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Music helps us process our emotions, empathize with others dealing with heartache, and even provide ways to move on when we just can’t seem to. Breakup songs are so popular because they are convenient and timeless. Listening to and playing music reduces chronic stress by lowering the stress hormone cortisol, and even sad music produces positive emotions in its listeners. 

Here’s a list of the popular ones:

  1. “Dreams” – Fleetwood Mac
    • Stevie Nicks allegedly wrote this song in one sitting after going through a breakup with band mate Lindsey Buckingham. Heart-wrenching, melodic, beautiful, and a bop even to this day. Let this dreamy song take you through all the feels of overcoming sorrow from relationship trauma.
  1. “Someone Like You” – Adele
    • Adele has no shortage of fantastic breakup songs to help you digest your sadness. This is the one that sparked her rise to superstardom when it really took off, and it floats you through the woes of heartbreak. 
  1. “I Want You Back” – The Jackson 5
    • This upbeat tempo song is full of hard, sad lyrics that are still so soothing. A young Michael Jackson lends his vocals to this timeless track as you wrestle with the regret of a breakup. 
  1. “Since U Been Gone” – Kelly Clarkson
    • An anthem of the early 2000s, this track still holds up as powerhouse vocalist Kelly Clarkson hits the range to send you through all of the emotions. Sometimes breakups are exactly what you need, even when they are difficult. Blast it in the shower or car for best results. 
  1. “I Will Always Love You” – Whitney Houston/Dolly Parton
    • How could this song not make the list? Originally written by Dolly Parton, it really took off when the legend Whitney Houston borrowed the song for the 1992 film “The Bodyguard.” Classic, timeless, moving. Go for it, belt it out, and release all that pent-up emotional energy.
  1. “Thinkin Bout You” – Frank Ocean
    • What a raw, emotional song. Frank Ocean’s smooth vocals mesh with this vibey tune to create a perfect atmosphere for getting through those tough break ups and the residue of love lost. Taking time to acknowledge how you’re feeling/what you’re thinking is key to moving on.
  1. “All Too Well (10-minute version)” – Taylor Swift 
    • Taylor Swift is not for everyone, but this song is iconic. Her re-released albums are proving to reveal her prowess, especially on revisited tracks like this that add deeper layers to classics. This is a long one, but one worth steeping yourself in for the full ten minutes.
  1. “Somebody Else” – The 1975
    • Another up-beat-seeming song, the lyrics of this The 1975 song yield emotions to help you get over some of the tougher breakups. Sometimes the pain of hearing that your ex has moved on can resurface old wounds. Let lead-vocalist Matty Healy help you really heal-ly. 😉
  1. “thank u, next” – Ariana Grande
    • Power-house vocalist Ariana Grande brings an inspiring song to help you find meaning in your past relationships while looking forward to what the future holds. Follow her lead and take time to process. You won’t regret it. Thank YOU, Ari.
  1. “Irreplaceable” – Beyoncé
    • The iconic opening line of this one by Beyoncé has sealed the deal on placing it as a standard breakup song. Yoncé’s vocals always produce a spiritual reaction, but especially in this context. Let this track hype you up as you regain your confidence. 
  1. “Liability” – Lorde
    • This song will linger with you as a slow burner, but that delayed digestion proves the merit of the lyrics. Lorde is a phenomenal artist, and her contemplative, introspective pieces like this are just grand. This one will help you remember to love yourself and be comfortable on your own.
  1. “Back to Black” – Amy Winehouse
    • Poignant, heart-wrenching, and a perfect song to get your angst out. The late, great Amy Winehouse can lead you through the bleakness of your breakup to discover an empowering new state of mind. Don’t dawdle in the darkness though; feel the depth, and then get back up again.
  1. “Moving On and Getting Over” – John Mayer
    • This one will get stuck in your head thanks to its catchy melody. John Mayer has plenty of breakup songs to choose from in his repertoire, but this one really helps you to both move on and get over it. 
  1. “Somebody That I Used to Know” – Gotye, featuring Kimbra
    • This art pop track may be a one-hit wonder (so far) for Gotye, but that doesn’t take away from its place among the most memorable breakup songs. Moving past old flames means the person may fade out of your life.
  1. “Falling” – Harry Styles
    • When the breakup has you questioning everything, Harry is there to empathize with you and lead you through the muck and mire. This moody ballad brings it back to forgiving yourself.
  1. “Jealous” – Labrinth
    • Labrinth takes you through the labyrinth of emotions tied to wishing the best for your significant other after you’ve separated. This is no easy feat, and having a solid song to help you get there is so nice.
  1. “Apologize” – Timbaland feat. OneRepublic
    • Nostalgia probably already makes you feel some type of way with this one, but the sweet vocals of OneRepublic’s Ryan Tedder takes you through all the emotions. Literally… all of them. 
  1. “I Can’t Make You Love Me” – Bonnie Raitt
    • When you’re at the end of a relationship that just won’t work anymore, you’ve gotta come to grips with the hard truths that you can’t control the other person. Bonnie Raitt’s poignant song is heartbreakingly tender.

Thankfully (but also kinda sad..?), there are more than enough breakup songs to choose from to help you find peace, security, and happiness after a relationship’s end. You can do it! Take your time in healing and learning from the difficult journey, and remember to allow space for your mental and emotional health to strengthen. It won’t happen instantly, but hopefully these songs can help you work through the hard times. 

What are your go-to heartbreak songs? Fire away in the comments with the ones we neglected to add, and don’t forget to check out our Apple Music playlist!

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