Love comes, and love goes. The music industry knows there will always be heartbreak, so they keep pumping out music to get you “in the feels”. Whether it’s breaking up with someone, being broken up with, being cheated on, or simply watching a once-happy relationship fade away, it seems pop music has a sad love song applicable to everyone’s situation.
Here are some of our favorite picks from the last decade!
2011 – “Someone Like You” by Adele
In this song, pop singer Adele ponders over a lost love. With memorable lines like “Guess she gave you things, I didn’t give to you” and the famous “Sometimes it lasts in love, but sometimes it hurts instead”, anyone who’s ever listened to the radio within the last decade will surely recognize this modern classic.
2012 – “Payphone” by Maroon 5 ft. Wiz Khalifa
This song paints the picture of Adam Levine desperately trying to call his distant lover from a payphone. The line “even the sun sets in paradise” is sure to pull at the heartstrings of anyone who’s ever had to watch the perfect relationship slowly fade into a dysfunctional mess.
2013 – “Let Her Go” by Passenger
Beginning with a beautiful but melancholy guitar passage, this song focuses on how you only really appreciate something (or someone) when you finally lose it. Perfect for anyone who’s just been dumped, this song is certainly a downer, but is an accurate reflection of how many people feel at the end of a relationship.
2014 – “I’m Not the Only One” by Sam Smith
You can feel the soul in this tune. Sam Smith sings about how he had doubts that his woman was unfaithful for months, but at the same time, he still desperately relies on her for emotional support. Torn between the fallacy of an idyllic relationship and the reality of the one he’s in, this song will be especially relatable for anyone who’s been cheated on by someone they were madly in love with.
2015 – “Stitches” by Shawn Mendes
A bit more upbeat to the ear, this song focuses on the long road to emotional recovery at the end of a relationship. The line “without your kisses, I’ll be needing stitches” is painfully cringe-worthy, but the song itself was catchy enough to earn it the 36th spot on the Billboard Year-End Hot 100 singles back in 2015.
2016 – “Love Yourself” by Justin Bieber
In this song, a vindictive Justin Bieber addresses his ex-lover. He explains that he’s much better off by himself and acknowledges he overlooked the multiple flaws his own mother mentioned because he was too distracted to see what was going on. The lyrics say, “you should go and love yourself”, but I think we all know what he really means.
2017 – “It Ain’t Me” by Kygo ft. Selena Gomez
A frustrated Selena Gomez portrays the role of a woman completely fed up with her man’s games. “It Ain’t Me” plays a nice balance between a somewhat upbeat tune and lyrics, making it clear that the relationship is over.
2018 – “Better Now” by Post Malone
This song is relatable for anyone who’s had “the one that got away”. Throughout the tune, Post Malone admits that he sincerely regrets losing his girl. If you’ve ever had a relationship go south due to alcohol or drug abuse, this paints a picture that’s all too familiar.
2019 – “Happier” by Marshmello and Bastille
Sometimes two people are truly in love, but they know that they’re not right for each other. Reflected in the line “know that means I’ll have to leave”, this song may be relatively new, but the situation it covers is an ongoing problem encountered by couples around the world every day.
2020 – “Without Me” by Halsey
Unfortunately, sometimes people are just scumbags. In “Without Me”, that’s the impression we get — this song laments a story in which Halsey supports a man and builds him up, only to have him go love someone else instead.