I have a whole Spotify playlist called "songs that get me right there". It's filled with songs that punch me in the gut. Some just have especially beautiful melodies or lyrics, some of them are linked to certain people or events in my life, but all of them could make me cry if I'm listening in a heightened emotional state.
I'd love to explain the exact quality a piece of music must possess in order to do this to me--a specific chord progression, for example--but it's not an exact science. It's the auditory equivalent of charisma: undefinable, but I know it when I see it. I wish I could define it, because then I'd be able to write an entire album full of emotionally-packed songs, but I've only ever almost gotten there once or twice in my own songs.
Then again, the music which breaks one's heart varies from person to person, and thank God for that. Isn't it wonderful that we each hear a song through our own filter of personal tastes and life experiences? Music may be the universal language, but I guarantee you that no two people hear a song in exactly the same way. It's a beautiful thing.
Here are a few of examples from my "gets me right there" playlist. What would be on yours?
Keane, "Everybody's Changing"
Crosby, Stills, & Nash, "Wasted on the Way"
The Killers, "For Reasons Unknown"