I’m pretty sure that about 80% of the songs that we listen to every day are inspired by the many stages of love. We shouldn’t be surprised. It’s a complex emotion, so of course it had to inspire a whole variety of works, including songs. However, one of the most difficult things to explore about love is heartbreak, or more specifically, the moment you realize you don’t love someone anymore. First, there’s denial, because how can such a powerful emotion vanish just like that, over time, or with the realization that perhaps it’s better for you and your partner to be apart? There’s also the struggle to keep the relationship afloat, to solve any issues between you and your partner, to convince yourself that love can indeed heal and overcome anything. But still, there are moments where all those efforts are useless and even harmful, so it’s better to split up.
When the moment to break up arrives, you start thinking of the words you’ll say, how you’ll say them, the medium you’ll use, if you’ll tell your partner your reasons to end things, and many other thoughts accompanied by the apparently contradictory mix of sadness and relief. All this mess can leave you speechless, but sometimes you can find some inspiration in the words of others, specifically heartfelt songs that develop those feelings so well that you can relate to them. So, if you’re going through this difficult moment of ending a relationship because you’ve realized you don’t love them anymore, hopefully these songs will help you find the words to end things in the best way and cope with your feelings.
“The Thrill Is Gone” – B.B. King
“Too Good at Goodbyes” – Sam Smith
“I Don’t Love You” – My Chemical Romance
Perhaps one of the reasons why My Chemical Romance’s songs were so popular when I was a teenager was because of the direct way they explored themes such as heartbreak and the disappointment that comes with it through tunes that were able to convey the many feelings that nuance those themes. In the case of this ballad from their famous The Black Parade, the lyrics are a pretty straightforward way of telling someone you no longer have feelings for them. Nonetheless, the intensity of the vocals and the melancholy rhythm of the guitars convey the complexity of that goodbye and the intrinsic difficulty that comes with saying goodbye.
“Somebody that I Used to Know” – Gotye (feat. Kimbra)
“You’re So Vain” – Carly Simon
“You’ll Never Know” – Ariana Grande
Now, in the case of this song, the rhythm can be completely puzzling, specially if you’re expecting something sad to cry when you acknowledge that you’ve fallen out of love. Nonetheless, as I said before, love is very complex and has many facets, so it’s possible for a breakup to come with questions such as, “what if things had turned out differently?” In this case, the song is more of a letter to a former partner who didn’t “man up” (I hate using that term, but you get what I mean), so he was never open about his feelings, which ultimately ruined the relationship. The song’s message, then, is that being honest about your feelings is the best way to either save or end a relationship.
“Big Girls Don’t Cry” – Fergie
“Cry Me a River” – Justin Timberlake
“Someone Like You” – Adele
Of course, I wouldn’t miss a song by the queen of sad songs. Now, this song does focus on the ugly side of breaking up with someone and the hope of finding a new opportunity in love, particularly in the chorus. The tone of the music and lyrics is bittersweet. It’s saying “you broke my heart, but it doesn’t matter, eventually I’ll move on.” Sometimes the process of getting over heartbreak is more difficult than it sounds, but indeed, the moment of moving on will arrive. But before you do that, it’s important to embrace your feelings.
“Show Me the Meaning of Being Lonely” – Backstreet Boys
“Back to Black” – Amy Winehouse
“Since U Been Gone” – Kelly Clarkson
Let’s not forget about those breakups that make you feel relieved because the relationship wasn’t that meaningful after all. The pop rock rhythm of Kelly Clarkson’s song, and the bold lyrics, conveying the lightheartedness that comes when you leave a relationship you won’t really miss can also inspire you (or even motivate you) to accept that things weren’t meant to be, so it’s better for your well-being to end things. I guess it wouldn’t be so nice to use the exact same words of the chorus during or after a breakup, but who knows? Maybe the relationship was so awful that those words are the best ones to say “bye bye!”
“Stronger” – Britney Spears
“Happier” – Ed Sheeran
“We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” – Taylor Swift
Last but not least, I couldn’t leave behind Miss Taylor Swift. It’s no news that she made a name for herself by writing songs about failed relationships. The title of this song is pretty self-explanatory, so it’s one of the best choices for splitting up without giving any chance of going back together. This song describes a relationship so conflictive that it’s better to say goodbye, even when one of the parties is still trying to make things work. It also tackles the dreaded “I miss you” that sometimes messes things up even more, so the best solution is to rip off the band aid and move on.
Goodbyes are never easy, but when there is no love and no way to solve the problems between you two, it’s better to end things. Finding the right words in others’ songs will help you give shape to your feelings and communicate what you want to say.
Here are other lists you should check out:
6 Songs That Show Why Toxic Loves Are So Addictive And Hard To Leave
Why My Sad Music Playlist Helped Me Move On After You Broke My Heart
Image by Alessio Albi