Elliott Smith

Staff Picks: What’s The Most Miserably Sad Album Of All-Time?

The post-holiday blues are real and February, the month of love, is just around the corner. If after reading these statements you’re feeling as ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ as we are, then you’ll probably enjoy these staff picks.

This time, we asked our staff to think about the saddest album ever. Be careful while checking this list because the effects of listening to these artists can be devastating. Indulge in this all-you-can-cry buffet with us.

Fleetwood MacLandslide

Sad album Fleetwood Mac - Landslide cover
I never realised this song had been released as a single in the 90s, I just knew the album version and the one on the live album. It’s not a sad sad song, but a beautifully sad one. And after over 40 years since its release date, it still hits me right in the feels every time I hear it. Let me just say I shouldn’t listen to this in the car or anywhere else where a clear vision is required.

– Lilian

Songs: OhiaGhost Tropic

Sad album Ohia - Ghost Tropic cover
Lumbering and somber, but somehow effortlessly incorporates tropical birdsong. The lyrics are bleak, even for Jason Molina, and they hang suspended for perusal. A harrowing, gorgeous meditation on an ending.

– Jason

Dragging An Ox Through WaterPanic Sentry

Sad albums Dragging An Ox Through Water ‎– Panic Sentry cover
I don’t know that this album has to be sad but it sure is for me. This album is tied to a time of loss for me and the hauntingly unusual esoteric sounds synched up perfectly with my grief.

– Alex

KeaneHopes And Fears

Sad album Keane - Hopes And Fears cover
Kinda hopeful, but at the same time super sad. To me, this is the ultimate heartbreak album.

– Marilyn

Elliott SmithEither / Or

Sad album Elliott Smith - Either : Or cover

Haunting, yet inspiring. This record dives deep into the troubled mind of (then) Portland resident Elliott Smith. A genuine take from a compassionate musician struggling with feelings of loss, grief, and depression.

– Steven

Sufjan StevensCarrie & Lowell

Sad album Sufjan Stevens - Carrie & Lowell cover
Sufjan Stevens voice has always had a melancholy effect on me and this record is especially sad. Beautiful but sad.

– Claire

Glen HansardMarketa IrglovaOnce (Music From The Motion Picture)

Sad album Once (from the motion picture) cover
I’m a sucker for musical dramas. Once does not disappoint. Set in Ireland, a vacuum repairman moonlights as a struggling street musician hoping for a big break (or any break, really). Heartache, compassion, and revelations ensue. I’m not crying… You’re crying.

– Bailey

LowThings We Lost In The Fire

Sad albums Low - Things We Lost In The Fire cover
This is one of the most heartbreaking, relentlessly sad albums of all-time. It’s also a beautiful one whenever this slowcore maestros allow a little bit of light to penetrate in the gloomy atmospheres. It’s one of those few perfect records out there.

– Javi

The XXThe XX

Sad albums The XX - The XX album cover
Surely this was not meant to be a sad album but it triggers something sad in me. Sometimes, after listening to the whole album I turn kinda blue, maybe some memories or experiences from the past. Anyway, it’s my favourite The XX album and I will share a funny story with you: I used this CD in the car and it fell in a canal in Rotterdam. I went walking my dog every day to see if the tide was low enough to find it and pick it up. Two weeks after, I saw it, tied my dog to a pole and went down to the canal to grab it. I recovered it and it still works, a happy ending after all! Moral of the story, never leave a loose CD in the door pocket of your car. Click here for pictures of the rescue.

– Esther

Mount Eerie ‎– A Crow Looked At Me

Sad albums Mount Eerie - A Crow Looked At Me cover
Candid and sobering.

– Aaron

Nick DrakePink Moon

Sad albums Nick Drake - Pink Moon cover
Beautifully-written heart-wrenching piece of poetry.

– Coumba

Elliott SmithEither / Or

Elliott Smith - Either : Or album cover

Seconding Steven on this one. The line “Got a broken heart and your name on my cast” kills me everytime.

– Jess, Community Marketer (Gearogs, Bookogs, Filmogs, Posterogs, VinylHub)

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  • Dec 6,2019 at 23:28

    Joy Division : Unknown Pleasures
    This Mortal Coil : Filigree & Shadow
    Serge Gainsbourg : Je suis venu te dire que je m’en vais.
    Of course…

  • Nov 11,2019 at 10:25

    Check out ‘Love Songs On The Radio” by Mojave 3

  • Nov 10,2019 at 23:03

    Some music can save your life.
    Other music makes you want to die….

  • Nov 10,2019 at 21:03

    I think Lioness is a sadder Songs: Ohia pick, but A Crow Looked At Me is truly the saddest album of all time.

  • Feb 3,2019 at 19:03

    Definitely “Magic and Loss” by Lou Reed. Man, still can’t listen to that one without pain in the stomach…

  • Feb 3,2019 at 17:59

    Lou Reed- Magic and loss
    Joy division- closer
    The cure -Faith/Pornography

  • Feb 2,2019 at 06:36

    Jeff Buckley’s Grace needs a mention here – Lover, You Should Have Come Over; Last Goodbye; Mojo Pin; So Real; Corpus Christi Carol… Every track is tinged with bittersweetness if not outright despair. Start to finish, an indulgent wallow in melancholy.

  • Feb 1,2019 at 21:21

    what becomes of a broken hearted.jimmy ruffin. fare well is a lonely sound.jr

  • Jan 29,2019 at 00:35

    Ryan Adams-29

  • Jan 28,2019 at 22:58

    Aww c’mon how could you miss Prison by Steven Jesse Bernstein. The producer had to finish the lp because Steven committed suicide part way through the recording. And what a piece of depressing hip hop poetry work it is. ts a keeper in my collection!

  • Jan 28,2019 at 16:06

    Snakefarm “Songs From My Funeral”

  • Jan 27,2019 at 22:42

    Read the article’s title, thought Jason Molina, and… here we are…

  • Jan 27,2019 at 13:24

    Definitely Mount Eerie, it’s so simple and straight to the heart of grief. Joy Division – Closer is up there, from the the cover to the lyrics which are devastating after Ian took his own life.

    Personal choices are the last 3 albums by The National, High Violet, Trouble will fine me and Sleep well beast, all enthrall and destroy me on every listen.

  • Jan 26,2019 at 02:29

    One of my favorite albums but Seasons of The Heart by John Denver is incredibly sad. It is full of happy love songs except the opening track which forshadows his divorce. So you go through all the rest of the album knowing that the love in those songs doesn’t last very much longer. Depressing

  • Jan 25,2019 at 22:35

    I’d add Nico’s “Desertshore” as well.

  • Jan 24,2019 at 22:23

    The very first item mentioned in a list of “saddest albums” is a single. No wonder the database is in the shape it is ;-)

    Anyhow, the saddest album of all time is “More Love Songs” by Loudon Wainwright III (https://www.discogs.com/Loudon-Wainwright-III-More-Love-Songs/release/5624674)

  • Jan 24,2019 at 21:40
  • Jan 24,2019 at 21:31

    Check out “I Want That You Will Always Be Happy” by Australain indie outfit The Middle East. Pure melancholic beauty – so sad it is uplifting.

  • Jan 24,2019 at 21:18

    Lou Reed Berlin, by a landslide


  • Jan 24,2019 at 20:48

    The saddest song EVER is Ruth Marie by Mark Kozelek. I mean you have to be dead not to cry your eumyes out to tjat song.

  • Jan 24,2019 at 20:41

    I know there’s a lot out there but Terry Jacks “Seasons in the Sun” is an all-time downer.

  • Jan 24,2019 at 20:23

    No Bonnie Prince Billy in this list? No Smog? This can’t be serious …

  • Jan 24,2019 at 20:17

    Strange, no Blues.

  • Jan 24,2019 at 20:03

    My Mummy’s Dead by John Lennon

  • Jan 24,2019 at 19:11

    Has to be “Grey Life” by Blue Things frontman Val Stoecklein. Whole thing is an answer to losing the love his life. Extremely dark and dreary and was the end of what was a promising career. He was plagued by demons and ended his own life years later. Very sad story.

  • Jan 24,2019 at 14:42

    Has to be Berlin…Lou gives us a wonderful dose of misery. C’mon….”this is the bed where she slit her wrists”…”they’re taking her children away”

  • Jan 24,2019 at 11:23

    What happened to old “slit your wrists” Leonard Cohen? Neil Young’s tonight’s The Night is also pretty grim.

  • Jan 24,2019 at 01:31

    And the grimmest Cure album? Without question, ‘Pornography’
    Other fun tunes are:
    ‘I Come And Stand At Every Door’, by This Mortal Coil.
    ‘Opium’, by Dead Can Dance.
    ‘Nostalgia’, by David Sylvian.
    ‘Permafrost’, by Magazine.
    ‘A Prayer For The Unborn’, by Gary Numan.
    ‘Gush Forth My Tears’, by Miranda Sex Garden.
    ‘Final Day’, by Young Marble Giants.
    ‘Avalanche’, by Kosheen.
    ‘Go Away'(Album version), by Strawberry Switchblade.
    ‘Youth’, by Soft Cell.

  • Jan 24,2019 at 01:13

    All of the above are a cheerful bunch of enjoyable songs, when compared to the relentless wrist-slashing misery of Country music star Hank Snow, and his1959 album ‘When Tragedy Struck’. A later album, 1964’s ‘Songs Of Tragedy’ went one better: the cover of that album featured a picture of a hangman’s noose on the cover, setting Snow’s stall out straight away. Most of the songs on ‘When Tragedy Struck’ are about dead children, with the most jaw-droppingly grim track entitled:’There’s A Little Box Of Pine On The 7:29′ I can’t top that, so I’ll get my coat.

  • Jan 24,2019 at 00:45

    How about:

    the Chi-lites “Coldest days of my life” or “A letter to myself”

    Blue Magic’s “Looking for a friend”, “Loneliest house on block”, “Chasing rainbows”, “Sideshow”, “Three ring circus”

    Unifics’ “Beginning of my end”

    Toni Braxton “I don’t want to”

  • Jan 24,2019 at 00:43

    The Afghan Whigs “Black Love”

  • Jan 23,2019 at 23:47

    Cat in The Cradle by Harry Chapin is very sad for any Father or Father to be, Many of his song are quite sad to me.

  • Jan 23,2019 at 22:44

    Good list. It does need Beck’s Sea Change in there. It’s just down right depressing.

  • Jan 23,2019 at 22:30

    The albums that have to be avoided for people with suicidal tendencies are for sure: 1) joy Division-unknown pleasures 2)Benjamin Clementine-At least for now.As for the At least for now I thought it would be the first and only Clementines album.

  • Jan 23,2019 at 21:54

    Whatever anyone thinks of the choices of others it is a very personal thing so there is no really wrong choice. Add to that the sheer volume of possible choices and how can you really make a singular choice. But if I had to chooes, for me, my first choice would be “Burning Blue Soul” by Matt Johnson, especially the closing track, “Another Boy Drowning”.

  • Jan 23,2019 at 21:40

    Seconding BERLIN by Lou Reed and MFANS by John Cale. No mention of Leonard Cohen? SONGS OF LOVE AND HATE. Big Star’s THIRD. Anything by This Mortal Coil…
    Mostly I think of sad songs though (the whole album not necessarily being extremely sad): “The Darkest Night Of All” by Lisa Germano. “Eulogy For Lenny Bruce” by Nico. “Katie Song” among others by Red House Painters. “Heron Blue” and “Last Tide” by Sun Kil Moon. “Riverdeadbank” by Current 93. “Sentiment (White Feathers)” by Crass. “Expecting To Fly” by Buffalo Springfield. Late-period Phil Ochs such as “Jim Dean Of Indiana”. “Another Day” by Roy Harper. “Coming Up Close” by ‘Til Tuesday. Title theme from “The City Of Lost Children” by Angelo Badalamenti & Marianne Faithfull. And of course Samuel Barber’s Adagio for Strings. I could go on…

  • Jan 23,2019 at 21:39

    The Cure Wish album is definitely a sad album after a breakup

  • Jan 23,2019 at 21:23

    John Cale’s Music For a New Society should at least get an honorable mention, like Joy Division’s Closer, Scott Walker’s Tilt, Basinski’s Disintegration Loops, Palace’s Arise Therefore, Nina Nastasia’s Run To Ruin, Jeff Buckley’s Grace… I could go on…. But at least Nick Drake made the list…

  • Jan 23,2019 at 21:22

    My favorite of the bunch is Songs Ohia’s Ghost Tropic, but I agree with nickferatu, Desintegration should’ve been in there too.

  • Jan 23,2019 at 21:17

    no one cares by frank Sinatra. also known as the suicide album

  • Dec 13,2018 at 21:19

    Uh, The Cure “Disintegration” would like a word with all you foolish mortals.

  • Apr 4,2018 at 15:40

    Uaral – Sounds of Pain… must be here as well.

  • Apr 2,2018 at 23:38

    How the hell is Sun Kil Moon’s Benji not on here. I can’t listen to this without instantly weeping.

  • Mar 8,2018 at 11:18

    how did Berlin not make this list?

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