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The breakup playlist

By Maia Marquez Published Feb 11, 2022 5:00 am

More than once, I’ve felt a song was made either for me or about me, and I’m sure others have felt the same.

Adele’s All I Ask kept me company as I tried but failed to save myself from heartbreak before. I’d play it on full blast and on repeat, as I dreaded our impending last night together. It’s the “hold me like I’m more than just a friend” that did it for me.

The song didn’t spare me from the hurt I knew was coming; but at least I was comforted knowing that someone was going through it too. 

Just like me, others turn to music to seek the same. So, Young STAR reached out to ask what songs made them feel seen through some of their darkest days, the stories behind these songs, and how music led them from hurt and heartbreak to hope and healing:

The Scientist - Coldplay

It was my first heartbreak and this song was what allowed me to dwell on my sadness. Most breakup songs are about pulling yourself together, but this helped me wallow in my misery. — Quinn

Off the Table - Ariana Grande & The Weeknd

It was my first relationship and we were together for four years, so when he broke up with me out of nowhere, it broke me so much.

My biggest takeaway from the song is really to wait to be ready for love. While I’m not there yet, I’m reassured that I am worthy of love and happiness. — Issa

lucky! - TALA

No matter how many red flags, or how many friends told me he was bad news, I just couldn’t help but go back to this guy I went out on *one* date with. Long story short, LDR made it difficult for things to develop, but my delusion made me believe there was still something there.

This song made me realize that you can’t help but be pulled into orbits you know you shouldn’t be in, and that’s okay. Reeling into your emotions and recognizing your clownery is the first step to getting out of the situation. — Bob

All in My Head - Tori Kelly

In our seven years of friendship, I had always wished for the friends-to-lovers trope. At first I thought it was the age gap, but as we got older, he grew colder. 

Maybe I read too much into his intentions and maybe my expectations are ridiculously high, but every time I’d try to move on, there he’d be, always at the back of my mind. I know that if what we had was real, I wouldn’t need to make stuff up in my head. — Jyl

Remember Me - UMI

My ex and I were best friends before we got together, but a lot of miscommunication became the reason it didn’t end well.

It gives me a good cry to let everything out and reminds me that to get better, it’s okay to be sad first.

The song’s lyrics aren’t at all bitter, but more of a nod to how even if we aren’t together anymore, I can still wish him well and look back at that failed relationship with fondness, forgiveness, and warmth. — Janina

The Moon Song - Karen O

When my ex and I ended a relationship we both didn’t want to let go of, this song gave me the peace to accept that some relationships have to end for whatever reasons. It gives me a good cry to let everything out and reminds me that to get better, it’s okay to be sad first.

Even though that ended, I’m grateful for the connection we built and how our relationship helped me grow. And I wish the same for him. — Denden

Clean - Taylor Swift

I was in a very toxic relationship and I clung on longer than I should have. When I decided to let go, despite it being so hard, I heard Clean again and it made me cry.

The freedom I didn’t know I needed came and I found myself again. I’ve never felt more myself in the last two years as I do now. —CG

Pasalubong - Ben&Ben

I wish I had this song when I was heartbroken. It would’ve comforted me to know that through my fear of love being unrequited and my constant worry of “what if” and “what could be,” I was never alone. That yet, despite being stuck in limbo, someone else hopes to be loved back just like I did back then. — Luisa

Mr. Perfectly Fine - Taylor Swift

While I’m very much over my last breakup, I wish I had this song at that time because the lyrics are spot-on. It describes how I saw my ex: perfect in every way ‘til he had a change of heart, and I was “Miss Misery.” 

...at the end of the day, I’ll always have me no matter what.

Even though I didn’t know it then, I had always hoped to be “Miss Be Alright Someday,” that maybe they’d miss me, but by then I’d be perfectly fine too, as I am now, but with someone else. — Trish

I Love Me - Demi Lovato

It can be really easy to lose yourself and spiral into self-blame when love goes wrong. This song reminds me that at the end of the day, I’ll always have me no matter what. It may not be a perfect relationship, but I can still try to love me even if another person won’t. — Andrea

Levitating - Dua Lipa

An almost-fling ended when I was in the midst of my Quarter Life Crisis. “Why am I single?” and “Am I unattractive?” were recurring questions in my head and this song helped me cope.

It’s the confidence of saying “you want me” for me, and that’s how it should be; no more second guessing. It’s a reminder to choose only what I want to be stressed about and enjoy life (man, optional). — Daisy

Vienna - Billy Joel

All my friends started meeting their SOs, and here I was, going through a never-ending series of bad dates. This song, particularly the line “slow down, you’re doing fine / you can’t be everything you want to be before your time,” brought me so much comfort!

It helped me realize that there’s no rushing love. — Jeremiah

Because of music, gone are the days I think, “What if I never love again?” As I discover songs both old and new to add to my six-year-old playlist of breakup tracks (with varying degrees of feelings, of course), I’m filled with an everglow that assures me somehow, someday love will begin again and stay.