We all have that one song that makes us want to bawl our eyes out. Whether it’s Maroon 5’s “Cold” or Justin Timberlake’s “Can’t Stop This Feeling,” these songs about toxic love are sure to break your heart into a million pieces. In this list, we’ll be discussing the 41 best songs about toxic relationships. So, if you’re not in a good place emotionally, then maybe check back later.
1. Bad Things – Machine Gun Kelly, Camila Cabello
The song paints an intense picture of a toxic relationship by describing physical and sexual abuse. The musician creates this dark poetry with philosophical rhymes, which leaves much room for imagination and well-meaning to create your own story around every line.
2. I Don’t Wanna Live Forever – Zayn, Taylor Swift
This song speaks of the pain of being in a toxic relationship. The singer is trying to work through their feelings for this person, but they always get stuck because they have more invested than the other, making it hard on both ends.
3. Something in the Way You Move – Ellie Goulding
The singer in this song can’t help but feel attracted to the guy she likes. Yet, he will leave her broken and in tears if they ever become involved with each other because of how much trouble it seems like their relationship is going to bring for both parties involved.
4. You Give Love a Bad Name – Bon Jovi
The music in this song is booming, and Bon Jovi sings about how his lover has become like a loaded gun. He doesn’t go into specifics, but you can tell their relationship isn’t great when he starts comparing her to something that could kill somebody.
5. Love the Way You Lie – Eminem feat. Rihanna
Eminem and Rihanna’s hit single “Love the Way You Lie” is a toxic relationship song. The victim forms an unhealthy, love-hate connection with her abuser, reflecting many relationships in which people are abused or hurt by those they trust most.
6. Church Bells – Carrie Underwood
The bells of the church toll for Jenny, who married a rich man only to find out he was an abusive alcoholic. She poisoned his drink and made sure never beat her again because it is not worth living in misery with no one knowing your pain.
7. Can’t Stop the Feeling – Justin Timberlake
So many people, at the end of their lives, say that life has not been living. The singer describes moments when he gets too happy and free, which makes him feel guilty because it’s only right for someone who loves them so much but can’t help themselves anyway.
8. Behind the Wall – Tracy Chapman
The singer in this song hears the screaming of a woman behind the wall as her husband beats her. She tells how no one will help them, even though it’s an emergency- but then, at last, some paramedics came and took away all that pain with their quick response time.
9. Stone Cold Dead in the Market – Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Jordan
“You’re gonna die, you son of a …” The lyrics of this song tell from the perspective of an abusive husband who has been murdered after his wife beat him to death with rolling pins and pots.
10. Jar of Hearts – Christina Perri
Jar of Hearts is one of the most heartfelt songs on this list because it tells an ex’s story. The song details how he reaches out to rekindle their failing relationship, and she rebuffs his advances with toxic words as a response: “C’mon baby show me that you care.”
11. Cold – Maroon 5 ft. Future
The lyrics to this song are about a relationship that’s gone sour. The couple isn’t sure how it started, but they know something’s wrong and can’t pretend anymore- which leads them towards an ending where things get more intense than ever before.
12. Pulling Teeth – Green Day
In our opinion, this song is more creative and less conventional, which makes for an engaging listening experience. The lyrics are quite emotional as well. They’re not just about the abuse but also about how he never wants his girlfriend (the abuser) back even though she takes good care of him when beating him up again after every argument between them.
13. Face Down – Red Jumpsuit Apparatus
The singer is abusive with this man who hits her and calls her ugly words. The way he treats his partner makes us sad for them both because they don’t know what life will come next.
14. Irresistible – Fall Out Boy
The lyrics in this 2015 rock song describe an unhealthy love affair between a man and his girlfriend. He’s so attracted to her that he doesn’t mind playing the game of harming himself for her sake, with no desire other than wanting “to make [her] happy.”
15. Cherry Wine – Hozier
The music video for this song features Saoirse Ronan, who plays the abuser and victim in their relationship. It also promotes domestic violence awareness by donating proceeds from sales to anti-domestic abuse charities.
16. Better Man – Pearl Jam
Better Man is about a woman who’s trapped in an abusive relationship with her husband. Every night, she dreams of the days when he was a better man even though she considers finally leaving him. She believes that there can’t find anyone as good or bad for her as her married life has given her so far.
17. Every Breath You Take – The Police
This song duped us into thinking it is super romantic, but it’s actually about an ex who turns into a stalker. If you listen to the lyrics and read between the lines, the singer isn’t in love with his lover; he dreams about her every night, watching everything she does like some obsessed creep.
18. Jealous – Beyoncé
Beyoncé’s detailed account of her relationship with a man who seems to break every promise and trust makes for an interesting read. She comes up with creative ways to feel loved, but it is clear from reading about their exchanges how much this hurts in comparison.
19. Broken Strings – James Morrison feat. Nelly Furtado
You can never resolve the duality of love. Broken Strings captures this sentiment as two broken people go through so much pain to be with the one they want, even if it means being deceived and lied to or playing on “broken strings.”
20. Hot N Cold – Katy Perry
Katy Perry’s “Hot n Cold” is a song about her lover’s mood swings, which affect their relationships. While not explicitly abusive – there are many examples of this type of behavior that can leave partners emotionally exhausted over time.
21. Closer – The Chainsmokers Ft Halsey
The lyrics of this song are filled with emotion, telling the story of a couple who have been through something difficult. First, their love was pronounced dead, but they realized it was not true when both parties started to change their minds again after being apart for so long.
22. I Miss The Misery – Halestorm
The woman in this song misses the ups and downs of a love hate relationship she had with her boyfriend. Now that he’s being a better boyfriend to her (not lying, cheating, and being evil in general), she laments the past! Talk about one messed up situation.
23. Mad Love – Jojo
You never know the full extent of your strength until it is too late. This song highlights how you stay in relationships for passion and thrill but often don’t see a way out because you think staying will fix everything.
24. Love on the Brain – Rihanna
The lyrics of this song seem to be describing a lover who wounds the singer, then mends her.
25. I Hate U, I Love U – Gnash (ft. Olivia O’Brien)
This is a song about love that has been in deep conflict. The singer, who lives in fear of revealing her feelings to him because he might move on and marry another woman if she opens up more than just friendship with this male friend (loved one), creates distance between them while they both pine for each other still.
26. Take A Bow – Rihanna
According to this song, loving someone is not easy, but it’s worth fighting for whether you’re struggling in your relationship or want to get away from them as quickly and gracefully possible.
27. Staind – Epiphany
Love is a tricky emotion. While it’s easy for us to hate people we care about, even if they aren’t doing anything wrong- sometimes this person can be ourselves because feelings get in the way of letting go and moving forward.
28. Rock Bottom – Hailee Steinfeld (ft. DNCE)
The toxic couple is addicted to fighting in this 2015 upbeat pop song. They feel both love and hate for one another but keep coming back because it’s what they need; conflict fuels their relationship just as much food does our bodies.
29. Put My Heart Down – Sara Evans
The lyrics of this 2014 country song speak to the heart as no other does. We can’t help but feel for the woman singing because her lover’s words have cut so deep into who she is today that even after he leaves, there will still be a million tears falling around here somewhere.
30. Hurts So Good – John Mellencamp
With its intense, grinding soundscape and haunting vocals, this 1982 rock song tells the story of a man who’s been left feeling old before his time. He invites his lover to sink her teeth right through him as he begs for one last chewy taste-in between their lovers’ lips.
31. Love Hurts – Nazareth
The protagonist in this song is warning his ex-sweetheart that she might be hurt when he’s done with love because it will scar, wound, or cause pain.
32. Broken Strings – James Morrison (ft. Nelly Furtado)
The victim of a lover betrayed in this 2008 pop tune is struggling to hold himself together, but he can’t. His heart has been ripped out and destroyed by what was never meant for him: an unrepairable breakup with his girlfriend, who he still loves her more than anything else in life.
33. Hotter Than Hell – Dua Lipa
This song’s dark, twisted relationship between a woman and her lover does not contain love; it’s more like brutal attraction. The two of them bring out each other’s bestial sides to the point where their obsession becomes dangerous.
34. Insensitive – Jan Arden
The song is filled with regret, as the singer desperately tries to forget all of their wonderful times together. They also argue internally about whether or not they should resolve things between themselves and someone else who wants them resolved.
35. Smoke When I Drink – Kelleigh Bannen
Your ex will never forget the melody of this song for the rest of his life… unfortunately bad habits are hard to break.
36. I Will Survive – Gloria Gaynor
It’s finally time to move on from your broken heart. This beautiful song will help remove any pain in easing the healing process by reminding listeners that it’s okay not to be perfect all at once.
37. Gunpowder & Lead – Miranda Lambert
The lady in this song has had enough, and her honey’s been sprung from jail for beating her up. She plans on ambushing him with a shotgun when he returns home.
38. Tomorrow – Chris Young
The couple in this 2011 country song is like fire and gasoline, but significantly different. The man knows that she’s going to combust soon enough- he doesn’t care; all he wants right now are those final few moments where they can hold each other tight.
39. Vicious Love – New Found Glory
Another guy in this 2014 rock track tells the song’s protagonist that he should let go of his love interest because she doesn’t deserve such treatment. Maybe they’re better off as friends, but we all know how stubborn these types can be.
40. Playing With Fire – Thomas Rhett (ft. Danielle Bradbery)
While the singer knows what’s best for him, his ex-girlfriend can’t help herself. She still falls victim to her love and agreements with this man as they play a dangerous game with hearts -knowing it isn’t even close yet.
41. We Are Never Getting Back Together – Taylor Swift
When the girl’s ex-boyfriend breaks up with her, she is so angry that he’ll never get over it. The song talks about how strong and independent women should let go of their past mistakes for a better future ahead of someone else.
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.