20 Best Songs About Pain & Being Hurt

Pain is a universal feeling. We all experience it at least once in our lives. So it’s not surprising that our favorite artists and musicians go through it too and channel this feeling into their art .

Songs about pain are everywhere you look, and almost every musician has released at least one. Here are 20 of the best songs about pain that will get you in your feels.

songs about suffering

Best Songs About Pain

  1. “Let’s Hurt Tonight” By One Republic
  2. “With Or Without You” By U2
  3. “Everybody Hurts” By R.E.M.
  4. “Terrible Love” By The National
  5. “Happier” By Ed Sheeran
  6. “Chasing Pavements” By Adele
  7. “Down” By Jason Walker
  8. “Unfaithful” By Rihanna
  9. “Say Something” By A Great Big World
  10. “Beautiful Pain” By Eminem, Sia

“Let’s Hurt Tonight” by One Republic

Released in 2016, “Lets Hurt Tonight” takes a modern approach to pain. This passionate love song focuses on the pain and desperation that comes from trying to fix problems in a relationship by any means necessary.

With beautiful lines like, “They say love is pain, well darling, let’s hurt tonight.” OneRepublic shows us that all love comes with pain, and more often than not, it’s worth it.

“With or Without You” by U2

“With or Without You” was inspired by U2’s lead singer. Bono’s conflicting feelings about leading two lives: a musician and a domestic man.

The song showcases how much pain and trouble these two different roles are and how the singer can’t live without any of them. With powerful lyrics like, ’One a bed of nails, she makes me wait,’ U2 shows the duality of love and how hard it is to compromise.

“Everybody Hurts” by R.E.M.

As stated by the members of R.E.M.. this song was written as a message to the band’s young fans, pleading to them that no matter how hard life gets, they should keep going.

This song reminds us that we all experience pain, and we all hurt sometimes. However, it’s important to remember that those feelings are only temporary, and things will get better.

“Terrible Love” by The National

This song by The National describes the apprehension and feelings of pain that come from not being able to open up to someone new you’re seeing.

“Walking with spiders” and “It takes an ocean not to break” are just two examples of how the lyrics express the difficulty of becoming vulnerable again.

With mentions of numbing the pain with alcohol and other drugs. “Terrible Love” shows the less-than-happy side of love.

“Happier” by Ed Sheeran

“Happier” describes the pain and heartbreak experienced right after finding out that someone you used to date is in a new relationship.

We’ve all experienced the feeling of not being able to move on, and the pain that comes from seeing someone you loved with someone else can be excruciating. This song can definitely help you get over a breakup.

“Chasing Pavements” by Adele

Arguably one of Adele’s saddest and most painful songs. “Chasing Pavements.’ describes the singer’s conflicting feelings concerning whether she should pursue a relationship with the man of her dreams.

Since we’ve all wondered, at least once, if a relationship is worth it, Adele’s “Should I give up. or should I just keep chasing pavements” monologue definitely feels relatable.

“Down” by Jason Walker

Jason Walker’s ’’Down’ focuses on the pain that comes with not knowing what to do in your life and wondering whether or not you should give up.

Lyrics like, “Why do I try. I know I’m gonna fall down” indicate the singer’s internal struggle with following his dreams, and the conflict between following his passions and giving up is heartbreaking.

“Unfaithful” by Rihanna

This ballad from Rihanna describes her painful experience of knowing what her boyfriend is going through as she’s cheating on him.

This emotional song details the painful realization that your partner knows he’s being cheated on and how it kills him inside. Relatable to many, this song can overwhelm anyone with intense emotions.

“Say Something” by A Great Big World

“Say Something’ is a track describing the feelings of giving up on a relationship but trying to hold on for dear life.

The pain that comes from knowing that a relationship is coming to an end is excruciating, and A Great Big World does a wonderful job of expressing it in this beautiful ballad.

“Beautiful Pain” by Eminem, Sia

This collaboration by Eminem and Sia focuses on the pain that leads to something beautiful in the end.

It lets the listeners know that no matter how bad the pain gets, they will survive it and come out stronger.

Eminem’s drug problem has almost killed him. and the lessons he’s learned from that experience resonate in his music to this day.

“Otherside” by Macklemore & Ryan Lewis

Another song that focuses on the pain and destruction that drugs and alcohol bring comes from Macklemore & Ryan Lewis.

“Otherside” describes the ups and downs of addiction, from the initial euphoric things to the later pain that the user experiences but also the family and loved ones.

This song serves as a reminder of the dangers of alcohol and drugs, especially to young listeners.

“River of Tears” by Alessia Cara

“River of Tears” is a song about the loss of love and recovering from it. All good things come to an end, and recovering from the pain and heartbreak is difficult.

This piano song by Alessia Cara explores the “river of tears” that comes after ending beautiful love, and listening to this song can definitely help in processing painful emotions.

“Here Without You” by 3 Doors Down

This song is an anthem for everyone who’s missing someone or has lost a lover, focusing on the pain that the distance and lack of communication cause.

The 3 Doors Down lead singer said that he wrote this song for his ex-girlfriend, attempting to show how much he misses her. Even though it was released in 2002, this song remains as relevant today as it was the day it came out.

“Already Gone” by Sleeping At Last

This cover of Kelly Clarkson’s “Already Gone” is a much softer ballad but still focusing on a relationship that has ended.

The pain and sorrow that a person goes through during a heartbreak are clear in lines such as ’Looking at you makes it harder” and “Perfect couldn’t keep this love alive.”

“Everything Will Be OK” by G-Eazy, Kehlani

“Everything Will Be OK” is one of G-Eazy’s more personal songs dedicated to his family.

In this track, he describes leaving his dad with his mom and brother and finding out his mom is in a relationship with a woman.

The true pain of the song comes in the last, more intense verse, where he expresses the devastation that he and his family felt after his mom’s girlfriend overdosed and lost her life.

“Where’s My Love” by SYML

This song by SYML has been described by the lyricist as a song expressing the feelings of pain and loss and feeling alone in the world. “Ooh, does she know that we bleed the same?” and “Ohh, don’t wanna cry, but I break that way” are just some examples of the power behind the lyrics.

Coupled with the nostalgic music, this song is definitely one that evokes powerful emotions.

“Hurt” By Christina Aguilera

Even though Christina Aguilera sings this sad song, it was written by Linda Perry after her fathers’ death.

It details how the last words she’d said to him were that she hated him. and how she wishes she could take them back.

This powerful and painful song expresses regret over the unsaid things that go through our minds once we lose someone.

“How Could You Leave Us” by NF

In this song, NF questions his mother’s sudden death from overdosing on pills. He details her struggles and his own feelings of anger towards his mom. who is no longer there for him?

“How Could You Leave Us” is the singer’s form of therapy and the only way he can reach his mom anymore. This song will definitely make you cry.

“Valley of Pain” by Bonnie Raitt

As the title suggests, this is one of the saddest songs ever recorded.

It discusses the pain and devastation that the singer goes through, hoping it will end soon and bring her closure. “I’m walking through the valley of the pain” and “Don’t let the darkness drive me insane-‘ describe the complex feelings of dealing with pain and its aftermath.

Due to the music that accompanies the lyrics, this song is a perfect listen that will fill you with emotions.

“Someone You Loved” by Lewis Capaldi

This piano ballad by Lewis Capaldi describes the feeling of losing someone that you loved—written about his grandmother, who passed away at the time of this song’s release.

Capaldi emphasizes his pain and feelings of despair through lines like. “I’m going under, and this time I fear there’s no one to turn to” and “I guess I kinda liked the way you numbed all the pain.” It is definitely an extremely emotional song.

Good songs for hard times

Whatever you are going through, may it be good or bad, whenever you are feeling sad or happy, there is always a song that you can just start playing and listen to.

But did you know that it is really helpful in clearing thoughts when you listen to music when you are going through a hard time? The kinds of songs that are motivational.

Here are some recommendations:

  • Fight Song by Rachel Platten
  • Rise Up by Andra Day
  • This Is Me by Demi Lovato & Joe Jonas
  • The Climb by Miley Cyrus
  • Man In The Mirror by Michael Jackson

I often listen to them whenever I am not feeling so confident about what I am doing. I hope this will help you too.


Pain has been one of the most prominent topics in music ever since the beginning. Everybody experiences pain, so being able to relate to someone else’s feelings through beautiful lyrics and tunes is something that can help us all cope.

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About Maggie Holding

Hello! My name is Maggie and I am a proud Editor/Author for PlayTheTunes. Coming From South Carolina, USA, my whole life I've sang and played the guitar and flute! I love music with a passion, and am ecstatic to help others in their own music journey!