Songs for a Good Cry

October 18, 2016 | Charlene Lee

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Why do we cry? As infants we cry to communicate with our mothers and caregivers; we cry as a protective reflex; we cry in response to strong emotions. There's a slew of things that make me cry, including but not limited to music. We've all been there, a song starts to play that reminds you of your childhood pet, a late relative, an ex-lover. Before you know it, some parts of your nervous and limbic systems (that I won't pretend to understand) are telling your body to cry. 

It doesn't take much to induce a good cry, and sometimes all it takes is that one song to trigger a flood of tears.

Majical Cloudz, "Control"

Feist, "Brandy Alexander"

José González, "Stay Alive"

Featured on the soundtrack for the 2013 remake of The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, "Stay Alive" is beautifully written by Ryan Adams and performed by Swedish indie artist José González. Check out this gorgeous remix by Gareth Emery. 

Lykke Li, "Unrequited Love"

The National, "Sorrow"

Almost anything by The National can bring a tear to my eye. Matt Barninger's sombre voice combined with despairing melodies and harmonies guarantee the most melancholic of times.

Richard Wagner, "Siegfried Idyll"

Wagner composed this piece as a birthday present for his wife Cosima after the birth of their son Siegfried. He presented the piece to her in 1870 on Christmas morning with a small ensemble in their home in Switzerland. This intimate and delicate tone poem, although with minimal instrumentation, is robust with lush instrument combinations and shades. 

The Postal Service, "The District Sleeps Alone Tonight"

The Tragically Hip, "Bobcaygeon"

I can't listen to this song without thinking back to fall car rides with my parents, admiring the myriad of colours of the changing leaves along the highway. This anthemic track has become a signature for The Hip, its beauty not to be undermined by the fact that "Bobcaygeon" may have been chosen because it rhymes with 'constellation'.

The Smiths, "Asleep"

Sufjan Stevens, "Fourth of July"

M83, "Wait"

Throughout the years, M83 have delivered some of the most euphoric moments a song could offer, as well as deep desperation and agony that torment their listeners with each chord. "Wait" is the looming sadness and regret when there's nothing left to say or do but move on.

Cat Power, "Sea of Love"

Broken Social Scene, "Anthems for a Seventeen Year Old Girl"

When you're done mopping up your tears, check out TPL's growing music collection. If CDs aren't your thing, check out Hoopla for your digital music and video streaming needs.