Her Campus Logo Her Campus Logo
The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Bryn Mawr chapter.

I want to preface this list by describing what I mean by “hyped on melancholia.” I discovered the phrase “hyped on melancholy” in an English class at Haverford College when the professor set up a meeting with Bob Ryan and Sarah Osment, the editors of a magazine by the same name. According to their website, contributors to the magazine write “smart words about sad sounds and the reasons we cleave to them.” I feel that songs that get you “hyped on melancholy” don’t have to necessarily be sad; instead, it’s about the emotion that the song invokes, a surge of happy-sad feelings beyond description or explanation. As a self-proclaimed Sad Girl who regularly experiences an outpouring of big feelings, these are the songs that let me wallow, that rend my heart in two but also fill me with joy. 

1. “Pavement Cracks” by Annie Lennox

Released as part of her album “Bare” in 2003, “Pavement Cracks” is one of the first songs I can remember listening to as a child, and one of the first sad songs I ever learned the lyrics to. I have vivid memories of staring out of a car window on a rainy day, this song playing on my mp3 player. The lyrics are profoundly sad, but that repeated lyric “I wish you well” sticks with you even after you’ve flipped to the next song. 

2. “Dream In A Dream” by NCT

This song is largely instrumental, with only a few lyrics sung by NCT member Ten. The accompanying music video features Ten performing in a mix of hip hop and contemporary styles with some acrobatics; the visuals are a work of art. The sound is powerful, ethereal and will fill you with emotion, making you want to either get up and dance or just sit and listen in awe. 

3. “We Are” by ONE OK ROCK

ONE OK ROCK is a Japanese rock band with a talent for emulating the kind of emotion that rises up at a concert. “We Are” is a perfect example of this. Lead vocalist Taka’s raw feelings ring clear in his voice and can connect with any listener. The lyrics telling listeners “Never tell yourself/You should be someone else/Stand up tall and say/I’m not afraid” combined with their unmistakable rock sound can fill anyone’s heart with courage. 

4. “Dancing on My Own” by Robyn

I first found “Dancing on My Own” on Tumblr; someone had posted a video of a jam-packed New York subway station filled with concert-goers coming off the high of a Robyn performance by singing this song at full volume. Though they were singing a song about heartbreak and loneliness, they were completely united on this one evening. Robyn sings, “I keep dancing on my own,” but she doesn’t tell her listeners whether she is dancing because she is determined to let go of her heartbreak or because she feels so isolated at this moment that she can’t do anything but try to keep up pretenses by dancing. It makes my chest hurt, caught between euphoria and gut-wrenching sadness for Robyn and other lonely people like her.

5. “Calling in Love” by Suran ft. Beenzino

“Calling in Love” is another ethereal track by Korean artists Suran and Beenzino. Featuring dreamy synth and groovy notes, Suran’s clear tone combined with Beenzino’s lower, rhythmic rapping, the song makes you want to get up and dance around your room. The song is about a phone call between two lovers; it’s wistful, it’s adventurous, it keeps me listening even after seven years of streaming. This is a song that will brighten any gloomy mood and is worth a spot on the playlist of romanticizing your life. 

6. “I Need You” by M83

M83 are masters at creating the perfect blend of melancholy and euphoria in their music. Some of their best songs start out slow and quiet, then burst into sound and feeling. “I Need You” feels like jumping off a cliff, running into the arms of your loved ones, screaming out your emotions. The lyrics are otherworldly and yet are sung with such familiarity. “I Need You” is the perfect song for a movie score of someone’s life; case in point, the song was included in the score for Divergent – no wonder that killer saxophone solo makes me feel like the heroine of a teen-aged me’s favorite books. 

Genevieve Altman

Bryn Mawr '22