Best Songs to Soothe a Broken Heart

Ne-Yo, Mary J. Blige, and Toni Braxton Make the Cut

Woman reflected in broken mirror

Tiziana Nanni/Getty Images

Both the hurtful sting of a breakup or having to be the one to do the unpleasant task of breaking up with someone are situations that can really benefit from a songwriter who knows about pain, puts your pain into words and sometimes even helps soothe a broken a heart. Breakup songs over the decades help heal the heartbreak that can leave an empty feeling in the pit of your stomach, the feeling of hopelessness and lack of will to carry on.

Artists like Mary J. Blige, Ne-Yo, and the late Amy Winehouse are known for their woeful tales of heartbreak. The 12 songs on this list represent some of the better modern-day and classic songs about being broken hearted.

"Do You," Ne-Yo

Ne-Yo's 'Do You?'

Def Jam Recordings 

"Do You," which was the second single from Ne-Yo's second album, "Because of You" in 2007, is a tale of a man going through some serious emotional trauma because he still hasn't gotten over his ex and can't get her off his mind. The lyrics take the form of a letter he writes to his former love, who's just had a child with another man and is now engaged: "Swear that I'm not tryin' to start no trouble. Tell your fiance he can relax. I'll leave you alone for good I promise. There's a question I just gotta ask," he sings. "I just wonder, do you ever think of me anymore? Do you?"

"Still in Love With You," Sade

Sade's "The Ultimate Collection”


You would not normally associate Sade with the 1970s hard rock band Thin Lizzy, but that changed with her tender, a wistful remake of Thin Lizzy's "Still in Love With You" which appeared on her 2011 "The Ultimate Collection." Key lyrics from the song: "Think I'll just fall to pieces If I don't find something else to do. This sadness never ceases, I'm still in love with you."

"Bittersweet," Fantasia

Fantasia's "Bittersweet"

 J Records

The highlight of Fantasia's 2010 album Back to Me is the first single, "Bittersweet," during which Fantasia agonizes over a former lover whom she can't get out of her mind or heart, even though he treated her poorly: "Part of me wants you, part of me doesn't, part of me is missin' you, part of me is gone," she sings.

"Cold Summer," CJ Hilton

CJ Hilton's "Cold Summer"

Photo from Amazon

CJ Hilton is a soulful artist who has collaborated with Raphael Saadiq and Stevie Wonder, among others. On the title song from his 2012 "Cold Summer" EP, he laments lost love over a thumping beat. Marvin Gaye and Curtis Mayfield would be proud of Hilton's soulful homage and dead-on heartbreak lyrics.

"I Need You," Mayer Hawthorne

Mayer Hawthorne's "I Need You"'

Stones Throw Records 

On his ​modernized ​doo-wop-style song "I Need You," soul singer Mayer Hawthorne sorrowfully laments how he let his woman get away, and how much he needs her back in his life. Key lyric: "When I saw you last night, it brought back memories to life. Of how we used to love one another, so sad we didn't go any further."

"Not Gon' Cry," Mary J. Blige

Mary J. Blige's "Not Gon' Cry"
Arista Records

The first-person lyrics in "Not Gon' Cry" by Mary J. Blige, a tale of a brokenhearted wife, were written by a man, Babyface. Blige sings: "While all the time that I was loving you, you were busy loving yourself. I would stop breathing if you told me to. Now you're busy loving someone else. Eleven years out of my life, besides the kids, I have nothing to show. Wasted my years a fool of a wife, I shoulda left your ass a long time ago."

"Un-Break My Heart," Toni Braxton

Toni Braxton's "Un-Break My Heart”


Toni Braxton's finest moment as a singer came when she managed to reach the lowest of lows emotionally on "Un-Break My Heart." The lyrics beg a former lover to come back and undo the pain they have caused. Braxton's rendition was so powerful that it won a Grammy Award for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance.

"Back To Black," Amy Winehouse

Amy Winehouse's “Back To Black”

Island records

Sadly, the deep blue "Back To Black" by Amy Winehouse is tragically autobiographical. The song is about going into a deep depression after being left for an ex. "He left no time for regret, kept his (thing) wet with his same old safe bet," Winehouse mournfully sings.

"Heartbreaker," Alice Russell

Alice Russell's "Heartbreaker"

 Photo from Amazon

Alice Russell, one of the UK's finest soul singers, released "Heartbreaker" in late 2012. It's a song about having a hopelessly broken heart. "Now I know when hearts are broken, that with time they heal, or so they say," Russell sings. "But this hold on me, I'm choking just to breathe, another kiss I pray."

"So Sick," Ne-Yo

Ne-Yo's "So Sick"

 Def Jam

As Ne-Yo demonstrates on "So Sick," it doesn't get more real or sad than not changing your answering machine message so that you can still hear the voice of the person who broke your heart when they moved out. "I'm so sick of love songs so sad and slow." he sings. "So why can't I turn off the radio?" 

"Bust Your Windows," Jazmine Sullivan

Jazmine Sullivan's "Fearless"

J Records

Not all broken heart songs have to leave you completely down in the dumps, something that Jazmine Sullivan reminds us of "Bust Your Windows." It's a delightfully wicked song about getting revenge on a cheater. As she sings in the opening lyrics: "I bust the windows out your car. And no, it didn't mend my broken heart, I'll probably always have these ugly scars. But right now I don't care about that part."

"How Can You Mend a Broken Heart," Al Green

Al Green's "Let's Stay Together"
Hi Records

"How Can You Mend A Broken Heart," the song title says it all. This is the kind of song that you want to listen to while drowning your sorrows in a bottle of scotch. Painful though the song is, it is also arguably the most shining moment in Al Green's long, glorious career. The Bee Gees composed and recorded this song first, but Rev. Al did it best.