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Downer Ending / Music

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All this time you were pretending
So much for my happy ending
Avril Lavigne, "My Happy Ending"

WARNING: Nearly every example is a spoiler. Read at your own risk!

  • David Bowie's "Space Oddity" has Major Tom floating around his "tin can" spaceship and drifting ever-so-steadily away from Earth to his demise.
  • Eminem's "River" ends with the singer, having become part of a love triangle with a woman in a fraying relationship, learning his girlfriend is pregnant, forcing her to get an abortion because he doesn't feel they can be good parents, and finally apologising to someone, saying that he fucked up.
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  • The children's song "Little Bunny Foo-Foo" ends with the titular rabbit ignoring the Good Fairy's warning not to "pick up field mice and bop them on the head" three times and subsequently being turned into a goon.
  • Lady Gaga ended her Born This Way album with "The Edge of Glory", which was written about the death of her grandfather. However, the music is so upbeat that you may not realize this.
  • The video for Junior Kickstart by The Go! Team. Where's a power pellet when you need one?
  • The video for Luv Deluxe by Cinnamon Chasers has three of them. All of them shot from the main character's point of view. The point of divergence is when the main character and love interest are about to pay a restaurant bill:
    • She tears up the check, gets the main character involved in pickpocketing, but they end up getting arrested.
    • He tears up the check, acts like a real Jerkass to everyone, including the love interest, resulting in the love interest seducing him one night and stabbing him.
    • He pays for the check, things start off well, but we later learn that the love interest is just plain crazy. He tries to leave her only to get shot by her. She throws the gun on the ground, allowing the main character to shoot her too. His last sight is of her body next to his before the video fades to black.
  • Pink Floyd's last album of the Roger Waters era (or Roger Waters' first solo album), The Final Cut, ends with the song "Two Suns in the Sunset". One sun is the sun. The other 'sun' is a mushroom cloud. However, the soulful sax fade-out turns it from a wrist-slitting downer into a lingering melancholy.
    • Speaking of Pink Floyd, the band itself had a Downer Ending. By the end of its recording career, one member was partially insane and another one member had run off with as many music rights as possible; for added Mood Whiplash, try to remember all this while listening to the last ever song made by the band, "High Hopes". The band ultimately did get a Happy Ending with their reunion at Live 8 in 2005.
  • On the topic of mushroom clouds, Follow The Sun by Bedouin Soundclash is about two survivors of a nuclear explosion. It closes their Light The Horizon album.
  • Tom Waits's "Christmas Card from a Hooker in Minneapolis" from Blue Valentine is an unnamed woman telling the reader of the card, a man named Charlie, how she's turned her life around by getting married and quit using drugs and that's she's finally happy. However, at the end of the card, she reveals she was lying about having a husband (and presumably everything else) and needs money to pay a lawyer since she's in jail.
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  • Queensrÿche's Operation: Mindcrime ends with Sister Mary killing herself(?), and Nikki on trial for murder and insane.
  • "Open your eyes Nicholas." "AHH-" * static*
    • And, since we're on that, "Space Dye-Vest" from Awake. Not only the song itself has a downer ending with the sad piano only riff, not only it brings the album to a downer ending since it was the last song of the record, but is meta wise a downer ending, since it was the last song written and performed by original keyboardist Kevin Moore, who shortly after finishing recording the album left the band and is still estranged with the band since 1994.
  • They Might Be Giants has dozens of depressing songs, but notably "Hopeless Bleak Despair," about a man suffering from lifelong depression. In the end, he finally "escapes" his disorder — by dying and going to hell.
    • There's also "Last Wave," with the chorus, "We die alone, we die afraid, we live in terror, we're naked and alone and the grave is the loneliest place."
  • Jamie Lawson's breakout hit, I Wasn't Expecting That is a sweet love song about how a couple met ("It was only a smile, but my heart it went wild")... which ends with her death.
  • Nirvana had two clear depressing album closers ("Something In The Way" from Nevermind and "All Apologies" from In Utero) and a borderline example ("Sifting" from Bleach - though the mainstream reissue ends with one which is called "Downer" but it's not a Downer Ending).
  • Kate Bush usually ends her albums with a negative song. Notable examples are:
    • The Kick Inside - the title track. Brother–Sister Incest + Driven to Suicide = Tear Jerker
    • Never for Ever - "Breathing", a song about a fetus wanting to stay alive during a nuclear fallout.
    • The Dreaming - "Get Out of My House", a song based on The Shining, which according to Allmusic is "Part ghost story, part nervous breakdown, part rage in the face of violation."
  • "One". Much of Metallica's stuff is depressing, but this one takes the cake.
    • Or, to put it in an easier to understand way: It's a musical retelling of Johnny Got His Gun (which has already been mentioned in extreme detail in the book section, so just read that to see exactly why it's so sad).
  • The story of the album The Downward Spiral by Nine Inch Nails ends with the protagonist's suicide, according to Wild Mass Guessing.
  • Barry Manilow's Copacabana. The plot is that Lola's a showgirl at the titular nightclub and falls in love with Tony the barmaker...only for Rico to make advances on her, pressing Tony's Berserk Button. Cue a huge fight that ends in Rico shooting Tony and skip thirty years ahead to show Lola a wasted alcoholic.
  • Opeth's album Still Life is about a medieval atheist, exiled from his community, returning for his love who has become a nun. It doesn't end well for either of them.
    • Watershed ends with "Hex Omega", about the death of Akerfeldt's ex-girlfriend. Some vinyl versions end with a bonus track "Derelict Herds", which isn't any happier lyrically.
  • Steely Dan's 1980 album Gaucho, which is mainly full of upbeat tracks, with "Third World Man", a song about a veteran with intense PTSD.
    • Everything Must Go's final title track is about a company going out of business due to a rival company winning by sheer fraud.
  • Puff the Magic Dragon is somewhat of a minor example, but it does end with Puff going into his cave, lonely and abandoned by his only friend.
  • Green Green Grass of Home tells the story about a man returning home after a long period and meeting everyone he knows, only to wake up in prison about to face the executioner.
  • Tell Laura I Love Her by Ray Peterson tells the story of a fatal automobile race.
  • "Last Kiss" by J Frank Wilson and the Cavaliers (famously Covered Up by Pearl Jam) is about the last moments with a girlfriend after an automobile accident.
  • "Leader of the Pack" by the Shangri-Las ends with the singer's eponymous love interest dying in a motorcycle accident immediately after their breakup.
  • "I Can Never Go Home Anymore" also by the Shangri-Las. The girl who angrily ran away from home can't go back, because her mother has died.
  • "Terry" by Twinkle was also a motorcycle death song that had reputedly happened to a friend of hers in Real Life.
  • "Dead Man's Curve" by Jan and Dean about a drag race which ends in the death of one of its participants. It's sad when you consider that Jan had a near fatal crash in real life, and never fully recovered.
  • 99 Luftballons / 99 Red Balloons by Nena deals with the aftermath of a war caused by helium balloons being mistaken for enemy contacts. Both versions are downers in different ways:
    • In the German version, reckless air pilots decide to shoot down the balloons for fun, which is misconstrued as a show of force by other nations. Greedy war ministers stir up conflict out of self-interest, and what follows is a war that lasts ninety-nine years, devastating the whole world. The singer lives in the ruins of a destroyed city, and is telling the story as a flashback as she wanders what’s left of the world.
    • The English version has a faulty early warning system identify the balloons as an incoming missile, causing both sides to scramble jets out of panic and escalate things into all-out nuclear war. In an extra Gut Punch, it was the protagonist and a friend who released the balloons - it’s implied the friend was killed somehow, with the protagonist wracked with guilt over causing both the war and their death.
  • The VOCALOID song Daughter of Evil certainly doesn't seem like one at first - a young, selfish Princess has her servant, her twin brother, kill a love rival out of jealousy, only to have the girl's fiance retaliate by leading a rebellion against her, and eventually executing her. Then you listen to its companion song, Servant of Evil...
  • Led Zeppelin's "Gallow's Pole" from Led Zeppelin III As much as the man tries to bribe the executioner with letting him live—giving him riches and letting him have sex with his sister—he still swings.
    • Based on a traditional song. Jasper Carrott's parody is more succinct:
    Hangman, slacken your noose
    Hangman, slacken your noose
    Hangman, slacken your noose
    'Cause I can - gggghhhh!
    • Also, any compilation albums of theirs that finish with "All My Love".
      • Probably why the original album ends with "I'm Gonna Crawl".
  • The Beatles:
    • "Eleanor Rigby" from Revolver is depressing all the way through, as it's about lonely people in the world who never meet up and end their loneliness. The titular character "dies in a church and was buried along with her name. Nobody came."
    • "A Day in the Life" was the closing song on the album Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. The song is usually interpreted as the story of a desensitized man reading through the news, passively reading stories about death. The song is one of the darkest songs on the album.
  • The Protomen
    • Act I: Mega Man discovers that Proto Man is still alive, but now fights for Wily as commander of his robot army. Proto Man calls out humanity for their inability to stand and fight for themselves, prompting the masses to cry for Proto Man's death. Mega Man fatally wounds Proto Man, who declares with his dying breath that "[...]a hero is just a man who knows he's free." Mega Man, now as cynical as his brother, walks away as Wily orders the death of the people gathered before him.
    • Act II: In this prequel, Light enlists the aid of a disenfranchised young man named Joe to destroy Wily's central tower as part of his plan to get revenge on the mad despot for the death of his girlfriend. Joe succeeds in destroying the tower, but dies in the attempt. His efforts are in vain, however, as Wily continues to broadcast his propaganda and places the city under martial law. Light gives in to despair before reading his girlfriend's letter to him, then sets himself to the grim task of building a soldier who could defeat Wily...
  • Eminem's "Stan", in which Eminem realises at the end that the Stalker with a Crush who has been writing him obsessive fan letters is the guy he saw on the news who killed both himself and his pregnant girlfriend.
  • A particularly notorious example was Michael Jackson's music video/short film "Black or White" from Dangerous, based on the hit single of the same name. It was shown on three basic cable channels simultaneously one night in the fall of 1991, so it was guaranteed to garner a huge audience with many children watching. The video, which included (among other things) African tribesmen, Thai dancers, Native Americans, Michael Jackson dancing with an Indian girl, fur-capped Russian dancers, two babies playing with a snowglobe, Michael Jackson dancing on the Statue of Liberty, and Macaulay Culkin performing a rap, concluded with a montage of different people of various skin colors and body types, as well as of both sexes, morphing into each other, ending with a young black woman miming to the end of the song, who's revealed to actually be an actress in the studio where the video is being filmed. The camera then pans away until it is following a black leopard as it stalks its way out of the studio and into the dark and rainy night. Once outside, the leopard transforms into Michael Jackson and begins to compulsively perform a dance that becomes more and more unnerving as it goes along, with a great deal of crotch-grabbing. Suddenly he begins smashing a car, shop windows, etc., screaming all the while. As this orgy of godlike destruction concludes, Michael's screams are mixed with the roars of his leopard alter ego. He finally rips off half his clothes and collapses into the rain-slicked street, whereupon he transforms back into the leopard, snarls, and stalks away. And then in a particularly egregious case of Mood Whiplash, the scene cuts to an animated living room, where it is revealed that Bart Simpson has been watching the entire time. Homer bursts in and orders Bart to turn off the TV, prompting Bart to retort with one of his trademark wisecracks and him to turn it off himself. Needless to say, this video left many in its television audience confused, traumatized, and angered. Jackson was forced to issue a public apology for the incident and the video was recut so that it ended just before the "black leopard" sequence. Later, the full-length version reappeared with CGI effects superimposing racist graffiti on the objects he smashed to provide justification for his rage.
  • "Strange Kind of Woman" by Deep Purple; guy tries to seduce a high class call girl and eventually succeeds...only for her to die not long after they wed.
  • Avril Lavigne has a song called "My Happy Ending" where she sings about how the "ending" of her relationship was one of these.
    "All this time you were pretending
    So much for my happy ending"
  • Finnis Schlager example: Yksinäinen ("Lonely"). The song name in itself is somewhat of a Spoiler Title, but the listener might still be unpleasantly surprised. The song is about someone who leaves their home village to try their luck in the world and find happiness. After a few verses of the world generally pissing in in their face, they return home, realising the only true happiness for them is their true love who they left behind years ago. They finally arrive — and cannot find their love — only a grave.
  • "Everytime" by Britney Spears, finishing off her In the Zone record.
    • "Don't Cry", ending Britney Jean, as well.
  • As The Footsteps Die Out Forever by Streetlight Manifesto opens with a young mother waiting for her children to arrive home from school before their weekend, a dispassionate doctor calls her and tells her that she has only weeks to live. The news shocks her so much that she spends the rest of her life nearly catatonic, and her son imagines it's because she's trying to distance herself and make her death less painful. Her son spends his time trying to provoke her to smile, react, anything, before her unnamed disease takes her from him forever. The final lines are a slower repeat of the chorus, with her (or his imagination) telling him to leave her behind and live his life.
  • "Rock Collecting" by Pond is a nine minute song that plods at a snail's pace. The song is about a person who commits suicide by building a wall around himself, the final verse details about how he will simply decompose and disappear into the earth.
  • Iron Maiden's albums have a tendency for this:
    • The Number of the Beast finishes with "Hallowed Be Thy Name", about a man on death row.
    • The closing songs of both Piece of Mind ("To Tame A Land") and Brave New World ("The Thin Line Between Love and Hate") end with a very unhappy sounding final part. (if you ignore Nicko's Studio Chatter in the latter)
    • The last line of "Alexander The Great" (the final track on Somewhere in Time) is "He died of fever in Babylon".
    • Seventh Son of a Seventh Son is a Concept Album based on Orson Scott Card's book 7th Son. The penultimate track, "The Clairvoyant" featuring the untimely death of the album's titular character, suggesting that despite his power as prophet who could see into the future, he couldn't forsee his own death, thus he was killed before he could bring his powers to full potential, thus becoming a messiah. The final track, "Only the Good Die Young", along with the untimely death of the Seventh Son before he could accomplish his noble goal, is about the devastation of a town from a disaster, and Lucifer planning to cancel the rest of mankind.
    • Virtual XI ends with "Como Estais Amigos", about the Falklands War. It even sounds depressing.
    • "The Legacy" rounds off the already dark A Matter of Life and Death, with lyrics about a corrupt world leader dying and leaving his country in a war-torn state.
    • The Final Frontier ends with "When the Wild Wind Blows", about a couple who commits suicide mistaking an earthquake for the start of a nuclear war. This could also be played for dark comedy, as it is based off a darkly comedic graphic novel When the Wind Blows.
    • The Book of Souls ends with the 18-minute epic "Empire of the Clouds", which is based on the doomed R101 airship flight from England to India. During the flight, the airship encounters stormy conditions and crashes into a church yard in France, killing half the passengers immediately, whereas the other passengers die from trauma in the hospital.
  • Garbage also likes to end their albums with a really depressing song (so far: "Milk", "You Look So Fine", "So Like a Rose", "Happy Home", "Beloved Freak", "Amends" and "This City Will Kill You", although "Freak" is more Tears of Joy).
  • "Big League" by Tom Cochrane. A little boy wants to grow up to be a famous hockey player and get out of the small town he lives in. His father tells everyone how his boy's going to play in the big league someday. The boy works hard on his game and gets a scholarship and school on a "big US team" when he's 18. Then he's out driving with his girlfriend and he gets killed in a car accident.
  • W by Van der Graaf Generator. The whole song's pretty down- a recurring line being "you're twice as unhappy as you've ever been before"- but the last line takes the cake. "At six o'clock you realize you're dead."
  • All Systems Go by Krypteria is an energetic, motivational song about overcoming one's fears and hesitations, boldly stepping up to the challenge, and seizing your moment of glory, yet ends with the BSOD line:
    You might receive what you want and still end up with nothing
  • One of the strangest downer endings in music is in Queen's song 39. The lyrics are cryptic and do not open easily, but it is a bittersweet introduction into relativistic physics. Queen's "39" is a description of interstellar travel with time-dilation effects. (It helps to have an astrophysicist as your lead guitarist.) The protagonist is a prospector who has volunteered to an interstellar space expedition seeking new habitable planets around the Milky Seas (read: Milky Way, the galaxy) and he returns back home. His spaceship has moved with a speed near the speed of light, and while the voyage has lasted only one year in the spaceship time, hundred years has gone at Earth, and all the protagonist's friends and relatives have passed away. He meets his great-granddaughter, telling though so many years have gone/I'm but older than a year/your mother's eyes, in your eyes/cry to me. He then contemplates that all his life is still ahead, but he feels he is out of that world and there is nobody there for him anymore.
  • There is a whole genre of rock music known as Dead Teen Songs, which are dedicated to death. Either the protagonist, or someone close to him or her, dies in those songs.
  • The Ultimate Musical Downer Ending must be the Finnish remake of Uriah Heep Lady in Black named Nainen tummissa (Woman in Black). The Lady is actually the Angel of Death coming to visit the protagonist. The protagonist falls in love with her and asks for a kiss, but she yields, telling him that his time has not yet come. The protagonist cannot find any happiness or consolation in this world anymore, as he has fallen in love with the Angel of Death, and he loves only the Death, waiting her to come.
  • Better Man by Pearl Jam is about Domestic Abuse. The woman leaves by the end of the song, but "she'll be back again". She seems doomed to repeat the Cycle Of Abuse.
  • Although Steven Wilson has stated that the fate of the teenage protagonist in Porcupine Tree's Concept Album Fear of a Blank Planet is open to listener interpretation, the increasingly desperate lyrics as the album progresses and bleak mood of "Sleep Together", the album's final song, strongly imply that he is Driven to Suicide.
  • King Diamond's albums all have downer endings, but The Puppet Master is exceedingly dark. A young couple is kidnapped and turned into living puppets. The main character's loved one is sent away to Germany and, after embarrassing the eponymous villain at a show, the main character is sold to a shop and nailed to a wall. The album ends 18 years later with the main character still nailed the wall, aware the entire time, wishing to see his loved one last time and vowing to at least see her in the afterlife.
  • "Xanadu" by Rush, where the narrator searches for the secret of immortality once held in Kubla Khan's pleasure dome. He finds it and achieves immortality, but at the price of never leaving the dome, where he desperately waits for the world to come to an end.
  • The final song on The Zombie EP by The Devil Wears Prada (the band, not the movie) is about a man who lost his wife to the zombies, and now has to face the undead alone. While the entire album could be considered a downer (it is about the Zombie Apocalypse), this song, which features lyrics like "I have watched the world die/All I know now is regret" tops them all.
  • The music video for "Weird Al" Yankovic's "Party In The CIA" ends with Al's character getting captured by enemies of the agency, tortured, and then killed (although he does Die Laughing).
  • The song "Up The Junction" by Squeeze starts as a love story, with the singer meeting a girl, falling in love, then they have a daughter. Then, with no warning, it changes to "and now she (the daughter) 's two years older, her mother's with a soldier" and a lament on how the singers drinking caused the breakdown of his life.
  • The Mamas & the Papas. Is there anything about their lives post break-up that isn't either depressing or horrifying?
  • "Gay Pirates" by Cosmo Jarvis. They both get murdered.
  • Harry Chapin seemed to like these. Most notably, in "Cat's in The Cradle," the narrator, who never had time to do things with his son, because he was always so busy, finally has time to be with his son, but his son doesn't have time to be with him because he grew up just like his father.
  • My Chemical Romance's SING. The video starts off as the band/killjoys killing their enemies to rescue their little girl companion. They manage to get her to safety all die in the process.
  • Most SonataArctica songs. With some huge Lyrical Dissonance to boot.
  • The Fireaxe Epic Food for the Gods has numerous sub stories that have downer endings, all of which are trumped by the actual ending where all of creation is destroyed by an enraged god.
  • "No Transitory" by Music/Alexisonfire. Simply put, the protagonists plans collapse and he and his allies fail to accomplish their goals, dooming the world.
  • W.A.S.P.'s The Crimson Idol is just downright depressing. It's a concept album about a young boy who is an unwanted child and abused by his father, his only friend being his older brother. Who dies in a car crash when the protagonist is 14. He is so crushed, he can't even bring himself to attend the funeral. Which makes his father abuse him even more. At 16 he flees this hell, just to end up homeless on the street. One day, he steals a guitar and becomes a famous musician. Who is constantly exploited by his manager and producer. And does drugs a lot. He even has "Easy Rider" parties, where he and his guests do everything shown onscreen in a larger scale. He then realizes this doesn't make him happy, as his parent's didn't love him. So he tries to make up with them via phone. Which results in them claiming they have no son before even 30 words were spoken. Which results in him hanging himself onstage at a sold-out concert.
  • Cult of Luna's song "Dark City, Dead Man" is a textbook example of a downer ending in music, which ends with the protagonist losing the trust and love of his romantic interest, which in turn sends his entire life crashing downwards, and, perhaps even into suicide.
  • Neo-prog band Citizen Cain love this trope. Lyricist/singer Cyrus's whole philosophy seems to be that humanity is doomed by its greed, stupidity and inability to learn from past mistakes and will never achieve salvation or redemption. Their most recent (probably final) album Skies Darken ends with the words "So much for the Garden of Eden". On the other hand, the narrator of the song "The Gathering" (on an earlier album) achieves a kind of Happy Ending after dying and going to Hades, when he becomes the rider of the raging nightmare horse for eternity.
  • "Fallen Angel" by King Crimson tells the story of two brothers who join a gang to get some money, only to end with the younger one dying in a fight.
  • Joe Ely's "Gallo del Cielo" tells the story of Carlos Saragosa, a Mexican man with "no money in his pocket, just a locket of his sister framed in gold," who steals the eponymous prize fighting rooster and heads for the border, hoping to win enough money in America to "return to buy the land Pancho Villa stole from Father long ago." Although Gallo del Cielo wins a few matches, earning thousands of dollars for Carlos, he is eventually taken down by "a wicked black named Zorro." Carlos loses the fifty thousand dollars he bet, and buries his sister's locket "with the bones of my beloved del Cielo" (meaning he ate the chicken). The song ends with, "Tell my family not to worry, I will not return to cause them shame."
  • The ending of TLC's video for Waterfalls ends this way. The song and video tackle the issues of drug dealing and HIV/AIDS, two problems plaguing the inner cities. In the beginning, a mother is shown desperately trying to convince her son not to go out on the streets to sell drugs. Intercut between these scenes, a man and a woman are shown having unprotected sex. Soon afterwards, the man begins displaying early symptoms of AIDS on his face. The mother's son is shot during a drug deal and she is seen grieving over her son's dead body. At the end of the video, the mother is walking home alone, and her son's ghost tries to reach out to her, but disappears. The couple previously shown in the video are sitting on a bed as they both fade away, dying from AIDS.
  • Depeche Mode's "Blasphemous Rumours", which ends Some Great Reward, is about a teenage girl who survives a suicide attempt and finds religion only to die in a car accident two years later.
  • The Irish ballad "Molly Ban" ends with Molly's boyfriend, who shot her by mistake, mourning her death.
  • "Too Many Nights" by Lamar: His pregnant wife has a car crash, and dies in the hospital, along with the baby.
  • The song "Terrible Things" by Mayday Parade, is about a father telling his son about how he met and married his mother, but ends with the father telling his son about his mother's eventual death and that he should never fall in love with anyone, because it is simply too painful.
  • "Concrete Angel" by Martina Mcbride
  • Ryan Dan's song "Tears of an Angel" is a poignant tribute to their four-year-old niece, who died of leukemia while they were recording their 2007 album.
  • "The Wire" by Haim is a Break-Up Song, so although it feints in the other direction, it's no surprise that the video doesn't end happily.
  • The album Achtung Baby by U2 ends with "Love is Blindness", a bitter Break-Up Song. It's not the only one — their 1997 album "Pop" ends with "Wake Up Dead Man", in which the narrator pleads for Jesus to save him.
  • "Dolphins" ends the album "Black And White 050505" by Simple Minds. Despite its somewhat serene-sounding title, the song is about a suicidal person longing to join the titular dolphins in the deep. They even seem to siren him in; "they drag me down...drag me down", though possibly only in his depressed state of mind.
  • Bill and Sis Cunningham's folk song "My Oklahoma Home," covered by such artists as Pete Seeger and Bruce Springsteen. A man buys a farm and thinks he's "set for life." His farm thrives and he also gets married. Then the Dust Bowl starts; all his crops die, he loses his house, and his wife leaves him.
  • "Golden Ring" by George Jones and Tammy Wynette. A young man buys a ring for his fiancée, they get married, and they're very happy. Then they start fighting all the time. She tells him she no longer loves him, drops the ring on the floor, and walks out of his life.
  • The Imagine Dragons album Smoke + Mirrors ends with either the disillusioned-sounding "The Fall" or the self-loathing "Release", depending on whether you're listening to the standard 13-track version or the 17-track deluxe version. International deluxe versions use one of the band's Self Empowerment Anthems to avert this: "Warriors" as #18 on the International Deluxe Edition, or "Who We Are" as #21 on the Super Deluxe Edition.
  • Radiohead's The Bends ends with "Street Spirit (Fade Out)", possibly one of the most depressing alt-rock songs ever recorded. It mainly talks about how futile and pointless life is considering the inevitable conclusion that it will come to.
  • Brave Shores's Never Come Down. A bald man named Adam wishes for hair, and almost instantaneously, his wish came true. He wildly shakes his head throughout the video. Near the end, he felt pain in his neck, making him go to the doctor. Because Adam realized his neck is fractured by looking at the x-ray, the doctor tells him that he's dying.
  • The most common version of "She Moved through the Fair" has the female love interest die in the third verse, and visit the man as a ghost in the fourth. Ironically, the first publication of this version did not include the third verse. An alternate version has the woman run off with another suitor.
  • Marty Robbins' "El Paso" ends with the singer's character being shot in the chest and dying in his love interest's arms. The P.O.V. Sequel, "Faleena (From El Paso)", has the girl commit suicide with his gun afterwards.
  • The Hardcore Punk band Reagan Youth. After developing a serious heroin addiction, being severely beaten with a baseball bat by a dealer, suffering the death of his mother in a car accident, and then suffering the murder of his girlfriend by a Serial Killer, vocalist Dave Rubinstein committed suicide.
  • Elvis Presley's "In The Ghetto" starts with a baby being born, before going through his short life, ending when he dies after having bought a gun and stolen a car, because he didn't receive a helping hand when he was younger, followed by another baby being born, implied to be doomed to the same fate.
  • Simply Red's album Home starts out with an upbeat, jazzy song with the same name, about a man longing for home. The album ends with a brief Dark Reprise of the song, but accompanied by only a piano and a somber, lonely tone.
  • Daniel Amos' album Horrendous Disc is mainly upbeat rock songs about how cool God is, with a few darker themes set to misleadingly cheerful tunes. Not so the final song, "Horrendous Disc". The lyrics are about a domestic abuser who suddenly receives a surreal and paranoia-inducing judgement. The music is minor-key, ending on a dirge-like coda featuring Ominous Chanting.
  • A lot of songs by Cormorant end depressingly, but "Junta" takes the cake. How bad is it? It's about the Guinea stadium massacre, and its accompanying rapes. The ending makes note that one of the girls committed suicide, and that most of the murderers and rapists will probably never receive trial.
  • Think's "Once You Understand" is interspersed with dialogue of children arguing with their parents. The song ends with a police officer telling a father that his teenage son died of an overdose, and the father breaks down sobbing.
  • Elbow's album The Seldom Seen Kid ends with the song "Friend of Ours", a song about losing a best friend to death. Especially jarring since it comes right after the epic, uplifting "One Day Like This".
  • "The End" by The Doors doesn't exactly have one, but the way the final lyrics are sung makes it feel like one. Bonus points for "The End" actually being the final song in the album.
    • "Riders on the Storm" was the last song on the album L.A. Woman, and it was the last song that Jim Morrison recorded which was released in his lifetime. Its melancholy sound and haunting lyrics make it a downer ending of sorts.
    • The band themselves too, with the deaths of Jim Morrison in 1971 and Ray Manzarek in 2013.
  • "Memento Mori", the last song of Architects' 2016 album All Our Gods Have Abandoned Us, is a song about coming to terms with death. Tom Searle's actual death happened just months after the album was released.
  • Don't let Enya's usual optimistic fare fool you, "I May Not Awaken" is really sad. It's highly implied that the narrator kills herself at the end, and that's just the tip of the iceberg.
  • German band Tic Tac Toe has a song called Spiegel ("Mirror"). It's about two young women, Kerstin and Michelle, and a guy, Bernard, at group therapy. Kerstin has bulimia, self image and confidence issues. Michelle is So Beautiful, It's a Curse to the point she wants to pour acid into her face and she was raped at 13. And Bernard, meek, hardworking and smart Bernard, has not only been always used, ridiculed and kept from promotion due to lack of assertiveness, leadership qualities and a problem with making choices, but he was told the day before the therapy that he was fired after 15 years of faithful work. He starts ranting about all the credit he has to pay, asks what he is supposed to tell his wife...then kills himself in front of the group. To hammer the point home, as the girls and the therapist comfortingly hug each other in the music video, we hear the following voiceover (translated):
    A terrible event happened today as a 37-year-old man turned a gun on himself and committed suicide in a psychotherapist's office during group therapy in the presence of other patients. The man, who lost his job the previous day, leaves his wife and two children behind.
  • In the penultimate title track of Interface's Where All Roads Lead, Eric Eldredge's character, having irretrievably crossed the Despair Event Horizon, been abandoned by his peers, and implied to be on his last legs, reflects on the futility of his life and the shattered hopes and dreams of his youth. The closing track, "Hiraeth", is a wordless One-Woman Wail reprise of the song.
  • "Jerry Was a Race Car Driver" by Primus tells of a race car driver who's average at best, but does enjoy racing. In the third verse, he gets drunk and crashes his car, apparently dying.
  • This naturally commonplace in Sentenced's music, given that large chunk of their songs are about suicide.
  • The Caretaker ends Everywhere at the End of Time and its twenty-year run with Stage 6, which has the titular character be fully consumed by their dementia. The final track "Place in the world fades away" ends with a mournful choir fading into a minute of silence.
  • The Police's Synchronicity ends with the melancholic "Tea in the Sahara." Re-releases end with the spookier "Murder By Numbers".
  • "Seven Spanish Angels," a duet by Ray Charles and Willie Nelson, about an outlaw and his girlfriend making a last stand against a posse from Texas. It's sad enough when, by the time the chorus comes around the first time, the outlaw has already been shot dead. Then the second verse starts up, and it gets so much worse.
    She reached down and picked the gun up
    That lay smokin' in his hand
    She said, "Father, please forgive me
    I can't make it without my man"
    And she knew the gun was empty
    And she knew she couldn't win
    But her final prayer was answered
    When the rifles fired again
  • Will Smith's "Loretta", a song Based on a True Story about a Stalker with a Crush he had, tells the story of the titular Loretta growing a dangerous, delusional crush on him based on her fandom for The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and stalking him for about a year trying to hand deliver a love letter to Will. In the end, she's arrested by police outside the then-Kodak Center (where the 74th Academy Awards were being held, Will having been nominated for Best Actor for his turn in Ali), never having met Will and desperately protesting that if she only met Will he would understand and accept her.
  • "Den fineste Chevy'n" ("The Prettiest Chevy") by Halva Priset ft. Maria Mena tells the story of a mechanic who is in love with a well-off girl, and is planning to pass himself off as a finance guy because her family would otherwise reject him for being a hillbilly. The day of the meeting, he's nervous and goes for some Liquid Courage, which leads to him drunkenly driving the titular Chevy into a lake and presumably dying.