May 18, 2024

27 best breakup songs that will help mend your broken heart

Breakup songs are so powerful, aren’t they?  They get you through a period in your life when you feel there may be no hope. No matter what stage of the breakup you’re in, there’s something for everyone to relate to and keep pulling you ahead to the other side of single-life freedom.

From heartbroken and sad to angry and bitter and to simply having the strength to leave the past in the past, failed romances have long served as inspiration for musical artists when it comes to penning their new songs. Whether you are in the throes of denial and want your ex back, processing what went wrong or finally moving on, we know full well that we can turn to music to help mend our broken hearts.

The great thing about breakup songs is that they don’t all have to be super sad. I mean, yes, Adele is a genius at those tear-jerking songs about the difficulty of moving on, but Robyn perfectly captures the same struggle with her powerful pop anthem, Dancing On My Own. We can also feel the pain in Dolly Parton’s voice when she begs Jolene to stay away from her man, and we can also fiercely declare our independence with powerful tunes such as Ariana Grande’s Thank U, Next, and Survivor by Destiny’s Child.

While the list of fantastic breakup songs appears to be endless, here are 27 of GLAMOUR’s favourites:

1. Potential Breakup Song by Aly and AJ

When: 2007
What: The ultimate angsty teenage breakup song that saw sisters Aly and AJ look back in anger at their failed relationship as they noted all the things their boyfriend did that made them fuming. They definitely won’t settle for anything less than perfect, and we salute them for it!
Stage of breakup: Angry

2. Thank U, Next by Ariana Grande

When: 2019
What: Ariana comes to plenty of eye-opening realisations as she reflects on her previous relationships. As a result, she is happily ready to leave the past in the past and move on. Thank U, Next went viral thanks to its catchiness and epic music video, which brilliantly referenced movies such as Mean Girls and Legally Blonde.
Stage of breakup: Over it

3. Irreplaceable by Beyoncé

When: 2006
What: «To the left, to the left. Everything you own in the box to the left. . » Ahh, we loved Queen Bey’s no-nonsense attitude in this song about not shedding any tears and moving on from an ex who won’t get the hint. Goodbye!
Stage of breakup: Over it

4. I Will Survive by Gloria Gaynor

When: 1978
What: The ultimate power anthem full of motivation and inspiration that expertly addresses the stages of grief following a relationship’s demise. At first, Gloria sings that she was «petrified» and «kept thinking I could never live without you by my side» before realising how her ex did her wrong and how she’s so much better on her own.
Stage of breakup: Single and free

5. New Rules by Dua Lipa

When: 2017
What: In this catchy song which propelled her to stardom, Dua sings about setting boundaries and establishing new rules in a bid to move on from her ex. We all have done this at some point to stop us from falling back into toxic, failed relationships.
Stage of breakup: Moving on

6. Rolling In The Deep by Adele

When: 2011
What: Eurgh, Adele’s vocals are truly something else! Especially when she sang about her tumultuous relationship with an ex and all the scored emotions she felt as a result of the breakup in the fiery hit tune, Rolling In the Deep.
Stage of breakup: Reflecting

7. Don’t Speak by No Doubt

When: 1995
What: This song was deeply personal for lead singer Gwen Stefani as she sang about her relationship with bassist Tony Kanal, who she dated for seven years. Gwen admits in the tune that it was a pity that things didn’t work out romantically between the pair and that explaining the failed romance hurt.
Stage of breakup: Reminiscing

8. Since U Been Gone by Kelly Clarkson

When: 2004
What: Wow, Kelly Clarkson truly had up singing along at the top of our lungs to this inspiring song about getting your freedom and feeling relief following a relationship. It’s no surprise that this catapulted the American Idol winner’s career to astronomical heights.
Stage of breakup: Fiercely single.

9. Dancing On My Own by Robyn

When: 2010
What: Not all breakup songs need to be slow-moving ballads. This song by Robyn was an electropop smash-hit that was big on the dancefloor despite being centred on the story of a woman watching her ex-boyfriend out at the club with another woman while pondering if it’s right to confront him one last time. . .
Stage of breakup: In the thick of it.

10. Shoutout To My Ex by Little Mix

When: 2016
What: We’re pretty sure this song was inspired by Perrie Edwards’ breakup with Zayn Malik. This upbeat tune focused on the positives of a failed romance, including the lessons an ex taught them about what they won’t settle for going forward.
Stage of breakup: Learning lessons.

11. Before He Cheats by Carrie Underwood

When: 2005
What: Oh, Carrie was angry, wasn’t she? And understandably so, as she furiously belted her heart out about taking revenge on her potentially unfaithful partner, who didn’t seem to learn from his past mistakes.
Stage of breakup: Angry

12. Somebody That I Used To Know by Gotye

When: 2011
What: We can all relate to this song about a person who was once a special somebody in our life feeling like a complete stranger despite the hoards of great memories once shared between them.
Stage of breakup: Reminiscing

13. We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together by Taylor Swift

When: 2012
What: The queen of singing about relationships, Taylor Swift’s song We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together says it all in the title. Sometimes, second chances aren’t worth it!
Stage of breakup: Over it

14. Leave (Get Out) by JoJo

When: 2004
What: JoJo might have only been thirteen-years-old while singing this song, but the message of independence was loud and clear because boys will be boys, no matter their age.
Stage of breakup: Angry

15. I Will Always Love You by Whitney Houston

When: 1992
What: Sometimes, no matter what went down between you and your ex, you’ll fondly look back at the relationship, and that’s precisely what Whitney Houston sings about in the iconic power ballad I Will Always Love You, which was recorded for the soundtrack of the 1992 film The Bodyguard.
Stage of breakup: The one that got away.

16. Someone Like You by Adele

When: 2011
What: While you may have that special someone who got away, we usually have to accept that getting back together will never happen. And we always break down when Adele describes the heartbreaking push to move on and find someone else like her ex.
Stage of breakup: Reminiscing

17. End of the Road by Boyz II Men

When: 1991
What: This classic that spent weeks at the top of the charts was about processing an extremely tough breakup and was inspired by some of the members’ real-life relationships.
Stage of breakup: Moving on

18. Un-Break My Heart by Toni Braxton

When: 1996
What: Toni pulls at our heartstrings as she begs an ex to return to her and undo all the pain and misery he had caused her. Relatable, but we all know that we deserve to be treated better.
Stage of breakup: In the thick of it

19. Survivor by Destiny’s Child

When: 2001
What: While this song addressed the replacement of previous members LaTavia Roberson and LeToya Luckett in Destiny’s Child, the lyrics are so empowering that they could most certainly be used to get over a breakup. Just listen: «Now that you’re out of my life, I’m so much better. You thought that I’d be weak without you But I’m stronger. . . »
Stage of breakup: Moving on

20. Stronger by Britney Spears

When: 2000
What: This feisty pop song by Britney saw her sing and dance to the message of finding strength and living without her cheating ex. Everything about the song and the music video, including her fantastic outfit and chair dance, was excellent. More power to you, Britney!
Stage of breakup: Freedom

21. Life Goes On by LeAnn Rimes

When: 2022
What: LeAnn is in the process of moving on in this song, where she details the shame her ex should have felt the first time he fooled her as well as the shame she should have felt the second time he fooled her. Learning your lessons and moving on is most definitely the mantra.
Stage of breakup: Moving on

22. Good 4 U by Olivia Rodrigo

When: 2021
What: We’ve all had that ex who moved on a bit too quickly, but do we care? No. Including Olivia, who makes plenty of sarcastic remarks as she tells her former flame, «Good 4 U,» while levelling up.
Stage of breakup: Over it

23. Say Something by A Great Big World & Christina Aguilera

When: 2014
What: It can be a really dark, lonely place when it only feels like one person is trying in a relationship. And this song delicately details the last resort and desperation of getting the other person to speak up to save their romance.
Stage of breakup: Holding on to hope

24. My Happy Ending by Avril Lavigne

When: 2004
What: It’s tough having a million answered questions when you’re heartbroken, and in true angsty Avril style, she laments the status of her current relationship while also saying goodbye to all the memories they shared.
Stage of breakup: In the thick of it.

25. Wrecking Ball by Miley Cyrus

When: 2013
What: This story is all about getting through the pain and emotions of a toxic relationship so powerfully destructive that it can sometimes sweep you off your feet.
Stage of breakup: Moving on

26. Cry Me a River by Justin Timberlake

When: 2002
What: JT had enough as he sang about a cheating ex and how there was no way they were ever getting back together after the pain that was caused.
Stage of breakup: Angry

27. Jolene by Dolly Parton

When: 1974
What: This potential breakup song may not be directed at the man but more so at the insecurity of having another woman in the picture. While it is true that a man cheating will always be his fault and Dolly’s focus is misguided, she will always break us with her pleas to Jolene to stay out of the picture.
Stage of breakup: Desperation

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