Divorce usually comes with a wide range of emotions from pain to anger to relief. When we’re going through it, the right song may help us through it. These tracks about divorce and heartbreak hit the spot when we’re working out our pain.
1. Family Portrait – Pink
One of the standout tracks from P!nk’s 2001 album Missundaztood, Family Portrait paints a poignant picture of divorce from a child’s point of view. Although she penned the song from her own experience, it’s highly relatable. Her soulful voice expertly captures the pain associated with a crumbling family.
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2. Don’t Speak – No Doubt
Gwen Stefani famously wrote most of 1995’s Tragic Kingdom following her split with band member Tony Kanal. Don’t Speak emerged as one of the most popular breakup songs of all time. It stands as a timeless reminder of how we are torn down following a once great love.
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3. D-I-V-O-R-C-E – Tammy Wynette
When Tammy Wynette released this song in 1968, divorce was not as commonplace. Many women of the era rallied around her, expertly contemplating how it would impact her kids. D-I-V-O-R-C-E is simply written, relying on the singer’s voice and range of emotion.
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4. Strong Enough – Cher
With a career that’s spanned five decades, Cher has made some heartbreak anthems. In 1998, she experienced a career renaissance and released Strong Enough. It serves as a powerful pop song reminding us to pull up our pants and move on.
5. A Little Bit Stronger – Sara Evans
Divorce comes with its ups and downs, and so does this song. It starts out capturing the sadness that accompanies the demise of a marriage. Throughout, Sara Evans does little things to help her move on. Its lyrics perfectly capture the post-divorce process. Her bright vocals help us feel a little bit stronger by the end.
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6. Better in Time – Leona Lewis
British pop star Leona Lewis captured our attention in 2008 with her emotive voice. Better In Time was released that year and showcases her ability to capture pain and hope through her music. When we’re down, this song helps lift us up by reminding us it will all be okay.
7. Ms. Jackson – Outkast
This track reads more like a party tune than a divorce song, but hear us out. Ms. Jackson is upbeat and catchy, but it also expertly captures the frustration that comes after a separation offering a glimpse into the man’s point of view in common breakup battles.
8. I Hope – Gabby Barrett Feat. Charlie Puth
On those days when we’re feeling extra bitter, we like listening to I Hope by Gabby Barrett featuring Charlie Puth. It captures our petty desire to see our ex’s life go down in flames. Her delivery is the best blend of snark and sass, which revs us up when we’re a little salty, and Puth matches it with gusto.
9. Habits (Stay High) – Tove Lo
We admit Tove Lo’s approach to a breakup isn’t the healthiest. But we can all relate to being a hot mess for a little while after a divorce. Her voice rings of desperation throughout this song, and the lyrics about “needing someone to numb the pain” are all too relevant, and we know we’re not alone.
10. Bye Bye Bye – *NSYNC
A banger from 2000, Bye Bye Bye pumps us up on those post-divorce days when we’re in the gym sweating out some rage. It’s upbeat and offers a peppy reminder that sometimes, it’s okay to leave someone behind. Also, it’s really fun to sing.
11. Go Your Own Way – Fleetwood Mac
Listening to Rumours by Fleetwood Mac is empowering. Plus, it reminds us that we don’t have to tour the world with our ex. Go Your Own Way is just one of the best breakup songs from this masterpiece. Its tone is peaceful and optimistic. We put it on when we need some positivity.
12. Somebody That I Used to Know – Gotye Feat. Kimbra
Gotye’s 2011 chart-topper Somebody That I Used To Know is quirky and offbeat with its unusual instrumentals. And we always wonder who would steal someone’s records. It offers an irresistible hook, capturing the relief of a breakup near the healing stage.
13. Part of Me – Katy Perry
Katy Perry’s 2010 album Teenage Dream is a whirlwind of emotion that chronicles her relationship with Russell Brand. In the bonus track, Part Of Me, she skillfully mourns her marriage through a masterfully catchy pop song. This track puts into perspective that we’re not defined by our relationships, and we can find ourselves again after a divorce.
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14. 50 Ways to Leave Your Lover – Paul Simon
One of the best parts of this 1975 Paul Simon song is trying to remember the chorus and choosing your favorite way to leave your lover. It starts out slow before building to an infectious drum beat. This track is one of his most successful solo efforts, and it’s worth the listen if you’re psyching yourself up to leave a partner.
15. What Hurts the Most – Rascal Flatts
Country music often pairs well with heartbreak, and this 2006 song is no exception. Rascal Flatts convey the pain of trying so hard to reconcile without success. It’s beautifully arranged and serves as a powerful ode to grief. We listen to it when we want to wallow.
16. Nothing Compares 2 U – Sinéad O’Connor
Released in 1990, Sinead O’Connor’s biggest hit still strikes all the right notes. Each note of this song is laced with a pain that reaches into our souls. Its accompanying video is simple and elegant, with an extreme closeup of the singer against a simple backdrop. It’s hard not to think of her solo tear when we hear the track.
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17. Pictures of You – The Cure
Another hit from 1990, Pictures Of You by The Cure embodies the moody, sullen tone we need when we want to cry for a little while. It’s a beautiful ode to our effort to recreate painful memories by scrolling through old photos. Set against a synth-heavy new wave melody, this track is so bittersweet.
18. Million Reasons – Lady Gaga
A single from the 2016 album Joanne, Million Reasons is quieter and more subdued than earlier Lady Gaga staples. This one features stripped-down instrumentals that let her voice shine through. It’s an emotional spiral through the end of a relationship told through expertly written lyrics. We listen to this one to remind ourselves why we left.
19. I Heard it Through The Grapevine – Marvin Gaye
Marvin Gaye was one of the best R&B singers of the 20th century, creating moving songs that resonated long past his death in 1984. I Heard It Through The Grapevine is one of his most well-known tracks and highlights his vulnerability. He does a great job conveying the shock that comes with discovering that a partner has been unfaithful.
20. I Can’t Make You Love Me – Bonnie Raitt
Released in 1991, Bonnie Raitt’s breakup song highlights the emptiness that comes when one party in a relationship has fallen out of love. Its opening lyrics in which she tells her lover to “turn down these voices inside my head” sting to the core. Behind the vocal plays an elegant melody that belies the track’s meaning.
21. Because of You – Kelly Clarkson
Like Family Portrait, Kelly Clarkson’s 2004 ballad Because Of You details the toll of a bad relationship and its aftermath on the kids. She has been vocal about the impact her parents’ divorce had on her growing up, and this song serves as a cathartic release as she deals with that in adulthood. Her powerful voice drives home her pain and how she’s come to grips with it.
22. Got My Name Changed Back – Pistol Annies
When we want a funny spin on divorce, Got My Name Changed Back by Pistol Annies hits the spot. From their 2018 album Interstate Gospel, the song is an up-tempo jam that recaptures honky tonk country from the 1950s. It’s hard not to sing along with the infectious tune while nodding at the girls’ adventures navigating the legal hassles of reclaiming their identities after a divorce.
23. Irreplaceable – Beyoncé
It’s hard not to remember our own self-worth after listening to anything by Queen Bey. Irreplaceable, her 2006 breakup anthem, helps us recapture our spirit after dealing with the crushing blow of divorce. Beyoncé celebrates everything she brings to a relationship, reminding us not to dwell on the pain and know that we are all hard to replace.
24. Divorce Song – Liz Phair
Since her debut in 1990, Liz Phair has been a hero for women in indie rock. In 1993, she included Divorce Song on her album Exile In Guyville. In this track, the couple starts nitpicking each other on a road trip, which escalates to petty arguments about the little things. It’s a stark memento of how to appreciate your significant other once the initial spark dies down.
25. So Sick – Ne-Yo
So Sick was one of Ne-Yo’s first singles, released in 2006. It’s captivating, sucking us in with a hummable beat. In the track, he explores everything he has to do to stop thinking about a relationship gone awry, and we’ve all been there. This tune is so good that it leaves us wondering, “why can’t I turn off the radio?”
26. Burn – Usher
Usher explores the mixed emotions that accompany a breakup in his 2004 song, Burn. It’s a slow burn, set to a lower tempo than other hits from the Confessions album. The music behind the track serves as a mellow backing to his lyrics as he goes back and forth trying to make a choice.
27. I Will Survive – Gloria Gaynor
The ultimate breakup song, I Will Survive is perfect for getting our groove back. This anthem features empowering lyrics over a disco beat that’s fun to dance to. It’s another tune that goes on the gym playlist so we can sweat out our sadness, and we like singing it in the shower when we think we can’t handle the pain.
As the Head Editor and Writer at Music Grotto, Liam helps write and edit content produced from professional music/media journalists and other contributing writers. He works closely with journalists and other staff to format and publish music content for the Music Grotto website. Liam is also the founding member of Music Grotto and is passionate in disseminating editorial content to its readers.
Liam’s lifelong love for music makes his role at Music Grotto such a rewarding one. He loves researching, writing and editing music content for Music Grotto.