There’s nothing like the feeling of love that paints the world in hues of passion and warmth. Yet within the complex tapestry of the human experience, love and heartbreak co-exist, like two sides of the same coin.
In the face of heartache, we often turn to music as a form of creative expression or as a source of solace. And these songs in our list are some of the best to have come out of such experiences.
From classic hits of yesteryear to modern ballads, read on for 35 of the best songs about heartbreak!
1. “This Is What Heartbreak Feels Like” By JVKE
Let’s kick off our list with a song with heartbreak in the title: “This Is What Heartbreak Feels Like.” One of the newcomers in the music scene, Jacob Dodge Lawson, better known as JVKE, is a master at beautifully weaving songs with descriptive lyrics and catchy piano-driven melodies.
His debut album, This Is What ___ Feels Like (Vol. 1 to 4), features 12 tracks that revolve around the cycle of love: falling in love with someone, losing them, and finding the will to love again.
The third track, “This Is What Heartbreak Feels Like,” represents the bitter stage of a breakup. The lyrics allude to the partner cheating on the singer, with lines like “Guess my lover was a snake” and “You were my Garden of Eden / Now I’m leaving.”
Indeed, being betrayed by someone you love could leave you feeling shattered and broken. But know that there’s always a rainbow after a storm.
2. “Heartbreak Anniversary” By Giveon
The aftermath of a breakup can be truly soul-wrenching, but the first anniversary after one can just be as difficult. This is what Giveon’s “Heartbreak Anniversary” perfectly embodies: the lingering impact of love lost.
A song with heartbreak in the lyrics and the title, “Heartbreak Anniversary,” begins with a poignant verse describing how the singer has not moved on, even after a year. In the chorus, he mulls over the possibility of whether his ex still thinks about him: “Heartbreak anniversary / Do you ever think of me?”
The raw and relatable honesty of the song resonates with many who have experienced the profound pain of a failed relationship. The song becomes a companion for those navigating the complexities of heartbreak, providing a soundtrack to accompany the highs and lows of the healing process.
3. “Miss Americana & The Heartbreak Prince” By Taylor Swift
Next, we have a pop song that mentions heartbreak metaphorically. Despite the title alluding to a love story, Taylor Swift’s “Miss Americana and the Heartbreak Prince” is a layered song that uses the backdrop of high school romance as a metaphor for her disappointment in the American political climate.
The lines, “American glory faded before me / Now I’m feeling hopeless / Ripped up my prom dress,” encapsulates the tale of disillusionment, where the once idealized concept of the American dream has turned into a heartbreaking reality.
In the song, the Heartbreak Prince represents the shattered dreams and promises, while Miss Americana symbolizes the disillusioned individual trying to navigate the complexities of a changing world.
While the song may not fit the conventional mold of a typical heartbreak ballad, its unique perspective and powerful message make it a standout entry.
4.“Can I Be Him” By James Arthur
In love and in life, we don’t always get what we yearn for, and this is exactly what James Arthur’s “Can I Be Him” is about: the heartbreak of unrequited love.
The song delves into the internal struggle of watching from afar, wishing to be the one who holds the key to the other person’s heart. The song goes on to express the desire to be closer to the person, to share in their joys and sorrows, and to be the one who makes them feel complete.
The chorus is particularly powerful, with Arthur pleading, “Can I be the one you talk about in all your stories? / Can I be him?” The repetition of the question “Can I be him?” echoes the desperation and yearning that often accompanies unrequited love.
The intensity of emotion in the lyrics is mirrored by the soulful and passionate delivery of Arthur’s vocals, creating a powerful synergy that resonates with listeners profoundly.
5. “The One That Got Away” By Katy Perry
At some point in our lives, you might meet someone wonderful and perfect for you — only to find out later that they were just a passing part of your life. This is the sentiment Katy Perry conveys in her hit single “The One That Got Away.”
The song starts off with an upbeat verse reminiscing how Perry and her loved one met. The lyrics are filled with memories of past love and what could have been, which only serves to amplify the sadness that comes from being unable to hold on to something so beautiful and fleeting.
The song’s popularity led to the wide adoption of the term “the one that got away,” alluding to the person you wish you would’ve ended up with but never did. Its themes of regret and longing resonate with people all around the world, making this a timeless classic that will be remembered well into the future.
6. “Glimpse Of Us” By Joji
Following up on the same themes of regret, we have Joji’s “Glimpse of Us.” The song explores the complex emotions of love lost, acknowledging that the present reality may never quite measure up to the idealized memories of the past.
The haunting melody sets the tone for the emotional journey as Joji reflects on the moments shared with his former lover. The chorus, in particular, is heartbreaking, as he laments: “I’m only here passing time in her arms / Hopin’ I’ll find / a glimpse of us.”
Looking at the other side of the coin, we can also empathize with the current partner’s heartache — to know that you are only second best can be a devastating realization. And a relationship founded on the remnants of another’s love story is bound to lead to another heartbreak.
7. “Someone Like You” By Adele
Another related song is Adele’s multi-awarded hit song, “Someone Like You.” Much like the previous song’s narrative, “Someone Like You” is a poignant reflection on the impact of past love and the haunting specter of what could have been.
The lyrics capture the essence of vulnerability and acceptance as Adele sings about encountering her former lover with someone new. The chorus is particularly resonant: “Never mind, I’ll find someone like you / I wish nothing but the best for you too.”
In these lines, Adele grapples with the pain of acknowledging that her ex has moved on, and she must, too, despite the lingering ache of unfulfilled dreams and promises.
The song serves as a cathartic journey, with the singer embracing the reality that life goes on, even if the scars of a past love remain.
8. “Hate You” By Jung Kook
Coping with heartbreak can be a lot easier if your lover has wronged you in some way, but what happens if the breakup is caused for the simple reason that you’re not meant to be? This is what BTS’ Jung Kook explores in his hit song “Hate You.”
In this melancholic R&B song, Jung Kook mulls over the possibility of painting his lover as a villain despite her innocence. The lyrics delve into the complexity of relationships, revealing the internal struggle of being torn between the desire to blame their partner and the realization that they are not entirely at fault.
Jung Kook’s exploration of the theme extends beyond the conventional narratives of love songs. Instead of portraying a clear hero or villain in the story, he delves into the gray areas, acknowledging the intricacy of human emotions.
9. “Un-Break My Heart” By Toni Braxton
One of the most iconic songs in the 1990s, Toni Braxton’s “Un-Break My Heart” is a mellow R&B song where she begs her former lover to return and undo the heartbreak he caused.
However, the accompanying music video adds a new layer of heartache to the song: the beginning scenes show that Braxton’s lover passed away from a motorcycle accident.
The rest of the video eloquently shows Braxton reminiscing their happy memories while she mourns, perfectly mirroring the heart-wrenching narrative of the song.
The lyrics of “Un-Break My Heart,” although originally written to capture the agony of a romantic breakup, take on an even more profound meaning when viewed through the lens of grieving for a departed loved one.
10. “It’s All Coming Back To Me Now” By Céline Dion
Released in the same year as “Un-Break My Heart,” Céline Dion’s “It’s All Coming Back to Me Now” shares similar themes to Braxton’s hit: the latter song also explores the heartache of losing someone to a tragic motorcycle accident.
Dion’s song, however, takes a darker and deeper dive into the intricacies of love and loss. At its core, the song contemplates the transformative power of love, emphasizing that it possesses the unique quality to resurrect what was thought to be lost or dead.
This theme adds a layer to the song as it grapples with the dual nature of love — both as a source of pain and a catalyst for healing. Even amid tragedy, this song encourages us to find hope and solace in our loved ones.
11. “You Said You’d Grow Old With Me” By Michael Schulte
Sharing a life with someone you love and growing old together is a common dream for many people. However, Michael Schulte explores these themes with a darker tone with his song “You Said You’d Grow Old with Me.”
The chorus vividly portrays the struggle to maintain a facade of normalcy while grappling with the overwhelming emotions that accompany profound loss: “Thought we had the time, had our lives / Now you’ll never get older… / Didn’t say goodbye, now I’m frozen in time.”
The song’s exploration of this emotional dichotomy contributes to its power, as it captures the feeling of being frozen in time and forever longing for what could have been. This is a sentiment that many can relate to on a personal level — the seeming inability to move forward with life after a tragic loss.
12. “Dancing With Your Ghost” By Sasha Alex Sloan
Up next, we have another song that delves into the complexities of love and grief. Sasha Alex Sloan’s “Dancing with Your Ghost” is a moving ballad wherein the singer imagines being with their departed loved one as she mourns her loss.
The chorus resonates with a powerful mix of sorrow and acceptance, capturing the essence of the human experience when faced with loss: “I stay up all night, tell myself I’m all right… / I put the record on, wait ’til I hear our song / Every night, I’m dancing with your ghost.”
On a similar note, the song can also be interpreted as grieving the loss of a partner, whether or not they passed away. Indeed, “Dancing with Your Ghost” resonates on a universal level by tapping into the emotions associated with loss, and it is open to interpretation beyond the realm of death.
13. “I’ll Never Love Again” By Lady Gaga
Both a talented singer and an actress, Lady Gaga sang the harrowing ballad “I’ll Never Love Again” for the film A Star Is Born. In the film, Gaga’s character mourns the death of her love interest, played by Bradley Cooper.
The lyrics delve into the aftermath of heartbreak and the reluctance to open oneself up to the possibility of love again. The chorus conveys a sense of despair and sorrow as Gaga sings, “Don’t wanna give my heart away / to another stranger / or let another day begin… / No, I’ll never love again.”
The music video for “I’ll Never Love Again” further amplifies the emotional impact of the song. It intercuts scenes from the film with Gaga’s poignant live performance, capturing the raw vulnerability of the character she portrays.
14. “Nothing Compares 2 U” By Sinéad O’Connor
A song originally written by Prince, Sinéad O’Connor’s version of “Nothing Compares 2 U” adds a layer of melancholy to the sad ballad with her hauntingly beautiful rendition. The ache in her voice becomes a vessel for the pain expressed in Prince’s original composition, taking the song to a more intense level of emotion.
In the song, O’Connor laments the recent departure of her love interest and how it seems she cannot move past her heartache. The simple line in the chorus, “Nothing compares to you,” encapsulates the universal truth that some connections are so profound that they leave an indelible mark on the soul.
The simplicity of this declaration belies the complexity of emotions, resonating with anyone who has felt the pangs of heartbreak and the enduring ache of unfulfilled love.
15. “I’ll Never Get Over You Getting Over Me” By Exposé
Sharing a similar theme of the inability to move on after a heartache, Exposé’s “I’ll Never Get Over You Getting Over Me” resonates with the emotional aftermath of a relationship’s end.
In the song, the singer’s past love has moved on quickly after the breakup, and the lyrics paint a vivid picture of the contrast between the two individuals’ emotional states: “You’re on your own now / and I’m alone and free… / But a life lived without you could never be right.”
The song’s emotional depth is heightened by the singer’s declaration that her feelings will never fade “as long as the stars shine down from the heavens.” The pain is not only rooted at the end of the relationship but also in the stark realization that what once felt eternal has become a mere memory.
16. “Happier” By Ed Sheeran
Watching your ex-partner move on with life without you can be painful, but seeing them happier with someone new adds an extra layer of complexity to the mix of emotions. This is what Ed Sheeran’s “Happier” is about.
Its lyrics delve into the bittersweet reality of seeing an old flame move on and thrive in a new relationship. Sheeran’s pain is compounded by the lines “Only a month we’ve been apart… / I saw that both your smiles were twice as wide as ours / Yeah, you look happier, you do.”
The song serves as a reminder that life goes on. It encourages the listener to confront the pain of watching an ex move forward while acknowledging that true happiness lies in letting go and allowing each person to find their own path.
17. “The Man Who Can’t Be Moved” By The Script
Some romantic relationships have a huge impact on our lives that renders us completely heartbroken once the romance fizzles out. “The Man Who Can’t Be Moved” by The Script beautifully encapsulates the emotions that accompany the aftermath of a terrible breakup.
The lyrics tell the story of a man who, unable to move on from a past relationship, refuses to move away from the place where he and his former partner first met: “Thinking maybe you’ll come back here to the place that we’d meet / And you’ll see me waiting for you, on the corner of the street / So I’m not moving.”
The singer’s commitment to remaining steadfast in a place laden with memories symbolizes the internal struggle of someone desperately holding on to the past. The song captures the essence of heartbreak — the yearning, the refusal to let go, and the bittersweet hope that lingers even in the face of emotional devastation.
18. “End Of The Road” By Boyz II Men
Not all relationships are meant to last forever, and when you reach the phase where you know it’s about to end, it’s often hard to let go. This is the very theme of Boyz II Men’s classic early ’90s hit “End of the Road.”
The lyrics express the heartache and resignation that often accompany the realization that the journey together has reached its final destination. The somber melody and soulful harmonies underscore the depth of the emotions involved, making the song a timeless ballad of love and loss.
The song also reminds us that the end of the road doesn’t mark the end of one’s journey but rather a turning point toward new horizons. The capacity to let go gracefully and appreciate the beauty of what was can lead to a more profound understanding of oneself.
19. “All Out Of Love” By Air Supply
In love, we often don’t realize how our toxic tendencies can sour the relationship. And the sad thing is that the realization comes when it has become too late. Air Supply captures this well with their soft rock song “All Out of Love.”
The chorus captures the raw vulnerability of the singer as he confronts the reality of his actions: “I’m all out of love / What am I without you? / I can’t be too late / to say that I was so wrong.”
The somber tones of “All Out of Love” remind us that love requires nurturing, understanding, and self-awareness. It’s a call to examine our actions, learn from our mistakes, and strive to be better partners in the future.
20. “I Can’t Make You Love Me” By Bonnie Raitt
Unrequited love is a heart-shattering experience, but it’s another thing being in a relationship with someone who doesn’t truly love you. Bonnie Raitt’s haunting ballad “I Can’t Make You Love Me” delves deep into the pain of never being enough for the one that you love.
The song explores the story of a one-sided relationship and the realization that love cannot be forced to settle in. The line “’Cause I can’t make you love me if you don’t” underscores the futility of trying to make someone feel a certain way if the sentiment isn’t genuine.
Despite the melancholic tone, the song carries a certain beauty in its honesty. It serves as a reminder that love, to be fulfilling, must be freely given and reciprocated. The song also reminds listeners of the importance of being with someone who willingly shares their love.
21. “If You’re Not The One” By Daniel Bedingfield
As they say, the heart wants what it wants, even in one-sided love. This sentiment is beautifully captured in Daniel Bedingfield’s “If You’re Not the One” — an introspective ballad about the uncertainty that often accompanies unrequited love.
Throughout the song, Bedingfield contemplates the paradox of experiencing the profound sensations associated with love when the object of his affection feels otherwise: “If I’m not made for you, then why does my heart tell me that I am?”
The song could also be interpreted as Bedingfield pleading with his former love to reconsider the decision to part ways. The lyrics take on a dual significance, as they not only express the uncertainty of unrequited love but also echo the sentiments of someone grappling with the aftermath of a breakup.
22. “Where Do Broken Hearts Go?” By Whitney Houston
Known for her powerhouse songs, Whitney Houston conveys the pain of a shattered heart in her song “Where Do Broken Hearts Go?”
The lyrics of the song pose a question that many who have experienced heartbreak can relate to: the desperate search for solace and answers in the aftermath of love’s dissolution. Houston takes the listener on a journey through the depths of heartache, exploring the profound sense of loss and vulnerability.
The raw authenticity in her delivery adds a layer of relatability that connects with the listener on a personal level, making it a #1 hit when it was released in 1987.
23. “Almost Is Never Enough” By Ariana Grande Ft. Nathan Sykes
Breakups are indeed painful, but there’s also pain in situations where two people are on the brink of falling in love but, for some reason, don’t. This is the kind of heartache that Ariana Grande showed in “Almost Is Never Enough.”
Alongside Nathan Syke’s soulful voice, the song is a dual musical journey that captures the essence of missed opportunities. The lyrics talk of the ache of unfulfilled potential and the haunting question of what if: “We almost knew what love was / but almost is never enough.”
The song serves as a reminder that life is often a series of fleeting moments and missed chances, where the line between almost and forever can be painfully thin.
24. “When I Was Your Man” By Bruno Mars
Regret is a powerful emotion that could either make or break us, and Bruno Mars beautifully captures this in his ballad “When I Was Your Man.”
In the song, Mars laments the fact that he didn’t appreciate his partner when he had the chance, and now he’s grappling with the consequences of his actions. The lyrics convey a deep sense of remorse and the realization of the value of what was lost.
“When I Was Your Man” serves as a cautionary tale, urging us to appreciate the people we love while they are still a part of our lives. Its narrative is not just about lost love; it’s about the broader implications of neglecting the important aspects of life.
25. “Here Without You” By 3 Doors Down
Not being near the one you love can leave a gaping hole in your heart. The yearning can be so strong that every note and lyric of 3 Doors Down’s “Here Without You” seems to resonate with the deep emotions of longing and separation.
The chorus becomes an anthem of sorts for those navigating the challenges of a long-distance relationship or a breakup: “I’m here without you, baby / but you’re still with me in my dreams / And tonight it’s only you and me.”
Despite the melancholy tone, “Here Without You” encourages a sense of hope that even in the face of physical absence, love can endure. It becomes a reminder that the heartache of absence, rather than breaking the bonds, serves as a testament to the depth and sincerity of the connection.
26. “Dancing On My Own” By Callum Scott
Originally a boppy heartbreak song by Robyn, “Dancing on My Own” transforms into a mellower and more heart-wrenching track with Callum Scott’s cover.
The stripped-down arrangement allows the raw emotion in Scott’s vocals to take center stage, creating a poignant atmosphere. The lyrics “I’m in the corner, watching you kiss her… / And I’m right over here, why can’t you see me?” capture the visceral pain of isolation and heartache.
Despite the heartbreak depicted in the lyrics, there is an inherent strength in the act of dancing on your own. It symbolizes the ability to find joy and liberation within oneself, even in the face of unfulfilled desires.
27. “Break My Heart Again” By FINNEAS
Songs that are written based on personal experience add a layer of raw emotion and authenticity, and FINNEAS delivered a powerful yet heartbreaking song with “Break My Heart Again.”
Told from the perspective of an anguished lover still vying for the attention of his muse, the song speaks to the persistent ache of unrequited love: “So go ahead and break my heart again… / It must be nice / to love someone who lets you break them twice.”
The song also includes bitter undertones that provide a glimpse into the internal struggle of the protagonist: “You were the one, but you were born to say goodbye.” The interplay of love and bitterness mirrors the complexity of real-life relationships, where emotions can be complex in the wake of a painful breakup.
28. “Drivers License” By Olivia Rodrigo
The end of a relationship can often make us feel bitter and angry, especially when you’ve done great feats for your partner. Olivia Rodrigo skillfully blends angst and heartache in her song “Drivers License.”
Rodrigo captures the raw complexity of bittersweet nostalgia as she reminisces how she and her boyfriend were excited about getting her driver’s license, only to be left alone as the present moment sets in.
The song brings to the surface emotions of anger, resentment, and betrayal — emotions that many of us can relate to after a tough breakup. Yet, there’s a sense of empowerment in the song. The metaphorical driver’s license becomes a declaration of autonomy: that she can find happiness outside the confines of a past relationship.
29. “Back To December” By Taylor Swift
Betrayal, longing, and sadness are familiar companions in the aftermath of a breakup, but Taylor Swift brings a unique perspective with her ballad “Back to December.”
Dedicated to her former flame, Taylor Lautner, Swift delicately weaves a narrative of seeking forgiveness and reflecting on the intricacies of love lost. Unlike her other songs about breakups, she adds an element of heartfelt acceptance in “Back to December.”
Rather than dwelling solely on the pain and resentment, Swift chooses a path of self-reflection and growth. Through the verses and chorus, there’s a poignant acknowledgment of her own mistakes, a mature recognition of the role each person played, and a sincere plea for understanding.
30. “Let Her Go” By Passenger
The bittersweet reality in life is that we often grasp the true worth of moments only after they have slipped through our fingers. And that’s exactly the sentiment echoed in Passenger’s “Let Her Go.”
The song’s narrative gently explores the themes of hindsight and regret: “Only miss the sun when it starts to snow… / Only know you love her when you let her go.” The complex interplay between regret and loss is apparent in the repetition of the lines, “and you let her go.”
Despite the melancholic themes, the song serves as an acknowledgment of the singer’s own role in the unraveling of a relationship. It’s also an admission that, sometimes, the most profound act of love is to set someone free.
31. “One Last Cry” By Brian McKnight
The betrayal of watching someone you love being cozy with someone else can evoke a profound sense of anger and heartbreak. Yet Brian McKnight chose the path of quiet acceptance and bittersweet resignation with his hit single “One Last Cry.”
The lyrics, however, do little to conceal the raw and profound pain that permeates McKnight: “One last cry / before I leave it all behind / I’ve gotta put you out of my mind for the very last time.”
Despite the song’s mournful strains, “One Last Cry” serves as a therapeutic journey of resilience amidst sorrow. It is a reminder that even when the odds are against us, we can find the strength to move forward and heal from heartbreak.
32. “How Do You Heal A Broken Heart” By Chris Walker
Healing after the dissolution of a relationship you held dear can be hard, and this is what Chris Walker addresses in his R&B hit “How Do You Heal a Broken Heart.”
Walker reflects on the aftermath of a love that has reached its end, asking the universal question: “How do you heal a broken heart?” The question becomes more poignant as he adds, “That feels like it will never beat this much again… / I just can’t let go.”
Walker’s introspective lyrics navigate the path of genuine healing, acknowledging that the journey may be fraught with setbacks but that it is not impossible to move forward: “Tonight I’ll hold what could be right… / and find that I know how to let you go.”
33. “Grow As We Go” By Ben Platt
Not all people who enter our lives are meant to stay, and this is often true with the relationships we have during our younger years. In “Grow as We Go,” Ben Platt eloquently confronts the inescapable reality of parting ways as we mature.
Platt’s soul-stirring lyrics capture the bittersweet essence of acknowledging that some connections are meant to be fleeting in the journey of self-discovery: “You say you’d rather be alone / ’cause you think you won’t find it tied to someone else.”
However, the song can also be interpreted in a positive light — a tribute to a long-term relationship that has weathered the storms of time: “You can ebb and I can flow… / and grow as we go.” The lyrics, viewed through this lens, become a celebration of shared history and mutual growth, both as individuals and as a couple.
34. “Memories” By Shawn Mendes
In the aftermath of love’s departure, looking back to your shared memories can evoke a sense of sadness. However, Shawn Mendes delicately navigates this emotional terrain in his song “Memories.”
The song begins with a sweet promise of cherishing all their memories together. It then gradually progresses into a bittersweet yet optimistic farewell, denoted with the use of the past tense: “Now those precious moments / that we carved in stone / are only memories after all.”
Rather than succumbing to the melancholy of love’s absence, he encourages us to find sweetness in the remnants of the past. “Memories” becomes an anthem of resilience, transforming the pain with the hues of gratitude for the experiences that shaped us.
35. “Best Thing I Never Had” By Beyoncé
We end the list with an empowering breakup song by none other than our Queen Bey. In “Best Thing I Never Had,” Beyoncé takes us on a journey of emancipation after a heartbreak.
The song echoes the sentiment that sometimes, what initially seems like a devastating loss ultimately paves the way for newfound strength and personal growth: “I thank God, I dodged the bullet . . . / ’Cause honestly, you turned out to be the best thing I never had.”
Through empowering lyrics and an uplifting chorus, she imparts a universal message of self-love. It’s a reminder that even in the face of heartache, there exists a resilient spirit within us, capable of emerging stronger and more self-assured.
Summing Up Our List Of Songs For The Heartbroken
And there we have it — a varied list of heartbreak songs that reflect the different kinds of experiences one may go through during a difficult time.
From the soulful melodies that capture the raw emotions of a breakup to the empowering anthems that inspire resilience, this compilation aims to provide solace and understanding for those navigating the challenging terrain of heartbreak.
This list is by no means exhaustive, so if we missed a favorite of yours, let us know and we’ll add them in!