Nothing beats a good breakup song to help you heal from a recent (or not-so-recent) breakup. Breakup songs always seem to put into music the way you feel, whether it’s you who instigated the breakup or it’s you who got dumped.
So here’s an eclectic mix of both happy breakup songs for those who want to wish good riddance to their ex and some sad breakup songs to get the tears flowing.
Beyonce – Irreplaceable
Let’s start off this list with a song by Queen Bey herself. Irreplaceable is one of those catchy tunes that you can sing along to even if you’re not brokenhearted. However, if you are going through a breakup (after being cheated on), this might be one of those songs that you’ll play over and over again. This song screams girl power as Beyonce tells her ex flame to get lost after she catches him with another woman.
Breakup lyrics: Since I’m not your everything, how about I’ll be nothing
Nothing at all to you
Baby I won’t shed a tear for you
I won’t lose a wink of sleep cause the truth of the matter is
Replacing you is so easy
Rihanna – Take a Bow
In the same vein as Beyonce’s Irreplaceable, this song about an unfaithful ex is one that’s empowering and sad at the same time. Rihanna sings about how her ex is a fantastic actor for acting all sad and remorseful after she catches him cheating. And just like Beyonce, Rihanna tells him to grab his clothes and get going because she has no time for liars and cheaters.
Breakup lyrics: Don’t tell me you’re sorry ‘cause you’re not
Baby when I know you’re only sorry you got caught
But you put on quite a show, really had me going
But now it’s time to go, curtain’s finally closing
That was quite a show, very entertaining
But it’s over now, go on and take a bow
Alanis Morissette – You Oughta Know
If you’ve become a right mess when your ex flame left, here’s the one song that’s sure to jar them while they’re off frolicking with their new flame. You Oughta Know is angry, bitter, and everything you want in a song that you want to dedicate to someone who messed your life up and then left you hanging. It’s quite the anthem for all of you who were left absolutely miserable by your ex.
Breakup lyrics: You seem very well, things look peaceful
I’m not quite as well, I thought you should know
Did you forget about me, Mr. Duplicity?
I hate to bug you in the middle of dinner
It was a slap in the face how quickly I was replaced
Are you thinking of me when you f*ck her?
All-American Rejects – Gives You Hell
Since we’re on the topic of bitterness, here’s one of the most bitter songs you could ever sing to your ex. When you’re angry and struggling to get over your breakup, Gives You Hell is the perfect song to sing. It’s all about wishing your ex is as messed up as you after your breakup, and all you can wish for is that they’re as miserable as you are (but you won’t be caught dead admitting it).
Breakup lyrics: Now you’ll never see what you’ve done to me
You can take back your memories, they’re no good to me
And here’s all your lies, you can look me in the eyes
With the sad, sad look that you wear so well
The Corrs – I Never Loved You Anyway
From the bitter, let’s go to the sour. This is the ultimate sour graping song that you can dedicate to the ex you want to convince yourself you never really loved. It’s a great song for reminding you of all the awful things your ex was, and so you’re better off without them in your life.
Breakup lyrics: You bored me with your stories
I can’t believe that I endured you for as long as I did
I’m happy it’s over
I’m only sorry that I didn’t make the move before you
Roxette – It Must Have Been Love
Now let’s take a throwback track from the 80s. With its powerful vocals and signature 80s vibe, It Must Have Been Love is one of the greatest breakup tracks from that decade. In this song, the singer has more or less accepted the fact that her lover is gone. But there are times when she’d still dream of the times they shared together even if there’s no hope that he’d come back.
Breakup lyrics: It must have been love but it’s over now
It was all that I wanted, now I’m living without
Bonnie Tyler – Total Eclipse of the Heart
We can’t talk about breakup songs from the 80s without mentioning this beautiful track from Bonnie Tyler. The imagery and the powerful vocals are enough to get a rise out of anyone who’s been left by the one they love. Total Eclipse of the Heart is a cathartic song that you’ll want to belt out whenever you feel angry and frustrated about your breakup.
Breakup lyrics: Once upon a time I was falling in love
But now I’m only falling apart
And there’s nothing I can do
A total eclipse of the heart
Once upon a time there was light in my life
Now there’s only love in the dark
Nothing I can say
A total eclipse of the heart
Roy Orbison – Crying
Now let’s go further back by two decades to the 60s. This Ray Orbison track is sure to leave you crying once you really listen to the lyrics. Crying is a song about a man who runs into an ex-lover. As is common with everyone who’s had their heart broken, you want to give off the vibe that you’re over them. But you know you’re not, and when you see them again, it’s like the breakup happened just yesterday.
Breakup lyrics: I was all right for a while, I could smile for a while
But I saw you last night, you held my hand so tight
As you stopped to say, “Hello”
You wished me well, you couldn’t tell
That I was crying over you, crying over you
The Righteous Brothers – You’ve Lost that Loving Feeling
Breakup songs aren’t always about actual breakups. Sometimes it’s about the things that lead up to the breakup. Take this classic track from the Righteous Brothers. You’ve Lost that Loving Feeling is a song that describes the coldness of your partner before you part ways. You want to woo them and make things the same as before. But even before you actually break up, you already know that in their heart the love is long gone.
Breakup lyrics: Now there’s no welcome look in your eyes when I reach for you
And now you’re starting to criticize little things I do
It makes me just feel like crying
‘Cause baby, something beautiful’s dying
Gotye – Somebody that I Used to Know
Gotye’s hit song resonated with an entire generation that people are still singing it long after it left the charts. Perhaps Somebody that I Used to Know stuck a nerve with so many people who tried to still be friends with their ex, only to find that their ex has completely cut them off. It’s not like you want them back or anything; it’s just that it hurts to see them pretend that you never mattered to them at all.
Breakup lyrics: But you didn’t have to cut me off
Make out like it never happened and that we were nothing
And I don’t even need your love
But you treat me like a stranger and that feels so rough
And you didn’t have to stoop so low
Have your friends collect your records and then change your number
I guess that I don’t need that though
Now you’re just somebody that I used to know
A Fine Frenzy – Almost Lover
They say that “almost” is one of the saddest words in the English language. Combine that with “lover” and you have a line that perfectly describes a love that could have been but never was. This slow, melodic track from A Fine Frenzy talks about a budding romance that never became anything more. The song describes what it’s like to always be reminded of all the “what ifs” between them. But now there’s no way to know because it’s over before it even began.
Breakup lyrics: I cannot go to the ocean, I cannot drive the streets at night
I cannot wake up in the morning without you on my mind
So now you’re gone and I’m haunted, and I bet you are just fine
Did I make it that easy to walk right in and out of my life?
John Mayer – Dancing in a Burning Room
When you look at the title, the imagery is beautiful and sad at the same time. John Mayer describes a breakup as slow dancing in a burning room because he knows that their relationship is over before it officially is. Slow Dancing in a Burning Room is the song you want to play when you just want to enjoy your last moments together before officially calling it quits.
Breakup lyrics: It’s not a silly little moment
It’s not the storm before the calm
This is the deep and dying breath of
This love we’ve been working on
Adele – Rolling in the Deep
No breakup playlist is complete without at least one song from Adele. Someone Like You may be the obvious choice because of the tearjerker lyrics and tune. But we chose Rolling in the Deep because of how the lyrics poignantly capture the regret she feels when her relationship falls apart. It’s a bitter, angry song that’s perfect for listening when the breakup is still fresh and you want your ex to be as miserable about the breakup as you are.
Breakup lyrics: The scars of your love remind me of us
They keep me thinking that we almost had it all
The scars of your love, they leave me breathless
I can’t help feeling we could have had it all
Rolling in the deep
You had my heard inside of your hand
And you played it to the beat
Paolo Nutini – Last Request
As is the course of when you’re in grief, you start bargaining after the anger has subsided. So after you’ve played Rolling in the Deep for a couple of hours, you may want to slow it down a little with this song about bargaining a last request from your ex. Last Request is a song about wanting to spend just one more night with your ex or soon-to-be ex. You just want to relive a moment of joy in their company before you finally accept that it’s over.
Breakup lyrics: Grant my last request and just let me hold you
Don’t shrug your shoulders, lay down beside me
Sure I can accept we’re going nowhere, but one last time let’s go there
Lay down beside me
Goo Goo Dolls – Here Is Gone
Have you ever been in a relationship so toxic that all that’s left to do is leave? That’s what Here Is Gone is about. It’s a song about telling your lover that there’s just no fixing what you have because you both jumped into it broken. You were just using each other to fix yourselves, but you realize that you’re not going to get anywhere together.
Breakup lyrics: I’m not the one who broke you
I’m not the one you should fear
We got to move you darling
I thought I lost your somewhere
But you were never really ever there at all
Bon Iver – Skinny Love
What is “Skinny Love?” According to Justin Vernon, frontman for Bon Iver, Skinny Love is a love you go into for all the wrong reasons. Maybe you need help, maybe you want to fix yourself. But ultimately that love is “skinny” because it doesn’t hold weight. It’s not enough to hold two people together, and that’s why it ultimately fails.
Breakup lyrics: And now all your love is wasted
And then who the hell was I?
And I’m breaking at the britches
And at the end of all your lines
Tove Lo – High All the Time
Have you ever gone on a hedonistic binge right after a breakup? That’s what sadness does sometimes: it makes us go after cheap and often dangerous thrills just to keep our mind off the person we’re missing. High All the Time is a perfect description of those thrills we try to find when we want to get over someone.
Breakup lyrics: Spend my days locked in a haze
Trying to forget you babe
I fall back down
Gotta stay high all my life
To forget I’m missing you
Jeff Buckley – Last Goodbye
Who says all breakup songs have to be sad or bitter? Jeff Buckley’s Last Goodbye is one of those rare songs that talk about mutually accepting the breakup because they both know it will lead nowhere. After all, there are some breakups where you just know that you’re not meant to be together, and so, despite the temptation to make it work, you amicably part ways.
Breakup lyrics: This is our last embrace
Must I dream and always see your face?
Why can’t we overcome this wall?
Baby, maybe it’s just because I didn’t know you at all
Third Eye Blind – Motorcycle Drive By
There’s always a do or die moment in a relationship where you make a grand gesture of love to see if things can work out between you. Sadly, in Motorcycle Drive By the grand gesture doesn’t work. The singer goes off to New York for a girl. But even though he wants her so much, she doesn’t see him the same way. So in a way, it’s a one-sided breakup where he comes to terms with the fact that they can’t be together.
Breakup lyrics: The sun is always in my eyes, it crashes through the windows
And I’m sleeping on the couch when I came to visit you
That’s when I knew I could never have you
I knew that before you did
Still I’m the one who’s stupid
Brian McKnight – One Last Cry
To end this list of breakup songs, we’ve carefully chosen the one song you’ll want to play when you’re ready to move on from an ex-lover. So go and give your ex one last cry, give it your all, and then put them out of your mind as you slowly get over them.
Breakup lyrics: One last cry before I leave it all behind
I’ve gotta put you out of my mind this time, stop living a lie
I know I gotta be strong, ‘cause around me life goes on and on and on
Few things in life hurt more than a breakup. That’s probably why artists create angry, cathartic, depressing, and uplifting songs about it. There’s a full range of emotion you feel when you go through a breakup and this playlist captures them all!