27 People On The One Love Song That Makes Them Cry Every Time

There are just some days that you need a good cry, and, for whatever reason, heartbreak songs are always failsafes when it comes to wanting to just, like, feel something, you know, man? Because love hurts. Love hurts an awful lot. Now, I’m not saying (but I am definitely not-not saying) that I recently sobbed my eyes out to a particular unrequited love playlist on Spotify, wherein I also may or may not have phonetically typed out the lyrics to ‘I Will Always Love You’ to a friend. And I realized that I almost seek out the heartbreak as if it will help heal whatever cracks are already in my ego and soul. So I asked friends, family members, and Twitter followers (hi, kids!) the story behind their one big heartbreak song. Get the tissues ready.

Chris, 32

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UrIiLvg58SY&w=584&h=390%5D

It’s classic, easy to play, and the whole thing just affects me and gets under my skin.

Emily, 26

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v73HXr7l-l4&w=560&h=315%5D

‘O Soave Fanciulla’ from La Boheme is in Moonstruck, the movie I used to watch all the time with my parents because my mom grew up in a similar Italian/New York family and loves it very, very much. Also, 0:50-1:10 is the most perfect musical representation of being in love with someone. It’s so powerful, I get goosebumps every time.

Molly, 24

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BPMkJ_Nt82s&w=584&h=390%5D

There is nothing even remotely cool about loving this song, but I must have seen it in one of those teen rom-coms that were so pervasive in the 00s and it stuck with me. The combination of the guitar and the lyrics about still loving someone whom you’ve lost — no matter how terribly they treated you — gets me every time. And this song isn’t as popular as their other hit, ‘Back Here’, so the rare times it does come on a playlist is like a huge sucker punch I am never expecting.

Sam, 28

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f9bRmuP-kQY&w=584&h=390%5D

I’m a hopeless romantic. I cry every time I hear this song because it so perfectly sums up the real-life, somewhat awkward, word-vomiting, beautiful love that I chase pretty relentlessly. Somewhat selfishly, it’s only when I think that someone could potentially feel this way about me that I start getting teary.

Val, 25

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rEXhAMtbaec&w=584&h=390%5D

The sentiment of this song just gets me. This song has gotten me through and also helped me sink deeper into misery cause sometimes you GOTTA sink before you can swim and the gravity pulling and all the dysfunction and the stuff.

Marshall, 31

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BYQGgl-quVg&w=584&h=390%5D

#noshame, just love this song.

Joana, 21

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6R9fSfnxSN0&w=584&h=390%5D

Show me a little Latina who does not consider this the ultimate unrequited love song, and I will show you a liar.

Multiple People

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WM7-PYtXtJM&w=584&h=390%5D

[EC: When 4 completely different people send you this song with no other explanation beyond “THIS!” you know you have something solid here.]

Candice, 36

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-BQMgCy-n6U&w=584&h=390%5D

This is my favorite love story, and I always cry because they’re singing it to each other and he’s just… dead. (One time, before I watched the movie, I actually put lots of mascara on because I knew I would cry and I wanted to know what iI would look like.)

Alex, 27

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UqVT5I3jprU&w=584&h=390%5D

Coltrane wrote this song for his first wife, Naima. He called it a love letter.

Why I found this song so compelling remained just-beyond-words for me, until one day when I was riding in a car with a friend of mine who’s always been a ‘player.’ He’s intelligent and deeply affectionate with friends, but always shallower in romance, less open to love. Some terrible story came up — I don’t remember how, on the radio or in conversation — about a man losing his wife and children in tragic circumstances — a murder or an accident. He said, “God, could you imagine?” I looked at him, my tall, handsome, ladies-love-him friend, as terror crawled on his face, empathetic terror, maybe sick to his stomach, with tears in his eyes. I realized at that moment, to my shame, that it was not some inability to feel that kept him from loving. It was a depth of feeling.

He seemed… the word that keeps coming to me is ‘reverential.’ And the reminder he gave me that day serves as my explanation for Coltrane’s song — a love song but so mournful-sounding, so restrained.

We say that “rather have loved and lost…” thing so flippantly, like it’s universal, and without considering the incredible responsibility of bearing its consequences. I guess what he reminded me of is that those who don’t want to lose, who would rather not take the chance, who choose not to love — well they can be, their reasons can be, really romantic too.

That’s become what this Coltrane song is about for me. He’s showing us just how sharp that line is, between love and loss, and the responsibility that comes with it all. He’s showing how love is the Higher Power, a not-unfrightening God. And the song cries in reverence.

Andrew, 24

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e29STUIYfuM&w=584&h=390%5D

At around 1:25, he sings “time will heal a…heart that’s sore.” It’s the pause right before he says “heart” that makes me think he’s actually singing to someone who broke his heart.

Ellen, 27

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RLmxxfyKhrQ&w=584&h=390%5D

To me, this song is all about the amount of trust you have to put into love to make it work, and how it can pay off SO SO much but in the moment you feel so scary and vulnerable.

Kylen, 26

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3JWTaaS7LdU&w=584&h=390%5D

If I am alone in my car and this gem of a ballad comes on, I seriously can’t help it. Once I get to the chorus not only am I belting it out, I’m crying. Not sure if it’s just her gorgeous and sorely missed voice or the selfless heroism of Kevin Costner that plays in my mind but I’m keeping it real and admitting this.

Mike, 26

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UKIJrj0Wm0M&w=584&h=390%5D

I accidentally heard this song when my grandmother died, and now it always reminds me of that. So every time I hear it on a playlist or the radio, I can’t help but bawl out because she basically raised me.

Melissa, 31

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cSgL01PuAjc&w=584&h=390%5D

It’s everything that a girl wishes a guy would say to her in a song. Every time I hear it, I’m like, “I need to meet a guy like that.”

Evan, 29

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=21exnGWN-uI&w=584&h=390%5D

To me, this is a love song, and I always think about incredibly emo things. I got really into NMH after my first “adult” heartbreak, during a time in my life when I was figuring out important things about my young adult self. Aeroplane Over the Sea’s dissociative lyrics at once suggest everything and nothing; the past, present and future can apply to one phrase, let alone one song. But Two Headed Boy Part 2 in particular pulls up feelings of desperation and discomfort that anyone can feel when you’re working through becoming who you are. Most notably, painful memories, like that one time you made love with someone you really cared about after a definitive argument or turning point in your relationship; or remembering someone who made an incredible impact on your life and is no longer with you — whether literally or in the sense that your connection has changed. When I hear this song, I think about sepia-toned photographic memories of simpler times. I think about regrets; things you said or did but can’t take back. I think about how complicated we are as humans (essentially, we all are two-headed) but we’re also perpetually in search of something “real.” We never really know what we want or need, but the answers are also within us — there’s a certain level of fight and struggle involved in uncovering them. To me, this song reveals the tragedy and beauty in our human-ness.

Jenn, 29

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KpwIKvf6Fy4&w=584&h=390%5D

She’s got such a soulful voice, and I love listening to piano. I also found the song while coping with discovering my boyfriend was cheating on me, so it was a huge combination of timing and the song itself.

Steph, 30

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l4HpWQmEXrM&w=584&h=390%5D

It’s embarrassing, because it’s actually kind of a pretty upbeat tune, but because of that ONE FLASH MOB PROPOSAL in Home Depot, “Somebody Loves You” by Betty Who gets me choked up every time.

Sam, 22

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TV6LPx1ezYs&w=584&h=390%5D

I could have written it (it sounds so pretentious, I know), but this is exactly how I feel about my longest relationship — he had to leave for another continent, I stayed in Europe, we broke up while still loving each other, I fell in love with another guy who also had to leave – and who left me a stupid picture of a gate in Latin America which is basically “the gate of tears”, with a love letter on the back. My feelings about this whole story are very mixed up, but when I listen to this song, it all makes sense: I am lonely, I miss them both, I screwed up. Johnston’s voice just sums it up.

Harry, 27

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NcDuR9BF0Oc&w=4584&h=390%5D

‘Pale Blue Eyes’ by the Velvet Underground. It’s because when I listen to it, I think of good times coming to an end. I’ve always been drawn to this song after a breakup, and it often leads to a cycle of crying, drinking, and re-listening for several hours. I’m actually dating a girl with blue eyes right now, in a deeply passionate way full of long talks and comfortable silences, and I think we both know it can’t last. I have no doubt in my mind I’ll be bawling to Lou Reed afterwards.

Sara, 22

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4CCwUUC9aUA&w=584&h=390%5D

My ex sent this to me months after we stopped even talking and said it always makes him think of me, and it was so powerfully sad. I didn’t realize he loved me that much, honestly.

Monica, 23

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nog3J4t3BfE&w=584&h=390%5D

This song is raw. It surrenders the fairytale notion that everyone will die peacefully and go to heaven, and replaces it with the possibility of a death only accompanied with darkness. The dark symbolizes the unknown. He is telling his lover that no matter the fate, they will be together for the rest of time. The real feelings, for me, are in the little phrases he uses to describe death, i.e. “The soles of our shoes are all worn down” “No blinding light, or tunnels to gates of white, just our hands clasped so tight.”

Brian, 27

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5TAko3RH0bk&w=584&h=390%5D

It’s the best I’m-on-this-empty-subway-and-I’m-going-to-cry-right-now-behind-these-sunglasses song.

Jake, 31

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ekzHIouo8Q4&w=584&h=390%5D

One time I was driving through North Carolina and was super high and had the radio on. That Bruno Mars song “When I Was Your Man” came on and I had never heard it. I got really emotionally invested in the story of the song for some reason and at the end when he starts talking about how he hopes her next relationship is everything he wasn’t, I just started sobbing. I know it’s a terrible song, but at that moment it was better than “American Pie” and “Hallelujah” combined.

Jason, 25

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NHOf3s70w-c&w=584&h=390%5D

It’s just the thought of unexpectedly losing the love of your life. When I hear this song I think about just how awful it would be to be in this situation with my girl. This song is the perfect depiction of what it is like when someone doesn’t love you anymore, and that is something that is heartbreaking.

I wish I had a more personal connection to the song to sort of justify this fear — like, it reminding me of an old girlfriend or something — but I really don’t. For me it is just a sad song about something that I hope I don’t ever have to go through.

Jamie, 29

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=16LZrK2Erd4&w=584&h=390%5D

The lyrics of this song are heartbreaking. He knows he’s not good for her and she wants to love him, but he has to leave. Something about that feels so real and raw. Plus, Broussard’s voice has so much pain, soul and heart that he could sing the ABCs and I’d probably be weeping by letter N.

Ella’s Neighbor, ???

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RB-RcX5DS5A&w=584&h=390%5D

[EC: Now, I don’t know if I can speak for someone who I only know by their 2 am Saturday morning drinking habits, but every single weekend without fail, there comes a time when I just KNOW my neighbor’s been chumming it up with a little too much wine because Coldplay comes screaming out of his window, and I can only sit there and think, dude. I have been there. I feel that. I know that kind of drunk, and I know it well, and I do not judge.] Thought Catalog Logo Mark

Writer. Editor. Twitter-er. Instagrammer. Coffee drinker. (Okay, mostly that last one.)

Keep up with Ella on Twitter and ellaceron.tumblr.com

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