Music to Grieve to
listen to sad music and feel better with andrew
featuring artists like
The Staves, Robb Murphy, Colin Hay, Shelby Lynne, Dawes, Tim Minchin, Radiohead, Nick Cave, First The Winter
Listening to sad music after losing a loved one, being diagnosed with a terminal illness, or finalizing a divorce might seem counterintuitive, but this somber sounding activity has been proven to help.
Nothing can prepare you for grief, nor is there a right or wrong way to deal with it, but sad music is an easily accessible and highly effective tool that can help you begin to heal.
The music on this list is not designed to cheer you up – although oddly – after listening to it, you’ll likely feel better – it’s designed to meet you where you’re at – to connect with how you’re feeling – to create a space where you can just sit and be with your grief and to know that – that’s OK.
It covers all genres and all topics so it’s likely that not all tracks will resonate with you – but some will – and some will shake you to your core – according to the science – this is a good thing!
14 February 2018
Sometimes you just want to cry. Do you ever get that? Where for whatever reason you realize that your emotions are full to the brim and you think you’re about to burst? When I’m in that space it’s this track I listen to – actually – it’s this track that I watch.
While the idea behind the playlist is that sad music can make you feel better – when I want to cry, I don’t go looking for sad things – I go looking for beauty. I am way more likely to well up when I see human kindness than I am over human despair.
7 February 2018
I was chatting with Val, host of the Loss to Profound podcast and we ended up talking about music – shocker huh!? We were talking about how music is this amazing tool to help people when they are down because it delivers a way for them to connect to humanity without the need for anyone to be there…
30 January 2018
So we’re going back to our roots this week – soulful, sad piano music designed to put you in a reflective state and allow the melody to work its magic. Igor Longhi is most definitely a magician!
24 January 2018
This is another song from the other perspective.
If last week’s Radiohead track was about mental illness and what it’s like to be in love with someone who has it – this week’s track is about relationships and what it’s like to be the one who leaves.
17 January 2018
It’s interesting to see the main themes that come out from this music to grieve to playlist – certainly there’s death and loss, there’s depression and mental illness, there’s the whole relationship breakup genre and there’s family and friend trauma, although strangely enough, not many songs about moving house (which often makes the top 5 lists of “most stressful things that can happen to you!”)
10 January 2018
You know what grief is good at? Apart from the whole making you feel like shit and depressed and generally pretty miserable – grief is really fucking good at forcing you to be real – to be honest – to be true to who you are. Most things in life you can skate over, even unpleasant memories can be safely tucked away and dealt with maybe never, but grief – grief you can’t control – grief hangs around, discombobulating your daily life until you deal with it.
2 January 2018
Have you ever put your heart and soul into something for years and yet it didn’t work out?
If so, this track’s for you.
The frustration I’m referring to is not the angry, cheated emotion – it is the sad one. The frustration of not getting what you want – to be frustrated in one’s efforts.
21 December 2017
So – before we go any further – you should know that this one is for my Dad.
He died in 2015 and I miss him immensely. He was as flawed as the rest of us, but I remember him as just, a really good man. Husband for 51 years, father of three super capable children, Obstetrician & Gynecologist, served his country in the Air Force, lover of books, of music, of humanity, of laughter, of hard work and perseverance – I am incredibly grateful for what he gave me and thankful to have been his son.
13 December 2017
Sometimes grief is debilitating – it takes away from you – your hope, your desire, your demeanor – and yet sometimes – it fills you with an energy that you just have to express. We’ve all been there – shouting at people who don’t deserve it (particularly ourselves!) driving too quickly or barely stopping before we put a fist through the wall. And yet – so long as we don’t actually hurt anybody – I’m a huge fan of this kind of energy.
5 December 2017
I remember hearing this track for the first time when it was performed by the writer Peter Gabriel and I think it was Kate Bush – it was one of those songs that you immediately recognize as classic – even to my then teenage ears.
28 November 2017
Society does a poor job of dealing with grief, particularly in western European culture – it seems as if we’re happier to just tuck it away, not deal with it – to keep it hidden and put on the brave face. But we all know that’s a shitty way to cope with it, why wouldn’t we want help?
21 November 2017
I really didn’t want to put up another devastating reflection of loss in love this week – with Seepeoples’ mea culpa followed by Heddwen’s unrequited longing – I was kinda hoping for something more morbid… and then I heard Natalie Migdal’s voice.
14 November 2017
I was going to introduce this track with a couple of super strong reference artists – but screw that – ‘cos while – if I said those names – you’d immediately go “Oh yes” and forever on associate Heddwen with them – that’s doing these artists a disservice.
7 November 2017
This track has been in my head for a couple of weeks now – it has well and truly burrowed under my skin and I’m hopelessly in love with it. Having said that – I’m not sure whether it’s a 100% right for the Grieve to list but I suspect that anyone who’s ever wronged their partner may just resonate with it.
31 October 2017
This is a track about loss – specifically about the loss of one’s father – a father that was truly and deeply loved. It is relatively short for a music2work2 track but it stands out for its simplicity and sweetness.
24 October 2017
Have you ever had a track that quite literally – stopped you in your tracks? While the opening piano is short and sweet and shows us where the melody is – it’s the opening line, 26 seconds in, that just grabs you and pulls you along for the ride.
17 October 2017
I’m so stoked for this track – it’s from one of my favorite bands – Dawes – I try to see them every time they play Los Angeles – they’re just a great band with a great vibe and the most incredible songwriting.
10 October 2017
I remember hearing this song for the first time – I was in the midst of post break-up depression and oh man did it hit the sweet spot! You know it’s going to be kind of “Torchy” from the opening beat but then Shelby’s incredibly sexy spoken word delivery comes in and it floors you.
3 October 2017
Oh god – where to start with this one. It’s been a shitty week in America – a shitty week in many places on the planet. Aside from the insanity of the Las Vegas mass shooting, Tom Petty died. The minute I heard, I knew what this week’s track would be.
27 September 2017
If you’re looking for a sad song this week I’m sorry but you’re shit out of luck. If however you’re looking to get to grips with your grief, maybe take it out and show it what you think of it – this might be the perfect track.
20 September 2017
And so another musician dies and we look to their music for comfort. I had read about Grant Hart dying of cancer at 56 and while I knew of Hüsker Dü, I’d never really listened to their music. It took Chris from the Burn A Million Miles playlist to hip me to this track.
5 September 2017
Break Ups – perhaps the “safest” form of grief there is – no-one actually dies or is maimed but yet – when you’re going through them – safe isn’t exactly the word that comes to mind.
What I like about this track is how we’ve all been there – how when you think you’re out the other side you start to speak to your ex again and – in many cases get back together, but here – James deftly steers us away and puts an additional melancholy spin on the whole process.
29 August 2017
Depression is still one of those things society doesn’t really like to talk about – hell – the people dealing with it don’t exactly like to broadcast it. And yet, all the data that we’ve accumulated from studies along the way say the best approach is through socializing, through contact, through talking about it and working it through.
22 August 2017
Sometimes all you need is a bit of a space and a melancholy piano – hell – sometimes you don’t even need the space – a pair of decent headphones can be world building – especially if the soundtrack comes from Simeon Walker.
15 August 2017
The best bit about curating a Musicto playlist is when you come across a beautiful new track that you would otherwise never have heard. It’s the beautifully measured voice that stands out in this track – the melody and subtle backing is reminiscent of Simon and Garfunkel’s version of “Scarborough Fair” but Rami’s gorgeous tone takes this to a different place.
8 August 2017
I don’t know about you – but when it comes to tracks like these – I totally become the singer – I get to feel what they feel and experience it as they do – I think most people do this in some way or another and it’s why songs are cool!
1 August 2017
2009 was a rough year. I think I went to more funerals in that one year than in the past ten combined. One thing that really hit me was how hard it is to find something to say to people who are mourning the person they just lost.
25 July 2017
Have you ever had a song that you found – that wasn’t recommended by a friend or a DJ or some hipster playlist curator – but that you yourself sourced from some weird and unlikely place, and it’s brilliant. It’s the track that you love to introduce people to because it’s that good – yeah – this is that track for me.
18 July 2017
I’ve gotta get more miserable! The tracks in the last few weeks have been way too uplifting – oh sure – the subject matter’s pretty down but these songwriters somehow seem to make you feel better. Torch songs coming soon!
11 July 2017
This is one of those tracks that just oozes hope. It creeps up on you – slowly but surely, inexorably even, and before you know it, your hands are covered and there’s a small spark in your breast that might be, that just might be, the light at the end of the tunnel.
4 July 2017
Like last week’s track, it’s the lyric that got me:
“It’s just all this fucking doubt…“
Yeah, yeah it is, isn’t it.
27 June 2017
At the end of the day, songs are stories – messages wrapped in sound that are designed to make you feel. In some songs the story is simple, the lyric sparse and straightforward – often accompanied by an elaborate musical wrapper that gives the words weight – but in other songs – in a song like this – it’s the other way around. I like songs like this…
20 June 2017
“The things we hold on to
Can cloud your point of view”
Ain’t that the truth!
12 June 2017
Hard As Stone was written about a realization that it didn’t matter where you were in life as long as you were comfortable with the people around you. The story behind the song was about getting lost in the mountains when mist came down but not really caring as I’d become content with who I was with.
25 April 2017
My cousin died last night – I’m kinda shocked – he was 52 – it doesn’t feel real. And yet here I am, adding tracks to the Music to Grieve to playlist and feeling – well – not better – but – I’ve no fucking idea what I would do if music didn’t exist.
20 April 2017
The lyrics and melody of The Darker Side by Robb Murphy are really good. This song never fails to move me and has helped me through dark times. Therefore it will be a great fit for the playlist.
15 April 2017
I’ve been living here for a while – it’s super comforting to me – big, open, full of space and yet, warm and comfortable – almost like going back to the womb.
14 April 2017
I’m a huge Hans Zimmer fan – oh sure, his music is just nuts – beautifully put together and always matching the film perfectly – and aside from the fact that we both use the same DAW – what I love is that I made it into one of his scores!
27 March 2017
While blood will always be thicker than water, sometimes it’s only your friends who are able to save you. At times like these – this is the track you should reach for.
24 March 2017
So now I have to go to someone with Latin heritage in Los Angeles to introduce me to Celtic / Scandinavian music – what the hell!?
23 March 2017
Provided by the rather talented Jeff Mallow, in his own words:
22 March 2017
Recommended by Charlotte from Project Light Agency, here’s what she had to say:
21 March 2017
I’m not totally convinced that music can be depressing – if music is making you feel something then that’s the opposite of depression. Having said that – this track makes you feel pretty deeply…
18 March 2017
That’s the thing about solo piano – just 2 notes in and you’re done – captured by an emotion that you can’t quite identify until – aaah, yes – there it is, …sadness…
16 March 2017
Insane amount of energy in this one – sometimes the sadness is invigorating – hell – it’s an emotion…
15 March 2017
This track is on a couple of playlists, making it onto the Music to Descend in an Airplane playlist as well. It’s so beautiful in its sadness that it’s kinda hopeful.
14 March 2017
The awkwardness and silence of miscarriage – especially in that first trimester. Women are told not to tell anyone they are pregnant, and when the pregnancy fails they silently grieve their loss.
10 March 2017
Sad music doesn’t have to bring you down – sometimes a sad song punches you in the gut and leaves you staggering but strangely energized. When you have a lyricist like Craig Finn and a guitar player like Tad Kubler, you get pummeled on many different levels.
8 March 2017
Some tracks just have a way of bringing you into a specific state of mind – I wasn’t thinking of the music to grieve to playlist when I heard this but I couldn’t stop thinking about it afterwards.
8 March 2017
Not all music to grieve to has to be downtempo and sad sounding. You never know what track is going to be associated with certain events in your life and while much of the music on this playlist tugs at the heartstrings, tracks like this one are more up-lifting.
8 March 2017
I’ve composed this one keeping in mind an idea of consolation after loss, just follow its flow and let it take care of you 🙂
8 March 2017
My husband and I decided life was too short to wait for retirement to have fun so we went out to buy a travel trailer. While standing in the fourth one, he had a heart attack and died. Two weeks after the funeral, I carried on with our dream, bought a 16 foot camper, and spent three months in the wilderness and backroads of Colorado…alone.
7 March 2017
Submitted by the team at Solace Club – here’s what they do:
We offer people who are dealing with grief a care package designed by a psychologist to help make their journey in grief a little less painful. For example, our triage box has many items to help with the physical symptoms of grief in the early stages such as nausea, difficulties with sleep, forgetfulness.
24 February 2017
If I had to choose between this and Kavinsky’s original version – 9 times out of 10 I’d go with his Daft Punk inspired 80’s overdose of synths and vocoders – but that’s because I’m a generally happy dude. But – when I’m hurting and everything’s shit – I’m choosing this stripped down haunting female vocal and I’m going to drink to it!
23 February 2017
Music’s amazing isn’t it?! Songs are these things that suddenly appear in our life and attach themselves to an event, a time, a memory – and they never disappear. Songwriters can tell you what they meant when they wrote the song, but they also recognize that once its “out there” the meaning is whatever you, the listener, interpret it to be.
22 February 2017
I’m a sucker for beautiful piano – I should be as that’s the kind of piano I like to write and play. Ludovico Einaudi is a genius and this track with its 29+ million streams is a good example of why.
21 February 2017
I cam across this track while working on the Grief Directory – it was originally from a post on the Seven Ponds blog. SevenPonds is a contemporary resource for those who wish to celebrate memory and personalize the end of life. You can learn more at their website here.
19 February 2017
Seduced by the Johnny Cash version – I started listening to the original.
It’s really good.
You think the sparseness of the Cash version was novel – but listen to the vocal delivery here – it’s honest – at least that how it comes across –
18 February 2017
I love the serendipity of curating a playlist – not least because you come across new wonderful music – but the way certain tracks come to your attention is fascinating.
17 February 2017
Strength for Parents of Missing Children offers hope in the dark moments of having a missing child. It is a guidebook to help parents get their thought-life, spiritual life, physical well-being and mental well-being in line, to continue waiting or fighting for the return of their child.
16 February 2017
Throughout the experience of life, adversity, change, and loss effect us all, and all differently. One of the biggest concerns of these experiences that people will try to avoid them, hide from them, or turn away from them.
15 February 2017
Recommended by Christy Garavetto – Fine Art Photography. Here’s how Christy sees art helping those who are grieving:
“What suddenly occurred to me is that we have all of these people who are unable to deal with their own sense of loss, grief or feeling that they don’t belong anywhere – so many people are searching for where they fit in and how they fit in due to life changes or circumstances beyond their control, it spans all age groups, ethnic groups, etc.
14 February 2017
Another submission from the Grief Directory this time from Deborah Chapman Newell, author of Memories in a Daughter’s Heart. In her own words:
“I offer my own story of how I dealt with that grief, put into real perspective. My thoughts and feelings as I planned a funeral and survived that funeral…
14 February 2017
This track arrived by a fairly circuitous route – which is why I love music! The seed for the track came from the wonderful people over at Love Lives On – more about them below. They had compiled an amazing list of 150+ songs that you can use for Funerals – broken down by category.
13 February 2017
Another submission from the Grief Directory – this time from the team behind The Life Chest. The Life Chest with BeRemembered.com is a comprehensive storytelling product that saves important tangible keepsakes along with written accounts and digital files to share with family and friends.
9 February 2017
This track was submitted by Ann Campanella, the author of Motherhood: Lost and Found (a memoir) which is a book for people with elderly parents, those caring for someone with Alzheimer’s or dementia and those facing pregnancy loss and/or infertility.
7 February 2017
I love listening to tracks that other people recommend for when they’re feeling sad – you never quite know what you’re going to get. This is the second track with the title “I Miss You” – this time it’s a more traditional love-lost song and I’m digging it
20 January 2017
“It’s always got me, it’s slightly haunting – it lingers and the musicality appeals to me. The melody (which isn’t a word I particularly like) evokes a certain peace – a sadness yes, but a peace – it’s a positive sadness and I just love the music.
20 January 2017
“I listened to Sade’s Diamond Life CD – the songs Hang on to Your Love, Sally, and Why Can’t We Live Together took on entirely new meanings as I listened crying for my dog.”
13 January 2017
Short, simple and super sweet – it’s the kind of thing I might have written. Simple arpeggiated bass line with this uncomplicated meandering melody that reminds you of how it feels when you’re wondering, lost after your loved one has gone.
13 January 2017
“Take my mind and take my pain”
Oh if only that could happen.
The initial seeding of this playlist was dominated by instrumental tracks but this track made it in by the sheer beauty of the vocal – Tom Odell has a fabulous voice.
13 January 2017
Loss – when it’s still visceral – when you still think you can call them – when you’re still discombobulated and not sure when it will end.
Loss – when it colors your every move and burns hot in your heart.
13 January 2017
Have you ever had your family break apart?
There are a hundred different feelings you go through, none of them good, but the emotion that lingers long after everything else has faded, is sadness.
13 January 2017
I wasn’t aware of Sophie’s work until Nicole introduced me to this track for the Music to Grieve to playlist – I immediately fell in love. Melancholy piano – not overdone or flashy, just a simple theme that you can hear her breathe life into – and then the cello arrives – and it’s beautiful!
13 January 2017
There is a hopefulness to this track – particularly at the end where it’s all about imperfect and perfect cadences resolving positively around the G major root. The reality of grief is that life does go on, and while the grief may never fully subside, it does fade and we do get to feel good again.
7 January 2017
It’s the birdsong and background sounds that get you at the beginning – the scrunching through gravel accompanied by the sparsest piano chords and the whole mood is set.
20 December 2016Follow This Playlist Following Originally track 3 on the music to grieve to album, Memories has become one of the most popular piano tracks on the playlist. It’s the balance between major and minor – remembering the good times but always seeing them through the veil of sadness that grief covers everything with. Full liner… View Article
The first visual memory I have is that of the white upright piano in Singapore, Hell and the Dark Forces lived at the bottom, Heaven and the Angels at the top, they would play battles through my fingers and I was hooked.
As a psychology graduate I studied how sound affects human performance.
As a musician I compose instrumental music that stimulates your brain but doesn't mess with your language centers, leaving you free to be creative and brilliant without distraction.
As the founder of musicto I’m on a mission to inspire a global audience of music lovers and artists through the development of people powered playlists.