When in the midst of a post-breakup fog, it can feel like there’s no end in sight. But deep down, we know it’s always possible to heal and move on. We just have to grieve, process our feelings, and make it through.
Music is a damn good way to help that process along. If you’re dealing with heartbreak (or just wanting to get your cry on), read on for some of the best breakup songs of all time.
“It’s Too Late” by Carole King
Carole King’s “It’s Too Late” is one of the most iconic and beautiful breakup songs. The song is ultimately about accepting the ending of a relationship—and that there’s just no going on together.
“Nothing Compares 2 U” by Sinead O’Connor
Sinéad O’Connor’s haunting rendition of Prince’s classic breakup song is simply unforgettable. It’s almost guaranteed to make you cry.
“The Tracks of My Tears” by Smokey Robinson and the Miracles
This 1965 hit is like a perfect piece of oldies ear candy. It’s about the sadness of losing someone—and about how even if we put on a brave face, it still hurts.
“The Night We Met” by Lord Huron
Lord Huron’s sweet and sorrowful song is sure to make you feel all the feels. Sometimes all we want is the chance to go back in time, and this song captures that perfectly.
“I’ll Never Love Again” by Lady Gaga
If you’re looking to bawl your eyes out, this is the song for you. Lady Gaga’s performance from the movie A Star Is Born will just about rip your heart out with her pure expression of grief and the sadness of not getting the chance to say goodbye.
“Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right” by Bob Dylan
There’s really nothing not to love about this song. It’s the ultimate breakup “goodbye” song.
“Survivor” by Destiny’s Child
If you’re looking for a little more empowerment and a little less sadness, “Survivor” by Destiny’s Child is a great option. It’s just the right song for when we know that we’re better off without our ex.
“Go Your Own Way” by Fleetwood Mac
This is another damn good song for letting go and moving on. “You can go your own way” pretty much speaks for itself.
“Dancing On My Own” by Robyn
Who doesn’t like Robyn? In this song, she captures that feeling when we’re left behind for someone else. “Dancing On My Own” is a good choice if you’re looking for catharsis.
“I Want You Back” by The Jackson 5
“I Want You Back“: We all know it. We all love it. Need we say more?
“Someone Like You” by Adele
Adele is the queen of romance and breakup songs. And this song in particular is the breakup song to end all breakup songs.
“Skinny Love” by Bon Iver
Most of Bon Iver’s songs bring out all those sad feels. “Skinny Love” is especially heart-wrenching, and a must-have for any breakup playlist.
“Ain’t No Sunshine” by Bill Withers
In 1971, Bill Withers graced us with his simple but oh-so-true breakup lyrics, “Ain’t no sunshine when she’s gone; And this house just ain’t no home; Anytime she goes away.” “Ain’t No Sunshine” is a real classic—and a keeper.
“You Oughta Know” by Alanis Morissette
Oh, Alanis Morissette. This song might not be for everyone—but for the right mood, it’s spot on.
“Irreplaceable” by Beyoncé
No breakup playlist is complete without Beyoncé’s “Irreplaceable.” If this song doesn’t make you feel empowered and ready to move on, then I don’t know what will.
“Thinkin Bout You” by Frank Ocean
Frank Ocean’s “Thinkin Bout You” is one of the purest and most gorgeous love songs in recent history. It’ll hit you right in the gut.
“Ex-Factor” by Lauryn Hill
Ever wanted to be with someone so badly—but knew it’s better to be apart? That’s this song in a nutshell—and Lauryn Hill does it oh so well.
“Wrecking Ball” by Miley Cyrus
Miley Cyrus. A hammer. A wrecking ball. ‘Nuff said.
“I Can’t Make You Love Me” by Bonnie Raitt
This song’s another tear-jerker. If you want to sink deeper into your sadness, lie back and take in Bonnie Raitt’s wonderfully wrenching voice.
“So Sick” by Ne-Yo
Turn on Ne-Yo’s “So Sick.” Repeat ’til the end of time.
“Since U Been Gone” by Kelly Clarkson
Thanks to this song, Kelly Clarkson and heartbreak are inseparable in our minds. Turn it up to full volume and belt out all those feels.
“Un-Break My Heart” by Toni Braxton
This Toni Braxton song seems like it was made to be sung in the shower. Enjoy its over-the-top emotionalism and sentimentality. After all, what else are breakups for?
“Cry Me A River” by Justin Timberlake
It’s a little scary to realize this song is almost 20 years old. But it’s just as enjoyable as ever. We will never not love Justin—or this song, for that matter.
“Dreaming With a Broken Heart” by John Mayer
This song is simple, sweet, and sad. Just what we need when we’re letting go of love.
“We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” by Taylor Swift
This song is the right choice for a driving-in-your-car, belting-with-your-friends, goodbye-for-good moment. It’s impossible to listen to it and not feel at least a little better.
“Break My Heart” by Dua Lipa
Ready to dance out your heartbreak? Put on Dua Lipa’s “Break My Heart” and let it all go.
“I Will Always Love You” by Whitney Houston
Originally written and recorded by Dolly Parton, Whitney Houston’s version of this song from The Bodyguard soundtrack has become one of the most iconic love/breakup songs of all time—and for good reason.
“Tears Dry on Their Own” by Amy Winehouse
“Tears Dry on Their Own” is one of many magnificent songs that Amy Winehouse left us with. It’s almost too good and will definitely help you through the healing.
“thank u, next” by Ariana Grande
Each ex has something to teach us, which is the point of Ariana’s anthem about empowerment and self-love. Check out the music video, which parodies some of the best rom-coms of all time.
Ready to add these to a playlist? Don’t worry, we already did that for you. You take care of you, boo!