If the music we listen to is any indication, then breaking up, feeling down about it and hopefully finding the courage to move on are some of the most common shared human experiences. As centuries of forlorn singletons have learned and generations of songwriters have mastered, one of the best cures for heartbreak is the balm of music that speaks to our souls — or maybe helps us rationalize away the tears. Vincent , Lorde , Kesha and P! Below, TIME has pulled together a list of some of the most popular breakup songs on those Spotify playlists, as well as some under-the-radar favorites that might just come in handy when dealing with a broken heart. Some heartbreak is predicated on just a few powerful moments. As it turns out, Rihanna can turn on the tears just as well as she can pump up the party.
Sad Songs to Listen to When You're Already Sad
“Chelsea Hotel #2,” Leonard Cohen
In the aftermath of a breakup , you want to take some time to heal and possibly cry your eyes out in your car listening to sad breakup songs. We get it. The heart wants what it wants, and sometimes it just wants to feel. Here, you'll find the best breakup songs of all time complete with a few kiss-off tracks, for good measure. Rihanna may release club hit after club hit, but she really shines in her more vulnerable moments, like this pleading love song that is guaranteed to wreck even the strongest heart. No list of sad love songs would be complete without the queen of heartbreak ballads: the one and only Adele.
1. “Stay,” by Rihanna featuring Mikky Ekko (2012)
Whether you're going through a breakup, vibing in your room, or in need of a road trip playlist, here are the best sad love songs to get you deep in your feelings. The sad love song to end all sad love songs, Whitney's version of "I Will Always Love You" makes saying goodbye hurt so good. Adele's vocals are pleading as the piano trills in the background: "What if I never love again? Cue me crying. Mimi said "We belong together," dammit! This Mariah classic will have you screaming the final chorus into a hairbrush until your true love returns. So, you miss your toxic ex.
We all have our go-to sad songs, like security blankets for those all-too-common times of need. So grab a pint of your favorite ice cream and your best pair of headphones and queue up our playlist for your pain. We kept it to one song per artist, though several had multiple nominations. Song by song, line by line, he speaks directly to her and into her absence. The results are as engrossing as they are emotionally devastating. How often you want to do that will depend on how comfortable you are staring into the face of real death. Sharon Van Etten took her affinity for sad songs to a new level on her album Are We There , an anguished collection as mesmerizing as it is heartbreaking. The minor-key piano chord that opens the tune is the musical equivalent of a catch in your throat, as if to prepare you for what is to come. Neko Case makes it her own on her latest album Hell-On. Case sings with subdued clarity, her power held in reserve.