Music

How are you feeling? What to listen to, read and watch if you're sad

With everything going on right now, CBC Music created a series of curated care packages full of music, videos and stories to help, based on how you’re feeling.

A curated list of music streams, videos and articles to help you in the time of isolation

(Ben Shannon)

With everything going on right now, from the constant news updates around COVID-19 to social distancing, it's easy to feel inundated. We're all cycling through a lot of emotions, many at the same time, and it can be overwhelming. 

That's why CBC Music created a series of curated care packages full of music, videos and stories to help, based on how you're feeling. We also asked CBC Music hosts and producers to pick songs to fit each mood. 

It's completely understandable that the overall feeling you have through all of this is just, well, sadness. And that's perfectly OK. 

According to music therapist Dany Bouchard, sometimes the best thing for feeling sad is to just listen to a sad song. 

"Music is a safe container in the sense that people feel safe, they know it's not going to last more than three, four or five minutes," he says. 

We hope the list below helps. 


To Listen

Song: "Beim Schlafengehen," Richard Strauss

"In classical music, one of the saddest but also most beautiful pieces is 'Beim Schlafengehen (Going to Sleep),' a song for soprano and orchestra by Richard Strauss. It's a setting of this very moving poem by Hermann Hesse, in which the idea of going to sleep at the end of a long day is obviously a metaphor for dying. It's made even more poignant by the fact that the German Strauss composed it in 1949 after the world was coming to terms with what had just happened. And it's the last music he ever wrote." — Robert Rowat

  • If one sad song isn't enough, and what you need is a bunch of sad songs, look no further than our stream of the Saddest Songs ever, which features heartbreaking songs by artists Adele and Jeff Buckley.
  • Last year, we lost John Mann, the Spirit of the West frontman who died after suffering from Alzheimer's disease since 2014. Prior to his diagnosis, Mann hosted an episode of My Playlist on CBC Music, playing some of his favourite songs and sharing anecdotes from his career. You can listen to that special episode here.

It's said that nostalgia is actually a way of expressing grief for a past that's now gone, which is why many of us try so hard to relive our earlier years. One way is through music.

  • If your preferred music is rap, then it's likely you have an affinity for golden era artists like 2Pac and Wu Tang Clan, all heard on our Golden Era playlist.
  • Of course you can also choose a preferred era of popular music, whether it's the '70s, '80s or '90s.

To Read

In celebration of Leonard Cohen, we look at 82 reasons to love the troubadour of melancholy. (LeonardCohen.com)

82 reasons to love Leonard Cohen

No one mixed love and sadness together quite like Leonard Cohen, whom we lost in 2016 at the age of 82. That's why every year we like to look back on his career with 82 reasons to love Leonard Cohen. 

Patrick Watson: 5 songs that changed my life

Montreal musician Patrick Watson sometimes gets an unfair rep for being a musician who lingers in sadness and despair. "I know everybody thinks you're writing in that low part, but I kind of think it's a myth, I think you're always writing on the bounce up," he says. "It's always when you're digging yourself out, it's never when you're just sitting in it." We asked Watson for five songs that changed his life, and his picks are both inspired and, well, a little sad. 

Why On the Beach is Neil Young's most underrated and enduring album

Revisit how Neil Young made one of the loneliest, most despairing albums of the '70s, On the Beach, and why today it's many musicians' favourite Young album. 


To Watch

  • It's hard to, as Paul McCartney once sang, "take a sad song, and make it better," but that's exactly what Father John Misty managed to do with this cover of Arcade Fire's "The Suburbs." He sings lines like "I want to hold her hand, and show her some beauty before all this damage is done," with a soul-crushing weight you've never heard before. 
  • Or maybe what you actually need is a good laugh. Let Schitt's Creek's Annie Murphy (Alexis) and Dan Levy (David) help you out with this game of Jam or Not a Jam. 
  • It's also physically impossible not to smile while watching Lizzo do pretty much anything. We can't explain why, it's just science. 

We hope that helps. We also have care packages for when you're feeling anxious, peaceful, hopeful, bored, inspired, empathetic or angry.

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