10 Sad Songs That Will Make You Surprisingly Happy

The UN, which apparently doesn’t have anything better to do, has released what it’s calling a list of the world’s happiest songs, in support of something called the International Day of Happiness. If you’re of a certain persuasion, though, you probably regard “happy” songs with the sort of creeping dread you otherwise reserve for “bubbly” shop assistants and “uplifting” motivational homilies. And you’re not the only one — there’s been plenty of research into why sad songs can leave us feeling happy (and, conversely, hearing Pharrell’s “Happy” one more time can leave one with the urge to kill). Scientific evidence aside, there are certain songs that, while undoubtedly sad, are somehow also uplifting — happy/sad songs, for want of a better term. Here are ten of our favorites.

Elliott Smith — “Say Yes”

This is exactly the vibe we’re going for here — the sort of bruised optimism that comes with a stonking hangover and the unexpected fact that you’ve woken up with someone next to you, a kind of melancholy that is somehow comforting, the feeling that comes with the sun poking through the clouds for just a moment.