Depression Rock Songs ( A collection of 11)

The following article lists out 10 Depression – rock songs. 

  1. ‘Paint It, Black’ – The Rolling Stones

The song featuring a sitar is a colour based metaphor to describe depression. The lyrics goes like,

“I see a red door

And I want it painted black

No colors anymore

I want them to turn black”.

A red door may signify the colour of life, love and energy which is urged to be turned into black signifying the lack of energy and ecstacy is what the song tries to convey. The music is backed with a cunning tone of sitar which adds to the “black” mood of the song.

The song falls in the genre rock. It was released in the year 7 May 1966 by the “Rolling Stones” and later included in the album  Aftermath. The song is very popular considering it ranked 1 in the  Billboard Hot 100.

The lyrics of the song convey depression in the light of colours and metaphors. The grief of losing your beloved partner, lover or spouse has been depicted in “black” as the lyrics goes : And “they’re all painted black

With flowers and my love

Both never to come back”.

Band : Rolling Stones, an English Rock Band and one of the best selling music artists of all time was formed back in 1962. 

  1.  ‘Basket Case’ – Green Day

‘Basket Case’, song released in the year 1994,spent five weeks at the billboard alternative songs chart. 

The song has been written by Billie Joe Armstrong where he talks about his struggle with anxiety until he was diagnosed with panic disorder. “Sometimes I give myself the creeps,

Sometimes my mind plays tricks on me” –  as the lyrics conveyed his confused mind and his want for clarity and hope. It is the seventh track of the album “Dookie”.The song was backed by instruments and was pitched at E-flat. 

The video which was directed by Mark Kohr. At the request of the band members, the video got permission to be shot at a mental institution at California,Agnews Developmental Center. The video was nominated for nine MTV Video Music Awards :: Video of the Year, Best Group Video, Best Metal/Hard Rock Video, Best Alternative Video, Breakthrough Video, Best Direction, Best Editing, Best Cinematography, and Viewer’s Choice Award.

Band : Greenday, has sold more than 75 million records worldwide, making them one of the best-selling music artists of all time.

  1. ‘Turn Blue’ – The Black Keys

Turn blue is a mourn for your long lost lover as the lyrics goes :

When the music is done and all the lights are low

I will remember the times when love would really glow

I could dream ahead before my world turned blue

And the light inside would only shine for you.

The song belongs to an American Rock duo, The Black Keys. According to review aggregator Metacritic, the album has an average critic review score of 72/100, based on 39 reviews. It has also ranked number one at  Billboard 200 and was commercially successful by selling almost 16400 copies in its first week of release (May 12, 2014).

Band : The Black Keys, an American Rock band started their journey with singing in basements and self producing their records. One of the most popular single of this band is “ Tighten Up” which has won three grammy awards. 

  1. “re: stacks” by Bon Iver

The song re:stacks belongs to Bon Iver’s debut album  For Emma, Forever Ago, released in the year 2007

Key lyrics: 

In the back and the racks and the stacks of your load

In the back with your racks and you’re un-stacking your load

This song conveys a deep meaning by using  poker as a metaphor for being in a relationship, in this case, a failed relationship.When someone is gambling being drunk, their decisions are reckless, the same way in love too.You are throwing down 200 at a time, losing your money (having your feelings hurt because of the issues in the relationship, your heart chipped away at).

The genre of the song is folk rock. It has been sung by Justin Vermon.

Band: American  indie folk band Bon Iver was founded in 2006 by Justin Vernon

  1. A Better Son/Daughter – Rilo Kiley

The song has lines which conveys a sad mood but takes a turn in the end of the second verse. In the end the song gives hope and shifts to a brighter and motivating tone.

Just like this one, there are many sad motivational songs.

“But you’ll fight and you’ll make it through

You’ll fake it if you have to and

You’ll show up for work with a smile.”

Band : Rilo KIley, an indie rock based band originally formed in California in the year 1996. The band was also known for contributing to charitable trusts especially  to the Elliott Smith Memorial Fund, in honor of the late singer and friend of the band. 

Band members :

  • Jenny Lewisvocals, keyboards, guitar, bass guitar (1998–2013)
  • Blake Sennett – guitar, keyboards, vocals (1998–2013)
  • Mike Bloom – pedal steel, guitars (2004–2005)
  • Pierre de Reeder – bass guitar, guitar, backing vocals (1998–2013)
  • Jason Boesel – drums, percussion (2001–2013)
  • Dave Rock – drums, percussion (1998–2001)
  1. ‘Just’ – Radiohead

Just, an alternative rock song released in the year 1995 by the band Radiohead. “Just” was written by guitarist Jonny Greenwood.  It is the seventh track on their album The Bends.

 The theme of this song is not depression or friendship. The theme is Existentialism. Existentialism is a philosophical movement which posits that individuals create the meaning and essence of their lives, as opposed to it being created for them by deities or authorities or defined for them by philosophical or theological doctrines. The man during the music video is confined by his everyday jobs, but when he is most vulnerable on the street it hits him.

Band: Radiohead an English rock band formed in Abingdon, Oxfordshire, in 1985. Till 2011, Radiohead has sold almost 30 million albums worldwide. . Their awards include six Grammy Awards and four Ivor Novello Awards. Five Radiohead albums are also added in the n Rolling Stone‘s 500 Greatest Albums of All Time lists.

Band members:

  1. ‘Rock Bottom’ – Eminem

Eminem puts a lot of meaning and life to music. The song rock bottom was written to express how much pain he suffered from when his job was not enough to feed his family. He reached rock bottom when he couldn’t afford  to get his daughter diapers as the lyrics says:And my daughter’s down to her last diaper

That’s got my ass hyper

A lot of people can relate to this song because they hear it and actually listen to the lyrics and they can understand where he is coming from.

Eminem is one of the best selling music artists of all time who is famous for his raps and songs in the hip-hop genre. Billboard has named him as the “Artist of the Decade”.

 Rolling Stone included him in its lists of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time and the 100 Greatest Songwriters of All Time. He has won numerous awards, including 15 Grammy Awards, eight American Music Awards, 17 Billboard Music Awards, an Academy Award and an MTV Europe Music Global Icon Award.

  1. “Shine on You Crazy Diamond” by Pink Floyd

Shine on you crazy diamond is a nine-part composition executed by  David Gilmour, Roger Waters, and Richard Wright which appeared in their1975 concept album Wish You Were Here.It was released in the year 1975, recorded in the studio Abbey Road Studios (Studio One, Two, and Three) and produced by Pink Floyd. 

The song was dedicated to  Syd Barrett, one of the band members who had to leave the band for his deteriorating mental health. It was a tribute in the remembrance of the founding member of Pink Floyd, Syd.Remember when you were young / you shone like the sun / Now there’s a look in your eye / like black holes in the sky. It’s about Barrett losing his mind. The band members felt very sad and guilty because they had to remove him but it was for their fellow friend’s wellbeing. He was replaced by  David Gilmour. 

Band: Pink Floyd an English rock band formed in London in 1965 is famous for their compositions, sonic experimentation, philosophical lyrics and elaborate live shows. It is the leading band of rock genre till date. In 2008, King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden presented Pink Floyd with the Polar Music Prize for their contribution to modern music.

  1. “Creep” by Radiohead

Creep appears in the album  Pablo Honey (1993) released in 21 September 1992 by Rdiohead. The lyrics have been written by Thom Yorke’s, expresses an obsessive, self-destructive sexual attraction.

The song is about someone who’s in love, who’s either just been rejected (unrequited love), or absolutely sure that the girl doesn’t love her back ..

It’s a song about being desperately in love, whilst being absolutely sure the girl doesn’t love you back. 


  • Thom Yorke – lead vocals
  • Colin Greenwood – bass guitar
  • Jonny Greenwood – lead guitar, piano
  • Ed O’Brien – rhythm guitar
  • Philip Selway – drums
  1. Ride on by AC/DC

Ride on, a single released in the album Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap in the year 1977. The song is sung by Bonn Scott.

The song depicts a lover-parting scene where the singer is sad and cries out in grief and pain as the lyrics says: 

“It’s another lonely evenin’

In another lonely town

But I ain’t too young to worry

And I ain’t too old to cry

When a woman gets me down”.

Band : AC/DC an australian rock band formed in 1973. Their music comprises genres like heavy metal, rock, blues rock, hard rock, rock and roll. It is commercially successful and famous. The band have sold almost 200 recordings all over the world til date.AC/DC ranked fourth on VH1‘s list of the “100 Greatest Artists of Hard Rockand were named the seventh “Greatest Heavy Metal Band of All Time” by MTV.[13] In 2004, AC/DC ranked No. 72 on the Rolling Stone list of the “100 Greatest Artists of All Time


The above article had 10 rare collections of Depression- rock songs. The youtube links are also attached for your easy reference. 

If you’ve enjoyed the Depression Rock Songs mentioned above, I would recommend you to take a look at 13 Metal Songs about depression.

FAQs : Depression – Rock Songs

What is the saddest song ever written?

 Saddest Songs of All Time

R.E.M. – ‘Everybody Hurts’
Harry Chapin – ‘Cat’s in the Cradle’ 
Nirvana – ‘Something in the Way’
George Jones – ‘He Stopped Loving Her Today’ 
Pearl Jam – ‘Black’ 
John Prine – ‘Sam Stone’ 
Alice in Chains – ‘Nutshell’ 
Hank Williams – ‘I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry’ 

What songs to listen to when you’re depressed?

5 Recommend Songs People With Anxiety and Depression should listen to 

“Unwell” by Matchbox 20.
“Better Place” by Rachel Platten.
“Screen” by Twenty One Pilots.
“Fast Car” by Tracy Chapman.
“Last Hope” by Paramore

Is depressing music bad for you?

If someone is suffering from  depression, he or she should listen to motivational and happy songs that might help them uplift their moods.

Studies say if depressed people listen to sad songs, it can be dangerous for their mental health.

Why do I like depressing music?

Studies say people who are high in empathy like sad songs.

Is listening to sad music a sign of depression?

Listening to sad music can be a sign of depression, but it also can mean that the person finds slower, quieter music soothing and calming.