Sad Dad Playlist: A Listening Experience to Channel the Male Midlife Crisis

Disclaimer: Learn to laugh at yourself. I am just a girl. This is just a joke. The music is good. However, if you are in need of or are seeking support, do not hesitate to reach out to your peers, professionals or safe people in your life.

Oh, how pitiful it is to be a male in your mid-to-late 40s who solely seeks self-worth from your 9-to-5 corporate America office job.

Yes, you may have a beautiful wife who has an unhealthy relationship with Lululemon and workout classes, two children who are so bubble-wrapped in privilege that they think you asking them to do their chores is “unjust” and “stupid” and an 8-year-old golden retriever that isn’t properly potty-trained.

You’ve become so overwhelmed and unhappy with your life. You wonder what you did wrong.

You’re facing a midlife crisis.

Now, ignore the fact that a 22-year-old woman majoring in psychology is writing this, for I have ejected all previous knowledge of self-satisfaction and burned all my notes on work-life balance to fully embody the life of a somber middle-aged man.

I have done so to present you with a handy playlist for when you too feel like a Lamborghini Urus or a golf cart will solve your problems, even if you’re unmarried and are still financially dependent on your parents.

Below are six songs that will make you wish that you could run away from your million-dollar suburban bungalow, stop balding and marry your high school sweetheart, Lisa. 

(Even if you’re not going through a middle-age crisis, these songs cut deep and help, perhaps soon-to-be graduates also grappling with a senior-year crisis)

  1. Superman (It’s Not Easy) – Five for Fighting

Whether it’s for their wife, children or overly demanding boss, every man wants to become a superhero, fix everything and bear the weight of responsibilities. “Superman” by Five for Fighting can be a relatable song for someone who is grappling with the challenges of an unsatisfying work environment and the demands of raising bratty children. It serves as a reminder that it’s okay to have moments of vulnerability (vulnerability is strength, king!) and frustration while embracing the desire to be the source of strength and support.

  1. It’s Not Over – Daughtry

Grappling with dissatisfaction in multiple aspects of your life, including your children, work and marriage? While it won’t help you solve your issues, “It’s Not Over” by Daughtry is a great way to keep wallowing in them.

At least it might decrease the feeling of being alone.

Similarly to many other songs on this playlist, this song encourages introspection and the possibility of rebuilding what’s been lost or strained, making it a fitting choice for someone seeking inspiration amid life’s complexities and disappointments. “Let’s start over / I’ll try to do it right this time around” has been playing in my head for weeks now…

  1. Unwell – Matchbox Twenty

“Unwell” was released in 2002 as part of Matchbox Twenty’s album “More Than You Think You Are.” The song was written by Rob Thomas, the band’s lead vocalist and songwriter, who drew inspiration from his personal experiences with mental health struggles and the ups and downs of fame. “Unwell” touches upon themes of self-doubt, anxiety and the feeling of not quite fitting in, making it especially relatable for those who dread sitting in a cubicle for 40 hours each week. 

  1. Your Winter – Sister Hazel

“Your Winter” offers a unique nostalgia that can resonate deeply with someone going through a midlife crisis. The song’s lyrics and melodic acoustic arrangement create a contemplative atmosphere, allowing the audience to reflect on life’s journey and the choices made along the way. It’s a great song to ponder why you settled for your current spouse and didn’t go after the woman of your dreams.

  1. The Reason – Hoobastank

The heartfelt lyrics and powerful vocals of “The Reason” convey a sense of longing, making the song relatable for someone questioning their choices and feeling the weight of unfulfilled aspirations. While the song explores themes of self-discovery and remorse, it also offers a glimmer of hope and the possibility of redemption, making it a comforting and contemplative soundtrack for those wrestling with complex emotions about their current romantic situation.

  1. Bleeding Love – Leona Lewis

Leona Lewis’ “Bleeding Love” is a poignant and emotionally charged song that resonates with people of all ages, making it a particularly fitting choice for a middle-aged man looking to express his feelings and find solace in music. The soulful vocals and heartfelt lyrics convey a sense of vulnerability and longing that listeners can relate to. The song’s powerful melody and evocative storytelling create a deep emotional connection for all you “sad dads” out there. Just remember, it’s okay to “Keep bleeding / Keep, keep bleeding love.”