My Favorite Breakup Songs to Sing in the Car

I broke up with a long-term boyfriend in May of this year. While we share many mutual friends and it was a mostly drama-free split, sometimes I still feel hurt. Or frustrated. Or sad. Or angry. And it is okay for me to feel those feelings. When I’m stuck in a rut of feeling not-so-great about what went down, I turn to music. These five songs really have helped me work through what I’m feeling. I’ve also included some fun facts about these iconic breakup songs.

  1. 1. 'Supercut' by Lorde

    drum set with LED lights

    Lorde has plenty of great breakup songs in her arsenal, but this one feels the most relevant to how I feel. Coupled with an upbeat synth and drums, her longing lyrics remind me to reflect on the entirety of my past relationship, not just the good parts. Listen to it here.

  2. 2. 'Rockstar' by Mallrat

    headphones next to a guitar

    When I’m feeling particularly apathetic, I turn to Mallrat’s most recent single. The dreamy, fluid guitar combined with her monotone melodies make this song a perfect representation of what it feels like to be over it. The Australian singer finished the song a year after just writing the chorus. Listen to it here.

  3. 3. 'What the Hell' by Avril Lavigne

    rock concert

    No breakup playlist is complete without 2000s pop punk legend, Avril Lavigne. This song travels in the opposite direction of her 2007 hit, ‘Girlfriend.’ This song really resonates with my desire for freedom after being in a nearly 5-year relationship from such a young age. Avril Lavigne describes the song as “a broad message about personal freedom.” Listen to it here.

  4. 4. 'New York' by St. Vincent

    Person waiting by window, sad

    This is a very straightforwardly sad song. The biggest features throughout the 2 minutes and 33 seconds are the steady piano and St. Vincent’s mournful, bittersweet voice. It is a sharp contrast from the rest of her discography. Critics were worried St. Vincent was traveling away from her usual self-assuredness, but I think her vulnerability is what makes this song so special. Listen to it here.

  5. 5. ‘Potential Breakup Song’ by Aly & AJ

    Birthday cake and flowers

    I would never forget to include the breakup song that defined an entire generation of Disney Channel watchers. Although technically not written about her relationship with Joe Jonas, AJ Michalka revealed that she sent him a piece of birthday cake when they were younger. That detail, paired with the song’s opening line, “It took too long for you to call back / Normally I would just forget that / Except for the fact it was my birthday,” makes me think that Aly and AJ had someone in mind while writing this bop. Listen to it here.

These songs have really helped me express some of the uglier feelings that come with a breakup and being single. Sometimes I think about how lucky and random it is that I was born at a time where I could discover and enjoy these songs. But usually I’m just listening to them in my car at a volume that would appall my mother.