Top 20 Albums to Stare Into The Abyss to While Mending Your Broken Heart

Ranking the best breakup albums just in time for Valentine’s Day

best breakup albums
Illustration by Steven Fiche

    For every great love tune, there’s an even better song about heartbreak. For every romantic, wedding-ready, feel-good jam, there’s a tear-jerking banger about that evil person who stomped and spat on your heart — and for good reason. Breakups are just as universal of an experience as romance, often bringing up even more intense emotions.

    And those emotions suck. Feelings of loneliness, anger, and, perhaps most potently, loss seem like they’ll never end. The experience is utterly overwhelming, and it’s frankly not healthy to keep all of those emotions bottled up. The best way to get them out? The tried-and-true breakup album.

    The history of heartbreak in pop music is as old as pop music itself. From classic country ballads to midwest emo, Jimmy Rodgers’ “Blue Yodel No. 1” to American Football’s “Never Meant,” artists and audiences alike have found solace in singing their lovesick blues away. As we pointed out in our recent roundup of great sad albums, there’s even scientific evidence that such music provides relief.


    But, with respect, it doesn’t take some know-it-all scientist to understand the power of soundtracking your healing process with appropriately moody music. Anyone who’s been through a relationship or two can attest to that. So, we’ve compiled a list of some of the best breakup albums of all time… just in case. We only hope you won’t need it anytime soon.

    Check out the full list of the best breakup albums below.

    — Jonah Krueger

    20. Noah and the Whale, The First Days of Spring

    Noah and the Whale The First Days of Spring

    “It’s the first day of spring/ And my life is starting over again,” utters Noah and the Whale frontman Charlie Fink on the titular track of their second album The First Days of Spring. Written in the wake of his breakup with singer-songwriter Laura Marling, the record is a somber, melancholic, and pensive reflection on trying to be oh so totally fine as you deal with your head and heart cracking open in two. It’s a mellow record that wallows deep the darker corners of indie folk, where sadness, anxiety, denial, loneliness, and grief are all but one emotion. “Well, I don’t think that it’s the end, but I know we can’t keep going/ ’Cause blue skies are coming, but I know that it’s hard,” Fink laments on “Our Window.” Because when everything around you is steeped in grey, it’s impossible to look ahead to clearer spring days. – Cady Siregar