Only two things can mend a broken heart: eating ice cream straight out of the tub in dirty pajamas and listening to soul-blaring, heart-twitching, tear gland-jerking heartbreak songs. Generations of musicians have had their hearts broken into pieces and in those moments of self-reflection, they wrote songs to let us know that we are not the first ones to take the plunge.
These songs for broken hearts work like a balm on your crushed soul and soothe that constant ache within like nothing else can. If you have been through the wringer of a breakup recently, it’s time to put together a playlist of the best heartbreak songs.
Top 10 Best Heartbreak Songs To Beat The Breakup Blues
So, you thought you had found ‘the one’ or had a good thing going with a long-term partner when they said they wanted to end the relationship, pulling the rug of security from under your feet. Irrespective of whether or not you saw the breakup coming, the aftermath is bound to sting and sting hard.
As you struggle to deal with heartbreak, the right music can help you cope and get through this dark stretch where you find yourself plunged into an endless abyss of sadness. Here’s our pick of the top 10 best heartbreak songs when you’re looking for some cathartic release:
1. It must have been love – Roxette
Approximately 7 days after the breakup, when you wake up at noon and contemplate the meaning of life and struggle to find a place for your lonely heart in this big world, ‘It must have been love’ by the Swedish duo of Marie Fredriksson and Per Gessle is what you need for a good ugly cry.
This is a classic in the repertoire of songs for broken hearts that never gets old. If it worked for Pretty Woman aka Julia Roberts, it will sure work for you too.
Related reading: Our readers tell us what lessons they have learnt from heartbreak
2. Tears In Heaven – Eric Clapton
This ballad is not just one of the most heart-breaking songs; the story behind it is even more painful. Eric Clapton wrote this song in memory of his deceased son who fell from a window of a high-rise apartment when four years old.
The heartbreak that changes you forever comes in all forms, not just the end of romantic love, and in every form, it can be just as soul-shattering. As all-encompassing as the pain is, it can also give birth to something timeless and beautiful. This sad heartbreak song is proof.
3. Someone like you – Adele
Trying to hold onto the remnants of the past, trying to forget all about the new girl he has hooked up with, hopelessly praying to see him once and remind him of all the good times – we all have been there and hence we know how Adele felt.
This is one of the best English broken heart songs because it’s all sorts of relatable. Adele’s deep, melancholic voice makes it even more riveting.
4. Say something – A Great Big World
Christina Aguilera and A Great Big World came together to show us how relationships crack by the things that are left unsaid. The aching piano ballad resonates with the whirlwind of emotions that we all have left at some point in life for all the things we couldn’t say.
If that’s where you’re at in life, this is undoubtedly among the top ten sad breakup songs that you’d want to listen to on a loop.
5. Show me the meaning of being lonely – Backstreet Boys
In this tropical-flavored sad breakup song, Backstreet Boys talks about every unsuccessful teenage love story. The crossroad where we can’t find the meaning of life without the one we love and just don’t understand why we can’t be together.
This was one of the most famous broken heart songs in the 90s when the pop band was all the rage. Hey, Genzers, it can still tug at your heartstrings if you give it a chance.
6. Noise – Zsela
If you’re looking for undiscovered gems among heartbreaking love songs, look up Noise by Zsela right away. “It’s 5 am somewhere, they’re packing up the pieces, of a broken love affair and making it look easy,” she sings, in a deep, soulful voice that stirs up something in the deepest echelons of your aching heart.
If you haven’t been able to break down and cry yet, this is one of those sad heartbreak songs that ought to do the trick. Believe us those ugly bouts of uncontrollable sobbing are needed to heal the hurt.
Related Reading: How To Move On When A Breakup Hits Hard
7. Chelsea Hotel #2 – Leonard Cohen
Good heartbroken songs are the ones that can predicate the pain of heartbreak in the most powerful moments. This magical number by Leonard Cohen does just that. “You got away, didn’t you babe?” Cohen coos in this poetic ode to a love story gone awry. “I never once heard you say, ‘I need you.’”
This is one of those heartbreak songs that is sure to bring up some evocative memories from your experience of losing someone you loved dearly. Though that feeling can be painful while it lasts, embracing it will help you come to terms with reality. That’s essential to shake off that nagging feeling of emptiness after a breakup.
8. I Will Always You – Whitney Houston
No roundup of the top 10 best heartbreak songs could be complete without this classic. While the original was sung by the legendary Dolly Parton, the raw pain and aching that Whitney Houston channelizes in her renditions is intense and powerful.
Anyone who is still hung up over their ex and feels that they wouldn’t be able to move on needs to have this song on their playlist. There is an odd comfort to playing it on a loop as you cry yourself to sleep until you don’t have to anymore.
9. Stay – Rihanna
If you thought Rihanna’s music was all about infusing new life and energy into a party, you need to listen to her 2012 number, Stay, that she conceptualized and rendered in collaborations with singer-songwriter Mikky Ekko. This is one of the heartbreak songs that perfectly sums up the push and pull dynamics that take hold after a relationship has run its course.
The searching, aching ballad will resonate deeply with anyone who is nursing a similar pain. It’s also an apt description of how love, or our idea of love, can get twisted too easily sometimes. That’s why this is also one of the heartbreaking love songs that will give you a much-needed reality check.
Related Reading: How To Get Over A Breakup Fast? – 8 Tips To Bounce Back Quickly
10. Ain’t No Sunshine – Bill Withers
Among the famous broken heart songs that have stood the test of time and resonated with generation after generation is this classic by Bill Withers. “Ain’t no sunshine when she’s gone. Only darkness every day. Ain’t no sunshine when she’s gone. And this house just ain’t no home. Anytime she goes away,” as Bill sings the words in this deep, stirring voice, you can actually feel yourself engulfed in a stinging coldness that stems not from the weather but from within.
This is one of the English broken heart songs that your siblings and your parents have leaned on back in the day. You’ll find it rings just as true today.
With this lowdown on heartbreak songs, you have the perfect lyrical companions to see you through your days of wallowing. Go, embrace the depths of your pain and let it wash you over. Only then can you tide over it and move on.