You might be wondering why anyone would want to listen to songs about suicidal thoughts? After all, why would you listen to something so painful? Whether you’re a person struggling with suicidal thoughts yourself and you want to feel less alone, or you’re friends with someone who is suicidal, these songs really command you’re attention and hopefully can help you heal from trauma (be it external or self-inflicted).
Songs About Suicidal Thoughts
Let’s begin with a song by Billie Eilish.
Listen Before I Go by Billie Eilish (2019)
Billie Eilish’s listen before i go is painfully slow. Billie’s vocals are haunting to listen to; they’re barely there, but that’s intentional. The simple track, along with the sound effects of children playing and people talking in the background really help create the dark atmosphere of the song.
From the very beginning, it’s very clear what the lyrics are talking about.
Take me to the rooftop
I wanna see the world when I stop breathing
The chorus discusses the idea that a lot of suicidal people have: that death is the only way to escape their pain.
Sorry there’s no way out (Sorry)
There’s really no hope at the end of the song, ending with the implication that the singer has committed suicide. The image this song creates is downright painful. With the final “sorry” at the end, you can hear the sound of ambulances and people shouting.
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How to Save a Life by The Fray (2005)
This song lists the suggested steps for “how to save a life” in its lyrics. And unless you’ve been living under a rock since 2005, this song by The Fray is all about describing what you should ideally do to stop someone from committing suicide.
It’s a very emotive pop-rock song. I actually had this on a karaoke machine back in the day–it’s quite a dark song to sing, but it always sticks with you.
Where did I go wrong? I lost a friend
Somewhere along in the bitterness
And I would have stayed up with you all night
Had I known how to save a life
1-800-273-8255 by Logic, Alessia Cara, Khalid (2017)
One of the most honest songs about suicidal thoughts I’ve ever heard. Sometimes it really is just as simple as the lyrics put it:
I don’t wanna be alive, I don’t wanna be alive
I just wanna die today, I just wanna die
While it is an extremely dark song, it also tries so hard to comfort the listeners. After all, the song’s title itself is the National Suicide Hotline number.
The Me Inside of Me from Heathers (2014)
This one has a totally different vibe from all of the other songs on this list. The song discusses a forged suicide note written by the characters Veronica and JD after they kill Heather Chandler. It has a humorous take on an otherwise heavy situation.
But sometimes, that’s exactly what we need: a more lighthearted take on a dark circumstance to help us cope with our painful feelings.
No one thinks a pretty girl has feelings
No one gets her insecurity
I am more than shoulder pads and makeup
No one sees the me inside of me…
l’enfer by Stromae (2022)
Belgian singer Stromae’s single l’enfer is a perfect example of a song about having suicidal thoughts. The title of the song translates to “hell” in English, perhaps suggesting that dealing with these suicidal thoughts feels a lot like hell.
There are a lot of tribal influences in his music, but also classical music and EDM elements, too. It’s really an impressive, creative track. Very emotive, too, with honest lyrics about his own experience with suicidal thoughts.
I’ve considered suicide a few times
And I’m not proud of it
Sometimes you feel it’d be the only way to silence them
All these thoughts putting me through hell
Burning Pile by Mother Mother (2008)
This song has a lackadaisical, listless sound that contrasts with the shouty-but-catchy chorus. Even though it’s a really dark song that mentions suicide, you’ll find yourself singing along. It almost feels like an anthem to anyone who’s ever dealt with thoughts of suicide.
It goes, all my troubles on a burning pile
All lit up and I start to smile
If I catch fire then I’ll change my aim
Throw my troubles at the pearly gates
The lyrics suggest, albeit indirectly, that maybe all their problems will go away if they throw their troubles at the pearly gates—through death.
Zombie (English Version) by Day6 (2020)
This song has both English and Korean versions, but the English version sounds a lot more like it’s talking about mental health and suicide. It starts with an easily identifiable beat and simple piano chords with more instruments added later on. It has more of a rock sound than many other Day6 songs, which is fitting for the heavy theme.
While it doesn’t say anything explicit about suicide, it does mention wanting to close your eyes and go to sleep forever. It’s got some really, really hopeless lyrics that provide no resolution at the end, too.
I became a zombie
And there’s nothing that can cure me
So tomorrow I know I’ll be just the same
You’ll see me wishin’ to stop and close my eyes (My eyes, my eyes)
Definitely a song for anyone who has struggled with depression or suicidal thoughts.
Adam’s Song by blink-182 (1999)
Adam’s Song has the distinct sound of a rock song of its time. It’s very shouty and expressive—perfect for a song discussing such a heart-wrenching subject.
The lyrics read like a diary entry, a poem, or perhaps even a suicide note.
I never thought I’d die alone
I laughed the loudest, who’d have known?
I trace the cord back to the wall
No wonder, it was never plugged in at all
I took my time, I hurried up
The choice was mine, I didn’t think enough
I’m too depressed to go on
You’ll be sorry when I’m gone
You really won’t want to miss out on this song. It talks about suicidal thoughts in such a raw, honest way that you don’t often get to hear.
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Mad World by Tears for Fears (1982)
This song has been covered time and time again–it’s one everyone knows. It’s got sort of an odd, instrumental track that sounds vaguely otherworldly—but still catchy. The song is strangely upbeat, which is a huge contrast to the lyrics.
And I find it kind of funny
I find it kind of sad
The dreams in which I’m dying
Are the best I’ve ever had
The contrast between the harsh reality of the lyrics, with the almost happy sound of the instrumentals, actually really works. It’s not uncommon that people struggling with mental illness try to disguise their misery with humor and false happiness. That’s totally the vibe that this song gives off.
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Achilles Come Down by Gang of Youths (2017)
This one is quite lengthy, a powerful piece featuring classical and pop elements. It really grew in popularity during the pandemic. This song is a real masterpiece, because it really tells a story and paints a clear picture. It truly demands your attention.
You have someone trying to talk their friend down from suicide.
Achilles, Achilles, Achilles, come down
Won’t you get up off, get up off the roof?
You’re scaring us and all of us, some of us love you
Achilles, it’s not much but there’s proof
But the voice of comfort blends with the voices that tell him to hurt himself.
Achilles, Achilles, Achilles, jump now
You are absent of cause or excuse
So self-indulgent and self-referential
No audience could ever want you
What makes this song all the more powerful is that it ends with hope—the idea that we should always keep fighting.
Ah, it’s more courageous to overcome
Asleep by The Smiths (1985)
Mentioned in the novel The Perks of Being a Wallflower, this is a really well-known song that discusses suicidal thoughts. While nothing is mentioned explicitly, it is heavily implied.
Sing me to sleep
And then leave me alone
Don’t try to wake me in the morning
‘Cause I will be gone
Don’t feel bad for me
I want you to know
Deep in the cell of my heart
I will feel so glad to go
The end of the song suggests the idea of hope for a better world after death.
There is another world
There is a better world
There must be
Well, there must be
Let Me Out by Jonghyun (2017)
Let Me Out is particularly painful, not only because of the lyrics, but also because of who wrote it. Jonghyun was a K-pop idol from the group SHINEE who committed suicide a few months after this song was released. The lyrics truly were a cry for help – one that was sadly missed.
Someone please hold me, I’m exhausted from this world
Someone please wipe me, I’m drenched with tears
Someone please notice my struggles first
Please acknowledge the poor me
Please help me
The song itself is really heartbreakingly powerful on its own, but with that knowledge, it becomes that much more painful. It’s honestly really hard to listen to. But just because it’s hard to hear it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t listen to it. It’s hard anytime we hear that someone is struggling, but that’s all the more reason why we should listen.
Some of the other lyrics suggest that he had already given up by the time the song was released:
Even if your eyes coldly wraps around me
I already threw away my body
Now I don’t care whatever it is
This song is truly one to remember, and one that you shouldn’t miss if you haven’t yet heard it yet.
How to Disappear Completely by Radiohead (2000)
This song has a haunting, simple track. Not unlike listen before i go, it’s painfully slow. You almost want to scream at the slow pace of the song. It’s also quite long, but it really is a beautiful song. It feels more like an experience than your typical, catchy track.
In a little while
I’ll be gone
The moment’s already passed
Yeah, it’s gone
Another one that isn’t explicitly about suicide, but the lyrics could certainly be interpreted that way. To me, the song implies that the singer is going to disappear, likely through death, before the listener can even realize it.
I also wanted to throw in this Moby song, as well.
One of These Mornings by Moby (2002)
Interestingly, this one was built almost entirely from the refrain of a vocal sample. But it’s somehow so spellbinding and dark. I actually had the opportunity to use this song as inspiration for a theater assignment in my high school drama class, and it has stuck with me ever since.
It’s just simple chords, a beat, the vocal sample, and a few sound effects. The lyrics remain the same throughout the song.
One of these mornings
Won’t be very long
You will look for me
And I’ll be gone
The exact subject matter of the song is a bit up for debate, but it’s easy to see how someone could see it as a song about suicidal thoughts. Regardless, this is definitely a haunting track!
Songs about suicidal thoughts often exist to comfort us and make us feel less alone in our feelings. But they also serve to raise awareness to mental health issues that might not otherwise be addressed if not for the song.
If people know the key signs, or even the number for the National Suicide Hotline, we might even see a decrease in suicide rates. We need songs like this to exist, even if it might be heavy subject matter that makes us feel uncomfortable.
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