All the feels.

Music has the uncanny ability to play with our memory, vividly bringing to life people, places, situations, and feelings that played a key role during our formative years -- even the ones that didn't seem relevant at the time. Proof of which can be found in the testimonies you'll find below.

During the process of putting this feature together, we discovered that what transforms the majority of these tunes into massive tearjerkers has little to do with the song itself, but more their evocative powers. They remind us of a particular moment in space and time in which our perception of the world (or at least an element of it) changed, triggering powerful emotions in a quasi-Pavlovian way.

Before you dive in, grab some tissues; we hear this kind of sentimentality is quite contagious.


Eddie Pettersson, Writer and Model

The Doors - 'Yes, The River Knows': I was 19 and had just moved to Istanbul. Walking around Bosphorus river and exploring the city I was in love with Jim Morrison's voice and philosophy. This song makes me cry because it brings me back to nostalgic memories - it was the time I made the most important decisions of my life, and I went from the mindset of a girl to a strategic young woman.

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Alexandra Howard, Writer

Prince - 'Purple Rain'. The whole album has such an emotional impact on me, but it's this track that really gets me. It takes me back to a summer where I met all of my closest friends when I worked in a record store, and we had this album on repeat. All it took was this song to get played at midnight on NYE, too many beverages, and a reflection on how much my friends mean to me to make it so i still can't hear this track without shedding a tear.

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Chloe Foy, Musician

George Harrison - 'My Sweet Lord': It's not necessarily a sad song, but it is one that I associate with my Dad who passed away when I was 15. It was one of the songs that was played at his funeral, so will always trigger that memory, no matter how long it has been since I lost him. It doesn't always make me cry and sometimes feels very uplifting, but it really depends on the mood you're in at the time. It's something about the chorus of voices that gradually comes in and the guitar riff that pulls at my heart strings. It's a very spiritual song all in all.

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Kieran Devlin, Writer

Death Cab For Cutie - 'What Sarah Said': Ben Gibbard has a direct line to my feels at the best (and worst) of times, but 'What Sarah Said' is surgical. I originally read it as a break-up song, and it is, of sorts, a reflection on that most inscrutable of endings. Gibbard employs the waiting room setting as an abstract, a metaphor presenting the entirety of the lifespan as simply the pretext before we confront the implacable blank. With covertly arpeggiating pianos, Gibbard builds to the most devastating realisation; it's not death itself which contorts our greatest fear, but that we'll die in a vacuum, leaving behind no physical or emotional footprint. If the definition of love truly is watching someone die, then who loves us? Who'll sit there grasping our hand in adoring futility as we fade? The question inherent to 'What Sarah Said' isn't whether life and death matter, but whether - as we enter the void - we've mattered at all. The idea overwhelms me.

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Nicole Ruggiero, 3D Artist and Motion Designer

The Early November - 'Ever So Sweet': Okay this is a really embarrassing throwback and extremely personal but a song that always makes me cry is 'Ever So Sweet' by The Early November. This song really reminds me of my friend who died on her birthday. I miss her so much, I don't even know if she would remember this song. When I was in middle school and she was a few years older we used to go in AIM chatrooms and be immature and mess with people a ton. We had Soulseek accounts and we used to share music all the time. This was some of it. "Ever so sweet... you baked it in cakes for me... what you left hurts."

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Brody Kenny, Writer

Sun Kil Moon - 'I Watched The Film The Song Remains The Same': If I needed to convince a sceptic of the power of Mark Kozelek's diaristic lyrics with just one song, it'd be this one. 'I Watched The Film The Song Remains The Same' comes towards the end of Benji, after songs recounting untimely deaths of relatives and schoolchildren, Kozelek's love for his parents and his romantic and sexual escapades. It's a ten-minute odyssey that weaves together regret about past actions, reflections on death, and appreciation for where life has lead you, all tied together by a beyond transcendent movie-viewing experience. Somehow, this super-specific song becomes incredibly universal, and I can feel Kozelek's shame, joy and more even without sharing his experiences exactly.

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Evi Jai, Musician

AJR - 'Weak': As soon as the beat drops (bloop) here comes the waterworks. And no, it's not tears from being sad but tears of genuine joy. This song makes me so happy and it fills me with tears because of the overly exaggerated confidence that I feel when I hear it. It reassures me that I don't have to be perfect and live up to the expectations of others. I know the temptations that I fall weak to and I don't want to hide the fact that I enjoy some of them. I am very outspoken when it comes to smoking weed although some people may say it's toxic for me. I love the way it makes me feel, it makes me happy and when I'm at my happiest I feel I'm at my healthiest. "So I'm weak and what's wrong with that?" Is my anthem. I'm not weak-minded though. I accept my weaknesses and if I ever feel it's time to make a change I will but it will not be because of others. I'm so serious that's my favourite song.

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Francisco Gonçalves Silva, Writer

Placebo - 'Follow The Cops Back Home': Being a teenager is hard. I was no different and I had plenty of angst in me. I wasn't rebellious. I was more of the crying and being alienated from the world type. Meds came out in 2006 and along with it came one of my all time favourite songs. Placebo are, and always will be, one of the most important bands in my life. They were once a band from outcasts to outcasts and Brian Molko's words on 'Follow The Cops Back Home' were, and still are, an instant reminder of how my life used to be. While listening to them non-stop while drinking my own tears, Meds (as a whole) kept me sane through some dark times. For that, I'll always be grateful to Placebo for creating a masterpiece for the young and hopeless. Life does get better in the end.

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Courtship, Band

Soulja Boy - 'Tell'em - Crank That (Soulja Boy)': Now we know what you might be thinking: "Hahaha, not funny." Well, you're right! It's not funny! This song makes us cry. Eli walked into his first ever middle school dance and saw all the cool 8th graders doing the Soulja Boy dance and he thought "Wow, one day I'll be as cool as them!" - turns out he was wrong. But for real, this song takes us back to a time when it was fun to get together with your friends and do a silly dance for no reason, not on Instagram, or Tinder, or Shminder - pure and simple, just making yourself look like an idiot with all your friends... tear.

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Matthew Reyes, Writer

Jeff Buckley - 'Lover, You Should've Come Over': If you thought Jeff Buckley's cover of 'Hallelujah' was moving, then 'Lover, You Should've Come Over' will absolutely destroy you. From the opening organ solo, which sounds like a secular hymn to God if there ever was one, to the seemingly never-ending climax of Jeff weeping over his now estranged lover, this is Buckley's true artistic triumph. The opening lines--"Looking out the door I see the rain fall upon the funeral mourners/Parading in a wake of sad relations as their shoes fill up with water"--are only the beginning of a debilitating journey. We're then steadily bombarded with lamentations that go beyond mere heartbreak. Sure, in some ways this can be looked at as just another breakup song, but that trivialises what Buckley has done here. It's as if he's managed to encapsulate all of the most difficult forms of emotional distress he's ever experienced--dread, grief, religious doubt, loss--and channelled it into a song about failed love without sounding forced or over-exaggerated. If there's ever been a more heart-wrenching song, I certainly haven't heard it.

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Michelene Auguste, Designer and Model

"I think about you all the time
Wonder if when you think of me you smile
Because from the moment we met we were out of our heads
I know
So the story goes
Man and a woman linger alone
Thinking that you're all that
Unaware of this life that we're living
Thinking that you're all that
On with this life that we're living."

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Max Pilley, Writer

Pink Floyd - 'Wish You Were Here': For better or worse (worse), I am not an especially outwardly emotional person, so when an attack of swelling reality comes around, it's a shocker. My dad dictated my primary passion, music, without me noticing it. He had it in mind all along, of course, it had always been his driving hobby, but I never expected it to be mine. He drip-fed me his discerning catalogue - Beatles, Hendrix initially; Mingus, Reich later on - until finally my resistance wore down and I couldn't ignore it anymore. That dramatic realisation came a month or two too late however, and he passed away just as I was approaching the moment of epiphany with my confidence as a music lover. 'Wish You Were Here' is a song I've known forever, thanks dad, but only one I understood once he wasn't there. How I wish he was here.

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Ana Leorne, Writer

The Cure - 'In Between Days': Although people may not realise so when they first meet me, I'm a highly emotional creature and I get weak (to quote sister Belinda) whenever I hear a couple of specific songs -- especially if I'm caught off guard (radio, shuffle, etc). Amongst the incredible amount of tunes that smudge my eyeliner in a Film Noir fashion is The Cure's 'In Between Days. One of my absolute formative bands (shoutout to the guy who used to make me awesome mixtapes when I was 11), The Cure's ability to transmit the timid rainbow that emerges in the aftermath of a tragedy through what could initially be perceived as a rather happy song finds its quintessential example in this particular song.

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Amanda Charchian, Photographer

Entrance - 'Always the Right Time': On my 27th birthday my boyfriend's gift to me was a beautiful song he wrote inspired by our love. His artist name is Entrance (Guy Blakeslee) and the song is 'Always the Right Time'. It's from his amazing album Book of Changes which I shot the cover for! It starts with the lyrics, "Every time I see you, I fall in love with everything about you. I know together we can rise above. I see no point without you. What else is life about?" It's a personal song about how the love you experience in your personal realm can be translated to a universal love as the deepest joy of life. My favourite lyrics are, "When everything is upside down and I am searching in vain for a solid ground, Your love is the only thing that's sure. Your love is the answer, your love is the cure." It's a reminder that love is the most important part of life "through the laughter and the tears." I feel so lucky to experience such a rare, deep and fulfilling love in this wildlife. It makes me cry with longing and joy every time!

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Andy J, Writer

Smashing Pumpkins - 'Blank Page': It's easy to forget now, given the lengths to which Billy Corgan has gone to tarnish his legacy, but he was once capable of writing some of the most sincerely moving music of the alt-rock era. This piano ballad from the vastly underrated Adore album is seemingly custom-designed to illicit tears. From the echoing piano chords to the weeping, and supremely weird synths to Corgan's beautifully understated vocals. And that's before you parse the lyrics, which address the breakup of his marriage in heart-rending terms. I challenge you to suppress the lump in your throat as the music falls away and Corgan implores his ex to move on: "Take a day, plant some trees/May they shade you from me/May your children play beneath." The specifics of the lyrics don't actually matter. I was 13 when Adore was released and I'm sure I never really thought about the true meaning of the song, but it, like many other songs on Adore and in the rest of the Pumpkins discography, spoke to me like nothing else. Putting the words aside, the music on its own, so beautifully and tastefully arranged, encapsulates a universal experience of despondence, of bittersweet despair and hopelessness. Anyone who's suffered spells of depression can relate to lines like "In bed, I was half dead/Tired of dreaming of rest." *wipes away tear*

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