20 Greatest Empowering Break-Up Songs

I don’t know any magic so I can’t cure you of your heart ache. What I can do, however, is provide you some tracks to help you on your road to romantic recovery, or at least get through the Valentine’s Day hump. These are not your mama’s “I’m so sad” break up songs. These are the songs you feel better after listening to them, not worse.

So buckle up, kids, and here we go!

“You Oughta Know”, Alanis Morrissette

The History: This song was a track on Morissette’s Jagged Little Pill album. She wrote the song with Glen Ballard. It did pretty well on the charts, peaking at number 22 in Canada, twenty two in the UK, and number one on the Billboard Alternative chart in the US. It won a Grammy for Best Rock Song and Best Female Rock Vocal Performance in 1996. VH1 ranked the song number 12 in the “Top 100 Songs of the 90′s” special. While there’s a lot of speculation as to who the song is about, Morrrissette is mum about it, saying in an interview the Vancover Sun, “Well, I’ve never talked about who my songs were about and I won’t, because when I write them they’re written for the sake of personal expression.”

Why it’s Great: This song is raw in a totally awesome way. Sometimes before we move on, there’s a period where we’re just really angry at our ex. It’s powerful because Morrisette puts to music all the thoughts we might have about are ex that we wouldn’t dare say to their face.

“So What”, Pink

The History: Once upon a time, Pink got married to motocross star Carey Hart. They separated in 2008, and so the song “So What” was born. It reached number on on the Billboard 100 in the US, making it one of the most downloaded songs that year. The song is in direct reference to their relationship, which she now says is funny to sing since they’ve reunited.

Why it’s Great: This song is great because it’s just fun. In no uncertain terms, Pink describes probably the best way to deal with a break up (Minus starting fights. What Culture doesn’t condone any violence except for the kind that’s already fake), particularly if your partner was a tool. She basically says, “So what if we broke up? I was a cool chick before I dated you, and I’m gonna keep being a cool chick and go have some fun! You’re just an idiot and I don’t want you.” If only we could remember that mantra after a break up, the world would be a much calmer place. The music video is just as fun and any song that makes fun of Jessica Simpson is great to begin with.

“Forget You”, Cee Lo Green

The History: “Forget You” was the first single off Cee Lo’s third album, The Lady Killer. It was number one on TIME‘s top ten songs for 2010 and won a Grammy for Best Urban/Alternative Performance. The song became so popular that it was covered in an episode of Glee. Even though it sounds like Cee Lo is talking about a girl, but he says his “forget you” is towards the music industry.

Why it’s Great: We all know them. The people who are so egotistical and materialistic they should just marry themselves. It would save us the trouble of trying to please them because they’re an “Xbox” and you like to kick it old school “Atari” style. However, what makes it great is that this song marries the greatness of the 60′s Motown sound with a modern sensibility. He gets extra brownie points for the lyric, “I pity the fool who falls in love with you.” If you’re feeling really sassy, there’s also the uncensored version.

“I Will Survive”, Gloria Gaynor

The History: Released in 1978, this song has survived the test of time. It hit number one on the Billboard Hot 100 and the UK Singles Chart in 1979. In 1980, it received a Grammy for Best Disco Recording (the only year that award was given out.).

Why it’s Great: This song has been through the ringer, from a dancing baby to part of a musical (Priscilla Queen of the Desert) to, you guessed it, a Glee cover. Unless you were born today, you know this song. This is the disco song we’re all not embarrassed to admit we like, because of the strength in this song. It celebrates looking into the future instead of your past and not letting anyone (including your ex) get in your way. The immense power in this song is something that can’t be replicated.

“I Found a Boy”, Adele

The History: Well, there isn’t much of a history. The song is one of the tracks on Adele’s 21 Album, but never made it as a single.

Why it’s Great: Out of all of Adele’s singles, “Rolling in the Deep” would fit this list the best, but this song is better. This is the Adele song you don’t know but should. This is the song to show you have survived. The ultimate sign of moving on is to find someone else, but to find someone that you love even more than your last partner is the best karma you can find and Adele wrote the perfect song for it. What ever grip they had on you before and all the begging they do to get you back doesn’t matter, you won’t “crumble to your knees” because you know you have someone a thousand times better. The lyrics are powerful on their own, but Adele’s phenomenal voice puts this song over the top and brings the lyrics to life.