The effect of music is a reality that most of us can speak to. There is something in the notes and words that tugs at a person and I’m not sure how or why. That marriage between rhythmic elements in the song and the components of the brain evokes a response: dancing, singing, smiling, thinking, even crying.

Ah, the tears squeezed out by a song are some of the most glossy tears that I’ve ever seen. And though I’m not one to readily cry, I will say that music has a way of leading a tear or two from my ducts that no other stimulus can. And there are a few key songs that can produce this effect more than others. It’s not always a negative experience either. As Gandalf told his hobbit friends before departing the world: “I will not say: do not weep; for not all tears are an evil.”

Here are seven songs that bring a tear or two to my eye every time I hear them:

  1. “Bad Dream” Keane

    I first heard this song on an episode of Scrubs. It was at a time when the cast was saying goodbye to one of the characters who had just died. Now this song brings to me a tear of loss.

  2. “The Greatest” Cat Power

    This song evokes a tear of loneliness. It has the tone of someone who is without someone to love to share life with, as the video demonstrates. But this loneliness isn’t just about death or a breakup. Loneliness is bigger than that. It’s also about being without motivation, not having love for life.

  3. “Jesus Christ” Brand New

    I often include songs by Brand New in my posts. I am a fan of their music. “Jesus Christ” is probably my favorite song by the band. The tempo and notes are hauntingly beautiful. They evoke a tear of uncertainty, which is particularly true at the outset of song since it’s simple a series of questions about that which we all feel uncertain about: death. These questions are just a representation about the theme of uncertainty in a broader sense too.

  4. “Use Somebody” Scala & Kolancy Brothers

    Scala & Kolancy Brothers ( a Belgium women’s choir) has made a quality rendition of this Kings of Leon hit. I listen to it and find myself shedding a pensive tear. The paced melody and harmony of the ladies voices carry me off to places that are deeper and slower than the day to day themes.

  5. “Independence Day” Martina McBride

    I felt something at the sound of this song when I heard it the first time in the early 90s. Martina sings with determination in her voice. That has always brought a resolved tear to my eye.

  6. “Hallelujah” John Cale

    There’s something in this song that brings to mind the word humility. I think it’s the line “Love is not a victory march. It’s a cold and it’s a broken Hallelujah.” This song evokes a tear of faith. Why faith? Faith may not be a part of everyone’s life, but it’s a part of mine. It sews together this pieces of my life into a comforting quilt.

  7. “One Day Like This” Elbow

    There are times when tears come to my eyes because there I have hope far brighter than my fear or despair. This hope isn’t for any short-term gain. It’s hope for the treasures that cannot be tarnished. You can hear that hope in the lyrics and in the strings playing in the background. You can even see it in the video.

Take time to enjoy the power of music, whatever form that may be. What songs bring a tear to your eye?


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