Finding solace in music is healing, especially when you’re fresh off a bad breakup. Music listens to when no one else will. Music will embrace you when your ex won’t, and no one else is able to. Music understands; it taps into your emotions and lets you cry out all that you need to.
It makes sense that you’ll want to listen to sad music when you’re feeling down in the dumps yourself – happy music is often about falling in love, or being in love, and you’re definitely not feeling happy right now!
Therefore the best musicians to listen to are the ones that sound beautifully melancholy – so here are 8 musicians to listen to when you’re heartbroken and want to cry your heart out.
SYML is a relatively new artist, but his breakthrough song ‘Where’s My Love’, about a lover that’s gone missing, is a heart-wrenching ballad that has put his name on the map. SYML’s voice is ethereal and soft that feels like it’s being carried into the heavens by the very music he croons over. It makes his songs even more heartbreaking. He’s perfect to cry to, and perfectly cathartic.
2. Bon Iver
Bon Iver (Justin Vernon) is the king of heartbreak. His entire first album, For Emma, Forever Ago, was written when he was completely alone in a remote hunting cabin, after breaking up with his then-girlfriend and being frustrated about his life.
Obscure lyrics are a special feature of Bon Iver’s music, and they go perfectly with Vernon’s ethereal folk – and on 22, A Million, experimental – instrumentation. With Vernon, it’s not always what the lyrics mean that makes his music so appealing – it’s what the listener takes from each experience. This has made Vernon a massive success, a game-changer in the folk genre, and a staple musician for any lover suffering from heartbreak to listen to. All of his albums touch on that same reverence for emotion – you’d be mad not to put Bon Iver on your playlist too.
Bon Iver may be the king of heartbreak, but Adele is the undefeated queen. Her soulful voice has changed the face of pop forever, emotion pouring out of every syllable. She may have been the singer everyone was singing in your childhood, but her ability to invoke such sadness and feeling means that every breakup song she releases is guaranteed to make you cry.
Singing your heart out to Adele is just as helpful as having a good cry to her music, so you’ve got another option if your tear ducts have dried up.
If you want to be a little angrier, then PVRIS is the perfect band for you.
PVRIS toe the line between punk, rock and pop-punk, pairing guitar heavy-choruses with electronic synths and background noise. Taking inspiration from vocalist Lynn Gunn’s own struggles with heartbreak, depression and fighting against prejudice, the deep-seated anger bleeds into Gunn’s sometimes raw and dark, sometimes fairy light voice, with melodies that are both soaring and undeniably catchy. The tears you’ll cry will be burning with indignation, and it’ll be cathartic through and through.
Daughter are a British-European indie folk trio who have mastered the art of slow, melancholy, bitter songs. Gorgeously dark and emotionally deep, Daughter’s lyrics and soundscapes create songs that are almost unparalleled in their atmosphere and their impact.
The melodies that Elena Tonra sings often aren’t ones to fluctuate in tone that much, and the songs tend to lend themselves to slow builds, so not only does listening to Daughter transport you to another place – but it’ll keep you there. Thus Daughter’s sustained melancholy, wrung through heartache and bitterness, are the perfect companion to your crying sessions.
6. Billy Lockett
Billy Lockett is also a new guy on the block, but he’s been going from strength to strength with new songs being released. His is a voice that carries emotion even more so than his lyrics, sounding better live than on recording when you can face those notes head-on.
His lyrics are deep and heartfelt: you can hear how much soul-searching he has had to do and that contributes powerfully to the deep emotion of his music. His piano and voice combination is an undeniable way to feel the most through the power and beauty of music.
7. Dermot Kennedy
You may already know about Dermot Kennedy already, whose songs such as ‘Power Over Me’, ‘After Rain’ and ‘Young & Free’ have helped the Irishman break into the charts.
Kennedy’s voice is unique and unparalleled – full of rawness and an incredible, almost impossible power, it is as if the emotion itself is trying to break free of its sonic tethering. Whether in the form of acoustic guitar, or a backing chorus bolstered by heavy, dark drum beats, the music behind his voice has a special way of immersing you in the feeling he can’t help but express. The way he speaks about his love and loss and heartbreak, also, would work as poetry even without the melody – perfect, then, to listen to when you too are struggling to keep back the emotions you’re feeling.
8. The Venus Project
The Venus Project is about all things women. The project of Broods frontwoman Georgia Nott, The Venus Project: Vol. 1 is a low-key sounding masterpiece that has women involved in every single step of the process, from production to engineering.
The Venus Project has allowed Nott to release the personal songs that didn’t fit with Broods’ style – pared-back, reverb-heavy guitar and soul-wrenching lyrics dripping with passion and pain. Nott’s main goal was to make herself empowered, and let the listener feel empowered by it too; it is, in its own way, empowering to let yourself hurt, and cry, so this album will lift you at the same time as it embraces you.