Little Motel. Though a sad song in its own right, the video to this song ramps it up to eleven — with a mother watching her son die in a hospital, then carrying his body out to her car, driving him to a diner, a gas station, then putting him to bed at a motel, all played in reverse. Describing it in words makes it sounds creepy as hell. In fact, just watch it.
The World At Large, a soft, poignant song that documents confusion about one's place in life, breaks the heart of anyone who can relate, and a lot of people can relate.
"There's one thing to know about this earth We're put here just to make more dirt, and that's ok It's alright... it's alright"
Along with the naturally-Tear Jerker melody, this line is very, very powerful.
When paired with the video, Ocean Breathes Salty qualifies, for sure. While the song itself isn't particularly sad, one might find the music video to be strangely depressing (a little kid finds an injured bird, which is actually the lead singer in a costume, and takes care of it until it dies.)
The whole thing if you watch it implies that the kid doesn't have a father, and that while his mother does care for him they can't really relate to each other that well. In the end the crow was just somebody the kid was hoping he could play with and have fun with.
"Talking Shit About a Pretty Sunset" by Modest Mouse. The suicide references, weary acoustics, and achingly beautiful guitar/cello jam combine to make something even more raw and emotional then their "I'm utterly pissed at capitalism, romance, and the general public" noisefests.
In keeping with "Talking Shit...", "Bankrupt on Selling" may be one of the most depressingly cynical songs Modest Mouse has ever written, which is hard to do when you're a band that's widely known for being cynical.
The Moon and Antarctica has always been kind of a sad album, but "3rd Planet" can make some people start crying halfway through.
"Short love with a long divorce And a couple of kids of course They don't mean anything Live in trailers with no class Goddamn I hope I can pass high school, means nothing"
There's something about the beautiful melancholy of Gravity Rides Everything that just tugs on this Troper's feelings. The realization of all the things in the world that weigh down on ones shoulders, and how there's nothing you can really do about it. It's an acceptance that's as comforting as it is hopelessly tragic.
"In the motions, and the things that you say It all will fall, fall right into place As fruit drops, flesh it sags Everything will, fall right into place When we die, some sink and some lay But at least I... don't see you float away"
The guitar spiraling away at the end is just icing on the cake