It’s meant to be the most romantic time of the year. But people globally spend the most time listening to songs about breakups and heartbreak.
Deezer, a global music streaming service, reported that Miley Cyrus‘s empowering chart-topping song ‘Flowers’ was the top-streamed song last year, bringing in 1.6 billion streams.
With lyrics like ‘I can buy myself flowers’ and ‘I can hold my own hand,’ Deezer said the lyrics promote independence in a way that is inspirations and empowering for listeners.
Other songs listeners looked to for inspiration included Rihanna‘s ‘Lift Me Up,’ which focuses on the people lost and how much they’re missed, as well as Beyonce‘s ‘Cuff It,’ which advocated for taking ownership of your life and Harry Styles‘s song ‘As It Was,’ which he has is about embracing change and your former self.
Streaming app Deezer reported that the top 10 songs listened to on Valentine’s Day last year were sad and focused on self-love after heartache.
Last year, Deezer reported a 560 percent global increase in love songs in the days leading up to the 14th and believed it indicated romance is still alive and well.
However, Deezer looked at data from the top 10 songs streamed on the holiday itself and found that the most-played songs ‘suggests Valentine’s Day isn’t as romantic as we think.’
‘We may assume that most people are in a romantic mood on Valentine’s Day or have planned a date, yet these popular streaming choices suggest otherwise, Dr Annemieke van den Tol, an expert in music and psychology at the University of Lincoln, said.
‘Ultimately sad songs or songs about heartbreak can help people to channel their own emotions.
‘Realization that someone else (the singer) has also experienced the same thing, but dealt with it, can provide us with hope and help us reframe any negativity,’ van den Tol said.
Listeners are most likely to listen to sad songs later in the evening, according to Deezer, which added that these tracks peaked at about 8:15 p.m. on Valentine’s Day last year.
Listeners are most likely to listen to sad songs later in the evening that focus on how relationships have impacted them and the void they left behind
After Miley Cyrus’ Flowers, Tom Odell’s Another Love was the second most popular song on February 14th last year, achieving one billion streams last year.
The song expressed unrequited love and understanding of why you can’t be with the person you desire.
Deezer calculated this by analyzing its own streaming data from listeners on Valentine’s Day 2023.
In the third spot was Rihanna’s song ‘Lift Me Up,’ followed by Sam Smith and Kim Petras’ song ‘Unholy’ which looks at infidelity and a wife remaining in the dark while her husband has an adulterous affair.
Harry Styles’s song ‘As It Was’ ranks number five, while Metro Boomin, The Weeknd, and 21 Savage’s song ‘Creepin’ stands in the number six spot.
The song exemplifies the feeling of being betrayed by someone you love but not wanting to acknowledge the truth.
David Guetta and Bebe Rexha’s ‘I’m Good (Blue)’ was the seventh most-listened-to song and Shakira’s Bzrp Music Sessions, Vol. 53 song came in at number eight, with the lyrics focusing on an empowering message about being too good for the person she used to be with.
‘The Loneliest’ by Måneskin came in at number nine and looks at the profound feeling of loneliness and leaving the person you love, with Beyonce’s ‘Cuff It’ bringing up the rear in the final number 10 spot.
Those who are recently single, sad, and broken-hearted will likely be sitting at home, listening to music that encompasses their heartache rather than spending a night out on the town.
Experts say there is a good reason why sad songs rank above cheerful lyrics, citing that they could heal a broken heart.
A 2022 study published in Psychology Today revealed that sad music can help people experiencing heartache find joy and hopefulness in life again, can activate empathy, and can enhance their mood.
‘All of us will have experienced a broken heart, or probably will in the future. And during these times, you may find yourself listening to more sad music,’ Dr Douglas LaBier, a business psychologist who authored the study, told Deezer.
‘Listening to sad tracks – like many of those revealed by Deezer’s streaming data – can relieve a broken heart by pulling away from preoccupation with your sadness,’ he continued.
‘It can help you resonate with your feelings of despair that you’ll never heal from your broken heart. Embracing the reality of your experience can point the way towards healing actions.’
Research also shows that people feel pressured by Valentine’s Day, feeling like they need to be romantic, go on a date, or act like the holiday is meaningful to them, according to a 2020 survey by the dating app Plenty of Fish.
The survey showed that 43 percent of respondents thought Valentine’s Day is the most pressure-filled holiday and one in five respondents wished the holiday could be cancelled altogether.
In light of last year’s most popular music choices, Deezer is releasing a ‘Love Channel’ to celebrate all love connections, not just the romantic ones.
Songs will focus on self-love in the wake of heartache, and celebrating best friends, parents, grandparents, and colleagues.
Professor Jane Edwards told Deezer it’s important to celebrate self-love after a romantic let-down, especially around this time of year.
‘It can help you to connect with your emotional state and even intensify feelings to achieve some kind of emotional release,’ she said.