There’s a quote that goes, “Suicide does not end the chances of life getting worse; suicide eliminates the possibility of it getting better.”
Suicide is one of those topics that are so hard to talk about. If you know a person who’s thinking of committing suicide, it’s difficult to find the right words to say. Often we come up with some generic, cliched advice that might make things seem worse. And more often than not, the person we’re trying to talk out of suicide might not even care about anything else other than finding a way to end their life.
In times like these, perhaps a song could help. Over the years we’ve seen countless talented people who have lost their lives to suicide. There’s the very talented Chris Cornell who fronted bands like Soungarden and Audioslave. And there’s also Chester Bennington, the frontman of Linkin Park, who committed suicide not long after Chris Cornell did.
Many talented musicians have been open about their battle with mental illness. They’re so open with it that they want to use their creativity to reach out to people who might be going through the same thing. In other words, they’re so familiar with what it’s like to feel like there’s no way out that they don’t want their fans going through the same thing – hence the songs they’ve written about suicide.
Songs about Suicide
Below are some songs about committing suicide. These songs aim not to push towards going through with taking your life. Instead, these are songs that you want to empathize with, so that you can think twice about killing yourself.
Blink-182 – Adam’s Song
Possibly the most famous alternative song about committing suicide is Adam’s Song. It was written by Mark Hoppus as an outlet for the loneliness he experienced while going on tour with the band. When you take a close look at the lyrics, you’ll see that it’s written in the form of a suicide note from a young boy of 16. The young boy looks back on his unfulfilling life as he thinks on what will happen to the people he’s left behind.
Memorable lyrics: I never thought I’d die alone
Another six months I’ll be unknown
Give all my things to all my friends
You’ll never step foot in my room again
You’ll close it off, board it up
Remember the time that I spilled the cup
Of apple juice in the hall
Please tell mom this is not her fault
Shinedown – Save Me
Addiction is a mental illness that can branch out to other illnesses like suicide. In the song Save Me, the protagonist is in a downward spiral of addiction that he can’t seem to shake. The only way out that he can think of is to end it all. However, there is a ray of hope in that he’s asking the listeners to save him from himself.
Memorable lyrics: Someone save me if you will
And take away all these pills
And please just save me if you can
From my blasphemy in my wasteland
P.O.D. – Youth of the Nation
There are uplifting songs about the youth like We Are the World and then there are songs like Youth of the Nation. While not explicitly a song about suicide, it’s a song that tackles the difficult lives of some children and teens. Even though they might have so much potential, their circumstances prevent them from living a better life… or a life at all.
Memorable lyrics: Johnny boy always played the fool
He broke all the rules
So you would think he was cool
He was never really one of the guys
No matter how hard he tried
Often thought of suicide
Pearl Jam – Jeremy
While many songs on this list were inspired by the experiences of the artists, Jeremy was inspired by a teenager who shot himself in front of his English class in 1991. While some people might dismiss the child as a disturbed child, Eddie Vedder’s lyrics paint the life he lived thus allowing us listeners to empathize.
Memorable lyrics: Daddy didn’t give attention
Oh, to the fact that mommy didn’t care
King Jeremy The Wicked
Ruled his world
Papa Roach – Last Resort
It’s undeniably catchy, despite its dark lyrics. According to Papa Roach member Tobin Esperance, it’s a song about struggling with life and wondering if you have it in you to keep going on. He goes on to say that the song is cry for help.
Memorable lyrics: Would it be wrong? Would it be right?
If I took my life tonight
Chances are that I might
Mutilation out of sight
And I’m contemplating suicide
Ozzy Osbourne – Suicide Solution
If there’s one thing that attests to how hard this song hits you, it’s the lawsuit filed against Ozzy back in 1986. The parents of a depressed teenager who committed suicide insisted that their son killed himself after listening to the song.
Memorable lyrics: Breaking laws, knocking doors
But there’s no one at home
Made your bed, rest your head
But you lie there and moan
Where to hide, suicide is the only way out
Don’t you know what it’s really about
Chris Cornell – Cleaning My Gun
Chris Cornell was a lyrical genius who was taken from this world too soon. He was depressed, no doubt, but we only wish those around him knew just how depressed he was. His song Cleaning My Gun may have been written years before his eventual suicide (not with a gunshot, though), but even then it may have already been a cry for help.
Memorable lyrics: Cause I’m cleaning my gun, yeah
I’m cleaning my gun
When heaven or hell takes this life
I’ll be done
Smashing Pumpkins – Today
At first glance (and if you’re new to the Smashing Pumpkins), you might think that Today is more uplifting than most of its songs. That is, until you hear what frontman Billy Corgan has to say about it. He says the song was written while he was having suicidal thoughts. And the line about “today” being the greatest day means that things can’t possibly get any worse.
Memorable lyrics: Today is the greatest
Day I’ve never known
Can’t wait for tomorrow
I might not have that long
I’ll tear my heart out
Before I get out
Metallica – Fade to Black
While Metallica is a band known for their heavy metal rock songs, they also have a handful of beautiful ballads. Fade to Black, while a ballad, is a song that’s not about beautiful things. According to James Hetfield, “It’s a suicide song, and we got a lot of flak for it, as if kids were killing themselves because of the song. But we also got hundreds of letters from kids telling us how they related to the song and that it made them feel better.” Kudos to you, Metallica.
Memorable lyrics: Yesterday seems as though it never existed
Death greets me warm, now I will just say goodbye
Billie Holiday – Gloomy Sunday
If you look up the history and significance of Gloomy Sunday, you’re setting yourself up for hours spent falling into a rabbit hole. Gloomy Sunday, also known as the Hungarian Suicide Song was said to have been linked to at least 19 suicides in the 1930s. And to top it all off, the composer of the song eventually committed suicide 35 years after writing it! Perhaps this isn’t the type of song you want to listen to when you’re down in the dumps.
Memorable lyrics: Angels have no thought
Of ever returning you.
Would they be angry
If I thought of joining you?
Suicide Prevention Songs
With songs about people going through suicidal episodes, of course there’s also going to be a list of songs that can help them snap out of their slump!
The Fray – How to Save a Life
The band’s lead singer was inspired to write this song after working as a mentor at a camp for troubled teens. He met a 17-year-old boy who had so many problems that it would be impossible to write a manual on how to save him. The song How to Save a Life is about an adult trying to help out a teenager in need.
Memorable lyrics: Where did I go wrong? I lost a friend
Somewhere along in the bitterness
And I would have stayed up with you all night
Had I known how to save a life
R.E.M. – Everybody Hurts
If you’re looking for a song that will reach out to you through the radio waves to give you the musical equivalent of a hug, this is the song for you. Everybody Hurts is a song that reminds us that it’s okay to be sad, to be lonely, and to feel pain. It’s also a song that reminds us that it’s okay to take comfort in the people who love you because you’re not alone. Everybody Hurts is a song that’s so good at reminding us of these things that it’s the song used by a British emotional support listening service called The Samaritans.
Memorable lyrics: If you’re on your own in this life
The days and nights are long
When you think you’ve had too much of this life to hang on
Well, everybody hurts sometimes
The All-American Rejects – Move Along
When we feel like everything in our life is falling apart, like no one’s there for us, we have two options: to give up or to move along. This All-American Rejects upbeat song is the one to remind you to stay strong through the trials and to keep moving forward.
Memorable lyrics: When all you got to keep is strong
Move along, move along like I know you do
And even when your hope is gone
Move along, move along just to make it through
Good Charlotte – Hold On
Hold On was inspired by all the letters the band received from kids going through tough times in their lives. In response, the band wrote the song to motivate them to keep on going. The song was such a wonderful suicide prevention song that the music video for the song features actual people affected by the suicide of their loved ones.
Memorable lyrics: Hold on, if you feel like letting go
Hold on, it gets better than you know
Don’t stop looking, you’re one step closer
Don’t stop searching, it’s not over
Third Eye Blind – Jumper
If there’s one song that you can turn to when you’re feeling suicidal, it’s Jumper. This hit Third Eye Blind song was written by lead singer Stephan Jenkins about a friend of his who committed suicide. It’s a song of lyrical genius that urges the listener to finally cut ties with the past that’s haunting them and urging them to give up.
Memorable lyrics: I want you to know
Everyone’s got to face down the demons
Maybe today you could put the past away
I wish you would step back from
That ledge my friend
You could cut ties with all the lies
That you’ve been living in
If you or someone you know may be going through a difficult time and is contemplating suicide, get some help. A little hope during their darkest hour might end up saving their life.