Posted by: jedwardswright | July 9, 2011

Songs About Depression, Part 2

The people have spoken, and the original Songs About Depression post is by far the most popular on the A Darker Shade of Blue blog, so it is time to add on to the list.

Everybody Hurts   R.E.M.

How did I miss this the first time? The lyrics are killer, the melody profound and the video brilliant. Michael Stipe sings with an ache in his voice that reaches into your soul. It was reportedly written by drummer Bill Berry as an appeal to people who were considering suicide, and anyone who has been on the dark edge of that night will relate.

Dust In The Wind  Kansas

Ostensibly about the fleeting nature of material things, Dust In The Wind also expresses the futility that depressed people often feel about life itself, and their own place in it. Even the slightly monotonous repetition incorporated into the melody and lyrics enhance the effect.  I always envision myself standing in a desert with sand swirling around me when I listen to this powerfully simple song.

Streets of Philadelphia   Bruce Springsteen                                                                                                 

Springsteen wrote this song for the movie Philadelphia which stars Tom Hanks as a man dying of AIDS.  His bleak recording won an Oscar and multiple Grammys. The physical despair embedded in this soundtrack is absolutely palpable.

Paint It Black  Rolling Stones

The (literally) dark lyrics of the iconic original were combined with up-tempo, Eastern-influenced music by the Stones, presumably as a counterpoint to the melancholy words. In some recordings and videos, the instruments, including Jagger’s voice, sound increasingly angry and frustrated. U2 and Vanessa Carlton are two of the other artists who have covered this song effectively.

Not Alone  McFly

Danny Jones of McFly wrote and performed this as an acoustic number, and his voice is stellar on the recording. Ultimately the lyrics are upbeat, but the weariness of trudging through day by day comes through in the verses. I find this emotionally accurate but encouraging.

Lonely Day  System of a Down

Again, repetition is used here to replicate a stagnant, isolated vibe implicit in the lyrics. Solid musicianship and vocals elevate these stark statements into emotionally relevant ruminations on one of those days that you simply have to tough it out to get through. Lonely Day was nominated for a Grammy in the Best Hard Rock Performance category.

February Song   and

You Are Loved (Don’t Give Up )  Josh Groban

Well, it’s Josh Groban, so it goes without saying that the vocals are gorgeous, but here I am saying it anyway.  My bloggy friend Kim at Baby Feet nominated February Song, which has the somber, discouraged tone of someone who is attempting unsuccessfully to regain their footing in life, but keeps holding on. My personal Grogan pick is You Are Loved, which not only has a more hopeful message but allows JG’s voice to absolutely soar. I do have to concede though that February Song depicts depression more exactly. (Thanks Kim!)

Wake Me Up When September Ends  Green Day

I listed GD’s Boulevard of Broken Dreams on the first list, but here is another worthy entry from the “alternative” band’s American Idiot album. Originally written by lead singer Billie Joe Armstrong about the death of his father when he was only 10, the song has also been liked by the band at times to 9/11, Hurricane Katrina, and the death of Johnny Ramone, so it is safe to say that loss is the major theme of the piece.  Hauntingly despairing, this recording captures the overwhelming urge to retreat from life that depressives know so well.  Tragically amazing piece of work!      

Now it’s your turn! What recordings have either comforted you while depressed, or expressed the experience of having Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) for you?


  1. I never pegged ‘dust in the wind.’ How did I miss that?? duh. ‘Everybody Hurts’ has always been on my list, that’s for sure. And ‘Feb.Song.’ Obviously 🙂 Thanks for the shout out, that song has helped me realize that their MUST be at least one other person who has felt the way I do many times. Otherwise, how did it get written. Lists like this are so important! You really do an amazing job with these kinds of things.

    • Hey, I didn’t get Dust in the Wind the first time either.
      I took a slightly different approach to finding songs for this post, so naturally it led me in a bit of a new direction. Who knows? Someday there may be a Part 3.
      Thanks for the encouragement.

  2. Never heard the McFly or Josh Groban songs, and I love them. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Some others I like:

    Storm by Lifehouse

    Breathe Me by Sia

    Cut by Plumb

    Untitled by Simple Plan

    • Debby,
      Glad you liked those recordings so much!
      I am not familiar with the songs you suggested, but I look forward to discovering them now.

      • Wow! Those are all great! My personal favorite song is Storm, and the videos for Breath Me and Untitled are brilliant.
        Thanks so much for sharing your songs!

  4. So glad you liked them!

  5. Lullaby, Nickelback
    Crash and Burn, Savage Garden
    Alone, Damien Leith
    Blew It All Away, Damien Leith
    Bad Day, Daniel Powter
    Shadow of the Day, Linkin Park
    Numb, Linkin Park
    Savin’ Me, Nickelback
    Right By Your Side, Eurythmics
    Cry, Kelly Clarkson
    Help, The Beatles
    Yesterday, The Beatles
    Her Diamonds, Rob Thomas
    Stuck in a Moment, U2
    Lost, Coldplay
    Because of You, Kelly Clarkson
    Chiquitita, ABBA
    Miracle of Love, Eurythmics
    Bridge Over Troubled Water
    Angel, Eurythmics
    Four Seasons in One Day, Crowded House
    Everytime You Cry, John Farnham
    Bridge of Light, P!nk
    I’m With You, Avril Lavigne

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