Why My Sad Music Playlist Helped Me Move On After You Broke My Heart

Since I was a teenager, I’ve felt different. I saw the way other people dressed, talked, their taste in music and films, their reactions, and relationships with others, and saw them quite distant from my own. I thought they were boring. Then I fell in love and turned into the corny girl that couldn’t stop saying, “I love you.” The person that could spend hours talking on the phone with a guy she met online. A couple of years later, I found myself listening to Adele at three o’clock in the morning, crying my guts out and feeling like the cliché I didn’t want to be.

Heartbreak hits everyone in a similar way. When we’re sad, we don’t want to change our mood with happy music and positive thinking. All we want is to wallow in sadness with slow rhythms and sorrowful voices because something important (or even a two-week fling) has ended. When this happens, I don’t think of it as a therapeutic process of healing, but as a way of giving words to my overwhelming feelings of loss. But it is a process, and different kinds of sad songs set the pace for the stages of heartbreak. These are the particular songs that explain each one.

“All I Ask” by Adele

Heartbreak turned me to Adele and I regret nothing. Everyone knows that all of her songs are sad, yet this particular song explains the feeling of being right in the middle of a fight and recognizing that it’s the last one. The relationship is ending right in front of you and there’s nothing you can do about it.

If this is my last night with you

Hold me like I’m more than just a friend

Give me a memory I can use

Take me by the hand while we do

What lovers do

It matters how this ends

‘Cause what if I never love again?

“First Love / Late Spring” by Mitski

Mitski is one of my favorite singers when it comes to sadness, anger, and heartbreak. Some of her songs start slow and end with the screams and shouts that are needed right after a relationship ends. This song is about the weeks after the breakup, a period in which you feel hopeful about getting back together with that person. It gives words to the disillusion, the thoughts about rebuilding something that’s clearly over, and the way you patiently wait for them to change their mind and go back to you.

One word from you and I would

Jump off of this

Ledge I’m on


Tell me “don’t,”

So I can

Crawl back in

“Liability” by Lorde

Okay. So they didn’t change their mind and you start to think it was your fault, right? At this stage, we start analyzing the reasons why our relationship ended: “I am too complicated. Too simple. Too overwhelming. Too boring. Too much or not enough.” Lorde knows how to articulate the messiness of these kinds of thoughts.

They say, “You’re a little much for me, you’re a liability

You’re a little much for me”

So they pull back, make other plans

I understand, I’m a liability

Get you wild, make you leave

I’m a little much for e-a-na-na-na, everyone

“Only With You” by Angel Olsen

Months go by and they don’t call. But it’s okay. At this stage you feel a little less crazy. You start creating some distance between your current self and the person you used to be a few months ago. With this song, Angel Olsen conveys the clarity that comes with time: every person has a particular set of expectations, even though we’ll never be able to fulfill all of them. And it’s not a big deal. We’ll manage to survive, a little more damaged, but older and wiser.

You can look, you can look, you can see

What you wanted to see

All your life you’ve been looking

Whatever it is, you don’t find it in me

All your life you’ve been looking

Whatever it is you don’t find it in me

All your life you’ve been looking

Whatever it is you don’t find it in me

“Love Came Here” by Lhasa de Sela

This song is about acceptance. No more denial. No more pretending everything is fine, belittling the importance of the relationship and the effect it had on us. At this stage, you realize it’s impossible to entirely forget a person, but that doesn’t mean there’s no room for someone new, for a new self that remembers the relationship without depending on it, with a sort of detached love that will always be there.

Now that my heart is open

It can’t be closed or broken

Love came here and never left

Now I’ll have to live with loving you forever

Although our days of living life together

Of living life together are over

Congratulations to you, to me, to all of us. We’ve all been through this, and we’ll probably go through it again. Luckily, the second or third time we’ll have more resources to deal with that pain. Emotional insights, psychological techniques, or a sad playlist like this one to overcome the pain of a heartbreak.

Here are some playlists you should check out:

Dear Failed Tinder Date: Don’t Judge Me For My Playlist And I Won’t Scoff At Yours

6 Songs That Show Why Toxic Loves Are So Addictive And Hard To Leave

5 Songs That Helped Me Cope With Your Rejection

Images by Jesse Herzog.