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Top 10 Best Songs for a Breakup

Barbara. "The Song Hunter," has spent over 40 years writing poetry and lyrics. In her spare time, she loves to find songs that tell stories.

The Top 10 Best Songs for a Breakup (Collage Created by Barbara Tremblay Cipak).

The Top 10 Best Songs for a Breakup (Collage Created by Barbara Tremblay Cipak).

This playlist covers music from multiple decades and genres. To help you choose the best breakup songs to add to your playlist, you can read a brief summary about each tune. I've also included samples of the essential lyrics, as well as the related music video for each song.

List of the Best Songs for a Breakup

1. "Lose It All" by Brett Eldredge

2. "Before He Cheats" by Carrie Underwood

3. "Mercy" by Brett Young

4. "Since U Been Gone" by Kelly Clarkson

5. "Goodbye Earl" by The Dixie Chicks

6. "So What" by Pink

7. "Separate Ways" by Elvis Presley

8. "You Oughta Know" by Alanis Morissette

9. "The Show Must Go On" by Queen

10. "I Will Survive" by Gloria Gaynor

1. "Lose It All" by Brett Eldredge

Album: Illinois

Year: 2015

This song explores how to wreck a relationship. These lyrics are heartbreakingly realistic in terms of what to do to ruin a relationship. Anyone who has dated someone guilty of these mistakes can easily relate to this song. It's sung with remorse and regret.

Essential Lyrics:

Take it from a man who knows
Just how to break a heart
Listen hard and listen close
I got it down to an art
Keep on thinkin' she won't leave
You know the writing on the wall
That's how you lose it all, yeah

2. "Before He Cheats" by Carrie Underwood

Album: Some Hearts

Year: 2005

He'll never cheat on her again! You've more than likely heard this song. In case you haven't, it's the ideal song to listen to if you're angry about a breakup. It's about taking a stance against his cheating. If you've decided you're not taking it anymore and need a song to help you stay strong, this song should be added to your playlist.

Essential Lyrics:

'Cause I dug my key into the side
Of his pretty little souped-up four-wheel drive
Carved my name into his leather seats
I took a Louisville slugger to both head lights
I slashed a hole in all four tires
Maybe next time he'll think before he cheats

3. "Mercy" by Brett Young

Album: Brett Young

Year: 2017

The singer asks for the person to let him down easy. This song is for a man with a broken heart. Of course, this song works perfectly for either gender. If you've ever been the one to break someone's heart, these lyrics will resonate with you. Listening to Brett Young sing these painful lyrics is cause for reflection. It's not always about being the victim of a broken heart, sometimes we're the ones who do the breaking.

Essential Lyrics:

So if you're gonna break my heart, just break it
And if you're gonna take your shot, then take it
Take it
If you made up your mind, then make it
Make this fast
If you ever loved me
Have mercy

4. "Since U Been Gone" by Kelly Clarkson

Album: Breakaway

Year: 2004

I can finally breathe again. If you need an anthem to give you courage and boost your fighting spirit, add this song to your breakup playlist. This song speaks of finding oneself, knowing oneself, and moving forward. Breakups put us in unfamiliar territory, so it's imperative to do what we can to help ourselves switch gears as painlessly as possible. Music won't take our pain away, but it can lift our spirits and boost our resolve.

Essential Lyrics:

Since you been gone (since you been gone)
I can breathe for the first time
I'm so moving on
Yeah, yeah
Thanks to you (thanks to you)
Now I get, I get what I want

5. "Goodbye Earl" by the Dixie Chicks

Album: Top of the World Tour - Live

Year: 2003

He was an abuser. This song is payback. The subject matter is very serious. However, the song is meant as a humorous way to handle a horrendous situation. Certainly, it's not to be taken literally. If you need to hear some screaming sarcastic humor to help you through the ending of an ugly relationship, then you'll want this song blasting in your ears from time to time.

Essential Lyrics:

Well, it wasn't two weeks after she got married that
Wanda started gettin' abused
She'd put on dark glasses or long sleeved blouses
Or make-up to cover a bruise
Well she finally got the nerve to file for divorce
And she let the law take it from there
But Earl walked right through that restraining order
And put her in intensive care

6. "Separate Ways" by Elvis Presley

Album: On the B Side of the Single 'Always on My Mind'

Year: 1972

He's broken up, but he's keeping it together. This beautiful moving song by Elvis Presley expressed his feelings about the breakup of his own marriage. The song is kind in tone and doesn't speak of blame or hard feelings. It's a sad dedication to a couple who simply couldn't stay together, but still wish each other the best in life.

Essential Lyrics:

There's nothing left to do but go our separate ways
And pick up all the pieces left behind us
And maybe someday, somewhere along the way
Another love will find us

7. "So What" by Pink

Album: Funhouse

Year: 2008

This song is about a relationship that ends well. The two exes wish each other well. When you need a fight song for your breakup mood, play this one loud. The relationship is over, but you've got everything you need to get over it. You're strong, you're capable, and, hey, you're a rock star. He lost out, you've got this.

Essential Lyrics:

I guess I just lost my husband
I don't know where he went
So I'm gonna drink my money
I'm not gonna pay his rent (nope)
I got a brand new attitude
And I'm gonna wear it tonight
I wanna get in trouble
I wanna start a fight

8. "You Oughta Know" by Alanis Morissette

Album: Jagged Little Pill

Year: 1995

He left her for another woman. It's a mess. If you're looking for a tune with lyrics that are blunt, pointed, and feel like a knife to the heart, this is your song. This song takes the depth of pain and turning it outward. You're not going to be all touchy feely after listening to this tune. If you need a place for your anger to break free, add this song to your breakup playlist.

Essential Lyrics:

And I'm here, to remind you
Of the mess you left when you went away
It's not fair, to deny me
Of the cross I bear that you gave to me
You, you, you oughta know

9. "The Show Must Go On" by Queen

Album: Innuendo

Year: 1991

This song is about keeping your chin up through the pain of a breakup. Coming to terms with a breakup isn't easy. This song is a perfect choice when you need reminding that "the show must go on." The words remind you to be strong and to face your challenges. It took incredible strength and tenacity for Freddie Mercury to sing this song when ill and facing the end of his life. The words are ideal for any grueling life challenge. If you're looking for a boost of bravery, play this one.

Essential Lyrics:

Show must go on.
Show must go on.
Inside my heart is breaking.
My make-up may be flaking.
But my smile still stays on

10. "I Will Survive" by Gloria Gaynor

Album: Love Tracks

Year: 1978

This is an example of the classic breakup song. It reminds you that you will survive! What breakup song playlist is complete without the classic, "I Will Survive?" For those who grew up to this tune, the entire song is embedded in our heads! It's the song you sing in the face of somebody else while tearing up the dance floor. It has survived generations and it will continue to be the ultimate go-to breakup song for decades to come.

Essential Lyrics:

Oh no, not I, I will survive
Oh, as long as I know how to love, I know I'll stay alive
I've got all my life to live
And I've got all my love to give and I'll survive
I will survive, hey, hey

© 2018 Barbara Tremblay Cipak

Add Your Thoughts

Barbara Tremblay Cipak (author) from Toronto, Canada on November 23, 2018:

Lol, have to agree Lorelei, I did some giggling as well. And they did bring awareness through it, good point.

Lorelei Cohen from Canada on November 23, 2018:

When the Dixie Chicks brought out Goodbye Earl I couldn't help but giggle when I watched the video. They really brought awareness to a serious subject in their love gone wrong song. I still have to smile when I hear it. Great song selection on what can be a tender theme.

Mary Norton from Ontario, Canada on November 22, 2018:

Break-ups are always sad and I wish they don't happen but life brings various kinds and some breakups can be really helpful.