What Your Sad White Girl Music of 2019 Means for Your 2020

It’s been a banner year for sad white girls and those who love them (inasmuch as it ever is for the latter group). We worked out our feelings about a hot priest and/or grief with Fleabag; we joined a book club and read some Sally Rooney we still haven’t really totally processed; and there were a lot of very strong albums in the Sad White Girl creative space to vibe with while eating parmesan crisps in bed and watching Bon Appetit videos. Which one defined your 2019? What does it tell us about the year to come? Waiting with bated breath to hear about the sad white girls I forgot about in the comments.

Caroline Polachek


Are you getting divorced? Did you just get divorced? Are you pursuing a career as a divorce lawyer? Not sure of the specifics for you here, but wow does this album have some Big Divorce Energy. Maybe you’ll be in the laundromat listening to this when you get the news that Ellen and Portia are divorcing? Did you just watch Wildlife and that’s what I’m getting here? The signs are unclear.

Julia Jacklin


This year feels chaotic for you! Not necessarily in a bad way. Friend surprise sleeping on your couch for three months! Surprise bruises! Changing up your brunch order! Feels like you might break someone’s heart this year but also your hair will really go to fantastic new places.

Angel Olsen

All Mirrors

There’s something you know you need to do and you’re really dreading it, and will spend all year putting it off and avoiding it and that will really only hurt you in the long run by dragging it out, but you know what, that’s fine. We all have a process. You will have some small domestic victories, like finally figuring out how to make the one burner on the stove that the pilot never lights on work consistently. Maybe you realize partway through the year you’ve started wearing all black and you know what, that’s fine too.

Lana del Rey

Norman Fucking Rockwell

At several points this coming year you may think “maybe I should take a social media break, for my own wellbeing,” and I am here to tell you you should probably listen to that instinct. If you get a new pet with someone you’re dating or living with this year you’re just gonna have to figure out the custody situation later when you two separate. That’s basically always true for all of us, but just thought a reminder would be good.

Lucy Dacus


I suspect you’re already great at journaling, but this might be a year for less of that and more of doing stupid shit out in the real world and forgetting to even write it down. I’m sorry about any weird family stuff, that sucks. If you’re growing out your hair, be patient.



Sometimes we have to go through periods where due to the confluence of life circumstances you are violently, unmanageably horny and yet our interpersonal prospects do not rise to the occasion. This may unfortunately be an experience you undergo at some point this year. If so, remember it really is the timing, and not you, and your destiny still contains getting railed/railing someone as you deserve. Maybe pick up a strenuous hobby, like hammering railroad ties or kneading bread dough. A good year to get some tattoos if you don’t have any or maybe go tattoo celibate if you already do.

King Princess

Cheap Queen

You will continue to post memes on instagram about trimming your nails and hope your crush responds to them. Most of your houseplants will still die, honestly you should probably give up worrying about it and maybe switch to plastic ones. Don’t hook up with your ex. Good year for thrifting for you.

Maggie Rogers

Heard It In A Past Life

Honestly 2020 may turn out to be alarmingly chill — it holds possibilities like you getting into a very normie hobby you find enormously soothing, maybe scrapbooking, and getting some really solid if unsurprising work done in therapy that leaves you well prepared to handle challenges with increased resilience. For instance, when your soul-sucking former hookup reaches out midway through the year, you may realize you genuinely have no interest. Congrats!!

Before you go! Autostraddle runs on the reader support of our AF+ Members. If this article meant something to you today — if it informed you or made you smile or feel seen, will you consider joining AF and supporting the people who make this queer media site possible?

Join AF+!


Originally from Boston, MA, Rachel now lives in the Midwest. Topics dear to her heart include bisexuality, The X-Files and tacos. Her favorite Ciara video is probably "Ride," but if you're only going to watch one, she recommends "Like A Boy." You can follow her on twitter and instagram.

Rachel has written 1142 articles for us.


  1. So glad to hear that there are more Sad White Girl albums I should be listening to, and also that it’ll be a good year for thrifting! Can’t wait to have good vintage clothing for when I play 1950.

  2. Sorry to do this here, but I couldn’t figure out where else to raise it. I seem to have received a PM from someone called “Patricia Thomasyeje” inviting me to “chat” with a link that redirects to adult spam?

    I don’t seem to have the option to block or report PMs so wasn’t sure what else to do but post here.

  3. Titanic Rising — Weyes Blood: you’re really really worried about climate change, and you are also really worried about dying alone while the world burns. So you joined Lex over the holidays, and maybe you’ll enjoy some dates over 2020 while trying to figure out to reduce your carbon footprint. You will also see some really good movies, too.

  4. I only liked a handful of Lana Del Rey’s album. Especially Bartender. Because it’s kind of witchy and she mentions cherry cola! 🍒♥️🖤

  5. I listened to all of these (except one) excessively, and I’ve also been going in and out of existential crisis for ~8 months! (Also, yes to Weyes Blood as well!)

  6. Love this, and wonder if it’s influenced by The Current. Shout out to Jill Reilly’s morning show for introducing me to essentially all of these artists.

  7. Squirrel Flower – Red Shoulder: This is the year you finally find yourself. Oops we meant *Finally find yourself wearing scrunches. Congrats on achieving the confidence level to think you can pull that off. It’s gonna be a great year!

  8. Is grunge sad white girl music or nah? Because I feel like I listened to some this year but after 2016 every thing started to blend together so it might have actually been 2018.

  9. Lana del Rey on loop took me through dozens upon dozens of hours of trainee teacher work at a really unfriendly school. That album basically became ocean sounds and whale song for me. I also really appreciated the line about never having to go faster than your faster pace, because that is entirely what teacher training is about trying to do.

  10. These recs are great because for some reason songs by white girls about being betrayed by men really speak to me. I have a Spotify playlist called “sadgirl dreampop” that is literally this. It has a few women of color on it tho. Nicki Minaj’s Pinkprint album was pretty sad. Also, everything by Halsey.

  11. I almost got real mad that Lush by Snail Mail wasn’t on this list until I remembered that was from 2018. Time is false! HOWEVER Immunity by Clairo did come out this year and that is some pining white girl music if I ever heard it.

    (Also, I feel very seen by this article, thank you Rachel)

  12. Sometimes I really have a mood to listen to very sad music or music that evokes some sad emotions and memories in me, to cry, to suffer and stuff like that. And it’s cool that even for such cases I have a special playlist that I made in my phone using this online service http://fakaza.net.za/. I found this service recently and I liked that it’s free, but you have access to all the music that I like.

Comments are closed.