24 Songs about Pain (Rap, Hip Hop, R&B & More)

Foundations of Music

24 Songs about Pain (Rap, Hip Hop, R&B & More)

Why sing about pain? Pain is something we all understand. We all experience different types of pain throughout our lives.

We all express and deal with pain in our own ways. Music is one of those ways.

I. Songs about Pain and Trauma

Listening to songs about pain and trauma helps us deal with our emotions. It is therapeutic listening to someone sing about how we feel.

1) Praying

Artist: Kesha
Album: Rainbow
Year: 2017

Praying is an open letter written to Kesha’s ex-partner about their abusive relationship.

It sounds like she has found peace with her struggle. She has managed to come out on the other side.


2) Scars

Artist: Allison Iraheta
Album: Just Like You
Year: 2009

Allison Iraheta sings about the expectation of her father. She expresses how she cannot be what he wants her to be.

Often parents force their dreams onto their children with unrealistic expectations.


3) A Little’s Enough

Artist: Angels and Airwaves
Album: We Don’t Need to Whisper
Year: 2006

A Little’s Enough is a tragic song because it is written in the hope that God will come down to Earth to fix everything that is broken.

As we know, this will never happen. This song just emphasizes everything that is wrong. It plays up all of the problems and suffering we all go through.


4) Thank U

Artist: Alanis Morissette
Album: Supposed Former Infatuation Junkie
Year: 1998

Alanis Morissette shares with us her struggles after finding fame.

This is something we can all understand in some way. Imagine that suddenly that everyone wanted a piece of you?

You are never alone again or have any privacy ever again.


II. Latest Songs about Pain

The newest releases so far. These songs are a true reflection of suffering.

1) Black Dog

Artist: Arlo Parks
Album: Collapsed in Sunbeams
Year: 2021

Black Dog is a general term used to describe depression. It can also refer to the loss of love for things that you used to want to do all the time.

Arlo Parks seems to have written Black Songs to support her fans who struggle with mental illness.

This is amazing as artists have so much influence and for them to show support to the people who keep them famous is special.


2) Favor

Artist: Julien Baker
Album: Little Oblivions
Year: 2021

Julien Baker allows us to look into her life. She has been known to battle depression. This song also touches on the hardship of battling Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder.


3) Immune

Artist: Jensen McRae
Album: Who Hurt You?
Year: 2021

Immune is written all about the Covid-19 Pandemic. How did it affect us?

She questions how Covid will affect us for years to come. It has definitely changed the world in so many ways.

For better to worse? We will have to see.


4) Sanguine

Artist: Widow Speak
Album: Honeychurch
Year: 2021
Click to Open YouTube

“Sanguine” is written all about the Covid-19 Pandemic. How did it affect us? Molly Hamilton questions how Covid will affect us for years to come. It has definitely changed the world in so many ways.


III. Songs about Being Broken or Hurting Inside

Do we not all know what it feels like to feel broken? This is one of the most painful feelings. It leaves us feeling worthless and like we will never be good enough.

1) Hurt

Artist: Johnny Cash
Album: American IV: The Man Comes Around
Year: 2002
Click to Open YouTube

Hurt is a cover of the Nine Inch Nails original. It was written about addiction. The song also touches on self-harm.

When he covered Hurt, Johnny Cash was suffering from autonomic neuropathy caused by diabetes.


2) Love Hurts

Artist: Nazareth
Album: Super Group Festival
Year: 1974
Click to Open YouTube

Nazareth sings about an extremely hurt heart. He blames his ex-partner for any hurt that he feels.

This is a person that needs to take some time alone. There is much heartbreak in this song.


3) Hurts So Good

Artist: John Cougar Mellencamp
Album: Footloose
Year: 1982

John Mellencamp is attempting to seduce a younger woman.


4) Hurt

Artist: Christina Aguilera
Album: Back To Basics
Year: 2006

Hurt is a heavily weighted song about her father’s death.

The last thing she had allegedly said to him was that she hated him.

This song is about her regret.


IV. Pop Songs about Pain

The pop genre is a fantastic platform to sing out pain. This category is broad and touches so many different people.

1) Do You Really Want To Hurt Me

Artist: Culture Club
Album: Kissing To Be Clever
Year: 1982

Do You Really Want To Hurt Me is simply a sad song about being hurt.


2) Let’s Hurt Tonight

Artist: One Republic
Album: Oh My My
Year: 2016

Let’s Hurt Tonight is about trying to fix problems in your relationship no matter what.


3) Her Diamonds

Artist: Rob Thomas
Album: Cradlesong
Year: 2009

Her Diamonds is a song about RobThomas’ wife. She suffers from an autoimmune disease similar to Lupus.


4) Pain

Artist: Three Days Grace
Album: One-X
Year: 2006
Click to Open YouTube

Pain is a heavily emotional song about how depression makes you feel numb.

The singer wishes to feel pain rather than nothing at all.


V. Rap/ Hip Hop / R&B Songs about Pain

The Rap, Hip Hop, and R&B genres are all about pain and suffering.

They all seem to have tragically lost people close to them. They have all suffered through heartache.

If there is any genre of music that can feel for you, it is this.

1) I Feel Like Dying

Artist: Lil Wayne
Album: Mixtape: The Drought Is Over Part 2
Year: 2007

It seems that Lil Wayne is struggling with and is imagining what it would be like to die.


2) The Message

Artist: Dr. Dre featuring Mary J. Blige & Rell
Album: 2001
Year: 1999

The Message was written as a message for Dr. Dre’s brother, Tyree, who was killed in 1989.


3) Kim

Artist: Eminem
Album: The Marshall Mathers LP
Year: 2000

Kim struggled with addiction. She and Eminem were married. They divorced and remarried later.


4) Suicidal Thoughts

Artist: The Notorious B.I.G.
Album: Ready To Die
Year: 1994

Suicidal Thoughts are about B.I.G. committing suicide. This does not actually happen.

But Puff Daddy tries to talk him out of it during the song. Despite the love and support, B.I.G. pulls the trigger at the song’s end.


VI. Rock Songs about Pain

Rock is a genre renowned for singing about pain. Rock singers evoke an incredible amount of emotion through their voices. They really seem to feel every word they sing.

1) Dig

Artist: Incubus
Album: Light Grenades
Year: 2006

Dig leans towards how important it is for us to forgive each other. We need to find compassion in our daily lives.

Everyone is suffering through something at any stage. We need to have some understanding of that.


2) Everybody Hurts

Artist: R.E.M.
Album: Automatic For The People
Year: 1992

Everybody hurts about the fact that every single one of us is suffering. But there is always worse off than you are.

But things will get better, eventually.


3) Numb

Artist: Linkin Park
Album: Meteora
Year: 2003

Numb is an incredibly tragic song as lead singer Chester Williams committed suicide due to depression. 

Numb also points to unrealistic expectations put on children by their parents. This often creates psychological issues in adults.


4) Broken

Artist: Seether
Album: The Punisher: The Album
Year: 2004

Broken is about feeling vulnerable. When you are weak, you open yourself to hurt.



Dealing with pain and trauma can be a complicated process. Most of us do not know how to navigate this.

Music helps us to live out our feelings and scenarios. Music is the ultimate expression for all emotions that we feel.

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