As far as love songs go, they aren’t all about butterflies and rainbows. More generally, relationships aren’t always loving and heartwarming so it’s only logical that some of the music world’s most iconic love songs represent these so-called toxic relationships.
So, are you in desperate need to know what the top 50 songs about toxic relationships are? Keep reading to find out!
1. River – Eminem Feat. Ed Sheeran
First and foremost, this musical collaboration is filled with hints of toxic relationships. In Slim Shady’s first verse, he raps about coming home to his girlfriend in an intoxicated state after being with other women and vice versa, he raps about his girlfriend’s controlling, abusive behavior in return.
Expert Tip: In general, this song is about relationships that didn’t work out because the two people involved only brought out the worst in each other.
2. All Too Well – Taylor Swift
One song that absolutely couldn’t be left behind in this list is Taylor Swift’s iconic song about her ex-boyfriend, Jake Gyllenhaal. In this 10-minute-long masterpiece.
Swifts sing about many things, but one thing in particular that she sings about is her ex-boyfriend’s inability to take her and their relationship seriously and his tendency to make her feel like she “was asking for too much”. This song even sparked a trend on social media that entailed that people had to find as many red flags in the music video as possible.
3. July – Noah Cyrus
Miley Cyrus’ younger sister has made quite a name for herself in the music industry and this song clearly demonstrates it. The singer openly sings about making the wrong decision by falling in love with someone that’s not good for her.
Yet the song also painfully sheds light on another aspect that’s very common with abusive relationships, being the inability to walk away despite the inflicted emotional abuse.
4. Love on the Brain – Rihanna
Rihanna made numerous hits for us to enjoy throughout the years, but the emotional tone behind this song truly is unprecedented. In “Love on the Brain” Rihanna sings about being in an extremely abusive relationship but feeling very conflicted about it.
More concretely, the lyrics “You beat me black and blue but you **** me so good” need no further explanation.
5. Ruin My Life – Zara Larsson
This Swedish pop princess beautifully sings about unhealthy relationships as well. That is, in this song, the singer essentially sings about pushing each other to the edge and simultaneously loving and hating that. Fortunately, though, she also sings about breaking away from such a toxic situation.
6. Graveyard – Halsey
Halsey regularly sings about difficult life topics and toxic relationships are no exception to this, for sure. That is to say, in this song, the singer sings about being willing to follow a lover “all the way to the graveyard” because she simply loved him so much. Nevertheless, after the fact, she is very aware that this person was very toxic.
However, she didn’t realize this at the time, when she actually was involved in an unhealthy relationship.
7. When the Party’s Over – Billie Eilish
While Billie Eilish is notorious for singing about toxic relationships, this song positively stands out. In this song the singer-songwriter sings about calling her lover “when the party’s over”, implying that she just can’t stand his destructive, dramatic behavior anymore.
A silver lining in this aspect is that the song isn’t only about toxic relationships, but it’s also about finding the courage to leave one behind.
8. Small Doses – Bebe Rexha
This song is about loving someone in such an intense way that it almost becomes addictive and that’s toxic. Rexha sings about loving someone very passionately, about fighting a lot, and even about “making love with the enemy”.
Expert Tip: Thus, the song is about loving someone so much, but not being able to have them around all the time because that would leave you in a very explosive, toxic situation.
9. Foundations – Kate Nash
This song might not be so well-known as some of the other songs on this list, but it certainly deserves to be mentioned. The song is about a relationship between two people who can’t really be themselves with each other, who call each other names, about childish arguments, and about intentionally antagonizing each other.
Yet, the two people are “holding onto the cracks in their foundation” and can’t seem to let each other go no matter how bad they are for each other.
10. Supalonely – BENEE Feat. Gus Dapperton
The meaning behind this song stands in stark contrast with the upbeat, cheerful sound, but don’t be fooled, the song is about an extremely toxic relationship. It’s about being in an abusive relationship that eats away at your feelings of self-worth, but still not being able to let that person go because you love them too much.
11. We Are Young – Fun Feat. Janelle Monae
While it’s not entirely clear whether it was the intention of these artists to make a song about domestic abuse, one can’t but interpret it that way. At the beginning of the song, the lead singer sings about physically inflicting damage to his girlfriend and about her needing to wear sunglasses and a scarf to cover her injuries.
12. Back to Black – Amy Winehouse
Now, it’s time to give some attention to the queen of toxic lifestyles, Amy Winehouse. In “Back to Black”, she sings about wanting to go back to a relationship that was toxic at the core.
She sings about losing herself and craving someone that wasn’t good for her, while that other person seemingly couldn’t care less about her. It really shows just how additive toxic relationships can be.
13. You Don’t Own Me – Lesley Gore
For this next classic, we have to go back in time to the 60s. Then, Lesley Gore came up with this feminist anthem in which she sings about how her lover shouldn’t pretend that he owns her and that he shouldn’t tell her what to do. and that he should let her be her own woman. In short, she sings that her lover should stop being toxic and let her live freely.
14. Before He Cheats – Carrie Underwood
As far as toxic relationships go, Carrie Underwood knows all about it. In this absolute banger, she sings about being cheated on, and as the ultimate act of revenge, she sings about slashing the tires of his cars and inflicting other kinds of damage. It’s clear to say, this screams “toxic” on a whole new level.
15. Hard Times – The Scabs
In “Hard Times”, the lead singer of this band recalls a time in his marriage during which he treated his wife very badly. He sings about cheating on her multiple times and about saying and doing very mean toxic things.
Concretely, he sings about lying to her all the time and while he’s sorry now, he acknowledges that he didn’t treat her the way that he should have.
16. Man Down – Rihanna
Rihanna’s so iconic that she deserves to be on this list multiple times. In this song, Rihanna confesses to having murdered a lover because he was very abusive and demeaning towards her. If that’s not toxic, what is?
17. Ultraviolence – Lana Del Rey
This song comes from Del Rey’s album of the same name. It is about an abusive relationship with a lot of violence. However, as goes for a lot of different abusive relationships. Del Rey sings “he hit me but it felt like a kiss”, implying that she was addicted to a relationship that wasn’t good for her.
18. Love the Way You Lie – Rihanna feat. Eminem
As claimed before, Rihanna deserves multiple spots on this list “Love the Way You Lie” might just be the most well-known song about toxic relationships. In this song, Rihanna and Eminem tell a story about a very abusive relationship surrounding two people who can’t seem to let each other go. yet are very destructive towards each other.
Even more so, in the music video, the fights between the couple get so bad that they set their house on fire.
19. Bleeding Love – Leona Lewis
This song again tells the same story as many other songs about toxic relationships. It tells the story of a woman who keeps going back to the same guy because she loves him, yet he’s notorious for treating her very badly.
20. Love Hurts – Nazareth
In contradiction to many other love songs that exist, the band Nazareth decided to give attention to the negative, toxic side that’s sometimes present when it comes to love. That is. this song is about young love and about how it can eat you alive. It’s about how love can not only be “blissful”, but also very hurtful when it’s toxic.
21. You Give Love a Bad Name – Jon Bon Jovi
This next song is relatively old but definitely also gold. In this song, Bon Jovi sings about how an ex-girlfriend regularly treated him badly, and because of that she gave “love a bad name”. Hence, it’s a song about the ugly side of some relationships.
22. Jar of Hearts – Christina Perri
This American singer-songwriter has had her share of love horror stories. In “Jar of Hearts”, she painfully sings about finally being able to stop going back to an ex-lover because she finally sees that he mistreated her during the time that they were together.
23. Irresistible – Fall Out Boy
This rock group has a reputation for making quite gloomy music, but this song definitely adds a layer to that. Specifically, this song is about a very abusive relationship between a man and a woman, but that doesn’t stop the protagonist from loving her with his whole heart.
Even more so, the lead singer sings about being content to hurt himself if that means making her happy.
24. Rock Bottom – Hailee Steinfeld
Moreover, as the name of the song suggests, toxic relationships have the tendency to make you hit rock bottom. This song is about a couple that has endless fights. During these fights, they love and hate each other at the same time and as a result, this creates a very toxic situation in which they’re both stuck.
25. Jealous – Beyonce
Even though this pop music star is happily married to Jay-Z Beyonce recalls a time of her life that was less fortunate in the love area in “Jealous”. In this song, she shares the heartbreak that she felt while she was in a relationship with a man that never kept his promises to her which resulted in her being extremely unhappy.
26. Smile – Lily Allen
In this song, Allen almost proudly proclaims how happy she felt in a past relationship at times when her lover literally felt miserable. Of course, her ex-boyfriend cheated on her multiple times, but still, harsh!
27. Tainted Love – Soft Cell
If you’re someone who feels stuck in a toxic relationship, this song might just give you the courage you need to break free. At first, the song is about someone who is mistreated in a relationship but still has so much love in their heart. However, it quickly becomes a song about leaving someone who has toxic vibes.
28. The One I Love – R.E.M.
At first glance, this song might look like a typical love song, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. It’s quite the contrary even. The song is about acting like you love someone, but actually using them as “a simple prop to occupy your time”. Awtch!
29. Selfish – Madison Beer
Moreover, this social media sensation has dealt with a fair share of toxic relationships as well. In “Selfish”, she reminisces about a past relationship in which she spent a lot of time trying to change him, while he didn’t really want to change. Consequently, she didn’t get what she needed from the relationship as it felt toxic to her.
30. Leaving on a Jet Plane – John Denver
When you first listen to this song, you might wrongfully conclude that it’s a love song, while in reality, it’s far from that. In essence, the singer describes how he often went on trips, and on these trips, he wasn’t faithful to his partner at the time. So, Denver was the toxic one in that relationship.
31. Every Breath You Take – The Police
Another song that sounds very romantic at first, but really isn’t is “Every Breath You Take” by the Police. This song actually is about a man who’s very controlling towards his partner and wants to know what she’s doing and with who at any given time to a very obsessive extent.
32. Lose You to Love Me – Selena Gomez
Sometimes you can only acknowledge that you were in a toxic relationship when it’s over and that’s something that sounds very familiar to Selena Gomez. This song essentially tells the story of a woman that was very insecure in her relationship to such an extent that she couldn’t love herself until she decided to get rid of her toxic partner.
33. You’re So Vain – Carly Simon
In this song, Simon looks back at a relationship that was very toxic. In that past relationship, she encountered a “vain” lover that was only thinking about himself and never really about her.
34. Skinny Love – Birdy
This song painfully tells a story of a couple of two people who are not in the relationship for the right reasons and that’s what makes the relationship toxic. The relationship doesn’t have any strong foundation and instead, both people are just looking to fill some kind of void within themselves.
35. Please Don’t Leave Me – Pink
In “Please Don’t Leave Me”, Pink sings about being a very toxic partner in the relationship, yet still fearing that her partner might walk away. In the music video for this song, Pink plays a very psychotic girlfriend and ultimately, she’s so abusive that she pushes her partner down the stairs.
36. I Hate Everything About You – Three Days Grace
At first, you might think that this song has nothing to do with love and only with hate. Nonetheless, the main purpose of the song is to illustrate how toxic relationships often involve people who love and hate each other at the same time, which is not a productive situation at all.
37. Bad Romance – Lady Gaga
The title of the song already kind of gives it away, since this song definitely is about a toxic and bad relationship. More concretely, the song tells the story of a relationship that’s very controlling. Additionally, Gaga sings about chasing someone that she knew instantly wasn’t good for her, yet she still did it anyway.
38. Should I Stay or Should I Go – The Clash
Another classic that positively belongs on this list is “Should I Stay or Should I Go” from The Clash. The lead singer sings about a partner that seemingly was at her happiest when he was at his lowest which is a very clear example of a toxic relationship.
39. New Rules – Dua Lipa
This song isn’t necessarily directly about a toxic relationship, but it is an empowerment song that’s supposed to help women steer clear of toxic relationships. Through this song, Dua Lipa has provided her fans with 3 straightforward rules that should help them avoid certain men that have a lot of red flags.
40. Attention – Charlie Puth
Charlie Puth is known for his countless romantic love songs, but this song, in particular, doesn’t give off that vibe. In this song, Puth sings about someone that pretends to love him but instead, she “just wants attention”.
She’s been badmouthing him to other people and generally, she just didn’t have his best intentions at heart, meaning that she was very toxic in their relationship.
41. Advice – Kehlani
With this song, Kehlani’s intention was to actually give herself some much-needed advice on what to do with her toxic relationship. She sings about being with a partner that only looks out for his own needs and thus, she’s practically begging herself to take her own advice and leave that man.
42. Mercy – Shawn Mendes
In this song, Mendes is asking his partner to “please have mercy on him”. He’s making it clear that she’s very controlling and toxic and that his heart simply can’t take it anymore. Thus, this song surely is about a past toxic relationship in which he wasn’t happy at all.
43. Broken Strings – James Morrison Feat. Nelly Furtado
With this duet, both singers wanted to tell the story of a relationship that wasn’t bad from the start. However, throughout the years, the relationship has become toxic and broken. From then on, the song is about the growing acceptance that the people involved just don’t have what it takes anymore to make the relationship work.
44. Mad Love – Jojo
This heartbreaking song is about one of Jojo’s past relationships that were toxic. In this song, she describes how she felt in that relationship and how hurtful it was for her to pine after someone that she knew wasn’t going to treat her well.
45. Beautiful Trauma – Pink
Sometimes, people are part of a toxic relationship without the intention of ever leaving it behind. For instance, Pink describes her relationship as a “beautiful trauma”. She knows that it’s messy and destructive at times and that her partner is her “rock bottom”, but she still finds it in herself to make it work.
46. Wrecking Ball – Miley Cyrus
Just like her sister, Miley Cyrus knows a thing or two about toxic relationships. The iconic wrecking ball in her music video stands for the toxic impact that an ex-lover has had on her life. During their relationship, Cyrus wanted to make it work and thought very highly of him but he only wanted to bring her down her.
47. Slamming Doors – Ben Haenow
In his song, Haenow describes a toxic relationship that he’s been in. He describes it as “love’ on the one hand, but on the other hand, he also describes it as ’slowly breaking his heart” and full of “hurt and pain”.
48. Leave Me Lonely – Ariana Grande
This song is about Grande’s journey to realization. Grande sings about being involved in a toxic relationship in which both parties make the other cry regularly and in which she has “no peace of mind”. Eventually, she realizes this and is able to put herself first by ending the toxic relationship.
49. Beating Me Up – Rachel Platten
Another anthem about toxic relationships is this song by Rachel Platten. Platten sings about a former abusive relationship she’s been in and describes how they used to badmouth each other frequently. She also recalls how hard it’s to move on even though she realizes that they weren’t good for each other.
50. Toxic – Britney Spears
Last, but certainly not least, there’s the fitting title of “Toxic” by Britney Spears. Spears has been publicly involved in toxic relationships and accordingly, this song is about one of those. In this song, she sings about being addicted to someone toxic and basically compares this man to drugs. Yet, she can’t escape this toxic man.
No one ever said that it was easy to break free from a toxic relationship, these above-mentioned songs clearly illustrate that. However, if you ever feel the need for some mental support or if you’re looking for some extra courage to actually leave a toxic relationship behind, please don’t hesitate to listen to these songs. They might really help you!