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Sad Songs for While You’re Suffering Through Finals Week

Misery loves company. Here are some sad songs to use as the soundtrack to your breakdown this finals season.

On the left, Hozier playing the guitar. In the middle, Frank Ocean is sitting with a microphone in front of him. On the right, Mitski is standing in front of a microphone with a guitar in her hands.
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The dreaded finals season is upon us yet again. Sleep-deprived and up to our neck in projects and exams, upbeat study playlists can only get us so far. These are some sad songs for those moments when all you want to do is wallow in your misery. Think of them as a soundtrack for your next cathartic breakdown. Misery loves company. Allow these songs to commiserate with your suffering.

While many playlists for finals week contain fun songs to push you through the week, sometimes it’s nice to feel your true feelings. Here are a few songs I gathered, along with scenarios I feel these songs would work best in.

Once More to See You – Mitski

With a melancholic bassline and voice, Mitski’s “Once More to See You” is perfect for wallowing in your misery. She sings about an unfulfilling love that she has to keep private. While yearning is not on the list of priorities that most students have, students can long for freedom as they listen to the song. I think the best time to listen to it is when you are working on finishing up your 30th art project for your final portfolio the night before your organic chemistry final. Maybe your tears could be part of the project.

Heaven Knows I’m Miserable Now – The Smiths

The Smiths are known for their depressing music, and this one does not disappoint. With an almost upbeat musical backing, Morrisey sings about a never-ending sadness, regardless of the circumstances. He also specifically wonders why he would “give valuable time to people who don’t care” about him and who he would “much rather kick in the eye.” For this reason, I think this song should be listened to after getting into a fight with an unreasonable professor or TA over answering a question correctly but not having the exact wording they wanted, so you lost the points on the exam.

Seigfried – Frank Ocean

Frank Ocean released this break-up song back in 2016 on his second studio album, Blonde. A perfect pensive song about loneliness and regret for the way things are turning out. He seems to spiral out towards the middle of the song as he seemingly gets lost in his thoughts. The best scene to listen to this song is when you are debating switching your major on your walk home from your final physics exam and wondering if engineering is really for you.

Good Luck, Babe! – Chappell Roan

“Good Luck, Babe!” is a song that has gone viral on TikTok about a sapphic relationship with a woman experiencing compulsive heterosexuality. With synths and a beat that makes you want to get up and move but lyrics that cut deep if you pay attention, this 80s-inspired bop is perfect for dancing and crying. Similar to “Seigfried,” this is the song to listen to while thinking about changing your major. However this is for the people switching from a STEM major that makes them want to die to a humanities major. You’ll figure out what you’re going to do about money when you get there.

Desert Song – My Chemical Romance

My Chemical Romance is a band known for their depressing songs, so I would be remiss to not include them. Gerard Way’s passionate vocals, coupled with the gloomy guitars by Ray Toro and Frank Iero give the song a comforting yet eerie feeling. This song is largely thought to be about a member’s struggle with substance abuse, and the comfort they find in being in a band with each other. This is what you should listen to on the final day of class after you were too nervous and stressed to ask for your friend’s phone number, and now you have to hope you run into them again somewhere on campus.

I Think I’m Going to Kill Myself – Elton John

This is likely the oldest song of the bunch, but it’s a good one. It shows that Gen-Z are not the only people who coped with their feelings using dark humor. This song provided satiric commentary on teenage angst and how overdramatic it can be. Joyful music contrasted with the angsty musings of “the teenage blues” along with a tap dance solo in the middle, what more could you need from a song? This would pair nicely with doing whatever chore you have been neglecting for the past month because of exams. Do your laundry, clean your dishes, and/or mop your floors while listening to this. Begrudgingly tidy your dorm or apartment as if your parents told you to do it and ruminate in your dormant teenage angst.

Strangers – Ethel Cain

From her concept album Preacher’s Daughter, Ethel Cain gives us a glimpse into an abusive relationship (and that is putting it lightly). With haunting vocals and divine guitars, it is no wonder this song evokes sorrowful emotion in the way that it does. There is a sense of finality that makes it the perfect album closer. Due to this, you should play this song as you turn in your final essay two minutes after 11:59, making it just barely late. Let Cain’s voice provide some much-needed comfort.

Mood Swings – Human People

“Mood Swings” is short and gets right to the point, being about (you guessed it) mood swings. Slightly distorted guitars, a catchy bass riff, and gruff vocals make the song perfect for when you’re itching to get out of your skin. This song is for the walk you have to take at 3 AM after staring at your computer for 15 hours and being sick and tired of whatever elective class is giving you grief.

Cherry Wine – Hozier

“Cherry Wine” is a bittersweet song about an abusive relationship. Hozier uses nothing but a guitar and his voice to draw out these conflicting emotions from his audience. This is the song to play after not seeing your friends for weeks on end because all of you have been cooped up in your rooms working and studying. Send them a text to let them know you’re still alive.

Sky Blue Skin – Jeff Buckley

Jeff Buckley’s “Sky Blue Skin” is hauntingly beautiful. With only, bass, guitar, and vocals, Buckley fills the space with a sense of yearning that is difficult to capture in a song. Themes of detachment and pain are littered throughout the song, conveyed through moving lyrics. This is the song to go to when you need to cry on command. This is for your scheduled cries. When you need to get these feelings out of the way, so you can get back to your schoolwork.

Happy wallowing!

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19-year-old university student studying English.

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