You can find a song with almost any theme, but there might not be any more common than the breakup anthem. While many breakup songs are on the more depressing side, this isn't always the case. Many artists use their breakups as a chance to spread messages of strength and independence, and we're totally here for it. There's no reason you can't be happy and single, and these catchy songs are proof that the single life is just fine.
We've already focused on some of the best country breakup songs, but this list has all the pop and R&B hits you'll need to be moving on in no time. Sometimes the best way to deal with stress is to just dance it out, and you might not be able to resist with songs like these. From girl groups to solo stars, here are some of the absolute best breakup anthems.
As you'll see on this list, girl groups have a history of making some incredible breakup songs. Little Mix is one of the more recent to try this trend, and they did it justice. "Shout Out to My Ex" is a catchy romp dedicated to being single and better than ever. He may have been great when you were together, but now that's ancient history. The ladies of Little Mix love putting some major girl power themes into their music, and this song is no exception.
Listen to it here!
When Miley Cyrus released her album Bangerz in 2013, it represented a major career shift for her. The album spawned the huge hits "We Can't Stop" and "Wrecking Ball," but there are plenty of great tracks here that never got the radio treatment. "FU" is all about moving on from a cheating partner, and Miley seems to be in a pretty great place. She says, "I was over it the second that I saw it," before telling off the cheater in a way that's probably obvious from the title of the song. Miley is a strong independent woman, and she doesn't need anyone in her life who won't appreciate her.
No one loves a double entendre like P!nk, and she's not afraid to get just the right amount of raunchy. Her other hit "U + Ur Hand" would also work with this list, but "Blow Me (One Last Kiss)" is equally great. She has no time for men messing around, and I would be very scared to mess with her. In the video for the song, she throws wine on a man for taking a phone call when they were about to kiss, which just seems like a poor choice on his part. P!nk can basically do whatever she wants, we're just here to enjoy it.
British artist Dua Lipa burst onto the scene in 2017 with her self-titled debut album, and "New Rules" was an immediate standout. In the song, Dua outlines her set of guidelines for keeping the losers away, and we could all learn from them. Just don't pick up the phone, don't do it!! In the amazing video for the song, Dua is hanging out with a group of women, and they all hold each other back from doing anything stupid. It's a powerful visual message about women looking out for each other in the tumultuous dating world.
You know exactly where to put that box. Just with the simple hook of "to the left, to the left," a legendary breakup anthem was born. Beyoncé could essentially get any man she wants, so she has no tolerance for shenanigans. Granted, this was before the whole drama about Jay-Z allegedly cheating, but we have no doubt he suffered sufficiently as a result. Otherwise, his stuff definitely would have been in that box to the left.
Demi Lovato is great at portraying an effortless swagger in her music, and it's most evident in "Sorry Not Sorry." This summer 2017 anthem is all about standing your ground and doing whatever is best for you. If a guy can't handle you being your true self, dump him on the sidewalk! If you can't deal with a savage like Demi, stay far, far away. Remember, payback is a bad bitch. It's no surprise that Demi is the center of attention in the music video for the song, and I would do anything for an invite to the party she hosts at her house.
With "No Scrubs," TLC served up one of the most classic breakup jams of all time. Strong women deserve to be with other strong people, and the ladies of TLC have no interest in a man who can't support himself. This song has been around for 20 years, and still, 80% of people in any given bar could sing it word-for-word. That's just proof that the empowering message has really stuck with listeners. Don't try to holler at me if you can't back it up, that's just rude.
Women tend to come up with most of the best breakup songs, but the guys have snuck a few onto this list themselves. The All-American Rejects were one of the top bands of the 2000s pop-punk craze, and their song "Gives You Hell" was a massive hit. The guys clearly aren't over whatever happened in the situation, because they want whoever the song is about to have absolutely no happiness. That's cold, but sometimes you just can't help the way you feel. We've been there. The All-American Rejects are just like that sometimes, there's nothing to do about it.
The original American Idol winner is also one of the best in the power-pop breakup song game. Kelly Clarkson belts through her hit "Since U Been Gone" like there's no tomorrow, which there might not be for the man in question, TBH. Kelly's powerful vocals make the song truly unstoppable, and the subject of this song should be ashamed that he let Kelly slip away. Listening to this now, all I want to do is turn the volume all the way up and stand in front of the mirror with a hairbrush. Even 16 years after her Idol win, it still feels like we're not worthy of Kelly's perfection.
Alanis Morissette is one of the great female alternative rockers of the 1990s, and several of her songs are still classics. Chief among them is "You Oughta Know," which is all about how she shouldn't have to tell a man what he did to piss her off. This is still hugely relevant today, as guys love to act ignorant about how normal human behavior should work. Sorry men, mama Alanis told us not to let it slide. It's hard to believe that 23 years later, so little has changed.
If girl groups can make so many great breakup songs, boy bands can pull their weight too. *NSYNC had a major hit with their song "Bye, Bye, Bye," which is all about when you're completely ready to be done with a relationship. The song is insanely catchy, and you probably still know half the choreography from the video. If not, what are you waiting for, it's time to learn it. Of all the songs on this list, this one will almost certainly be stuck in my head for a week.
Trust Britney Spears to make you feel better after facing any adversity. Her loneliness ain't killing her no more, and neither should yours. While other breakup songs are about getting revenge or hating your ex, this one is all about the empowerment that can come from being on your own. Sometimes you don't know your own strength until you're forced to use it, and Britney has definitely had her fair share of tough times.
Maybe Beyoncé got some of her breakup song wisdom from her days of making music with the ladies of Destiny's Child. In the song, the girls are dealing with a guy who started out as a friend, but now he's asking for a little too much. It seems like he doesn't really have anything to offer, and they're not here for it. In the same vein of "No Scrubs," these ladies definitely don't need a man to pay their bills, but sometimes it's nice to be taken care of just a little bit. And when you're as beautiful and talented as Destiny's Child, the eligible bachelors should be lining up around the block.
Rihanna’s slow-burn breakup track became a surprisingly big hit, probably because of the relatable lyrics. She tells her cheating man how dumb he looks, trying to apologize outside her house, and that mental image is like, comically pathetic. Rihanna is probably the most perfect woman on the planet, and anybody who can't appreciate that can promptly get lost. Fans love Rihanna for her carefree, invincible attitude, and there's no chance she's letting this sad man get her spirits down. She has bigger and better things to worry about.
Robyn has long been an under-the-radar pop star, but "Dancing On My Own" deserves to be a massive hit. It's not about a breakup, exactly, but Robyn sings about the all too familiar moment of realizing it's not going to happen with the one you like. The pulsing beat is relentlessly catchy, and you're guaranteed to be out of your seat dancing by halfway through the song. Whether you're on you own or not, this one should really be on your playlist. Whatever you have sorrows about, they'll be gone by the end of the song.
I'm not sure where JoJo got the expertise to make great breakup songs at such a young age, but I'm glad she did. Her debut single, "Leave (Get Out)," came out when she was just 13, and the equally classic "Too Little, Too Late" dropped when she was 16. I barely even knew what relationships were at that point, but JoJo was channeling everything she had into amazing, powerful music. There's something so great about a teenage girl who knows exactly what she wants, and JoJo was going to do what she needed to cut the problematic people out of her life. Mad respect.
After going solo from *NSYNC, Justin Timberlake still had some breakup material left in the well. From his debut album Justified, "Cry Me a River" is about his prior relationship with none other than Britney Spears. The young pop royalty had been an A-list couple for quite a while, but things obviously didn't last. Justin's song is extremely dramatic, sampling Catholic chanting and a dramatic strings section, but all the pieces still work well together, and people loved it. Sometimes a little drama is exactly what's called for in a situation like this. We're so not here for JT's treatment of Brit since their breakup, but it would be a lie to say this song isn't seriously empowering post-breakup!
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