The truth is that life can be dark at times, and we all go through tough times. But with time, you can always find answers that will leave you feeling much better. The good news is that music was created to heal the soul and has gotten a lot of people through many difficult situations. So, let’s take a look at some songs that might help you get through whatever you are going through.
1. Cemetery Drive – My Chemical Romance
Cemetery Drive is a disheartening song about a woman who is haunted by romance guilt. The woman was cheating on her husband with a side lover. After the husband learns about the affair, the woman is overwhelmed by pain and guilt. Instead of admitting to her mistakes, she opts to take her own life – to end the pain—the song featured on My Chemical Romance’s first live DVD – Life on The Murder Scene.
2. Adam’s Song – Blink-182
Blink-182 is famous for its sophomoric, immature, and fun songs about college life, girls, and concerts. However, Adam’s Song takes on a whole new path. The song is about depression, with some lyrics hinting about suicide. Mental illness and depression can make it complicated for us to think of others and how they would deal with our absence. Although it may not provide much comfort, it is worthy of remembering that our absence will significantly impact those around us and that tomorrow might bring the change we have been waiting for.
3. Everybody Hurts – R.E.M
‘Everybody Hurts’ was a message to R.E.M.’s teenage fans to stay strong and keep hoping for brighter days ahead. Every aspect of the song revolved around helping stop teenagers from committing suicide. The song debuted the band’s 1992 album – Automatic for the People. The song’s lyrics were even used by ‘The Samaritans’ – a British emotional support listening service – in an advertising campaign in response to the high suicide rates amongst young men.
4. Listen Before I Go – Billie Eilish
Billie Eilish is one of the biggest pop stars of the 21st century, but just like everyone else, she also goes through the pains of life. In the song, she warns her lover to listen to her before she takes her own life. Listen before I go was featured on her 2018 debut album – When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go? Although the song is not necessarily about her life struggles, she has been quite open about her struggles with depression. In an interview with Genius, the pop star said she impersonates other people’s thoughts and problems when writing her songs.
5. Elizabeth on the Bathroom Floor – Eels
Elizabeth on the Bathroom Floor was the opening number on the legendary Electro-Shock Blues Album. The song and album are a memoir of a period in Everett’s life where his mother was diagnosed with lung cancer, and his sister was going through Electric Shock Therapy (E.S.T.) The song is written from Elizabeth’s – Mark Oliver Everett’s sister – point of view. She, unfortunately, committed suicide. The album touches on many complex subjects, including death, cancer, and suicide.
6. Suicide Solution – Ozzy Osbourne
Suicide Solution is one of the most controversial songs on this list. The song is a warning against the dangers of alcohol. In an interview, Osbourne acknowledged that he was inspired to write the song after the death of Bon Scott – AC/DC’s lead singer – who died after a night of heavy drinking. Ozzy himself was also dealing with his drinking problems at the time.
In 1985, Ozzy and his record label were sued by the parents of a teenager who shot himself while listening to Osbourne’s album – Speak of the Devil. They claimed that the song encouraged him to commit suicide.
7. How Do You Get That Lonely – Blaine Larsen
Jamie Teachener and Rory Lee wrote the song after Rory received a call from his daughter’s school. Rory’s daughter wanted to go home because her boyfriend had committed suicide, and they had found the body that morning.
8. Save Myself – Ed Sheeran
‘Life can get you down so I just numb the way it feels, I drown it with a drink and out-of-date prescription pills’ – the two lines sum up what the entire song is about.
In the song, Ed Sheeran talks about how we go through life trying to be there for others and forget that we need to care for ourselves. If you are going through tough times in your life, maybe you need to take some time off to reconnect with yourself and heal. When you’re feeling good in your skin, you will be in a better position to come through for others in your life.
9. A Day without Me – U2
Mental illness and depression happen to be all around us, and it is usually difficult to acknowledge this until it hits close to home. Most people believe that the song was inspired by Ian Curtis’s death – Joy Division’s lead singer. However, Bono wrote ‘A Day Without Me’ a year before Curtis’s end, but it was released just soon after the tragic incident. Bono’s friend’s suicide attempt inspired the song.
10. Lullaby – Nickelback
This is an uplifting song for all those going through difficult times in their lives. The song talks about how easy it is to feel like you’re stuck in a never-ending loop of pain and suffering when going through some troubling issues. However, if you keep your head up and anticipate a better day, it will eventually rise.
Life is complex, and we all go through difficult situations, but if you stay hopeful, the clouds will eventually pass – leaving behind a stronger, more resilient version of yourself.
11. Paint it Black – The Rolling Stones
The up-tempo track was released in 1966 as a single. The Rolling Stones later added it to the U.S. version of the band’s fourth album – Aftermath. The song is written from a depressed person’s point of view, who wants everything to turn black to match how he feels inside.
‘I look inside myself and see my heart is black / I see my red door and must have it painted black / maybe then I’ll fade away and not have to face the facts / it’s not easy facing up when your whole world is black’ – these are the most profound lyrics of the entire song.
12. Don’t Try Suicide – Queen
The song perfectly captures the feeling of suicidal thoughts. At times suicide might seem like the best way to get back at someone who hurt you, but in hindsight, you will be hurting yourself and causing suffering to those who genuinely care for you.
13. How to Disappear Completely – Radiohead
The song talks about the different realities created by our everyday thoughts. When dealing with depression or any other mental illness, it is easy to feel detached from oneself and our world. The song is about Yorke’s dream of powerlessly floating down the Liffey, and some of the lyrics were inspired by a conversation with Michael Stipe – R.E.M.’s lead singer. Michael suggested that Yorke deal with his problems by shutting out the world around him and saying, ‘I’m not here, this is not happening.’
14. I Need a Miracle – Third Day
I Need a Miracle was inspired by a conversation the band members had with a couple after a concert in New Jersey. The couple described how their son’s near-death experience after having suffered from depression for some time had affected them greatly. He had gone into the woods and was planning to commit suicide. But before he could do it, he heard the band’s song – Cry Out to Jesus – on the radio. The song gave him the strength to keep pushing on with life and changed his whole life perspective.
It is incredible how just a few words of encouragement can give us the power we need to keep pressing on with the hopes of a brighter day that will eventually rise.
15. Suicidal Thoughts – The Notorious B.I.G.
Biggie is arguably one of the most influential hip-hop artists to have ever lived. Suicidal Thoughts was his last track off his debut album ‘Ready to Die.’ In the song, Biggie calls his label-mate Puff in the middle of the night to explain his suicidal thoughts. He expresses guilt for all the wrongs he’s committed and describes how he feels unloved and unwanted. On the other end of the line, Puff tries to talk him out of committing suicide. However, he is not successful, and at the end of the song, Biggie pulls the trigger. The fictional death is directly tied to Biggie’s follow-up album – Life after Death.
16. Suicidal – YNW Melly
In the song, Melly describes his pain after breaking up with his lover after discovering she cheated on him. The rapper explains how his partner’s love is ‘suicidal’ after she broke his heart and damaged his mental health. He talks about drowning his pain and emotional distress in liquor.
Romantic relationships are one complex area in life that most of us eventually experience. Although they can be beautiful and soul-building, they can also be the exact opposite – ugly and life-wrecking. However, we should never forget that once we love ourselves enough, we don’t need to rely on others to feel complete. And when that other person leaves or hurts us, we are at peace knowing that we played our part the best we could.
Next: Songs about breakups to get over it
17. Whiskey Lullaby – Brad Paisley and Alison Krauss
Whiskey Lullaby is a duet with Alison Krauss about a married couple; when the husband went to war, his wife got into a side relationship with another man. When he finds out that his wife was cheating, he drinks himself to death but leaves a note telling her that he still loves her. In the next verse, the woman is mourning her husband’s loss. She is guilty about the whole incident and drinks herself to death as well.
18. Fire and Rain – James Taylor
The classic number was released in 1970 and is one of Rolling Stone magazine’s 500 greatest songs of all time. The song talks about the suicide death of Suzanne Schnerr – James Taylor’s childhood friend. In the song, James also opens up about his struggles with depression and drug addiction.
When dealing with depression, most people want to find a way out, so mental illness and substance addiction are closely associated. However, drugs offer temporary numbness to the situation but do more harm than good in the long run.
19. Stay Alive – Smile Empty Soul
Just from the band’s name, you can tell what they were really about. Stay Alive is a classic alternative rock hit single released in 2009 to reassure anyone feeling empty and stuck. Even though you might feel like you don’t have any options, or like no one cares about you, and things are just falling apart, always remember to stay alive – because better days are yet to come your way.
20. How to Save a Life – The Fray
How to Save a Life was one of the band’s most popular songs. Isaac Slade was inspired to write the song following his experience after working at a camp as a mentor for troubled teens. The verses take on the perspective of an adult trying to confront a troubled teen, while the chorus is a lamentation of the singer who was unable to save a friend because he had no idea how to.
21. Never Too Late – Three Days Grace
This is another beautiful anti-suicide song about a friend willing to give everything he has to help a suicidal friend, even though he is also suffering and feeling stuck in a dark place.
Sometimes all we need to face the pain in our life is someone who genuinely cares about us, willing to lend an ear when we need someone to listen. However, the most important person we have is ourselves, and we should try to find it in our hearts to accept who we are and learn to love ourselves just the way we are.
22. A Little More – Machine Gun Kelly ft. Victoria Monet
M.G.K. is a household name in today’s hip-hop industry, with many young fans worldwide. A Little More is a sad yet uplifting song taking a close look at the illness plaguing our society. In the song, the artists acknowledge that all we need is a little more love, and the world will be a better place. In the music video, a young woman commits suicide while onlookers record the tragic event instead of helping her.
23. One Last Breath – Creed
The song portrays a man who is crying out for help. He is barely holding on and feels like the road he has been traveling in life has led him nowhere. With all the frustration he is experiencing, he does not feel like he has the energy to save himself, but no one is around to hear his cry. He is staring death in the eyes, and he is starting to accept it. Looking back at his mistakes in life, he feels like he found salvation, but it all turns out to be an illusion.
24. Inside the Fire – Disturbed
Inside the Fire is a song about a girl David Draiman – Disturb’s guitarist – was in a relationship with. She commits suicide, and he can hear the devil’s voice over his shoulder trying to convince him to take his own life to join her in the afterlife – because this is the only way they can be reunited again. The song looks closely at people’s emotional pain and suffering after someone they love commits suicide.
25. By the Grace of God – Katy Perry
In the piano ballad, Katy Perry talks about the struggles she went through during the breakdown of her marriage to Russell Brand. In an interview with Billboard magazine that at one point, she was lying on her bathroom floor, warding off suicidal thoughts. According to Perry, the song is a real-life testament to how difficult were at a certain point in her life.
26. The Great Escape – P!nk
The song is about the fear of experiencing emotions to the extent that we need to hide our feelings. Most people will opt to suppress their feelings with medical substances and alcohol. P!nk wrote the song to remind us that it’s better to experience all the emotions in our lives instead of clocking out.
Being human means experiencing the highs and lows that come with life. Sometimes it’s okay that you want to be by yourself and cry, while at other times, you want to be with your family sharing fun times.
27. Coming down – Five Finger Death Punch
Coming Down is a musical suicide note featured in Five Finger Death Punch’s album – American Capitalist. The band worked with the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline to release the single. The song aimed at raising awareness about suicide prevention among the band’s fans. At the end of the music video, there is a call to action alongside the lifeline’s phone number.
28. Make it Stop – Rise Against
This is the second single off the band’s sixth studio album – Endgame. The song peaked at #6 on the Billboard’s Alternative Songs chart and was part of the ‘It Gets Better Project’ – a non-profit organization founded by Dan Savage. The song was inspired by a series of catastrophic events, including several suicides. It deals with the harassment and bullying of LGBT youth, and the message is that; it can get better, and it will get better if you give it a chance to get better – such a powerful message in a 4-minute song.
29. That Year – Brandi Carlile
Carlile wrote the song in memory of a high school friend who committed suicide when she was only 16. In the song, she expresses her anger and confusion over her friend’s choice but later comes to a place of understanding and forgiveness. Many people have described the song as ‘poignant and beautiful and said it has helped them get over some difficult times and suicidal thoughts.
30. Numb – Linkin Park
This is one of the most descriptive songs about suicide. It talks about how difficult it gets when we try to live to other people’s expectations of us. We often feel like we do not control our own lives, which ultimately leads to depression. If people we love expect us to act a particular way or be someone we are not, it can be a massive burden over our shoulders. We end up living fake lives and feel like we cannot be who we are, and life becomes meaningless at the end of it all.
31. Move Along – The All American Rejects
Move Along was written to shine a light on depression’s darkest side – Suicide. The song aims to give hope and comfort to people who are dealing with suicidal thoughts. It has helped many people go through tough times in their lives, dealing with their suicidal thoughts or the loss of someone close to them – through suicide. ‘When all you’ve got to keep is strong, move along, move along, like I know you do – these lyrics have inspired many to keep pressing on in this journey called life.
32. Her Last Words – Courtney Parker
This is one of the best songs to correlate with self-harming and suicidal thoughts and feelings. You need some comfort knowing that you are not going through difficult situations alone and that other people have been through the same type of feelings. The song was written by one of Parker’s close friends while she was battling depression.
If you are going through rough waves in your life, always remember that people genuinely care about you. And they would be devastated if you were not there anymore.
33. 10 Years Today – Bullet for My Valentine
10 Years today is about a friend of Matthew Tuck who had tragically committed suicide 10 years before Tuck wrote the song. The piece shows how suicide affects people left behind —pain, guilt, and unanswered questions that will never be answered. People who genuinely cared are devastated and left, dealing with a lot of anger and guilt, wishing that there was something they could have done to help.
34. Big Quiet – The Dead Ships
The band’s lead singer, Delvin McCluskey, wrote the Big Quiet to commemorate his best friend. He had been struggling to find meaningful work that brought purpose to his life. Instead, he was stuck doing repetitive work in a field he was not interested in. He ended up committing suicide a few months after moving out of his parent’s home. Delvin reflects on the good times they shared in the song and hopes that he will return to this life after sorting out his issues.
35. I Know It’s Over – The Smiths
The song is also commonly referred to as the ‘bleakest ballad.’ It is about a dying man who reflects on what he feels was his lonely, wasted life. The song was featured in the band’s 1986 ‘The Queen is Dead’ album.
36. Goodbye I’m Sorry – Jamestown Story
The song is about a teen who believes that his life is worthless, mainly because of social isolation, neglect, and abuse. He loses all hope if anyone realizes that he wants to end it all. The traumatizing situations he went through when growing up have put him in a position that makes him believe that no one around them cares. At the end of it all, he wants to end his pain and suffering, and the only way he thinks he can do that is by committing suicide.
37. The Outsider – A Perfect Circle
A friend or parent wrote the Outsider of someone who has an extraordinary life but is dealing with suicidal thoughts. The narrator cannot understand why the person is suicidal and thinks that the person is only acting up to gain attention.
38. Cityside – The Dead Ships
McCluskey was getting an informal tour of San Francisco when a friend pointed out that the Golden Gate Bridge was the second most popular suicide spot in the world. Interestingly, most jumpers chose to do so off the side of the bridge that faces the city. Thus the lyric ‘Everybody jumps off the city side.’
Although it is unfortunate, there is something poetic about the fact that, instead of jumping off the side facing the vastness of the ocean, most people jump-off with one last fading image of the city – like they are sending a message to the town.
39. Damn it, Rose – Don Henley
The sad, haunting song about suicide takes us on a trip through the ‘life,’ and the loss suffered. The writer imagines things could have been different if only things were not like they were, and maybe a good night’s sleep could have healed a troubled mind.
40. Give Me Novacaine – Green Day
It talks about the pain and suffering Jimmy felt in his ‘suicide note.’ He needed a way to relieve the pain that he thought. The song is about Jimmy wishing that life’s problems would disappear.
41. A Broken Wing – Martina McBride
The song recounts the story of a young woman trying to escape from an emotionally abusive relationship. The song’s conclusion could be interpreted to indicate that the woman either ran or committed suicide at the end of it all.
The songs about suicide have had both positive and negative impact to loved ones in society as seen in the list above. Always love and take care of the one you cherish.
Important: If you’re experiencing intense bursts of anxiety, depression, or suicidal thoughts, kindly seek out professional help as soon as possible – and always remember that things are going to get better.
As the Head Editor and Writer at Music Grotto, Liam helps write and edit content produced from professional music/media journalists and other 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.
Liam’s lifelong love for music makes his role at Music Grotto such a rewarding one. He loves researching, writing and editing music content for Music Grotto.