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Suicide is a difficult and complex topic that has been explored through various forms of art, including music. Over the years, many artists have written and performed songs that address suicide, depression, and mental health. These songs have the power to connect with listeners who may be struggling with similar issues and provide a sense of comfort and understanding.
In this article, we will be exploring the top 10 best suicide songs of all time. These songs have resonated with listeners and have become iconic representations of the struggles and emotions surrounding suicide. From classic rock to contemporary pop, these songs come from a variety of genres and artists, but all share a common theme of grappling with the complexities of mental health and the tragedy of suicide. We hope that this list will serve as a tribute to those who have lost their lives to suicide and a reminder that there is always help available for those who are struggling.
1. R.E.M. – Everybody Hurts
“Everybody Hurts” is a hauntingly beautiful ballad by the American rock band R.E.M. Released in 1992, the song quickly became an anthem of comfort and solace for listeners around the world. With its memorable opening piano riff and emotive lyrics, “Everybody Hurts” speaks to the universal experience of pain and suffering, reminding us that we are not alone in our struggles. The song’s soaring chorus, led by Michael Stipe’s powerful vocals, has become one of the most iconic in rock history, and the track’s emotional resonance has only grown stronger over time. From its inclusion in films, television shows, and commercials to its enduring popularity as a go-to track for moments of sadness and despair, “Everybody Hurts” continues to touch hearts and lift spirits more than 25 years after its initial release.
2. Lou Reed – The Bed
“The Bed” is a poignant and deeply personal song by legendary singer-songwriter Lou Reed. Released in 1973 as part of his solo album “Berlin,” the song tells the story of Caroline, a young woman trapped in a cycle of drug addiction and abuse. Through Reed’s haunting lyrics and raw, emotive delivery, we are transported into Caroline’s world, where we witness her struggles with addiction, relationships, and mental health. As the song builds to its heartbreaking conclusion, we are left with a powerful reminder of the destructive power of addiction, and the toll it takes on those who suffer from it. “The Bed” is a testament to Reed’s talent as a songwriter and storyteller, and remains one of the most moving and powerful tracks in his impressive discography.
3. Don McLean – Vincent
“Vincent” is a song by American singer-songwriter Don McLean, released in 1971. The song is also known by its alternative title “Starry, Starry Night,” and is a tribute to the Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh. The song features a haunting melody with gentle acoustic guitar and piano accompaniment, and McLean’s signature clear, emotive vocals. The lyrics paint a vivid picture of van Gogh’s life, struggles, and mental illness, while also celebrating his artistic genius. The song is often cited as one of the most beautiful and poignant tributes to an artist, and has been covered by numerous artists over the years. “Vincent” remains a powerful reminder of the beauty and tragedy of the human experience.
4. Roger Waters – Goodbye Cruel World
“Goodbye Cruel World” is a track from Pink Floyd’s 1979 album, “The Wall,” written by bassist and co-lead vocalist Roger Waters. The song features a slow, mournful melody with a prominent bass line and sparse instrumentation. The lyrics explore themes of isolation, depression, and suicide, and are often interpreted as a reflection of Waters’ own struggles with mental health. The song is notable for its abrupt ending, with the final lyrics of “goodbye cruel world” fading away into silence. The song is often cited as one of the most poignant and powerful tracks on “The Wall,” and has been praised for its emotional intensity and raw honesty. Despite its dark subject matter, “Goodbye Cruel World” remains a testament to Waters’ skill as a songwriter and his ability to create deeply moving and powerful music.
5. Logic ft. Alessia Cara and Khalid – 1-800-273-8255
Logic’s “1-800-273-8255” is a powerful song that focuses on mental health awareness and suicide prevention. The title of the song is the phone number for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, and the lyrics tell a story from the perspective of someone contemplating suicide. Featuring vocals from Alessia Cara and Khalid, the song urges listeners to seek help and support when they are struggling with mental health issues. The chorus repeats the phrase “I don’t wanna be alive, I just wanna die today,” but the verses offer a message of hope and encouragement to those who are struggling. The music video for the song tells a powerful story of a young man struggling with his sexuality and feeling isolated from his family and community. In the end, he calls the Lifeline and receives the support he needs to move forward. The song has been praised for its honest and direct approach to a difficult topic, and it has helped to raise awareness of mental health issues among a wide audience.
6. James Taylor – Fire and Rain
Released in 1970, “Fire and Rain” is one of James Taylor’s most iconic songs. The song’s lyrics were inspired by Taylor’s experiences with depression, addiction, and the death of a close friend. The song features a simple acoustic guitar melody that perfectly complements Taylor’s introspective and emotional lyrics. The chorus, which includes the iconic line “I’ve seen fire and I’ve seen rain”, has become one of the most memorable in popular music history. The song was a commercial success, peaking at number three on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. “Fire and Rain” has since become a staple of Taylor’s live performances and a beloved classic in the singer-songwriter genre.
7. Mikael Akerfeldt – Isolation Years
“Isolation Years” is a song by Swedish progressive metal band Opeth, written by lead singer and guitarist Mikael Akerfeldt. The song was released on the band’s 2005 album, “Ghost Reveries”. The track features a haunting acoustic guitar intro that gradually builds into a heavier, more atmospheric sound. Akerfeldt’s vocals are introspective and emotional, reflecting on themes of isolation and loneliness. The instrumentation is complex and dynamic, with intricate guitar riffs and a powerful drum beat. The song’s climax features a soaring guitar solo that perfectly captures the song’s emotional intensity. “Isolation Years” is a standout track on the album and is often cited as one of Opeth’s best songs. The song’s lyrics and complex instrumentation showcase Akerfeldt’s talent as a songwriter and musician, cementing Opeth’s place as one of the most innovative and unique bands in the progressive metal genre.
8. Johnny Mandel (Composer) & Mike Altman (Lyrics) – Suicide is Painless
“Suicide is Painless” is a song written by Johnny Mandel and Mike Altman, and was the theme song for the popular television show, MASH. The song features a slow, melancholic melody with haunting lyrics about suicide. The lyrics were written by Mike Altman, the son of MASH’s creator, and are introspective and poignant. The song is often cited as one of the most powerful anti-war and anti-suicide songs ever written, and its inclusion in the show helped to make it an iconic piece of popular culture. The song has been covered by numerous artists over the years, and remains a poignant reminder of the devastating effects of war and mental illness.
9. The Notorious B.I.G. – Suicidal Thoughts
“Suicidal Thoughts” is a track from The Notorious B.I.G.’s 1994 album, “Ready to Die”. The song features Biggie rapping about his own suicidal thoughts, and includes dark and introspective lyrics about his mental state. The track features a haunting beat and a sample from the song “Adventures in the Land of Music” by Dynasty. The song has been praised for its raw and honest portrayal of mental illness, and remains a powerful reminder of the importance of seeking help when struggling with mental health issues. The track is often cited as one of the most powerful songs in hip-hop history, and a testament to Biggie’s skill as a lyricist and rapper.
10. Ozzy Osbourne – Suicide Solution
“Suicide Solution” is a track from Ozzy Osbourne’s 1980 album, “Blizzard of Ozz”. The song was controversial upon its release due to accusations that it promoted suicide. However, Osbourne has maintained that the song was written as a warning against the dangers of alcohol abuse. The track features a heavy metal sound with Ozzy’s signature vocals and a powerful guitar riff. The song’s lyrics explore themes of addiction and despair, and are often cited as one of Ozzy’s most personal and introspective songs. Despite the controversy surrounding its release, “Suicide Solution” remains a powerful and iconic piece of heavy metal history, showcasing Ozzy’s talent as a songwriter and musician.