When a promise is made, we expect people to keep it. Especially when someone and their gesture is particularly meaningful to us, few things can feel more painful than someone breaking a significant promise.
So, without further ado, here are some of my favorite songs about promises, some of which you may want to consider adding to your playlist.
Songs About Promises and Broken Promises
Fingers Crossed by Lauren Spencer-Smith
The gesture of crossing your fingers is most popularly known as a wish for good luck, but its second and darker meaning is crossing your fingers behind your back when you’re telling a lie, which is what former American Idol star Lauren Spencer-Smith titled her song after. She uploaded the song to TikTok, and when it was released in January of 2022, it shot up to number one on iTunes within a day.
In the song, she sings about how her dreams with this person were shattered and how “When you said you loved me you must have had your fingers crossed.” She wishes she could take back all the nights she spent giving him advice and trying to help him navigate through his problems when he never did the same and ended up creating more problems for her.
In an interview with Billboard, she revealed that writing the song was about reflecting on a previous relationship once you get into a better one, and realizing how much more you deserved. “Oh, you’re going to cry in your bedroom,” she said, “it’s ‘I’m angry, I could say sorry but I’m not.’”
American Shoes by Rainbow Kitten Surprise
The song opens with “You said, ‘I’ll come back, my love, wait for me; you said, ‘you’re the only, you’ll be the only one I love’ and love believes.” They go on to compare love to a bird that you keep warm in your coat until it dies, and “death is the love of what hurts you the most.” See, his lover has a baby with someone else, but he keeps believing that she’ll keep her promise to come back to him.
Deep down, he knows that she’s just stringing him along because he lets her, but it’s less painful to believe that she isn’t lying to him. He knows that he’ll be attached to her regardless and he wants to be a part of her life, even if it isn’t meaningful to her. “I’m not hurt, I’m broken, but I called to say I’m fine.” He knows she’s moved on and is building a new life with someone else, “but I’d love for you to think I don’t mind.”
Reckless by Madison Beer
Madison Beers’ Reckless perfectly encompasses the unfortunate trope of having suspicions that you’re being cheated on getting confirmed. “You gave me your word, don’t worry about her.” She still has the letter he wrote to her saying she’s the only girl he would ever want in his life.
While she thought fate brought them together, he was sneaking around right beneath her nose with the exact girl she was suspicious about. He promised that he would never hurt her (“You swore on every star”), yet was reckless with her heart. At the end of every day, she cries as she relives the moment she found out he was seeing someone else.
In a press release, she said, “Reckless was written about how easy it is for some people in relationships to hurt others and move on without any guilt. People have so much power over their partner’s feelings, yet many still choose to treat each other carelessly.”
Drivers License by Olivia Rodrigo
The three-time Grammy award-winning star’s breakout single tells the story of how she and her partner were excited for her to get her driver’s license so she could finally drive them around together, but she got more independence than she bargained for as now she doesn’t have him to be excited with.
So, she drives alone past his street as she tries to cope with what was meant to be a celebration, and at a time that she was anticipating being happy, she’s reminded of the person who left her. She thinks about how they would laugh in traffic, and she still sees his face in every white car. She still loves him and drives by herself to all the places they used to go to together.
In an interview about the song, she said she was amazed at how many people could relate to her lyrics, no matter what their specific situation is. “People are resonating with the song because it’s so honest, raw, and emotional.” She said, and that she’s “always loved the song, it captures all the emotions of heartbreak.”
From the Dining Table by Harry Styles
In another painstakingly beautiful take on feeling a connection slip away, Styles wrote this song about adjusting to a life without someone you never thought you’d have lost. He wakes up alone in a hotel after drinking the night away because this person is gone, and still has her shirt. Everywhere he looks he’s reminded of her.
She has someone new, someone who’s not like Harry, and maybe doesn’t mind the lack of communication that is driving him insane. “I see it’s written all over his face, comfortable silence is so overrated / why won’t you ever say what you want to say? Even my phone misses your call.”
In the second verse of the song, he wakes up again in a hotel room, but next to someone who looks just like her. “I almost said your name.”
He’s still convinced that his ex will talk to him though, and repeatedly says that maybe one day she’ll call him and tell him that she’s sorry too. Even though he knows she won’t, his wishful thinking gets the best of him because he’s stuck on the idea of what could’ve been and how it all went away so quickly.
All I Want by Kodaline
The lyrics are quite simple, but so full of longing, that if you understand the emotion you could listen to it for hours on end. A man is trying to wrap his head around how someone who loved him so much could leave him so fast. He talks about lying in bed and crying all night because he’s alone, and that all he wants is to hear this person knocking at his door again.
“If I could see your face once more, I could die a happy man, I’m sure.”
It’s interesting the way our feelings for someone don’t change even if they show us we don’t mean anything to them anymore. He says that she brought out a part of him he’d never seen: “took my soul and wiped it clean / our love was made for movie screens.”
And, sadly, he doesn’t know if that part of him will ever come back without her.
Rubberband by Tate Mcrae
Tate begins the song reminiscing on moments when she’d sneak out and drive around all night with someone—and wondering if it was all just a waste of time. She knows she couldn’t promise the romantic relationship that he wanted, so she ended things, but she still can’t stop thinking about him and their time together.
Because she knew she couldn’t keep that promise, she makes a new one to herself and snaps a rubber band on her wrist every time she ruminates on their time together. She is upset with herself for her conflicting emotions and commitment issues, and knew that she wouldn’t have been happy with him, but still doesn’t understand why it’s so hard to be happy without him.
My Boy by Billie Eilish
Throughout the song, Eilish cleverly compares this boy’s flaws to less important things in her life, like how he’s shady, but now he’s more of a shadow. He loves his friends like she loves her split ends (he cuts them off), before going into the catchy chorus of “my boy don’t love me like he promised / he ain’t a man and sure as hell ain’t honest.”
She says that if he wants her to belong to him, then he has to reciprocate that, and his childlike behavior is so far below her standards he’s not even worthy of being called a man. He cries dramatic tears when he gets caught in his lie, with lyrics like:
“But he’s such a pretty liar, and by that I mean / he said he’d change.”
The Man Who Can’t Be Moved by The Script
In this song, a man is making a promise to the girl who left him, stating that he won’t move on. He’s going to camp out at the place they first met, so in case she starts missing him, she’ll know where he is.
He also imagines holding out a photo of her to passersby, saying that if they see her to tell him where he is, and “some try to hand me money, they don’t understand / I’m not broke, just a broken-hearted man.”
He believes that if he stays long enough, she’ll realize how much he cares about her and come running back to him. It’s easier for him to stay in one spot, clinging to hope, then to move on from someone he’s still in love with. He pictures himself getting on the news as The Man Who Can’t Be moved, braving the snow, heat, and rain storms, until she one days notices come back to him.
I Fall Apart by Post Malone
In this powerful song off Post Malone’s first album, he talks about how a girl promised him they’d be together, but it was all a lie. She fooled him twice and apparently it’s all his fault, as he compares his devastation to having sold his soul because he can’t let go of her. His life of luxury and nice cars keeps going, but he’s still stuck on how he let his heart get broken.
Everyone told him she was no good, but he didn’t listen because he was preoccupied with listening to all her empty promises. He bought her jewelry and spent money on her, and to him, it was a gesture of proclaiming his love. But to her, it was simply material things that she could show off to the world.
On this track, Post Malone compares his heartache to a physical scar on his heart that she cut too deeply and won’t heal.
When someone who means a lot to us breaks a promise they made, it can feel like they broke a part of us too. Turning to music to try to find someone who knows how you feel is a great outlet, and whether you prefer to be still and lie around in bed, or you’d rather dance the day and night away dance, hopefully these various songs about promises will help you get on the right path towards healing your heart.
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