Getting through your first heartbreak is very difficult. Friendships break up, relationships end, and self-esteem can waver. Although we know realistically that we are bound to go through seasons of sadness in our lifetime, that does not make the road to recovery less difficult. But there is one thing that can comfort you: your favorite musicians have experienced the same emotions as you before. Sharing their feelings with the world and mending the hearts of their fans, one set of sad love songs at a time, these artists have earned a spot on our heartbreaking playlist.
From soulful pop ballads to 90s R&B hits to contemporary country tunes, these picks span decades and genres. Let Taylor Swift, Adele, Tate McRae and Harry Styles provide the backing track for those times when you just want to be in your feelings. Make sure you have a box of tissues handy as lyrics like “No Words Can Explain How I Miss You”, from Sam Smith’s “Lay Me Down” and “Because You Said Forever , Now I’m Driving Alone in Front of Your Street” from Olivia Rodrigo’s “Driver’s License” will bring tears to the surface you didn’t know you were holding back.
Whether you’re going through a rough breakup, vibes in your bedroom, or need a late night road trip playlist to clear your head, here are the best sad love songs to get you deep into. your feelings.
All it takes to make us cry is Rihanna’s angelic voice, piano, and tearful lyrics.
“Apologize” – Timbaland ft. OneRepublic
Those of us who grew up in the Y2K era will all remember that when this song was released, the car ride turned into a hardcore karaoke session.
The relationship you have with yourself is essential, but what do you do when you doubt yourself and feel alone? Do like Tate McRae and write down your “chaotic” feelings.
Recognizing that the person you loved will no longer be in your life is hard. Let Harry Styles cushion the blow with contemplative lyrics and a great music video.
“Die for You” – The Weeknd
When a relationship isn’t working, it can be hard to cut them off completely. “Die For You” lets your lover know that you will be there for them no matter what.
“complex” – Katie Gregson-MacLeod
“I need him like water, he thinks I’m fine,” hits you like a ton of bricks during Gregson-MacLeod’s simple yet oh-so-clever chorus.
“driver’s license” – Olivia Rodrigo
“Driver’s License” captures the essence of young love, broken promises and moving on with your life after loss in just over four minutes.
“Lay Me Down” – Sam Smith
Sam’s passionate, belt-heavy ballad has us daydreaming about our long-distance lovers and our relationships that ended way too soon.
“When I Was Your Man” – Bruno Mars
Some old-school Bruno Mars crooners may be the cure for your broken heart.
“Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow” – Carole King
The lyrics “Is this a lasting treasure / Or just a fun time?” perfectly encompasses the insecurities of falling in love.
This viral TikTok song reminds us of what could have been and how hard it is to get out of relationships.
“We Belong Together” – Mariah Carey
Mimi goes through the stages of grief and “We Belong Together” laments a mixed state of denial and bargaining.
If a 2 a.m. typo-laden text to an ex was a rap song, it would be Drake’s “Marvin’s Room.”
“Death by a Thousand Cuts” – Taylor Swift
Taylor Swift told the Elvis Duran show that this song was inspired by Netflix’s romantic comedy A good person. “It’s a movie about how she has to end this relationship that she didn’t want to end because she’s still in love with the person, but they broke up and he’s no fool.” she said. “It’s just sad because it’s just realistic, time has passed and now we’re different people and that’s the most devastating thing.”
Adele co-wrote this powerful piano ballad with Bruno Mars. Maybe all that musical genius in a song is why we still cry when Adele asks in the song “What if I never love again?”
“Someone I Used to Know” – Gotye
Is there a more painful feeling than feeling alienated from someone you knew so well? Gotye thinks not.
“Hurting You First” – Niia
Those who constantly worry about being hurt in a relationship will recognize the emotion at the heart of Niia’s “Hurt You First,” which ends with the haunting lyrics “You can’t leave me if I leave you.”
“Space Cowboy” – Kacey Musgraves
Musgraves says goodbye to a partner whose eyes never stopped wandering after they first met in “Space Cowboy.” For an even bigger heart key, listen to the version Kacey did with Harry Styles.
“when the party’s over” – Billie Eilish
Billie Eilish’s “When the Party’s Over” layers vocal harmonies and her hushed tones, making the song even more emotional and intimate.
“I Will Always Love You” – Whitney Houston
The queen of sad songs — and everything love songs, TBH – has the most heartbreaking take on “I Will Always Love You.” It hurts so bad, that’s what makes it so good.
Abby is an editorial assistant at Seventeen, covering pop culture, beauty, life and health.