10 Best Breaking Up Songs

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If you are suffering from heartache, you need to add some of the 10 best breaking up songs to your playlist. Most people think of angry female artists when they think of break up music, but the death of a relationship is also a very popular topic for male artists. So grab a beer (and maybe a box of tissues) and get ready to get over that ex with some good music.

I Hate Everything About You” (2003) Three Days Grace Are you in a relationship where you both love and hate the woman? Is it on again and off again so fast that it makes your head spin. If you seem to break up more than you seem to go out, this song is for you.

“Go Your Own Way” (1977) by Fleetwood Mac It is reported that Lindsey Buckingham wrote this song about Stevie Nicks. It is a message from Buckingham blaming the break up on Nicks cheating on him. Nicks denies ever cheating.

“Better Than Me” (2005) by Hinder Have you recently broken up with a woman because you treated her so bad that it stared to get to you? You have something in common with Mark King of Hinder then.

“Hurt” (1994) by Nine Inch Nails The bands front man Trent Reznor wrote this song after finding that the house he rented belonged to Sharon Tate, who was part of the Manson murders. This song is a very personal one to Reznor and frequently he closes their shows with it In 2002 Johnny Cash covered the song, which offended Reznor until he heard Cash’s version.

“(I Just) Died in Your Arms” (1986) by Cutting Crew Lead singer, Nick Van Eede, has confirmed that this song was actually written about his ex-girlfriend and the mother of his daughter. It topped the charts at number 1 and is still popular today. The song has been sampled by numerous R&B and rap artist over the years. Jay-z also covered the song.

No Woman, No Cry” (1975) by Bob Marley & The Wailers This is a very calming song that actually wasn’t meant to be a breakup song like so many people consider it. The Original title was “No, woman, Nuh cry”. In Jamaican nuh means don’t. Marley had intended it to mean him telling a woman in his life not to cry about the condition they lived in. The no was added for his American audience and many people then took it was him saying he wouldn’t cry over the lose of his woman.

“Back Off Bitch” (1991) by Guns N’ Roses This is the ultimate “It was all her fault” break up song. The lyrics are so harsh that even hardened rock fans might blush. The song evokes a very primal reaction in listeners.

“Always On My Mind” (1982) by Willie Nelson Did you treat an ex-lover wrong an now can’t get her out of your thoughts? Then this song is for you. It was originally written by Brenda Lee in 1971. The song has also been covered by Elvis Presley and the Pet Shop Boys. Nelson’s version was the most popular topping the charts at number five.

“Broken” (2004) by Seether This is a very popular break up song but Shaun Morgan, lead singer for Seether, didn’t actually write it about the lost of a girl friend. Morgan wrote this song when he had to leave his daughter to go one tour. Later a second version of the song was recorded with Evanescence. At the time Morgan was dating the lead singer of Evanescence, Amy Lee.

No Hard Feelings” (2005) by Bloodhound Gang One of the most controversial songs ever written. Jimmy Pop wrote this song based off of a break up with a girl friend. Other songs were also inspired by the same woman such as: “Kiss Me Where It Smells Funny”, “One Fierce Beer Coaster” and “Three Point One Four”. There is no denying the anger in this song with such lyrics (that earned the group a lot of bad press) as “missing you like a hijacked flight on September 11th.”

“The Last Goodbye,” Jeff Buckley – With lines like “This is our last embrace/must I dream and always see your face,” this one is for when you’re in that sad, wistful stage of the break-up when just seeing her favorite cereal in the grocery store aisle is enough to make you curl up into the fetal position and cry until you can’t cry anymore.

“Movin’ Out,” Billy Joel – Okay, so maybe this one is more about Billy rebelling against the boug-y “two cars in every garage” version of the American dream. Musically, it’s one of those defiant, “Screw you guys, I’m outta here!” songs that can easily be adapted to your break-up. Particularly if you’re actually, uh, moving out.

“Use Me,” Bill Withers
– A song for anyone coming out of a one-sided relationship who is tired of feeling drained and used up. Bill Withers cures everything.

“Leash,” Pearl Jam – This one works for me when I’m in the angry stage ’cause Eddie Vedder basically says, “Get out of my f–ing face” like fifty times. See also: “Don’t Go Away Mad (Just Go Away)” by Motley Crue, Tom Petty’s “Don’t Come Around Here No More,” and Ugly Kid Joe’s to-the-point “I Hate Everything About You.”

“Change Clothes,” Jay-Z and Pharrell – This one is more personal, because it was popular back when I was going through a pretty rough break-up. But it worked for me, because it’s upbeat and reminds you that little things like buying a new wardrobe or getting a new haircut and getting out there really make all the difference.

“It’s Too Late,” Carole King
 – Save this one for when he calls you at 1am begging to take him back. In fact, print out the lyrics and keep them by your bedside.

“Love is a Losing Game,” Amy Winehouse 
– The whole album feels like one big break-up: Amy from her lover, Amy from the bottle, Amy from crack, Amy from reality, Amy from the public eye, etc. Man, what a gorgeous song. Come back to us, Amy. All is forgiven.

50 Ways to Leave Your Lover,” Paul Simon – While this one is more for the leaver than the leavee, it’s also a fun way to rewrite history after you’re dumped: make your own version of one of the song’s many puns by putting your ex’s name in the lyrics. For example, “Slip out the back, Jack” can be changed to “Goodbye forever, Trevor” or “Hope you get shot, Scott!”

“Cry Me a River,” Justin Timberlake – Do you think Britney really cheated on Justin? Anyway, this song runs the gamut of break-up emotions, with sadness turning to anger and resentment, then back to sadness before you finally realize that there are no more tears to cry. Plus, it sounds like a lost Michael Jackson song.

“Hit ‘Em Up Style (Oops),” Blu Cantrell – First of all, this song is awesome. It’s got this insane carnival-esque beat that I am shocked hasn’t been sampled fifty times over already. It’s also one of the greatest “f– you” break-up songs of all time, with Blu getting revenge on her cheatin’, creepin’ ex by maxing out his credit cards and blowing his cash on a Neiman Marcus shopping spree. Not the most mature response, but a great vicarious revenge song.

Go Your Own Way,” Fleetwood Mac – Why is this one still the ultimate break-up song? Because Fleetwood Mac members Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham were literally breaking up while singing the song. (And also doing massive piles of cocaine. It was the late ’70s, after all.)

“In the Air Tonight,” Phil Collins – One of the saddest (yet also triumphant) songs of all time, written while Collins was going through a divorce. You know something’s coming, and it’s hopefully a better, less dramz-filled relationship. Plus, if that drum solo in the middle doesn’t get you pumped up and ready to find someone new, you might be a heartless zombie.

Bonus: “Breakin’ Up,” Rilo Kiley – The repeated chorus of “Ooh, it, feels good to be free!” pretty much sums up the moment when you realize it’s over, and you’re finally okay with it.

Bonus Michael McDonald smooth break-up jams: “I Keep Forgettin'” and “One My Own,” a duet which puts the listener in the awkward position of picturing Michael McDonald and Patti LaBelle doing it.

Runners-up: “Without You,” Harry Nilsson; “Idiot Wind,” Bob Dylan; “Not Crying,” Flight of the Conchords; “Jealousy,” Natalie Merchant; “Irreplaceable,” Beyonce; “He Stopped Loving Her that Day,” George Jones; “D-I-V-O-R-C-E,” Tammy Wynette; “Knock Loud,” Neko Case; “The Other Guy,” Little River Band; “I Will Survive,” Cake and Gloria Gaynor; “You’re So Vain,” Carly Simon; “Strong Enough,” Cher; “Miss Independent,” Kelly Clarkson; “You’re No Good,” Linda Ronstadt; “It’s all Over Now, Baby Blue,” Bob Dylan

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Alex Wise served over 5 years as relationship expert helping women from around the world figure out the men in their love lives from an honest, male perspective. Alex is one of the contributors and editors for Loveawake.com dating website. He is passionate about thought leadership writing, and regularly contributes to various career, social media, public relations, branding, and online dating communities.
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