Love is in the air. Ugh. If you’re ready for something a little more cynical, our writers are here with their ultimate heartbreak songs! So get ready to have a good cry and scream out some lyrics, because we have everything you need right here.
Demi Lovato – ‘Stone Cold’
No heartbreak playlist could ever be complete without the raspy tear-provoking voice of Demi Lovato. Her song ‘Stone Cold’ perfectly captures the aftermath of any break up – the pain, missing piece and absolute stab to the heart when your ex-lover begins moving on. Its simple piano and violin baseline allows her impressive vocals to take control, the emotion and pain in her voice heartbreak enough, even without the lyrics. Although, the lyrics do add to the heartache, with lines such as “maybe if I don’t cry, I won’t feel anymore” something anyone who’s gone through a break-up can resonate with. ‘Stone Cold’ is a song about coming to terms with your heartbreak, even if that means accepting that “if happy is her, I’m happy for you”. Demi Lovato’s vocal passion and tenderness is enough to make even those happiest-in-love cry, and ‘Stone Cold’ is a must for anyone wanting to shed their tears and move on.
Listen via Hollywood Records.
The Smiths – ‘I Know It’s Over’
The Smiths have become synonymous with bleak but beautiful songs about loneliness and unrequited love. They produced lively tunes like ‘Ask’ or ‘Frankly Mr Shankly’, but the group’s lasting contribution to popular culture will likely be the forlorn and heartrending tracks that dominate their albums. Most significant is undoubtedly ‘I Know It’s Over’ from the band’s seminal record The Queen is Dead.
Johnny Marr’s spectacular guitar work, one of The Smiths’ key stylistic markers, is toned down in favour of brusque acoustic strums, emphasizing Morrissey’s lovesick lyrics. His measured phrases hit home, in time with Andy Rourke’s dulled bass and some wonderfully sparse drumming from Mike Joyce. The song builds as Morrissey pleads with everyone in love to appreciate what they have before it’s gone, before he delivers one of the most stinging lines in his whole reportoire – “If you’re so funny/Then why are you on your own tonight?”
Listen via Warner Music UK.
Jorja Smith – ‘Let Me Down’
There is no such thing as a break-up playlist without Jorja Smith’s classic ‘Let Me Down’ featuring Grime rapper Stormzy. The slow heartbreaking ballad starts with a soft melancholic melody already preparing us to cry a few rivers before any lyrical content is produced. Then comes in Jorja’s beautiful almost angelic voice; you can hear her pain and passion throughout. This is most seen in the tear-jerking line “Sometimes I wouldn’t mind if I was less important”, anyone who has been through a break-up or even during hard times in a relationship can relate to this line. It’s a tear-jerker because of how real it is. The song gets darker when Stormzy comes in, Stormzy raps “when I see tears, I am likely to run” showing both sides of the story. The track now starts to tell a narrative between a couple struggling to be good enough for each other.
Listen via FAMM.
Paolo Nutini – ‘Last Request’
When a heart is broken, the effects usually leave people feeling lonely and vulnerable. In this time of need, it’s important to surround yourself with people who care, with a loving embrace. A man who never fails to wrap that loving feeling is Paolo Nutini, whose ‘Last Request’ is the perfect heartbreak song. He tells the tale of a tired and hurt soul who just wants to forget for a second that things have changed and try to hold the shattered pieces of his heart back together. It’s comforting to hear this compassionate voice express the same feelings that you may too feel, especially as the song aims towards closure. It reminds you that there was something beautiful and special, no matter what the future might hold. This song inspires hope and rekindles memory, as well as preparing you to know that it’s going to be okay.
Listen via Warner Music UK.
Tom Odell – ‘Another Love’
Tom Odell has written a plethora of heartbreaking tunes over his career, however ‘Another Love’ stands out as one that is absolutely essential for a heartbreak playlist. With its simplistic, emotive piano riffs alongside the gradual build-up in volume, this song is the perfect cure to let out all the anger and sadness you may be harbouring on the inside. The shouts in the final chorus are so powerful that you’ll no doubt have this song stuck in your head for the rest of the day, so you can continue to vent all of those bad feelings for hours on end – what’s not to love?!
Listen via Sony Music Entertainment UK Ltd.
Solange – ‘Cranes in the Sky’
Solange’s ‘Cranes in the Sky’ encapsulates how it feels to try and avoid feelings of aching for someone. This song somehow manages to encapsulate what it means to feel truly alone yet is enveloping in universal relatability: ‘I tried to drink it away / To write it away, to cry it away’.
Sometimes with heartbreak, you don’t want pretentious metaphors or aggressive instrumentals – you want clarity and room to process. The delicacy of the song makes for easy-listening which is counterbalanced with hard-hitting lyrics. It’s cathartic, and in moments of depression and heartbreak, it gives perspective and clarity.
Glorious in its introspection, gentle in its production. There’s an uncertainty and vulnerability not to be scoffed at, but to commend. Solange understands that escapism in heartbreak isn’t always an option, and musing different habits aren’t always the solution. Fragility and strength are what Solange provides, aiding self-discovery and evolution after heartbreak.
Listen via Columbia Records.
Tyler, The Creator – ‘See You Again’ (feat. Kali Uchis)
While the former de facto leader of Odd Future isn’t known well for love ballads, Tyler, the Creator’s collaboration with American singer-songwriter Kali Uchis on ‘See You Again’ is a beautiful melancholic track about your ideal lover who resides in your dreams. Opening with Tyler’s high pitched voice singing ‘you were in my dream state, you were in my fantasy’, he continues to express his voice in a beautiful falsetto while Kali Uchis’s guest chorus is questioning whether Tyler will ever see his fictional partner again. Suddenly, this soulful ballad switches up into a hard hitting rap verse from Tyler – expressing his desire to be with this dreamed lover rapping ‘I’d give up my bakery to have a piece of your pie’. The production is gorgeous – switching from piano and glockenspiel to thumping bass and synth strings doesn’t feel forced but organic with the track’s intentions. Lastly it shows a maturity to Tyler as behind the cartoonish mayhem from his previous albums, there is emotional heartbreak.
Listen via Columbia Records.