Best Sad R&B Songs

When You're Up for Feeling Down ...

R&B may be lovers' music, but there's no better type of music to listen to when you're feeling down. So if you're good with feeling bad, if you're up to feeling down, if you get high on feeling low, then try some of these songs by Ne-Yo, Toni Braxton, Al Green, Roberta Flack and others, which all explore heartache, pain, suffering, grief and various other emotions relating to sadness. So if you're going through a tough time, take some comfort in the fact that plenty of great singers have been there before and have felt your pain.

"Torn," LeToya

LeToya - Torn album cover

Ever been in a relationship where you go back and forth on whether to hang in there for the long haul or just give up and break out? Well, that's what this song by ex-Destiny's Child member LeToya Luckett is about.


"Love T.K.O.," Teddy Pendergrass

The Essential Teddy Pendergrass
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"Love T.K.O." is about how sometimes love beats you down when you try to battle it. Other singers, including Regina Belle and Hall & Oates, have also recorded versions of this song, but Teddy's version is head and shoulders above the crowd.


"Can't Let Go," Anthony Hamilton

Ain't Nobody Worryin' album cover
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This song is sad in two ways: one, it's sad that in the song, Anthony has lost the woman that he obviously loves so much. But it's also sad in the way that it epitomizes how some people can't or won't allow themselves to get over the grief and move on.


"Inner City Blues (Make Me Wanna Holler)," Marvin Gaye

What's Going On album cover
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Way before 2Pac and a host of imitators ever talked about life in the mean streets, the late, great Marvin Gaye sang about ghetto life and how the deck is stacked against poor folks. "Makes me wanna holler, the way they do my life."


"Killing Me Softly With His Song," Roberta Flack

Killing Me Softly 12 inch vinyl record
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Lauryn Hill's vocals on the Fugees version are perhaps better, but nothing beats the original musically.


"How Can You Mend a Broken Heart?," Al Green

Al Green Greatest Hits album cover
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The title says it all. Painful though the song is, it's also arguably the most shining moment in Reverend Al's long, glorious career. The Bee Gees may have done the song first, but Al did it best.


"Do You," Ne-Yo

Because of You album cover
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I mean, who hasn't wondered at least once if their ex still thinks about them sometimes? Ne-Yo's knack for great songwriting came through again on this song, which is the second single from his Because of You album. If you get a chance, check out the remix with Mary J. Blige. Not quite as great, but still very good.


"Kiss & Say Goodbye," The Manhattans

Kiss & Say Goodbye: The Best of The Manhattans album cover
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Breaking up is hard to do. Enough said.


"It's So Hard to Say Goodbye to Yesterday," Boyz II Men

Boyz II Men - Legacy album cover
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This song's a favorite at proms, graduation ceremonies, and even funerals, all across the U.S., and for good reason. Letting go of the past and moving on can be tough. Just ask Anthony Hamilton.


"911," Wyclef Jean & Mary J. Blige

Wyclef Jean - 911
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"Someone please call 911, Tell them I just been shot down, And the bullet's in my heart, And it's piercing through my soul, Feel my body gettin' cold." Bad love can definitely make for good music sometimes, and this is a perfect example. Or, as Wyclef sang on the song: "If this is the kind of love that my mom used to warn me about, Man, I'm in trouble, I'm in real big trouble."


"Un-Break My Heart," Toni Braxton

Toni Braxton - Un-Break My Heart
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Toni Braxton's finest moment as a singer came when she managed to reach the lowest of lows emotionally. Damn, this song is so sad it can make people cry for hours at a time.