We can all agree that breaking up sucks.
And when our heart is in desperate need of repair, we often turn to music to help us heal. Sometimes it creates the opposite reaction and makes the pain burn in a harder, faster, stronger sort of way. So why not take a stroll down heartbreak lane with a series of tunes from the 2010s that pulled each and every one of our bleeding heart strings when we needed it most.
(To clarify, this list doesn’t contain breakup anthems you play in protest or anger, but rather the ones you listen to while you softly cry #SorryNotSorry.)
Eminem feat. Rihanna – “Love the Way You Lie” (2010)
Ok, so we said no power anthems, but let’s make an exception at the top of the list with the angry rapping we can always count on from Eminem. Put him next to Rihanna and you’ve got a breakup jam that will make you scream and cry at the same time.
Shontelle – “Impossible” (2010)
Bajan singer Shontelle may not have blessed us with a ton of hits, but when it came to sad songs she really knew how to shout it from the rooftops, then write it on the skyline with her 2010 hit, “Impossible.”
Adele – “Someone Like You” (2011)
Adele is one of the those artists that makes you want to yell out of you car window. But “Someone Like You” cuts a little deeper. Instead of singing along, you’re more likely to take bath by candle light as you weep for your lost love — wishing nothing but the best for them.
Drake – “Marvin’s Room” (2011)
“Marvins Room” is the painfully real track released as the lead single from Drake’s second studio album, Take Care. It’s written from the perspective of an intoxicated Drake, as he calls up his ex to bring up the past while telling her how lonely he is. Not that it’s a common post-breakup thing to do, of course…
Christina Perri – “Jar of Hearts” (2011)
Christina Perri was definitely having a moment in 2011, and the same could be said for the world when they heard her single “Jar of Hearts,” which dropped before she had even landed a record deal. She soon gained a reputation for writing songs that make us both happy and sad, while also gifting us with the most overheard wedding song of the decade with “A Thousand Years.”
Snow Patrol – “New York” (2011)
There’s no shortage of sad songs from Snow Patrol, but 2011’s “New York” might have been their most heart-wrenching yet. Lead singer Gary Lightbody has described the song as a ballad of missed opportunities, and we totally feel that.
Taylor Swift feat. Gary Lightbody- “The Last Time” (2013)
Keeping with the Snow Patrol theme is the seventh and final single from Taylor Swift’s Red. Critics praised the collaboration as the most mature track on the record, showcasing the darker side of Red. Get ready to pass the tissues.
Miley Cyrus – “Wrecking Ball” (2013)
Arguably one of the worst best (or best worst) videos of all time is Miley Cyrus “Wrecking Ball.” If you can get past the ridiculous imagery, you should be able to convince yourself that it’s a track worthy of the repeat function, especially when you’re feeling like the whole world is caving in on you.
Tove Lo – “Habits (Stay High)” (2014)
Swedish singer Tove Lo originally released “Habits” independently. The song was so powerful that it was later released as the lead single from her first studio album Queen of the Clouds. The track on it’s own doesn’t necessarily hit you in the feels — but the music video certainly does.
Adele – “Hello” (2015)
It’s Adele after three years without new music. Need we say more?
Halsey – “Colours” (2016)
Released as the third single from her debut album Badlands is Halsey’s “Colors.” The New Jersey singer has described the song as watching someone you’re with slowly start to lose their vibrancy, then watching their colours begin to fade as they fall victim to any number of vices.
Gwen Stefani – “Used To Love You (2016)
It’s no secret that “Used To Love You” was penned by Gwen and company as an ode to the breakup of her 13-year marriage to Bush frontman Gavin Rossdale. If it’s not the lyrical content that will have you swimming in emotional turmoil, then Stefani’s emotional delivery will get you every time.
Tegan & Sara – 100x (2016)
You might be interested to know that Tegan and Sara’s second single from Love You To Death is actually a song about their relationship as siblings. There is a common misconception that it was written as a breakup song. But for the sake of this article we’re going to ignore its true meaning and plant it firmly down as the perfect breakup ballad, context be damned.
The 1975 – “Somebody Else” (2016)
The 1975 hit us right in the gut with this classic tale of being ready to give up the one you love, but refusing to see them with somebody else. Instead of moving on, you find yourself spending countless hours convincing yourself you made right choice, then realizing over and over that you probably didn’t.
Haim – “Right Now” (2017)
After a three year break between albums, Haim came back with this heart-wrenching tune bound to bring you to tears. But it’s not just the words that’ll will bring you to your knees, it’s that pivotal moment when the electric guitar kicks in, followed shortly after by the beat of the drums bouncing in tandem with your fragile heart.