11 of the Most Haunting Songs I’ve Ever Heard

Music truly does touch your heart. How often do you listen to a song and get transported right back to another time, with all of the emotions that you had in a certain situation? I know that happens often for me. I could be in a great mood then I hear a certain song and suddenly I am heartbroken. 

There are some songs that are just really haunting. Let’s look at some of the most haunting songs of all time. 

1. “Monsters” – James Blunt 

This one is haunting for anyone that has lost a parent or has ever faced the sadness that we know will one day come with losing them. It is heartbreaking and will stick with you for a while after you have listened to it. 

Blunt wrote the song when his father, who was a kidney donor, was diagnosed with stage four kidney disease. It is a song where he got to say everything that he wanted to say to his dad and it speaks to a lot of people.

2. “Pumped Up Kicks” – Foster the People 

This is a song that is incredibly catchy and sounds super upbeat. Until you really listen to the lyrics, then they give you chills. It is actually a really dark song. 

Pumped Up Kicks was banned on a few radio stations and while I don’t generally think music should be banned, I can kind of understand why this one was. 

It tells the story of Robert, a kid that describes taking out a gun from his father’s cupboard and how all the other kids “better run, better run,”. Turns out the upbeat song is all about a school shooter and what is going on in his mind. It is a reality in so many places, and that is what makes this song even more haunting. 

3. “How to Save a Life” – The Fray 

This one is haunting, not just because it brings back the memory of some of the saddest Grey’s Anatomy episodes, but also because it is a beautifully haunting song in its own right. 

It is a song about loss but one that you can really interpret in so many different ways. If you have lost someone to death then it might speak to you in that way. If you have lost love or friendship in some other ways then this song also speaks to that type of sadness. 

Almost anyone can listen to “How to Save a Life” and think of some sort of situation that hurt them.  It really fits into many different situations and will haunt you each time you hear it. 

4. “Tears in Heaven” – Eric Clapton 

This song has been played at many different funerals and it fits in there. It is a beautiful song about losing a loved one and meeting them in heaven. It is a really emotional song, and if you have experienced something similar then it is even more memorable. 

The story behind the song is heartbreaking. Clapton’s 4-year-old son, Conor died when he fell from a 53rd floor window of a New York City apartment that belonged to Conor’s mother’s friend. It was obviously devastating to the singer and he was isolated for a time. But then he came back and wrote Tears in Heaven for his son and for the soundtrack of Rush. 

It was a way for him to cope with the tragedy and a song that has helped many families say goodbye since then. Still, it is a really sad song that is hauntingly beautiful. 

5. “Leader of the Pack” – The Shangri-Las

This is an older song, in fact many of us weren’t even born when it came out. But it is still a really haunting song that is catchy but really sad. I can’t hear a motorbike roaring without thinking of this song. 

It is about a young girl who falls for a boy from the wrong side of the track. The leader of the pack. And her parents aren’t happy about it. She has to break up with him and he drives away with tears in his eyes while it is raining and gets into an accident. 

It was such a great song from the 60’s but still one that is haunting. 

6. “You are the Reason” – Calum Scott 

This is a hauntingly beautiful song that speaks about losing the person who is the reason for everything you do. Almost all of us can relate to having a person that becomes your reason for the things you do, whether that be your significant other, your parents, your children or anyone else. 

The thought of losing that person from your life is really scary and haunting. No one wants to face that possibility and how you would feel if it did happen. That is one of the things that makes this song such a haunting song. And since it is so beautiful it also sticks with you. 

7. “Every Breath You Take” – The Police 

This song was written by Sting and it sounds a lot more romantic than it was supposed to be. The song will haunt you, it will particularly haunt couples who used this as their first dance at their wedding. Sting really didn’t plan to make it romantic. 

If you listen to the words, it sounds way more like a song about a stalker watching the object of their desire, than a loving partner that is trying to care for their significant other. 

Sting has since shared that he never planned to make it a positive song about a great relationship. It is about the obsession of a lost lover that just can’t let go of the relationship. All about the jealousy that follows. Someone that is so obsessed that they keep on surveilling their ex-love. 

Not really the theme you want at your wedding. But so many people did use it and they will be haunted by the song forever. 

8. “Soon You’ll get Better” – Taylor Swift 

If you have ever had a loved one, and specifically a parent, that has been battling cancer, then you know just how jarring that moment is when you find out about their diagnoses. It is a completely helpless and incredibly sad feeling. One that will stay with you forever. 

You need to believe that they will get better with everything that you have. The opposite is just unthinkable. And this is exactly what has happened with Taylor Swift. 

She had to face her mother’s recent diagnoses and it was just immeasurably hard. Fans know that one of the ways that she loves to handle her emotions is by song writing. 

The song is haunting and also really uplifting at the same time. A song that many of us will never be able to listen to without crying. 

9. “Mad World” – Michael Andrews 

This song is haunting and you don’t really have to explain why it is such a haunting song. Just the lyrics “The dreams in which I’m dying are the best I’ve ever had” explains it all. 

It is just chilling. It shows how someone can feel when they are in a deep depression and how they can feel like it is almost a dream come true to die. It gives you goosebumps and is so incredibly sad and scary. 

But the rest of the song is just as sad as it handles speakers’ depression. It is a beautiful song and the lyrics are just brilliant. But so haunting. 

10. “Peter Pan Was Right” – Anson Seabra 

Another beautiful song that speaks about how hard life can be and just how often someone can feel the need to escape their life. 

It is all about an adult that is completely burnt out, who of us can’t relate to that in some way or at some time? He says that Peter Pan was right, that we should stay kids. 

At first listen it can be interpreted as a song about a fairy tale or the story of Peter Pan. But when you listen a lot closer you can hear the desperation in the lyrics. He doesn’t want to return to his life and doesn’t want to come back down to earth. 

It sounds like another song about depression and possibly about suicide. It is the type of song you will sing along to but that will take on a whole new meaning when you really listen to the words. 

11. “Jar of Hearts” – Christina Perri 

“You’re gonna catch a cold, from the ice inside your soul.” A pretty awesome lyric and one that would be so satisfying to say to someone that has hurt you. 

This song is haunting but it is also really uplifting. It is all about someone who has finally broken free from the person who has hurt them, but now they want her back. The great thing is that she will not fall back into the toxic relationship that has hurt her. 

He left her with scars but she has become stronger and there is no way that she will take him back. 

Songs Can Be Memories 

We all have songs that haunt us. But these on the list are especially haunting, but really great to listen to at the same time. Enjoy them.

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