In need of a good cry? You’ve come to the right place!
These songs are all about being in pain – whether your hurt has to do with mental health, failed romance, or personal loss, these tracks are sure to provide some solace. From power ballads to club songs, nothing inspires art like pain.
Get your tissues and listen to these songs about being hurt.
Table of Contents
- Hurt – Johnny Cash
- Everybody Hurts – R.E.M.
- Let’s Hurt Tonight – OneRepublic
- Hurt Feelings – Mac Miller
- Easy On Me – Adele
- Stitches – Shawn Mendes
- Love Hurts – Nazareth
- Someone You Loved – Lewis Capaldi
- Love the Way You Lie – Eminem & Rihanna
- TKO – Justin Timberlake
- My Immortal – Evanescence
- Celine Dion – I Love You Goodbye
- Wrecking Ball – Miley Cyrus
- Russian Roulette – Rihanna
- La La La – Naughty Boy
- Million Reasons – Lady Gaga
- How Do You Sleep – Sam Smith
- Life After You – Daughtry
- Heartless – Kanye West
- Take What You Want – Post Malone
- Going Under – Evanescence
- Grenade – Bruno Mars
- Hurt Me Now – Quinn Lewis
- Hurt Me – Juice WRLD
- Let It Hurt – Rascal Flatts.
- Hurt – Christina Aguilera
- Hurts – Emeli Sandé
- Hurts So Good – John Cougar Mellencamp
- Hurts – James Arthur
- Hurts Like Heaven – Coldplay
Hurt – Johnny Cash
Johnny Cash’s sultry, mournful vocals make this a painful and moving cover of the original song by Nine Inch Nails. The line “I hurt myself today to see if I still feel” is dark, but it beautifully asks whether it is better to be in pain or numb to it all.
Related: This song is one of the saddest songs of all time.
Everybody Hurts – R.E.M.
Meant to be a lifeline for the hopeless, ‘Everybody Hurts’ was written to be a source of comfort for people going through a hard time. They say, “don’t let yourself go, ’cause everybody cries.” It’s a reminder that everyone goes through difficult things and can move through them and move on, even though it’s not easy.
Related: Cry a river with the songs about crying playlist.
Let’s Hurt Tonight – OneRepublic
A gorgeous song about two people loving each other through mental illness and hard times, ‘Let’s Hurt Tonight’ has an anthemic feel that will either give you chills or make you cry (or maybe both!). “They say love is pain, well darling, let’s hurt tonight.” This pair wants to feel all the pain of their lives and their love because they know the pain is what makes it real.
Related: Here are the best songs about tough love.
Hurt Feelings – Mac Miller
Rather than dealing with personal hurt, Mac Miller sings about how he might be hurting others’ feelings. The song is about how he’s grown and changed from the person he was in his hometown—”I’m always saying I won’t change, but I ain’t the same.” When you change, sometimes the people around you resist it. Miller doesn’t want to hurt those people’s feelings, but he doesn’t regret who he has become.
Related: Improve yourself with this list of songs about personal growth.
Easy On Me – Adele
An emotional song about the difficult choice of divorce, ‘Easy On Me’ was Adele’s return to the music scene after a long five years. Her soulful vocals and gripping melodies are beautiful as ever as she asks her ex-husband, her son, and the listener to go easy on her. There is no simple choice when it comes to ending a relationship, especially when you’ve begun to build a family with them. When it comes down to it, you must put yourself first and hope others will go easy on you.
Stitches – Shawn Mendes
‘Stitches’ was Shawn Mendes’ first song to hit number one in the UK, and its inescapable catchiness leaves no room to wonder why. Mendes is lost and hurt, wondering why he loved this person when all they did was hurt him. “You watch me bleed until I can’t breathe,” he sings, yet he was a “moth drawn to a flame.” Sometimes love can be self-destructive, a sentiment clear in this song.
Related: This song features on our playlist of songs about moving on.
Love Hurts – Nazareth
Wronged by love, Nazareth sings of the scars, burns, and pain that love leaves behind. The line “love is just a lie, made to make you blue” shows the resentful and injured attitude of the song. After being brutally hurt, it’s easy to believe the pain of a broken love outweighs the good of a peaceful one.
Related: You can hear this tune on the Dazed and Confused soundtrack.
Someone You Loved – Lewis Capaldi
Vulnerable lyrics and Lewis Capaldi’s raspy, woeful vocals helped this simple piano ballad ride to the top of the charts for weeks. Heartbreak songs never seem to get old, and ‘Someone You Loved’ reminds us of the universal pain. Just when you begin to get comfortable with someone, the rug is ripped out from under you, leaving you stranded and confused. “The day bleeds into nightfall,” but the person whose comfort you want most can never come.
Related: Grab a tissue and listen to more sad love songs.
Love the Way You Lie – Eminem & Rihanna
‘Love The Way You Lie’ describes an on-and-off relationship that borders on toxic. Rihanna’s hurt vocals and Eminem’s angry ones capture the range of emotions in this kind of relationship. “Just gonna stand there and watch me burn? Well, that’s alright because I like the way it hurts.” The narrator is in pain, and even though their partner is doing nothing but watch, they don’t mind.
Related: See our betrayal songs playlist.
TKO – Justin Timberlake
‘TKO’ stands for total knock out- a wrestling move that guarantees a win. In this song, Justin Timberlake compares seeing an ex move on to being knocked out. He includes plenty of boxing metaphors, singing “been swinging after the bell and after all of the whistle blows.” He feels like her moving on is unfair because of the pain it causes him, even though he knows deep down it’s something that was bound to happen.
My Immortal – Evanescence
The lyrics in ‘My Immortal’ are ambiguous, but the narrator is clearly feeling deep pain. Some kind of tumultuous relationship left behind scars, seen in the line “these wounds won’t seem to heal, this pain is just too real, there’s just too much that time cannot erase.” Cinematic strings and full vocals add to the emotions of this song.
Celine Dion – I Love You Goodbye
Accepting that you are not meant for someone is a harsh realization. That no matter how much you love someone, it is just not meant to be. Celine Dion’s belting piano ballads are always emotional, but with lyrics like “I don’t wanna leave you, baby it tears me up inside, but I’ll never be the one you’re needing,” this one is next level.
Related: Listen to more songs about feeling inadequate.
Wrecking Ball – Miley Cyrus
Miley Cyrus crashes into love with ‘Wrecking Ball,’ but in return, she is destroyed. This hit pop song follows a relationship where one person is all in, and the other isn’t ready for it. In the end, all they do is hurt each other. The bridge puts things into perspective, saying, “I never meant to start a war. I just wanted you to let me in.”
Russian Roulette – Rihanna
‘Russian Roulette’ compares a dangerous relationship to the life-threatening game of chance this song is named after. This kind of relationship can be good one moment and awful the next, causing the same feeling of fear and suspense as Russian roulette. “I’m terrified, but I’m not leaving,” sings Rihanna, showing her commitment to this relationship, however vicious it may be.
La La La – Naughty Boy
It’s a natural instinct to try to avoid and ignore the things that will hurt us. ‘La La La’ describes a childish response to being broken up with—”I’m covering my ears like a kid.” The narrator doesn’t want to hear the words because they will bring a change to their life that is too painful to think about. Despite the sad lyrical content, this is quite a fun electronic dance song.
Million Reasons – Lady Gaga
“I’ve got a hundred million reasons to walk away, but, baby, I just need one good one to stay.” The bluntness of this line is just one of the many beautiful components of ‘Million Reasons’ by Lady Gaga. Even though being with this person is emotionally exhausting, she needs just one positive to convince her to stay. A common fault of those in love, we search for the good in a relationship even when all the bad is right in front of our eyes.
Related: Find this song on our breakup songs playlist.
How Do You Sleep – Sam Smith
‘How Do You Sleep?’ is about the indignance and suffering that comes from being cheated on. Sam Smith asks, “how do you sleep when you lie to me?” desperate to know how someone they thought loved them could knowingly cause so much pain. Though this is a catchy pop track you could definitely dance to, you might be inclined to cry at the same time.
Related: Listen to the best songs about being used.
Life After You – Daughtry
This country rock track reflects a life without the person you love. Every relationship has its hurdles, but what happens if there’s a problem that can’t be fixed? Daughtry looks ahead at life after an irresolvable argument and concludes that “there’s no life after you.”
Heartless – Kanye West
The captivating beat of ‘Heartless’ makes it an instantly recognizable rap song. Kanye West raps about a man losing his soul—and his heart—to the cold character of a woman. The dramatic opening lines “in the night I hear ’em talk, the coldest story ever told, somewhere far along this road, he lost his soul to a woman so heartless” make this song a warning to all those looking for love.
Related: Need to mend your heart? Here is our broken heart songs playlist.
Take What You Want – Post Malone
Toxic love is nothing short of exhausting, and Post Malone gives in to the fatigue in ‘Take What You Want.’ He says, “you bled me dry just like the tears you never show,” telling this person to take what they want and leave him alone. He’ll let himself be used if it means it’ll be over sooner—a bleak solution to an impossible situation.
Going Under – Evanescence
The song’s narrator fights to keep her head above ground despite the weight of her vicious love. After “screaming, deceiving, and bleeding” for this person, she decides it’s time to save herself. The heavy rock style of ‘Going Under’ adds to the intensity of her determination, implying the feeling that a lot is at stake.
Related: Get inspired with this list of fight songs.
Grenade – Bruno Mars
A classic tune of the 2010s, ‘Grenade’ sings about the feeling of giving your everything to someone and getting nothing in return. Bruno Mars would give up his life for this person but knows they wouldn’t do the same for him. Despite this, he would still “catch a grenade” for them. The song feels like a giant question—”why? why don’t you love me?” with a clear and deep pain found in Mars’ words.
Related: If they don’t love you back, listen to these songs about loving someone you can’t have.
Hurt Me Now – Quinn Lewis
This bluntly vulnerable song tells the story of the end of a relationship dragging on. Quinn Lewis has felt a shift in this relationship and doesn’t know what went wrong. Yet, he knows the end is coming. He says, “if you gotta hurt me, hurt me now,” wanting to have the answers and get the pain over with.
Hurt Me – Juice WRLD
The easiest response to pain is often to fold in on yourself and close out others. ‘Hurt Me’ by Juice WRLD takes us through his experience with that. He locks the doors, turns to drugs, and shows no mercy to the friends and strangers that bother him. Though there can be strength in standing alone, this kind of independence seems self-destructive, especially with the line “crash my whip off the drugs I’m swervin’.”
Let It Hurt – Rascal Flatts.
‘Let It Hurt’ is a response to loss. The grief of losing a loved one is one of the hardest things to go through, and Rascal Flatts says to just “let it hurt, let it bleed.” So often, we “put [our] best face on for the world,” but this only prolongs the inevitable moment when grief overpowers you. Feel it all, and hope that it will get better.
Hurt – Christina Aguilera
This haunting, grief-filled song is a heavy one. Written about her late father, Christina Aguilera wishes she could redo her last words to her dad in ‘Hurt.’ She lists the things she would’ve said if she had the chance, like “thank you for all you’ve done” and “forgive all your mistakes.” Her powerhouse vocals combined with the orchestral instrumentation make this a moving song for sure.
Related: Hear sweet apologies with these I’m sorry songs.
Hurts – Emeli Sandé
Love is a common cause of hurt, and a common muse of heartbreak songs. ‘Hurts’ by Emeli Sandé is a remorseful song about how a lover has hurt her. The intense build of drums and vocals throughout the song replicates the increasing pain that Sandé feels, along with the breaking point that strips her of her anger and leads into an acoustic outro.
Hurts So Good – John Cougar Mellencamp
This iconic rock song uses mesmerizing guitar riffs and catchy drums to create something that appreciates the hurt love can cause. The tagline, “come on, baby, make it hurt so good,” gives this song its suggestive edge. A track looking to have some fun, this kind of hurt isn’t one most of us want to avoid.
Hurts – James Arthur
This track is a stripped-back cover of the song ‘Hurts’ by Emeli Sandé. James Arthur’s deep voice, powerful delivery, and breaking vocals create an emotional experience where you can feel his pain. Arthur sings about all the memories of this person and how they’ve left him with nothing but suffering.
Related: Look back at our list of sentimental songs.
Hurts Like Heaven – Coldplay
‘Hurts Like Heaven’ is a cathartic anthem about when everything just feels wrong, but you don’t know what. The quick pace of the song adds to that feeling of being overwhelmed by the pain you don’t understand. The line “I struggle with the feeling that my life isn’t mine” captures the whole song’s idea. Feeling inexplicably out of control and lost is one of the worst types of hurt.