So you’re going through a breakup.
The bad news: it’s never easy. The good news: you’re not alone with your aching heart. If the music we listen to is any indication, then breaking up, feeling down about it and hopefully finding the courage to move on are some of the most common shared human experiences. As centuries of forlorn singletons have learned and generations of songwriters have mastered, one of the best cures for heartbreak is the balm of music that speaks to our souls — or maybe helps us rationalize away the tears.
“Heartache is what motivates many artists to write songs in the first place,” explains Spotify’s trends expert Shanon Cook to TIME; there are over half a million breakup-themed playlists on the platform alone. “Some people might not want or know how to articulate how they’re feeling during a rough time,” Cook adds. “Maybe it’s nice to let Sam Smith or Kelly Clarkson express it for you.”
While some classics remain timeless in their appeal — songs like Beyoncé‘s “Irreplaceable,” Adele‘s “Someone Like You” and Kelly Clarkson‘s “Since U Been Gone” remain the top three most popular additions to breakup-themed playlists on Spotify, for instance — 2018 and recent years have their own new music to throw into the heartbreak-and-recovery mix. There’s The Weeknd‘s appropriately dejected songs from his new EP My Dear Melancholy, for instance, and some powerful tunes from the past year by pop queens St. Vincent, Lorde, Kesha and P!nk, to name just a few.
As Cook notes, you can pretty much slot breakup songs into two categories: “raw, tender tracks that tap into the fragility of the human heart” (think: Adele), or “dismissive, I-don’t-care-I’m-so-over-you type of songs” (here’s where Clarkson would come in). “Interestingly, a great many of the popular songs in break-up-themed playlists are pop songs and the artists, for the most part, are big celebrities,” Cook continues, suggesting that we often turn to familiar, beloved artists when we’re going through a rough time.
Below, TIME has pulled together a list of some of the most popular breakup songs on those Spotify playlists, as well as some under-the-radar favorites that might just come in handy when dealing with a broken heart. Here’s to moving on — eventually.
“Call Out My Name,” The Weeknd
When The Weeknd dropped an EP My Dear Melancholy in March 2018, he had not one but two breakups to pour out into his dark, moody R&B. On “Call Out My Name,” his raw heartbreak comes through loud and clear. “I almost cut a piece of myself for your life / Guess I was just another pit stop.” At least we can commiserate with The Weeknd, who’s going through it right alongside the rest of us.
“Chelsea Hotel #2,” Leonard Cohen
Some heartbreak is predicated on just a few powerful moments. “You got away, didn’t you babe?” Cohen recalls in this simple, poetic ode to a love affair gone awry. “I never once heard you say, ‘I need you.'” Time marches on, the moment passes, and we’re left with Cohen’s evocative memories.
“Stay,” Rihanna feat. Mikky Ekko
As it turns out, Rihanna can turn on the tears just as well as she can pump up the party. “Stay,” her 2012 collaboration with singer-songwriter Mikky Ekko, is an aching, searching ballad that lets her lead in an expressive push and pull duet. “The reason I hold on / ’cause I need this hole gone
/ Funny you’re the broken one / but I’m the only one who needed saving,” they join together to sing — an apt description of how we can get it twisted.
“Heartbeats,” José González
Sweet and dreamy, González’s “Heartbeats” sounds like what a warm bath feels like at the end of a long, hard day. Let his subtle guitar and rolling voice take you away.
“Love Yourself,” Justin Bieber
It was a song that ruled airwaves — and, in its simplicity of construction and catchiness of refrain, remains timeless. When you’re ready to move on, “Love Yourself” should be on repeat. Because as Bieber tells us, “And now I know, I’m better sleeping on my own.”
“Ain’t No Sunshine,” Bill Withers
This Bill Withers classic tells it like it is, in signature blues style with its haunting instrumentation. “Only darkness when she’s gone,” he croons. “And this house just ain’t a home any time she goes away.”
“Skinny Love,” Bon Iver
For a little bit of folk salvation, turn to Bon Iver, whose evocative strums and lilting voice speak straight to the soul. “I tell my love to wreck it all
/ Cut out all the ropes and let me fall,” he mourns. “And now all your love is wasted / And then who the hell was I?” Sometimes we can’t be the people we want to be in love; sometimes they can’t be the people we want them to be, either.
“Don’t Think Twice It’s Alright,” Bob Dylan
A little harmonica, a little Dylan poetry, and you’re well on your way to recovery. Some things just aren’t meant to be. “It ain’t not use in turning on your light, babe / I’m on the dark side of the road,” he shrugs. Go ahead, shrug it off with him.
“Someone Like You,” Adele
Sit down. Grab the Kleenex. Cue up “Someone Like You.” This is the ritual of heartbreak. Adele’s range evokes every shade of pain, regret and nostalgia. “For me, it isn’t over,” she admits. And yet: “Never mind, I’ll find someone like you,” she fights on.
“Stitches,” Shawn Mendes
When you’re still in the thick of it, turn to young crooner Mendes, who sings like he means it. “Just like a moth drawn to a flame, you lured me in, I couldn’t sense the pain,” he sighs. Yet stitches suggests that things are soon to be on the mend.