Ranking every single John Lewis Christmas advert song based on how hard I ugly cried

Crying to John Lewis Christmas songs is my toxic trait

John Lewis adverts rip your heart out of your chest and force feed you a hot steaming bowl of wholesomeness whether you like it or not. You might think the tears you shed when watching a Christmas ad are down to the advert itself, but really you’re crying because of the stunning song you hear as the ad plays out.

I’m not going to lie to you, this was torture. Putting all of these songs into a playlist felt like I was selling myself down a river made from my very own tears. I knew it wasn’t going to end well. John Lewis has been bringing out adverts since 2007 and let me tell you now, I’ve wept every damn year. So let’s get straight into your new crying playlist – I mean the ranking, starting with the least sad:

13. Taken By Trees, Sweet Child O’ Mine

This song has been tarnished by that fantastic comedy scene in Step Brothers where they sing in the car with their two children. That film has conditioned me into never finding this song emotional. I laugh in the face of Taken By Trees.

Ugly crying level: 0/10, just no.

12. Elton John, Tiny Dancer

This song just doesn’t have a Christmas vibe to it. It’s more of a wedding song in my head and I think that’s why I struggle to cry when listening to it. Love Elton John but this wasn’t the right fit for a John Lewis Crimbo ad in my opinion.

Ugly crying level: 1/10, only crying because this song is so overplayed.

11. Gabrielle Aplin, The Power of Love

Overall this song is sweet but it doesn’t really do it for me on the crying front. It’s pretty bland but at the same time it’s obviously trying to force some tears out of you. It’s just too much and I don’t think it fits the vibe for a John Lewis Christmas ad.

Ugly crying level: 1/10, only shed a single tear because my eyes were so dry after zoning out.

10. Ellie Goulding, Your Song

Again like Tiny Dancer this song, as incredible as it is, is just massively overplayed. Plus I’m not totally convinced Ellie Goulding has the right vibe for it.

Ugly crying level: 2/10, not every Christmassy.

9. Lily Allen, Somewhere Only We Know

You know what it is about this song, it’s the advert that goes with it. I think just playing this song isn’t enough to make me cry that hard. Maybe that’s because Lily Allen is known for singing songs such as Fuck You and Not Fair, to which ten year old me used to dance around the living room singing. But the advert really makes this song into something sad, it’s nice though and I will often tear up to “I’m getting old I need something to rely on”.

Ugly crying level: 3/10, a few tears were shed but only because I was thinking of the ad.

8. Celeste, Give A Little Love

This song makes me ugly cry but it also reminds me of the pandemic and for that reason I do not wish to put it in the top six.

Ugly crying level: 4/10, I cried thinking of the pandemic Christmas and thinking about how awful this ad was.

7. Lola Young, Together In Electric Dreams

Is it weird that I’m more likely to cry to the original song? This one is nice, obviously, but it’s just not pulling at my heart strings that much.

Ugly crying level: 4.5/10, ehhh I’ve heard sadder songs in my time but it was nice.

6. The Vaults, One Day I’ll Fly Away

One word: goosebumps. This song is much more likely to make the hairs stand on the back of my neck rather than make me ugly cry. That’s not to say there’s something wrong with the song, it’s just not really a tear jerker compared to what comes next. However I did still cry.

Ugly crying level: 6/10, no ugly crying here ma’am.

5. Elbow, Golden Slumbers

As soon as the lyrics started in this song, I was crying. All I needed to hear was “once there was a way to get back home” and I wept.

Ugly crying level: 7/10, could see myself ugly crying after one glass of wine.

4. Bastille, Can’t Fight This Feeling Anymore

Look, I don’t actively listen to Bastille but this song slaps so hard. How can you not get a little bit weepy? It’s very emotional and the clear-cut vocals make it ten times sad. The fun twinkling sounds and jingling also makes me feel very festive.

Ugly crying level: 7.5/10 but also still recovering from having listened to number one prior to this.

3. Tom Odell, Real Love

Originally Real Love is John Lennon’s song but when Tom Odell sings it, I feel some kind of way. His voice is magical and makes me feel as though I am sitting on a big Christmas cloud. This song will always be in my top ten for what to play when I need a good weep – I have a lump in my throat just thinking about it.

Ugly crying level: 8/10, if you need a good sob then you should play this. That’s all I have to say on the matter.

2. Slow Moving Millie, Please, Please, Please Let Me Get What I Want

The only thing that’s in the way of this song coming first is the fact it’s not long enough. I cannot listen to this song and not think of the boy in the advert who just wants to give his parents their presents.

Ugly crying level: 9/10, I cried so hard listening to this that I had to take a break and step outside.

1. AURORA, Half The World Away

I think we’re all in some kind of universal agreement that the Man On The Moon advert had no business being that sad in 2015. This song made me cry so hard that I think my left lung collapsed. There’s never a dry eye in the house when you mix Christmas with old people.

Ugly crying level: 10/10, this was game over for me.

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