Nothing compares to the mood-enhancing, cathartic, healing power of music. Music has an energy that our bodies and minds connect to. It is a powerful tool to help you deal with the difficult emotions that an impending divorce can create.
You want to get that anger and sadness out. You want to feel better and more empowered. Therefore, we have curated a list of the absolute best songs about breakups and divorce.
8) “50 Ways to Leave Your Lover” by Paul Simon
“You just slip out the back, Jack.
Make a new plan, Stan.
You don’t need to be coy, Roy.
Just get yourself free”
Paul Simon wrote this song after his divorce from his first wife. It is about a woman trying to console a man and prod him into leaving an unhappy marriage. The great thing about this song is that it has a slow yet upbeat rhythm, and it relaxes you into feeling like you are free to move on.
“And then she kissed me,
And I realized she probably was right.
There must be fifty ways
To leave your lover.”
It was one of Paul Simon’s biggest solo hits, which makes perfect sense. Many people going through the end of a marriage can relate to the feeling of wanting to be free and move on. The song brings the feeling of hope and the promise of a future without the current emotional upheaval that a divorce causes.
7) “Roses” by Outkast
“Caroline! See, she’s the reason for the word ‘bitch.’”
When a marriage breaks up, sometimes things can get childish, and that is what this song is for. Outkast knows how to throw some up-tempo shade, and they do it well with “Roses.”
“I know you’d like to thank your s*** don’t stank,
But lean a little bit closer.
See that roses really smell like boo-boo-ooo.”
This song has so many spiteful yet somehow lighthearted moments that it is a joy to sing over and over again. Divorce can cause an immature, vindictive spirit to rise up, and this song can give you an outlet. But remember, it will not always smell like roses.
6) “I’m Still Standing” by Elton John
“And I’m still standing after all this time,
Picking up the pieces of my life without you on my mind.”
This upbeat song was written by Bernie Taupin and famously performed by Elton John. Taupin wrote it for an ex-lover, and Elton John performs it with such gusto that one thinks he is actually directing it at somebody from his past.
“And did you think this fool could never win?
Well, look at me, I’m a-coming back again.”
The lyrics paint a picture of someone one who was tossed aside, but began to realize that they could stand better on their own. This song will kick out the depression that divorce can cause, and it will have you feeling empowered in no time.
5) “You Oughta Know” by Alanis Morissette
“And I’m here to remind you
Of the mess you left when you went away.”
Oh, the spite and anger in this song. It is delectable and just what the doctor ordered when going through a messy divorce. The lyrics are raw and edgy, just like the music. And they speak of the pain and rage left behind when somebody leaves you for another.
“It was a slap in the face how quickly I was replaced.
Are you thinking of me when you *** her?”
There are many rumors about which ex Morissette wrote this song about. However, even though some people from her past may see themselves in her music, she has told reporters that she will never reveal who it really is, so everyone else is being a bit presumptuous. Oh, burn, Alanis. She is very good at that, especially in this song. Perfect.
4) “Somebody That I Used to Know” by Gotye
“But you treat me like a stranger, and that feels so rough.”
The words in this song make a deep cut. It is a cathartic song—a way to get your feelings out. Sing along with the lyrics, and shout the pain out through the words.
“Told myself that you were right for me,
But felt so lonely in your company.
But that was love, and it’s an ache I still remember.”
Gotye was inspired to write the song by mixing together several breakups from his past. Since it not just about one breakup, but several, that makes it general enough to apply any divorce or struggling marriage. It is relatable, and it shares the sadness and emptiness that almost everyone experiences at the end of a relationship.
3) “Forget You” (“F*** You”) by Cee Lo Green
“And although there’s pain in my chest,
I still wish you the best
With a… F*** you!”
It feels good to cuss and get the anger out. Cee Lo does it best by saying forget you (f*** you) with a smile. It is highly recommended that you watch the music video to see the pure joy he gets out of saying it. It is contagious and badly needed, spiteful comedy while struggling through a divorce.
“I’ve got some news for you:
Ooh, I really hate your ass right now.”
Let it out with comedy. Get in tune with the anger and hatred that you cannot help but feel when somebody you thought you would spend forever with someone has turned into a completely different person. Cee Lo Green will steer you in the right direction.
2) “What Goes Around” by Justin Timberlake
“You know I gave you the world.
You had me in the palm of your hand.”
Justin Timberlake explained to several interviewers that this song is about a friend’s breakup with an actress. Still, many want to believe that it is a sequel to his 2002 hit, “Cry Me a River,” which was aimed at Britney Spears after she very publically dumped him.
The lyrics tell the story of a man whose ex cheated on him. He was was very much in love with her, but the guy she cheated on him with is now cheating on her.
“I heard you found out
That he’s doing to you
What you did to me.
Ain’t that the way it goes?”
So many divorces end in this kind of a scenario. The satisfaction of seeing things not work out for somebody who hurt you so deeply is as good as it regarding something like divorce.
This song will fill you with that sweet feeling of schadenfreude that can raise your spirits during the most emotional part of the end of your marriage. It is highly recommended.
1) “I Will Survive” by Gloria Gaynor
“Did you think I’d lay down and die?
Oh, no, not I
I will survive.”
Gaynor’s reimagining of a little known Righteous Brothers’ song is on many lists about breakups and divorce, and there is a reason: The message never ceases to be empowering. This disco smash hit is about an ex-lover trying to return to somebody who has moved on. It is satisfying in every way because the lyrics describe a person who survived a terrible breakup but became stronger. Therefore, she now gets to show how much better she is on her own.
“Go on now, go. Walk out the door
Just turn around now ’cause you’re not welcome anymore.”
Even just imagining saying these lyrics to the person who is causing you so much pain during a divorce is energizing. This sentiment is something that is very much needed when your life is in upheaval. Gaynor captures the goal that everybody has after they have survived the end of a marriage: standing proud and tall.
Emotions are the hardest part of divorce. Your marriage was something that was supposed to be forever, and most people never see their divorce coming. It can hit you like a brick, and the shock that you feel when you realize that things are coming to an end can disrupt your judgment. Even if you have known that things were not working for a while, it still hits you hard when the final decision is made.
Working through those emotions and getting them out with things like music is therapeutic. It helps you heal and find yourself again, and it clears your head. It takes time, though. While you are working through the tough emotions that divorce brings, think about getting advice from a professional. A certified divorce financial analyst (CDFA) can help you avoid the landmines that decisions made under the influence of shock and turmoil can cause.