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Kallie’s Chords: Ballads of the Brokenhearted

Not in the mood for all the residual Valentine’s Day cheerfulness? Monday’s holiday urged us to express our feelings for those in our lives, but sometimes we just need to reflect on our emotions. While upbeat and happy tunes often bring listeners joy, breakup songs tend to be emotionally engaging. “Breakup songs can provide a kind of reverse empathy as you feel for another person going through what you are experiencing. This feeling can help you recognize your own feelings,” says Paul Thagard, PhD.

Each of us celebrated Valentine’s Day differently. If you’re still in a melancholy mood, check out some (or all) of these anthems below. As Ethan noted in this week’s Cat in the Stax, “Crying is a uniquely human experience. Tears are what separate us from the rest of the animal kingdom, which makes crying all the more necessary. A good cry can help us learn things about ourselves that we never could have known otherwise.”

Don’t hit the repeat button on these ballads of the brokenhearted too frequently—save them for when you need to shed a few tears.

  1. “What Becomes of the Brokenhearted” by Jimmy Ruffin
  2. “If I Could Write” by Sam Phillips
  3. “I Forgot to Be Your Lover” by William Bell
  4. “Someone Like You” by Adele
  5. “Let It Go” by James Bay
  6. “It’s Too Late” by Carole King
  7. “Tuesday Heartbreak” by Stevie Wonder
  8. “White Flag” by Dido
  9. “I’d Rather Go Blind” by Etta James
  10. “Unbreak My Heart” by Toni Braxton
  11. “I Will Always Love You” by Dolly Parton
  12. “Back to December” by Taylor Swift
  13. “You Haven’t Seen the Last of Me” by Cher
  14. “I Heard It Through The Grapevine” by Marvin Gaye
  15. “When The Party’s Over” by Billie Eilish
  16. “Purple Rain” by Prince
  17. “Ain’t No Sunshine” by Bill Withers
  18. “Don’t Know What You Got (Till It’s Gone)” by Cinderella
  19. “How Can You Mend a Broken Heart” by Al Green
  20. “With or Without You” by U2
  21. “Wrecking Ball” by Miley Cyrus
  22. “The Dumbing Down of Love” by Frou Frou
  23. “Dancing with a Stranger” by Sam Smith and Normani
  24. “The Winner Takes it All” by ABBA
  25. “The Man That Got Away” by Judy Garland
  26. “Misunderstanding” by Genesis

References: Why Do People Like Breakup Songs? | Psychology Today. (n.d.). Retrieved February 11, 2022, from

Kallie Stahl ’17 MA is Communication and Marketing Specialist at Falvey Memorial Library.



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Last Modified: February 18, 2022

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