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Music That Makes Us Cry: A DJBooth Roundtable

Grab a box of Kleenex...

What is the last song that made you cry?

On Tuesday, one of our readers asked us this very question on Twitter:

Rather than simply issuing a 140-character reply, I asked a handful of our writers to chime in for a DJBooth Roundtable. 

Grab a box of Kleenex...

Moses Sumney — "Worth It"

I’d like to say I stumbled upon Moses Sumney’s “Worth It” during a lonely SoundCloud dig at 2:49 a.m. when that one song captures exactly how you’re feeling and unearthing such a hidden gem almost feels like fate. Truth is, I first heard the song in a video accompanying GQ’s interview with Brad Pitt about his divorce earlier this year. It definitely wasn't 2:49 a.m., but that first impression was no less profound.

Watching Brad Pitt, newly divorced and no doubt wrestling with sadness, loneliness, and regrets, lose himself in nature to the tune of Moses Sumney’s delicate voice is nothing short of beautiful. There’s a moment at 1:22, however, where Brad is staring down at the floor, hands clasped over his mouth and his eyes visibly watering, and you hear Moses sing, “I don’t know if I am worth it.”

I wondered the exact the same thing about myself. It's a question I've never been able to easily answer, but at least I'm not the only one who doesn't know. —Andy James

Jonwayne — "City Lights"

Few things amplify my emotions like the rain and the pitter-patter of drops that accent the haunting instrumental behind Jonwayne's "City Lights" are an emotional kick to the gut.

As a creative and a human being, I empathize with how his struggle to craft personally fulfilling work ("I see them all saluting, thank me for my service / I did it for me") feeds into his drive to swim through his thoughts to be better for his loved ones.

Anxiety and depression are uphill battles, whether you're in your feelings or holding someone tight. I can feel the rain, Jon. —CineMasai

IDK — "Black Sheep, White Dove"

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“Black Sheep, White Dove” isn't as much as a rap song as it is IDK delivering a eulogy for his mother who has passed away.

Jay hits on one of the most sensitive heartstrings we have, the unconditional but often complicated love for our mothers, and through it, he weaves in and out of the angriest, saddest, and most inspirational parts of his own memories of his mom.

His closing question to her, “Where'd you get them wings from, pretty?” isn’t just a punch in the gut as we listen to Jay experience an almost naivety about the finality of his mom’s death, it also serves as a lesson to all of us sons that, above all, we should never stop loving our mothers, even if it feels like it's too late. —Matt Wilhite

SZA — "20 Something"

Let's be honest: I'm the target demographic for "20 Something." 

As SZA's vocals capture how claustrophobic and aimless our 20s can be, the tender guitars on the Scum and Carter Lang-produced track communicate a rare moment of resolution that's underscored by despondency. The lack of certainty in her voice mirroring the searching lyrics: "Prayin' the 20 somethings don't kill me, kill me."

The perfect closing track to Ctrl, I always nod along, thinking "Oh man, me too." Once the voicemail plays out, the anxiety-chewed hole in my chest wells up with hope. —Donna-Claire Chesman

Frank Ocean — "Chanel"

“Chanel” wasn’t one of my favorite Frank Ocean songs before I attended FYF Fest this past summer, but now, the record frequently comes to mind when I reminisce on that spiritual experience.

As soon as the dissonant piano chords rang through the air, the roar of the crowd and the sheer magnitude of the moment struck me so deeply that my knees buckled. Seeing how much "Chanel" touched others touched me.

Even now, when I play the record under headphones, I still hear the ovations from the crowd reverberating in my head. —Kenan Draughorne

Jeremy Zucker — "End"

Over a backdrop of drums that are both angry and lonely, 21-year-old singer-songwriter and producer Jeremy Zucker poetically tackles not only the art of breaking up but also the transitional period of loneliness that we must face.

Heartbreaking questions are asked, (“If I’m not with you, how can I fall asleep again?”), but it is the absence of an answer that will start the waterworks.

Through “End,” Zucker is able to tap into the dark, emotional abyss that can consume us after a relationship is severed—sadly, this is a feeling I'm currently experiencing. —Kevin Morency



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