Breakups are tough. It’s difficult to move on from the past and start from scratch—an experience that is so universal, yet so personal. While there is a plethora of songs that allow you to wallow in sadness thinking about it, there aren’t as many that celebrate relationships ending or look at that change with a positive lens. Here are the top 10 songs to help you cope with breakups in an uplifting way, serving as a reminder that everything will be okay.
Destiny’s Child were pros at calling men out on their crap, from “Say My Name” to “Independent Women,” but “Survivor” remains the ultimate anthem for breakup up after an unhealthy relationship. It’s not often that we see mainstream R&B/pop songs that touch on the subject of emotionally abusive relationships, but Destiny’s Child use this one as a reminder to their former partner that they’re strong women who will not let a man try to take control over them with its empowering lyrics: “You thought that I’d be weak without you, but I’m stronger/ You thought that I’d be broke without you, but I’m richer/ You thought that I’d be sad without you, I laugh harder/Thought I wouldn’t grow without you, now I’m wiser/Thought that I’d be helpless without you, but I’m smarter.”
Jenny Lewis had great tracks expressing her heartache in all of her Rilo Kiley albums, but “Breakin’ Up” changes things up. It’s one of Rilo Kiley’s most upbeat and pop-inspired tracks, as Jenny Lewis celebrates the joy of breaking off a bad relationship in its catchy chorus, singing “It feels good to be free,” reminding us that breakups aren’t always meant to be distressing.
Beyoncé has some excellent breakup bangers like “Irreplaceable” and basically every song from Lemonade, but “Sorry” takes the cake as the ultimate breakup song for those who have been cheated on. In this track, she’s calling the shots, giving her man the finger for cheating with Becky with the good hair and assuring him she’s perfectly fine without him, in true empowering Beyoncé fashion.
In “Our Song,” Radiator Hospital frontman Sam Cook-Parrott turns a painful breakup into an energetic, upbeat song of triumph. He sings about not holding it against his lover for wanting things to end, ultimately choosing to be the one to break things off: “When you call your mom back tell her that I’m the one leaving / You know she wouldn’t understand / And she shouldn’t have to / I won’t hold it against you.”
Most of Against Me!’s songs are on the heavier, grittier side, but frontwoman Laura Jane Grace shows a sonically softer side in this track off 2011’s White Crosses, as she sings about an inevitable breakup. In its lyrics, she acknowledges the relationship has run its course, yet looks back at fond memories of better times: “We used to like all the same bands / We used to have all the same friends / What do we have left in common? / Just shared memories of good times long since past.”
This Blondie disco classic is so danceable that it almost makes you forget that it’s written about heartbreak. Instead of having Debbie Harry mourn a past relationship, “Heart of Glass” breaks away from the traditional heartbreak theme by having Debbie be the one who breaks things off after her partner turns out to be subpar, taking pride in having a “heart of glass” of her own.
Robyn doesn’t shy away from turning sad songs into synth-pop hits. In this heartbreak anthem, Robyn takes inspiration from disco anthems to turn the sadness that comes with heartbreak into empowerment in this goosebump-inducing dance floor staple. While she’s singing about seeing her former lover with someone else, she declares that she’ll “keep dancing on my own,” proudly wearing her heart on her sleeve.
“Rid of Me” is one of those iconic songs that are so powerful that you can’t just shake off. When you hear PJ beg her lover not to leave, you feel it in her voice, as it shifts from quiet to loud and imperative. Instead of accepting defeat, she’s willing to compromise her ego and do everything in her will to make him stay, making you want to shout along “Don’t you wish you never, never met her.”
Canadian quartet Plumtree are mostly known for inadvertently naming an iconic graphic novel character with their song “Scott Pilgrim” but besides that, they also had some great, relatable songs that serve as pick-me-ups for tough breakups. In this song off their 2000 debut album This Day Won’t Last At All, they sing about trying to make themselves feel better after a bad breakup, with a positive reminder of not letting it put them down and take time to be their best selves: “Going to wake up / Going to feel good / Going to feel the way / I was meant to feel today / Everyday.”
Blood Orange has plenty of amazing songs, but “You’re Not Good Enough” stands out with its catchy, danceable beat and a confidence boost with its lyrics, as Dev Hynes sings about pushing away a past lover when they make their return into his life. He tells them that they’re simply not good enough for him: “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.”