10 Albums For Depressed People

4. Nick Drake, Five Leaves Left (1968)

The talented Nick Drake’s first album, Five Leaves Left, represents the start of what was a short-lived but very musically rich career that would be characterized by melancholy lyrics, listless guitar melodies, longing for connection with others, expressions of isolation and alienation, and recursions into fantasy scenarios and worlds. The song featured here, “Fruit Tree,” deals with Drake’s failure to achieve fame as a singer/ songwriter, although one would expect that Drake would have had a really hard time dealing with fame. By the end of his life, Drake – so distant and alienated – ended up moving back to his parents place. From his Wikipedia entry:

Referring to [the time just before his death], John Martyn (who in 1973 wrote the title song of his album Solid Air for and about Drake) described him as the most withdrawn person he’d ever met. He would borrow his mother’s car and drive for hours without purpose on occasion, until he ran out of petrol and had to ring his parents to ask to be collected. Friends have recalled the extent to which his appearance had changed. During particularly bleak periods of his illness, he refused to wash his hair or cut his nails. Early in 1972, Drake suffered a nervous breakdown, and was hospitalized for five weeks.

In 1974, Drake died at home via an antidepressant overdose. He was 26 years old.

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  • ZaneEatsWorld

    First wave emo got the shaft. WHERE MY GET UP KIDS/PROMISE RING/CAP'N JAZZ AT, BSG?!?!

  • http://www.facebook.com/wingedthing Leigh Alexander

    antlers – hospice is my favorite depressed album

  • Oliver Miller

    The Smiths or gtfo.

    • ryan chang

      morrissey is really funny, in a 'fucked-but-totally-ok-with-it' way

    • angelikap

      The Smiths were def conspicuously absent..

  • star colonel kotaire

    yo beeKEEPERS, forgot osasis what's the story (morning glory)

  • ryan chang

    i like that chopin is included. was hoping to see the get up kids or jawbreaker on this list.

  • http://twitter.com/lukebourassa Luke Bourassa

    “Saturdays = Youth” is a gorgeous album and I've never considered along side the word “depressed.” Should have included Beck's “Sea Change”

    • brandypass

      I agree. Sea Change is bar far the most depressing album I own. Well maybe that or City and Colour “Bring Me Your Love” (Which is gorgeous).

  • alexrax

    oh man this is my life. elliott smith was my break up record. st ide's heaven was my (super depressing) jam.

  • scott

    My December by Kelly Clarkson (2007) is a fantastic yet depressing album

    • http://twitter.com/straponheart Evan Hatch

      could this be a troll even greater than the likes of myself? i cannot discern.

      • scott

        no im being serious. it's really underrated and it's really good and different than all of her other albums. it's not as commercial. you should check out some of the songs – some highlights include Irvine, Don't Waste Your Time, and Maybe. To be honest, the whole album is very cohesive and tells a nice story.

  • Ben Leach

    I think its funny that Nico, Elliot Smith, and Nick Drake are all on this list and all have (arguably) the best songs on the Royal Tennenbaums soundtrack. Why did I never think of that movie as super depressing until just now? weird.

  • http://tomhankssuperfan.blogspot.com megan boyle

    nick drake, jesus. i didn't know that's what happened to him, or forgot that happened to him, maybe. i liked reading this article.

  • Julian Williams3

    Pink Floyd – “The Wall” (Too Obvious?)
    Bob Dylan – “Blood on the Tracks”
    Any Damien Rice

    • brandypass

      Love The Wall!

    • RamonaCC

      “Blood on the Tracks” is so good and damn depressing as hell.

  • http://twitter.com/joshliburdi Josh Liburdi

    when I think depressed, I think jason molina. everything he writes is about the blues and depression. and it is all wonderful. (especially Let Me Go x3 and Didn't It Rain.)

  • http://twitter.com/ohfaith Faith Wright

    carissa's wierd- songs about leaving

  • Amy

    Bonnie Prince Billy – “I See a Darkness”

  • Alex0307

    Bon Iver – For Emma Forever Ago.

  • clint

    really glad “
    Frédéric Chopin’s Preludes and Nocturnes” was on here. was surprised to see that. Good post Brandon!If you make a counter article “ten albums for really happy people”.. N'sync's first album and some blink 182 album HAVE to be on there cause that shit is goofy as hell and makes people so damn happyi love you

  • bollocks

    This list could use more Antlers, Mountain Goats, the National, Walkmen, and Joy Division.

    • brandypass

      The Mountain Goats, yeah.

    • Megan

      the National's Boxer is so goddamn depressing.

  • Tracy

    I second the Mountain Goats.

    Also, I appreciate the inclusion of classical music. For all of y'all depressed people looking for some classical, though, I'd go for Rachmaninoff, Beethoven, Mahler, or Stravinsky.

  • brandypass

    I really like this article and it's obvious it took a lot of work to put it together and write so well. Nice.

  • http://valentine-kitchenson.tumblr.com valentine-kitchenson

    Where's the Joy Division? Unknown Pleasures is the ultimate album of self-loathing and pity.

    Good job on the article, though. I enjoyed reading it!

    • Mylum

      I agree with the lack Joy Division, but the album would have to ‘Closer.’

      That album will Make you depressed no matter what mood you’re in.

  • http://valentine-kitchenson.tumblr.com valentine-kitchenson

    Not to mention Beck's Sea Change.

    That album makes me want to start slitting my wrists; in the best way possible, of course.

    • brandypass

      Yeah a few of us mentioned that one.

  • http://twitter.com/buytoiletpaper Meaghan S

    No mention of Neutral Milk Hotel? Two-headed Boy. also, so, so, so many others. Built to Spill oldschool.

    • Asforteri

      oh man. two-headed boy is definitely some fetal-position shit.

  • http://stephentullydierks.blogspot.com stephen

    i like a lot of these albums

    it's sofia coppola, not sophia coppola, btw

    • Brandon

      thanks stephen

      • http://fastfoodies.org Briana Ritz

        don't you mean…steven

  • tim

    neil young- tonight's the night is good for drinking alone and feeling melodramatic

    • Asforteri

      my dad once dramatically said, “sometimes you are alone and drinking and depressed and it's just you… and… neil” thanks dad, now i can't hear him without thinking about you wallowing and making me feel guilty for not calling more.

  • http://twitter.com/rislynsey christopher lynsey

    Dying via anti-depressant overdose. Jesus, depressing.

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