Breaking Up Is Hard To Do
So you just broke up with your significant other, and you’re looking for something to make you feel better... or maybe to just bring on a good ugly cry. Even though they mean well, your friends and family may not understand exactly what you’re going through. It might just be too soon for their cheerful banter and advice aplenty. So turn your phone to silent, grab a box of Kleenex and a pint of your favorite ice cream, and let yourself wallow in self pity to the tune of the 10 best breakup songs.
Rolling in the Deep - Adele
This smash hit from her album 21 helped propel Adele to international stardom with its powerful message of heartbreak, inspired by a breakup with her then-boyfriend. Said Adele, “[It was my reaction to] being told that my life was going to be boring and lonely and rubbish, and that I was a weak person if I didn't stay in the relationship. I was very insulted, and wrote that as a sort of 'f--- you.'” We’re glad she did.
Nothing Compares 2 U - Sinead O'Connor
Originally written by Prince, this 1990 cover version ended up becoming more famous than the original. However, Prince apparently took issue with the Irish-born singer’s use of profanity during interviews, and, according to O’Connor, the two had a resulting dust-up. “We didn’t get along at all. In fact, we had a punch up,” O’Connor recounted. “He summoned me to his house, and he’s very foolish to do this with an Irish woman… He told me he didn’t like me saying bad words in my interviews, so I told him to f--- off.” Still, O’Connor performed this beautifully haunting rendition with a full range of emotions, including the feeling of longing for someone we can no longer have.
Go Your Own Way - Fleetwood Mac
The first single off of Fleetwood Mac’s 1977 album Rumours, this heartbreak ballad written by Lindsey Buckingham was about his complicated relationship and eventual separation from the group’s lead singer, Stevie Nicks. Nicks, however, took issue with some of the lyrics in the song. While being interviewed by Rolling Stone magazine, she said, "I very much resented him telling the world that 'packing up, shacking up' with different men was all I wanted to do. He knew it wasn't true. It was just an angry thing that he said. Every time those words would come onstage, I wanted to go over and kill him. He knew it, so he really pushed my buttons through that. It was like, 'I'll make you suffer for leaving me.' And I did." Well, fortunately she maintained her composure, and the group is still performing the song today.
You Oughta Know - Alanis Morissette
This 1995 hit was the song that really helped define the alternative-rock sound that still characterizes Alanis Morissette to this day. Morissette wrote the lyrics, and the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ Flea and Dave Navarro contributed the song’s bass and guitar parts. Though it’s still not entirely clear about whom the song was written, the feeling of raw emotion certainly is, making it easy for the listener to relate. The song went on to win two 1996 Grammys, including Best Rock Song.
I Will Always Love You - Whitney Houston
Another cover on this list, Dolly Parton’s original country version was written as a tribute to her former partner and mentor Porter Wagoner after he decided to pursue a solo career. In 1992, Houston made her own R&B rendition for the movie The Bodyguard, which became the best-selling single by a woman in music history.
Since U Been Gone - Kelly Clarkson
If it isn’t obvious from the song’s title, this one expresses an overwhelming feeling of relief after the end of a troubled relationship. It gives the listener a sense of empowerment, something we all we need after a rough breakup. Rolling Stone ranked “Since U Been Gone” one of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time in 2010.
Somebody That I Used to Know - Gotye, feat. Kimbra
From his third studio album, Making Mirrors, this song helped launch the Belgian-Australian singer-songwriter Gotye to international stardom with its catchy chorus and relatable lyrics. He’s been quoted as saying that the track was “definitely drawn from various experiences I've had in relationships breaking up, and in the more reflective parts of the song, in the aftermath and the memory of those different relationships and what they were and how they broke up and what's going on in everyone's minds. Yeah, so it's an amalgam of different feelings but not completely made up as such.” The song earned him two Grammy Awards in 2013, including Record of the Year.
I Will Survive- Gloria Gaynor
If there were one song to put on after you’ve just been through a messy breakup and are feeling in need of some inspiration, Gloria Gaynor’s “I Will Survive” is it. The 1978 song’s powerful vocals and raw emotion helped make it one of Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Songs of All Time, and VH1’s #1 ranked dance song of all time.
You’re So Vain- Carly Simon
Simon’s 1972 hit “You’re So Vain” describes a narcissistic ex-lover who believes everything revolves around him, including the song itself. Simon asserted that the song was about men in general, and not anyone in particular. However, later speculation led to her admitting that it was about a combination of three men, one of whom she confirmed to be actor Warren Beatty.
Love the Way You Lie - Eminem, feat. Rihanna
Initially written by singer-songwriter Skylar Grey about the feeling that she was in an abusive romantic relationship with the music industry, Eminem took the song and added verses, and then enlisted Rihanna to sing the chorus after the two connected on sharing experiences from past abusive relationships of their own. The song went on to garner five Grammy nominations, and is Eminem’s best-selling single to date.
Listen And Heal
Check out our Spotify playlist featuring these songs:
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