50 Songs About Regrets, Apologies, and Feeling Sorry
Does Sorry Always Make It Better?
If you think infidelity happens among only young lovers, think again. It occurs among 85 year-old couples, too.
An elderly relative — a kind, decent career Army veteran who cherished animals, children, and fishing — died recently after a protracted illness. He lasted only a few days in hospice, withering sadly in his bedroom sanctuary as a result of pneumonia complications. Extended family gathered to say tearful farewells.
You would have expected his wife of 57 years to have been by his side in his final moments. Instead, she was engrossed in conversation with her male "friend." The two have shared an on-and-off romantic history longer than her marriage.
For years, the male friend has been a frequent visitor at family gatherings, her ailing husband's birthday party and even the hospital where she and her husband shared rooms across the hall from one another. A recent widower himself, her friend calls every night at the same time. Unfortunately, the husband died during their nightly call. There would be no last minute apologies.
Apologies Are A Place To Start
We've all caused others to suffer — both intentionally and by accident — and been hurt by them, too. Sometimes the damage is deep and irreparable. Does sorry always make it better? Sadly, no. Regret is like a boomerang. You never know when it will come back and strike you. Some misdeeds are more challenging to make right than others.
Apologies, however, are at least a place to start for those strong enough to face the consequences of their own hurtful actions. Say what you need to before the opportunity for "sorry" slips away forever.
When you realize you have hurt someone you care about, do you apologize?
Songs About Apologies
1. "Hello" by Adele
In this 2015 song, an old lover attempts to reconnect after years apart so that she can apologize for long ago transgressions. Unfortunately, her former sweetheart won't pick up the phone. Instead, she must pour out her heart into his voice mail. So many songs about regret are about breakups and heartbreak.
2. "Hard to Say I'm Sorry" by Chicago
The guy in this classic 1982 Chicago song has royally screwed up. Now he's trying to grovel his way back into his lover's heart. She's given him the old heave-ho, so it won't be easy. Romeo promises that
After all that we've been through
I will make it up to you, I promise to
And after all that's been said and done
You're just the part of me I can't let go.
3. "Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word" by Elton John
When you've hurt the one that you've loved the first step to bridging the divide is saying, "I'm sorry." But sometimes it's easier said than done.
This 1976 song describes the lonely, desperate feeling of trying to make amends. Come on. Just man up and say the freakin' words.
4. "Sorry" by Justin Bieber
One more shot at forgiveness. That's all Justin Bieber needs to reedem himself in his lover's heart, according to this 2015 song. Although both parties are at fault, he agrees to take all the blame. (So then why is he bringing that part up?)
He says he's missing more than Selena's—I mean his lover's—body. Dude, move on. It's getting unhealthy.
5. "Please Forgive Me" by Bryan Adams
I don't know what Bryan Adams did, but his 2010 apology song is so earnest that even I want to forgive him. He wants to make it all better, reminding his lover how they fit like two perfect pieces of a puzzle. He wants to let his lover know how much he needs them, which is the heart of any sincere apology.
Please forgive me if I need you like I do.
Please believe me.
Every word I say is true...
Please forgive me
I can't stop loving you
6. "Baby Come Back" by Player
This 1977 hit oozes the desperation of being left by someone you love. You're a mess without them around. You try to forget them. You're ready to take all the blame if they'll just come back, please come back into your life. (Not healthy, but that's another story.)
Baby come back, any kind of fool could see
There was something in everything about you
Baby come back, you can blame it all on me
I was wrong and I just can't live without you.
7. "Too Late to Apologize" by Timbaland featuring One Republic
Sometimes you reach a point when enough is enough. Your lover plays too many games, hurts you too many times and it's too late to apologize. You're done.
This 2007 song shows backbone in the face of being jerked around by a sweetheart.
8. "Don't Love You No More (I'm Sorry)" by Craig David
Sometimes apologies describe the brutal truth we need to hear. In this 2005 song about a relationship that has run its course, a man offers this sad but bitter truth to his lady friend:
I don't care babe who's right or wrong
I just don't love you no more.
9. "I Still Believe In You" by Vince Gill
It's unfortunate how sometimes those who are closest to us you often get the least of our time and energy. In this 1992 song, Vince Gill sings that he's sorry it took him so long to realize the situation, and he wants the chance to make it right.
9. "Forgive Me" by Evanescence
This 1999 ballad describes a couple in which one partner is on a losing streak, uttering mean words she really doesn't mean. As soon as she blurts them out, she wants to snatch them right back, but the damage is done. It makes the other partner feel sad and broken and the speaker begs forgiveness.
11. "Sorry" by Ciara
Blowups and misunderstandings need to be corrected immediately before they lead to major repercussions. This 2012 song by Ciara emphasizes the urgency of working it out.
12. "I'm Sorry" by Blake Shelton (featuring Martina McBride)
Sometimes by the time you apologize too much damage has been done. That's the message that Blake Shelton imparts in this 2011 song. I wonder if he ever sang this to Miranda during their troubles?
Oh, you're sorry,
And you want it back the way it was.
Well I'm sorry,
But sometimes sorry,
Just ain't good enough.
13. "Sorry For the Stupid Things" by Babyface
This 2005 song by Babyface is a cold dose of reality. The protagonist admits to his sweetheart that sometimes we do stupid things, and when that's the case please just overlook it in the spirit of "no harm intended."
Sometimes a man
Is gonna be a man
It's not an excuse
It's just how it is
Sometimes the wrong
Don't know that they're wrong
Sometimes the strong
Ain't always so strong.
14. "So Sorry" by Feist
This 2007 Indie song asserts that instead of fighting and crying, maybe it's better to say "I'm sorry" and just hold one another tight.
15. "All Apologies" by Nirvana
In a sense this 1993 Grammy award-winning song was prophetic. Kurt Cobain mused about apologies and absorbing all the blame. In 1994, the famous singer who shaped the the music of the 1990s and beyond committed suicide.
16. "Sorry" by Madonna
Don't even try to tell Madonna "sorry" because she's downright bitter about all this apology crap. In this 2005 song, she says she's heard it all before, so save your precious breath.
I don't wanna hear, I don't wanna know
Please don't say you're sorry
I've heard it all before
And I can take care of myself
I don't wanna hear, I don't wanna know
Please don't say "Forgive me"
I've seen it all before
And I can't take it anymore.
17. "Butterfly" by Weezer
With references to Madame Butterfly, this 1996 song is about taking advantage of innocence and someone who loves you and apologizing for promises that you've made that won't be kept. Some things were never meant to be.
18. "Back to December" by Taylor Swift
Usually Taylor Swift's songs are about how she's been wronged, but this one from 2010 is different. (Some say it's about her ill-fated relationship with Taylor Lautner.)
The song is an apology for mistreating a former lover and causing a dramatic conflict that ended the relationship in a hurtful way: "You gave me roses and I left them there to die." Since then, the protagonist has replayed the love affair and regrets her behavior, wishes she could press rewind. She goes back to December all the time, and this is her apology.
19. "Why" by Jason Aldean
The man in this 2008 song by Jason Aldean is really beating himself up for his relationship mistakes. He's waited until 3 a.m. to apologize, but only after his lady threatens to leave.
Why do I always use the words that cut the deepest
When I know how much it hurts you?
Oh baby why do I do that to you?
How To Apologize
1) Express remorse: Say that you are "sorry" or that you "apologize".
2) Accept responsibility: Put yourself in the other person's shoes and acknowledge that your behavior caused harm and/or hurt feelings to the other person.
3) Make amends: Offer to make the situation right. Be specific.
4) Promise it won't happen again. This rebuilds trust between you.
20. "I Apologize" by Anita Baker
The woman in this 1994 song had a fight with her lover and made hurtful remarks. They had a shouting match, and she was very unkind. Now it's eating her up, and she's phoning him to make amends.
21. "I'm Sorry" by Brenda Lee
In this 1960 hit, Brenda Lee asks for forgiveness for whatever she did. She claims that youth and blind love caused her make blind mistakes.
22. "Always on My Mind" by Willie Nelson
No one is the perfect mate—attentive, kind, or expressive enough. However, this 1982 classic by Willie Nelson says that it's the intent that counts. He reminds his beloved: "You were always on my mind."
23. "Let's Be Us Again" by Lonestar
In this 2004 country hit, a man apologizes to his darling after losing his temper and saying a lot of mean-spirited things. He's reaching out for her, begging for forgiveness, wanting for the relationship to return to what it was.
Songs About Regret
22. "If I Could Turn Back Time" by Cher
Cher is feeling mighty regretful in this 1989 classic in which the protagonist wishes she could just press "reset" and take back all the mean words and things that she did to hurt her lover. Her actions drove her lover away because she was too proud to say "sorry."
I don't know why I did the things I did
I don't know why I said the things I said
Love's like a knife it can cut deep inside
Words are like weapons, they wound sometimes.
In the Comments Section below, tell us what you regret the most in your life. Leave your comment anonymously if you'd like.
23. "Don't Think I Don't Think About It" by Darius Rucker
In this 2008 song, the protagonist left his sweetheart standing in his rearview mirror, swearing never to return. She faded from his life, married and moved on.
But he has regrets. She's the "what if" girl, the one he's always wondered about. But she's someone's else's wife. That's regret, buddy. Sorry.
24. "The Greatest Man I Never Knew" by Reba McEntire
This 1991 song is a regretful ballad about never truly connecting with a loved one who lives in the same house. A girl grows up with a stoic father who never takes the time to tell her how much he loves her. He's always got his attention diverted elsewhere, and the daughter separates herself in her room.
Little does she know that she means everything to him. Now that he has been dead for a year, the opportunity to build a true, meaningful relationship has passed along with him. Don't let this happen to you. Say what you need to say now.
25. "Help Me Hold On" by Travis Tritt
This 1990 song expresses the remorse and desperation of a lover at the moment he knows he's being moved out on. She's packing her suitcase, and he can no longer ignore the warning signs that their relationship is in trouble. He admits he took her love for granted and now the regretful fella will do anything to make it right again. Too late?
26. "Cat's In the Cradle" by Harry Chapin
This folk rock song from 1974 has stood the test of time because it conveys a powerful message: relationships are investments, built in small moments, over lifetimes, and you get out of them what you put into them.
The father in this song never had time for his son growing up. When he finally did, his son had a family of his own and was too busy for him. Worst of all, he had taught his son to be just like him.
Even More Songs About Sorrow and Regret
27. I'm Sorry
All 4 One
28. So Sorry
29. I'm Sorry To Myself
30. Just Say You're Sorry
31. Purple Rain
32. Million Years Ago
33. Who's Sorry Now?
34. So Sorry
35. Sorry For Love
38. When I Was Your Man
39. Walk on Water
40. South Central Rain (I'm Sorry)
41. The Apologist
43. Jealous Guy
45. Two Dozen Roses
46. I'm All Out of Love
47. F*ck Apologies
JoJo (featuring Wiz Khalifa)
48. I Was Wrong
49. I Want You Back
ODESZA (featuring Sasha Sloan)
Questions & Answers
I made the biggest mistake of my life. I cheated on the love of my life, and now she won’t look at me or talk to me. I can’t live without her. How do I fix this?
Choices have consequences, and it's possible that you've lost her for good. Whether you can repair the broken trust between you depends on many things -- for example, the formality of commitment between you two, the length of your relationship, was the cheating a one-time tryst or a longer affair, who it was with (hopefully, not her best friend!), and the emotional baggage in both your relationship and her past.
If she won't discuss the matter with you in person, or via phone or FaceTime, try writing a letter with a heartfelt apology -- yes, the old-fashioned handwritten kind. Perhaps include it in a card or have a florist deliver it along with a dozen roses. People don't write letters anymore, and it takes an investment of time and heart, so you'll get her attention. Mail it if to her, if needed.
You get ONE shot at this so make it good! Don't make excuses or give any justifications or rationales. Own how wrong you were and express how you let both her and yourself down. In your own words, validate how cheating must have made her feel (second best, unwanted, rejected!). Remember that emotional cheating and physical cheating both hurt like hell. Tell her WHY she is the only one for you and why you realize that now that she isn't in your life. Paint the picture of where you want the relationship to go, any dreams you have for the two of you, and (if it's true) say that you're willing to do the hard work to rebuild her trust if she gives you another chance. Be warned that this involves answering a lot of questions about the cheating, a lot of anger and tears, and having to account for your whereabouts.
Don't expect instant forgiveness, even under the best of circumstances. Why? One of the great relationship insecurities is whether a partner will continue to be faithful when one's good looks fade, health or wealth declines, luck turns sour, or they're at their most vulnerable. She probably questions that if you cheated now why you wouldn't do it again?
You own causing her this pain. Spill your guts, then tell her the decision is all hers if she wants to take it slow and try to work it out. Then, if her answer is no, stop. That's unwanted attention. Chalk it up to a lesson learned the hard way.Helpful 3
When someone apologizes for mistreating you, what can you say other than, "It's okay"?
Good question because it is NOT okay to treat others poorly, so why say that? Here are some other options:
1) "Thank you." You're thanking them for recognizing that they hurt you or acted poorly. You're thanking them for making a sincere apology. You are not excusing the behavior, however. This is the most empowering choice to me.
2) "I accept your apology. Let's move on" or "I forgive you," but only if that's truly the case. If not, then state the opposite and discuss why. If you still need time to process the situation, you can say that instead. Avoid saying that all is forgotten because that is hyperbole at best, a lie at worst.
3) If you doubt the sincerity of the apology, you can reiterate how their behavior impacted you. For example, a pseudo-apology may contain words such as "If I said," "If you thought/felt," or "If I did anything." Clarifying that yes, they did say/do something and that yes, you did consider it offensive gives them the chance to understand the impact of their behavior, own it, and have an apology redo right there on the spot.
Teach people how to treat you.Helpful 1
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