A Playlist of Mariah Carey Breakup Songs, Organized Into the Five Stages of Grief

Collage by Sam Woolley
Collage by Sam Woolley

To hear the gossip rags tell it, Mariah Carey is in the middle of a nasty breakup that has the potential to disrupt the very fabric of her televised existence, which is to say: her upcoming reality show. Luckily for Mariah Carey the person, there is plenty of Mariah Carey music to get her through this rough patch. Though when examined individually, most of Mariah’s songs of heartbreak impart rather typical emotional upsets (her frequent use of 10-cent words notwithstanding) that don’t exactly shed new light on the human condition, as a whole they represent a nuanced spectrum of feeling that captures love blossoming and wilting in a kind of musical time lapse.


We’ve collected a selection of Mariah breakup songs from throughout her career in the playlist below, and it organized roughly to reflect the five stages of grief. There’s denial (“If It’s Over,” “Can’t Let Go,” “Always Be My Baby,” “Don’t Forget About Us,” “We Belong Together”), anger (“H.A.T.E.U.”), bargaining (“Subtle Invitation,” “Mine Again,” “My All,” “For the Record,” “I Still Believe,” “Against All Odds”), depression (“Breakdown,” “Crybaby,” “Cry.,” “Circles,” “Miss You”), and finally, acceptance (“Faded,” “You Had Your Chance,” “Shake It Off,” “Up Out My Face,” “Thanx 4 Nothin’,” “It’s a Wrap,” “Butterfly”). From despondency to triumph, from weeping caterpillar to soaring butterfly, Mariah feels every emotional gradient with a melismatic thoroughness. She has provided her own map to perseverance.

Keep your head up, MC—there are plenty of billionaires in the sea.

Some Pig. Terrific. Radiant. Humble.


“Crybaby” is my favorite. Such a slinky undervalued gem.