The 100 Best Breakup Songs of All Time

Because you and your ex are never, ever getting back together.

beyonce singing a breakup song at the super bowl

Let's face it: Breakups are the worst. Whether you're on the receiving end of a split or the one doing the splitting, you're bound to experience intense feelings of sadness in the days following a separation. But there are a few time-tested ways to ease the pain that comes with a breakup. One of the best? Compiling a feel-good playlist of iconic breakup songs.

While sobbing along to gut-wrenching breakup songs may seem counterproductive, research has shown that doing so actually helps boost our moods. In fact, in one study published in PLOS ONEparticipants expressed feelings of relief after going on a sad-song bender, noting that the tunes made for a great emotional outlet. So whether you need some feel-good motivation to get back in the saddle, or just a good ol' ugly cry, we have you covered. Here, the 100 best breakup songs of all time.

"Respect," by Aretha Franklin (1967)

How Old Was Aretha Franklin? The Queen of Soul Has Passed Away at Age

O.G. feminist Aretha Franklin set the standard for what it means to be valued in a relationship with this 1967 hit. (R-E-S-P-E-C-T!)

"We Are Never Getting Back Together," by Taylor Swift (2012)

a still from taylor swift's we are never ever getting back together music video, breakup songs

What's a best-of playlist without Taylor Swift? The Queen of Heartbreak blessed us with this breakup bop in 2012, showing us how to say "see ya" to the exes who want us back after treating us poorly.

"Dancing Queen," by Abba (1976)

ABBA Band {Best of 2018}
Wikimedia Commons

This classic hit by the Swedish group ABBA is guaranteed to lift your spirits. And now that you're single, it's about to be your jam while you get ready for all those girls' nights you better be planning.

"Tears Dry On Their Own," by Amy Winehouse (2006)

amy winehouse performing, best breakup songs

British jazz songstress Amy Winehouse knew a thing or two about heartbreak. The artist had a number of tumultuous relationships throughout her short life, but rather than let her pain be for naught, she channeled it into a series of smash hits over the course of her career, including this 2006 number from her album Back to Black.

"It Ain't Me," by Kygo & Selena Gomez (2017)

single cover for selena gomez and kygo it ain't me song

Selena Gomez dropped this overnight dance club hit after her very public second split from boyfriend Justin Bieber. With lyrics like "I'll take with me/The Polaroids and the memories/But you know I'm gonna leave behind the worst of us," Gomez reminds listeners the importance of walking away from a relationship the moment it turns sour.

"No Scrubs," by TLC (1999)

no scrubs cover art, best breakup songs

One of the most noteworthy '90s groups, TLC dropped this hit in 1999 as a rallying cry for women everywhere, with an underlying message that says: It's absolutely fine (and seriously empowering) to say "no thanks" to anyone who's not worth your time.

"Screaming Infidelities," by Dashboard Confessional (2000)

Wikimedia Commons/Vincent & Bella Productions

Who could forget the iconic scene from Laguna Beach wherein Laguna bad boy Jason Wahler leaves his longtime girlfriend high and dry to secretly play poker with Alex M. (Jason, you cheating jerk.) This 2000 hit from Dashboard Confessional provided an emotional backdrop to the scene, making it a historic moment for dramatic early aughts teen television.

"Let It Go," by James Bay (2015)

let it go still from james bay music video, breakup songs

James Bay's first hit was a heartbreaking ballad about knowing when to call it quits. The song, which dropped in 2015, gave us all the feels as the artist notes how difficult it can be to walk away from a relationship that is no longer working, even when you know it's time to let it go: "Now we're slipping near the edge/Holding something we don't need/Oh, this delusion in our heads/Is gonna bring us to our knees."

"Bleeding Love," by Leona Lewis (2007)

bleeding love leona lewis cover, breakup songs

This 2007 smash from Leona Lewis about going back to someone who's toxic is relatable on so. many. levels. But aside from feeling seen by the singer's lyrics, belting the chorus at the top of your lungs is also surprisingly therapeutic.

"GIRL," by Maren Morris (2019)

Columbia Nashville

In this 2019 track, Maren Morris delivers the female anthem we never knew we needed. In it, the artist begs women to see how special they are, letting them know they'll make it to the end of the tunnel, even though it may not feel that way.

"It's Not Right, But It's Okay," by Whitney Houston (1998)

screenshot from whitney houston's not right but okay music video, best breakup songs

Whitney Houston released THE ultimate girl power hit in 1998 with "It's Not Right, But It's Okay." The lyrics follow a woman who catches her man cheating, and subsequently kicks him out: "It's not right but it's okay/I'm gonna make it anyway/Close the door behind you leave your key/I'd rather be alone than unhappy." Between that and Houston's powerhouse vocals, you're bound to walk away feeling empowered.

"One Last Song," by Sam Smith (2017)

sam smith performing on stage, best breakup songs

Sam Smith knows how to sing a love song, and while some of his tunes will break your heart, this upbeat bop provides listeners the chance to give one final goodbye to ghosts of relationships past.

"Thinking of You," by Kesha (2012)

kesha performing on stage, best breakup songs

In this empowering tongue-in-cheek tune from Kesha, the singer says she'll be thinking of her ex when her song gets played on the radio. "You had your chance," she tells him.

"Are You Happy Now," by Michelle Branch (2003)

are you happy now michelle branch music video still, best breakup songs

Honestly, what's not to love about a Michelle Branch hit, and this one is for sure a standout. Just try to not sing along to the chorus. We dare you.

"The Greatest," by Sia (2016)

the greatest sia music video still, best breakup songs

This musical tour-de-force from Sia is both fun and empowering. "Don't give up," she says to her listeners, no matter what the obstacle.

"Survivor," by Destiny's Child (2001)

destiny's child survivor cover, best breakup songs

In this early aughts hit from ultimate girl group Destiny's Child, Beyonce, Kelly, and Michelle tell their female listeners to kick their SOs to the curb if they're not feeling appreciated. "Now that you're out of my life I'm so much better." Preach, ladies.

"Be Careful," by Cardi B (2018)

be careful cardi b cover art, best breakup songs
Atlantic Records

Cardi B takes no prisoners, especially in this song. Put to a seriously snappy beat, the singer tells her boyfriend to "be careful" and not misstep again, or else risk losing her.

"Un-Break My Heart," by Toni Braxton (1996)

toni braxton performing on stage, best breakup songs

Toni Braxton knows how to lay down a hit, and this song is no exception. This is arguably the most iconic breakup song of all time. If you need a good cry, this is your jam.

"Dog Days Are Over," by Florence + The Machine (2009)

florence and the machine album cover art, best breakup songs
Universal Island

Lead singer Florence Welch delivers verse after verse of raw vocals and feel-good lyrics on this upbeat track, making this the perfect mood-changer when you're having a down day post-breakup. Or, well, ever.

"Dancing On My Own," by Robyn (2010)

robyn dancing on my own music video, best breakup songs

There's a reason Swedish pop singer Robyn has been in the game for so long: She's a songwriting genius. And the 2010 hit "Dancing On My Own" is no exception. You may remember it from season one of Girls, or any dance club you visited in the last nine years. It's a sad song set to a catchy beat, or in other words: Perfection.

"Don't Speak," by Gwen Stefani (1995)

no doubt performing on stage gwen stefani, best breakup songs

There's no better way to combat post-breakup blues than with a Gwen Stefani singalong—and this is the perfect jam for it.

"Without Me," by Halsey (2018)

still from halsey's without me music video, best breakup songs

In this 2018 chart-topper, Halsey sings of a difficult breakup (with G-Easy, perhaps?). The song is about building someone else up in a relationship, only to have them break your heart in the end. In short: It's a breakup must-listen.

"Since U Been Gone," by Kelly Clarkson (2004)

since u been gone kelly clarkson still, best breakup songs

Nobody does breakup lyrics like Kelly Clarkson, and "Since U Been Gone" is proof. (Plus, who can forget the song's epic music video?) If belting this tune at the top of your lungs doesn't put a smile on your face, we don't know what will.

"Wrecking Ball," by Miley Cyrus (2013)

still from miley cyrus music video

If 2013 gave us anything, it was the music video for "Wrecking Ball," where a naked Miley Cyrus sang her heart out while swinging from a giant demolition ball. And while the music video raised some eyebrows, the lyrics share so much pure, raw emotion that you'd be remiss if you let a breakup go by without jamming to this song at least once. (Wrecking balls sold separately.)

"Somebody That I Used to Know," by Gotye (2011)

somebody that i used to know music video gotye, best breakup songs

The rhythm! The harmony! The emotion! This instant hit from Gotye is as fun to dance along to as it is to sing, making it the perfect prescription for post-breakup heartache.

"Take a Bow," by Rihanna (2007)

rihanna take a bow cover art, breakup songs
Def Jam Recordings

It's hard to pick only one Rihanna song for a breakup list. (Don't worry: We didn't!) But this '07 hit from the pop star's third studio album is a true standout, giving listeners epic post-breakup revenge lyrics: "Don't tell me you're sorry 'cause you're not/baby when I know you're only sorry you got caught." You tell 'em, Ri!

"Love Myself," by Hailee Steinfeld (2015)

hailee steinfield performing on stage, best breakup songs

This song needs no introduction. The brainchild of Hailee Steinfeld, this is a feel-good bop that will have you forgetting you ever had a breakup in the first place. Ex-boyfriend, who?

"Back to Black," by Amy Winehouse (2006)

back to black amy winehouse cover art

Remember how we said Amy knew how to write a breakup song? Well, here's further proof. In this '06 hit, the singer-songwriter mulls over the idea of going back to her ex, even though she knows he's bad for her health. (Been there, Amy.) The beat is iconic, as is the artist.

"You Oughta Know," by Alanis Morrisette (1995)

alanis morissette you oughta know cover art, best breakup songs

No breakup playlist is complete without Alanis Morrisette, and "You Oughta Know" should be at the top of your list. It's an empowering ballad from one of the strongest women out there. What's not to love?

"I Can't Make You Love Me," by Bonnie Raitt (1991)

bonnie raitt performing at the berkeley community theater in 1976
Wikimedia Commons/David Gans

If you need to just curl up in a ball on the couch with a bottle of Merlot and cry your eyes out, Bonnie Raitt is here for you. This song has been covered dozens of times (by everyone from Bon Iver to George Michael), but Bonnie did it first, and arguably does it best. So go ahead: Throw on sweats, grab some Kleenex and give yourself a good cry. We won't judge.

"Cry Me a River," by Justin Timberlake (2002)

cry me a river cover art justin timberlake, best breakup songs

Nothing gives you the satisfaction of a walk down memory lane like recalling the iconic relationship pop darlings Justin Timberlake and Britney Spears. While their love story didn't last long, this breakup song sure did. (And their dramatic breakup made for an even more dramatic music video.)

"Never Again," by Kelly Clarkson (2007)

kelly clarkson never again cover art single, best breakup songs

What, did you think we'd only give KC one spot on this list?! In "Never Again," she blesses listeners with a powerful dose of "you're going to regret cheating on me" medicine, and we're here for it.

"Ugly Heart," by G.R.L. (2014)

G.R.L. ugly heart music video, best breakup songs

Looks aren't everything, G.R.L. reminds us in this hit from 2014. With lyrics like "It's such a pity a boy so pretty could have an ugly heart," it's hard not to bop along to this song. And if you leave a note on your ex's car with these lyrics on it, we won't tell.

"Irreplaceable," by Beyonce (2006)

still from irreplaceable music video beyonce, best breakup songs

If you need to be reminded of how special you are, look no further than this '06 bop from Beyonce. Well, maybe look to the left, to the left. (See what we did there?)

"Call Out My Name," by The Wknd (2018)

my dear melancholy the weekend album cover art, best breakup songs

Canadian singer-songwriter Abel Tesfaye, known more commonly as The Wknd, is rumored to have penned this song after his breakup with Selena Gomez, and the lyrics don't hint otherwise: "Guess I was just another pit stop/'Til you made up your mind." Ouch. Been there, Abel!

"Summertime Sadness," by Lana Del Rey (2012)

lana del rey performing on stage, best breakup songs

While this overnight hit from Lana Del Rey may not be the literal definition of a breakup song, the tune's title and melancholy melody points to something deeper, particularly through the lyrics that kick off the chorus: "Kiss me hard before you go/Summertime sadness."

"Happier," by Marshmello ft. Bastille (2018)

happier by marshmello and bastille cover art, best breakup songs

Often, breakup songs put listeners in the seat of the person getting his or her heart broken, but in this 2018 hit from American electronic music producer and DJ Christopher Comstock (known professionally as Marshmello) and Bastille frontman Dan Smith, we hear from the other side of the aisle. The lyrics tell the story of a relationship that's come to an end, and remind us that sometimes, leaving is the best thing you can do for someone.

"It's Too Late," by Carole King (1971)

carole king performing, best breakup songs

Name any top-40 hit from the '60s or '70s and there's a very good chance Carole King wrote it. But this song, which the artist conceived and sang herself, is arguably one of her most famous, and equally as heartbreaking.

"Skinny Love," by Bon Iver (2007)

bon iver performing in 2011, best breakup songs
Wikimedia Commons/danieljordanhl

If singer-songwriter Justin Vernon knows anything, it's how to tug at a person's heart strings. This song from the artist's debut album, For Emma, Forever Ago, made its way up the charts quickly thanks to its moving lyrics and Vernon's unique sound. Listen to it if you need a good cry.

"Someone Like You," by Adele (2011)

someone like you music video adele, best breakup songs

From Adele's second studio album comes "Someone Like You," a powerful chart-topper that tells the story of moving on after a now-defunct relationship. Adele makes it look so easy!

"It Ain't Me Babe," by Bob Dylan (1964)

Bob Dylan, inspiring quotes

While "It Ain't Me Babe" has been covered by music legends like Johnny Cash and June Carter, the original was recorded by Bob Dylan. Keeping true to Dylan's part folk, part bluegrass signature style, the song is a paired-down ballad that sounds like it belongs at the beginning of an indie movie about moving on. And move on, you should!

"I'm Gonna Find Another You," by John Mayer (2006)

john mayer average people celebrities non-celebrities

If you were to Google "love song," a photo of John Mayer would likely appear alongside it. Well, maybe not really, but it should—the artist has churned out hit after heartbreaking hit over the course of his decades-long career, many of which spin tales of failed relationships. This may be one of our favorites, though, thanks to its promise of love after heartbreak.

"Stay," by Rihanna ft. Mikky Ekko (2012)

stay music video rihanna, best breakup songs

This song will make your heart hurt, but in the best way possible. The duet from Rihanna and Mikky Ekko is equal parts painful and beautiful, and the perfect song to pop on your Spotify playlist if you need to let out a few tears. Or more than a few.

"Don't Think Twice, It's Alright," by Bob Dylan (1963)

don't think twice its alright bob dylan record

Given that Bob Dylan is arguably one of the most iconic artists of all time, it's only right his name appears on this list twice, and while Dylan's not known as being a writer of love songs, per se, many interpret this tune to be about a splintered relationship. In the liner notes to the original release, American historian Nat Hentoff calls the song "a statement that maybe you can say to make yourself feel better." Sometimes, you just need to tell yourself that everything will be alright.

"Try," by Pink (2012)

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"Funny how the heart can be deceiving," Pink says in this 2012 smash, hitting the nail on the head for just how easy it can be to get hurt when you open up to someone. Lucky for us, belting this song out at the top of your lungs can mend a broken heart. (Well, mostly.)

"Get Out," by JoJo (2004)

leave get out jojo cover art, best breakup songs

Early aughts singer-songwriter JoJo is to love songs what peanut butter is to jelly. The artist churned out a number of breakup hits in the early '00s, beginning with the catchy showstopper "Get Out."

"Shout Out to My Ex," by Little Mix (2017)

shout out to my ex little mix music video still, best breakup songs

Nothing puts pep back in your step like a solid girl power anthem from British girl group Little Mix, and this song takes the cake for revenge bops.

"(I Know) I'm Losing You," by The Temptations (1966)

the temptations performing on the ed sullivan show in 1969, best breakup songs
Wikimedia Commons/Bernie Ilson, Inc.

This 1966 hit from Motown all-stars The Temptations may just be one of the best songs to sing (or cry) along to, but thanks to its catchy beat, it's also an excellent song to get you on your feet. Do with it what you will!

"Love Yourself," by Justin Bieber (2015)

beliebers is what Justin Bieber calls his fans

Arguably one of the biggest hits from pop singer Justin Bieber, first appearing on his Purpose album, Love Yourself purports a subtle yet obvious message: If I'm not giving you what you want, then leave. It's an undeniably catchy tune with an even more hypnotic music video. This one's a must-listen!

"Use Somebody," by Kings of Leon (2008)

use somebody kings of leon cover art, best breakup songs

Nashville-born American rock band Kings of Leon has perfected the art of writing the perfect love song, and "Use Somebody" is a quintessential example. The song subtly recounts the days after a breakup: "Off in the night, while you live it up, I'm off to sleep," and leaves you reeling from its haunting sound. But in a medicinal way.

"Always Be My Baby," by Mariah Carey (1995)

always be my baby music video still mariah carey, best breakup songs

Mariah Carey taught the world what love was with her 1995 album Daydream. This track is a particular standout, and, when performed with passion at karaoke might just cure you of your heartbreak altogether.

"Stitches," by Shawn Mendes (2015)

shawn mendes music video still for stitches, best breakup songs

Some artists write love songs, and then some artists write love songs. Shawn Mendes falls in the second category, coming onto the pop scene in 2015 with this heartbreaker of a hit. The song's lyrics are beyond relatable, and a surefire way to get you over your recent breakup. (For today, at least.)

"Dreaming With a Broken Heart," by John Mayer (2006)

dreaming with a broken heart john myaer music video still, best breakup songs
Aware Records

As the name suggests, John Mayer's "Dreaming With a Broken Heart" may just break your heart. The song recalls the raw emotion that enshrouds a person in the days following a breakup, and in true John Mayer fashion, the lyrics paint a poetic picture: "Do I have to fall asleep with roses in my hand?" Swoon.

"Alive," by Kehlani (2015)

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If you need a melodic pick-me-up after a breakup, look no further than Kehlani's "Alive." While the tune itself is laid back, the lyrics call to mind energy and strength, with lines like "We were in so deep/We could barely tread/But now I found a way to heal myself instead" and "I deserve a love that is gonna last/But until then I will just raise this glass."

"No Tears Left to Cry," by Ariana Grande (2018)

cover art for ariana grande's no tears left to cry

Ariana Grande has no shortage of hits about relationship mishaps, but unlike some of her other breakup songs, "No Tears Left to Cry" is more of a call to action than anything else, encouraging listeners to get up and get out after a breakup. Play this tune on the way to meet your friends for drinks!

"Forget You," by Cee Lo Green (2010)

cee lo green performing, best breakup songs
Wikimedia Commons/DJdoublem

Cee Lo Green does breakup songs best. Rather than shed tears over a failed relationship, the artist wants you to say "forget you," and move on. Hey, if Cee Lo can do it, so can you.

"The Scientist," by Coldplay (2002)

cover art for coldplay's the scientist, best breakup songs

There's no song you can count on for a good cry like Coldplay's "The Scientist." Chris Martin's haunting vocals alone will bring you to tears, and the tune's beautiful lyrics only add fuel to the fire. You may end up sobbing by the end of the songs instrumental interlude, but trust us, you'll feel better once you do.

"This Love," by Maroon 5 (2002)

still for music video for maroon 5's this love, best breakup songs

Before Adam Levine was touring solo and having adorable babies with Behati Prinsloo, he was writing songs about Jane, starting with this hit from his debut album. There's nothing better than early aughts Adam and his signature sound. Consider it over-the-counter breakup medicine.

"Hit 'Em Up Style (Oops!)," by Blu Cantrell (2001)

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If you can't beat 'em…spend their money! Or at least that's what artist Blu Cantrell insinuates in her ever-catchy 2001 hit, "Hit 'Em Up Style." We can't say we blame you, Blu.

"Breakeven," by The Script (2008)

the script breakup album

The Script's 2008 hit "Breakeven" is a breakup song at its best, and quite possibly describes everything you're feeling post-split. This record pairs best with your favorite takeout and a glass of Pinot.

"Thank U, Next," by Ariana Grande (2019)

thank u next ariana grande music video still, best breakup songs

This year's big hit from Ariana Grande delivers the breakup song to end all breakup songs, instructing us all to Marie Kondo our relationships by thanking them for their service, and then letting them go.

"Before He Cheats," by Carrie Underwood (2005)

Carrie Underwood best national anthem performances

Don't mess with Carrie Underwood, especially if you feel any sort of attachment to your car. That's the message behind "Before He Cheats," and if you're reeling after a bad break-up, this is the song for you. (Just don't do anything Carrie wouldn't do.)

"Go Your Own Way," by Fleetwood Mac (1977)

go your own way cover art, best breakup songs
Warner Bros. Records

No band does heartache or heartbreak like Fleetwood Mac, and "Go Your Own Way" is solid proof. The song tackles unrequited love in a way only Fleetwood Mac can, and makes you feel inexplicably seen.

"Gives You Hell," by The All-American Rejects (2008)

gives you hell video, best breakup songs

Ah, revenge pop. The All-American Rejects may not have done it first, but they certainly did it best with "Gives You Hell." Play this one on full blast (preferably while driving past your ex's house).

"Who Knew," by Pink (2006)

who knew cover art pink, best breakup songs

Pink's ability to pen songs about heartbreak is uncanny, and in "Who Knew," the artist takes this talent to the next level.

"Out Of the Woods," by Taylor Swift (2014)

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Rumored to have been written about her breakup with former One Direction frontman Harry Styles, Taylor Swift's 2014 song "Out Of the Woods" is an homage to relationships that are seemingly doomed from the start.

"Nothing Breaks Like a Heart," by Miley Cyrus ft. Mark Ronson (2018)

nothing breaks like a heart music video, best breakup songs

Last year's hit from superduo Miley Cyrus and Mark Ronson calls to mind a new-age Janis Joplin, and with its equal parts sad and catchy tune, the song is sure to make it to the top of your breakup songs playlist.

"Love Is a Battlefield," by Pat Benatar (1983)

love is a battlefield cover art, best breakup songs

Pat Benatar speaks the truth with this 1983 hit, detailing how heartbreaking love can be, but assuring listeners that everyone's in it together. "Heartache to Heartache/we stand." Amen, sister.

"I Used To Love Him," by Lauryn Hill ft. Mary J. Blige (1998)

the miseducation of lauryn hill cover art, best breakup songs

This '98 hit pairs Lauryn Hill's soulful voice with lyrics that will lift you off the ground. With words like "Sacrificed too much and waited in vain/Gave up my power ceased being queen" Lauryn Hill and Mary J. Blige give you all the makings of an uplifting girl-power anthem, one that reminds you you're better off alone as a *queen* than unhappy in a relationship.

"Palace," by Sam Smith (2017)

SACRAMENTO, CA/U.S.A. - AUGUST 24, 2018: Photo of Sam Smith performing at the Golden1 Center. - Image, best breakup songs

A standout from Smith's sophomore album, "Palace" may sound like just another sad love song, but listen closely and you'll realize Smith says that despite heartbreak, "Real love is never a waste of time."

"Total Eclipse of the Heart," by Bonnie Tyler (1983)

bonnie-tyler-total-eclipse of the heart cover, best breakup songs

Oh, Bonnie Tyler: What did we do to deserve you? Nothing, but we appreciate this 1980s knockout hit, anyway. Put this song on full blast in your car and drive around the block. Trust us, you won't regret it.

"So Gone," by Monica (2003)

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Monica does heartbreak right in this 2003 R&B track. This song is part tragic, part empowering, but all worth the post-breakup download.

"I'm Coming Out," by Diana Ross (1980)

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Motown Records

Thank you, Diana Ross, for the ultimate girl-power anthem. Need a night out with your girlfriends to forget your bad breakup? Get ready to this song and you're guaranteed to have the best night ever.

"So Yesterday," by Hilary Duff (2007)

so yesterday cover art
Buena Vista

Who can forget the iconic bop from early aughts darling Hilary Duff? If you need both a Disney Channel throwback and a song about moving on after a breakup, this song is for you.

"You Were Meant For Me," by Jewel (1995)

Jewel performing at the valley performing arts center, best breakup songs
Wikimedia Commons/Justin Higuchi

If Jewel had a LinkedIn profile, her skills would be: singing, playing the guitar, and writing songs that make you want to cry (among other things, of course). This song is the emotional outlet you've been looking for, so whether you want to sing along at the top of your lungs or profess your love to a plate of chocolate chip cookies, this song is here for you.

"You Should Be Here," by Kehlani (2015)

singer kehlani performing at sxsw music festival, best breakup songs

Kehlani's voice shines in this 2015 hit, which is an emotional rollercoaster of a song if there ever was one. You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll cry some more, but overall, you'll be glad added this hit to your playlist.

"Big Girls Cry," by Sia (2014)

big girls cry cover art sia, best breakup songs

Nothing is more affecting than Sia's voice, particularly in this 2014 song, where she talks not of love and loss, but of the absence of love altogether. Confused? Give this track a listen and you'll see what we mean. (Trust us: It's worth the download!)

"You Give Love a Bad Name," by Bon Jovi (1986)

bon jovi you give love a bad name cover art, best breakup songs
Mercury Records

We all know someone who gives love a bad name, but that person is not Jon Bon Jovi. (In fact, he's been married to his spouse for 29 years!) Give this song a listen if you need to sing at the top of your lungs. Or play an epic air guitar.

"I Could Use a Love Song," by Marren Morris (2016)

maren morris performing on stage, best breakup songs

A less-than-traditional breakup song, this track by country crooner Marren Morris talks about needing to rediscover what love is, an emotion we've all felt at one point or another. This tune's catchy, so don't play it unless you want it stuck in your head for three days. (Not a bad problem to have, in our opinion!)

"Advice," by Kehlani (2016)

"It's time to take my own advice," Kehlani croons on this charming 2016 track. The song's rhythmic verses reveal the artist choosing to look inward for satisfaction, rather than find it in somebody else. Now that's some advice we can get behind.

"All I Could Do Was Cry," by Etta James (1963)

etta james at last cover art single all i could do was cry, best breakup songs

Sometimes, you just need a good cry after a breakup. Etta James knows a little something about that, and on this track, she acknowledges the need to just let it all out when you feel like you can't go on.

"Too Good at Goodbyes," by Sam Smith (2017)

too good at goodbyes sam smith cover art

Sam Smith is arguably the most vulnerable he's ever been in this 2017 track. In it, the artist admits to having the tendency to walk away from relationships prematurely out of fear of getting hurt. We've all been there, Sam.

"Happy Face," by Destiny's Child (2001)

Destiny's Child Worst Original Band Names

If you need an instant mood boost, "Happy Face" has you covered. An upbeat tune from Destiny's Child's award-winning 2001 album Survivor, the song encourages listeners to choose happiness, despite what the world may throw at you. Sometimes we just need a gentle reminder of what's important, am I right?

"Slow Dancing in a Burning Room," by John Mayer (2006)

john mayer performing, best breakup songs

Arguably one of the most heartbreaking songs on the artist's 2006 album Continuum, this hit by Mayer offers a metaphorical warning against "slow dancing in a burning room," or trying to make a relationship work, despite the fact that it isn't.

"Empty Space," by James Arthur (2018)

james arthur performing, best breakup songs
Wikimedia Commons/Carsten Windhorst

If breakup songs had a poster child, it would be James Arthur. The pop artist's smoky sound alone is enough to move you, but listen to the lyrics if you need to wallow for a few minutes. (We won't tell!)

"I Knew You Were Trouble," by Taylor Swift (2012)

i knew you were trouble taylor swift

No breakup playlist is complete without "I Knew You Were Trouble." If you're angry, hurt, sad, or even happy about your split, throw this song on at full volume for a feel-good jam session.

"Miss You All the Time," by O.A.R. (2019)

OAR miss you all the time music video, best breakup songs

As the song's title may suggest, O.A.R.'s 2019 tune is bound to make you feel things. But don't worry, the band's newest hit is equal parts upbeat and emotional, so you can sneak in a quick cry between verses.

"These Boots Are Made For Walkin'," by Nancy Sinatra (1966)

these boots were made for walkin cover art
Reprise Records

Frank Sinatra's daughter Nancy Sinatra dropped this catchy hit in 1966, and with lyrics like "You keep playing where you shouldn't be playing/And you keep thinking that you'll never get burnt," singing this anthem is undeniably the best medicine for your single girl's night out comeback tour.

"Stronger," by Kelly Clarkson (2011)

stronger kelly clarkson cover art, best breakup songs
RCA Records

It may appear as though Kelly Clarkson is monopolizing this list, but that's only because the artist has the formula for breakup songs dialed-in. (Well, that and her killer voice.) "Stronger" may be the most iconic of all of Clarkson's hits, a song that is sure to put the pep back in anyone's step after a failed relationship.

"I Hope You Find It," by Miley Cyrus (2010)

the last song soundtrack cover, best breakup songs
Hollywood Records

"Am I supposed to hang around and wait forever?," Cyrus asks in this 2010 track from the Nicholas Sparks-inspired romance, The Last Song. And while Cyrus ultimately ended up marrying her costar in the film (the hunky Liam Hemsworth), she sure sings as though she's lost him.

"Two Nights," by Lykke Li ft. Amine (2018)

lykke li performing, best breakups songs
Wikimedia Commons/Michell Zappa

The unlikely duo that is Swedish singer-songwriter Lykke Li and rapper Amine dropped this chef's kiss of a hit in 2018. Capitalizing on Lykke Li's unique and haunting sound, the song details a relationship that is now broken, with the singer at one point lamenting: "Somebody else/I know you're out there with someone else/All by myself/Why can't you need me and nothin' else?"

"With Or Without You," by U2 (1987)


U2 knows how to write love songs, and breakup songs, and everything in between. (And we'd definitely categorize this one as an "in between.") You know the phrase "Can't live with 'em, can't live without 'em"? This song is essentially that, put to a highly catchy jingle.

"Stronger," by Britney Spears (2000)

britney spears stronger music video

No playlist is complete without at least one bop from pop princess Britney Spears, and in this case, that bop is "Stronger." This song is the ultimate in post-breakup pick-me-ups, and the fastest way to feeling better after a split. Britney cures all!

"Ex's & Oh's," by Elle King (2015)

elle king exs and ohs music video, best breakup songs

Elle King's 2015 hit "Ex's & Oh's" is the song you play when you want to feel equal parts sexy and powerful, and who doesn't want that?

"End Of The Road," by Boyz II Men (1991)

boys II men performing

Boyz II Men are experts in the art of crooning, and in their 1991 smash hit "End Of The Road," the band tackles breaking up as only Boyz II Men can: With a whole lot of sexy harmony.

"Too Little Too Late," by JoJo (2006)

jojo too little too late music cover
Universal Motown

JoJo makes her way back on our list with "Too Little Too Late," a song that's essentially the precursor to "Get Out." TL;DR: JoJo doesn't give second chances, and neither should you.

"Single Ladies," by Beyonce (2008)

single ladies beyonce video dance, best breakup songs

Beyonce sings a song about being a newly single lady, need we say more?

"I'd Rather Go Blind," by Etta James (1968)

etta james performing, best breakup songs
Wikimedia Commons/Roland Godefroy

One of the most iconic musicians of the '50s and '60s, Etta James tackles relationship woes in her 1968 hit, "I'd Rather Go Blind." Honestly, we could listen to Etta sing just about anything and love it, but this is a particularly powerful piece from the legendary artist.

"Stay With Me," by Sam Smith (2014)

sam smith stay with me music video, best breakup songs

Sam Smith returns to our list with "Stay With Me," a breakout hit from the artist that solidified the singer's place on the map. This tune's a sad one, with Smith acknowledging in the chorus that "This ain't love it's clear to see." Either way, Smith's soulful sound is a cureall.

"Love Song," by Sara Bareilles (2007)

sara bareilles love song cover art

Don't let the title fool you, "Love Song" by Sara Bareilles is anything but. The artist tackles feelings of feeling conned by a relationship, singing "I learned the hard way/That they all say things you want to hear," and "You are not what I thought you were/Hello to high and dry." Sure, heartbreak stinks, but hearing Sara Bareilles' flowery voice sing your feelings makes it a little easier to swallow. To make sure your next relationship is stronger, read up on the 30 Most Common Reasons Why Relationships Fall Apart.

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