It’s time to revisit our list of emotionally packed songs. If you haven’t read this post already, give it a read and listen to some of our music picks. If you’ve already read it, we need some new suggestions. What songs do you listen to that really hit you emotionally (please don’t say Lady Gaga or I’ll really think something is wrong with you).
One of my favorite bands, Black Gold, was asked the question “how does a person [aspiring musician] get to that next level?” Black Gold’s drummer, Than Luu, said this, “…Write from the heart. You know, if you’re writing songs or you’re performing do it from the heart. You know, because people can tell, I certainly can, when you’re on stage or you’ve recorded something that’s truly kinda BS. It’s not really…you’re doing it for the wrong reasons.”
I’ve asked Tommy, and I’m asking anyone reading this to please send your song suggestions either via comment at the bottom of the article or via twitter (@Ryan_Kantor). I’ll try to add as many good suggestions as I can to the article (I will be updating it as people give songs). So here are some songs that were written from the heart, a they’re linked to YouTube videos so you can hear them for yourself.
“Blackbird” by Alter Bridge: I don’t even feel like I’m exaggerating when I say this is one of the best songs I’ve ever heard. It is truly is flawless, both musically and lyrically. It is about a friend of singer Myles Kennedy who was ill and eventually passed away, and about how it was Kennedy’s hope that his friend would find peace.
With the haunting opening guitar pattern, the soaring and incredibly emotional vocals of Kennedy (evident throughout, but when you hear the chorus, you can’t help but appreciate the emotion and drama), and the interlude that evolves into a two-phase guitar solo (the first part is done by Kennedy, the second by Mark Tremonti) that is powerful and dramatic enough to send chills down your spine, this song is an absolute masterpiece.
“Shine” by Black Gold: The dramatic soft intro, the vocal interlude (2:41), the delivery, it all comes together in a great sounding, dynamic, emotional tune. You absolutely must watch the video to understand what the song is about and have a true appreciation for it. Please share you’re interpretation in the comments!
“Never Again” by Disturbed: If you’re going to sing about the Holocaust you better do it justice and create a musical masterpiece. Jewish-American singer David Draiman pours his soul out in “Never Again,” aptly named after the Jewish post-Holocaust rallying cry.
This emotional song takes you from sadness to anger to pride and then does it all over again. It even takes a subtle shot at Iranian President and Holocaust denier (AKA idiot), Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. “Never Again” is one of Disturbed’s deepest tracks and hits an emotional chord with any listener, especially those that feel a connection to the Jewish community (me).
“A Man Needs a Maid” by Neil Young: A soft yet extremely powerful song. It has a somber tone throughout, and Young’s emotional vocal delivery, as well as his elegant piano work and the epic orchestration, make it a truly great song. The meaning is somewhat open for interpretation; clearly it has something to do with Young’s personal life–perhaps about him falling out of love but still being dependent on a woman.
“Venice Queen” by Red Hot Chili Peppers: Even though the Chili Peppers have had numerous huge hits, two of their best and most emotional songs didn’t get the attention they deserved. One would be “Wet Sand” from their Stadium Arcadium album, which I’ve heard on the radio, but was overlooked in favor of Dani California. The other is “Venice Queen” from their By The Way album.
Venice Queen is a tribute to the drug counselor (named Gloria) that helped lead singer Anthony Keidis overcome his addictions. The lyrics:
“I know you said you don’t believe
In god do you still disagree
Now that it’s time for you to leave
Is love my friend”
are some of the best written.
“45” by Shinedown: This incredibly emotional song has an apparently blatant meaning about suicide, but vocalist Brent Smith says that it is more symbolic than it seems. He describes the 45 as a metaphor for “what [the world] hands you every day of your life.” The main theme of the song, according to Smith, is about moving on and becoming comfortable in your own skin. Regardless, it is one of the most emotional hard rock songs I have ever heard, and it is this powerful delivery that helped it become one of the songs that launched Shinedown’s career.
“Konstantine” by Something Corporate: Epically long and packed with symbolism, Konstantine certainly fits the bill as a song written from the heart.
It’s about the singer’s ex-girlfriend who he loved, but due to his constant touring and dreams of a successful music career they were unable to make their relationship work. Open to interpretation, this ballad may be especially emotional for high school sweethearts going to different colleges or college aged couples trying to figure out what they’ll do when they graduate.
Here’s a live version that captures the epicness (is that a word?) of the song. This is my personal #1.
“The Runaway” by Something Corporate: While maybe not as emotional as “Konstantine” this song is another one written from the heart.
This song is about a girl (“the runaway”) who Andrew McMahon is in love with but unfortunately the love isn’t mutual. In fact the love may not be healthy, which I take from the lyrics “I find myself in you” and even more so from the lines “I know what you really need, what you need, or I need, but either way this is where you should be, here with me.”
The inflection in McMahon’s voice and the accompanying guitars, drums, etc make this tune stand out.
Missing the Cut:
“Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence Suite” by Dream Theater: “This is the band’s longest song to date, at an insane 41:58. Broken up into movements (classical music buffs know what I mean here), the song focuses on six different mental illnesses, and six different characters, each afflicted with one of the aforementioned illnesses.”
Submitted via comment by Chris Dianora
“I Would Be Sad” by The Avett Brothers: Submitted via Twitter by @TrobTiger: While the song was probably written with some genuine emotion, it doesn’t make the cut because it isn’t delivered with emotion and simply doesn’t sound good…at all.
“Keepsake” by State Radio: Submitted via Twitter by @uublog: This song doesn’t make the cut because the music behind the lyrics is weak and unappealing.