50 Songs about Toxic Relationships

Foundations of Music

50 Songs about Toxic Relationships

There are more songs written about love than any other topic. But most importantly, there are the most songs about bad love and toxic relationships. Listeners and musicians alike can bond over shared hurts and heartbreak and how good it feels to sing/scream these hits in the car.

I. Latest songs about toxic relationships (2020, 2021)

Within the last two years, the world has slowed down, and this has allowed everyone to reflect on their lives. Therefore, there have been some GREAT new songs on toxic couples and love stories.

1) Selfish

Artist: Madison Beer
Album: Life Support
Year: 2021
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2) All Too Well (10 Minute Version)

Artist: Taylor Swift
Album: Red (Taylor’s Version)
Year: 2021
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Taylor Swift’s re-recordings of her old albums have allowed her to revisit unreleased music. In this case, Taylor Swift gifted fans a 10-minute version of a heartbreak song that they already loved. And boy, was this relationship of Swift’s toxic if the lyrics are to be believed.

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3) 1 step forward, 3 steps back

Artist: Olivia Roderigo
Album: Sour
Year: 2021
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Olivia Roderigo is a new break-out pop star, and this is just one toxic love song of hers off her debut album ‘SOUR.’

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4) you broke me first

Artist: Tate McRae
Album: you broke me first
Year: 2020
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5) STAY

Artist: The Kid LAROI ft. Justin Bieber
Album: FUCK LOVE 3: OVER YOU
Year: 2021
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It might sound like a typical Justin Bieber pop hit, but the lyrics beneath The Kid LAROI’s song label this song toxic.

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II. 80s songs about toxic relationships

Love has been difficult and toxic for eons, and some songs can be played for nearly 40 years; these are those songs.

1) Everything She Wants

Artist: Wham!
Album: Make It Big
Year: 1984
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2) You Give Love a Bad Name

Artist: Bon Jovi
Album: Slippery When Wet
Year: 1986
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3) Should I Stay Or Should I Go

Artist: The Clash
Album: Combat Rock
Year: 1982
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4) I Hate Myself for Loving You

Artist: Joan Jett & The Blackhearts
Album: Up Your Alley
Year: 1988
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5)  Tainted Love

Artist: Soft Cell
Album: Non-Stop Erotic Cabaret
Year: 1981
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III. Rap/hip hop songs about toxic relationships

The music genre glamorizes drugs and sex undoubtedly has many songs about how toxic some pairings can be.

1) Sucker for Pain

Artist: Lil Wayne, Wiz Khalifa, Imagine Dragons, Logic, Ty Dolla $ign, X Ambassadors
Album: Suicide Squad: The Album
Year: 2016
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With six different artists on this single for the Suicide Squad movie – this song is filled to the brim with instrumentals, bars, and lyrics of masochistic love.

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2)  Heartless

Artist: Kanye West
Album: 808s and Heartbreak
Year: 2008
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3) Love The Way You Lie

Artist: Eminem ft. Rhianna
Album: Recovery
Year: 2010
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Listeners know about Eminem and Rhianna’s personal struggles with life and love, so it’s no surprise that a love song collaboration between these two is musical magic.

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4)  Him & I

Artist: G-Easy ft. Halsey
Album: The Beautiful & Damned
Year: 2017
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“what the f*** is love with no pain, no suffer?” – we all know how this love story ends, but this line proves how toxic the real relationship between these two artists always was.

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5)  i hate u, i love u

Artist: gnash and olvia o’brien
Album: Us
Year: 2016
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“friends can break your heart too” – toxicity exists between friends as well, and Gnash and Olivia O’Brien beautifully capture it.

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IV. Songs about leaving a toxic relationship

Finally, when one gets the courage to leave behind a partner that hurts more than they love, you need a song to release all those emotions felt during that tumultuous time. Give these songs a listen, then.

1)  Moral of The Story

Artist: Ashe
Album: Ashlyn
Year: 2021
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Off her debut album focused on her divorce, this song packs a punch in describing the toxic reasons for the couples parting.

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2) Wrecking Ball

Artist: Miley Cyrus
Album: Bangerz
Year: 2013
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We’ve all seen the infamous music video, but have we properly understood the lyrics to this song? Knowing Cyrus was the only vulnerable and emotionally invested partner in her relationship explains her nudity in the music video.

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3) Happier Than Ever

Artist: Billie Eilish
Album: Happier Than Ever
Year: 2021
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Eilish dropped this hit in her second album that captured her entire generation’s feelings of toxic heartbreak and growth. All the while combining soft melodies, rock choruses and enough emotion to make any listener cry.

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4)  Somebody that I Used to Know

Artist: Gotye ft. Kimbra
Album: Making Mirrors
Year: 2011
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5)  New Rules

Artist: Dua Lipa
Album: Dua Lipa
Year: 2017
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V. Pop songs about toxic relationships

There are so many songs within the Pop genre that grapple with toxic love. These hits only tickle the surface of what pop has to offer on the subject.

1)  Toxic

Artist: Britney Spears
Album: In The Zone
Year: 2003
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Britney really knew what she was doing when she wrote this all-time classic. The song is fun and dancey while also singing some of the most metaphoric lyrics about getting stuck in toxic cycles in relationships.

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2)  Hot N Cold

Artist: Katy Perry
Album: One of the Boys
Year: 2008
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3)  Bad Romance

Artist: Lady Gaga
Album: The Fame Romance
Year: 2009
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4)  in my head

Artist: Ariana Grande
Album: thank u, next
Year: 2019
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So many of us are guilty of falling in love with our partners’ fictional version, which leads to a toxic cycle of believing the best in someone when they only ever give their worst to their partners.

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5)  Bleeding Love

Artist: Leona Lewis
Album: Spirit
Year: 2007
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If you’ve ever been in a toxic relationship, listen closely to these lyrics, and you’ll find a kindred situation voiced by Lewis’ heavenly vocals.

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VI. Rock/Punk/Metal songs about toxic relationships

The excellent genre for literally screaming and making noise provides something special for toxic love songs.

1)  Irresistible

Artist: Fall Out Boy ft. Demi Lovato
Album: Irresistible
Year: 2015
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2) Going Under

Artist: Evanescence
Album: Fallen
Year: 2003
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3)  Kiss With a Fist

Artist: Florence + the Machine
Album: Lungs
Year: 2005
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An angry anthem for a couple like Johnny Depp and Amber Heard – some people are just better apart.

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4) Decode

Artist: Paramore
Album: Brand New Eyes
Year: 2005
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5)  Numb

Artist: Linkin Park
Album: Meteora
Year: 2003
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If you and your partner relate in any way to this song’s lyrics… break up.

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VII. Country songs about toxic relationships

If you listen to these country songs, make sure you have tissues nearby.

1)  I Will Always Love You

Artist: Dolly Parton
Album: Jolene
Year: 1974
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Now it’s a Whitney Houston hit, but this song was originally a bittersweet goodbye to a dear friend of Dolly Parton’s.

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2) My Next Broken Heart

Artist: Brooks and Dunn
Album: #1s…. And Then Some
Year: 2003
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3)  July

Artist: Noah Cyrus
Album: THE END OF EVERYTHING
Year: 2020
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This is just one heartbreaking lyric from this country cry-song.

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4) Angry All The Time

Artist: Tim McGraw
Album: Set This Circus Down
Year: 2001
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5)  Texas Tornado

Artist: Tracey Lawrence
Album: I See It Now
Year: 1994
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VIII. R&B songs about toxic relationships

People come to R&B to sing emotionally; when these toxic couples are concerned, all you can do is listen and sing along emotionally.

1)  Love on The Brain

Artist: Rhianna
Album: ANTI
Year: 2016
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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0RyInjfgNc4

It’s so unfortunate how Chris Brown and Rhianna’s relationship went, but I think the world can be grateful for the powerful R&B records that came out of such an abusive and toxic love. If you haven’t seen it yet, go watch Rhianna perform a medley of her album at the 2016 VMA award show, it’s phenomenal.

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2)  Good Days

Artist: SZA
Album: Good Days
Year: 2020
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“I worry that I wasted the best of me on you, baby” – this hit song of SZA is filled with heavy-hitting lines of toxic love.

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3) Nights Like This

Artist: Kehlani ft. Ty Dolla $ign
Album: While We Wait
Year: 2019
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4) PILLOWTALK

Artist: Zayn Malik
Album: Mind of Mine
Year: 2016
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5)  Needed Me

Artist: Rhianna
Album: ANTI
Year: 2016
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IX. Sad songs about toxic relationships

To close off, these songs show how deeply upsetting and saddening toxic relationships are. There’s little to be glamorized when the partner you love and trust hurts you the most.

1) Jar of Hearts

Artist: Cristina Perri
Album: lovestrong.
Year: 2011
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We all know jerks who collect a ‘jar of hearts’ from women instead of treating them well and loving them. The best revenge is like Perri says, “you don’t get to get me back.”

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2)  Skinny Love

Artist: Birdy
Album: Birdy
Year: 2011
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3) Back to Black

Artist: Amy Winehouse
Album: Back to Black
Year: 2006
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The singer, that was known for jetting off to other cities and hiding from her boyfriend, wrote some of the best songs about toxic relationships.

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4)  Praying

Artist: Kesha
Album: Rainbow
Year: 2017
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Kesha took a long break from music and the industry, but she came back with a vengeance. If you’ve ever sung/shouted this song in the car, I hope you’re doing better now, and that person really is “on their knees praying.”

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5) Only Love Can Hurt Like This

Artist: Paloma Faith
Album: A Perfect Contradiction
Year: 2014
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X. Songs with toxic relationship in the lyrics

And finally, not all songs are purely about being loved in a toxic way, but if you listen closely to songs, many of them deal with unhealthy love.

1) Video Games

Artist: Lana Del Rey
Album: Born to Die
Year: 2012
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2)  Without Me

Artist: Halsey
Album: Manic
Year: 2020
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Halsey has been open about her relationship with G-Easy and other previous partners that took advantage of her kindness. When you get out of that situation, and they can’t abuse or misuse you anymore, it feels so good.

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3) This Love

Artist: Maroon 5
Album: Songs About Jane
Year: 2002
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“this love has taken its toll on me; she said goodbye too many times before.” The classic on-again-off-again cliche is actually a sign of a toxic cycle where the partners aren’t happy.

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4) Do I Wanna Know?

Artist: Arctic Monkeys
Album: AM
Year: 2013
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This song is more subtle in its meaning. But when you have questions about your partner and their feelings and you immediately ask yourself, ‘do I wanna know’…. that’s likely a toxic situation without good communication or trust.

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5)  Stitches

Artist: Shawn Mendes
Album: Handwritten
Year: 2015
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