Musical "breakup queens" help us with grief - including Olivia Rodrigo, Ariana Grande and Selena Gomez

Ariana Grande and Selena Gomez are also popular "breakup artists".

Olivia Rodrigo. (Picture: Getty Images)Olivia Rodrigo. (Picture: Getty Images)
Olivia Rodrigo. (Picture: Getty Images)

Listening to breakup songs can help us to process our grief, a new mental health study has suggested.

Psychologists say that sad songs can help us process feelings and emotions, as well as offering a way to release negative thoughts and feelings you might be holding on to. Looking at Spotify, public breakup song playlists have been created by millions of users - with certain artists seemingly making breakups a focal point of their music.

Based on these Spotify playlists, Olivia Rodrigo is the "breakup queen" with four of the top 10 most listened to breakup songs, including chart-topping Traitor and Good 4 u. Other popular breakup songs include Before he cheats by Carrie Underwood and Thank u, next by Ariana Grande.

Courtney Beatey from psychology advice website PracticalPie explained how these breakup songs help us when we're grieving:

Emotional catharsis

Sad songs like breakup songs often contain lyrics and melodies that reflect the emotions and experiences associated with grief. Listening to this genre of music can provide an outlet for our own feelings, allowing us to release pent-up emotions and experience a sense of catharsis. It can also help us to feel less alone in our grief, knowing that others have been through it and survived the process themselves.

Validation of emotions

Grief is a complex and overwhelming emotion. Sad songs help to validate the range of emotions we may feel when we’re grieving, and let us know that it's okay to experience sadness, anger, or confusion during the process.

Expression of unspoken thoughts

It can be really hard to find the words to express how we’re feeling sometimes, especially when dealing with grief. Sad songs often convey sentiments that resonate with our own experiences, helping us to articulate how we’re feeling, and giving a voice to our inner thoughts.

Connection to memories

Certain songs can be linked to specific memories or people in our lives, so listening to these songs can be a way to hold on to and remember loved ones, as well as relive the experiences and emotions associated with those memories.

Distraction and relaxation

Music, in general, has the power to distract us from overwhelming emotions and provide moments of relaxation and calm. It can offer us a brief respite from intense sadness and help us to regain some emotional balance.


1. Traitor - Olivia Rodrigo

2. Before he cheats - Carrie Underwood

3. You broke me first - Tate McRae

4. Thank u, next - Ariana Grande

5. Good 4 u - Olivia Rodrigo

6. Lose you to love me - Selena Gomez

7. Someone you loved - Lewis Capaldi

8. Really don't care - Demi Lovato

9. Happier - Olivia Rodrigo

10. Drivers License - Olivia Rodrigo

Courtney added: "It's important to understand that while listening to breakup songs can be a really helpful tool in processing a breakup, it may not work for everyone.

“Humans all have different ways of coping with heartbreak, and what works for one person may not work for another. If you find that your grief is becoming overwhelming or interfering with your daily life, it's important to seek support from friends, family, or a mental health professional who can provide guidance and assistance in your grieving process.”

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