The country genre is famous for its focus on matters of the heart. Unsurprisingly, that means there are countless country breakup songs. Most fade from popular recollection for the most part within a short period. However, a small number endure the test of time. Interested individuals should look up these country breakup songs when they are in the mood.
Here are 20 of the best country breakup songs ever released:
20. “I’m Gonna Miss Her” – Brad Paisley
“I’m Gonna Miss Her” is one of the lighter songs on this list. That is because the viewpoint character enjoys fishing so much that he goes on a planned fishing trip anyway when his girlfriend tells him she is gone if he does so. He does claim that he will miss her. Still, one can’t help but question the seriousness of the claim when he prioritized his fishing over his relationship.
19. “For the Good Times” – Ray Price
Kris Kristofferson wrote, “For the Good Times.” He recorded it for release, but he wasn’t the one who made it a hit. No, Ray Price’s version was the one that became a number-one hit in 1970. Still, Kristofferson did benefit from the song’s success.
After all, it made him one of the most notable songwriters in the country in what seemed like an instant. Regardless, “For the Good Times” is quite an emotional pivot from the last song. Price’s smooth vocals sell it well.
18. “When I Call Your Name” – Vince Gill
“When I Call Your Name” is another country breakup song expressing a strong sense of heartbreak. Its use of narrative enables its lyrics to punch harder than otherwise possible. Specifically, the viewpoint character calls out to his significant other upon returning home, but his significant other fails to call back.
Subsequently, he finds a note saying that his significant other has given up on the relationship. The narrative gives the song a touch of authenticity that goes well with the idea of a long-running relationship that has run its course.
17. “Smoke Rings in the Dark” – Gary Allan
“Smoke Rings in the Dark” is one of the most representative songs from Gary Allan’s repertoire. Besides that, it has a wonderful bit of imagery. The viewpoint character says he is taking nothing but his broken heart while leaving nothing but the titular smoke rings in the dark.
The neat thing is that smoke rings are ephemeral. Moreover, they don’t exactly stand out in the darkness. As a result, it conveys that the broken relationship won’t have a meaningful impact on the relationship, thus capturing the hollowness of heartache.
16. “Don’t Think I Don’t Think About It” – Darius Rucker
Sometimes, people get over their broken relationships. Other times, their regrets can last them a lifetime. “Don’t Think I Don’t Think About It” is an excellent example of the latter because its viewpoint character muses on what might have been if he had been flexible enough to return rather than leave for the last time. That kind of thinking can be problematic. Even so, it is very easy for people to find themselves moving on familiar ruts.
15. “What Hurts the Most” – Rascal Flatts
“What Hurts the Most” is another song that focuses on regret. However, less time has passed for its viewpoint character than for its immediate predecessor’s viewpoint character. Thanks to that, its emotions are rawer. The Rascal Flatts version did quite well when it came out in 2005. It peaked at the sixth position on the Billboard Hot 100, but it managed to top both the Adult Contemporary and the Hot Country Songs charts.
14. “Just to See You Smile” – Tim McGraw
Here, the viewpoint character is willing to go to extraordinary ends to make his significant other happy. That ends in congratulating her on her new relationship because he cares more about making her happy than anything else. Some people will call that foolish or worse. Still, it took real willpower for him to do the things he did.
13. “Like We Never Loved At All” – Faith Hill featuring Tim McGraw
Faith Hill and Tim McGraw are some of the names that come up the most when people talk about country super-couples. Naturally, they have done more than one duet. “Like We Never Loved At All” is good at depicting the emotional messiness of breakups. The viewpoint characters are upset about the breakup. Moreover, those feelings are amplified because they don’t think their ex is showing enough heartache, though they aren’t sure exactly what that means.
12. “Consider Me Gone” – Reba McEntire
A good relationship is supposed to be two-way. As a result, if one partner is failing to do what they are supposed to do, well, suffice it to say that sunk costs are a logical fallacy. “Consider Me Gone” embodies that spirit well because its viewpoint character is more than willing to stand up for herself.
11. “You’ll Think of Me” – Keith Urban
Wanting to win a breakup isn’t necessarily the healthiest attitude to things. Still, it is a very relatable one. Here, Keith Urban expresses the desire to make a clean break with his ex because he doesn’t want to be weighed down by the reminders of their broken relationship. Despite this, he continually repeats the idea that his ex will think of him, which suggests he isn’t quite as over her as he would like.
10. “The Dance” – Garth Brooks
“The Dance” was one of the songs that launched Garth Brooks’s career. It is more than worthy of that honor. That is particularly true because “The Dance” is worded cleverly enough to enable two interpretations. One would be the breakup. The other is more metaphorical.
Essentially, it is about someone willing to go to extraordinary lengths for something they believe in. They achieve glory. The price is their life. No wonder “The Dance” claimed the top of the Billboard Hot Country Songs for three weeks in 1990.
9. “You Were Mine” – The Chicks
Some breakups hit harder than others. It is one thing when two people still maintain separate lives and residences. It is quite another when two people have started a family together. As a result, it is easy to sympathize with the viewpoint character’s pain and fury in “You Were Mine.”
Heartbreak is a part of it. However, the lyrics reveal that she doesn’t have the slightest clue how she is going to tell everything to their two-year-old son and four-year-old daughter, which makes everything hit that much harder.
8. “Best Days of Your Life” – Kellie Pickler
“Best Days of Your Life” is well-suited for people feeling a bit spiteful about the end of a relationship. After all, it is about how the viewpoint character’s ex has already seen his best days behind him. That is because they started when he entered into the relationship and ended when he tossed the relationship to the side. Sometimes, people will feel much better from this kind of psychological boost.
7. “Mama’s Broken Heart” – Miranda Lambert
This country breakup song is interesting for a wide range of reasons. Many breakup songs go on about feeling anger, sadness, and confusion, which often cause cracks in the facade. Fewer breakup songs cover the viewpoint character’s total loss of composure from their overwhelming fury.
On top of this, “Mama’s Broken Heart” also has something of a generational disagreement to it. The song is named thus because the viewpoint character’s mother tells her to remain calm and collected. The viewpoint character rejects that advice because she is the one with a broken heart, meaning she will express her feelings in the manner of her choosing.
6. “Before He Cheats” – Carrie Underwood
On a related note, if “Mama’s Broken Heart” is about the viewpoint character’s state of mind, “Before He Cheats” is about the viewpoint character’s actions while sharing a similar state of mind. Specifically, she talks about doing a fair amount of damage to her boyfriend’s vehicle because he might be cheating on her.
The song has been known to provoke mixed reactions from people. On the one hand, it is cathartic. On the other hand, people have been known to consider her actions excessive. Either way, “Before He Cheats” is memorable.
5. “Give It Away” – George Strait
The significant other in “Give It Away” made a strong impression. That is because she is so sick of their relationship that she wants nothing to do with anything associated with it. As a result, the significant other has no interest in a share of their possessions but instead tells the viewpoint character to give them away.
Of course, that doesn’t just mean their physical belongings but also their mutual experiences. The result is a crushing road roller of a country breakup song, which enables it to stand out.
4. “Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain” – Willie Nelson
Willie Nelson has released more than one song that could claim a place on this list. “Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain” is interesting because it had a storied history before he released his version. For those curious, the first version came out in the late 1940s. Since then, several well-known artists have interpreted it their way.
Hank Williams recorded the song in the early 1950s. Similarly, Bill Anderson recorded the song in the early 1960s. Even so, Nelson’s take is one of the best. It served as the heart of Red-Headed Stranger, meaning it also served as the heart of the concept album’s movie adaptation.
3. “Stay” – Sugarland
“Stay” is one of Sugarland’s most famous songs. It did quite well when it came out in 2007. The song reached the number two position on the Billboard Hot 100. Unfortunately, it winded up being blocked by Taylor Swift’s “Our Song,” meaning it stopped there.
The song is unusual because it takes the perspective of a woman having an affair with an unfaithful husband rather than a woman being cheated on by an unfaithful husband. What makes it neat is that it makes it easy to sympathize with both women who are stuck in no-win situations.
2. “I’m Over You” – Keith Whitley
“I’m Over You” is a great example of someone putting on a brave face after a breakup. The viewpoint character tries to claim he is over his ex, thus explaining the song’s name. However, the lyrics make it very clear that he isn’t because holes show up throughout his story. Emotions can be messy. As a result, the pretense gives the song a great deal of authenticity that makes it better than otherwise possible.
1. “I Will Always Love You” – Dolly Parton
As country breakup songs go, Dolly Parton’s “I Will Always Love You” is one of the classiest. It is sentimental, but at the same time, it separates neatly by cutting cleanly and sharply. The lyrics suggest that the viewpoint character is letting her significant other go because he could find someone better.
Amusingly, the context suggests she is the one who is coming out ahead. Parton wrote the song when she ended her working relationship with her one-time mentor Porter Wagoner. Subsequently, she continued moving from strength to strength, thus becoming a true legend of the music industry.
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