Sometimes, when we’ve acted out of character, we feel sorrow and want to make amends. But it’s often not that easy, because sometimes, you just don’t have the right words to mend fences. In those situations, I always think it’s wise to listen to some songs about regretting hurting someone, as music can be the therapy that we need.
In this article, I’m going to provide you with a variety of songs deal with the pain of regret, and the desire to become a much better person after you’ve realized you’ve hurt someone you love.
Songs About Regretting Hurting Someone You’ll Enjoy
Let’s kick off this list with the song “Ms. Jackson” by OutKast.
Ms. Jackson by OutKast
OutKast, consisting of Andre 3000 and Big Boi, is recognized as one of the greatest duos in hip hop. The single, Ms. Jackson was inspired by Andre’s past relationship with neo-soul singer, Erykah Badu.
So, just to clarify for anyone that may not have known: The song Ms. Jackson is actually a reference to Badu’s mother:
I’m sorry Ms. Jackson (oh), I am for real
Never meant to make your daughter cry
I apologize a trillion times
Andre even speaks on the vision behind Ms. Jackson and why he chose to write the song. He told Atlanta Journal-Constitution:
“I probably would never come out and tell Erykah’s mom, ‘I’m sorry for what went down.’ But music gives you the chance to say what you want to say. And her mom loved it. She’s like, ‘Where’s my publishing check?”
Although fans don’t know what exactly ended the relationship between the two, the words on this track give a great context to Andre’s mind post-breakup. This song is special because there aren’t many tracks, especially in hip hop, that send a message of apology.
Most of the time in relationships, the apology is strictly towards the person hurt; however, Andre and Big Boi took it a step further. I think making this track about not only Badu but also her mother makes the song more from the heart. Ms. Jackson will always be a classic in OutKast’s discography!
Unfaithful by Rihanna
Well, this song about says it all in the title alone, doesn’t it?
The truth is, we all know and love Rihanna for some of her bigger, more bombastic hits. Whether it’s “SOS” or “Shut Up and Drive” early on in her career, or something like “Umbrella” or “Work” later on, it’s borderline impossible to keep track of all of her success.
But one little gem that seems to have gotten a bit lost in the shuffle of time is “Unfaithful,” a song spilling over with regret.
On this song, Rihanna sings of being unfaithful to her partner, and she is wracked with guilt because she knows her hurtful decisions are “killing him inside.” Rihanna sings of seeing her man “die a little more inside” every time she steps out of the house–and she no longer wants to be a “murderer.”
The lyrics are probably some of the strongest you’ll hear about the topic of being a liar and a cheat, as Rihanna essentially compares knowing your partner is cheating to a slow death. But this song works because you can hear Rihanna’s conflicted emotions—she knows she’s in the wrong, and she wants to stop he tawdry affair.
But, will she?
Hurt You by Toni Braxton and Babyface
Way back in 2014, Toni Braxton teamed up with Babyface to make an incredible album entitled “Love, Marriage and Divorce.” On this joint, Toni and Babyface portray a couple that have both done terrible things within their relationship. Their relationship is toxic, and they trade figurative jabs at one another, matching one low blow for another day in and day out.
But despite this domestic escalation of war, both singers are regretful come the chorus. They both apologize for letting things get out of hand, as they deeply regret the fact that their once loving relationship is over.
God knows I never meant to hurt you, woo
I never meant to break your heart, your heart, babe
God knows I never meant to turn you on, to turn you out
Never meant to take it that far, that far, babe
The Resistance by Drake
This song is a classic in Drake’s discography. It’s a simple track that carries so much emotion. The Resistance talks about his past regrets. This song paints a picture of Drake’s come-up. Although he feels bad for leaving his city and losing connection with his hometown friends, he doesn’t feel bad for chasing his dreams and being successful.
He may have hurt some people on his journey to fame, but he wouldn’t want it any other way. This track resonates with me because it shows that sometimes you have to be selfish to get where you want to go.
Once someone makes a name for themselves, they tend to leave some of their past behind. As someone who’s followed Drake since the beginning of his rap career, he has always given praise to Toronto. There was even a period when Drake was being teased for being Canadian, which made it harder for him to get acceptance in the rap game.
Other rappers viewed his music as “soft” or “too sensitive,” and didn’t take him seriously as a rapper. Now, Drake is one of the most successful rappers of our generation. He has the keys to Toronto, and he continues to put his town on the map through his music!
Moral of the story is: don’t let anyone hold you back from your dreams. Show the people in your hometown what you’re capable of. You may be just as inspiring as Drake!
Lost Ones by Jazmine Sullivan
Off her Heaux Tales album, this track is definitely the most heart-hitting. Jazmine Sullivan has been singing about love, loss, and regret since the early 2010s. Her powerful vocals on this song bring out the rawness.
She understands that she messed up in the relationship and she tries to cope with the heartbreak of the failed love interest. This song is so easy to relate to and it is worthy of recognition on this list.
We may lose out on a good person or opportunity, but that should make us all the more grateful for what we have in the present moment. I always make sure I am working hard to maintain the connections I have built.
Sorry by Halsey
This is one of my favorite songs from Halsey. This song is a ballad that was produced by Greg Kurstin. The song as a whole is so beautiful. Throughout the track, Halsey apologizes for rejecting a potential lover due to her own insecurities. She sings in the hook:
So I’m sorry to my unknown lover
Sorry that I can’t believe
That anybody ever really
Starts to fall in love with me
Sorry to my unknown lover
Sorry I could be so blind
Didn’t mean to leave you
And all of the things that we had behind
I heavily relate to these lyrics. Sometimes it’s hard for me to believe that I am worthy of love. I have regrets about pushing people away because of my fears. When I listen to this song, I am reminded that I should always know my worth and accept all good things that come my way!
Sorry, Blame It On Me by Akon
Rarely does an artist appear so conciliatory for his misdeeds on his own record. But that’s what we have here on this Akon song.
This song is a reaction to the outrage that came after a video of Akon at a concert hit the Internet. And while Akon definitely regrets that incident, he also apologizes for other behavior that he feels was wrong too.
And, in kind of a funny twist, Akon even begins the song stating that this apology record will also work for any bad behavior he may accidentally commit in the future too.
Now, when you’ve found a way to regret hurting someone in the future, well, I guess you’ve really taken your apology game to the next level.
Let You Down by NF
NF believes that everyone experiences pain. On this track, we hear all of the aggression be brought to life sonically.
For NF, this pain could be from not feeling enough for himself and his father. NF lived with his father after his bad living situation with his mother and abusive boyfriend. He told NME in an interview seen below:
“It’s just about me growing up feeling like I didn’t really have much of a voice or I wasn’t being heard. Now that I’m an adult it’s just me expressing some feelings I still feel but also feelings that I’ve worked through.”
Like NF, I also felt like I didn’t have much of a voice as a child. I was always reminded to “stay in a child’s place.” I wasn’t able to speak freely when I didn’t agree with certain things. As an adult, I still struggle with speaking my mind. NF makes music to remind people that they are not alone in their silence. This is a track that can’t go unheard!
DANG! By Mac Miller featuring Anderson.Paak
This groovy number was released in 2016 on Mac’s project, The Divine Feminine. Mac Miller is one of my favorite artists. His crazy bars paired with Anderson. Paak’s funk-influenced sound makes this track stand out. As the two artists sing:
I can’t keep on losing you
Gone too soon
These fellas are yearning to get their lovers back. They regret losing the person over their past mistakes. I know this is a topic that many of us can relate to.
Please Forgive Me by Bryan Adams
Do you want to say sorry but can’t find the right words to say? Don’t worry, let this track to all the talking. One thing I love about this song is the passion. Each chorus gets more and more powerful. It’s like he’s pleading for forgiveness.
He sings in the chorus:
Please forgive me, I can’t stop loving you
Don’t deny me, this pain I’m going through
Please forgive me, if I need you like I do
Babe believe it, every word I say is true
You can hear just how torn he is; which makes this song worth the mention! Listening to this track really allows us to be placed in his shoes as someone begging for forgiveness. Every time I listen to this song, all I can do is hope that he’s forgiven for his mistakes.
When I Was Your Man by Bruno Mars
Bruno Mars has been singing to the ladies for over a decade now. On this track, we get to hear all of Bruno’s regrets from his past relationship. He mentions how he was wrong and that he hopes his ex-lover can find a partner to fulfill the things that Bruno couldn’t.
He closes the song by saying:
I hope he buys you flowers
I hope he holds your hand
Give you all his hours
When he has the chance
Take you to every party
‘Cause I remember how much you loved to dance
Do all the things I should have done
When I was your man
Some relationships aren’t meant to last forever. This song reminds me to always wish people well, even if the relationship didn’t end on good terms.
Stuck On You by Giveon
From his 2020 EP, When It’s All Said and Done, this single shows regret from a different point of view. Giveon is aware that he is being done wrong but continues to stay in the relationship; resulting in only hurting himself.
Even though this person mistreats him, he feels like he can’t leave. I know many friends and family that have experienced the same feeling.
It’s hard letting go of someone you’ve built such a strong connection with. Sometimes, we stay in hopes that the person will change. On this track, Giveon is hurt, but he’s still so attached to the relationship, despite the toxicity.
Listening to this song, my brain can’t decide who to feel sorry for. We can all want him to leave the relationship, but if he’s not willing to let go, as listeners, it can be hard to sympathize with him. Furthermore, the lyrics and vocals bring out an emotion that can make us optimistic for his escape!
Sorry by Justin Bieber
Similar to Outkast and Mac Miller, Justin uses an upbeat tempo to tell his apology. I think the fun, dancehall pop sound adds an element of distraction. Whenever this song plays, I automatically get lost in the beat. It puts me in a good mood, despite the sorrowful lyrics.
Many fans believe that this song was written about Beiber’s ex-girlfriend, Selena Gomez. After several interviews and talk shows, Beiber finally gave the meaning in his 2016 GQ cover story where he states:
“People ran with that…that I was, like, apologizing with that song and stuff. It really had nothing to do with that…It was about a girl.”
We can all put the pieces together to figure out the girl he’s referring to. Either way, this track had to make an appearance on my list!
We all have things we wish we could take back. Maybe you said some hurtful things to someone or you made a decision that negatively affected someone around you. Music has a way of expressing feelings that may be too difficult to share.
These songs about regretting hurting someone can help you say what’s on your heart. Although you can’t change the past, you can heal wounds for the future. If you’ve hurt someone in the past, forgive yourself and move forward!
You Also Might Like:
- Songs About Falling in Love
- Songs About Being Alone
- Songs About Trust
- Songs About Arguments
- Songs About a Relationship Falling Apart
- Songs About a Long Distance Relationship