0800 53 000 35
The Entertainment Nation

35 Sad Song Lyrics About Heartbreak

Last updated on March 14th, 2019

When going through a tough break up there are certain motions we go through to weather the ride. Whether that’s hiding in our room crying for days, gobbling up all the junk food in the house, downing copious amounts of wine or curling up with some mournfully sad songs, we all have our own ways of dealing with the split.

Everyone goes through heartbreak and bad breakups, and let’s face it, love hurts. Sometimes you just need to let the power of music evoke your emotions and push through the bad times with some sad songs, embracing the heartache. After all, doctors have said music that reflects our emotions is the best way to heal.

Here at Entertainment Nation we’ve compiled our top 35 sad song lyrics about heartbreak. Guaranteed to hit you right in the feels, if these breakup songs don’t stop you from texting your ex, we don’t know what will!

1. Be Alright – Dean Lewis


“And my friend said,
I know you love her but it’s over mate,
it doesn’t matter put the phone away,
it’s never easy to walk away,
let her go it’ll be alright”

It took not one but a whole collection of messy separations until Australian singer-songwriter Dean Lewis’s “Be Alright” took its present shape. The stripped back ballad isn’t about mourning the loss of love, though – it’s about moving past betrayal, looking to the future, and knowing we’ll always manage no matter what may happen.

2. Love Hurts – Nazareth


“Love hurts,
love scars,
love wounds”

The Everly Brothers, Roy Orbison, and Jim Capaldi just mustn’t have been heartbroken enough, because it took Dan McCafferty and Nazareth’s emphatic power ballad rendition to turn “Love Hurts” into an international sensation. Norway loved the song so much it remains their biggest selling single to date – we guess there’s a lot of heartbreak in the land of the midnight sun!

3. Say Something – A Great Big World


“Say something I’m giving up on you,
I’m sorry that I couldn’t get to you,
anywhere I would’ve followed you,
say something I’m giving up on you”

New York duo Ian Axel and Chad King probably forgot who they were singing about in “Say Something” the moment Christina Aguilera got in touch and asked to take part in a second recording. Insisting she didn’t want to take over the song, she added her own texture and made the record a sensation. It just goes to show, all you need to make a hit is despair, a piano, and a pop star’s influence.

4. I’ll Never Love Again – Lady Gaga & Bradley Cooper


“Don’t want to feel another touch,
don’t want to start another fire,
don’t want to know another kiss,
baby unless they are your lips”

Lady Gaga filmed the scene where she performs this song just minutes after she learned of the tragic death of best friend Sonja Durham. “I’ll Never Love Again” is a devastating tribute to both the finale of “A Star is Born” and Lady Gaga’s closest childhood companion. Universally applauded as a heartbreaking finale to the popular film, we recommend you watch it before embracing the song, as the music video reveals enough to ruin the ending!

5. I Can’t Make You Love Me – Bonnie Raitt


“Cause I can’t make you love me if you don’t,
you can’t make your heart feel something it won’t”

Whichever side of this song you’ve stood on, looking at a relationship that’s run its course either from your own loss of interest or theirs, it’s impossible not to connect with the raw emotional energy flowing through Bonnie Raitt’s soft, crooning vocals. Recorded in one take – because Bonnie couldn’t muster the energy to sing it more than once – the producers had to edit out a few sobs, such was the power it held over her. Anyone who can relate may also find themselves getting a little soggy.

6. Happier – Ed Sheeran


“Cause baby you look happier, you do,
my friends told me one day I’ll feel it too,
and until then I’ll smile to hide the truth,
but I know I was happier with you”

Ed Sheeran had to wax eloquent about how he’s actually best friends with all his exes now, no doubt to assure journalists that he’s not a stalker who likes dissing his ex’s new partners. “Happier” achieves its goal to discourage us from lurking near old loves once we’ve said goodbye. Sheeran claims he’s grown up now, which might explain the presence of child-like puppets and balloons in this homage to bitter, jilted lovers across the world.

7. Too Good At Goodbyes – Sam Smith


“I’m never gonna let you close to me,
even though you mean the most to me,
cause every time I open up it hurts”

How we wish Sam Smith would find a decent relationship already, just so he’d have a new subject matter to sing about! Three years separate Sam Smith’s debut album and the lead single from his sophomore record, and he’s still singing about his disastrous love life. “Too Good at Goodbyes” is a gospel backed homage to a short relationship which saw Sam get dumped three times – so it’s no wonder he’s an expert on saying “aideu”.

8. Everglow – Coldplay


“So if you love someone you should let them know,
oh the light that you left me will everglow”

Gwyneth Paltrow’s contribution to Chris Martin’s acoustic ballad possibly makes this the only song in history to have an ex’s contribution to the song. What the heck is an everglow? Only a gnarly surfer – who may or may not have been a benign spirit – truly knows, for it was he who uttered the cryptic word, in a mysterious ocean, at a time none are certain of. But according to Chris, an everglow must be a feel good sensation you get after someone’s gone – so maybe it’s a very strong afterglow?

9. Torn – Natalie Imbruglia


“There’s nothing where he used to lie,
my inspiration has run dry,
that’s what’s going on,
nothing’s right I’m torn”

“Torn” started out life as Braendt (burnt) and did the rounds in Denmark for a few years, to little success. When the song’s co-writer Phil Thornalley ended up working on Aussie soap actress Natalie Imbruglia’s first album, he stuck it as the lead single, and it launched her into fame. The song’s about a breakup – none in particular – and the singer takes it so badly, she winds up naked on the floor. Rejected initially by all the US record labels, when it skyrocketed up the charts in the UK, the New York executives were scrambling for it. That’s the music business for you.

10. Somebody That I Used To Know – Gotye


“But you didn’t have to cut me off,
make out like it never happened and that we were nothing,
and I don’t even need your love,
but you treat me like a stranger and that feels so rough”

Writing the song in his parent’s barn in Melbourne, Belgian-born singer Goyte references several past experiences in “Somebody That I Used to Know” but addresses one messy separation in particular – an ex girlfriend from whom he just couldn’t break away cleanly. Whatever made the song popular – be it the relatable lyrical content, the guitar break from Luiz Bonfá’s “Seville” or the bizarre yet superb cover by Walk Off The Earth that followed a year later, Goyte’s bitter past loves have made him a huge success, so breakups can’t be all that bad.

11. Cry Me A River – Justin Timberlake


“You told me you loved me,
why did you leave me all alone,
now you tell me you need me when you call me on the phone”

Who knows what really went on between Justin Timberlake and Britney Spears over that two and a half years. Whatever transpired, Timberlake certainly made his message to Britney clear in the music video to “Cry me A River” making this a great song for anyone feeling spiteful and vindictive following a sudden termination.

12. Jar Of Hearts – Christina Perri


“And who do you think you are,
running round leaving scars,
collecting your jar of hearts,
and tearing love apart”

Christina Perri supposedly has a large collection of jars at home, sent by adoring fans who feel they’ve been touched and strengthened by her break-through record. Yes, let it be known that good things do come from breakups – this is the song that got Christina Perri out of the Beverley Hills cafe scene and into the footsteps of her older brother Nick. While she finds it a bizarre sensation to have crying fans expressing their connection with a song about a “serial heartbreaker”, we can at the very least find strength from the lyrics – by defiantly refusing to be hurt again!

13. Grenade – Bruno Mars


“I would go through all this pain,
take a bullet straight through my brain,
yes I would die for you baby,
but you wouldn’t do the same”

Mars probably regrets adopting a song with the title of “Grenade”, since audience members have taken to throwing fake grenades at him when he sings it up on stage. Pretty freaky. Hopefully the fact he’s sold 10.2 million copies helps assuage his nerves, the stress of the 1,000 push-ups a day he had to do to carry that great big piano around LA, and the trouble given to him by the girl who inspired the song in the first place. Some people just aren’t worth your tears.

14. Heartbreak Hotel – Elvis Presley


“Where I’ll be,
I’ll be so lonely baby,
well I’m so lonely,
I’ll be so lonely I could die”

Rockabilly singer-songwriter Glenn Reeves is the country star responsible for the demo of Elvis’s first number one single. We wonder how he felt about that, after showing nothing but disdain for the up-and-coming rock and roll sensation. Subsequently Elvis always had a song at number 1 in the charts. The inspiration? A news story apparently based on a lonely chap who jumped from a hotel window. Turns out the story was determined to be urban legend, though we discovered teenage girls certainly had an affinity for a man “so lonely he could die” as early as 1956.

15. The Best You Had – Nina Nesbit


“Does she ever feel like me?
Run her fingers down your back,
do you ever talk about us?
Or is it just the bad times we had?”

Here’s a little introspection from Scottish singer-songwriter Nina Nesbitt. Based on a friend’s Instagram stalking, “The Best You Had” looks at the ugly, egotistical side of breakups, where we decide whether or not our ex’s new lover is better looking than us. If they are? Bad. If they’re not? Good. Probably better if you don’t relate.

16. Let Me Down Slowly – Alec Benjamin


“Could you find a way to let me down slowly?
A little sympathy I hope you can show me,
if you wanna go then I’ll be so lonely,
if you’re leaving baby let me down slowly”

Alec Benjamin released his debut mixtape “Narrated for You” in 2018, and the lead single “Let Me Down Slowly” sums up his first relationship. Subject to the whims of his lover, Alex relates to us the sensation of being at someone’s mercy yet caring for them deeply, helpless in the face of their power over us. Fearing the inevitable, he entreats her to let him down gently.

17. Can I Be Him – James Arthur


“Could I be the one you talk about in all your stories.
Can I be him?”

While a lot of people may be getting married to James Arthur’s contemplative ballad, the song explores feelings of inadequacy and unrequited love. James expressed his insecurities and desires to be special to someone in an interview with ABC Radio. The song isn’t necessarily about anyone in particular, he adds, though plenty will find some connection with the heart-wrenching lyrics.

18. Total Eclipse Of The Heart – Bonnie Tyler


“Once upon a time I was fallin in love,
now I’m only falling apart,
theres nothing I can do,
total eclipse of the heart”

Originally slated for Meatloaf, his record company refused to pay for the lyrics, so it passed over to Bonnie Tyler (and we’re all too glad of that). Popular with eclipse-goers, the lyrics express a destructive relationship – Bonnie has no light in her life without her love, but when they’re together, things get toxic and she’s frightened he’s going to leave. We’ve all been there, right?

19. Jealous – Labrinth


“I’m jealous of the rain that falls upon your skin.
It’s closer than my hands have ever been”

When Labrinth was 4, his dad walked out on the family. “Jealous”, the achingly sore piano ballad from the artist’s second album, is addressed directly to Labrinth’s father, and is meant as comfort to everyone going through a similar experience. Whether you’ve been spurned by your father or any other loved one, you’ll find Labrinth – a song that made Adele cry – the perfect means of catharsis for your fragile heart.

20. Dancing On My Own – Robyn


“I’m in the corner watching you kiss her,
and I’m right over here why can’t you see me”

Ooh, the synth! Yes, this is an electronic ballad straight from the heady days of Reaganomics and the eruption of computer technology, inspired (according to Robyn) by “sad, gay disco anthems” (which is probably why the Guardian voted it their best track of 2010). The narrator watches her former lover dance in the club, unaware of her presence, with a new lady-friend, and seems to be more about Robyn’s fascination with modern club culture than any past experiences with lovers.

21. Learning The Blues – Frank Sinatra


“The cigarettes you light one after another,
won’t help you forget her and the way that you love her”

Frank’s 1955 release of “Learnin’ the Blues” attempts to convince us that all our attempts to move on are futile, so we should forget trying to forget and just get up on the dance floor and wear out our shoes. Well, thanks to Frank’s silky vocals, it’s easily done – this record was briefly the most played song on US radio!

22. Someone Like You – Adele


“Nevermind, I’ll find someone like you,
I wish nothing but the best for you too,
don’t forget me I beg.”

We know what you’re thinking. If he broke your heart so badly, why would you want someone like him again? Apparently Adele only wanted the good bits of the last relationship, the heady first days sensation, so we’ll just have to forgive her for the rose-tinted-glasses syndrome. When “Someone Like You” became one of the best selling singles of all time, we imagine it was Adele’s ex who wound up feeling worse from the breakup. Accompanied by just a grand piano, when Adele premiered the song on Later Live with Jools Holland, we all welcomed an enduring ballad that kissed goodbye not only to the singer’s ex, but synthesisers, auto-tune, and the wax of post-production interference to boot.

23. Apologize – One Republic


“I loved you with fire red,
now it’s turning blue,
and you say sorry like the angle heaven let me think was you”

One Republic garnered a fair amount of attention with “Apologize”, yet we imagine it was still quite a shock when American rapper Timbaland remixed it for his “Timbaland Presents: Shock Value” album. Speaking of the necessity to move on from a toxic relationship, Timbaland assured One Republic – whose presence was mainly spurred on by MySpace at the time – that “Apologize” was destined to be a hit even without his input, but it no doubt sped the process up!

24. Breakeven – The Script


“What am I supposed to do when the best part of me was always you”

We all recognise the line “I’m falling to pieces”, sung in Danny O’Donoghue’s endearing falsetto. What you may not know is that the lyrical content for “Breakeven” was gleaned from the band’s therapy sessions (like most of their songs, apparently) and that the song took an agonising 36 weeks to reach #1 on Billboard’s Adult Pop chart. Rather awkwardly, Danny’s ex was actually cast as an extra for the music video – so the producers quickly recast her. Wise move.

25. It Must Have Been Love – Roxette


“It must have been love but it’s over now.
It must have been good but I lost it somehow”

Released first as a Christmas single in their home country of Sweden, Roxette’s single “It Must Have Been Love” is soaked in typical 80s flavour and didn’t achieve much beyond Sweden’s borders. Well, that is until it appeared on the soundtrack of “Pretty Woman” and evoked the romance of Richard Gere and Julia Roberts in their unlikely pairing. Since then it became one of their best selling songs of all time. Originally known as “Christmas for the Broken Hearted”, the lyrics walk us through the sadness of losing love – but there’s enough 80s charm to lift our spirits, too.

26. Back To Black – Amy Winehouse


“We only said goodbye with words,
I died a hundred times,
you go back to her and I go back to us”

In typically melodramatic celebrity fashion, Amy Winehouse mourns her lost relationship with a full retinue of mourners, a hearse, lilies, and a teeny, tiny box. Then-boyfriend Blake Fielder-Civil had left her, and Amy fell into a dark place – “the Black”, so to speak – and penned a universally acclaimed song praised by many as one of her best.

27. Only Love Can Hurt Like This – Paloma Faith


“Only love can hurt like this,
must have been a deadly kiss,
only love can hurt like this”

Paloma Faith’s heavy ballad sees her singing about the dark side of love, and so it became her highest charting single to date. Dianne Warren, who had written for Cher and Aerosmith, was the one who put her name to the song, and Paloma, feeling a deep connection to the lyrics thanks to a precarious emotional state of her own, fell in love with it. It’s sad, but thankfully we can still get up and dance to this enormous single because Paloma insisted on injecting a little glimmer of hope into the darkness.

28. When I Was Your Man – Bruno Mars


“Too young too dumb to realise I should have bought you flowers and held your hand,
should have gave you all my hours when I had the chance”

A raw piano ballad for the one that got away, Bruno Mars makes his second appearance on our list with “When I was Your Man”. Going for the Billy Joel vibes with the half-empty glass on his lonely ballodeer’s piano, the singer admits the feelings expressed in the song are all too real, regretting all the mistakes he made that led to his love’s departure. Let that be a lesson to all you out there!

29. Stay With Me – Sam Smith


“And deep down I know this never works,
but can you lay with me so it doesn’t hurt,
oh won’t you stay with me?
Cause you’re all I need”

It’s amusing to imagine Sam Smith standing in various corners of his room, recording his own voice repeatedly, harmonising with himself to achieve the effects of a gospel choir (weirdly, they had the London based Enchorus gospel choir appear in the video – so why they didn’t just ask them to sing the gospel part in the first place is a mystery). Throw in a drum loop on top of the piano, silky bass, a few organ riffs, overdubbed strings and Sam Smith’s utterly hopeless love life, and you have 4 Grammys. Turns out one night stands aren’t so bad. Sam was sure to rub it in his hookup’s face, too.

30. All I Want – Kodaline


“But if you loved me, why’d you leave me?
Take my body take my body,
all I want is and all I need is to find somebody,
somebody like you”

From their debut EP, Kodaline (which means nothing but is coincidentally a World of Warcraft character – there go Kodaline’s dreams of beginning their very own lexicon) is lead singer Stephen Garrison’s means of unleashing the despair of having a girlfriend go on holiday and return with a new lover. Life moves forward, though, and with his band close by to help pull him through the break-up, “All I Want” manages to stay positive even through the rough.

31. Stitches – Shawn Mendes


“I thought that I’d been hurt before,
but no ones ever left me quite this sore,
your words cut deeper than a knife,
now I need someone to breathe me back to life”

Shawn was hesitant to sing a song he hadn’t penned himself, but fell in love when he heard the sample for “Stitches”. It also gave him a chance to flex his acting muscles, being knocked around, hurled sideways, and convulsing from a mysterious invisible assailant. Turns out it’s his emotions attacking him, so don’t worry, he’s fine physically, though he adequately demonstrates just how badly we can be treated on a psychological level by those we look to for nurturing.

32. Yesterday – The Beatles


“Why she had to go I don’t know she wouldn’t say,
I said something wrong now I long for yesterday”

There’s probably a version of “Yesterday” being played somewhere in the world right now. Yes, until the turn of the century, it occupied more airtime than any other song, and according to The Guinness Book Of World Records, it’s been covered a whopping 3,000 times. Quite the opposite from what most songs on our list advise, Paul is yearning for yesterday instead of moving forward after a break-up. Not advisable, but it didn’t seem to do him any harm in the long run.

33. Call Out My Name – The Weeknd


“I said I didn’t feel nothing baby but I lied,
I almost cut a piece of myself for your life,
guess I was just another pit stop”

There are allusions and plenty of hearsay suggesting that “Call Out My Name” references Canadian singer-songwriter The Weeknd’s relationship with Selena Gomez. Wistful, moody and bizarre (the music video includes him vomiting flying bats, for no apparent reason), The Weeknd struggles to let go, and despite acknowledging the lack of meaning in their relationship, he still pines for her.

34. Ain’t No Sunshine – Bill Withers


“Ain’t no sunshine when she’s gone,
it’s not warm when she’s away”

Bill Withers’ first hit, conceived from a movie called “Days of Wine and Roses”, came from the days when he hung out with his alcoholic buddies, spent his post-navy years manufacturing aeroplane parts, pined lost love, and regretted a few other things that have since been lost with the amnesiac effects of inebriating substances. Popularity came with a cover of the song by Michael Jackson, and Bill began his slow climb to fame. We’re curious if he’s aware of the grammatical error in the title – “ain’t no” is a double negative. Then again, maybe that’s what he meant all along, and he was glad to be out of his relationship after all.

35. Fix You – Coldplay


“And the tears come streaming down your face,
when you lose something you can’t replace,
when you love someone but it goes to waste,
could it be worse?”

Chris Martin has never revealed what specifically inspired “Fix You”, though plenty have alluded to Gymneth Paltrow, whose father passed away in 2002 and needed the emotional support the song lends. Martin told USA Today of the keyboard his father-in-law bought before he died, and song after song was born. Assigning it his proudest moment, Chris has always favoured “Fix You” over the rest of the album for its earnestness and its ability to pull him through an achingly long and dark two years of their lives.

So there we have it. From emotional songs about breakups to heartfelt ballads about moving on, these song lyrics are guaranteed to pull on anyone’s heartstrings. So whether you’re trying to pick yourself up and get back out there, or are simply reminiscing about a past love, these songs should help you out and get you through it.

And when you do get through it and find the one, don’t forget to hire your wedding entertainment through Entertainment Nation! 😉

If You Enjoyed This, Try These Posts

The Most Romantic Song Lyrics To Warm Your Heart

Top Popular Piano Songs

The Funniest Misheard Lyrics

Comments are closed.

Our blog
Recent Posts

Our blog

Our blog

Our blog

Our blog

Velorum Quartet had a warm welcome at Crowne Plaza Stratford Upon Avon for a recent corporate event with Oxfordshire Teaching Schools Alliance.❤️

Electric string quartet, Velorum Quartet, put on a fantastic performance for all! We hope everyone had a brilliant time. 🎶

Be sure to check out Velorum Quartet for a sensational quartet perfect for Corporate Events, Parties and Weddings! 🎻
... See MoreSee Less

View on Facebook

Are you planning a big event and need a top-quality band to impress? Or maybe you have been tasked with organising the office summer party and need a pop-rock band that is guaranteed to have even the most reluctant dancer on the dance floor?

If the above is true, don't worry! Here at Entertainment Nation we have an unbeatable array of bands for hire that are perfect for corporate events.

Whether you're searching for an energetic pop-rock band, a smooth jazz trio or an acoustic folk ensemble, we have it all!

Head to the website to find out more:
... See MoreSee Less

View on Facebook
Entertainment Nation
Company Number: 8412437 VAT No. 201071380

Phone: 0800 53 000 35


Post: Entertainment Nation Ltd
Whitehouse Loft
Kings Lane
Stratford Upon Avon
CV37 0RD