Throughout life, there is one true constant: loss. You could live the greatest life you could ever live, yet, unfortunately, you can never truly live freely without losing someone, whether it be through a breakup, or through death.
Grief is an emotion that we can never truly prepare ourselves for, and it is even more difficult to decipher while we’re in that emotional state. All we can do is wait for time to heal our wounds.
In the meantime, the best thing you can do is listen to some powerful songs that make you feel that you are understood.
Below, we have made a list of 31 tracks that we recommend you listen to when you are missing a loved one.
Songs To Play When Missing Somone
Someone Like You by Adele
Released in 2011 on the album 21
Favorite Lyric: “I hate to turn up out of the blue, uninvited / But I couldn’t stay away, I couldn’t fight it / I had hoped you’d see my face / And that you’d be reminded that for me, it isn’t over”
To kick off this list, let’s open with a song that’ll break anyone’s heart, whether they’re missing someone or not. In this beautiful song, Adele elevates the emotions felt while missing someone to a whole new level.
This song is specifically about the pain one feels during a breakup, and it captures the emotions perfectly, from missing them, to wishing them the best as they move on.
Yesterday by The Beatles
Released in 1965 on the album Help!
Favorite Lyric: “Why she had to go? I don’t know, she wouldn’t say / I said something wrong, now I long for yesterday”
Although this timeless song has been around for nearly 60 years, many people still turn to it when they are experiencing the breakdown of a relationship.
The exquisite guitar accompaniment to McCartney’s voice in this mournful ballad about a romantic ending touches the listener’s soul.
This song, which is just over two minutes long, will haunt anyone who is mourning the loss of a loved one.
Before You Go by Lewis Capaldi
Released in 2019 on the album Divinely Uninspired to a Hellish Extent
Favorite Lyric: “So before you go / Was there something I could’ve said / To make your heart beat better?”
Lewis Capaldi shared a wide range of poignant breakup songs with the world when he dropped his debut album in 2019. The song ‘Before You Go’ is thought to have been written about a loved one’s death, although it also serves perfectly as a ballad about breaking up.
This is the reason the song is so effective—the lyrics may be interpreted in a variety of ways, depending on how you are mourning.
Goodbye, My Lover by James Blunt
Released in 2004 on the album Back to Bedlam
Favorite Lyric: “Goodbye my lover / Goodbye my friend / You have been the one / You have been the one for me”
Everyone who was alive in 2006 will be able to recall the grip this music had on the planet. Here is a tune that will make you long for someone who doesn’t even exist.
This song is about the loss of a lover. This song will affect you on many levels, regardless of whether you are going through a breakup, are in the stage of a long-distance relationship, or a loved one has just passed away.
Falling by Harry Styles
Released in 2019 on the album Fine Line
Favorite Lyric: “What am I now? What am I now? / What if I’m someone I don’t want around? / I’m falling again, I’m falling again, I’m falling”
‘Falling’ is a song from the viewpoint of someone who is aware that they are to fault for a failing relationship, in contrast to the songs that have been listed so far on this list.
At some point, we’ve all held ourselves accountable for hurting someone else. This frequently compels us to recognize our mistakes and make amends.
In this stunning track, Harry Styles encapsulated this idea beautifully.
Another list to read is our Memorial song list for remembering family and friends who have passed away.
Happier by Olivia Rodrigo
Released in 2021 on the album Sour
Favorite Lyric: “I hope you’re happy / But not like how you were with me / I’m selfish, I know, I can’t let you go”
Although ‘Driver’s License’ was Olivia Rodrigo’s breakthrough song, her debut album is entirely composed of beautiful break-up songs. One of our favorites is ‘Happier’.
This song expresses your wishes for your ex-partner to find happiness in their new relationship, but not to an even greater extent than they were with you. It’s about wanting them to be happy, but not happier.
We believe that everyone may empathize with this idea at some point during their lives.
A Long December by Counting Crows
Released in 1996 on the album Recovering the Satellites
Favorite Lyric: “Maybe this year will be better than the last / I can’t remember all the times I tried to tell my myself / To hold on to these moments as they pass”
This song was composed after a friend of lead singer, Adam Duritz, had been involved in a car accident. He writes about envisioning the future while simultaneously acknowledging the past.
This song can be interpreted in a variety of ways, such as regretting the time you wasted with a deceased loved one or lamenting the end of a relationship.
However, it concludes on a positive note, giving us hope that there is always time for a change.
Fix You by Coldplay
Released in 2005 on the album X&Y
Favorite Lyric: “Lights will guide you home / And ignite your bones / And I will try to fix you”
Each person who hears this well-known song will interpret it differently, depending on what they are going through.
This song is about a person who wishes they could ease their partner’s suffering. Chris Martin penned this song for his then-wife, Gwyneth Paltrow, after the passing of her father. The song is primarily about grief.
The song’s concept, as a whole, is incredibly powerful. Even if you’re grieving right now, ‘lights will guide you home’.
See You Again by Wiz Khalifa and Charlie Puth
Released in 2015 on the album Furious 7: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
Favorite Lyric: “We’ve come a long way (yeah, we came a long way) / From where we began (you know we started) / Oh, I’ll tell you all about it when I see you again”
This is a song that many people will find emotional to listen to for an array of reasons.
Since it was used in the film Furious 7, which came out after Paul Walker passed away, many people will identify this song with him. This song has since been connected to grieving for a loved one.
This pop tune will help you recall a loved one with warmth, despite the sorrowful lyrics.
It Must Have Been Love by Roxette
Released in 1987 on the album It Must Have Been Love
If you are feeling sad, see our list of sad love songs too.
Favorite Lyric: “It must have been love, but it’s over now / It must have been good, but I lost it somehow”
‘It must have been love, but it’s over now’, are the two simple lines in the chorus of this 1980s hit classic which serves as the ideal breakup lament.
This song gained enormous popularity after it was featured in the iconic 1990 film Pretty Woman, and continues to be a beloved power ballad today. This song will make you feel sentimental as you reflect on the special moments.
Happier by Marshmello feat. Bastille
Released in 2018 on the album Happier
Favorite Lyric: “Know that means I’ll have to leave / Lately, I’ve been, I’ve been thinking / I want you to be happier, I want you to be happier”
Next up, we have more of an upbeat song, yet it still tugs at the heartstrings.
This song is about a couple who understands that their relationship must end and that doing so will make them both happier. However, this doesn’t change the fact that they still love each other.
We’ve all been in this situation, and it always hurts a lot. Hopefully, this song will get you through it.
When She Loved Me by Sarah McLachlan
Released in 1999 on the album Toy Story 2 Soundtrack
Favorite Lyric: “So the years went by / I stayed the same / But she began to drift away”
Anyone who watched Toy Story 2 will remember that heartbreaking scene when Jessie gets left behind by her owner. As a kid, it hurt, to understand how she must’ve felt.
As an adult, the song hits on a more personal level. It is about remembering what it felt like to be loved, before losing that person. Whether you’ve lost a loved one through a breakup, or death, this is a sad one to listen to.
Slow Dancing In The Dark by Joji
Released in 2018 on the album Ballads 1
Favorite Lyric: “When you gotta run / Just hear my voice in you (my voice in you) / Shutting me out of you”
Joji began his career as a comic YouTuber, producing material that was totally different from what he does now.
Nobody could have possibly predicted the songs he would release when he departed YouTube to pursue music.
Many people were shocked by the sheer emotion of his first big hit. Anyone going through a breakup will be able to identify to the lyrics and feel many conflicting emotions when listening to this song.
Hey There Delilah by Plain White T’s
Released in 2006 on the album All That We Needed
Favorite Lyric: “Someday I’ll pay the bills with this guitar / We’ll have it good / We’ll have the life we knew we would”
Even though few people today can name the musician who recorded this one-hit wonder, it has certainly withstood the test of time.
This song was played everywhere when it was released in 2005. It was overplayed for good reason—the tune was beautiful, and the lyrics were catchy.
Anyone in a long-distance relationship who is finding it difficult to live without their lover will appreciate this song.
Too Good at Goodbyes by Sam Smith
Released in 2017 on the album The Thrill of It All
Favorite Lyric: “I know you’re thinking I’m heartless / I know you’re thinking I’m cold / I’m just protecting my innocence / I’m just protecting my soul”
Although Sam Smith has a number of memorable breakup songs to their credit, this is the one that springs to mind when we consider missing someone yet still wanting to move on.
We advise listening to this music even if you haven’t reached the point of wanting to move on yet. It is about letting go of a toxic relationship, and growing stronger so that you are prepared for the next one.
Love themes? See our list of songs with the word SAD in the title.
No Air by Jordin Sparks feat. Chris Brown
Released in 2008 on the album Jordin Sparks
Favorite Lyric: “Tell me how I’m supposed to breathe with no air (No air) / Can’t live, can’t breathe with no air / That’s how I feel whenever you ain’t there”
When this song was released in the mid-2000s, it was played nonstop for months on end on all radio stations. Everyone knew the words to this hit.
We’ve all had those breakup moments when we feel as though we can’t live without our ex, to the point where it is difficult to breathe properly.
We suggest including this pop classic on your breakup playlist, as it perfectly captures that feeling. Plus, it’s super catchy!
Goodbyes by Post Malone feat. Young Thug
Released in 2019 on the album Hollywood’s Bleeding
Favorite Lyric: “I want you out of my head / I want you out of my bedroom tonight / There’s no way I could save you”
This is a fantastic breakup song that is, in our opinion, frequently overlooked. This song’s lyrics brilliantly capture how it feels to try your hardest to stay away from an ex, knowing that they’re not good for you.
The line, ‘There’s no way I could save you, ‘cause I need to be saved too’, perfectly captures the situation. To move on healthily, you first need to work on yourself and your mentality.
Nothing Compares 2 U by Sinead O’Connor
Released in 1991 on the album Year of the Horse
Favorite Lyric: “I said nothing can take away these blues / ‘Cause nothing compares / Nothing compares to you”
Without including Sinead O’Connor’s iconic 90s hit, a list of songs about missing someone would be incomplete.
This song, which was written by Prince, wonderfully expresses the raw anguish of a recent breakup.
We believe that this is a classic hit that will never completely fade away. We advise singing along as loudly as you can, since simply listening to this song counts as a form of therapy.
I Miss You by Blink-182
Released in 2004 on the album Blink-182
Favorite Lyric: “And in the night, we’ll wish this never ends / We’ll wish this never ends / I miss you, I miss you”
This is a pop-punk classic that all emo kids remember from their youth. It’s almost impossible to sing along without mimicking Tom DeLonge’s accent (‘Where are youghhhh?’)
On the surface, it is a great, catchy song. The lyrics display a deeper meaning, in which the artists beg their ex-lover to come back into their lives.
This is a great song to belt out in the car while trying to get over a breakup.
when the party’s over by Billie Eilish
Released in 2019 on the album When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?
Favorite Lyric: “But nothin’ is better sometimes / Once we’ve both said our goodbyes / Let’s just let it go”
In recent years, Billie Eilish has established herself as an international icon. She was just breaking into the public eye when this song was first released.
Amazingly, Eilish created this song when she was just 16 years old.
For those who miss someone when they’re still in a relationship with that person, this song is all too relatable. It’s about trying to maintain your facade of normality, as your reality implodes all around you.
Think Twice by Celine Dion
Released in 1994 on the album The Colour of My Love
Favorite Lyric: “Baby, think twice for the sake of our love, for the memory / For the fire and the faith that was you and me”
Even if the Titanic theme song may be the first song that comes to us when we think of Celine Dion, we’re not including it on this list.
We’re including her lesser-known, but no less influential 1993 hit instead.
This song is about pleading with a lover to stay. Whether the split was beneficial to us or not, everyone can relate to this heartbreak.
Dancing on my Own by Robyn -or- Calum Scott
Released in 2010 on the album Body Talk Pt. 1
Favorite Lyric: “And I’m giving it my all / But I’m not the guy you’re taking home, ooh / I keep dancing on my own”
Next up, we have two versions of the same song; one being considerably more upbeat than the other.
Listen to the 2016 rendition if you want to cry into a pillow and explore your emotions. However, we recommend listening to Robyn’s original, which will lift you up, and make you want to dance your emotions away.
Your present feelings will depend on which version you choose to listen to, so choose carefully.
Tears in Heaven by Eric Clapton
Released in 1992 on the album Rush
Favorite Lyric: “Would you know my name? / If I saw you in heaven / Would you be the same?”
Eric Clapton’s emotional ballad hits differently once you realize what he wrote it about. This song was written following the tragic death of his 4-year-old son.
While grief can hit in so many ways, grieving a death is something much harder to move on from, especially the death of a child. No matter how you personally perceive this music, it will touch you on levels that will undoubtedly trigger some emotions.
July by Noah Cyrus
Released in 2019 on the album The End of Everything
Favorite Lyric: “I’ve done a lot of things wrong / Loving you being one / But I can’t move on”
In recent years, Noah Cyrus is being lesser known as ‘Miley’s sister’, and better known as being an independent artist in her own right.
Songs like these make you realize that she is just as talented as her bigger family members.
‘July’ is the tale of a relationship that is heading nowhere, but doesn’t seem to end. Sometimes, grieving before the end can be just as hard-hitting as the breakup itself.
I Want to Know What Love Is by Foreigner
Released in 1984 on the album Agent Provocateur
Favorite Lyric: “I don’t know if I can face it again / Can’t stop now, I’ve traveled so far / To change this lonely life / I wanna know what love is”
This is a song that will have different interpretations, depending on the listener. Is it a song about a relationship? Could it be about a friendship?
It is completely up to you.
No matter the reason for the damage caused, the artist needs to take some time to think things over. We all want to know what love is, and while it hurts to wait, this song can help get us through.
Wish You Were Here by Pink Floyd
Released in 1975 on the album Wish You Were Here
Favorite Lyric: “How I wish, how I wish you were here / We’re just two lost souls / Swimming in a fish bowl”
This ballad was written about Syd Barret, a founder member of Pink Floyd who suffered from mental illness.
It is an illustration of how people often withdraw from civilization to deal with dissociation. Sometimes, the darkest grief we can experience is missing our old selves as we become different people, for better or worse.
Again, you may interpret this song differently. Either way, it is about wishing someone was still with you.
Who Knew by P!nk
Released in 2006 on the album I’m Not Dead
Favorite Lyric: “I guess I just didn’t know how / I was all wrong / But they knew better, still you said forever, and ever / Who knew?”
Although many people believe this is a breakup song, P!nk actually penned it following the death of a close friend. Once you become aware of this context, the lyrics become truly heart-wrenching.
This song is about mourning an old friend, but you might be able to relate to losing a family member, or an ex-lover. All in all, it reminds us that we can never fully prepare for a loss.
Always by Bon Jovi
Released in 1994 on the album Cross Road
Favorite Lyric: “‘Til the heavens burst and the words don’t rhyme / And I know when I die, you’ll be on my mind / And I’ll love you, always”
Bon Jovi’s 1994 hit is a breakup song for the ages. It is told from the perspective of someone who made mistakes and regrets them deeply.
So many of us have lost a loved one, and the song’s lines, ‘Now your pictures that you left behind are just memories of a different life’ hit differently with the context in mind.
This is a great song to belt out while you’re feeling heartbroken.
Home by Michael Bublé
Released in 2005 on the album It’s Time
Favorite Lyric: “Another sunny place / I’m lucky I know / But I wanna go home”
Although Michael Bublé is best known for his jazzy covers and holiday favorites, many of us overlook his superb original tunes. One of them is ‘Home’.
This song is about a person who is in a long-distance relationship, rather than someone who has recently broken up. It is about missing someone who, to you, represents ‘home’, but who you cannot be with for a little while
Ain’t No Sunshine by Bill Withers
Released in 1971 on the album Ain’t No Sunshine
Favorite Lyric: “Ain’t no sunshine when she’s gone / It’s not warm when she’s away”
The next song on the list of the greatest songs ever recorded is one that almost everyone will recognize and adore.
This song explores what it’s like to miss someone or something that wasn’t necessarily beneficial to your well-being. Despite this, that somebody is the ‘sunshine’ in your life, and their absence makes everything feel dark.
I Will Always Love You by Dolly Parton -or- Whitney Houston
Released in 1974 on the album Jolene
Favorite Lyric: “Oh I do wish you joy / And I wish you happiness / But above all this / I wish you love”
Finally, we have another song that has two versions to choose from. Both versions are performed by incredibly talented singers and carry the same message.
Whitney Houston’s version is, without a doubt, the most well-known version, and many aren’t aware that it is a Dolly Parton cover.
This song is perfect for anyone who misses a loved one, and wants to profess those timeless words, whether they can hear you or not: ‘I will always love you’.
Whether you are going through a particularly painful breakup, or you have just lost a family member, you may feel that nothing will ever make you feel better. While these songs may not completely heal your emotions, they may help take you away for a short period of time.
The power of music is incredible, and we definitely recommend listening to some of these songs to give you momentary relief.