Tearjerkers Essentials

Tearjerkers Essentials

A tear-jerking song can be about a sad situation, such as grieving a loved one or living through a terrible breakup, although some actually describe happy times: the ache of loving someone so much it hurts, or feeling nostalgic for a carefree, lovely day. As a testament to this emotional diversity, tear-jerkers aren’t all slow, downtrodden dirges. These songs come in all sonic shapes and sizes: majestic pop ballads, skeletal folk songs, wistful R&B slow jams, earnest rock songs and even towering power ballads. Tear-jerking songs also feature striking moments—like, say, an inimitable Prince guitar solo—or succeed on the strength of a brilliantly executed vocal: Whitney Houston’s glassy vibrato; the lonely, keening bray of Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon; Jeff Buckley’s fragile, heartbroken falsetto, or Sinéad O’Connor’s full-throated, anguished warble. No matter the style—or whether these songs induce tears of joy or sadness—the ultimate goal is to make your eyes well up.

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