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10 Great Music Videos That Will Make You Cry

Updated: Dec 1, 2023

Music Videos are a powerful storytelling tool. These 10 music videos serve as the perfect proof of that. However, this is not a list of top 10 saddest music videos. Sure, some of them are sad. But they can also be contemplative, bittersweet and more often than not, aim for a deeper emotional resonance with the viewers. Presented in no particular order, here are the top 10 music videos that will bring tears to your eyes:

1. Monsters - James Blunt (England)

English singer James Blunt and his father in the music video for Monsters

When James Blunt’s father was diagnosed with stage four chronic kidney disease, James Blunt wrote Monsters as a poignant homage to his beloved father. Monsters showcases James Blunt in his rawest and most heartfelt state. And the accompanying music video masterfully mirrors this intensity. Stripped of any fancy shots or complex storytelling, Monsters’ music video consisted solely of two different long takes. It features James Blunt singing and pouring his soul into every note, his emotions laid bare before the lens. The video finally cuts to a wider shot to reveal the presence of Blunt's father sitting intimately by his side, lending an ineffable depth to the connection shared between them.

2. 轉眼 [Final Chapter] - 五月天 [Mayday] (Taiwan)

Stop motion animation of a car accident from Mayday's music video of Final Chapter 轉眼

Final Chapter uses animation to tell the love story between a boy and a girl. The narrative follows their journey from that initial serendipitous encounter up until the last moment of their lives. However, instead of opting for the conventional 'happily ever after,' it explores the complexities that accompany a life together.

It's not until almost halfway through the video that we realize past regret and second chances are the theme of the video, not love.

The music video cleverly uses storybook animation as a framing device for the story. It is within this framework that the most impactful and gut wrenching moment is achieved.

3. ส่งเธอได้เท่านี้ [Goodbye] - LOMOSONIC (Thailand)

A Thai family portrait from the music video of  ส่งเธอได้เท่านี้ (GOODBYE) from Thai band LOMOSONIC

Goodbye is a profound journey that traces the passage of a boy through the tapestry of life, from his adolescence to adulthood. Imagine a touching, music video version of Boyhood. All the important peoples (and animal) that he met in life are symbolically immortalized through the use of photographs. Each snapshot becomes a timeless treasure, a testament to the enduring significance of every fleeting encounter.

The last scene is a testament to the nature of our human journey, where joy and sorrow entwine. Yet, the tapestry of life is always enriched by the threads of love, loss, and the enduring legacy of memories.

4. Wish You The Best - Lewis Capaldi (Scotland)

A cute terrier from the music video of Wish You The Best, from Scottish singer Lewis Capaldi

Man’s best friend, in life and death. The music video tells a simple story about the unbreakable bond between a postman and his dog, to an incredibly moving song. The music video cleverly uses different color tones to represent the passage of time. Not just to symbolize different seasons, but also to represent a bond that is at the end of its life (cold tone) and the beginning of a new bond (warm tone).

This is a tearjerker which will touch anyone with a soft spot for pets, so standby your tissue in advance.

5. 身後 [Left Behind] - 張惠妹 [aMEI] (Taiwan)

A grieving family in the crematorium from 张惠妹 aMei Zhang music video of  身後 LEFT BEHIND

This emotional song and music video was written as a tribute to Little Light Bulb, a 4 year-old girl who was murdered during a random attack in Taiwan, 2016. The director uses a single long take to visualize the process of bidding farewell to your loved ones, and each step you’ll take during the ascension to the afterlife. From the mortuary (symbolized with ice elements), wake (flowers), coffin (personal belongings), cremation (fire) and finally a peaceful seaside to symbolize the afterlife. There are also several easter eggs related to the incidents, such as the clock and calendar on the wall, displaying the date and time of the incident.

This incredibly moving MV won the Best Music Video Award at the 29th Taiwan Golden Melody Awards in 2018.

6. oh baby - LCD Soundsystem (United States)

American actors David Strathairn and Sissy Spacek from American Rock Band LCD Soundsystem music video of 'Oh Baby'

Rian Johnson directed this music video about a pair of elderly scientist couple (played by David Strathairn and Sissy Spacek) working on a mysterious project. Explaining more about the plot will affect the excitement of watching the story unveil. Rian Johnson is on the top of his game here, superbly crafting a sci-fi love story hybrid against the backdrop of ‘Oh Baby’. The music video gradually builds into its heart-wrenching ending, leaving most viewers probably breathless after their first watch.

7. EVERYTHING (Japanese Ver.) - The Black Skirts (South Korea)

Two kids in a breathing mask from the music video of EVERYTHING (Japanese version) from South Korean musician The Black Skirts

When South Korean musician The Black Skirts decided to make a Japanese version of his hit song, Everything, he did more than just re-record the song in Japanese. The production team reimagined, reconceptualised and produced a much more ambitious music video in scope, story and production value. Similar to LCD Soundsystem’s ‘Oh Baby’, the music video blends sci-fi with romance but here, the protagonists are two teenagers. Their love was pure and simple, a contrast to the harsh world they’re living in.

The music video might require multiple viewings to fully grasp every nuance of the story, but the replayability of the song makes it easy.

8. Snowbank Blues - The Backseat Lovers (United States)

Stop motion of a furry creature from the music video of Snowbank Blues from American alternative rock band The Backseat Lovers

A stop motion animation created by stop motion artist Colin Lepper, the music video for 'Snowbank Blues' revolves around the theme of adulthood and the bittersweet process of moving forward. While the story is a reflection of the band’s emotional journey, it also resonates with all adults, particularly during the most heartbreaking scene of the video. This is the moment when we realize that in order to move forward, we must sacrifice a small part of ourselves that we hold dearly: our 'inner child.

Plus, the decision to employ stop motion animation and cuddly little creatures further enhances the music video. It evokes memories of our childhood and infuses the video with a sense of nostalgia.

9. 紅 [LOVE] - 告五人 [Accusefive] (Taiwan)

A Taiwanese mother and son hugging each other on the street from the music video of 紅 LOVE by Taiwanese pop rock band  告五人 ACCUSEFIVE

紅 (Love) is incredibly emotional and worth a watch, but might also be challenging for to non native speaker of Mandarin. Hence, it is advisable to use Google Lens to translate any texts or subtitles for the dialogues scene.

The music video begins rather mundanely, with what appears to be an ordinary elderly street peddler setting up her stall. But it all serves as a necessary build up for her character. When the song finally reaches the second chorus, we finally learn the backstory and the intention of the character. A pivotal moment occurs during a fleeting dance; as a son tells his mother that she hasn’t visited him in a long time. As viewers, we don’t fully realize the weights of that line until the very last scene, when an incredibly heartbreaking moment unravels.

Similar to Left Behind, LOVE’s music video also won the Best Music Video Award at the 31st Taiwan Golden Melody Awards in 2020.

10. Repeat Until Death - Novo Amor (Wales)

A Mongolian little girl embracing a deer in the wilderness from the music video of Repeat Until Death by the Welsh singer Novo Amor

On the other spectrum from the rest of the list is Repeat Until Death, a heartbreaking reflection on the state of nature that we are living in today. The music video is a sequel of Sleepless MV, but can still be viewed as a standalone music video. It was shot in Mongolia, highlighting the beautiful landscape of nature and the symbiosis between the nomads and the deer before a cruel twist rips everything apart. The twist halfway through the film will not only shock viewers, but more than likely to cause a moment of confusion and anger. When the heartbreak and anger subsided, viewers will probably still contemplate on the film’s message long after the credit ended.

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