Loneliness can sometimes feel like eternal existential angst. Writers like Albert Camus, Jean Paul Sartre, and Franz Kafka have devoted novels wrestling with this feeling and what it says about the human condition. So it’s safe to say that loneliness as a state of being has been around for years.
Jump ahead to these sections:
- Best Sad Songs About Being Alone
- Best Uplifting Songs About Being Alone and Happy
- Best Rock Songs About Being Alone
- Best Rap and R&B Songs About Being Alone
- Best Country Songs About Being Alone
When words literally fail you, or you’re just not into reading existential philosophy, you can listen to some melancholic melodies. Music can tug at our heartstrings without words, so if you’re feeling down and lonely, put on some jams to get you through this moment. You may even want to share a playlist and a Spotify gift card with a friend who's feeling similarly.
Best Sad Songs About Being Alone
Sadness is a universal emotion, as is loneliness. Here are some tracks that you might love, no matter what mood you’re in.
If you want sad songs about missing someone or songs about being lonely, these are the ones you’ll need.
1. “How to Fight Loneliness” by Wilco
Taken from their 1999 album Summerteeth, Wilco’s lead singer Jeff Tweedy starts off this melancholic song with a list of advice based on the title. It’s a despondent number that inevitably does the opposite, but maybe it’ll make you feel better.
2. "3am" by Halsey
This is a song off her 2020 album, Manic. Halsey relates that she wrote the song one night, after calling through all the contacts in her phone out of sheer loneliness.
3. "I Wanna Get Better” by The Bleachers
Written by the lead singer after his sister died of cancer, this is a poignant song to rally oneself away from loneliness and depressed feelings.
4. "Still Breathing” by Green Day
You might be struggling right now, but what matters is that you’re still breathing. So take it one breath at a time.
5. "Bishop’s Knife Trick” by Fall Out Boy
Fall Out Boy’s tone can usually be described as some real positive pop-rock, but as this recent hit off their most recent album reminds us, they can get down with the sadness too.
6. "Friend, Please” by Twenty One Pilots
Long before Twenty One Pilots got famous with albums like Blurryface, they wrote raw, piano-oriented songs like this one.
7. "Heavy” by Linkin Park
The raw vocals and slower electronic beats in “Heavy” marked a departure from Linkin Park’s signature metal and screamy tone. Sadly, this was the last single released before lead singer Chester Bennington’s death by suicide.
8. "Bite the Hand” by Julien Baker, Pheobe Bridgers, and Lucy Dacus
Three indie singer-songwriters came together for a short EP called boygenius, where this song hails from. This first song starts off with the three ladies singing about an inevitable lack of ability to love someone.
9. "Eleanor Rigby” by The Beatles
A classic for lonely people everywhere, this song asks important questions: where do they come from? Where are they going?
10. "The Scientist” by Coldplay
As one of Coldplay’s smash piano melodic hits, you are almost guaranteed a sob fest anytime this song comes on.
Best Uplifting Songs About Being Alone and Happy
If you want a funeral soundtrack, songs about death may be more up your alley. However, if your loved one enjoyed the bliss of solitude more than the pain of loneliness, some of these songs might be great to play.
Here are some of the most uplifting songs about being alone and liking it:
- "thank u, next" by Ariana Grande
- "Fight Song" by Rachel Platten
- "22" by Taylor Swift
- "Single Ladies" by Beyonce
- "Hero" by Mariah Carey
- "I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me)" by Whitney Houston
- "One Is the Loneliest Number" by Three Dog Night
- "Lonesome Feelings" by Bob Marley and the Wailers
- "Tears Dry on Their Own" by Amy Winehouse
- "Heartbreak Hotel" by Elvis Presley
11. "thank u, next" by Ariana Grande
The widely anticipated single “thank u, next” was an inspiring take on Ariana’s tumultuous past with her ex-boyfriends. Some taught her great lessons, but she’s happy to have moved on to someone else.
12. "Fight Song” by Rachel Platten
This song insists that no matter what knocks Platten down, she’ll still get back up and come back on top.
13. "22” by Taylor Swift
22 is one of the strangest ages. From feeling lonely to going out with friends, it can be an awkward in-between phase.
14. "Single Ladies” by Beyoncé
With an iconic and unforgettable opening line, Beyoncé captured the spirit of being single and then some. It’s the perfect song to blast after a breakup, especially if you’re a die-hard Beyoncé fan.
15. "Hero” by Mariah Carey
Carey won a Grammy for this uplifting track off her 1993 album Music Box.
16. "I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me)” by Whitney Houston
One of Houston’s most popular songs, this song is featured at every dance party, wedding, you name it--people will likely get up to dance to this song.
17. "One is the Loneliest Number” by Three Dog Night
Famous for ‘70s songs like Joy to the World, the band dispenses timeless advice—like three is better than two.
18. "Lonesome Feelings” by Bob Marley and the Wailers
Going by the title—of both the song and the band!—it’s hard to imagine that this song is uplifting. But as far as songs about loneliness go, it really is.
19. "Tears Dry on Their Own” by Amy Winehouse
All it takes is time. As a hard-living singer, Winehouse knew all about the rollercoaster that your emotions can take sometimes.
20. "Heartbreak Hotel” by Elvis Presley
Who better to soothe your lonely feelings than the King?
Best Rock Songs About Being Alone
Need some sadness laced with angst? Let some rock music seep into your loneliness. Maybe it'll even help lift it.
Here are some of the top rock songs about being lonely:
- "Boulevard of Broken Dreams" by Green Day
- "Here I Go Again" by Whitesnake
- "Lua" by Bright Eyes
- "Away from the Sun" by 3 Doors Down
- "Dancing on My Own" by Robyn
- "Your New Twin Sized Bed" by Death Cab for Cutie
- "Ask the Lonely" by Journey
- "Lonely Is the Night" by Billy Squier
- "Leave Me Alone (I'm Lonely)" by P!nk
- "Tea for One" by Led Zeppelin
21. "Boulevard of Broken Dreams” by Green Day
A favorite from the album American Idiot, this song captures what loneliness feels like—watching a display of broken dreams pass you by.
22. "Here I Go Again” by Whitesnake
Categorized as a “power ballad” this upbeat 80s song helped define the freedom and sadness after breaking up.
23. "Lua” by Bright Eyes
Conor Oberst, known by his stage name Bright Eyes, springs some real sad lyrics in “Lua.” “I can be my own best friend,” he sings while telling a story of trying to meet someone.
24. “Away from the Sun” by 3 Doors Down
Straddling the line between rock and metal, this is perfect if you don’t like sappier loneliness songs.
25. "Dancing on My Own” by Robyn
There’s nothing wrong with feeling lonely from time to time. It’s natural. In this song, Robyn reclaims that feeling by dancing alone.
26. "Your New Twin Sized Bed” by Death Cab for Cutie
This song is tragic and despondent, which features heavily in a few Death Cab for Cutie albums. The main character recently put their queen-sized bed out in an alley because they don’t need it anymore.
27. "Ask the Lonely” by Journey
Journey’s meandering track off their Frontiers album is so poignant, it’s hard to forget.
28. "Lonely Is the Night” by Billy Squier
A classic rock hit from 1981, Squier sings about how the life of a rock star is far lonelier than you think.
29. "Leave Me Alone (I’m Lonely)” by P!nk
This song won critical acclaim in the rock and pop worlds. It’s about how you can feel incredibly lonely, but still want to be left alone.
30. "Tea for One” by Led Zeppelin
A little-known track off their 1976 album Presence, it’s a song about how long time stretches out when you’re alone.
Best Rap and R&B Songs About Being Alone
Rap and R&B aren’t always introspective genres. These tunes, however, hit the spot.
Here are some of the best R&B songs about being lonely:
- "Beautiful" by Eminem
- "Alone" by G-Eazy
- "Lonely" by Akon
- "Inglorious" by Tyler the Creator
- "Can't Let Go" by Anthony Hamilton
- "Killing Me Softly With His Song" by Roberta Flack
- "It's So Hard to Say Goodbye to Yesterday" by Boyz II Men
- "Anytime" by Brian McKnight
- "Have You Ever?" by Brandy
- "Soulmate" by Lizzo
31. "Beautiful” by Eminem
Eminem starts by talking about depression, but by the end of the song, he’s able to express a little optimism for the future.
32. "Alone” by G-Eazy
A popular track off his album Big, G-Eazy talks about the jealousy and pain that comes with loneliness.
33. "Lonely” by Akon
We’re all human, and sometimes we don’t learn until it’s too late. In this song, Akon wishes he’d treated his girlfriend better so she didn’t leave him.
34. "Inglorious” by Tyler the Creator
Tyler’s debut album focused on the loneliness he felt when his father left him. This song is a wrenching culmination of those themes.
35. "Can’t Let Go” by Anthony Hamilton
A classic R&B singer, Hamilton talks about the difference between ‘won’t let go’ and ‘can’t let go’ when it comes to grief and loneliness.
36. "Killing Me Softly with His Song” by Roberta Flack
You might be familiar with the Fugees version of this moody and mournful song. Lauryn Hill does her best to give a proper homage to the original.
37. "It’s So Hard to Say Goodbye to Yesterday” by Boyz II Men
One song is rarely this versatile. But this nostalgic cry-song has been used at graduations, funerals, and more.
38. "Anytime” by Brian McKnight
Sometimes, you miss someone and hope they still think about you every so often… even if it’s unlikely.
39. "Have You Ever?” by Brandy
This 1998 hit was a follow-up to a dramatic duet between Brandy and Monica, entitled The Boy is Mine.
40. "Soulmate” by Lizzo
This song is the product of one of Lizzo’s visits to a psychic. The psychic told her that she should marry herself—so Lizzo wrote a song about it.
Best Country Songs About Being Alone
The country music genre has nailed lonely and sad songs. Here are some of the top country songs about being lonely:
- "I Don't Call Him Daddy" by Doug Supernaw
- "Seven Spanish Angels" by Ray Charles and Willie Nelson
- "What Hurts the Most" by Rascal Flatts
- "Go Rest High on That Mountain" by Vince Gill
- "Whiskey Lullaby" by Brad Paisley & Alison Krauss
- "Today My World Slipped Away" by George Strait
- "Sissy's Song" by Alan Jackson
- "The Last One to Know" by Reba McEntire
- "Cryin' for Me (Wayman's Song)" by Toby Keith
- "A Picture of Me (Without You)" by George Jones
41. "I Don’t Call Him Daddy” by Doug Supernaw
Being the kid in a divorce is one of the toughest, loneliest spots to be in.
42. "Seven Spanish Angels” by Ray Charles and Willie Nelson
Capturing the story of a lovelorn couple, Charles and Willie Nelson sing about a young man telling his lover goodbye because he’s going into a fight he might not survive. When he doesn’t survive, his lover takes her own life. It’s Romeo and Juliet but with country twang.
43. "What Hurts the Most” by Rascal Flatts
This is one of this country group’s biggest singles, even though it’s one of their saddest.
44. "Go Rest High On That Mountain" – Vince Gill
This song was written based on two tragedies. Gill started the song in response to Keith Whitley’s death. The song sat around, though, unfinished and unperformed. When Gill’s brother died, he finally finished it.
45. "Whiskey Lullaby” by Brad Paisley & Alison Krauss
Despite being written in 2004, and handling content that’s not typical in country music, it’s still a classic. This song about a double suicide is incredibly sad, especially if you’re a Paisley or Krauss fan.
46. "Today My World Slipped Away” by George Strait
Strait cranked out a few tearjerkers in the late ‘80s. This song, about how lonely a man feels as he finalizes his divorce, is one of them.
47. “Sissy’s Song” by Alan Jackson
Jackson has been a staple of the genre for long enough that he’s experimented with lots of topics. One of these was the death of his housekeeper, Sissy, who was a dear friend.
48. "The Last One To Know” by Reba McEntire
One of the pillars of country music, McEntire sings about how it feels to be the last one to realize a relationship is failing.
49. "Cryin’ for Me (Wayman’s Song)" by Toby Keith
Wayman Tisdale was a jazz musician and basketball star. He also knew Toby Keith. When Wayman died, Keith dealt with his emotions by writing a song.
50. "A Picture of Me (Without You)" by George Jones
This 1972 classic is perfect for anyone who’s lost a loved one, whether through a breakup or tragedy. The narrator insists that if his loved one imagined life without the most important things, she’d know what his life is like now.
Curating a Soundtrack
Art is meant to help you process feelings. If you’re trying to heal and recover, putting together a therapeutic playlist is a great idea. Whether you like pop, rap, or prefer a blend of all genres, the songs above are a great start to your personalized soundtrack.
If you're feeling lonely and want some advice, read our guides on how to combat loneliness for seniors and coping with loneliness after a loss.