Welcome to the Sad Boi Hour
Reading Time: 6 minutes
A&E may be the most fun department, but that doesn’t mean our writers don’t get sad every now and then. This issue, we asked some of our writers to find the song that makes them the saddest and talk about it.
Listen to this issue’s Spotify playlist to be even more immersed in the mood.
Suah Chung - Lin-Manuel Miranda “It’s Quiet Uptown”
On the subway home, I usually feel drained, brain dead, and/or upset, so I listen to music. Music is a way for me to connect with my emotions without using words. When I first heard “It’s Quiet Uptown” a few years ago on a friend’s recommendation, I ugly-cried. It’s about a couple who is trying to recover from the death of their first son and recover their broken marriage. Though I don’t relate to their exact situation, I can’t help but understand the lyrics, “The moments when you’re in so deep / It feels easier to just swim down.” The soft piano notes in the background soothe me until I stop crying when I’m upset. I really love how the harmonies of the violin and the viola completely blow me away. Lin-Manuel Miranda’s broken vocals are painful and heartbreaking. As I continued to listen to this song, I noticed it wasn’t narrated by the couple, but the people around the couple, and the meaning of the song grew from grief to empathizing with the feelings of other people.
Ahmed Hussein - Chance the Rapper “Same Drugs”
Many times as I walk home because the transit system in Staten Island sucks, I find myself reminiscing about the past. No one recreates my feelings as well as Chance. A rapper by trade (surprise, surprise!), Chance went out of his comfort zone to make this song. The piano in the background sets the tone for the story of Chance’s relationships that failed because the two no longer did the “same drugs.” Chance uses these “drugs” to symbolize the differences they had developed over the years. The back-and-forth that Chance seems to have with the chorus creates an interesting conversational atmosphere that no other artist can replicate. There are no hard feelings between Chance and his partner; there’s just a nostalgia for the times that have passed. An ode to both the past and future, the song conveys hope, which is why I love it so much. Just like Chance, I try to focus on the good times I’ve had in the past, while acknowledging the pain. Sometimes, I want to go back to being a wide-eyed kid who hasn’t forgotten how to fly.
Laura Ilioaei - Bad Bunny feat. Drake “Mia”
As of the present, I do not believe love exists. This statement sounds contradictory coming from a hopeless romantic with a lover who wishes to convince me otherwise.
One evening, we were exchanging songs for the other to listen to. He mused that “Mia” would most likely be a mash-up of our drastically different musical tastes. My curiosity piqued. I pulled it up on YouTube and immediately had my heartstrings plucked by its sensuality and passion.
After looking up a translation of the song’s lyrics, I felt my heart ache with the song’s vision of amorous depth and eternal devotion, a concept I had once believed was not an idealized impossibility. To this day, “Mia” sends my emotions into an overwhelming tailspin.
Shivali Korgaonkar - Daniel Caesar ft. H.E.R “Best Part”
On Friday nights, when I’m burrowed in my bed and have exhausted every possible rom-com movie on Netflix, “Best Part” is my go-to song. Though not necessarily a sad song, “Best Part” makes you think about the possibilities of being in a relationship with someone whose entire world revolves around you and your happiness. Normally, my Spotify playlist is constantly revamped with new songs, leaving everything at the bottom forgotten for weeks. However, even though “Best Part” is one of the first songs I ever added, I am constantly scrolling down to be comforted by the words of these two incredible artists. I listen to it when I need to fill a silent void, like during a walk to soccer practice after a tiring day at school, or when I finish watching “The Edge of Seventeen” and long for a hug. The comforting voices of Daniel Caesar and H.E.R. provide the perfect remedy for the nighttime blues, as they tell a story of effortless love.
Julie Grandchamp-Desraux - Twenty One Pilots “Kitchen Sink”
When I first listened to this song, I cried when it was over. It is so passionate and put my thoughts into words. I had been to a “college day” event at school and it made me nervous because I had no idea what I actually wanted to do with my life. The song captures that feeling really well. “Kitchen Sink” tackles the difficulties of finding your purpose in life. It starts off really mellow, but then gets faster, and towards the end, it’s just pure screaming. It describes the band’s frontman, Tyler Joseph, who struggles to find purpose and meaning in his life and is really relatable.
Morris Raskin - Xaviur Wulf “Thunder Man”
This song shows a more emotional side to modern rap, as Xaviur Wulf raps about everything from his family situation to getting high in order to escape social pressure. He’s not afraid to go into the depths of his dark side and pull out something beautiful, which is something that most modern rappers lack the ability to do. Xaviur Wulf has crafted the perfect sad song, appropriate for rainy days and cloudy nights.
Grace Goldstein - The 1975 “Be My Mistake”
This song’s narrative isn’t that relatable to me—the singer is in a love triangle, forcing himself to choose between two people he needs in his life in two different ways. Still, the lyrics are so raw and vulnerable that it effortlessly stirs up mixed feelings about all kinds of relationships and experiences. It has a slow, acoustic sound unlike most other The 1975 songs, which are more pop-oriented and heavy on the drums.
Matthew Wagman - Hippo Campus “Way it Goes”
Hippo Campus is a talented band that managed to create a very well-executed song that pokes fun at their own odd nature and how critics view them. The song is also really fun to play on the guitar and its melancholy atmosphere not only helps drive home the band’s overall vibe, but also works so well on top of those chords.
Xi Lu - Pixies “All I Think About Now”
The lyrics talk about how “I always think about the past” and are ambiguous with what the listener is supposed to be thinking about: missed opportunities and lonely memories. On Friday nights, when everybody except for me is out somewhere doing something, I lie in bed and think of the things I once said, that I wish I could take back, or the things I once did and regretted, or opportunities that I let pass me by. Though the common convention is to not dwell on the past, this song prompts me to do just that. The vocals in this song are akin to rhythmic sighing, and they feed further into the melancholy nature of the song.
Jiahe Wang - Radiohead “Street Spirit”
The summer after 8th grade, I moved from a quiet neighborhood in Los Angeles to New York. The city was overwhelming—New Yorkers are always so irritable, minding their own business; no one would even stop to ask if you were okay if you were crying on the street. Freshman year of high school was tougher than I had expected. I had no friends in this huge, unfamiliar city, and my only solace was my music. On my way home from school, I would often listen to my sad playlist, sulking about my loneliness. I have no idea how many times I cried to “Street Spirit.” Radiohead just seemed to understand all the nuances of my sadness so perfectly: “Rows of houses all bearing down on me / I can feel their blue hands touching me.” The melancholy chords and Thom Yorke’s angsty falsetto helped me get through the seemingly endless gloom. Now, when I listen to this song, it reminds me of how strong I am and how far I’ve gotten.
Jacqueline Thom - Son Lux “Dream State”
I didn’t realize until the end of my first listen how sad and fearful this song is and how much it reminds me of myself. I always think about what I will be like when I am older, uglier, and wrinklier, when my bones ache and my hands shake. Will I remember the memories I have now? Will I be happier than I am now or just depressed?
I think of this song and how sad it will be when I finally wake up realizing I’m not invincible and that I won’t maintain my youth, my identity, or my life forever.
Frontman Ryan Lott’s quavering, earnest voice asks, “How do we feel in that photograph / And how do we feel it again?” It scares me how little life I truly have left and how forgetful of the good times I will be when I’m older. Am I just living in a dream state?