Everyone knows that breakups suck and people deal with heartbreak in different ways. If you and your partner have parted ways, you’ll likely experience sadness, anger and confusion. You may be looking for some advice during this tough time and music often speaks louder than words. Instead of crying over emotional breakup songs, which will only make you feel worse, you should be listening to empowering tunes to lift you up, channel your frustration and motivate you to move on. If you’re looking for some great songs to get over your heartache, here are our 10 best breakup songs for women by women, in order of release. They date back as far as the 1970s up to the modern music era, although we left out the 80s as most breakup songs from the era were soppy and emotional, only making a heartbreak situation worse!
“I Will Survive” is a top-selling disco song released by Gloria Gaynor in 1978. This signature hit went straight to No.1 in the charts before winning a Grammy, and has since become the ultimate anthem of girl power. It is a song about a woman finding the strength to move on from a bad relationship, rather than putting up with her unfaithful partner.
The song covers every stage of a breakup, from the beginning where she is scared and worried about being lonely, through the anger, standing up for herself and ultimately moving on. “I Will Survive” is a motivating hit that encourages women to stand up for themselves and has meaning for anyone trying to overcome a tough situation. Trying to get over your ex and he comes crawling back? Take Gloria’s advice and tell him he’s not welcome. It is time to move on!
This duet by legends Streisand and Summer went to No.1 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1979 and reached the top 3 in the UK charts. “No More Tears” is a feisty, assertive, disco hit which encourages women not to settle for a man they’re not happy with and its empowering lyrics will help any woman to find their inner strength and channel their anger into moving on independently. There is no messing with these celebrated divas, who despite never performing the song live together (hence no GIF of the pair), belt out this catchy tune with equal passion. With a clearly feminist edge to it, this disco anthem is a powerful tune to listen to when you’re ready to send your other half packing. It is arguably one of the best breakup songs for women ever!
“You Oughta Know” is the quintessential angry breakup song for women, especially those who’ve been wronged. In fact, this 1990s hit could be the only breakup song you’ll ever need to get over your ex. Written from her own personal experience, Alanis Morrisette expresses raw feelings of anger and sarcasm towards her ex-boyfriend, in a frank and vengeful way, in this alternative rock song. Her angsty, feminist take on a breakup song was so relatable and influential, that it won a Grammy for Best Rock Song in 1996 and Morrisette received acclaim for her punchy vocals. If you’re looking for an angry breakup song to help you get over your ex, “You Oughta Know” includes all the bitchy things you’d ever want to angrily say to your ex!
This catchy pop-dance hit by Cher reached No.1 in 23 countries and sold over 11 million copies worldwide, making it one of the most successful breakup songs for women ever! It was the first commercial recording to use autotune as a vocal effect, altering Cher’s vocals to make her sound more ethereal. At 52 when she topped the charts, she was the oldest female artist to go to No.1 in the UK. The song covers different stages of the breakup process, from feelings of sadness and doubt after a failed relationship, to eventually finding the strength to move on. “Believe” is all about getting over your breakup despite the pain, realising it’s the other person’s loss and realising that even though it may feel like the end of the world, life ultimately goes on!
A lesser known song by British singer Gabrielle, “Rise” stayed at No.1 in the UK singles chart for two weeks in January 2000. The hit is notable for a rare authorised use of a Bob Dylan sample, taken from Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door. After hearing a taster of the song, Dylan allowed Gabrielle to use his music for free and was credited as a writer. “Rise” is a more grown-up and dignified approach to breakups than many of the angry songs of this list and Gabrielle’s smooth vocals make for easy listening. This song is real and relatable, but remains optimistic and its relaxing, yet empowering lyrics will send shivers up your spine. “Rise” will help you to accept that while it takes time and patience to get over an ex, you definitely have the strength to move on, making this one of the best breakup songs for women!
“Survivor” is an R&B chart-topper which was written after three of the band’s members left in one year. It was inspired by the reality TV series of the same name due to the similar level of drama that the split caused. The song debuted at No.1 in the UK singles chart and its music video won an MTV award for Best R&B Video. “Survivor” is about being strong, independent and not letting a man control you. Its empowering lyrics will make you feel stronger and are relatable for everyone who has “survived” or gone through something tough. The focus of this Destiny’s Child hit, is to hold your head high, learn from the breakup and become better for it! This is surely one of the best breakup songs for women getting over heartbreak!
This up-tempo, pop-rock ballad was a worldwide success for Pop Idol’s Kelly Clarkson, selling over 1 million copies and winning her a Grammy for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance. Written from the perspective of a women relieved after ending her destructive relationship, “Since U Been Gone” is a fearless, angry anthem for girls who know they’re better off single.
The song will remind you how draining relationships can be, help you feel more justified in leaving your ex and remind you of your goals in moving on. Its raging chorus will also make you question why you were ever with the guy in the first place! Although the song’s music video received mixed reviews due to its theme of revenge, picturing Clarkson smashing up her ex-boyfriend’s apartment. However, in reality, it’s probably a relatable, albeit irrational, desire for a lot of people! This is definitely one of the best breakup songs for women!
Originally written by Ne-Yo as a country record from a male perspective, “Irreplaceable” was re-arranged with pop and R&B influences for global superstar Beyoncé. This acoustic hit reached No.4 in the UK charts and became her 4th No.1 in the US, staying at the top of the Billboard Hot 100 for 10 weeks.
The song’s lyrics are about the breakdown of a relationship with an unfaithful man and the singer directly addresses her lover who’s been cheating on her, telling him that he can be easily replaced. “Irreplaceable” sends an empowering message of self-respect to women and anyone who has been cheated on or taken for a fool, reminding them that no one is irreplaceable and that you shouldn’t let people walk all over you. If they do, follow Beyoncé’s lead and tell them to pack their things and go!
“So What” is a rebellious breakup song, full of attitude, by badass pop-rock singer Pink. Based on her separation from Carey Hart, this catchy hit went straight to No.1 and became Pink’s best-selling single in the US. Energetic and aggressive at times, “So What” is perfect for the angry phase of any breakup and for getting you past the tears so you can move on. The lyrics are fun and focus on trying to convince yourself you’re enjoying the single life, even if you’re not.
The hilarious music video to this song makes it even more memorable, featuring Pink drunkenly riding a lawnmower down sunset boulevard and even a cameo of her ex Carey who also joined in the fun. Despite reuniting with her husband shortly after the song was released, Pink admitted that she still enjoys singing the line: “You’re a tool” when he’s listening! If you fancy some humorous empowerment to get over your breakup, this is the song for you!
“We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” came about when a friend in the studio asked Swift if she was getting back together with her ex and she began to tell the story of her breakup. She started playing her guitar and singing “We are never ever…” and it went from there. The song was an instant success, going straight to No.1 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the US and selling over 7 million copies worldwide!
It is a catchy pop tune, with country undertones and a sing-along chorus, which is perfect for Swift’s mainly teen audience. The song’s lyrics depict the singer’s frustration at an ex-lover wanting to rekindle their relationship, while she just wants to move on. This chart-topping hit is one of the best breakup songs for women, as it is sassy, fun and sarcastic and celebrates the freedom of finally ending an on and off relationship. “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” sends out an empowering message that you don’t need a man and if you’re considering taking your ex back, listen to Taylor and don’t do it!
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