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New York. Thanks for subscribing! Look out for your first newsletter in your inbox soon! Yes, breaking up is hard to do—so hard, in fact, that a good chunk of the finest pop music ever produced has sprung from its well of agony. But as tough as it is to dump or be dumped, when you find the right soundtrack to your suffering it can also feel weirdly enjoyable—as tracks by such pop poets as Alanis Morissette, Kanye and expletive king, Cee Lo Green attest.
So we invite you to celebrate the heartbreak—whether angry, homicidal or just a bit sad—with our collection of the best breakup songs ever recorded. Listen to these songs on Amazon Music. Talk about heartbreak. Throw that sentiment over a simple chord progression that builds beautifully with horns, an organ, backing vocals and a heart-melting performance by Jamesand you've reached timeless soul perfection.
Dolly Parton wrote and recorded this song in as a rueful envoi for her mentor and champion, Porter Wagoner, and later reprised it in the movie musical The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas. The late singer-songwriter crooned plenty about addiction, depression and heartbreak, but nowhere more brutally than in this moody torch song, which gave its title to her Getting over someone songs. Winehouse penned this hit single about her falling back into bad habits after her very public break with husband Blake Fielder-Civil.
The gloomy repetition of the word black during the bridge is the sound of a spiral into darkness—albeit a funky one. Ah, the tears of a clown. The enduring force of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs' most classic song lies in its expression of the inexpressible: the pithy, repetitive lyrics "Oh say, oh say, oh say And as if Karen O's weepy performance in the music video wasn't already affecting enough—the singer revealed that the tears were entirely genuine, motivated by her then-boyfriend for whom she wrote the song showing up to the shoot.
Yes, there are other versions. Troubadour Cohen has many a song in his arsenal to reduce grown adults to pathetic wistfulness, but this beauty is the most effective of them all. The premise behind Stephen Merritt's magnum opus concept album 69 Love Songs is pretty explicit hint: it's 69 love songsbut a twist hides within: He's stated the love songs are really about love songs.
So hopefully that heady conceptual business will keep your mind occupied while you try to forget about that ex. It spawned one of the most defiant and furious songs of a generation. No pain, no gain. Even when baring his sobbing soul, he somehow seems unflappable. The song served as the lead single for the singer-songwriter's celebrated sophomore effort, 's On Your Own Love Again. Listening to Pratt's airy voice on this timeless, ethereal ode, we can't help but yearn for cloudy skies, too.
Though this song was originally sung by Tommy Hunt in and has since been covered by myriad musicians, including Dusty Springfield, Dionne Warwick, Isaac Hayes and Elvis Costellono one has been able to capture the desperation—and frustration—behind the lyrics quite like Jack White.
Always pushing his liver and vocal cords to the limit, Nilsson injected histrionics and heart into the songs he covered as if it were HGH. A year later, this Badfinger tune amped up the woe-is-me. Fact: It is impossible to listen to this Kleenex-consuming epic without balling your hands into fists and mock-karaokeing along. Next song on the album?
A broken heart isn't just for those who've been broken up with—as "River" attests. It's a breakup anthem that sounds as crisp and sad-in-the-bones today as it did when it was released as part of Joni Mitchell's perfectly titled Blue album in Both records are generous gifts for anyone nursing a wounded heart.
You know even before the drumbeat kicks in that something is gonna go down in this song. Grapevine, raisins—see what they did there? You may hate American Idol. You may hate pop. You may hate it when people use u instead of you. It quickly achieved anthem status, thanks in no small part to Andre's unapologetically frank lyrics.
Let's be honest, sometimes cuties get away with bad behavior, but there are Getting over someone songs, and when your love interest crosses them, "Roses" is the perfect way to tell them to bugger off. A classic in the genre of Songs to Cry to in Clubs, this electrodisco anthem tells the tale of a cheating heart haunted by its infidelity.
This is their biggest and best hit, however, and responsible for plenty tear-stained dancing shoes over the years. Prog-popstress Imogen Heap toes the line between poignantly lachrymose and sickeningly maudlin—so it's unsurprising her most heartachey song was immortalized in the climactic scene to a season of The O. From there, the indie tune took a viral turn, rocketing from an SNL Andy Samberg sketch straight into the top charts by-way of a Jason Derulo sample. That is to say: if these forlorn folktronica vocal harmonies are sad enough for the cast of The O. Mark this down: November The last time Kanye demonstrated vulnerability on a record.
So, yeah, we feel ya, Toni. In the lead single from 's Take Carethe Toronto hip-hip lord lays bare his romantic struggles over a stripped-down, wafting beat. At the time, it cemented Drake's status as the reigning king of emo rap. All snickers and parody videos aside, the track stands on its own as essential listening for dumpers and dumpees who have gone full-tilt into relationships and wound up emotionally demolished.
And the racy video antics? Big Stuff. Any time your paramour has you feeling a little claustrophobic, just remember Left Eye's mantra: Erase, replace, embrace, new face. Yeah yeah, we all know the backstory: Consummately bearded man in flannel sequesters himself to the forest to nurse a broken heart.
But even if the mythology behind For Emma Forever Ago is old-hat at this point, the album's mournful, barebones folk can still tug at a heartstring and break it in two. This first single, in particular, poignantly encapsulates that painful emotional space of a relationship running on empty— perfect for those final moments before you and your partner cut the cord. Considering Conor Oberst makes a career out of sad-boy self-pitying omphaloskepsis, this tune from his iconic magnum mope-us, I'm Wide Awake, It's Morning, presents a surprisingly mature post-breakup perspective: "If you love something, give it away.
Which may be exactly what you need. What does a grime break-up song sound like? Pair OG grime pioneers Ruff Sqwad with the legendary Eskiboy and you've got yourself a break-up banger. Rapping over Ruff Sqwad's original "Together" which samples the very familiar guitar rift from the Police's "Message in a Bottle"Wiley teases repeatedly with the rhetorical question, " When we gonna be together?
L isten to Wiley: Don't wallow in self-pity. This devastating torch song was written for Ella Fitzgerald Getting over someone songsbut Julie London managed to release it before the Queen of Jazz was able to get a version out. Following your breakup with a hit single thanking each and every one of your past flames for the lessons learned from those relationships? The phrase "above it" hardly seems sufficient. Ariana teaches us all what it means to go out with grace on this suprise-release earworm. What the hell does an 11 year old know about loss? Still, the kid sold it like nobody else, over chords that rise and fall like a roller coaster.
And nothing hurts Getting over someone songs first love. Lurking behind the glossy sheen and shimmering guitars of this global pop hit is the age-old story of a relationship gone sour. These best sex songs will take you by the hand, whisper sweet nothings in your ear and lead you straight to the bedroom.
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33 Songs For Every Breakup Mood