18 Kickass Songs to Get You Through Every Stage of a Sucky Breakup

Anne Meadows | Jul 28, 2016 Celebrities

So, it's over. You knew it was coming. Maybe it had been coming for a while. Or maybe you called it off. Or maybe you were just blindsided -- and your head's still spinning. However it went down, your relationship is now dead in the water. So sorry, love. Here's what's going to happen now: You are going to progress through the four stages of the (all-too) familiar breakup recovery process.

Of course, while these stages aren't actually proven by science, anyone will tell you that they are 100 percent legit. 

Stage One: Shock and Sadness
This is generally characterized by lots and lots of crying. Tears and more tears.

Stage Two: Denial and Desperation
In this stage you would seemingly bargain away your own soul to get your love back again. Don't be tempted -- it won't work.

Stage Three: Rage & Burn
A little anger is only natural -- and bitterness is to be expected. Slashing the ex's tires? That might be taking it too far. 

Stage Four: Moving On
Hurray, you survived! Now go enjoy your life minus that old sandbag holding you down. 

To guide you through this emotional tilt-a-whirl, we've collected a list of the best breakup songs that capture just how you're feeling right now. So go someplace quiet, put on your headphones, and listen to some music. It'll help. We promise. 

 

Image via Blablo101/Shutterstock

  • Someone Like You

    1

    Adele's emotional "Someone Like You" is powerful enough to get you caught up in your feelings even if you aren't in the midst of a breakup. If you've been feeling like it might be ending between the two of you (and have been denying it for far too long), this song is guaranteed to unleash all your pent-up tears. 

  • Un-Break My Heart

    2

    Timeless and haunting, Toni Braxton's "Un-break My Heart" is tailor-made for wallowing in heartbreak. The soaring bridge will send shivers down your spine -- even if it's the fifteenth time you've heard it (today). 

  • I Didn't Understand

    3

    Elliott Smith's soft voice and mellow guitar make his music perfect for a breakup (or any other type of) mope-fest. His lyrics are profoundly depressing but also beautifully honest and raw. So try not to listen to this song under the covers in a dark room or you'll probably never get out of there.

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  • Sorrow

    4

    Get ready to snuggle deeper into those covers. "Sorrow waited, sorrow won," croons The National singer Matt Berninger in this uber-melancholic song, aptly named "Sorrow." The beautifully sad melody will wash over you and leave the chorus "I don't want to get over you" echoing in your mind. Is that denial that we hear?

  • I Will Always Love You

    5

    In what is arguably her signature song, Whitney Houston sings a heartfelt goodbye to her love. Somehow, knowing that a deep, undying love isn't enough to make a relationship work is all the more heartbreaking, don’t you think? *sniff*

  • Don't Speak

    6

    TFW your insides are churning, your chest tightens, and your pulse speeds up as you hear the most dreaded four words you'll ever hear from the lips of your love: "We need to talk." When your whole body tenses and all you want to do is run away and never, ever face what you know has to be coming next. That feeling? No Doubt's "Don’t Speak" captures it perfectly.

  • Back to Black

    7

    Amy Winehouse had the most soulful yet tragic quality to her voice, didn’t she? Her sad song "Back to Black" isn't just for side chicks -- it's for anyone who ever had his or her hopes crushed in love and had to return to a bleak life all alone.

    More from CafeMom: 20 Heart-Pounding Love Song Lyrics From the '00s That Still Make Us Melt

  • End of the Road

    8

    This tearjerker of an R&B jam from Boyz II Men exemplifies the shameless desperation you feel when you're just not ready to give up -- even though your other half has already walked away. Throwback bonus: The spoken-word third verse is straight out of the '90s boyband playbook.

  • Cry Me a River

    9

    Hard to believe someone as collected and cool as Justin Timberlake ever had his heart broken. But as this ice-cold song shows, pity for exes comes in very short supply. Visualize yourself singing this to your ex -- and then going off to have an amazing solo musical career. Who knows what could happen, now that you're free.

  • Against All Odds

    10

    No sad love song screams desperation quite like this 1984 power ballad from Phil Collins. His emotional delivery is amped up so high that by the end of the song, you'll want to offer him a tissue. 

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  • F*** You

    11

    Once you've begun really coming to terms with your relationship ending, the bitterness begins to settle in. A certain rage begins to swell. It’s really best to not let it build up, though. Let it out by singing along to this insanely catchy spite-pop hit by CeeLo Green at full volume in your car as you drive past your ex's place.

  • You Outta Know

    12

    Hell hath no fury like a scorned woman with a killer voice and a backup band. Alanis Morissette burst onto the music scene with this rager and never looked back at her duplicitous lover. Just like you'll eventually do.

    More from CafeMom: 18 Romantic Lyrics From '90s Love Songs That Still Make Us Swoon

  • Sorry

    13

    Beyonce dropped the mic on cheaters (and side chicks) with this catchy spite-fest from her album Lemonade. "I ain't thinkin' bout you" is officially your new post-breakup mantra. Sing it loud!

  • You Can Bring Me Flowers

    14

    The slow-burning, subtle spite of this breakup song by Ray LaMontagne matches the feeling when that old anger starts bubbling again just under the surface. Its understated, sneering chorus is a perfectly catty way to say, "Bye, Felicia."

  • Smile

    15

    Lily Allen's "Smile" isn't about outright wishing revenge on your ex (although the video does play out this common post-breakup fantasy). It's more about just literally smiling and merrily going about with your own life regardless of what's happening in theirs. So when your ex calls you, pathetically begging you to take him or her back? Just sing to yourself "la la la la la la la" and drown out all that noise. 

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  • Since U Been Gone

    16

    The most epic of all kiss-off songs, Kelly Clarkson's megahit strikes just the right note of "sorry, not sorry." If you're almost ready to move on and get over it, this song will help you get there.

  • It Must Have Been Love

    17

    Once the tears finally dry and you can think back on the good times the two of you shared with a smile (not a sob), you are firmly on your way to moving on -- à la Roxette's monster ballad. Accepting that what you had was good and recognizing its loss is part of the healing process. Chin up, soldier! 

  • Bye Bye Bye

    18

    This upbeat 'N Sync hit is just about the happiest breakup song ever written. Who can waste time feeling bitter when there’s pop music to dance to? You may have accepted sadness, desperation, and rage as reluctant roommates up to this point -- but now it’s time to kick them out, too.

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