This article will center on discussing what are the 10 most famous albums about depression, and what makes them great.
9 famous albums about depression
Elliott Smith by Elliott Smith (1995)
In his second album the singer/songwriter that ended his life years after, gave a clear-cut performance of self-loathing, and bitterness towards people close, to and the whole world.
This album talks about how he gave into addiction, and how too much expectation can be overwhelming. In the first track of the album, in the song “Needle in the Hay”, he goes like this:
“can’t beat me
And I don’t want to talk
I’m taking the cure
So I can be quiet wherever I want
So leave me alone
You ought to be proud that I’m getting good marks”
Five Leaves Left by Nick Drake (1968)
The first album of this incredible singer and songwriter set the tone for his short-lived career. It showed songs filled with melancholy, with a desire to connect with others. It showed how isolated and alienated he felt.
Those feelings are what moved him throughout his short life, and he ended up dying of an antidepressant overdose in 1974 when he was 26 years old.
In Rainbows by Radiohead (2015)
Although all Radiohead albums are touched by a depressive aura, this one has one of the most depressing songs of all time. “Nude” starts like this:
“Don’t get any big ideas
They’re not gonna happen”
The band, and especially the lead singer Thom Yorke has always been open about their mental health condition. He has even stated that this is extremely helpful in his creative process.
And that writing about his feelings is a way to externalize them. Describing this album, Thom Yorke has said: “about the fucking panic of realizing you’re going to die! And that any time soon [I could] possibly [have] a heart attack when I next go for a run.”
Faith by The Cure (1981)
This album has many sad songs in it, most people say that for them Disintegration is the saddest one, but Pornography also offers an intense meditative state, and Faith is intensely sad. The whole album just feels like a deep dive into intense, negative emotions.
Carrie & Lowell by Sufjan Stevens (2015)
This album was made as a way to cope with the grief and showed all the sadness that losing someone you love can bring. This album was a way for Stevens to cope with the loss of his mother.
The album talks about childhood memories with his mother, but also about some extremely dark moments she went through, that lead them to have a complex relationship.
It showed how his mother had many mental health issues. Struggled with depression, schizophrenia, and even abused substances. In her death, he goes through all the last, and even how sometimes his mother would abandon him and his brother. This album shows clearly the sense of loneliness and pain that losing someone can bring.
One of the saddest parts of the album goes on like this:
“What could I have said to raise you from the dead?
Oh could I be the sky on the Fourth of July?”
White Chalk by PJ Harvey (2007)
This album can bring such melancholy to people that one may want to make sure they are in a stable mood before listening to it. Just the music arrangements in this album show how this is a different album from the ones before.
This album brings as a whole a grim aura that clearly shows some insight into depression. It seems like something to listen to as you feel like you just want to crawl in a little ball with your feelings.
One of the saddest sentences in the whole album is this:
“Please, don’t reproach me for just how empty my life has become”
Black Star by David Bowie (2016)
The idea of this album is that David Bowie was scared of dying, and managed to write this album all about what he was feeling. You can feel like you were run over by a truck after listening to this profound work, which was the last one he did.
It was released just a few days before his death, which gave the album a whole new perspective. One of the saddest songs in the album is called “Lazarus”, and it goes on like this:
“Look up here, I’m in heaven
I’ve got scars that can’t be seen
I’ve got drama, can’t be stolen
Everybody knows me now”
Closer by Joy Division (1988)
Although all albums of the short-lived Joy Division share a glimpse of sadness and depression, this one, due to its context, takes the place. This album was released right after the lead singer of the band, Ian Curtis, ended his life. His battle with mental illness has often been observed through the work of Joy Division.
It is hard to determine what is the saddest song in this album, but the song “Heart and Soul” surely shares one of the most intense lines of the album. It goes like this:
“Existence, well what does it matter? I exist on the best terms I can. The present is part of my future.”
Moon Pix by Cat Power (1998)
Cat Power is always amazing in sharing her feelings through her writing and how she performs her songs. It is always something to consider, how intense you want the music you are listening to be. But in this album, she is in fine form.
She wrote this album after a hallucinatory nightmare, which led her to be the most vulnerable she could be. One extremely sad song from this album is “Cross Bones Style”, but one of the most intense songs is “He Turns Me Down”, in which she talks about being rejected by God. It goes in like this:
“It’s not me, I am pretending
I’m not saved,
he turned me down.
He turns down”
Sea of Change by Beck (2002)
When news came that the singer and songwriter Beck was getting divorced, fans knew that the next album would be covered in the pain that only divorce can bring. This intense breakup album gives the listener a chance to get in touch with their deepest emotions.
Learning that he was cheated on by his fianceé offered him a lot to write about. It feels like the album is a cathartic moment, and that he is letting a lot out through the despair he shares. One of the saddest parts of the album goes on like this:
“It’s only lies that i’m living,
It’s only tears that I’m crying,
It’s only you I’m losing,
Guess I’m doing fine”
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ): What are famous albums about depression?
What are songs to listen to when I am battling depression?
If you are struggling with depression, there are some songs you can listen to as a way to improve your mood. One of which you might relate to is called “Unwell” by Matchbox Twenty. Another one is called “Better Place” by Rachel Platten, which will talk about the importance of feeling loved.
“Screen” by Twenty-One Pilots centers around how it may feel to not be able to hide your emotions. And “ Last Hope” by Paramore can make you feel less alone when you are depressed. You can surely relate to how the band describes depression perfectly in this song.
What is the saddest genre of music?
Blues music is known as one of the saddest genres of music. Through music, artists often try to tell a story about hard moments in their lives. But there is also been some studies that show that country music also is extremely sad, and it has an impact on a person’s mental health.
The study has shown that because country music usually centers around relationship issues, marital problems, and trouble with work, it can be a type of music that nurtures suicidal mood.
What is music therapy?
Music therapy is a form of therapy in which people will use music to reach their individualized goals. It is a process that usually helps the person manage their stress levels, improves their mood, and helps them learn how to deal with their emotions, and how to express them better.
In a music therapy process, people will listen to music, sing, compose music, or even play instruments. And even though people may think that it is necessary to have some music skills to take part in it, it is not.
The benefits of music therapy are not only emotional. It will also lower your blood pressure, improve your memory, reduce your muscle tension, and manage your pain.
Does music cause depression?
There has been mixed evidence surrounding the fact that music can cause depression. Music in itself won’t lead someone to become depressed. But what it is known is that music can affect how you feel.
So it can be that your negative emotions will get more intense if you listen to music. But this is not true for everyone. Studies have shown that even listening to sad music can make depressed people feel somewhat better.
That seems to happen because people will find the songs calming, and it can be that relating to what is being said in the song, gives them a source of comfort.
But there is another aspect of listening to music that can have an impact on whether or not a person will be depressed, and it is mostly related to young people.
Nowadays they are usually wearing headphones all the time to listen to music, this can lead to some sort of social isolation, and that can harm their mental health, possibly leading to depression.
Can music cure anxiety?
Yes, it is possible that listening to music will have a positive impact on your anxiety. That happens because when you listen to music your nervous system will get calmer. Your stress level will go down because the music will lower your cortisol level.
What is important to know is that not only listening to music can have benefits on your mental health. Creating music will also have a benefit. It is a positive way to release your emotions, externalizing how you feel. So through that, you will feel less anxious, and experience a huge improvement in your mental health.
This article showed what are 10 of the most famous albums about depression, and what they say about the condition.
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