In the aftermath of a breakup, sometimes the only thing there is to do is cry your eyes out in the car to a soundtrack of Saddest breakup songs. (Singing along at the top of your lungs helps, too. It’s scientifically proven.)
Trust us, we get it. The heart wants what it wants, and sometimes, it just wants to feel. You know that you’ll ultimately heal and move past this, even if you can’t currently picture what the other side of your breakup looks like. But all that chin-up talk can be saved for another day. Right now, you’re in your feelings, and a playlist of saddest breakup songs might be the only medicine.
It’s no secret that the country music genre hands-down owns the saddest breakup songs. Just browse our lists of saddest breakup songs and you’ll see why. But mainstream recording artists—from Adele to John Mayer to Kelly Clarkson—offer up some of the saddest tunes of all time as well.
When you’re feeling blue, you’ll want these songs on repeat. So grab some tissues and press play! (And for the record, spending some quality time watching sad movies with a pint of your favourite ice cream is 100 per cent good medicine, too.
Music can almost always help you move past the pain, but sometimes, it’s so deep and relatable that it can make you relive memories you hoped to block out. Even worse are the songs that put you in the artist’s shoes without experiencing anything the lyrics talk about.
While sitting around listening to depressing music may not seem productive, there is a time and place to wallow. If you’ve just undergone a rough breakup, browse this list for music recommendations that will help you process your feelings and get over it. And, feel free to add anything you think is missing.
Below are the Saddest Breakup Songs Ever :
Nouvelle Vague “Love Will Tear Us Apart”
This French pop take on one of the darkest breakup songs of all time (originally by Joy Division), lightens things up a little but love…it does tear you apart!
Kacey Musgraves “Space Cowboy”
Sometimes it’s not meant to be and the only thing you can do is give (or take) some space. In this tearful ballad from Musgraves, she recognizes this isn’t the cowboy for her and hopefully rides off to greener pastures.
Mark Ronson feat. Miley Cyrus “Nothing Breaks Like a Heart”
Sure, you love Miley’s party songs but she can really break your heart as well. This pair-up with producer Mark Ronson yields a world-weary track about the pains of a broken heart and the trials of getting through one.
Cilla Black “Anyone Who Had A Heart”
It never feels just when someone breaks up with you. Cilla Black, the ’60s songstress with the voice of a lion, knows. This song is one to aim right at the head of that mean person who dumped you.
Lorde “Hard Feelings/Loveless”
No song has better captured the exact somber moment of the breakup, and the way it hangs over you even as you piece your life back together.
Jewel “Foolish Games”
This is the kind of song that could make a person in any stage of a relationship cry. Jewel conjures up a relationship in its last moments with haunting vividness. “You stood in my doorway, with nothing to say
/ Besides some comments on the weather,” she sings. Oh, the awkward coldness that comes once intimacy has left.
Charlie Puth & Selena Gomez “We Don’t Talk Anymore
Even after the searing pain of a breakup has dulled, the nagging thoughts of what your ex is doing and who your ex is seeing can still drive a person to a slight form of madness. That’s just what this song is about.
Fiona Apple “O’ Sailor”
Untrustworthy lovers and unreliable narrators come together in this song about a breakup that she might have instigated or that may have happened to her. But when you’re undecided and regretful, this is the song for when you’re thinking about what could be instead of what is.
A Great Big World & Christina Aguilera “Say Something”
The final conversation before a relationship officially cracks.
Lauryn Hill “Ex-Factor”
Some relationships aren’t cut and dry. This song’s about one of them. Even if Hill’s separated from her partner, she wants him back — despite knowing it’s not the right choice.
Aly & AJ “Potential Breakup Song”
Need we remind you of the early 2000’s best example of a woman demanding good treatment in a relationship?
Demi Lovato “You Don’t Do It For Me Anymore”
Lovato just revealed who this break-up song is about, and it’s not her ex Wilmer Valderrama. “You Don’t Do It For Me Anymore” is about the old Demi, who was trapped in a cycle of bad habits.
Mariah Carey “We Belong Together”
Carey strikes the golden balance of ridiculous catchiness and actually moving lyrics.
Backstreet Boys “Incomplete”
Aside from being a breakup song full of pathos and dramatic boy-band vocals, “Incomplete” happens to be the Backstreet Boys’ triumphant comeback after a two-year hiatus. Is it a lament? Is it a celebration? Must we choose?
Leonard Cohen “Hey, That’s No Way To Say Goodbye”
More than a breakup song, this is a song about a couple facing prolonged separation – perhaps without the possibility of a reunion. It’s profoundly romantic and will make you cry no matter the stage of a relationship you’re in.
Natalie Imbruglia “Torn”
In which our favorite ’90s singer faces the disintegration of her relationship. Or, more specifically, the disintegration of her idea of the relationship. Disillusionment has never been so catchy.