35 Top Songs About Moving On After a Break-Up

Songs About Moving On After a Break-Up

What is it about the pain of a break-up that makes people want to throw on a sad playlist and bask in their sorrows? Break-ups are hard, but there is comfort in knowing you are not alone. Some of the greatest songs in history were inspired by the pain of a tough break-up. Instead of drowning in your tears, it is time to pick yourself back up!

For the lonely lovers, broken-hearted, and the newly-single that refuse to let the break-up win, welcome to the ultimate moving-on playlist. So, put down that pint of French-vanilla ice cream, put your freshest outfit on, and get ready to move on. Read on to discover the greatest songs about moving on after a break-up!

“You Oughta Know” by Alanis Morissette

Song Year: 1995

The list starts with the perfect song for the bitter end of a relationship, Alanis Morissette’s chart-topping song about the angst of seeing your ex-lover in a new relationship.

Alanis unleashes her fury on her ex-lover as she calls him out for moving on so quickly and forgetting about her. This is a perfect song for a scorned ex-lover to sing at the top of their lungs.

“When I Was Your Man” by Bruno Mars

Song Year: 2012

Bruno Mars’ modern-day classic about a retrospective lover looking back on all the mistakes he made in his relationship is perfect for finding closure for your break-up.

“When I Was Your Man” is a great break-up song for the lovers that can admit they were wrong and just want the best for their ex, no matter how much it hurts.

“I Will Survive” by Gloria Gaynor

Song Year: 1978

A deeply vengeful break-up song in the form of one of the most recognizable disco tracks ever produced in which Gloria Gaynor was out to prove her independence at all costs.

Aside from having a powerful message, “I Will Survive” will get even the most frustrated ex-lover on their feet dancing their sorrows away.

“Cry Me a River” by Justin Timberlake

Song Year: 2002

Revenge, revenge, nothing but sweet revenge in Justin’s 2002 Timberland produced track about catching your significant other cheating.

“Cry Me a River” is about as vengeful as it gets. Justin catches his significant other cheating and decides to take matters into his own hands. This song is one final middle-finger to the end of a toxic relationship.

“Go Your Own Way” by Fleetwood Mac

Song Year: 1977

This classic track off Fleetwood Mac’s critically-acclaimed Rumours album dives into the break-up between band members Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks.

“Go Your Own Way” was Buckingham’s response to the break-up. Despite the band’s turmoil, Fleetwood Mac channeled their energy into a classic for lovers moving on from each other.

“Since U Been Gone” by Kelly Clarkson

Song Year: 2004

A perfect song for anyone getting out of a toxic relationship, Kelly’s powerful chorus drags you in and encourages you to belt out your frustrations with her.

Have you ever played “Since U Been Gone” on full blast? It is as therapeutic as any spa day you have ever had.

“Ex-Factor” by Lauryn Hill

Song Year: 1998

“Ex-Factor,” from the Grammy-award-winning album The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill deals with two lovers afraid to move on from the relationship despite it not working.

Lauryn struggles to let her lover leave, despite his reluctance to stay together. But, when she tries to leave, he hurts himself to save her from the pain of being alone. “Ex-Factor” is for the lovers that do not want to hurt each other despite both being ready to move on.

“Before He Cheats” by Carrie Underwood

Song Year: 2005

If anyone has ever dedicated this song to you, chances are you messed up. Hell has no fury like a woman scorned, and this song shows it.

“Before He Cheats” is the song for you if you are ready to take the anger of your lover cheating on you and channel it into a Mike Trout-like swing of a baseball bat into the taillights of their brand-new car.

“Yesterday” by The Beatles

Song Year: 1965

“Yesterday” is a classic Paul McCartney ballad and is one of the most covered songs of all-time, which goes to show how many broken-hearted artists exist in the world.

McCartney’s pain is evident in his voice as he longs for his past relationship. “Yesterday” makes you analyze who you are as a person without your other-half.

“U Don’t Have To Call” by Usher

Song Year: 2001

“U Don’t Have to Call” is the ultimate bounce-back song for the newly-single. Usher’s throwback jam encourages you to go out and regain your confidence.

If you have a friend who is going through a tough break-up, throw on this classic Usher track, plan a night out, and shake off the rust with a few drinks and some partying!

“Black” by Pearl Jam

Song Year: 1991

Here is one for the people that grew up in the grunge era. Eddie Vedder’s melancholy voice throughout “Black” sets the tone and brings you down a path of sorrow and regret.

“Black” makes you question why your relationship never worked out and why you cannot have the perfect life together with the woman you still love. If you are feeling extra masochistic, the MTV unplugged version of “Black” untaps a whole new level of pain.

“Someone Like You” by Adele

Song Year: 2011

Adele, the queen of heartache, captivated millions around the world with “Someone Like You,” a captivating ballad about convincing yourself that you will fall in love again someday.

We do not recommend playing this song unless you are ready to bawl your eyes out over the thought of your ex. If you are going through a tough break-up, chin up! You will find love again when you are ready.

“How Can You Mend A Broken Heart” by Bee Gees

Song Year: 1971

You probably know Bee Gees for disco classics like “Staying Alive” and “Night Fever,” but the Gibb brothers were not immune to a bit of heartbreak themselves.

“How Can You Mend a Broken Heart,” a classic 70s ballad, tackles the struggles of a broken-hearted person and the battle they have with moving on from heartbreak and depression.

“Forget You” by CeeLo Green

Song Year: 2015

For those of you that know this song, you know the original song title has a much more aggressive tone that leaves no question about the true meaning behind “Forget You.”

For the ex-lovers that feel like the weight of the world was lifted off their shoulders after the break-up, it is time to throw your middle-finger up and sing along with CeeLo!

“Piece of My Heart” by Janis Joplin

Song Year: 1967

If there has ever been a female artist whose pain can be felt searing through each lyric, it is Janis Joplin. “Piece of My Heart” talks about the struggle of moving on from a one-sided, possibly abusive relationship.

You can feel the agony in each growl as Janis struggles between moving on from an unhealthy relationship and giving another little piece of her heart to her lover.

“Ain’t No Sunshine” by Bill Withers

Song Year: 1971

Bill Withers, one of the legends of soul, compares the ending of a beautiful relationship to a day with no sunshine and only rain.

“Ain’t No Sunshine” is a song for folks still in the mourning phase of their break-up.

“Photograph” by Ed Sheeran

Song Year: 2014

For couples that tried long-distance but could not make it work, “Photograph” is the perfect song to describe the feeling of distance getting in the way of true love.

For the lovers that had to say goodbye too soon, pour a glass and reminisce on the relationship that could have been.

“Somebody You Loved” by Lewis Capaldi

“Somebody You Loved” by Lewis Capaldi

Song Year: 2019

Timing in a relationship is everything. If you never got the timing right in your relationship, Lewis Capaldi’s lyrics will hit close to home.

There is nothing quite as painful as loving someone who does not love you back, and if you have ever been there, you will be crying alongside this song.

“End of the Road” by Boyz II Men

Song Year: 1991

Boyz II Men, the quintessential R&B group of the 1990s, delivered one of the most heartbreaking ballads of all-time with this timeless classic.

“End of the Road,” is an aptly titled song about a couple reaching the inevitable end of their time together. It is the ultimate final ode to the end of a relationship.

“So Sick” by Ne-Yo

Song Year: 2006

Millennials are all too familiar with the sounds of Ne-Yo. “So Sick” is a song about not being able to escape the shadow of your previous relationship.

You have reached the end of your relationship, but you just cannot seem to shake the thought of your ex. Everything from the radio to your favorite restaurant reminds you of them.

“You’re So Vain” by Carly Simon

Song Year: 1972

A break-up is not the end of the world. When Carly Simon wrote this song in 1972, she could not have predicted how relevant it would be in 2021, the era of social media.

“You’re So Vain” is dedicated to the conceited people that think their exes’ worlds revolve around them. You’re so vain you probably thought this post was about you.

“Don’t Speak” by No Doubt

Song Year: 1995

“Don’t Speak” is the teenage ballad that put Gwen Stefani and No Doubt on the map. A song about a broken couple coming to terms with the end of their relationship.

All that needs to be said is said. There is nothing left to hold onto besides the distant memories of your relationship.

“Without You” by Harry Nilsson

Song Year: 1971

“Without You” is one of the original power love ballads that leads to an explosion of songs within the genre by artists like Air Supply, REO Speedwagon, and Meatloaf.

Harry Nilsson’s painfully sad song paints a story of regret and sorrow. As much as we would like to move on from our past lovers, living feels harder without them.

“F**k It (I Don’t Want You Back)” by Eamon

Song Year: 2004

The title of this song is self-explanatory. In an era of one-hit-wonder R&B artists, Eamon chose vengeance over compassion.

If your relationship ended on a rocky note and you cannot stand your ex, “F**k it” might as well be your national anthem.

“Thinkin Bout You” by Frank Ocean

Song Year: 2012

“Thinkin Bout You” is the debut single off Frank Ocean’s critically-acclaimed album Channel Orange, that tells the story of a lover caught up in the memory of their first love.

Frank wonders if his ex still thinks about him or if he is just another name on a list full of past lovers. Frank Ocean is the songbird of a broken-hearted generation, and “Thinkin Bout You” is their theme song.

“Back To Black” by Amy Winehouse

Song Year: 2006

The late Amy Winehouse lived a life filled with heartache and abuse. “Back to Black” tells the story of what it is like to end a relationship without any closure.

As hard as it is to move on from a relationship, it is harder when your ex has someone to go home to as you soak in your sorrows alone.

“Rolling in the Deep” by Adele

Song Year: 2011

Adele, the queen of heartache, makes her second appearance on the list with her smash-hit “Rolling in the Deep.” A chart-topping mega-hit about what could have been.

Although more upbeat than “Someone Like You,” the angst and heartache are as evident as ever in this song. They could have had it all, but both parties are moving on instead.

“Irreplaceable” by Beyonce

Song Year: 2006

“Irreplaceable” is another empowering break-up song for the strong and independent women that know their worth and do not need anybody to take care of them.

Beyonce has always been an empowering figure for women, but this song emphasizes the importance of putting yourself first and not holding your head down over a break-up.

“I Will Always Love You” by Whitney Houston

Song Year: 1992

No list about songs of heartache could ever be complete without the most recognizable chorus in music history.

The late great Whitney Houston passionately sings about the end of her relationship, knowing that as hard as it might be to move on, every love story has an ending.

“I Miss You” by Blink-182

Song Year: 2004

Three simple words people are all too prideful to say at the end of a relationship, “I miss you.”

Blink-182’s iconic punk-rock ballad discusses the haunting after-effects that a broken relationship can have.

“If I Could Turn Back Time” by Cher

Song Year: 1989

Pop Icon Cher did not mince her words in “If I Could Turn Back Time.” Sometimes we are the reason why our relationships end.

Whether it is something you said or something you did, there will eventually come a time where you wish you could take back what you did and start over.

“Burn” by Usher

Song Year: 2004

Usher makes his second appearance on this list with “Burn,” a song about a relationship that has run its course.

People believe that “Burn” was about Usher’s real-life relationship with his then-girlfriend, Rozonda Thomas A.K.A. Chili from TLC.

“The Scientist” by Coldplay

Song Year: 2002

Chris Martin’s opening piano chord paired with melancholy vocals set the tone for what is perhaps the most heart-breaking song in Coldplay’s catalog.

“The Scientist” tells the story of the hardships of ending a relationship. If you have never been through a painful break-up, moving on will rock you as hard as this song will.

“Nothing Compares 2 U” by Sinead O’Connor

Song Year: 1990

Originally a Prince song, Sinead O’Connor took “Nothing Compares 2 U” and turned it into one of the defining love ballads of the early 1990s.

This song focuses on someone attempting to move on from their past relationship but seemingly struggling to find a way to replace the joy their ex would bring them.

“Grenade” by Bruno Mars

Song Year: 2010

We end the list with a second appearance from the one-and-only Bruno Mars. “Grenade” was one of the first songs that put Bruno on the map.

Bruno sings passionately about the pain of loving someone, willing to do anything for them before accepting the end of their relationship while knowing the other will not do the same.

Best Songs About Moving On, Final Thoughts

You have made it to the end of the list. If you made it this far without picking up your phone and calling your ex, congratulations! The truth is that no one is immune to heartache. You have passed the first step in moving on from your break-up. That is an empowering feeling.

The truth is, there are thousands of songs out there about moving on after a break-up, and picking the perfect list is impossible. But you cannot deny the power of some of the classic songs on this list.

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