Chance The RapperAtlantic RecordsSony Music Nashville
Music is the cure for all ills. Well, music and time. But who wants to wait around for closure to happen naturally when you can speed up the process with some sonic therapy? Whether you're suffering from a breakup, your crush likes someone else, you were rejected from your dream job, or you're just having a meh day, our list of the 16 best breakup albums will help you get your mojo back while you're still young enough to enjoy it.
If you only know Maren Morris from her collaboration with Zedd on "The Middle," you're missing out. Her eleven-track debut album (or fourteen, if you spring for the deluxe edition) features standard country fare about God and cars in its first half, with her signature smoky vocals and an unavoidable blues influence, but it's in her album's seven final tracks where you'll find the effortless emotional storytelling that will become part of your soul. "Bummin' Cigarettes" is the perfect ode to acknowledging your self-destructive taste in men, and "Second Wind" is a not-so-subtle reminder of how good it's going to feel when you come back stronger than ever and can rub it in your enemies' faces. What? Maren's no saint, which is why Hero feels like the album you would write if you could.
It's absolutely insane to include Billie Eilish on a list of albums that will *stop* you from feeling depressed, but the beat of "Bad Guy" alone is enough to imbue you with the confidence of a thousand Kardashians. And when the beat drops? Literally, look out. When she isn't making bangers that will create a legion of narcissists, Billie's music is so depressing that you'll feel better just by knowing that your angst will probably never run as deep as this seventeen-year-old wunderkind's. And if it does, we gently suggest seeing a therapist. Like Maggie Rogers said at Coachella 2019, *everyone* can benefit from therapy.
Universal Music Group
If you're still sleeping on Kali Uchis, we suggest waking TF up before one of Billie Eilish's sleep paralysis demons get to you. 2018's triumphant Isolation has reggaetón to lift your spirits, funk to bring the fun, and R&B to bring some bad b*tch energy into the mix. Kali has a beachy sadness to her, but unlike Lana Del Rey's manifestation of west coast depression, Kali chooses to paint herself as a dreamer who cannot be messed with. Both are cinematic, but where Lana is Dorothy Vallens, Kali is Catherine Tramell. "Dead To Me" is all about hating your ex, if that's what you're looking for, but the entire album is basically a magnum opus of intersectional feminist empowerment and sex positivity.
Chance The Rapper
Even if you don't believe in God, Jesus Christ is still going to save you. We don't mean through the power of his love and forgiveness or whatever. Jesus is going to save you from your moping through Chance the Rapper's self-released album Coloring Book, a feat of sonic optimism wrapped in Chance's genuine belief that everyone's going to thrive and that God has no issue with weed. Regardless of your religious inclination, the pure joy that Chance managed to capture on Pro Tools will have you dancing to Kirk Franklin like you stumbled upon mentor Kanye West's Sunday Service. "Finish Line/Drown" in particular might just be the light at the end of the tunnel you've been seeking. Listen to it without smiling, we dare you.
When Maggie Rogers was discovered in a viral video, her entire life slipped out of her control without her consent. Naturally, Heard It In A Past Life is largely the story of an artist finding her way out of the chaos on her terms, reconciling the way of life she lost with her new normal and ultimately deciding to head further into the unknown in the album's final track, "Back In My Body." If your problems are coming from the slow-grinding horror of a seemingly endless transitional period, use Heard It In A Past Life as a cheat code to finding acceptance. Maggie's already done the work for you.
Did anyone else's heart stop for a second when they saw Lemonade was finally on Spotify after three long years of opening email accounts to start Tidal free trials waiting? Even Beyoncé has felt insecure, proof that we live in an imperfect world that is out to get us. Beyoncé gifted us with the best album of all time to process the fact that human blobfish Jay-Z had the audacity to cheat on her, and she goes through all five stages of grief in the album's all-to-brief twelve songs. By the end, "Formation" calls on all women (well, specifically black women, but we all needed to hear it) to rise above the massive heaps of sh*t that get thrown at us and thrive so aggressively that no man or blobfish can bring us down.
Domino Recording Company
If Coloring Book is the musical representation of Joy from Inside Out, AM by The Arctic Monkeys is the aural version of the kid from Inside Out once she turns seventeen and starts chain smoking. If you need a reminder that you're a rock star, you should probably start acting like one. Let the fire guitar licks and male falsettos give you the BDE you've been missing. Side effects may include buying a leather skirt, doing weird shit with your hair, and trying to follow Shawn Mendes's tour bus across the country because you think you're Penny Lane. Hooking up with a musician is all a part of ~healing~, okay?
Yeah, you were waiting for this one. Getting your groove back is literally the entire purpose of this album. Ariana Grande has been through more in two years than most people go through in two decades and instead of disappearing into her buckets of money from Sweetener, Ari blessed us with the music that healed her. Right now, you're probably at "imagine," but we need to get you to "break up with your girlfriend, i'm bored" before the summer months come and you miss prime rooftop bar season. You've already been listening to this album for months if you read our website (demographics don't lie!), but try it with a new perspective free from Seasonal Affective Disorder.
Thank U, Next is legendary. It's catharsis, bottled for public consumption. To really get your mojo back, you need to follow it up with Sweetener. Ari really did bless us with the gift of healing, but she lowkey did it backward. Sweetener is what you listen to once you're ready to finally be happy again. "Get Well Soon" alone is like hearing the big sister you never had tell you that everything is going to be okay from a place of lived-in wisdom. The Pharrell-led production sounds how eating cake feels: luscious, indulgent, and oh, so sweet.
If reggaetón doesn't hype you up, nothing can. Not all of Vibras is as lit as "Mi Gente" because our boy J Balvin took some room to play with Afrobeats and the newly-popular Latin trap, but as its title promises, he's created a vibe you can ride without having any idea what he's saying. If you feel like dancing, you've understood his vision. It's dark dancehall grooves will make you feel like a boss, but the ever-present reggaetón spirit will make sure you're happy about it. If you're lucky, Vibras will only be the beginning of your reggaetón educación.
Ok, everyone is different. Maybe you're a freak of nature someone that doesn't get gassed up by reggaetón. If that's the case, you might want to try EDM. Norweigan DJ Cashmere Cat's 2017 album 9 is shockingly underappreciated considering features from Kehlani, Ariana Grande, The Weeknd, Selena Gomez, Camila Cabello, and Jhené Aiko are peppered throughout his stacked tracklist. More importantly, they're classic EDM fun. It's nothing new, but it harkens back to the days when EDM actually had clout outside of the festival circuit. The nostalgia is light enough that you won't actively miss the days when you used to be fun, but you'll remember it's possible, and the lyrics are generic enough that you're not likely to be triggered by whatever it is that's ailing you.
Tinashe might be the most confident woman in music. Despite being best known for Rent: Live after two solid albums and this album-length mixtape of dark, sensual R&B, Tinashe still knows that she's one of the most excellent b*tches in music. Nightride is the perfect soundtrack for your worst decision making, and to get your vibe back you need to be on your baddest behavior. If you're at your best when you're cold and a little scary, Nightride will put you in the state of mind to remember that you deserve the world and can take it whenever you decide to. You're in charge.
Big Machine Records
You didn't seriously think we could do an article that includes the words "breakup" and "music" without bringing Taylor Swift into the mix, did you? Whereas most of her pre-pop golden age albums are a little too love struck for our purposes here, 1989 is the work of a woman who has seen more relationships sink than swim and finally understands how to cope with it. "Clean," the album's closer, is a masterful ode to finally moving on that (unlike most of the album's other tracks) actually benefits from Jack Antonoff's insistence on bringing back '80s synths. You can argue he was just going along with the theme of the album, but he did the same thing to Lorde for no reason other than driving me, specifically, completely nuts.
Country music is bottled sunshine, so we needed to include at least one classically country album on this list — Hero's take on the subject is a little too highbrow to really satisfy the niche. Sam Hunt does mopey alright, but not on par with the tragedy dripping from some of country's greats. "The Wurlitzer Prize," this isn't. His red solo cup-worthy jams, on the other hand, are nothing short of masterful. Do some light emoting along with the country cutie, but you'll never wallow in Montevallo enough to stay down when "House Party" comes on. A little country swagger never hurt anyone, and this ten-song debut album from all the way back in 2014 was strong enough to make him a 2019 Stagecoach headliner.
Top Dawg Entertainment
A weird part of healing is understanding that whatever it is that you're feeling, a lot of other people have felt it, too. No matter how weirdly specific your angst is, statistically there's at least one other person that has dealt with almost the exact same situation. SZA's first (and possibly last) album knows all of your thoughts and spits them back at you with panache. If you're reading this article, you're in some type of slump. CTRL shows you how to slump with style, turning your meh mood into something closer to ascendence.
"Powerful with a little bit of tender"? An amazing new goal courtesy of Janelle Monáe, whose sexy, upbeat concept album Dirty Computer manages to fit queer acceptance, P.O.C. excellence, and female transcendence into fourteen songs. Janelle explained in an into with Hot 97 radio that the first four songs are reckoning with backlash to your otherness, the next act is a celebration of that otherness, and the final few tracks address the fear that comes from being visually, obviously different. It's meant to be listened to in one go, the first time Janelle has finally been publicly free and what that means to her. She's accepted herself and is celebrating that amongst everything it entails, something we'd all be lucky to feel.