Love usually starts in the simplest of ways but ends in complicated scenarios. Sometimes, the breakup is nasty, other times it is mutual, but the bottom line is it is seldom a welcome goodbye.
The heartache can wreck you for weeks and months before you finally dare to give love one more chance. It is even said that heartbreak can turn you into a poet, so it is no surprise that some of the most beautiful songs are inspired by past flames. Here are awesome songs about exes to help soothe your broken heart.
20. On A Prayer by Boy in Space Featuring SHY Martin
Love will have you saving your partner’s face on the phone screen, but once things go south, you cannot stand to look at them anymore. Well, that is the story narrated by Boy in Space in this song.
He feels like he has been dead for days, reminiscing about the moments saved in Polaroids. So, whenever he gets drunk, he cannot help but pick up the phone to call his ex-girlfriend to say hello. The heartache is so much for him he wishes he could turn his heart into a stone.
19. I’ll Never Be In Love Again by Don Williams
Bob Corbin wrote this song which Williams took to No. 4 on Billboard’s Hot Country Singles. Williams says he can do without his ex, but it will be hard to ever love again.
Although he will find someone now and then, giving them a piece of his heart as he had his ex is impossible. Still, he has released her because if there is nothing he can do to make her stay, then she has his blessings to find happiness elsewhere.
18. The Loneliness by Babyface
Moving on after a breakup is difficult, and you can tell from the way Babyface delivers the lyrics to this song. He narrates how he is lonely now that his girl is no longer with him.
He keeps dreaming about her, wishing she would be in his arms again. The pain is too much, and he cannot imagine going through such heartbreak again, so he does not think he will ever love again.
17. Just Someone I Used to Know by Dolly Parton & Porter Wagoner
Sometimes the love you felt for someone you have parted ways with still lingers long after they are gone.
This song shows just how much such lingering emotions can affect you. Parton and Wagoner deliver the message beautifully through this cover of a 1962 song.
According to Country Thang Daily, the song was penned by Jack Clement for George Jones, and it climbed to No. 3 on the Billboard Country chart.
16. I Wish You’d Stay by Brad Paisley
This song written by Paisley and Chris DuBois is about begging the person you have broken up with to stay. The country musician says that although he wishes nothing but the best for his ex, he still wishes she would stay.
He is kind enough to even provide a way for her to be comfortable in the new town. He released the song in August 2002, and it climbed the Billboard Hot Country Singles & Tracks to peak at No. 7.
15. Forget Me by Lewis Capaldi
Capaldi revealed through a statement that he had released a new single but said it was no different from what he had been singing. The Scottish singer explained that “Forget Me” is about meeting a lady then they break up, and he whines about it in a pop song.
Capaldi said that the song is sad and fast, and he was worried about how it would perform in the charts. As he described it, it is not the best song he had ever heard, but he liked it so he hoped it would be the beginning of a new chapter in his life.
In the song, Capaldi hopes that the ex-girlfriend still remembers him.
14. I Learned From The Best by Whitney Houston
There are many lessons to be learned from relationships, even failed ones. Diane Warren wrote this song about a person whose ex wants to make up.
However, this person has learned a lot since the breakup. At first, it was not easy trying to move on; she cried tears she thought would never dry because she loved the guy so much she would have sold her soul for him.
Thankfully, she has healed and cannot take him back. She believes he taught her how to break a heart. Whitney Houston sang the ballad as the final single in her “My Love Is Your Love” album.
13. Don’t Forget About Us by Mariah Carey
“We Belong Together” did so well that it was named the No. 1 single of the decade. Consequently, Carey’s record label boss, L.A. Reid advised her to collaborate with Jermaine Dupri on an unfinished song from “Emancipation of Mimi” sessions.
Carey agreed and “Don’t Forget About Us” was recorded, and it ended up topping the charts for two weeks. When asked whether it was about anyone in particular, Carey said she was not thinking about her past flames.
12. Without You by The Kid LAROI
The kid LAROI said that he wrote the song based on a few past relationships. He starts by singing that his ex-girlfriend cut out a piece of him now he bleeds internally. She left him, and he cannot imagine life without her.
There are, however, some mixed feelings. Although he knows it will be hard being on his own, he still feels good to know that he is no longer with a cheating girlfriend.
11. Since u Been Gone by Kelly Clarkson
Swedish songwriter Max Martin and American songwriter Lukasz Gottwald collaborated to pen this song. They hoped Pink would perform it, but she turned it down, so they asked Hillary Duff but the higher notes were beyond her vocal capability.
Eventually, the song found its way to Clarkson. It is a freedom anthem for any person who feels suffocated by their exes but the breakup is liberating.
10. Doin’ Just Fine by Boyz II Men
Shawn Stockman told Songwriter Universe that this song was inspired by his wife’s ex. At the time, she was his girlfriend and had opened up about a relationship she had tried so hard to move on from, but it took a long time.
Stockman tried putting himself in his wife’s shoes to understand how she must have been feeling about her ex.
9. Better In Time by Leona Lewis
They say time heals all wounds and that is the message in the song. Lewis sings that although she loved her ex-boyfriend, she is still learning to move on and find love again.
It is hard because everything reminds her of him, and she is even hallucinating but in time, it will get better. She keeps convincing herself that she will be fine and feels it is time to bury her feelings so she can be free again.
8. Shout Out To My Ex by Little Mix
Pierre Edwards has always been evasive whenever asked if the lyrics were about her ex, Zayn Malik, who dumped her through a text.
Instead, another Little Mix member Jecy Nelson said the song was about empowering women who have gone through a bad breakup. She said everyone gets to the point of thinking “I don’t need you.”
From the lyrics, it is reasonable to assume the song is about Edwards’s ex since she talks about “four long years” – the same period the two had been together.
7. My Happy Ending by Avril Lavigne
Lavigne is reflecting on her past relationship wondering what caused the breakup – was it something she did or something the ex-boyfriend said?
She believes they can talk about it and maybe work it out because the relationship was meant to last. The singer says the ex was everything she thought she would ever need and they would have a happy ending but she was mistaken.
She discovers the guy was putting on a mask, acting like he cared and making her believe she was the only one who mattered.
6. Un-Break My Heart by Toni Braxton
Allegedly, this song written by Diane Warren was supposed to be sung by Celine Dion, whereas “Because You Loved Me” was meant for Braxton. Somehow, they were switched and the resulting performances by both singers were remarkable.
Warren revealed that Clive Davis, a renowned record producer objected to the lyrics of “Un-Break My Heart” saying that some of the words were cliché.
However, Warren stuck to her composition, and when the song was presented to Braxton, she did not like it. Still, it became one of her biggest hits to date.
5. We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together by Taylor Swift
According to Story of Song, Swift dated Jake Gyllenhaal for three months steadily before they broke up and it became an on-and-off relationship for a while.
Swift explained that the inspiration for the song came about when her ex’s friend found her in the studio and said he heard rumors that she was getting back together with Gyllenhaal.
She later described the relationship to the songwriters and they were so enthralled they decided they should do a song about it.
4. Problem by Ariana Grande Featuring Iggy Azalea
According to RollingStone, this song was an untitled track by Savan Kotecha but he had nicknamed it “The Whisper Song.” When Grande first heard it, she was afraid of the whisper in the chorus and she did not like being belt-y in the verses.
However, the song came together perfectly as she sings she has one less problem without the ex.
3. Love Yourself by Justin Bieber
According to Billboard, this song penned by Ed Sheeran was meant to be for his studio album “Divide.” However, Sheeran is grateful that Bieber performed it because the Canadian singer gave it the appreciation it deserved, taking it to the No. 1 spot in 2016.
The song is about an ex-girlfriend Bieber feels was manipulative. He starts by saying she would use his name to get in clubs and after learning that she was only using him, he is not remorseful about the breakup.
He says he is not holding on to anything so she should also move on and learn to love herself.
2. Someone Like You by Adele
American songwriter Dan Wilson co-wrote this song with Adele. As he told Smooth Radio, the two sat around the piano for two days and finished recording it as it was written.
They also decided to keep it personal so it draws inspiration from one of Adele’s failed relationships. Adele said she had already drained herself emotionally from her previous songs that portrayed bitterness over the breakup.
With this song, she wanted to feel okay about what had transpired so it was for her despite it being about her ex-boyfriend. Adele was angry that after dreaming of marriage with the guy, he did not want it yet as soon as they broke up he went and married someone else.
1. Somebody That I Used to Know by Gotye Featuring Kimbra
According to American Songwriter, this song’s recording occurred between January 2011 and May 2011. Gotye could not find the right female voice for the female perspective but eventually, he found Kimbra.
The inspiration is from a past relationship that the musician, who is often compared to Sting, described as having ended nastily.
He said he and his ex-girlfriend hurt each other more than was necessary so even there was no need to remain friends. The song was a massive hit, topping charts in the US and UK and getting platinum certified 8 times.
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