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Top 10 Sad Love Songs

It’s terrible, but there are times when a relationship goes wrong. Regardless of how much we would prefer it to be otherwise, there comes a time where everyone has to reach for the top ten sad love songs to help them get through the tough days after a break up – nobody escapes the pain of a broken heart, if only once in their lives.


When you need a little solace after your personal tragedy, these tunes hit all the right notes to help you make it to brighter days.

“I Will Always Love You” by Whitney Houston

We all have one that got away – or let us get away – and the sweeping vocals of Whitney Houston’s take on the classic Dolly Parton song seem to identify the feeling of moving on better than most any tune on this list. Regardless of how well you are doing after a relationship ends, there comes a time to admit you will be leaving a small part of your heart behind with someone else and these lyrics do it perfectly.


“Whiskey Lullaby” by Brad Paisley and Alison Krauss

Many Americans would point to country music as the best source for sad love songs (or maybe just sad songs of any sort) but that’s not always the case. Though this tune is from the genre, it actually received some play on pop stations when it came out during 2004. Telling the story of a couple driven to drink by losing the other, it touches on the depth of grief that accompanies a broken heart.

“Don’t Speak” by No Doubt

This song, belted out by the blonde beauty Gwen Stefani, managed to pull all the right strings for those people stuck relationships drifting apart during the mid-1990s. When you and your ex have developed a close bond as friends and lovers, splitting up is that much more difficult. The simple riffs and punching horns of this tune encapsulate the emotions well.

“Someone Like You” by Adele

The British girl with the big voice has a way of conveying emotions well beyond her years as she sings. Watching someone move on without you is among the most difficult parts of a relationship ending, yet there is tremendous comfort in the powerful melodies produced from start to end here. It’s tough to miss the anger and injury brought forth by Adele.

“The Dance” by Garth Brooks

A sign of maturity as you transition from painful nights to happy days is the ability to understand the gift that your past relationship was. Garth Brooks, in this 1989 hit, drills the dueling emotions of unrequited love and unabashed gratitude to have merely shared a moment with a person you have loved so dearly. This is the kind of sad love song we all end up singing before we are swept off our feet by the right one.

“Don’t Take the Girl” by Tim McGraw

Love grows at all ages, sometimes carrying on well into adulthood. The story of two young children sharing each other’s hearts in marriage as they move forward in life is told through the lyrics sung by Tim McGraw. The two face triumph and tragedy, giving the listener a sense of the bond between them over the course of three-plus minutes.

“Dreaming With a Broken Heart” by John Mayer

Of these ten sad love songs, only John Mayer is able to bring a haunting quality to the table. In the weeks and months after a relationship ends, it is almost as if the ghost of your ex roams through your life. From note to note, this tune captures the hazy thoughts of a man wondering if her leaving was all just a nightmare – and waking up to find out it wasn’t just a dream.

“Goodbye My Lover” by James Morrison

There are moments when you separate from someone that you are able to identify as the last time you will ever cross paths. James Blunt manages to wrap us up that moment with remarkable range as he sings this tune from his debut album, Back to Bedlam. Standing face-to-face with your ex in those last few seconds you lay eyes on each other is something neither of you will ever forget – sadness and thankfulness all at once.

“Stay (I Missed You)” by Lisa Loeb

Few songs from the 1990s have been able to tap into the angst of twentysomethings from that decade quite like Lisa Loeb did. With her somewhat geeky glasses and the intensity of her delivery, she seemed to be a walking example of the generation that believed Reality Bites, the title of the movie that brought this sad love song to prominence.

“Fire and Rain” by James Taylor

The idea of breaking up with someone is tough enough, but imagine what it would be like for that person to be there one day and gone the next. When someone dies unexpectedly, as in a plane crash for this James Taylor song, there is a whole other type of despondency in the loss – confusion, anger and sadness all mix together to cut a wound so deep the scar remains forever.