The subject of suicide has long been a taboo topic in modern society, with many people finding it difficult to discuss and understand. Yet, through the medium of music, many artists have found a way to approach this touchy subject matter in a sensitive and thought-provoking way.
In this article, we will be exploring some of the most powerful and moving songs about suicide, each with its own unique message and perspective on the topic. Whether you have been affected by suicide personally or simply have an interest in exploring this important issue, this article is a must-read.
“1-800-273-8255” – Logic ft. Alessia Cara & Khalid
“1-800-273-8255” by Logic, Alessia Cara, and Khalid is a powerful and emotional song that addresses the themes of suicide and depression. With a mix of soulful singing and heart-wrenching rap verses, the song conveys a message of hope and encourages those struggling with suicidal thoughts to reach out for help.
The title of the song is the phone number for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, further reinforcing the message that there is always someone available to listen and offer support.
“Adam’s Song” – Blink-182
“Adam’s Song” by Blink-182 is a melancholy track that explores the complexities of suicidal ideation. With poignant lyrics that touch on feelings of isolation and despair, the song resonates with the emotional turmoil that often accompanies depression.
Through powerful guitar riffs and an introspective vocal performance, Blink-182 conveys the emotional burden that individuals struggling with suicidal thoughts may experience, and the importance of seeking help and support to overcome these challenges.
“Everybody Hurts” – R.E.M
“Everybody Hurts” is a sorrowful and emotionally intense ballad by R.E.M. The song speaks about the overwhelming pain, sadness, loneliness and despair that one can feel in moments of extreme emotional distress. The lyrics highlight the universal experience of struggle and the importance of holding on to hope during hard times.
It’s a powerful anthem about suicide prevention, encouraging those who need help to reach out to their loved ones and support systems. This track serves as a comforting reminder that everyone goes through difficult times, but that there is always a way to rise above it.
“Gloomy Sunday” – Billie Holiday
“Gloomy Sunday,” a song recorded in 1933 by the jazz singer Billie Holiday, is infamous for its haunting quality and association with suicide. The song’s mournful melody is said to have prompted a series of suicides that occurred after its release, leading to its ban from several radio stations and its international infamy.
Rumors have circulated that the original Hungarian composer of the song actually committed suicide shortly after writing it, adding to the song’s mystique and eerie allure. Its melancholic themes and reverberating ambiance make “Gloomy\ Sunday” a memorable and unsettling addition to any collection of songs about suicide.
“How to Save a Life” – The Fray
“How to Save a Life” by The Fray is a haunting ballad that explores themes of regret, loss, and the desperate desire to help those suffering from mental illness. Through its poignant lyrics and moving melody, the song captures the emotional turmoil that can lead someone to contemplate suicide, while also illustrating the pain and helplessness felt by loved ones.
With its raw and emotive delivery, “How to Save a Life” remains a powerful reminder of the importance of seeking help and support for those struggling with mental health issues.
“Hurt” – Johnny Cash
Track number six on this list uniformly evokes a comprehensive palette of emotions. Johnny Cash’s rendition of “Hurt” presents a bare-bones and chilling commentary on the futility and desolation of an individual on the brink of suicide. From the very first lyric, “I hurt myself today,” Cash proceeds to unmistakably articulate the intense mental anguish, isolation, and detachment that typically accompany this sort of mindset.
The striking honesty and rawness of this song can be a potent reminder to reach out to those who may be struggling and lend a helping hand before it’s too late.
“I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing” – Aerosmith
“I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing” is a poignant song from Aerosmith that’s deeply emotional and intense. Although its topics are not about suicide, the lyrics resonate with those who have lost someone they loved. With Stephen Tyler’s powerful vocals and the soaring instrumentals, it’s difficult not to feel a sense of longing and pain that comes with grief.
The song discusses the fear of losing someone and not wanting to miss a single moment with them, which can be relatable to those struggling with suicidal thoughts.
“Jumper” – Third Eye Blind
“Jumper” by Third Eye Blind is a hauntingly beautiful song that explores the struggles of a person contemplating suicide. The lyrics paint a vivid picture of the desperation and hopelessness that can drive someone to take their own life, while the melody is both melancholic and uplifting.
While it’s not a song that offers easy answers or solutions, “Jumper” is a powerful reminder that there are people out there who care and who are willing to help those who are struggling with suicidal thoughts.
“Mad World” – Gary Jules
“Mad World” by Gary Jules is a hauntingly beautiful song that captures the feeling of loneliness and despair. The melancholic melody and Jules’ emotive vocals perfectly express the perplexity and chaos that one may feel when contemplating suicide. The song’s slow build up and poignant lyrics make it a fitting addition to a list of songs about suicide, evoking a sense of burstiness that is hard to shake off.
Jules’ use of minimalistic instrumentation and stripped-down arrangement only adds to the overall feeling of hopelessness that permeates the song until its tragic end.
“Nothing Compares 2 U” – Sinead O’Connor
“Nothing Compares 2 U” by Sinead O’Connor is a melancholic, yet powerful ballad that poetically depicts the overwhelming sorrow and despair of losing someone to suicide. The profound lyrics and the emotionally charged delivery of the song convey the indescribable pain and hopelessness that often accompany the aftermath of suicide.
With its haunting melody and poignant message, “Nothing Compares 2 U” stands as a timeless tribute to the tragedy of suicide.
“One More Light” – Linkin Park
“One More Light” is a profoundly introspective song that delves into themes of hopelessness, pain, and the tragic consequences of suicide. The track’s stirring lyrics make it a poignant tribute to anyone who may be struggling with feelings of loneliness and despair. Through its emotional instrumentation and evocative melody,
“One More Light” serves as a somber reminder of how precious life truly is and the importance of reaching out and supporting those in need.
“Runaway Train” – Soul Asylum
“Runaway Train” by Soul Asylum is an emotionally charged rock song that tackles the sensitive subject of missing children and youth homelessness. Its lyrical content, while not directly about suicide, embodies a feeling of despair and helplessness that those contemplating suicide may relate to.
The song’s music video features photographs of real missing children, adding a powerful visual component that heightens the song’s emotional impact. The combination of the heavy subject matter and the band’s soaring melodies make “Runaway Train” a poignant and memorable song that continues to resonate with listeners today.
“Say Hello 2 Heaven” – Temple of the Dog
“Say Hello 2 Heaven” is a soulful and emotionally gripping track that speaks to the finality of suicide. Released in 1990, this song contains poetic and existential lyrics that paint a picture of the grieving process and desire for the departed. The track’s melancholic melody accompanies the lyrics, creating a haunting atmosphere that powerfully captures the sorrow and confusion associated with loss to suicide.
“Snuff” – Slipknot
“Snuff” by Slipknot is a melancholic and introspective track filled with poignant lyrics that tackle the devastating effects of self-harm and suicide. The song conveys a deep sense of agony and despair, capturing the struggle of a person who feels trapped in their own mind and unable to find a way out.
With its haunting melody and emotional intensity, “Snuff” serves as a compelling reminder of the profound impact of mental health issues and the need for greater understanding and support for those who are going through dark times.
“The A Team” – Ed Sheeran
The soulful and emotive “The A Team” by Ed Sheeran delves deep into the harsh reality of drug addiction and its tragic effects on an individual’s life. It highlights the social desolation and despair that come with drug use, as well as the overarching sense of hopelessness and unbearable inner turmoil that often riddles the mind of those who are struggling with addiction.
While the song does not directly reference suicide, it’s an intense illustration of the life-altering impacts of addiction, which can lead to feelings of desperation and isolation – both of which are common triggers of suicidal thoughts.
“The Needle and the Damage Done” – Neil Young
Neil Young’s “The Needle and the Damage Done” is a heart-wrenching portrayal of the aftermath of heroin addiction and suicide. The song powerfully conveys the suffering and despair that comes with addiction and the inevitable destruction it brings, making it an emotionally intense and somber track that leaves a lasting impression.
The lyrics of the song offer a window into the realities of the devastation that comes with addiction and provide a thought-provoking experience to the listener.
“The Sound of Silence” – Simon & Garfunkel
“The Sound of Silence” is a contemplative piece that addresses the theme of loneliness and isolation, subjects that are often linked to suicidal feelings. Simon and Garfunkel convey the idea that social interaction, communication, and understanding are essential in combating despair.
The song’s haunting melody and cryptic lyrics evoke an atmosphere of melancholy, uncertainty, and introspection that captures the complexity of the song’s central theme. Its brooding and introspective tone speaks to a generation grappling with the plight of mental health
“Wake Me Up When September Ends” – Green Day
This Green Day hit is a haunting melancholic ode to youth lost to suicide. It’s narrated from the perspective of a grieving friend or family member recounting the pain and sorrow of losing someone too soon.
The raw vulnerability of the lyrics coupled with Billie Joe Armstrong’s emotive delivery resonates with many who have experienced the repercussions of suicide. The song is a somber reminder of the fragility of life and the ripple effects of one life cut short.
“What a Wonderful World” – Louis Armstrong
Louis Armstrong’s “What a Wonderful World” seems like an out-of-place inclusion on the list of songs about suicide, but its subversive nature suggests otherwise. The song’s wistful tone and bittersweet lyrics manage to conjure up a sense of longing, of things left unsaid, of potential, and of missed opportunities.
It’s as if the song is mocking the idea of optimism that we often cling to in times of distress and suggesting that maybe sometimes it’s better to simply acknowledge the harsh realities of life.
“Yesterday” – The Beatles
The Beatles’ melancholic song “Yesterday” deals with feelings of regret and nostalgia. While it doesn’t specifically address suicide, the lyrics touch upon themes of self-blame and questioning past actions, which align with the introspective nature of people considering suicide.
The song’s slow, mournful melody pairs with its contemplative lyrics to create a mood of melancholic reflection, perhaps serving as a solace for people grappling with suicidal ideation.