Songs For Every Stage Of A Break Up

There’s a reason so many people talk about broken hearts and break ups so often…drum roll, please…BECAUSE THEY ARE HORRIBLE. Sure, let’s joke about Taylor Swift or the culture of subtweeting, but when two people part ways, it’s a substantial loss, no matter how you slice it. In cases of losing a loved one to death, we’re much more comfortable with labeling what we experience as grief. But someone doesn’t have to bite the dust for us to grieve them. Psychologists usually split up the grieving process into different categories: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. So for you kiddos out there hurting (or screaming, depending on the stage you’ve hit), I’ve put together a comprehensive music playlist for each level you’ll hit while staying in Heartbreak Hotel.

1. Denial

aka: Nah, we’re fine!!!! It’s seriously fine….right?

I Don’t Believe You – Pink
Nope, you still love me.

Losing You – Solange
I don’t know why Solange doesn’t get more love. I know it’s almost blasphemous to say this, but sometimes, I like her voice more than the other Knowles.

Ashes and Wine – A Fine Frenzy
A Fine Frenzy, more like A Fine Fucking Mess because I’m crying over the beauty of this.

Comeback – Ella Eyre
She’s dope. And so is the irrational thinking that everyone comes back eventually.

2. Anger


I’m The Only One – Melissa Ethridge
There was a point in my life when I was listening to this song on repeat. It was on every single CD mix I made for my car (I’m Amish and don’t have an AUX port). I attempted Ethridge’s gravely voice and would strum my guitar, singing my pissed off heart away. My roommates were finally like, “We’re glad you’ve stopped playing “Landslide” in the dark, but dude, you’re kinda scaring us.” It’s angry, resentful, and somewhat creepy, but you will feel better just blasting it. Trust.

Sick of You – Cake
Enough said.

I Don’t Fuck With You – Big Sean, E-40

Kiss My Ass – K. Michelle
The song starts with “I’m tired of your shit,” and just gets sassier from there.

You – Ha Ha Ha – Charli XCX
Charli XCX is quickly becoming the new it girl, with her slightly grunge rocker 90s wardrobe and fabulous hair that rivals Lorde. I want her to give me a makeover, but in the meantime, we can all laugh in the face of whoever scorned us with this song. Ha. Ha. Ha. “Good job//You fucked it up.”

FU – Miley Cyrus
Ugh, go ahead. Judge me for putting Smiley on this list. But this song is dope and kind of perfect to lip synch along to and give all tha haterz your middle finger.

I’m Out – Ciara, Nicki Minaj
This is the pre-game, instagram game strong jam to dance the hurt away.

Lyin King – Jhené Aiko
Everything Jhené does has this rhythmic ease to it. She comes across as gentle because her voice is so soothing, but listen to the words. She’s not playing around.

3. Bargaining

aka: Maybe we could give it another try? I’ll grow out my bangs for you!!!

Two Weeks – FKA twigs
“I know it hurts//You know I’d put you first//I can fuck you better than her.”

I Want You Back – Jackson 5

Always on My Mind – Willie Nelson
All the feels.
“Little things I should have said or done//I just never took the time//But you were always on my mind.”

4. Depression

aka: Just leave me to die in this misery.

Bad Religion – Frank Ocean
If you are somehow able to sit through Frank Ocean’s “Bad Religion” without dissolving into a miserable puddle of tears, congratulations, you’re fucking super human. Ever since Channel Orange first dropped, this has been my number one “I am so low and devastated and oh my god LOVE IS SO PAINFUL” song, and still gets me teary-eyed even when I’m relatively together. “It’s a bad religion to be in love with someone who could never love you.” Pretty damn simple, yet excruciating. Side story: Once, I drunkenly got in an Uber car, very upset, and said “TAXI DRIVER BE MY SHRINK FOR THE HOUR.” I proceeded to cry and he awkwardly drove home in silence (except for my pathetic sobbing). Thanks, Frankie!

F**k it All – Elle Varner
I think Elle Varner is criminally under-appreciated. So many of her songs have this jazzy and retro feel to them, while still fresh and with a major radio play feel. Her latest song F**k it All is perfect for the lifeless stage of a breakup/heartbreak. Fuck tends to be an angry word, but in this case, she doesn’t have the energy for anything. It’s desperately sad and haunting. It’s that “I can’t get out of bed” melancholy, wondering if there’s any point to life (#melodramatic). But as the song progresses, that powerhouse voice of hers picks up and it’s just glorious.

Resentment – Beyonce
Taylor Swift gets branded as Break Up Queen in the music industry, but honestly, there’s nobody better to blast when your heart’s been dragged through the mud then Queen Bey. You could play any song from any album, and it will fit into some phase of the process, but one of my favorites is this one. She’s angry. Hurt. Vulnerable. SHE WOKE UP LIKE THIS, HOW COULD YOU DO THIS TO HER?!?! And now, we’re all filled with resentment.

Wasted Love – BenZel ft. Stevie Neale
BenZel (a dope producer duo consisting of Japanese high schoolers. Seriously. High School) just released their EP Men and one of the tracks “Wasted Love” ft. Stevie Neale is perfection. I can’t get enough of this song. It’s so dense and layered, but clearly echoes what many of us feel when we’re heart-broken. “I’m so caught up//in wasted love//it’s all for him//it’s all for him.” Wasted Love. Ouch.

Don’t Wanna Be Your Girl – Wet
Again, such a beautifully simple song. Just crawl under some blankets and cry. Go ahead, I’ll do it too. “I won’t hide the ways I’ve tried//It’s just not right//It’s killing me tonight.”

Unrequited Love – Lykke Li
Ooooh, it hurts.

Someone New – Banks
Often in break ups, we’re quick to run and comfort the dumpee. And yes, while I think it’s true someone usually gets hurt a little more than the other, when two people are in a relationship and that ends, it still absolutely hurts both parties, no matter who initiated it. I’m obsessed with the ethereal goddess Banks right now, and this song is perfect for you dumpers out there who are hurting too.


aka: Oh. I actually feel okay…Yeah, I’m okay. Seriously.

Movin’ On Up – Primal Scream
This one almost has a gospel feel. Super inspirational. Super get up and shout, “YEAH I ACCEPTED IT!”
“I’m moving on up now//Getting out of the darkness//My light shines on//My light shines on.”

Good as New – Vacationer
You’ll feel good as new listening to this.

High Hopes – Kodaline
I love this band. And this song. And the music video is, hands down, one of my favorites.

Act My Age – Hoodie Allen
It’s light, catchy, and uplifting. It’s a song that just instantly puts you in a good mood. I also have a mad crush on Hoodie, so there’s that.

The One – Watsky
Okay, again with the crush thing. I’ve had the pleasure of working with this talented dude, and he’s just as awesome as you all think. This song is weirdly optimistic and puts shit in perspective.
“But someone else is out there//It’s just simple mathematics//There’s over 7 billion mothafuckas on the planet and 4 billion of us are of legal age//That’s 2 billion ladies//4 billion tittays//And I bet a couple of em aren’t engaged.”

Cold Rock A Party – MC Lyte
Remember when you thought the pain would kill you? NOW, YOU ROCKS THE PARTY. You’re good now, boo. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

✨ real(ly not) chill. poet. writer. mental health activist. mama shark. ✨

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