The future of music

75 Best Breakup Songs of All Time

January 3, 2023
best breakup songs

Are you dealing with heartbreak and going through some tough times?

If yes, take your time, and remember – no feeling is final.

In the meantime, listening to good relatable songs might be helpful.

Luckily, there are countless songs about breaking up.

And we made a list of the 75 best breakup songs of all time.

Table of Contents

1. “Someone Like You” by Adele

Let’s begin with the queen of heartbreak songs.

Adele often transforms her personal experiences into music, and that’s why so many people relate to her songs.

Of course, “Someone Like You” is her biggest hit, and it’s arguably one of the saddest breakup songs.

It’s about finding out that your past love has moved on; and you need to do the same.

2. “Call Out My Name” by The Weeknd

“Call Out My Name” is also one of the popular breakup songs.

Many people believe The Weeknd wrote this song about Selena Gomez.

Either way, it’s obviously one of the songs about breaking up with someone you still love.

The lyrics are very raw and straightforward, and the whole atmosphere is very captivating.

3. “I Will Always Love You” by Whitney Houston

Of course, every list of the best breakup songs included Whitney Houston.

Some people believe that “I Will Always Love You” is also one of the greatest love songs of all time.

Whether you agree or not, this song was a huge global success, and it topped the charts in almost all countries.

It was first recorded by Dolly Parton in 1973, but Whitney’s version for the film ‘Bodyguard’ became iconic.

4. “Irreplaceable” by Beyonce 

To the left, to the left

Everything you own in the box to the left…

“Irreplaceable” is definitely one of the top breakup songs.

It’s not sad or melancholic like many other songs about breakups, but you can feel all the emotions.

Plus, it’s catchy – and it’s a nice reminder of Beyonce’s older albums.

5. “Since U Been Gone” by Kelly Clarkson

“Since U Been Gone” is another famous song about breaking up.

It’s upbeat and energetic, so it might be the pick-me-up you need right now.

In the song, the protagonist is aware that they fell in love too quickly and they’re glad it’s over. 

Not all breakups are sad – some are necessary. 

6. “Happier” by Marshmello ft. Bastille

As we were saying, sometimes ending a relationship is the best thing you can do.

And that’s what “Happier” is all about.

It tells a story of a couple who wants to be with each other but they understand that’s not what they need to do in order to be happy.

The important thing is to figure out what’s good for you and act accordingly.

7. “Somebody That I Used To Know” by Gotye ft. Kimbra 

Without a doubt, “Somebody That I Used To Know” is one of the saddest songs about breakup.

The song conveys emotions in a very unique way – it’s not too dramatic, yet it feels deeply sentimental.

Nevertheless, the song talks about the complexity of emotions you feel after breaking up with someone.

Gotye was allegedly inspired to write it after not going through a clean break up with someone.

8. “I Can’t Make You Love Me” by Bonnie Raitt 

“I Can’t Make You Love Me” is widely regarded as one of the most beautiful love songs.

It’s one of the sad love songs, of course; but the most beautiful music often expresses deep, complex emotions.

And this song revolves around the acknowledgment that you can’t control other people’s feelings.

It’s about two people in a relationship but one of them is aware that the love is not reciprocated.

9. “Skinny Love” by Bon Iver 

Skinny Love” is another beautiful but heartbreaking song.

It’s very soft and calming, and it tells a story in a very subtle yet clear way.

It’s taken from Bon Iver’s debut studio album “For Emma Forever Ago.”

The whole album is full of sentimental songs that can help you get through hard times.

10. “It’s Too Late” by Carole King 

Another artist that approaches breakup in a mature way is Carole King.

She released “It’s Too Late” in 1971, but the song still somehow sounds fresh.

Lyrically, it’s about the blameless end of a loving relationship.

And you can feel that in the encouraging atmosphere of the song. 

11. “Un-break My Heart” by Toni Braxton

“Un-break My Heart” is probably on every list of the best break up songs.

It’s an R&B classic from 1996.

In short, it talks about wanting someone back.

That’s one of the uneasy feelings many people deal with after a breakup.

12. “Want You Back” by Jackson 5

Speaking of wanting someone back, Jackson 5 recorded an iconic hit about that.

And it’s written in their authentic style that will make you dance rather than feel sad.

So if you need something to cheer you up, “Want You Back” is your tune.

13. “Go Your Own Way” by Fleetwood Mac

Fleetwood Mac is known for making music directly inspired by the band members’ personal experiences.

And their track “Go Your Own Way” depicts the breakup of Stevie Nicks and Lindsay Buckingham.

It’s actually Buckingham’s letter to Stevie Nicks.

The song might sound bitter, but it also feels kind of liberating.

14. “Don’t Speak” by No Doubt

 “Don’t Speak” was released in 1995, and it was definitely one of the best hits of the year.

The song is a powerful and emotional portrayal of the pain caused by a failed relationship.

The story is inspired by Gwen Stefani’s personal experiences and relationship with the bassist Tony Kanal.

And one of the messages the song conveys is related to the importance of communication in every relationship.

15. “Try” by Pink

Another powerful heartbreak song is “Try” by Pink.

It talks about finding strength to move on and keep trying.

Breakups are hurtful, but that doesn’t mean we should give up on everyone else.

Where there is a flame, someone’s bound to get burned

But just because it burns doesn’t mean you’re gonna die…

16. “Stay” by Rihanna 

“Stay” is Rihanna’s most sentimental song.

It’s a piano-driven ballad about different aspects of a romantic relationship. 

It talks about wanting to be reassured that someone loves you but also realizing that things aren’t going as well as you want.

17. “Nothing Compares 2 U” by Sinnead O’Connor

 “Nothing Compares 2 U” is slow, tender, and soulful.

It’s about longing and desire.

The lyrics are written from the perspective of an abandoned lover.

And they certainly don’t leave any listener indifferent. 

18. “Dry Your Eyes” by The Streets

“Dry Your Eyes” by The Streets is a catchy hip hop tune from the 2000s.

But it’s also an honest depiction of dealing with a breakup.

Essentially, the song suggests people to move on if there’s nothing you can do about it.

One of the verses also says: there’s plenty of fish in the sea.

19. “Chelsea Hotel No.2” by Leonard Cohen

I remember you well in the Chelsea Hotel…

Leonard Cohen allegedly wrote this song about his encounter with Janis Joplin.

They had a brief affair in 1968.

And the song became one of his most famous romantic tunes.

Lana Del Rey also recorded a nice version of this song. 

20. “Cry Me A River” by Julie London

“Cry Me A River” is a timeless classic.

The song was written by Arthur Hamilton but got popularized by Julie London in 1955.

And it has been recorded by many artists ever since.

The song was also inducted in the Grammy Hall of Fame.

21. “You Oughta Know” by Alanis Morissette

If you’re searching for a good song to blow off steam, look no further.

Alanis Moissette’s “You Oughta Know” is confident, unapologetic, and angry.

It’s taken from her iconic album “Jagged Little Pill.”

And it’s also a famous girl power song. 

22. “thank u, next” by Ariana Grande

Another song that will boost your confidence is “thank u, next” by Ariana Grande.

The song emphasized the importance of self-love.

And it’s Ariana’s reminder that she learned a lot throughout her past relationships.

However, in one of her live performances, she got very emotional during this song.

And that might indicate that she indeed associates the song with her ex-boyfriend Mac Miller who passed away in 2018.

23. “End Of The Road” by Boyz II Men

“End Of The Road” is a soulful 90s hit.

The song was ranked by Billboard as the sixth most successful song of the decade.

It also won Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals.

So it’s fair to say “End Of The Road” is one of the most famous breakup songs.

24. “Always Be My Baby” by Mariah Carey

Another notable 90’s song about a breakup is “Always Be My Baby” by Mariah Carey.

The song is easy-going and catchy, so if you’re bitter or angry, it’s not for you.

It’s better for someone who still believes it’s not the end.

25. “Before He Cheats” by Carrie Underwood

On the other hand, if you’re searching for a song with a taste of revenge, Carrie Underwood gots you covered. 

Essentially, “Before He Cheats” is a song about revenge and wanting to smash your ex’s car.

Perhaps that’s not the best way to deal with a breakup, so Carrie will at least help you daydream about it. 

26. “Love Yourself” by Justin Bieber 

In “Love Yourself”, Just Bieber is singing about moving on after a breakup.

He’s realizing that he is better on his own.

And that’s one of those healing, liberating moments – you just realize you’re doing great on your own.

27. “Lose You To Love Me” by Selena Gomez 

“Lose You To Love Me” is another breakup song that emphasizes the importance of self love.

It’s about acceptance and personal growth, and realizing how some people might not be good for you.

At the end of the day, you can interpret the lyrics in any way you want. 

It all depends on your current situation and mood.

28. “Forget You” by Cee Lo Green

This is probably one of the best songs to get over someone.

The message of the song is pretty clear – especially in the other non-censored version.

Not to mention it’s incredibly catchy.

It was released in 2010, but we’re still not bored of it.

29. “Don’t Think Twice It’s Alright” by Bob Dylan

A little bit of Bob Dylan will also lift your spirits up.

The song has been recorded by many artists, but nothing comes close to Dylan’s charm.

The song feels quite comforting, so it might be exactly what you need at the moment.

Nat Hentoff described the song as a statement you say to yourself to feel better. 

30. “The Scientist” by Coldplay

“The Scientist” is one of Coldplay’s biggest hits.

It’s also a beloved breakup song.

It has genuine lyrics, melancholic yet heartwarming melodies, and a powerful build-up.

Nobody said it was easy

No one ever said it would be this hard…

31. “Best Thing I Never Had” by Beyonce 

“Best Thing I Never Had” is a genuinely hopeful song.

It will remind you that sometimes it’s good to acknowledge that we were just wrong about someone.

And that’s exactly what Beyonce sings here – she admits that the breakup was good both for her and her lover.

32. “This Love” by Maroon 5

“This Love” was a huge hit when it came out in 2002.

And it remains one of the band’s biggest hits.

The lyrics are based on Adam Levine’s break-up with an ex-girlfriend. 

He said he wrote the song in a very emotionally trying time of his life.

33. “Gives You Hell” by The All-American Rejects

This song is such a great throwback. 

And it’s also a good remedy for young broken hearts.

It’s a bit of a revenge song though, especially some of the verses.

Nonetheless, it’s a good breakup song that will help you get in a lighter mood.

34. “Stitches” by Shawn Mendes 

Released in 2015, “Stitches” is a huge heartbreak hit.

And it’s still frequently played on the radio.

We hope Shawn Mendes healed his wounds in the meantime.

You watch me bleed until I can’t breathe

I’m shaking, falling onto my knees…

35. “Nothing Breaks Like a Heart” by Mark Ronson ft. Miley Cyrus

Mark Ronson and Miley Cyrus know that nothing breaks like a heart.

Just like “Stitches”, “Nothing Breaks Like A Heart” is a universal radio hit.

The song was nominated for Song of the Year at the 2020 Brit Awards, and that marked Miley’s first nomination.

36. “Stay With Me” by Sam Smith 

Speaking of radio hits…

In “Stay With Me”, Sam Smith yearns for a deep, long-lasting romantic relationship.

And he is not afraid to show his emotions.

The song is very honest, and it depicts the situation many people can relate to.

37. “Torn” by Natalie Imbruglia 

“Torn” by Natalie Imbruglia is another great throwback song.

There are many different interpretations of this song though.

But most of them are related to the consequences of a tough breakup.

Nevertheless, listening to “Torn” will make you feel hopeful – there is something comforting about it.

38. “Big Girls Cry” by Sia 

Sia started making chart-topping hits when she switched from subtle indie music to pop power ballads.

Both her newer and earlier music is great in its own way though.

She released “Big Girls Cry” in 2014. 

The video features Maddie Ziegler, a young dancer Sia collaborated with on numerous occasions.

39. “Ex-Factor” by Lauryn Hill

“Ex-Factor” is taken from Lauryn Hill’s iconic album “The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill.”

In the song, Lauryn is referring to her lover and claims that loving him feels like a battle.

But it’s clear that she loves that special someone very deeply.

40. “I’d Rather Go Blind” by Etta James 

When it comes to soul classics, “I’d Rather Go Blind” is one of the best.

Etta James reportedly wrote the song while visiting her friend Ellington in prison.

She wanted to create a song about being blind in love and in her personal ways.

Nevertheless, you can interpret the lyrics as you like – along with the soulful melody, they can be very soothing.

41. “I Could Use a Love Song” by Maren Morris

“I Could Use A Love Song” has a country vibe and a hopeful atmosphere.

It’s about rediscovering love after a breakup.

And that’s something everyone has to go through.

But you should also take your time to really be ready.

42. “Too Good At Goodbyes” by Sam Smith 

And maybe you feel like you’ve been through the same thing too many times.

In his melancholic track “Too Good At Goodbyes”, Sam Smith claims he became an expert in ‘getting dumped.’

The lyrics of the song were inspired by a personal experience in Smith’s life. 

43. “Heartbeats” by Jose Gonzalez

If you need something to comfort you, listening to Jose Gonzalez is always a good idea.

His music is dreamy and calming, and at times melancholic.

And he covered “Heartbeats”, a song by Swedish duo The Knife, for his album “Veneer.”

In short, the song is about an unexpected affair and truthful feelings.

44. “Back To Black” by Amy Winehouse

“Back To Black” is one of the saddest love songs.

It’s also a perfect break-up song – powerful and dark.

People have interpreted this song in many ways.

But it’s probably about Winehouse’s breakup with her then-boyfriend Blake Fielder-Civil.

45. “You Should Be Here” by Kehlani

“You Should Be Here” could be one of the songs to break up with someone.

It’s gentle and soulful, but there’s also something bitter in it.

The lyrics are written from the perspective of a girl who believes her partner isn’t there mentally and emotionally.

She misses him, although he is right there next to her.

And that’s a sign that this love won’t have a happy ending.

46. “Marvins Room” by Drake 

In “Marvins Room”, Drake is calling his girlfriend and lamenting about his loneliness and frustrations.

It’s a captivating track that tackles facing your own emotions.

But it’s also a good song to listen to after a breakup.

Drake named the song “Marvins Room” in honor of the studio where it was recorded.

47. “Wrecking Ball” by Miley Cyrus

Another good song to listen to if you’re going through a hurtful breakup is “Wrecking Ball.” 

Miley’s power ballad was a huge hit when it came out in 2013.

And everybody knew it was inspired by her relationship with Liam Hemsworth.

Essentially, “Wrecking Ball” is about feeling devastated after a breakup with someone who meant everything to you.

48. “It Must Have Been Love” by Roxette

This is arguably one of the most iconic break-up songs.

It’s a timeless classic and one of the most influential songs of the 80s.

The lyrics are written in the period when it’s already over.

And they indicate that the protagonist regrets that.

49. “I Heard It Through The Grapevine” by Marvin Gaye

Thanks to its groovy vibes,“I Heard It Through The Grapevine” will instantly put you in a better mood.

However, the song is actually quite heartbreaking.

It’s about a man who finds out that his girl isn’t faithful.

And somebody else tells him that – he heard it through the grapevine.

50. “Neither One Of Us” by Gladys Knight & The Pips 

“Neither One Of Us” is a soulful and genuine portrayal of a relationship coming to an end.

But neither of them wants to be the one to say goodbye. 

Although it’s a sad love song, “Neither One Of Us” sounds like a remedy for the soul.

51. “Somebody That I Used To Know” by Elliott Smith 

Elliott Smith’s “Somebody That I Used To Know” will help you get together after a breakup.

This acoustic song is slightly melancholic, but it’s also hopeful and determined.

And Elliott is quite dismissive of his heartache.

Perhaps he will pass on that attitude to you.

52. “Let Her Go” by Passenger 

Passenger approaches his heartache in a different way.

His song “Let Her Go” is sentimental and sweet. 

It’s about missing someone after a breakup and realizing how important they were to you.

Nevertheless, the song feels very comforting.

53. “Maps” by Yeah Yeah Yeahs 

 “Maps” by Yeah Yeah Yeahs is an upbeat and emotional rock tune.

You should definitely include it in your breakup music list.

Although it also tackles denial, it’s a type of song that will motivate you to move on and accept the situation.

Therefore, turn up the volume and let the music take over.

54. “I Will Survive” by Gloria Gaynor 

And “I Will Survive” by Gloria Gaynor will not only help you move on but also make you dance around your living room.

Needless to say, this song is a timeless classic.

And it’s a perfect tune to listen to when you need a little reality check.

Because it’s true – it may be hurtful now, but it will pass, and you’ll survive.

55. “New York” by St. Vincent 

“New York” is one of St. Vincent’s most sentimental songs.

It’s a beautiful and creative depiction of a long-gone relationship.

The lyrics are seemingly simple but they definitely hit hard.

New York isn’t New York without you, love…

56. “I Fall Apart” by Post Malone 

After ending a relationship, people often feel like they’re falling apart.

And that’s perfectly normal – it’s also a sign that it was meaningful.

In his famous track “I Fall Apart”, Post Malone admits he has a broken heart.

His girlfriend left him, and he is trying to come to terms with it.

57. “Retrograde” by James Blake 

James Blake’s “Retrograde” is a hauntingly beautiful and captivating tune.

It was released in 2013, but it still sounds fresh.

And if you pay attention to the lyrics, the song hits even harder.

58. “River” by Joni Mitchell 

Joni Mitchell’s piano-driven ballad “River” is a beloved Christmas song.

But it’s also one of the good songs to get over a breakup.

Lyrically, it’s about heartbreak, sorrow, and regrets.

But Joni’s voice and the melody is so comforting – it’s music for mending a broken heart.

59. “Dreaming with a Broken Heart” by John Mayer 

John Mayer is known for making heartfelt love-themed songs.

And his track “Dreaming with a Broken Heart” deals with a breakup aftermath.

It’s about still caring for someone who is gone. 

Until you get over it, waking up is the hardest part. 

60. “Rolling in the Deep” by Adele

Another one of Adele’s song that can help you get over someone is “Rolling In The Deep.”

It’s one of her signature songs and an absolute heartbreak anthem.

The song won a Grammy Award for Record of the Year in 2011.

And it still gives us chills every time it comes up.

61. “All Too Well” by Taylor Swift 

Taylor Swift is also the queen of break-up music.

She has written many great songs inspired by her personal experiences and thoughts about love and relationships.

So it’s hard to pick her best heartbreak songs, but “All Too Well” is definitely among them.

The song is thought to be based on her brief relationship with Jake Gylenhaal, although she never confirmed it.

Either way, it’s a sweet, melancholic ballad that will soothe your aching heart. 

62. “Truth Hurts” by Lizzo 

“Truth Hurts” is a powerful and catchy smash hit released in 2017. 

Rolling Stone listed it as the 24th best song of the decade.

And Lizzo won a Grammy for Best Solo Performance.

All in all, it’s one of the most successful recent songs about breaking up.

63. “drivers license” by Olivia Rodrigo 

And “drivers license” is a teenage heartbreak anthem.

The lyrics revolve around being heartbroken and getting over an ex, and they are based on Olivia’s personal experiences.

However, the singer claimed that the person from the song is the least important thing about it.

She simply wanted to transform her experience into a song that will empower other people.

64. “Always On My Mind” by Willie Nelson

Willie Nelson’s 1982 track is a timeless classic.

If you feel like you will always be fond of someone who’s no longer in your life, you will probably find it relatable.

But in a way, “Always On My Mind” is also an apology for the love gone wrong.

And it’s not easy to admit your own mistakes and accept the reality of things.

65. “Maggie May” by Rod Stewart 

Rod Stewart released “Maggie May” in 1971. 

And he wrote it about the first girl he was with when he was 16.

Her name was not Maggie May though.

But the lyrics are genuine, and they also depict the emotions of a boy involved in a relationship with an older woman.

66. “Tangled up in Blue” by Bob Dylan 

“Tangled up in Blue” is a famous folk track about not being able to get over a love affair.

The lyrics describe a woman who can’ escape Dylan’s mind.

It’s an honest and authentic storytelling song, and another proof of Dylan’s unmatched songwriting skills.

67. “Without You” by Harry Nilsson

“Without You” is regarded as Harry Nilsson’s signature song, but it was originally released by Badfinger in 1970.

Nevertheless, Harry Nilsson added a unique touch to this break-up anthem.

And of course, Mariah Carey made it even more iconic with her 1994 cover version.

68. “Crying” by Roy Orbison

If you’re looking for a song to cry your heart out, this one’s for you.

“Crying” will always be remembered by Roy Orbison’s aching verses, emotional melodies, and pure vintage vibes.

I thought that I was over you

But it’s true, so true

I love you even more than I did before…

69. “Total Eclipse of the Heart” by Bonnie Tyler 

“Total Eclipse Of The Heart” is widely regarded as one of the best love songs of all time.

It’s a power ballad about love and longing.

But some sources claim the lyrics are actually based on a vampire love story.

Either way, the song remains loved by many heartbroken souls around the world.

70. “Thinkin Bout You” by Frank Ocean 

“Thinkin Bout You” is a famous R&B breakup song.

It was released as the lead single from his debut studio album “Channel Orange” in 2012.

Lyrically, it’s a song about unrequited love.

It’s also about reflecting back on the past relationship with nostalgia.

71. “New Rules” by Dua Lipa

Dua Lipa is definitely not nostalgic in her song “New Rules.” 

“New Rules” is a smash hit and a perfect post-breakup song for anyone who wants to get on their feet right away.

In one of the interviews, the singer explained “It’s about keeping your distance from someone who’s bad for you.

72. “Green Light” by Lorde

Lorde released “Green Light” on her 2017 album “Melodrama.”

The song is a catchy and uplifting dance hit.

But it’s inspired by a breakup and dark thoughts and feelings. 

In the song, she’s already over it, but she is waiting for her spirit to feel that way.

Until then, she decides to dance, at least according to the video.

73. “Roses” by Outkast 

You should also include “Roses” by Outkast in your break-up songs playlist. 

It’s actually a story about high school love and rivalry between friends who are fighting for the same girl.

But the song is often categorized as a good breakup song. 

The music video is loosely based on the musical West Side Story. 

74. “Survivor” by Destiny’s Child 

Destiny’s Child’s signature track is an ultimate breakup anthem.

“Survivor” will remind you to be confident and get away from anyone who doesn’t appreciate you. 

But that’s not always easy to see when you’re in love. 

You thought I couldn’t last without you

But I’m lastin’

You thought that I would die without you

But I’m livin’.

75. “Love Will Tear Us Apart” by Joy Division 

“Love Will Tear Us Apart” is familiar, danceable, and heartbreaking at the same time.

So in a way, it’s a perfect song to listen to after a break up.

Lyrically, the song is about two people who love each other deeply but eventually grow apart.

It’s a tribute to past loves and loving relationships that simply didn’t survive.

Best Breakup Songs – Final Thoughts

Going through a breakup is never easy, and getting over someone takes time.

But we hope this list of the best breakup songs made you feel a little bit better.

At the end of the day, music will always be there for you when things get tough. 

Similar Playlists:

Songs About Toxic Relationships

Songs About New Beginnings

Best Divorce Songs

Will Fenton

Will, the founder of MIDDER, is a multifaceted individual with a deep passion for music and personal finance. As a self-proclaimed music and personal finance geek, he has a keen eye for futuristic technologies, especially those that empower creators and the public.

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