My Top 10: Break-Up Songs

Whether we like it or not, heartbreak is essential. Breakups, or just plain anger and sadness due to a relationship, are simply part of the human experience. Luckily, there are some songs by great artists that could help you out in those times of need. Some could liven you up, but others could help you release all those tears you’ve been holding back. Here are 10 songs to play if you have an achy breaky heart.

10. “You Oughta Know” by Alanis Morissette

The Canadian songstress’ lead single off her hit album Jagged Little Pill is the quintessential post-break-up song. Sang with angst, aggression and supposedly inspired by Uncle Joey from “Full House,” Dave Coulier (cut it out!), the song expresses all the raw emotions one experiences after a bad breakup. The song openly talks about sex, the anger of feeling replaced and the need to remind a lousy ex-boyfriend of all the emotional damage that was done. 

9. “Go Your Own Way” by Fleetwood Mac

The members of Fleetwood Mac were essentially the characters of “Friends,” either they have been married to each other or have dated at some point, but with that comes many complications and emotions, which inspired their hit album, Rumors. The song, written by band member Lindsey Buckingham, is about the complicated relationship with bandmate Stevie Nicks. The two had a very “off again, on again” relationship, with the song touching upon several of his mixed emotions. “Tell me why everything turned around/Packing up shacking up’s all you wanna do/If I could baby I’d give you my world/Open up everything’s waiting for you.” The song’s catchy, folksy vibe captures what it’s like to want to give someone every part of us, but at some point, we need to realize that love just isn’t enough sometimes so it’s best to simply let go. 

8. “All I Ask” by Adele

Let’s be real: any Adele song is the diary of a girl whose heart has been broken. In this song, however, Adele isn’t exactly upset, but wants to end the relationship on a high note, a night she could remember. “Look don’t get me wrong/I know there is no tomorrow,” meaning that there are no hard feelings, rather, she wishes for a great final night that she could remember, because “what if [she] never loves again?” You only get to experience certain moments once, so why not finish a dead-end relationship on a note that both of you could look back on with happiness? 

7. “Don’t Think Twice, It’s Alright” by Bob Dylan

Most songs about love talk about either the greatness of it or the worst emotions that come with it, “Don’t Think Twice, It’s Alright,” however, is a beautifully cheeky song that exemplifies what it truly means to be done with a relationship. It is perhaps the best “kiss off” song, narrating how incompetent and lousy his ex, Suze Rotolo, was to him. While he clearly resents her, he also accepts the fact that it’s over and he can now go on to other things. The last verse truly throws some punches; “But goodbye is too good a word, babe/So I’ll just say fare thee well,” truly conveying how, even though “it what it is,” the amount of time spent on dead-end relationships can really take a toll on us. 

6. “Too Good” by Drake

Champagne Papi has certainly given us some truly great sentimental love and heartbreak songs, but this collaboration with Rihanna takes the throne with its dance hall inspired beat and two perspectives. Rihanna’s part touches upon the fact that she wishes to have more of an emotional connection. He is extremely busy, but making the time to see him with the constant flights is now making her feel overworked. Drake, however, wants to “benefit from the friendship” and get “the late night message,” definitely expressing that the relationship lives on only through intimate physical contact, which is fine by him. With two conflicting viewpoints, a relationship is bound to break. 

5. “Littlest Things” by Lily Allen

Lily Allen is the queen of writing songs that display her “I don’t care” attitude, but we see another side of the witty England girl on the Mark Ronson-produced “Littlest Things.” After a breakup, the singer can’t help but go through daily life thinking of all the good times, especially when she sees happy couples wandering about in their love bubble. In this reminiscent melody, Allen conveys the fact that breakups are difficult to cope with, especially when you’re still not over the person. 

4. “505” by Arctic Monkeys

The romanticization of trying to win someone back is clear in this emotional song which highlights frontman Alex Turner’s songwriting skills. The speaker wishes to go back to the ex-lover’s address anyway possible, whether “it’s a seven hour flight or a forty five minute drive,” to rehash the relationship he possibly screwed up, although he’s sure it won’t happen because sometimes, it is simply too late.

3. “It’s Too Late” by Carole King

The songwriting master’s mega hit is self-explanatory. She does not place blame on anyone, rather she simply acknowledges that the relationship has reached its limit, even with them constantly trying to make it work With lyrics such as “Something inside has died/And I can’t hide, and I just can’t fake it,” King asserts that forcing a relationship to continue won’t do the trick and love isn’t an emotion one can simply imitate.

2. “Writer in the Dark” by Lorde

Lorde took the crazy and distressing emotions one feels during a heartbreak and effortlessly conveyed it in this insightful song. Lorde expresses deeply intimate feelings throughout this song and others in her acclaimed album Melodrama, but what makes this song different from other heartbreak songs, is that although she knows it will take a significant period of time to get over her ex, in the end she will succeed, which is conveyed in the chorus: “But in our darkest hours, I stumbled upon a secret power/I’ll find a way to be without you babe.” 

1.  “Wake Up Alone” by Amy Winehouse

Just about everything in the album Back to Black is about her tumultuous relationship with Blake Fielder-Civil, and “Wake Up Alone” seems to be no exception. The many aspects of heartbreak are touched upon, such as the loneliness, isolation and the need to fill in a void. With a voice as honest and evocative as Winehouse’s, we can’t help but identify with the pain she went through. In the thoughtful song, Winehouse sings about keeping herself busy throughout the day to not constantly think about her ex-lover, “I stay up, clean the house/At least I’m not drinking/Run around so I don’t have to think about thinking” When the night comes, dreams of him appear, but when she wakes up, the sad realization creeps in that she is still left alone.