10 Breakup R&B Songs to Listen For a Broken Heart

10 best R&B songs to heal your broken heart during a breakup

By Patti Flinsch-Rodriguez
 10 Breakup R&B Songs to Listen For a Broken Heart

Why R&B songs helps for a broken heart

Music evokes emotion, so it's no wonder that when we are feeling down we reach for music to lift our spirits.  R&B, by nature, is pure emotion. It is a synthesis of many different types of music.  R&B takes bits from the blues, gospel, soul, funk, pop and hip hop.  It began in the 1940s, and has evolved tremendously. Today it is produced with electronic music and drum machines.  The vocals are still a most important piece of contemporary R&B music.

2019 best 10 R&B songs to put in your playlist

Whether you were the one who was dumped or you were the one to break up the relationship, you will want to have an arsenal of R&B songs to put in your playlist.  No matter which end of the break up you are on, it is a painful experience.  Music allows us to feel the pain, anguish, and anger that others have experienced through their break ups.  We can use music to help us to mend our broken hearts.

90s Songs to heal your broken heart during a breakup

The 1990s were a turbulant time and brought a lot of heartache to the U.S.  There were devastating hurricanes, blizzards, heatwaves, floods and earthquakes, terrorist bombings in New York City, Atlanta and Oklahoma City, cult stand offs, plane crashes and high school mass shootings.  It's no wonder that there were so many heartbreak songs released in the 90s.

1. TLC - Creep

TLC's Creep came out in 1994, and at the heart of the song is the fact that the man in the song is cheating on the woman.  She is hurt, but she still loves him. However, instead of leaving her man, she chooses to cheat on him.  Why does she do this? She cheats on him because she is lonely and feels neglected by her man. Like so many women, she is trying to hang on to a relationship that is no longer there.  She sneakily creeps around to get the love and attention she isn't getting from her man.  The woman feels justified in cheating on him because he alienated her and made her feel lonely.

So I creep, yeah, just creepin' on, But I'll know. 'cept nobody is supposed to know. So I creep, yeah, 'cause he doesn't know what I do, And no attention goes to show.

2. Toni Braxton - Unbreak my heart

1996 brought us Toni Braxton's Un-break My Heart. It's a heart wrenching song about wanting someone back who doesn't want you.  The song is filled with raw, deep emotion and everyone can connect with these feelings.

Unbreak my heart, oh baby Come back and say you love me Unbreak my heart Sweet darlin' Without you I just can't go on

3. Boy II Men - End of the Road

Boyz II Men released End of the Road in 1992, and this song brought a lot of hope to the broken hearted.  This song is from the male perspective.  He sings about how he knows the relationship is over and yet he still loves her and cannot let go. Women love hearing how men still have feelings for them, even though they have broken up.

Although we've come To the end of the road Still I can't let go It's unnatural You belong to me I belong to you

4. Monica - Before You Walk Out of My Life

1995 brought us Monica's Before You Walk out of My Life.  It is an emotional R&B song where the singer wants to correct all of the wrongs she committed in the relationship before the man leaves her. It is about recognizing mistakes you may have made in your relationship so that you may be able to keep from breaking up.

Never meant to cause you no pain. I just wanna go back to being the same. Well, I only wanna make things right Before you walk out of my life.

5. Whitney Houston - I Will Always Love You

This song was written by Dolly Parton and was a number one hit for her on the country charts back in 1973. Whitney Houston sang this song for the soundtrack of the movie The Bodyguard in 1992, and it was a number one hit.  Of course, I always find it very odd that people like to play this song at weddings, and it is often the couple's wedding song!  It is definitely a break up song, but on some level, I suppose it is a little bit of a love song because she does still love the man she is leaving.

If I should stay I would only be in your way So I'll go but I know I'll think of you every step of the way So good-bye Please don't cry We both know I'm not what you, you need

It is clear that the person leaving doesn't want to, but thinks it is in the best interest of the other to go.  She doesn't want to hold him back, so she will leave and allow him to flourish.

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2000s Songs

The 2000s had its share of heartache too. There were more mass shootings, the tragedy of 9/11, Hurricane Katrina killed almost 2,000 people and caused over $80 billion in damage and an economic crisis to name a few.  Luckily, there was a lot of good music to help get us through it all.

6. Beyonce - Best Thing I Never Had

In 2011, Beyonce released Best Thing I Never Had, and this song just proves that she is the queen!  It's a song about realizing the man you are with doesn't deserve you and you get out before you are in too deep. You realize what a dog he actually is. The best part is that when you leave, he is hurt but it is too late for him because you found someone else who treats you right.  

So sad you're hurt Boo hoo, oh, did you expect me to care? You don't deserve my tears I guess that's why they ain't there When I think that there was a time that I almost loved you You showed your ass and baby yes, I saw the real you

This is such a great song about "dodging a bullet," and makes you feel great about your relationship break up.  If you had stayed with this guy, you would have been treated poorly and would have been miserable.

7. Usher - Burn

Usher released Burn in 2006 and we have all been singing right along with him since then.  Again, a song from the male point of view that women just love to hear.  He knows the relationship is over, and it is best for both of them to break up and move on, but it is hard to do because there is still love.  Relationships can run their course and it doesn't mean you hate the other person, but it is best for everyone to end it. Usher is telling us to let it burn to the ground.

You know that it was through Let it burn

8. Ashanti - Foolish

In 2002, Ashanti gave us the song Foolish.  She knows her man is cheating on her, and she hates how foolish she is by taking him back.  She knows that leaving him would be the best thing that she can do for herself, but when he begs her not to leave, she is foolish and takes him back because she loves him. 

So sad, so sad what love will make you do All the things that we accept

This is so relatable because most of us have made this stupid decision that was not in our best interest in the long run.

9. Alicia Keys - How Come You Don't Call Me?

Alicia Keys released a cover of this Prince song, How Come You Don't Call Me in 2001.  Prince's version was great, but Keys smashed it! You can feel the pain in her voice and it is gut twisting.  We have all probably been in her place and experience unrequited love.  That's when you love someone who doesn't love you back, and it is a terrible feeling.  

All I wanna know is baby, if what we had was good How come you don't call me anymore

Waiting by the phone and willing it to ring is painful.  That is the reason the song is so good to listen to because it has happened to you.

10. Kanye West - Heartless

Kanye West sang Heartless in 2008 and we feel his pain.  His woman is cheating on him.  He is so in love with her, and doesn't understand why she is treating him so badly.  He also is confused by his own response to her cheating because he wonders why he is willing to stay with her.  It's the oldest story in the world, but this time it is told from the man's broken heart.

Somewhere far along this road, he lost his soul to a woman so heartless

Specifically about bad relationship

Here are a few songs that are written specifically about a bad relationship.

11. Rihanna - Love On The Brain

Rihanna sings about the emotional and physical abuse she endured in Love on the Brain.  She hates that she allows herself to put up with the physcial abuse (he threw her against a wall), but she finds it hard to leave because the physical sex is so good. This is a textbook toxic relationship.

And I tried to buy your pretty heart, but the price too high

12. Amy Winehouse - Tears Dry on their Own

This is a sad song. Amy Winehouse sings about being the other woman in Tears Dry on their Own, and it is heartbreaking. Yes, I know she is admitting to being the other woman, but you cannot help but feel bad for her because she loved him so much.  She knew it was wrong to get involved with him, and this song illustrates the regret she feels in accepting the small amount of time and love he was willing to give to her.

All I can ever be to you is a darkness that we knew And this regret I got accustomed to

13. gnash - I Hate You, I Love You

I Hate U, I Love You is gnash's song about loving someone who doesn't love you back and hating yourself and hating the object of your affection at the same time. It is an unhealthy relationship for everyone involved.

I hate you, I love you I hate that I want you You want her, you need her And I'll never be her


There is no shortage of wonderful R&B songs to help mend your broken heart.  If you are down in the dumps, check out some of these songs to get you through the pain.  Sometimes it helps to know that others have gone through the same stuff and were able to come through it.  You are not alone and that is why music is so powerful.

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