”Nights Like This” was released as a single off Kehlani’s mixtape “While We Wait” on January 10, 2019.
The Ty Dolla Sign-assisted track goes through the motions of having mixed feelings for a capricious lover, whom Kehlani decidedly refers to as “girl.”
Alongside a bluesy laid-back beat, the singer expresses how much she misses their past relationship and wants to “do it over, bring it back, and rewind it.” But as the bridge repeats, “You gon’ get my hopes high, girl,” the singer seems well-aware that a reunion isn’t certain.
”Evergreen” is the sixth track on “Dreaming of David.”
As Insider’s music reporter Callie Ahlgrim has said, Beatty has a voice that thrives in the “sparkling, youthful intimacy of modern ‘bedroom pop.’”
His electronically experimental track “Evergreen” uses overwrought instrumentation to reinforce Beatty’s frustration as he hazily explores the fragility of a tumultuous romance coming to its presumptive end.
”Leave fast as I can, stayin’ back could be bad (I lose sleep) / Thought I wanted you back, I wrestle with that, oh (I lose sleep) / I don’t know where you are, I don’t know if it’s bad / No answer / What comes after? What comes after?” Beatty cries in a particularly apprehensive verse.
”Green Eyes” was released as a single on October 20, 2020.
This Frank Ocean-inspired track is relatable for any folks who’ve ever been in queer relationships that were jeopardized by an intolerant family, society, or heteronormativity.
”Green Eyes” is not just about Arlo’s personal heartache over a short-lived romance, but is also about the distress the singer’s ex-partner must’ve felt over their own sexuality.
”Of course I know why we lasted two months / Could not hold my hand in public / Felt their eyes judgin’ our love and beggin’ for blood / I could never blame you darlin’,” one verse goes.
”It was important that the instrumental carry a warmth because the song explores quite painful places in the verses. I wanted to approach this topic of self-acceptance and self-discovery, plus people’s parents not accepting them and the idea of sexuality,” Parks told Apple Music.
”Understanding that you only need to focus on being yourself has been hard-won knowledge for me.”
”Blond” was released on August 20, 2016.
Boys Don’t Cry
On “Ivy,” Ocean painfully reflects on a juvenile, but virulent, relationship, in which he had broken someone’s heart and ultimately lost a friend in the process.
”That was my version of collage or bricolage, how we experience memory sometimes, it’s not linear. We’re not telling the stories to ourselves, we know the story, we’re just seeing it in flashes overlaid,” he told New York Times in 2016.
In those palpable flashbacks, the singer grapples with guilt and accountability via lyrics like, “I could hate you now / It’s quite alright to hate me now,” and “All the things I didn’t mean to say, I didn’t mean to do / There were things you didn’t need to say / Did you mean to?”
”You’re Not Good Enough” is the second track on Blood Orange’s sophomore album “Cupid Deluxe.”
Domino Recording Company
Blood Orange, whose real name is Dev Hynes, emphatically calls out an ex for their shortcomings in this fan-favorite track.
Over funky ’80s-inspired instrumentation, he utilizes diary-like lyrics and his mellow, somewhat-whiny vocals to come to terms with how poorly his ex-partner treated him, which makes this project a dreamy, cathartic experience.
The chorus goes, “I never was in love / You know that you were never good enough / Fall asleep right next to me / You know that you were never good enough.”
”Baby, You Make Me Crazy” is the seventh track on “The Thrill Of It All.”
Capitol Records UK
Smith’s 2017 record stresses the importance of having an encouraging support system while trying to get over an ex, which is a refreshing deviation from the standard tunes of forlornness.
The song was written after the singer was dumped over the phone while they were at home with their best friend, who remained by their side in the breakup’s aftermath, Smith explained in a 2017 interview with Zane Lowe of Apple Music.
Smith’s powerful voice, paired with the gospel-like choir in the background, is deeply reinvigorating in this track, as they unabashedly embrace those feelings of sorrow post-breakup.
”Touch” was released as a single on March 4, 2014.
Shura/Universal Music Group via YouTube
Over hypnotic synths, Shura croons, “And all I wanna do is go home with you / But I know I’m out of my mind / I wanna touch you but I’m too late / I wanna touch you but there’s history,” which truly puts the grieving listener in a trance.
”Touch” is also intuitive in the sense that it’s hyper-aware of the fluctuating (or volatile) status of one’s relationship with a person.
Throughout the song, the singer goes, “There’s a love between us still / But something’s changed and I don’t know why.”
Regardless of any history or tension between the singer and her love interest, she confesses that still, all she desires is to be intimate with them — which is nothing but relatable.
”Undrunk” was released as a single on January 25, 2019.
Fletcher/Capitol Records via YouTube
This song is a clever way of telling an ex that you wish to undo your entire relationship with them via lyrical verbs like “un-call,” “un-f—,” and “un-drunk.”
”I was like, ‘That is the greatest word ever.’ We started saying all of these things that we could ‘un-,’ you know, like, ‘un-kiss,’ ‘un-love,’ ‘un-f—,’ all of these things that we would want to undo about our past relationships,” the singer told Billboard,
She also told Genius that “Undrunk” was the first song she wrote after her breakup and how she used it as a vehicle to talk about “really petty s—” regarding “a really s—-y breakup.”
”Nobody” is the ninth track on Mitski’s fifth studio album “Be The Cowboy.”
Somberly, but melodically, Mitski captures the very human feeling, and wretchedness, of mere loneliness.
In 3:13 minutes, she masterfully expresses her absolute craving for intimacy, especially through the pre-chorus: “And I know no one will save me / I’m just asking for a kiss / Give me one good movie kiss / And I’ll be alright.”
”Guard Down” was released as a single on February 9, 2021.
Saddest Factory Records/Dead Oceans
This song is instrumentally powered by snappy percussions and emotionally driven by regret.
The singer acknowledges the sudden end of a summer fling and warns others to never open up their heart or let their own guard down, like they once did.
”When I get in a nervous situation or when I get protective of myself or my feelings, there’s a voice in my head that says, ‘Don’t let your guard down, don’t make yourself vulnerable,’” Claud told Apple Music.
”And this song is about that feeling, and confessing, ‘Holy s—, I’m going to be an adult in a few months. I’m going to be turning 21, and what do I have figured out? And what do I not have figured out? And I’ve been spending all this time alone — is isolating myself really helping me? Or is it just making it worse?’” they added.
”Love, Or The Lack Thereof” was released as a single on November 20, 2020.
”Something that inspired me writing this song is the mere fact that in a lot of love songs, you don’t hear about every single aspect of love because there are so many things that make up the concept of loving somebody, including confusion, anger, jealousy, euphoria, bliss, compassion,” the singer explained in an Instagram story, according to Genius.
Yearning is also undeniably one of those many sensations involved in loving a significant other — even if said other is “no good” or “toxic,” as Dunbar sings in “Love, Or The Lack Thereof.”
”If I’m all yours, then take me back,” he cries out in the ballad’s pre-chorus.
”Sad” is the first track on Tayla Parx’s second studio album “Coping Mechanisms.”
Parx is an expert when it comes to writing breakup songs, and her latest album examines the residual feelings of heartbreak as she tries to develop coping mechanisms along the way.
In “Sad,” she hopes that her ex is “so f—ing sad.” While she admits she shouldn’t be saying it, she’d ultimately rather her ex be the one who’s feeling low.
”When I listen to ‘Sad’ now it’s so funny that somebody could affect me so much so, that I wrote this quirky song about it,” Parx told American Songwriter. “Maybe it wasn’t the healthiest reaction, but it was my own coping mechanism at the time.”
”Care” was released as a lead single on July 14, 2020.
This ’90s-inspired tune is a good one to rock out and release any built-up frustrations to.
”It’s an angry girl anthem that I want chicks to rock out to in their bedroom and to dance to and to cry to if they feel sad,” Beabadoobee told Genius in 2020.
She continued to talk about how personal the song was and how it’s about “the person that hurt her but who she really loves.”
”It was the first time that I was writing a song that was very vulnerable and very personal, but I also wanted it to be such a banger,” she added.
”Sorry Not Sorry” was released as a single on July 11, 2017.
Demi Lovato/Island Records via YouTube
”Sorry Not Sorry” isn’t afraid to let everyone know that the main character of the story is doing well despite any antagonism or “haters,” which may very well include unfavorable exes.
The narrator is feeling well in their newfound state of confidence, which is conveyed through the pre-chorus: “And baby, I’m the baddest / You f—in’ with a savage,” and chorus: “Bein’ so bad got me feelin’ so good / Showin’ you up like I knew that I would.”
”‘Sorry Not Sorry’ is a song to the haters that is basically saying, ‘You know what? I’m good now, and I’m sorry I’m not sorry that you may not be loving where your life is at the moment,” Lovato told Amazon Music, according to E! News.
Their 2017 hit simply makes you want to dance the pain away as opposed to having a good cry.
”I hope this songs makes you get off your seat and dance like you never have before. This is an anthem for anyone who’s ever been hated on and has risen above it and come out from the other side like a f—ing savage!!!” the singer tweeted in 2017.
”The Good Side” is the fifth track on “Bloom.”
Universal Music Australia
Sivan strips down production on this song and croons along to acoustics while apologizing to his ex-boyfriend for how their relationship ended.
The singer doesn’t play the victim in this track and is well aware he is the one who retired from their relationship and started a new life abroad.
”I think the nature of breakups, one person is always going to get the shorter end of the stick and I just got lucky and I think I do have guilt about that,” Sivan told Genius in 2018.
”I left, went on tour, got to see the world, and met someone new really soon afterwards,” he added.
Despite the breakup, Sivan shows admiration for his ex and mentions that it was his ex who showed him the ropes of a romantic relationship and taught him how to love.
”I’ll say I’m proud of all that you’ve done / You taught me the ropes, and you taught me to love,” he intones.
”Talia” was released as a single on April 13, 2018.
”Talia” is so naturally and phenomenally gay and, according to Jackson Howard for Pitchfork, “is the kind of single past generations of queer kids longed for.”
In the song, King Princess longs for an ex while abusing alcohol to deal with her heartache.
”It’s very deep pain and I sat down at the piano and I wrote it in 10 minutes. It’s crazy when it happens like that. Playing it is really cathartic now,” she told Harper’s Bazaar in 2018.
”It’s the hardest song to play with the band because the production’s so specific and the verses are swung but the chorus is four-four. It’s really powerful live and being able to see people respond to it is so cool. I’m like, ‘Yes me too, b—-!’”she added.
”Guilty Conscience” was released as a single on January 10, 2020.
Def Jam Recordings
070 Shake, or Danielle Balbuena, narrates an unfaithful relationship via her song “Guilty Conscious.”
Over a splendid clangor, the singer melancholically articulates the art of karma and the irony of both parties cheating on each other while in their relationship.
The narrator particularly seems to be rattled with the guilt that’s built up due to her secretive treachery, which she conveys through the chorus: ” Ghosts of the past came to haunt me (Haunt me) / I caught you but you never caught me (Caught me) / I was sitting here waiting on karma (Karma) / There goes my guilty conscience.”
”Winterbreak” is the fourth track on Muna’s debut album “About U.”
”Winterbreak” is the fourth track on Muna’s debut studio album, “About U,” and it excellently introduces the band’s grim, but enlightening nature.
The track traverses conflicting feelings of wanting to stay with your partner, but ultimately knowing that “this is the love that we won’t get right,” which is a line woefully repeated in the track.
”This song is about a love that you can’t reconcile — wanting to make a home out of a person that has proved to you time and again that they are not a home; they are just a person,” lead vocalist Katie Gavin told The Fader.
”It’s about retracing scars, negative patterns, all with the silent belief that moments of communion and understanding might justify months of misfiring and regret. We’re all just trying to get back to that ‘first high’ feel.”
”Another One” is the 10th track on “Clarity.”
”Another One” is a standout ballad on Petras’ debut album that touches upon that painful idea that someone you love, or have loved, could be “touching, falling, and loving” someone else, as the singer repeats in the song.
Petras isn’t afraid to be vulnerable with listeners on this track as she candidly evinces the emotional toll a traumatic loss in love has had on her: “Don’t you know that, don’t you know that I’m a mess since I met you? / Don’t you know that, don’t you know that I’ve been trying to forget you? / Don’t you know that all I do is cry?”
”Feel Something” is the ninth track on Clairo’s debut studio album “Immunity.”
”Feel Something” is particularly sullen, but aesthetically introspective as Clairo expresses her attempts in “trying so hard to get over” a doomed romance.
”It’s a song about the moment right after a relationship, or the moment when you know it’s going to end and then it ends,” the singer told Coup De Main magazine.
”I think it’s something that everyone deals with, but at that time, I was going through a break-up and it just made sense to me. Especially when you’re the one that’s ending it. I think at that time, mentally, I just wasn’t where I wanted to be,” she continued.
”I wanted to feel all of the same emotions that they were feeling towards me, but I couldn’t feel anything because I wasn’t happy with myself.”
Snail Mail released her single “Pristine” on March 21, 2018.
Amazon/ Matador Records
”‘Pristine’ is about allowing yourself to be hopelessly in love and still being able to make fun of it,” the singer told Vice News.
But with wistful melodramatic lyrics like “And if you do find someone better/ I’ll still see you in everything / For always, tomorrow and all the time,” and “And we can be anything / Even apart,” the track is undoubtedly, specifically about unrequited love, or the absence of love.
And so, this dim guitar-driven record is quite literally “music to the ears” of the heartbroken.
”11 Blocks” was released as a single on June 24, 2016.
”11 Blocks” realistically illustrates both the emotional and physical distance felt between ex-lovers.
”It’s a very literal story, which is frightening. I wrote it about the first person I fell in love with moved 11 blocks away from me in California. In New York everyone is 11 blocks away. I’m there [New York] a lot and I kind of notice,” the musical artist told iHeartRadio.
”You have a subway, or whatever, but LA is so spread out. I find myself taking the really weird long route to Whole Foods just to kind of be like, ‘Are you there?’ And so it just felt way too close,” he added.