It’s a very melancholic yet soothing song to listen to when you’re not feeling well.

25. Pink Floyd – “Comfortably Numb”

Without a doubt, “Comfortably Numb” by Pink Floyd is a timeless hit.

And even though it’s not one of the classic depression songs, it talks about feeling detached from reality.

And it can be a scary feeling.

26. Paramore – “Decode”

People who feel depressed or anxious often try to determine why they’re feeling that way.

Although it’s good to talk about potential reasons, most often that’s very hard.

Or even impossible to decode.

And that’s why Paramore’s 2008 track seems appropriate to mention.

27. Mads Langer “You´re Not Alone”

One of the things you should know when you’re feeling sad or depressed is that you’re not alone.

“Take my thoughts with you, and when you look behind
You will surely see a face that you recognize.”

28. Tom Odell – “Heal”

Fighting depression takes time.

Feeling more comfortable with yourself takes time.

Healing takes time.

But it can certainly happen, and this kind of music will help you feel more hopeful.

“Take my mind
And take my pain
Like an empty bottle takes the rain
And heal, heal, hell, heal.”

29. Flora Cash – “Feeling So Down”

“Feeling So Down” by Flora Cash is a captivating song about all the complicated emotions a person can feel.

It’s very sweet and comforting.

30. Sting – “Fragile”

If you’ve never experienced depression, you’ve probably felt worthless or helpless on so many occasions.

That’s how people are.

They’re fragile.

And sometimes you have to experience something bad to realize that.

Sting wrote “Fragile”, one of his signature songs, during a tropical storm on the Caribbean island of Montserrat in 1987.

31. Simple Plan “This Song Saved My Life”

When it comes to songs about wanting to die, most of them tell important stories about hope.

And “This Song Saved My Life” by Simple Plan is one of them.

It’s a youthful track about the power of music and how it can help people choose the right path.

32. Joy Division “Atmosphere”

Sad dark songs are no strangers to Joy Division.

However, “Atmosphere” somehow offers a glimpse of hope.

“Worn like a mask of self-hate
Confronts and then dies
Don’t walk away.”

33. Pixies – “Where is My Mind?”

“Where is My Mind?” is not one of the common sad songs about suicidal thoughts.

But its title and lyrics suggest it’s a song about losing yourself.

At least to some extent.

After all, the song was used in many movies and TV shows where characters question their reality.

One of the most iconic ones is “Fight Club.”

34. David Bowie – “Lazarus”

Only David Bowie can write a self-epitaph and make art out of his own death.

“Lazarus” was his magnificent final act.

Bowie knew he was sick for some time, but he reportedly only discovered his cancer treatment was to be stopped when he was already filming the music video for “Lazarus”.

35. Evanescence – “Lithium” 

When it comes to songs about feeling worthless or simply being sad for whatever reason, we need to mention “Lithium” by Evanescence.

To be more precise, “Lithium” is a song about the possibility of happiness.

36. P!NK “Perfect”

“Perfect” is a song about depression, self-harm, and eating disorders.

In a way, it’s an emotional depiction of all the terrible ways society can make you feel, especially if you’re a young person.

“Mistreated, misplaced, misunderstood
Miss knowing it’s all good, it didn’t slow me down
Mistaken, always second guessing, underestimated
Look, I’m still around.”

37. Billie Eilish, Khalid – “Lovely”

“Lovely” is a captivating lead single from Billie Eilish’s debut album.

And the title is supposed to be sarcastic.

It’s one of the songs about depression and loneliness.

“Isn’t it lovely, all alone
Heart made of glass, my mind of stone.”

38. Green Day – “Boulevard of Broken Dreams”

“I walk a lonely road
The only one that I have ever known
Don’t know where it goes
But it’s home to me, and I walk alone.”

The lyrics make it pretty clear what “Boulevard of Broken Dreams” is about.

It’s an iconic song from the early 2000s.

39. Bruce Springsteen – “This Depression”

Bruce Springsteen is also open about his depression.

So, this 2012 track can be seen as his honest revelation of personal thoughts and experiences.

40. Pearl Jam “Jeremy”

“Jeremy” is undeniably one of Pearl Jam’s greatest hits.

And yes, it’s also one of the songs about suicide.

“Jeremy” is based on a real story of a 15-year-old boy who killed himself in front of his class in Texas.

41. Nickelback “Lullaby”

“Lullaby” was inspired by the frontman Chad Kroeger’s childhood experience of seeing his babysitter cry because she lost a boyfriend in an accident.

So, this is not specifically a song about suicide or depression, but it portrays emotional pain and tough life situations.

42. Brandy Carlile – “That Year”

When it comes to songs about losing someone to suicide, Brandy Carlile wrote “That Year” about a high school friend who committed suicide when they were 16.

It’s an experience that stays with you for the rest of your life, but some things get easier with time.

For example, in this song, Brandy finally manages to speak her friend’s name.

43. Alanis Morisette – “Joining You”

Alanis Morisette sings about human emotions and dark thoughts in a delicate yet comprehensible way.

And her song “Joining You” is no different.

“If we were their condemnations
If we were their projections
If we were our paranoias I’d be joining you.”

44. Snow Patrol – “Open Your Eyes”

This beautiful tune by Snow Patrol will help you open your eyes.

It’s intense but hopeful and somewhat healing.

“Get up, get out, get away from these liars
‘Cause they don’t get your soul or your fire
Take my hand, knot your fingers through mine
And we’ll walk from this dark room for the last time.”

45. Tom Rosenthal – “Go Solo”

This is another hopeful song full of emotions.

Tom Rosenthal knows how to express complex emotions genuinely, and his music can easily provoke tears.

“I go solo, oh I go solo
I’m making my way home.”

46. Agnes Obel – “Broken Sleep”

Agnes Obel always manages to mesmerize with her music.

Her 2020 track “Broken Sleep” is calming, melancholic, and poetic.

“I would like to fall, silence every call
Fall asleep.
Will you level me with a dream?
If I could fall, fall.”

47. Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – “Girl in Amber”

Nick Cave experienced unimaginable loss after his son Arthur tragically died.

“Girl in Amber” was his way of expressing his pain.

And to some extent, a way of dealing with it.

In one of the interviews, Cave said that the song seems to possess almost mystical power.

48. Mumford & Sons – “White Blank Page”

Mumford & Sons is another band you can listen to when you’re not feeling well.

Some of their songs are emotionally intense, but they can help you face the situation you’re in.

Depression is often seen as a persistent state of sadness.

But it can also be a state of pure emptiness. Something like living on a white blank page.

49. Oasis “Stop Crying Your Heart Out”

People who are feeling depressed or sad shouldn’t be told to just stop feeling that way.

It’s never that simple.

But “Stop Crying Your Heart Out” has a different approach.

In a way, it provides comfort.

“‘Cause all of the stars are fading away
Just try not to worry, you’ll see them someday
Take what you need, and be on your way
And stop crying your heart out.”

50. Peter Gabriel – “Don’t Give Up”

Another song that offers solace is “Don’t Give Up” by Peter Gabriel and Kate Bush.

Sometimes, it’s life-changing to hear these words:

“Don’t give up
You know it’s never been easy
Don’t give up
’cause I believe there’s a place
There’s a place where we belong.”

Songs About Depression – Final Thoughts

As you can see, many different artists made music about depression; from Eminem to Leonard Cohen.

It’s a delicate topic, but one that should be talked about.

You should always take your (and other people’s) mental health seriously.

And although these songs may be relatable, every individual story is unique.

If you’re here because you’re noticing signs of depression, we encourage you to talk to someone.

It will be helpful to put your thoughts into a conversation. It would be a great start.

And if you’ve been dealing with it for some time, then you should be proud of yourself for how strong you are.

And we’re here for you, at least when it comes to offering solace in a form of good music.


Is there a song that talks about depression?

“Last Hope” by Paramore is a song that talks about depression and dealing with it. For many, the song is fairly accurate in describing what it is like to have depression.

Why do sad songs help depression?

Sad songs can help with depression by providing a sense of validation and understanding to the listener through the lyrics and melody. Sad music can also allow for emotional release, which may be difficult for individuals with depression who struggle to express their emotions or feel numb. In addition, listening to music releases dopamine in the brain, which can provide a positive and uplifting experience for the listener. However, it’s important to note that while sad songs may provide temporary relief, they do not substitute for professional help or treatment for depression.

What kind of music is good for depression and anxiety?

The kind of music that is good for depression and anxiety varies depending on personal preference, but some types of music are commonly associated with relaxation and stress reduction. For instance, classical music has been found to reduce anxiety levels and promote relaxation, while sounds of nature such as rain, ocean waves, and bird songs can have a calming effect on the mind and body. Instrumental music with soothing melodies and no lyrics, as well as mindfulness music designed for meditation and mindfulness practices, can also help reduce anxiety and promote relaxation. Additionally, some people find that upbeat music can lift their mood and combat feelings of depression. Ultimately, finding the best type of music for depression and anxiety requires experimentation and finding what works best for each individual.

Similar Articles:

Best Songs About Healing

Best Songs About Hope

Will Fenton

Will, the founder of MIDDER, is a multifaceted individual with a deep passion for music and personal finance. As a self-proclaimed music and personal finance geek, he has a keen eye for futuristic technologies, especially those that empower creators and the public.

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