20 R&B Songs That Will Get You Through a Heartbreak
With Valentine's Day around the corner, you can feel the love in the air.
But let's face it. V-Day isn't a love fest for everyone. Maybe you're single. Maybe you're chilling and unbothered about the love shenanigans.
If that's the case, don't worry, there's a song for your every sorrow. Angry your ex left you? Sad about love unrequited? Upset that even though you love one another, circumstances just won't let your love be great? There really is a song to get you through your feelings, no matter how complicated.
So, if you're part of the Lonely Hearts Club this year, check out the songs below to find out which one perfectly describes your broken heart.
Ever felt sad but refused to show it? The Tony Rich Project delved into that idea with the 1996 song, "Nobody Knows." From the moment you hear the plucking of the guitar, you can already start to feel the knot forming in your throat. And how could you not feel all those feels after hearing lyrics like, "Like a clown I put on a show / The pain is real even if nobody knows / And I'm crying inside and nobody knows it but me."
Although Mary J. Blige has built a reputation for releasing heart string-tugging slow jams, her rendition "I'm Goin' Down" remains a classic in her massive catalog. Rose Royce originally released the ballad in 1976 but regardless of the year, its impact is still the same: your world is progressively crumbling because the love of your life left you.
If there's one duet that really made an impact in the 90s, it was "All Cried Out" by Allure, featuring 112. Originally recorded by Lisa Lisa and the Cult Jam in 1985, the song was remade by Allure and 112, and released in 1997. The maudlin musical conversation between two former lovers was a big hit and peaked at number four on the Billboard Hot 100.
Deborah Cox was known for belting her way through the 90s with some powerful tracks. And 1999's "We Can't Be Friends" really hit home for people because it further fueled the debate on whether or not you can still be friendly with your ex. Like "All Cried Out," this song felt like a conversation between exes and featured the vocals of Next's R.L.
Brandy showed her more vulnerable side on 1998's "Have You Ever?" which followed the success of her hit duet with Monica, "The Boy is Mine." Not only are the lyrics full of desperation and longing, but Brandy's delivery makes you feel each word even more.
Although Boyz II Men's 1992 ballad, "End of the Road," was beautifully recorded, listening carefully to the lyrics makes you ache all over. Lyrics aside, the emotion in their voices will make the tears well up in your eyes.
Remember the last time you told yourself you're over someone but then hope that they still think of you from time to time? For anyone who's been dumped, this isn't an uncommon feeling. And while hardly anyone would want to admit that we're hoping they still pop into their ex's mind, we're glad that Brian McKnight sings it out for us on his 1997's "Anytime."
Janet Jackson voice is so sweet, it almost doesn't matter what she's singing about. So when she released 1993's "Again," your heart aches at the end when she continuously sings, "hold me" and "don't ever let me go."
Toni Braxton's deep vocals, especially on the 1996 track,"Un-break My Heart," really get into your soul. Even if you're not the best singer, you can't help but try to belt out the chorus in hopes it'll help the sad feelings go away.
Mariah Carey's "I Don't Wanna Cry" brings you back to each time you want to break down but don't because the breakup wasn't your fault. The 1990 song's orchestral feel gives you that little boost to keep the negative feelings at bay.
There's no other song that puts our confusion about a breakup better than Aaliyah's 1996 song, "The One I Gave My Heart To." Whether it's wondering why your significant other cheated, or the reason your other half fell out of love with you, this song can be the internal conversation you have and can answer some of those questions.
There's always that one person you shouldn't be with but you keep trying to make it work with anyway. That's the story behind Lauryn Hill's "Ex-Factor." Set against a mid-tempo beat, the track may need to be put on repeat if you continue to suffer from the on-and-off relationship habit.
The breakup already happened, and now you're just trying to move on. The only problem is, when you force yourself to get over it before you're ready, you're worse off. And that's the same problem Usher encountered on his 2004 hit song," Burn."
While many of these songs are for the dumped, you actually might be the heartbreaker. And that means Monica's "Before You Walk Out of My Life" is the right one for you. The lyrics lay out a situation when you're trying to be gentle about it, but deep down you know that no breakup is that easy.
Your ex-bae may not be Tyrone, but Erykah Badu's 1997 track lists all the reasons why you should probably end things with that bad significant other.
While sex isn't everything, it is an important part of a relationship. So if the lyrics in Dru Hill's "We're Not Making Love No More" are true, then it's safe to say that you two are probably over.
Although this whole list is about breakup songs, Toni Braxton's "Another Sad Love Song" hates on the mere existence of these somber ballads, especially when you're trying to get over the one you loved.
When a breakup is fresh, sometimes you just want some time to wallow in your sadness. Tamia's "Officially Missing You" is the perfect soundtrack to that moment.
Like the stages of grief, there's some point when you start to move on from the broken heart. And Mary J. Blige's "Not Gon' Cry" lays out the process of finally not letting your ex get the best of you and your emotions.
And to round out this breakup playlist, Brian McKnight's 1993 song, "One Last Cry," is the perfect note to end on. Although it still goes through the stages of trying to get over an ex, the title alone is a good step toward moving forward -- once you're completely ready to let it go.