The Best Sad R&B Songs

When You're Up for Feeling Down

R&B might be lovers' music, but there are no better tunes to listen to when you're feeling down. So if you're good with feeling bad, then try some of these songs by Ne-Yo, Toni Braxton, Al Green, Roberta Flack, and others. Maybe you can take some comfort in the fact that plenty of great singers have been there before and have felt your pain. All these songs all explore heartache, pain, suffering, grief, and various other bummer emotions:

'Torn,' LeToya

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Have you 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 find a way out? That's what this song by ex-Destiny's Child member LeToya Luckett is about.

'Love T.K.O.,' Teddy Pendergrass

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"Love T.K.O." is about how love can beat you down if you try to battle it. Other singers, including Regina Belle and Hall & Oates, have recorded versions of this song, but Teddy's is head and shoulders above the rest of the efforts.

'Can't Let Go,' Anthony Hamilton

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This song is sad in two ways: It's sad that in the song, Anthony has lost a woman that he obviously loves so much. But it's also sad in the way that it shows 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

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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

Roberta Flack
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Lauryn Hill's vocals on the Fugees version are perhaps better, but nothing beats the original, musically speaking.

'How Can You Mend a Broken Heart?' Al Green

Al Green
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The title says it all. Painful though the song is, it's also arguably the 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

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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, the second single from his "Because of You" album. You could also check out the remix with Mary J. Blige. Not quite as great, but still very good.

'Kiss and Say Goodbye,' The Manhattans

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Breaking up is hard to do. Enough said.

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

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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

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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, 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

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Toni Braxton's finest moment as a singer came when she managed to reach the lowest of lows emotionally. This song is sad enough to make people cry for hours at a time.