Melancholy: Moving on


When someone hears the word melancholy, their first thought might be a rainy day or feeling sad. But the word goes beyond sadness; it’s a cloud of gloom. Melancholy is seemingly caused by feeling sad for so long that it starts following you around. This playlist is for anyone feeling like they can’t get away from the storm cloud.

 E  String Lights 

Peter McPoland

This song off of McPoland’s “Slow Down” EP –which he self-proclaimed as “sad”–captures the feeling of melancholy moving on. 

Lyrics like “beau cried on the floor and said/I am so scared/of growing up” and “well, everything ends/everything ends” express the sadness that comes with moving out of your childhood home and leaving the relationships you made in the place where you grew up. 

This song especially pulls my heartstrings because I am so close to the time in my life where I have to move out into a college dorm. That feeling of moving on sticks with you as you grow up and is a great example of how that melancholy shadow can follow you. 

Headless Horseman

The Microphones

This slow tune off of The Microphones’ album The Glow, pt. 2 feels like being pushed to the ground until you can’t get up again. It seems to be about being ripped away from a relationship with someone, either a partner or close friend, and not being able to build yourself back up again after losing that part of yourself. 

The line “Oh what a loss/My soft hands replaced by claws” shows that this loss has forever changed the artist and their personality has been covered up by a rough exterior. The melancholy feeling will follow them until they get their head back, and it will stick with me anytime I go through something similar.


Gracie Abrams

Abrams sings lyrics that punch you in the gut while sounding like she is singing a lullaby. Her album This Is What It Feels Like hurts me everytime I listen, but I keep coming back.

This song off of the album is almost the definition of melancholy with lines like “I’ll do whatever helps to sleep at night/Until I’m feeling like an island/Until I’m strong enough to hide it.” Abrams is saying that she will bottle up this cloud that is following her until she doesn’t have to anymore. 

This is definitely not the right way to deal with emotions, but it is also what causes people to be truly melancholy.

Crying on the Subway

Hana Vu

An alternative-indie, almost techno, song off of Vu’s album How Many Times Have You Driven By that makes you bop your head to the rhythm while listening to lyrics that bring you down. 

“I remember on that thursday/How everything was different/Oh, I’m always gonna miss it.” Lines like these show how something in Vu’s life changed and won’t go back to the way it was. But she will always be followed with the memories from that time: “If I could ever forget/I would be no longer living.”

Place to Be

Nick Drake

A throwback compared to the rest of the songs on this playlist, this calm tune from 1972 captures growing older and realizing things that were revealed through aging. 

He captures the idea of maturing with lines like “When I was young, younger than before/I never saw the truth hanging from the door.” Melancholy emotions seem to be the most prevalent in the act of growing up, and this specific feeling is captured well within the melody of this song.

Moon Song

Phoebe Bridgers

Bridgers is known for her beautifully written, incredibly sad songs. This one is no different. 

It captures the heartbreak of wanting someone that doesn’t want you back: “So I will wait for the next time you want me/Like a dog with a bird at your door.” This feeling will follow Bridgers for a long time, a melancholy storm at her doorstep. She just wants this person to love her back, she would give them the moon, but they will never reciprocate. People who love deeply need this song because it captures the experience of people not loving you back so well.

A gracefully heart-wrenching song that is the perfect way to end this melancholy playlist.

Teenagers have an already complex life while also having to deal with new emotions. Melancholy is a tough feeling to deal with, but hopefully these songs help people feel like they’re not alone in their emotions.