The Top 5 Most Depressing Electronic Music Songs

This article is a collaborative effort, crafted and edited by a team of dedicated professionals.

Contributors: Andranick Tanguiane, Fred Lerdahl,


Looking for some music to help you wallow in your misery? Check out our list of the top 5 most depressing electronic music songs.

“Hurt” by Nine Inch Nails

Written by Trent Reznor and co-produced by him and Atticus Ross, “Hurt” is a song by American industrial rock band Nine Inch Nails from their second studio album, The Downward Spiral (1994). It was released on April 17, 1995, as a promotional single from the album. The song received critical acclaim and won the MTV Video Music Award for Best R&B Video.

The music video for “Hurt” was directed by Mark Romanek and stars actor Lee Jeffries as Reznor. In the video, Jeffries wanders around an abandoned building, coming across various objects, some of which represent Reznor’s drug addiction and self-harm. The video is interspersed with footage of Reznor performing the song with his band.

“Hurt” has been cited as one of the most depressing songs ever written, due to its themes of addiction, self-harm, and despair.

“You Owe Me” by Portishead

Born in England in 1971, Portishead is a three-piece band that uses a mix of trip hop, electronica, and hip hop to create a unique and atmospheric sound. The band’s 1996 album, “Dummy,” was a huge success, and “You Owe Me” is one of the standout tracks.

The song is about a relationship that has ended badly, and lead singer Beth Gibbons uses her powerful voice to convey the sense of betrayal and heartbreak that the protagonist is feeling. The melancholy music and lyrics make “You Owe Me” one of the most depressing electronic songs around.

“Down in It” by Nine Inch Nails

From the very beginning, “Down in It” sets a somber tone with its slow, droning synthesizers and Trent Reznor’s whispered vocals. The lyrics are just as depressing, depicting a person who is struggling to keep going in the face of overwhelming despair. “Down in It” is a perfect example of how electronic music can be used to create an atmosphere of hopelessness and despair.

“Head like a Hole” by Nine Inch Nails

Nine Inch Nails is no stranger to depressing songs, but “Head like a Hole” might just be the saddest of them all. The lyrics are full of despair and self-loathing, and the music is dark and brooding. It’s a perfect song for those days when you just want to curl up in a ball and cry.

“Closer” by Nine Inch Nails

“Closer” is a song by American industrial rock band Nine Inch Nails from their second studio album, The Downward Spiral (1994). It was released on May 30, 1994, as the album’s second single. The song reached number two on the Billboard Hot 100 in the US, and became a major hit in Australia and Canada, reaching number one in both countries.

The song’s signature music video, directed by Mark Romanek, received heavy rotation on MTV. “Closer” was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group With Vocal and won Best International Video at the 1995 MTV Video Music Awards. “Closer” is considered one of Nine Inch Nails’ signature songs. Industrial rock band Blind Faith Equals Zero released a cover version of “Closer”, which peaked at number 22 on the Billboard Alternative Songs chart in 2003.

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