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In fact,numerous research studies over the years have revealed that music contributes to positive health outcomes in patients and other people in need of health-care services.
It is as if we have an innate understanding of the power of music to uplift and comfort us during difficult moments.
When we’re in pain, music can help describe the struggles we’re facing when it’s difficult for us to articulate what we’re feeling.
Today’s collection of songs about pain and suffering includes some great tracks that assure us that being hurt—physically, mentally, or emotionally—is a universal experience.
Continue reading to check out our songs!
(Side note: Want to use these songs to make a lasting change to your life? Then check out these 100 LIFE GOALS that can help you wake up each morning with a sense of enthusiasm about making progress toward what’s important.).
What You Will Learn
- 1. Everybody Hurts, R. E. M.
- 2. Her Diamonds, Rob Thomas
- 3. Physical Pain, Joan Armatrading
- 4. Let It Hurt, Rascal Flatts
- 5. While My Guitar Gently Weeps, The Beatles
- 6. Fall, Clay Walker
- 7. The Cure for Pain, Jon Foreman
- 8. Let’s Hurt Tonight, OneRepublic
- 9. Simon, Lifehouse
- 10. Love Hurts, Nazareth
- 11. Precious Pain, Melissa Etheridge
- 12. Life Ain’t Always Beautiful, Gary Allan
- 13. Smile, Nat King Cole
- 14. Help, I’m Alive, Metric
- 15. Hurt, Johnny Cash
- 16. The First Cut Is the Deepest, Sheryl Crow
- 17. Looking Out My Window Through the Pain, George Strait
- 18. Used to the Pain, Keith Urban
- 19. King of Pain, The Police
- 20. Bad Day, Daniel Powter
- 21. Valley of Pain, Bonnie Raitt
- 22. Black, Pearl Jam
- 23. Hospital Flowers, Owl City
- Final Thoughts on Songs About Pain
1. Everybody Hurts, R. E. M.
“Don’t let yourself go. ‘Cause everybody cries. Everybody hurts sometimes.”
R. E. M.’s single tells us that no one is exempt from pain and suffering. It is a universal experience, and all we can do is ride it out until it’s over.
The song encourages us to hold on because, just like other experiences, pain is temporary.
2. Her Diamonds, Rob Thomas
“And she says, ‘Ooh, I can’t take no more.’ Her tears like diamonds on the floor. And her diamonds bring me down, ’cause I can’t help her now. She’s down in it. She tried her best and now she can’t win. It’s hard to see them on the ground, her diamonds falling down.”
Rob Thomas understands the feeling of helplessness that comes from seeing a loved one suffer from a serious health condition. His wife, Marisol Maldonado, was diagnosed with Lyme disease and her condition had a life-changing impact on the couple.
This song expresses his desire to help alleviate her pain and suffering, while at the same time being uncertain of how best to help her.
3. Physical Pain, Joan Armatrading
“It’s a physical pain. My head just aches. I’m feeling raw. I feel crucified. I don’t feel great.”
Breakups are often described in terms of physical pain. In this song, Joan Armatrading gives a vivid description of the pain she felt after breaking up with a lover.
4. Let It Hurt, Rascal Flatts
“So let it hurt, let it bleed. Let it take you right down to your knees. Let it burn to the worst degree. May not be what you want, but it’s what you need. Sometimes the only way around it is to let love do its work. And let it hurt. Yeah, let it hurt.”
Many people are in denial about being hurt. They go out into the world pretending that everything is okay.
However, when they’re alone, late at night when the rest of the world is asleep, they lie awake and overthink their pain.
This song encourages listeners to acknowledge that something hurts, and to fully feel the pain. It is only then that one canmove on and finally start healing.
5. While My Guitar Gently Weeps, The Beatles
“I look at the world and I notice it’s turning, while my guitar gently weeps. With every mistake we must surely be learning, still my guitar gently weeps.”
This song is a lament for humanity’s unrealized potential. George Harrison is credited for writing this song after spending time in India studying transcendental meditation.
6. Fall, Clay Walker
“So fall. Go on and fall apart. Fall into these arms of mine. I’ll catch you every time you fall. Go on and lose it all. Every doubt, every fear. Every worry, every tear. I’m right here. Baby, fall.”
This song is about a friend who understands that everyone experiences pain and suffering. However, this friend is willing to catch, comfort, and support with the one who is suffering.
7. The Cure for Pain, Jon Foreman
“And heaven knows… heaven knows, I tried to find a cure for the pain. Oh Lord, to suffer like you do. It would be a lie to run away.”
This song is a cry for help. It refers to someone who has been suffering from pain and yet can’t find any way to alleviate it.
If only they had a friend like the one described in song # 6.
8. Let’s Hurt Tonight, OneRepublic
“I’ll hit the lights and you lock the doors. Tell me all of the things that you couldn’t before. Don’t walk away, don’t roll your eyes. They say love is pain. Well, darling, let’s hurt tonight. If this love is pain, well, darling, let’s hurt, oh tonight…”
In this song, we witness the pain a couple feels when they realize that their relationship is ending. Although they try to prolong it as much as possible, they both know that they will eventually go their separate ways.
9. Simon, Lifehouse
“You don’t know why they had to go this far. Traded your worth for these scars. For your only company. And don’t believe the lies that they have told to you. Yeah, not one word was true. You’re alright…”
Simon describes a person who has suffered from abuse. It is about overcoming years of negative mental conditioning to realize their worth.
10. Love Hurts, Nazareth
“Love hurts. Love scars. Love wounds and marks any heart not tough or strong enough to take a lot of pain, take a lot of pain. Love is like a cloud. Holds a lot of rain. Love hurts. Oh, love hurts.”
Falling in love can be euphoric. However, no matter how much they try tosalvage the marriage or long-term relationship, many couples eventually break up.
This leads to a lot of heartache and pain, as described in this song.
Do you agree with Nazareth when they say that love hurts?
11. Precious Pain, Melissa Etheridge
“Oh, precious pain. Empty and cold. But it keeps me alive. I gave it my soul so that I could survive. Keeping me safe in these chains. Precious pain.”
This song reminds us that pain can also be an opportunity for growth. In some situations, it also helps us develop resilience, thereby allowing us to overcome personal obstacles.
12. Life Ain’t Always Beautiful, Gary Allan
“Life ain’t always beautiful. Sometimes it’s just plain hard. Life can knock you down. It can break your heart.”
This song describes the bittersweet moments of our lives. It tells us that even our happiest moments are tinged with pain and sadness.
13. Smile, Nat King Cole
“Smile though your heart is aching. Smile even though it’s breaking. When there are clouds in the sky, you’ll get by if you smile through your pain and sorrow. Smile and maybe tomorrow you’ll see the sun come shining through for you.”
In this song, Nat King Cole encourages us to smile through our sorrows. It may not solve our problems or make the pain go away, but it helps give us hope that things will eventually be okay.
14. Help, I’m Alive, Metric
“Help, I’m alive. My heart keeps beating like a hammer. Hard to be soft, tough to be tender. Come take my pulse, the pace is on a runaway train.”
Some people harbor so much fear that the act of living makes them feel anxious. This song describes someone who suffers from anxiety because of their inability to move out of theircomfort zone.
[Check out21 Comfort Zone Challenges to Grow as a Person.]
15. Hurt, Johnny Cash
“I hurt myself today to see if I still feel. I focus on the pain, the only thing that’s real.”
This is Johnny Cash’s version of Nine Inch Nails’ 1996 Grammy-nominated single.
With Cash’s cover, listeners get a different view of hurt and pain from the standpoint of someone who is in the twilight years of his life.
16. The First Cut Is the Deepest, Sheryl Crow
“I would have given you all of my heart, but there’s someone who’s torn it apart…”
This is a cover of Cat Stevens’ 1967 single that has been recorded over the years by different artists, including Sheryl Crow.
It is about bearing the painful memories of a past relationship. This burden makes the person wonder if they’ll be able to open their hearts to someone else and love again.
17. Looking Out My Window Through the Pain, George Strait
“Yes, the devil drove the taxi that carried her away. And it hurts to know she’s still hung up on some guy from yesterday. Once again she’s chasing memories and I’m losing everything. But, Lord, I love her. So I’ll wait for her, looking out my window through the pain.”
In this song, we are introduced to a brokenhearted guy. The woman he loves decided to reconcile with an ex.
Despite the pain, he still decides to wait for her.
18. Used to the Pain, Keith Urban
“Every step I take, I get a little less afraid of giving in to love, love. Let it out. Believe me when I say it gets better every day once you get used to the pain.”
Some people who have gone through a lot of suffering become cynical about it after a while. As this song declares, they become used to the pain.
19. King of Pain, The Police
“I have stood here before inside the pouring rain, with the world turning circles, running ’round my brain. I guess I’m always hoping that you’ll end this reign. But it’s my destiny to be the king of pain.”
Sting had recently gotten divorced from his first wife when he wrote this song. It features several symbols of the pain he felt at that time, such as the “black spot on the sun.”
20. Bad Day, Daniel Powter
“You had a bad day. You’re taking one down. You sing a sad song just to turn it around. You say you don’t know. You tell me, ‘Don’t lie.’ You work at a smile and you go for a ride. You had a bad day. The camera don’t lie. You’re coming back down and you really don’t mind you had a bad day.”
This song’s lyrics seem to speak to everyone who has gone through a bad day. But the song also reminds us to not take things too seriously.
As a well-known phrase assures us, “This, too, shall pass.”
21. Valley of Pain, Bonnie Raitt
“I’m believin’ there’s a reason for this trial. This too shall pass in a little while. Whoa, Lord, have mercy if I complain. I’m walkin’ through, I’m walkin’ through the valley of pain….”
Speaking of that popular phrase, here’s a song that encourages listeners to hang on. The pain, trial, and suffering will eventually end.
After all the tribulations, there will be a time for celebration.
22. Black, Pearl Jam
“I know someday you’ll have a beautiful life. I know you’ll be a star in somebody else’s sky. But why, why, why can’t it be. Oh, can’t it be mine?”
This song is about someone who is suffering from a broken heart.
Although the person they love has already moved on, they find it hard to accept that it is so.
They are probably unaware that the best way to ease the pain is tolet go and move on.
23. Hospital Flowers, Owl City
“And now my vision can render the scene. A blurry image of wreckage and roadside debris. Happiness returned to me through a grave emergency.”
This song introduces us to someone who is in a dreadful car crash, where he suffers multiple injuries.
However, the harrowing experience gives him clarity about life. The whole painful experience bestows upon him with a new sense of happiness.
Perhaps surviving the crash encouraged him to adopt ahabit of gratitude.
Final Thoughts on Songs About Pain
The songs included in this collection show us that pain and suffering are universal. These tracks also remind us that there are different ways to cope with pain.
There are those who see suffering and pain as the end of everything good that’s happened in their lives.
Meanwhile, there are others who work their way through suffering and discoverhope—hope for new beginnings, hope for a new way of relating with others, or hope forpositive new habits to take root in their lives.
We hope you enjoyed today’s collection of songs and have found a favorite or two among the featured tracks.
In case you’re interested in more song collections, here are some posts worth checking out:
Finally, if you want to use these songs to make a lasting change to your life, then check out these 100 LIFE GOALS that can help you wake up each morning with a sense of enthusiasm about making progress toward what’s important..
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