Some of the most experienced feelings in the world are pain, hurting, and suffering resulting from love. Songs composed from this perspective are usually relatable to the artists’ real-life occurrences, giving the music more depth. Songs about pain make some of most beloved songs and the best-selling records of all time.
1. “My Immortal” – Evanescence
This 2003 touching song from the album “Fallen” is a song of pain and suffering caused by love. It talks of all the beautiful things the couple used to do together, but now that they’re apart, the void is too much to handle. It’s a reminiscing of precious moments shared. The pain depicted in the song is all too clear, and it’s obvious she is hurting terribly. The narration is one of pain that won’t go away, stating that even time cannot heal certain wounds – the wounds caused by love. It’s the cry of a lover, wondering why the subject of their affection cannot reciprocate the selflessness that they had extended towards each other.
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2. “Nothing Compares To You” – Sinéad O’Connor
This touching song was released in 1990 and received Record of the Year Grammy Award nominations. It’s a song of pain and emptiness after the loss of a loved one. It talks of all the suffering one suffers and how nothing can take that pain away. In the beginning, it depicts the freedom of not being attached. However, this isn’t a top song about freedom and empowerment. In the same breath, the song depicts the pain of emptiness and indicates that nothing can fill that void except the recipient of love – the one who’s gone away. Over the years, there have been several recordings (more than 10) of this song. These include Prince in 2006, Glennis Grace in 2011, and Chris Cornell in 2015.
3. “Someone Like You” – Adele
A track of so much pain, Adele cried through a recording of the song. A touching story of broken love, heartache, pain, and suffering, she comes to the realization that she may never get over her lost love. This 2011 pop song was nominated for Best Pop Solo Performance Grammy Awards among other nominations. The song has grown in popularity, with millions around the globe relating to the storyline in their own lives. Adele also makes it on our list of top revenge tracks, so check it out too!
4. “Hurt Me” – Juice WRLD
This 2018 hip-hop song depicts bitterness and hurting over a recent break-up. It’s a song about numbing pain through the use of drugs. Juice WRLD seems to be in denial about the effects of drugs, claiming they won’t hurt him. However, he clearly states that he’s become a whole different person, a result of hurting. The narration depicts an ex-girlfriend trying to reach out, but he ignores her so that he can stop hurting. Many of the artists’ records are songs about pain in some respect.
5. “Let It Hurt” – Rascal Flatts
This 2012 pop song talks of pain and suffering, although it doesn’t indicate the cause of all the pain. It also depicts emptiness, stating that the void of loneliness doesn’t go away despite the heart being numb. It encourages one just to let the pain hurt, sometimes to its worst degree, to release it. Insomnia suffered is likely a result of having to deal with too much pain. The song signifies how we all walk around with smiles on our faces even when we go through so much turmoil deep inside.
6. “Life After You” – Daughtry
This 2009 pop-rock song talks of hurting and suffering. It signifies an impromptu decision to walk out of a relationship, a decision he immediately regrets. It’s a song about the realization of how different life can be when it’s filled with love, and without it, there’s nothing other than pain and suffering. It depicts that time spent alone can put a lot into perspective as this is when he realizes what a big mistake he made by walking out of the relationship.
7. “Hurt” – Johnny Cash
“Hurt” was released in 2002, though it was originally a Nine Inch Nails composition (1995). In his gravel-like voice, Cash sings this song with so much passion that it’s almost as if he knew he would lose his wife just three months after this release. Just four months after that, he passes away too. The song reflects regret, pain, self-harm, addiction, and reflection.
8. “Feel No Pain” – Sade
This is a sad song that talks about an entire family laid off from work and their suffering as a result. The 1992 release is a plea for help, for the compassion of those laid off. It depicts the state of joblessness and urges us all to understand how difficult it is to get another job. It encourages us to urge those laid off not to stay home and get caught up in the sadness of their situation. On Billboard’s R&B charts, it rated #59 and in the U.K., Singles, #56. For more deep songs about family, check out our list now.
9. “Valley of Pain” – Bonnie Raitt
This 2002 rock song is a cry for help, a request of salvation from pain. The realization that it is possible to get lost in the valley of pain, Bonnie requests strength, hope, and encouragement to prevent getting lost in the darkness. The song in the album “Silver Lining” indicates the hopefulness of an end to all the pain and suffering.
10. “Hurt” – Christina Aguilera
From the album “Bank to Basics”, this 2006 release is a pop song about regret and a desire to turn back the time. Christina sings to her father with the realization that she blamed him for her inadequacies and wished she could bring him back. There’s a lot of pain felt in this song as she turned away from her father at a point where he was expressing his pride in her, and now he is no more. Billboard Hot 100 rated this song at #19.
11. “Everybody Hurts” – R.E.M.
This 1992 composition starts as an R&B song then takes us into rock mode. It’s a song of hurting and despair, a plea not to give up because everybody hurts sometimes. It’s an encouragement to go on, even when you feel you have reached your wit’s end. The song is a consolation that no matter what you are going through, everybody goes through the same at some point in their lives. Over the years, there have been over fifteen renditions of it by various artists. These include Beelzebubs in 1997, The Corrs in 1999, and Jasmine Thompson in 2014.
12. “Her Diamonds” – Rob Thomas
This 2009 pop-rock song is about depression and how helpless one becomes when you have a loved one suffering from depression, and there’s nothing you can do to help them or get them to snap out of it. The diamonds in the song title refers to her tears. The observer goes through so much pain and suffering as he watches his loved one waste away. At some point, he begins to cry in despair, all the while ensuring his loved one, the depressed lady, does not see him going through these emotions.
13. “Whiskey Lullaby” – Brad Paisley ft. Alison Krauss
This is a deep song of love, pain, hurt, regret, and suffering. A man uses alcohol in an attempt to drown his sorrows and pain. An adulterous wife caused his pain while he was away on soldier duty. However, his efforts are fruitless. Eventually, he shoots himself to death. A bereaved wife, blaming herself for the incident, soon follows suit, similarly taking to alcohol. The journey ends the same way. There’s a lot of hurting for these two while they are alive, a realization of how impactful one single act can be to another.
14. “What Hurts The Most” – Rascal Flatts
A 2008 country music song depicts the pain and suffering of a break-up. The realization of how much we take for granted when with our loved ones, only realizing their true worth once they are gone and no longer in our lives. The song implies how hard it is to move on and continue with normal life after a break-up, something many of us have experienced first-hand. “What Hurts The Most” was nominated for Single of the Year in the Academy of Country Music Awards.
15. “Hurts” – Emeli Sandé
This is a pop song about the intense suffering of a forgotten lover, released in 2016. The realization is that love isn’t always reciprocated, and sometimes, one loves the other more. This song depicts the sadness and pain experienced by one trying to remind their former lover of all the precious memories they once shared. What hurts the most is that the purported lover doesn’t even seem to remember her subject, a torturous event for him. James Arthur released his rendition of this song the same year.
16. “Let’s Hurt Tonight” – OneRepublic
Recorded in 2014 but released in 2016, this pop song is a song of pain and hurting, seemingly resulting from a dysfunctional relationship. The couple seems to agree that they hurt each other, yet neither has the strength to walk away from it. In the end, they both agree to stay and hurt – a bittersweet love.
17. “Physical Pain” – Joan Armatrading
Released in 2003 from the album “Lover Speak”, the song depicts a great deal of hurt. A failed relationship, a broken heart, the void of not having a loved one there when you need them, the song depicts emptiness and the realization that the relationship broke as a result of lies. Though the pain is emotional, the song talks of physical pain, signifying immense overall turmoil. The song speaks out as a query as to whether the lovers will ever be together again.
18. “Life Ain’t Always Beautiful” – Gary Allan
This country music song released in 2005 depicts the hurting and suffering of a person who was once in love. It talks about life and how hard it sometimes gets, signifying that happiness is sometimes a long way out. The artist depicts that the struggles of life make one stronger and that they are inevitable. However, in the midst of all that, the emptiness of being alone is deep. The song signifies the harsh reality of life – that pain, suffering and hurting will always be a part of existence.
19. “Love Hurts” – Nazareth
This 1974 rock song talks about love as a source of pain and suffering that, in reality, there is no blissfulness or happiness brought about by love. The artist is convinced that love is a scam and does not really exist as something beautiful. The composition talks of love like it is a fallacy, a non-existent self-created illusion used to make us believe that there is something, yet there is nothing.
20. “Give Me Novacaine” – Green Day
From the album “American Idiot“, this 2004 song with indie and alternative music beats talks about pain and suffering. At the beginning of the song, it is unclear what is causing the suffering and throbbing migraine, but it states that a long goodnight kiss will fix it all. It depicts someone who has suffered for so long, and they are now tired of the overwhelming sensation caused by pain. As the song progresses, it changes focus to a particular female subject. It queries her existence, likening her to a bomb waiting to detonate.
21. “Pain” – Three Days Grace
This 2006 rock song is a sad song implying that pain is better than feeling nothing at all. It talks of pain as if it is a good thing; as the artist states, he can’t get enough of it. It also depicts love as a solution to pain as, without it, nothing is enough. There’s a lot of hurting and suffering depicted in these words, signified by the feeling of numbness that has been ongoing for a while.
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As the Head Editor at Music Grotto, Liam edits content produced from over 30 professional music/media journalists and contributing writers. He works closely with journalists and other staff to format and publish music content for the Music Grotto website. Liam is also the founding member of Music Grotto and is passionate in disseminating editorial content to its readers.