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16 Songs To Listen To When Your Breakup Is All You Can Think About


When Adele's 25 album came out, my then-boyfriend said, "We should break up for a week just so we can enjoy this album to its fullest potential." It sounded ridiculous — and no, we did not break up for a week just so we could cry listening to "Hello" — but it also made sense. Some songs just sound better when your heart is broken. Some of my greatest memories, toughest moments, and most painful heartbreaks are associated with certain songs, and when it comes to songs to listen to after a breakup, Adele isn't the only person you can turn to (but she definitely does help).

After my toughest breakup, I listened to "Matilda" by Alt-J more times than I care to admit. The song is apparently about a friend of the band who moved away to the United Arab Emirates, and the lyrics actually make very little sense to me, but it's a beautiful song, and it was my song regardless. My friends (and the people of the AskReddit breakup thread) shared the songs that got them through heartbreak, and while they range from fun bops to power ballads, all of them once pieced together a broken heart and are definitely worth a listen.

"When I Was Your Man" By Bruno Mars

Depressed lady in headphones listening to sad music, experiencing difficulties

I got really into 'When I Was Your Man' by Bruno Mars after my worst breakup with my ex who I felt didn't give me enough attention or affection. I loved that the song lyrics were from the point of view of a guy who regretted not doing enough to keep his girlfriend around. The lines about the girlfriend finding another man were just optimistic enough for me to imagine a future in which I could find a really great relationship. (Spoiler alert: Bruno was right, I eventually did.)

— Hannah, 26

"Fall Apart" By Post Malone
My song was 'Fall Apart' by Post Malone. I burned tons of stress on the elliptical post-breakup thanks to this song.

— Bri, 23

"River of Tears" By Alessia Cara
The song that got me through my worst breakup was 'River of Tears' by Alessia Cara. The song just summed up everything I was feeling and I would just listen to it over and over on repeat. It really helped me feel all the feels and get all the feelings out. Alessia's voice was very therapeutic and the lyrics were just beautiful.

— Tracie, 24

"Closer To The Edge" By Thirty Seconds To Mars
'Closer to the Edge' by Thirty Seconds to Mars is hands down the best breakup song. My most recent ex dumped me out of nowhere and I listened to this on repeat when I felt like screaming. It's a great song when you wanna rage. It's also an amazing song in general. Double win!

— Alexia, 26

"Almost Lover" By A Fine Frenzy
If you're looking for something VERY indulgent and dramatic, I highly recommend a good cry to 'Almost Lover' by A Fine Frenzy. Just hearing it brings me back to sad college boy-induced heartbreak.

— Zoe, 25

"Everyone Else Has Had More Sex Than Me" By TISM
Back when I was in college, I had a tendency to go through relationships at a much faster pace than I wanted to. Most of the time, this was the result of rushing into things, discovering that my partner and I weren't quite as compatible as we once thought that we were, and then going our separate ways. It's a fairly normal occurrence, and it happens to almost everyone, but for some reason, I used to treat each instance like it was the end of the world.
'That's it,' I'd think to myself. 'It's over. I'm never going to have sex again.'
I'd wind up obsessing over that thought, and eventually I would get so depressed that I'd just give in and accept it. This would lead me to remember — often fondly — all of my past paramours, and with a growing sense of almost comical dread, I'd manage to convince myself that I was woefully inexperience when it came to sexual encounters.
That's when I'd turn on the song 'Everyone Else Has Had More Sex Than Me' by TISM.
It became my post-breakup routine. Maybe I'd just trained myself to associate the melody with finally reaching the point where I'd start to feel better, or maybe the song itself did something to highlight the absurdity of my perspective. Whatever the reason, though, it worked wonders for my mood. Before much longer, I'd be once more out and about again, ready to bring home my next girlfriend.
Thus the cycle began anew.


"Mr. Brightside" By The Killers
'Mr. Brightside' by The Killers. We had a long distance relationship and she called it off eventually. We were friends for a while, but I couldn’t stop thinking about other guys she was with. Whenever I texted her late at night and she didn’t answer, I would get a sinking feeling in my chest and thousands of possibilities just went through my head. It was unbearable. But I had to stay on the bright side and try not to think about it.


"I Wish I Was" By Maren Morris
'I Wish I Was' by Maren Morris. It isn't really a sad song, more of a parting one. I had just gotten out of a relationship in which I hadn't made good choices or necessarily been the nicest person. I did the breaking up, and I blamed myself for a long time for how I handled the situation. I didn't even miss dating this guy — I was just ashamed of how I had dealt with it. This is a song in which the woman is the villain of the love story, and it was the first time I really connected to a song and the idea that it's just the way relationships go sometimes.

— Jack, 18

"Whiskey Lullaby" By Brad Paisley And Allison Krauss
I decided to date one of my best friends a couple years ago. After getting engaged and tearing each other's lives apart we both left completely broken. 'Whiskey Lullaby' by Brad Paisley and Allison Krauss got me through that.


"Superstar" By Sonic Youth

Beautiful african girl in sleepwear smiling listening to music in headphones lying on bed. Closed eyes. From above.

'Superstar' by Sonic Youth (cover of The Carpenters). If you're in the 'right' kind of place — the kind where you want to experience and almost celebrate the emotion — then this song hits you perfectly.


"Beautiful Pain" By Eminen feat. Sia
[After] my last breakup, I hit shuffle on my playlist and it landed on 'Beautiful Pain' by Eminem feat. Sia. There’s a line in there that really stuck with me during the breakup: 'Yesterday was the tornado warning, today's like the morning after.' It really hit me, like yeah, yesterday was terrible, but today we rebuild.


"Wrong Again" By Martina McBride
'Wrong Again' by Martina McBride. Listened to it over ad over when my ex asked for a divorce. Made me bawl my eyes out every single time. Thought for sure he'd change his mind and shred the papers. Glad he didn't.


"All I Want" By Kodaline
'All I Want' by Kodaline. Probably a bad one, but I listened to it so much. And cried. A lot.

— Mark, 26

"Lose To Night" By Insomnium
'Lose to Night' by Insomnium. Insomnium already has this dark, gritty sound as it is, and because of that I listen to them for many emotional reasons. But 'Lose to Night' off of Shadows of a Dying Sun is that song I discovered shortly after breaking up with someone who I really loved, and it made me cry immediately, but not in a bad way. Like, I felt better after it and is one of the many reasons why I absolutely LOVE Insomnium as a band.


"Fluorescent Adolescent" by Arctic Monkeys
After I ended my previous relationship, I immediately blasted 'Fluorescent Adolescent' by Arctic Monkeys. I prefer upbeat songs to prevent me from wallowing, and the lyrics to that song made me feel powerful in the situation.


"Uptown Girl" By The Cast Of 'Glee'
After my long-distance boyfriend broke up with me a month before prom, I was in bad shape. My high school brain and teenage heart thought I was going to marry this guy. We had made future plans that would never have worked out, but I was devastated nevertheless. Out of the blue, a girl that I had been friends with before she graduated DM'd me on Twitter and sent me a link to 'Uptown Girl' by the cast of Glee. She told me that when she was feeling down, she would listen to the song and it would brighten her mood. Eight years later, I still listen to that song when I need a boost of energy or a jolt of joy. There's something about the song and the harmonies that really make me feel like it's cleaning my chest out of sadness. The original by Billy Joel is great, too, don't get me wrong, but something about the Glee version really struck a chord with me.

— Liv, 26

If you're hurting, grab your earbuds and turn up one of these songs. You may not feel better tomorrow, or even next week, but these perfect breakup songs might just help you out eventually — they did for these people, after all.