Being a kid or a teenager is usually an extremely stressful, highly emotional time in one's life. And the best way to combat all those emotions and channel them somewhere other than yelling at parents was usually through music. So, when it comes to certain highly emotional songs we all probably heard in these highly emotional years (aka mostly the songs of the '90s and the early '00's), it was hard not to just let it all out while listening. The '90s were definitely a time for more self-reflection in music, a lot of sadness, and a lot of anger — so it's safe to say these songs probably made many of us cry, tear up or straight up sob uncontrollably back in the day. But looking back now, it's just embarrassing to think about them in the same way.
From Mariah Carey's early years to one-hit wonders like Lisa Loeb and The Wallflowers, these are just a few of the records that made people (including and especially myself) cry in various degrees of intensity in their younger years. And now if they come up in conversation or on the radio, some of us might be too embarrassed to remember our reactions in the records' heyday.
It's alright folks, we're all in this together.
1. "One Sweet Day" by Mariah Carey feat. Boyz II Men
Honestly if this song didn't get you at least a little choked up at the time of its release, you may be a Tin Man. But now listening to it, meh. Not so much. It's still a beautiful song, though.
2. "Iris" by Goo Goo Dolls
Nicholas Cage and Meg Ryan's movie City Of Angels may have been a box office bomb, but it definitely had its fair share of emotional songs on its soundtrack — and this one took the cake. Just listen to those lyrics: "And I don't want the world to see me/ 'Cause I don't think that they'd understand/ When everything's made to be broken/ I just want you to know who I am." Oof. This used to hit me right in the feels.
3. "I Can't Make You Love Me" by Bonnie Raitt
Speak the truth Bonnie. This song still makes me a little emotional, but crying to it? Not anymore, that's awkward.
4. "I Knew I Loved You" by Savage Garden
Sorry Savage Garden. This song does nothing for me except elicit chuckles.
5. "Behind These Hazel Eyes" by Kelly Clarkson
Really this applies to any early Kelly Clarkson song or really most Kelly Clarkson songs in general. They're all so emotional! My teenage self could not handle it and I'm guessing (but mostly hoping) I'm not the only one.
6. "Show Me The Meaning Of Being Lonely" by The Backstreet Boys
It still makes me emotional, but I can no longer bring myself to cry to any old boy band song.
7. "Lucky" by Britney Spears
The above applies to Britney as well — this music video is the greatest though.
8. "Gone" by *NSYNC
After years of listening to Justin Timberlake sing about broken hearts and past love, this song just doesn't do it for me anymore. Plus, how many people want to really admit that this song — of all songs — made them cry?
9. "Stay (I Missed You)" by Lisa Loeb
When this song first came out it was quite emotional with real lyrics about a woman trying to reconcile with her love. Obviously now it's pretty weird to cry over the song, especially since Craig Robinson so hilariously parodied it in Hot Tub Time Machine 2.
10. "Un-Break My Heart" bt Toni Braxton
Do you hear those lyrics and that voice? "Unbreak my heart! Say you love me again!" It was just so heart-wrenching!
11. "One Headlight" by The Wallflowers
Remember this song? It was just so depressing.
12. "Emotions" by Destiny's Child
(OK, I'll admit it, this song still gets me from time to time.)
13. "It's So Hard to Say Goodbye to Yesterday" by Boyz II Men
This is a Boyz II Men classic and was completely worthy of being a tearjerker back at the time of its release. Now, all I think of when I hear this is the USA series Psych.
14. "Nothing Compares 2 U" by Sinead O'Connor
It's O'Connor's face in the music video. It used to get me every time.
15. "Foolish Games" by Jewel
I know that listening to Jewel was almost like a fad in the '90s, but she really did put out some excellent music. (On a personal note: I saw her perform last year and she's still got it.) But, crying over this song? Probably best left not to tell people about that.