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Why we love songs that make us cry

Thursday - 8/16/2012, 11:06am  ET

adele500.jpg
Adele's sad songs are award-winners. (AP)
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Everybody loves a song that's a reminder of a bittersweet reality. What are your favorite sad songs? Post a comment in this story, comment on WTOP's Facebook Page or use #WTOPTalkback or #WTOP on Twitter.

Neal Augenstein, wtop.com

WASHINGTON - Sometimes it lasts in love, but sometimes it hurts instead.

And we love the songs that remind us of that bittersweet reality.

Tearjerking ballads hold a special place in our collective hearts. Those are the songs that make us cry -- or at least want to cry -- yet we choose to listen to them again and again.

But what makes a tearjerker?

A beautifully written song doesn't hurt. Adele's "Someone Like You" is co-written with Dan Wilson.

But scientists tell The Wall Street Journal some of Adele's phrasing is what induces chills.

As with many tearjerkers, the song's first verse is calm and repetitive.

The waterworks begin in the song's chorus.

Listen to the way Adele's voice slightly stretches, and warbles on the word "you.....oo-oooh."

"This generates tension in the listener. When the notes return to the anticipated melody, the tension resolves, and it feels good," psychologist Martin Guhn tells The Wall Street Journal.

Those unexpected changes trigger the sympathetic nervous system, making hearts race, and yes, tears fall.

Here are some of your favorite tear-jerkers from Twitter and Facebook:

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(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)