For this list I decided to pick relatively new songs (from the past decade or so).
I believe that most of the time, to truly gasp and appreciate a heartbreak song, you need to relate to the lyrics to some extent. I personally haven't gone through break ups or real heartbreaks, but these songs still make me somewhat emotional especially the further down you go in the list.
For every song, I posted the video, followed by an interpretation (mostly from https://songmeanings.com/ ) , followed by parts of the song's lyrics.
You can share your own favorite heartbreak songs!
10- The Script - Breakeven
this song is about how when a relationship ends one person in the relationship is more upset about it than the other person..so the heart break is uneven in the sense that one person suffers more heartache."
Her best days will be some of my worst
She finally met a man that's gonna put her first
While I'm wide awake she's no trouble sleeping
'Cause when a heart breaks no it don't break even, even, no
They say bad things happen for a reason
But no wise words gonna stop the bleeding
'Cause she's moved on while I'm still grieving
And when a heart breaks no it don't breakeven even, no
Oh you got his heart and my heart and none of the pain
You took your suitcase, I took the blame
Now I'm try'na make sense of what little remains ooh
'Cause you left me with no love and no love to my name
9- Tom Odell - Another Love
I think the meaning is pretty clear. This person got really burned in a previous relationship, and because of this is unable to love and show care in his present one, even though he so badly wants to. It's lovely song, and very sad. You can really feel how defeated and frustrated he is with himself."
'It's about someone who was hurt many times by the persons he loved. As a reaction he's afraid of loving someone again, and uses excuses (like that he wants to take her somewhere but can't because it's too cold) to hide the fact that's simply fear who stops him from loving again. Also, his heart was broken so many time that he feels emotionally simply too weak to love and fight for someone again."
I wanna take you somewhere so you know I care
But it's so cold and I don't know where
I brought you daffodils in a pretty string
But they won't flower like they did last spring
And I wanna kiss you, make you feel alright
I'm just so tired to share my nights
I wanna cry and I wanna love
But all my tears have been used up
And if somebody hurts you, I wanna fight
But my hands been broken, one too many times
So I'll use my voice, I'll be so fucking rude
Words they always win, but I know I'll lose
8- James Arthur - Impossible originally by Shontelle
This interpretation is based on the female original version:
This girl took caution when it came to love, so she didn't completely open herself up to him. She was careless with their relationship, she left. Now that time has went by she realizes what they had was real...she was happy and now she's broken because they are no longer together...she took him for granted. She says I know empty promises will wear, she was the one at fault not him. He's on his own and is doing well without her, so in a sense he is embarrassing her on his own because he has moved on and is doing well without her, while she is looking back like why did I ever walk away from that relationship and is upset and her scars are open (her walls finally came down).
Tell them all I know now
Shout it from the roof tops
Write it on the skyline
All we had is gone now
Tell them I was happy
And my heart is broken
All my scars are open
Tell them what I hoped would be
Ooh impossible (yeah yeah)
I remember years ago
Someone told me I should take
Caution when it comes to love
7- Emeli Sandé - Hurts
Emily released this song after her and her ex-husband divorced.
Baby, I'm not made of stone, it hurts
Loving you the way I do, it hurts
When all that's left to do is watch it burn
Oh baby, I'm not made of stone, it hurts
It hurts the way that you pretend you don't remember
It hurts the way that you forget our times together
Like the time late in bed when you said it's forever, baby
I can't, I can't explain no more
6- Coldplay - The Scientist
Basically, this song is saying that "he" screwed up. He doesn't know how to explain it, because it was against reason, whatever he did. He wants to be able to explain what he did with science and reasoning, but he just can't, because love doesn't work like that. And this person means everything to him, so he wants to try it over again, but the other person thinks that there should be something to explain it.
Tell me you love me
Come back and haunt me
Oh, and I rush to the start
Running in circles
Chasing our tails
Coming back as we are
Nobody said it was easy
Oh, it's such a shame for us to part
Nobody said it was easy
No one ever said it would be so hard
5- James Morrison - Broken Strings ft. Nelly Furtado
Broken Strings offers two of the most vulnerable performances yet from each artist, venting an obvious metaphor for the struggles at the close of a relationship beyond repair. Their voices are richly expressive, harmonizing in an aural marriage as the midtempo ballad quietly builds to an intense climax as they belt: "Oh the truth hurts and lies worse/How can I give anymore when I love you a little less than before?"
Let me hold you for the last time
It's the last chance to feel again
But you broke me, now I can't feel anything
When I love you, it's so untrue
I can't even convince myself
When I'm speaking it's the voice of someone else
Oh, it tears me up
I tried to hold on but it hurts too much
I tried to forgive but it's not enough
To make it all okay
You can't play on broken strings
You can't feel anything
That your heart don't want to feel
I can't tell you something that ain't real
Oh, the truth hurts and lies worse
How can I give anymore
When I love you a little less than before?
4- Snow Patrol - Run , reinterpreted by Leona Lewis
Later performed by Leona Lewis
This song's meaning is very personal and abstract, Lead singer Gary Lightbody said of the song "I've never told anyone before and I don't want to spoil it for people because it has its own meaning for them."
This to me is the story of two people being torn part by external circumstances, they don't really want to part, and they know they will possibly never see each other again, but the singer is trying to comfort the person whom he is talking too. "even if you cannot hear my voice, ill be right beside you dear".
"I'll sing it one last time for you
Then we really have to go
You've been the only thing that's right
In all I've done
And I can barely look at you
But every single time I do
I know we'll make it anywhere
Away from here
Light up, light up
As if you have a choice
Even if you cannot hear my voice
I'll be right beside you, dear"
3- Lost on you- LP
So smoke them if you got em cause it's going down-
It's a reference to smokers who know they hurt themselves by smoking but they are just like fuck it I will smoke anyway. That's what the relationship was like, he knew he was going to lose it so he just carried it on even though it was damaging to the both of them.
Wishin' I could see the machinations
Understand the toil of expectations in your mind
Hold me like you never lost your patience
Tell me that you love me more than hate me all the time
And you’re still mine
So smoke 'em if you got 'em 'cause it’s going down
All I ever wanted was you
Let's take a drink of heaven this can turn around
Let’s raise a glass or two
2- Sara Bareilles - Gravity
She is trying to get out of this relationship, but when she tries to she keeps going back. She wants him to let her go,
She is trying to be strong, but he makes her melt and something keeps her from staying away.
The piano and her voice combine to make this highly emotional piece...it's breathtaking.
This man she loves isn't the best for her, and she knows it but she can't leave. It's just too powerful, what she feels for him. She's begging him to let her go because she knows she could never do it herself.
Something always brings me back to you
It never takes too long
No matter what I say or do
I'll still feel you here 'till the moment I'm gone
You hold me without touch
You keep me without chains
I never wanted anything so much than to drown in your love
And not feel your reign
Set me free, leave me be
I don't want to fall another moment into your gravity
Here I am, and I stand
So tall, just the way I'm supposed to be
But you're on to me and all over me
Oh, you loved me 'cause I'm fragile
When I thought that I was strong
But you touch me for a little while
And all my fragile strength is gone
1- My favorite: Labrinth - Jealous (2014)
I love this performance, it's so simple yet so captivating. Him being a man and putting himself in a such a vulnerable position letting his heart out candidly is very heart touching.
So sad. He split up with someone who he thought he'd still end up together with and they've moved on without him.
I'm jealous of the rain
That falls upon your skin
It's closer than my hands have been
I'm jealous of the rain
I'm jealous of the wind
That ripples through your clothes
It's closer than your shadow
Oh, I'm jealous of the wind
'Cause I wished you the best of
All this world could give
And I told you when you left me
There's nothing to forgive
But I always thought you'd come back, tell me all you found was
Heartbreak and misery
It's hard for me to say, I'm jealous of the way
You're happy without me
I'm jealous of the nights
That I don't spend with you
I'm wondering who you lay next to
Oh, I'm jealous of the nights
I'm jealous of the love
Love that was in here
Gone for someone else to share
Oh, I'm jealous of the love
And a very emotional interpretation of this song on the XFactor UK: