55 Best Sad Breakup Songs for the Newly Single

In the aftermath of a breakup, you want to take some time to heal and possibly cry your eyes out in your car listening to sad breakup songs. We get it. The heart wants what it wants, and sometimes it just wants to feel. As such, we’ve put together a playlist of some of the songs that will hit hit you straight in the heart. Here, you'll find the saddest break up songs (with a few kiss-off tracks peppered throughout, for good measure). Hope you’ve got some tissues nearby! And please don’t text your ex. You’ll regret it.

1. “Stay,” by Rihanna (2012)

Rihanna may release club hit after club hit, but she really shines in her more vulnerable moments, like this pleading love song that is guaranteed to wreck even the strongest heart.

2. “Someone Like You,” by Adele (2011)

No list of sad love songs would be complete without the Queen of Heartbreak Ballads, the one and only Adele.

3. “Stay With Me” by Sam Smith (2014)

British singer Sam Smith gives Adele a run for her money in the sad love songs department, and that’s really saying something.

4. "Best Thing I Never Had," by Beyoncé (2011)

This breakup ballad leaves you feeling empowered and ready to move on with the fierceness and dignity that only Queen Bey can inspire.

5. “Take Care,” by Drake & Rihanna (2011)

When Drake and Rihanna team up, magic happens. “Take Care” is one of their best duets because we can all identify with its lyrics about loving someone through their personal pain.

6. “Love You Goodbye,” by One Direction (2015)

Perhaps it’s because it was released shortly before One Direction’s “hiatus,” but “Love You Goodbye” still makes us cry.

7. “I Will Always Love You,” by Whitney Houston (1992)

Dolly Parton wrote this legendary love song, but Whitney Houston made it very, very, very famous. It’s one of the most emotional, powerful songs of all time.

8. “Somebody That I Used to Know,” by Gotye & Kimbra (2011)

Gotye and Kimbra’s duet was *everywhere * a few years ago — probably because so many people identified with its lyrics about failing to recognize the person you fell in love with.

9. “We Don’t Talk Anymore,” by Charlie Puth and Selena Gomez (2016)

“Even after all this time/I still wonder why I can’t move on/the way you did so easily,” Charlie sings, stabbing us in the heart every time.

10. “Everytime,” by Britney Spears (2003)

Some say Britney Spears’ most famous ballad was a reaction to Justin Timberlake’s “Cry Me a River” kiss-off. Whether or not this is true, “Everytime” is a go-to when you’re feeling sad and low.

11. “Wrecking Ball,” by Miley Cyrus (2013)

The sweeping breakup ballad “Wrecking Ball” is Miley’s masterpiece. She’s crying real tears in the video, and you probably will too.

12. “Don’t Speak,” by No Doubt (1995)

No Doubt’s “Don’t Speak” is arguably the best pop song of the ‘90s, and for good reason. It’s a pretty perfect breakup ballad, and Gwen Stefani’s lyrics, based on her real-life split with bassist Tony Kanal, perfectly encapsulate the heartbreak of letting go.

13. “Say Something,” by A Great Big World & Christina Aguilera (2014)

This slow burning, pleading ballad featuring the golden voice of Christina Aguilera is about how powerless you can feel in a dying relationship. Did it break your heart when you first heard it? Honestly, we’re still recovering.

14. “All Too Well,” by Taylor Swift (2012)

Taylor Swift knows her way around a love song. The mournful, nostalgic “All Too Well” showed us just how talented Tay is at writing about relationships … even the ones that end.

15. "It Must Have Been Love," by Roxette (1980)

From Pretty Woman, this song still gives us all the feels.

16. "Shake It Out," by Florence + The Machine (2011)

The pain and the regret are raw and real as Florence belts out "I've been a fool and I've been blind. I can never leave the past behind. I can see no way."

17. "Need You Now," by Lady Antebellum (2010)

Soulful singing with a dash of twang makes this the perfect country break up song: "Picture-perfect memories scattered all around the floor. Reaching for the phone 'cuz I can't fight it anymore. And I wonder if I ever cross your mind? For me it happens all the time."

18. "For the First Time," by The Script (2010)

Brimming with breakup vibes, this pop rock hit perfectly captures the moments leading up to a br breakup: "She's all laid up in bed with a broken heart while I'm drinking Jack all alone in my local bar and we don't know how we got into this mad situation, only doing things out of frustration."

19. "Fix You," by Coldplay (2005)

Stuck in reverse? Lights will guide you home, and you can cry your eyes out as this song plays on repeat.

20. “Running Low,” by Shawn Mendes (2015)

This Shawn Mendes breakup ballad is about the slow decline of a relationship due to days on the road, and Shawn’s gorgeous voice only makes it more painfully beautiful.

21. "Dreaming with a Broken Heart," by John Mayer (2006)

This one cuts deep: "You roll out of a bed, and down on your knees, and for a moment you can hardly breathe." Yep, John. That's exactly what the absolute worst breakups feel like at first.

22. "Ex's & Oh's," by Elle King (2015)

On the sassy side of splits you'll find "Ex's and Oh's." This is the breakup song to sing when you're not sorry in the least.

23. "It Ain't Me," by Kygo with Selena Gomez (2017)

When you're ready to move on, press play on this Kygo hit. Boyce Avenue also does a breathtaking acoustic cover that's also worth checking out.

24. "How to Save a Life," by The Fray (2005)

No good conversation ever starts with "We need to talk." This beautiful piano anthem plays homage to moment he goes left and she goes right.

25. "Let It Go," by James Bay (2015)

Slow and chilling, Bay's crystal voice will have you reaching for your tissues in no time. Cry it out, girl. Let it go.

26. "Irreplaceable," by Beyoncé (2006)

If ever there was a breakup anthem that will make you happy it's over, this is it.

27. "Exhale," by Whitney Houston (1995)

Sometimes it's wrong, sometimes it's right. For the times it's wrong, just exhale with Whitney.

28. "Total Eclipse of the Heart," by Bonnie Tyler (1983)

Every now and then, we all fall apart.

29. "I Don't Wanna Live Forever," by Zayn Malik and Taylor Swift (2017)

Wishing they'd call? Losing hope? Can't sleep? Feeling like the world is cruel? This is your jam.

30. "Please Don't Leave Me," by P!nk (2011)

When it's hard to deal and you wish you could just yell out "Please don't leave me!," P!nk's got you covered. Press play on this track instead.

31. "Not Over You," by Gavin DeGraw (2011)

If you're the opposite of fine, and the harsh reality is you're not over it, take comfort in this song that proves you're not the only one that feels this way.

32. "Let Her Go," by Passenger (2012)

Passenger perfectly captures the unique emptiness that a breakup feels like: "Only know you've been high when you're feeling low, only hate the road when you're missing home, only know your lover when you let her go."

33. "When Can I See You Again," by Babyface (1993)

Wondering if you'll ever get over it? You will. But in the meantime, you've got the sweet stylings of the one and only Babyface.

34. "Leave (Get Out)," by D-Money and JoJo (2009)

With angst and attitude, JoJo almost makes you happy it's over: "Get out, right now, it's the end of you and me. It's too late and I can't wait for you to be gone. 'Cuz I know about her and I wonder why how I bought all the lies. You said that you would treat me right, but you was just a waste of time."

35. "Since U Been Gone," by Kelly Clarkson (2004)

This song is meant to be blasted as you sing/cry/scream it out.

36. "Big Girls Cry," by Sia (2014)

When your heart's breaking, you cry. We all do. There's no shame in it.

37. "The Man Who Can't Be Moved," by The Script (2008)

Feeling lonely? Missing the beautiful beginning of the relationship, long before it all went awry? If you're finding it hard to move on, this is your soundtrack.

38. "Love Me Now," by John Legend (2016)

When everything is falling apart and you don't want acknowledge it, that's the time to press play on this hit: "I know this will kill me when it's over. I don't want to think about it. I just want you to love me now."

39. "Cups (Pitch Perfect's 'When I'm Gone')", by Anna Kendrick

Like the lyrics say … he's gonna miss you when you're gone.

40. "Maggie May," by Rod Stewart (1971)

You can't help sing along to this classic rock hit: "Oh Maggie I wish I'd never seen your face. You made a first-class fool out of me. But I'm as blind as a fool can be. You stole my heart but I love you anyway."

41. "Water Runs Dry," by Boyz II Men (2009)

There's the classic R&B version, and there's also a stripped down, acoustic rendition from Boyce Avenue. Either way, this will give you chills.

42. "Stronger (What Doesn't Kill You)," by Kelly Clarkson

If you know, deep down, that you're going to come out of this better and stronger, this is your anthem.

43. "Cry Me a River," by Justin Timberlake (2002)

While Justin and Britney are long over, this song (allegedly inspired by Britney) lives on.

44. "We Belong Together," by Mariah Carey (2006)

"We Belong Together" is Mariah's sixteenth No. 1 hit, and it's no wonder: the pain is real and raw in this anthem. Her angel voice

45."Shake It Off," by Mariah Carey (2006)

Like "We Belong Together," this hit comes off "The Emancipation of Mimi" album. This song, however, is all about moving onward and upward. It's the song to play when you've had it up to here and you just want to shake your ex (or soon-to-be ex) off.

46. "It Ain't Me Babe," by Bob Dylan (1964)

Throw it back with this quintessential '60s hit: "Go away from my window, leave at your own chosen speed. I'm not the one you want, babe. I'm not the one you need."

47. "Heartless," by Kanye West (2008)

This will end up repeat when you're in the anger phase: "They say that they don't see what you see in me. You wait a couple months then you gon' see. You'll never find nobody better than me."

48. "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together," by Taylor Swift

If you've had enough of an endless merry-go-round of breaking up and getting back together and are ready to break up one last time, this song is for you.

49. "Love the Way You Lie," by Eminem featuring Rihanna (2010)

Anger means sadness in this unforgettable collaboration.

50. "Why Don't You Love Me," by Beyonce (2008)

Feeling underappreciated? Angry? Or just plain confused as to why your crush isn't feeling you? Beyonce is singing your song: "Tell me baby, why don't you need me? When I make me so damn easy to need. I got beauty, I got class, I got style, I got … And you don't even care to care." Preach.

51. "Apologize," by Timbaland featuring OneRepublic (2007)

It's too late to apologize, but it's not too late to sing along with OneRepublic.

52. "Tattoo," by Jordin Sparks (2007)

You know that feeling that your former flame has left a permanent imprint? Jordin gets it: "I loved you once, needed protection. You're still a part of everything I do. You're on my heart just like a tattoo. Just like a tattoo I'll always have you."

53. "The One that Got Away," by Katy Perry (2010)

Feel all the nostalgia as your look back on first love and imagine what might have been.

54. "He Wasn't Man Enough," by Toni Braxton (1996)

Channel your inner diva and say goodbye and good riddance with Toni.

55. "Survivor," by Destiny's Child (2001)

We've got to leave this list off on good note. Chin up, you're going to survive. And keep on surviving. And you can sing out "Survivor" until you start to believe it.

Listen to the Best Sad Breakup Songs on Spotify

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