Making a commitment to someone is a big deal. Breaking that commitment is an even bigger deal. Perhaps that’s why there are so many songs about affairs, from the unrepentant to the downright apologetic.
There are songs about the heartbreak of divorce, others about regret and guilt, and many chronicling the thrill of forbidden love. It’s a fascinating glimpse into the human experience to see the many ways in which singers, songwriters, and artists can experience the pain, sorrow, and excitement of an affair. The theme crosses virtually all genres, from pop and rock to the time-honored revenge tale of classic country. We have an epic list of songs for you below, and we also have a Spotify playlist with all of the songs mentioned below at the bottom of the page.
1. Before He Cheats by Carrie Underwood
Carrie Underwood’s character in “Before He Cheats” doesn’t get mad when her man has an affair with a “bleached blond tramp. She gets even. The song offers a laundry list of vengeful actions, including vandalizing his car, “taking a Louisville Slugger to both headlights” to remind the man to think twice before he cheats on her again.
2. Obvious by Blink 182
A rare serious song from Blink-182, “Obvious,” is a visceral, painful tale of a breakup where one partner was caught in an affair. A departure from Blink’s typical arsenal of upbeat, humorous material, with a more cacophonous rhythm section and some dissonant chord choices, this song really stands out against Blink-182’s repertoire.
3. Lips of an Angel by Hinder
“Lips of an Angel” lyrically follows the dialog between a man and his ex-girlfriend, calling him “so late” at night. Both the singer and his ex are in new relationships but admit that they still want one another. Both know that their phone conversation could start a fight and cause issues in their present relationships, but they keep the conversation going regardless. Upon release, this song was a massive hit and reached a peak position of number 3 on the Billboard Hot 100.
4. Should’ve Said No by Taylor Swift
Cheating on a songwriter with as sharp a wit as Taylor Swift might seem like an obvious recipe for self-destruction. It seems that Swift’s high school boyfriend, Sam, missed the cue, and Swift’s fans got this instant classic in return. The refrain in the chorus offers Swift’s simple rebuke for her cheating lover: “You should’ve said no, you should’ve gone home / You should’ve thought twice before you let it all go / You should’ve known that word, bout what you did with her / Would get back to me.”
The song is classic early Swift, with a catchy chorus, plenty of fingerpicked acoustic instruments, and Taylor Swift’s razor-sharp lyricism.
5. Sara by Fleetwood Mac
|Genre||Rock, Folk, Country Rock|
You could probably write a list of seventy Fleetwood Mac songs about affairs, but this one might be the most complex.
Stevie Nicks’ relationship with Mick Fleetwood was an affair to begin with. Nicks, legendary lead singer for Fleetwood Mac, and Fleetwood, the band’s drummer and namesake began dating while Nicks was going out with Don Henley of the Eagles. Fleetwood was then married to Jenny Boyd. During Nicks and Fleetwood’s own affair, Mick Fleetwood also started seeing Stevie Nicks’ friend, Sara Recor.
The layers of infidelity that inspired this song, coupled with Stevie Nicks’ otherworldly ear for a great melody, make it a true classic.
6. Misery Business by Paramore
|Genre||Pop Punk, Rock|
Paramore’s breakthrough single sees lead singer Hayley Williams unleashing a frantic, staccato tale of having a crush on a boy in a relationship. She later revealed that the song was about her bandmate, guitarist Josh Farro. In the song, the character claims it was “never my intention to break” but enjoyed the end result of breaking up the not-so-happy couple. A rare uptempo song about an affair that could be real or imagined is left up to the viewer’s imagination in the end, sealed with an infectious riff and a soaring, unforgettable chorus.
7. Unfaithful by Rihanna
|Album||A Girl Like Me|
Rihanna, on this track, is unapologetic about cheating on her man. She knows that her actions are tormenting him and does not seem to care at all. Rihanna claimed that she wanted to reflect that women cheat, too, and that they can be as hurtful as men. If you’re a Rihanna fan, we highly recommend you consider adding this song to your playlist. It was one of her massive hits and reached position six on the Billboard Hot 100.
8. Dirty Little Secret by The All-American Rejects
This irresistibly catchy song by The All-American Rejects tells the story of a relationship where one party (or both) needs to keep it a secret. Apparently, it was inspired by the band members’ quiet, steady long-term relationships, and the story behind the song is entirely fictitious.
9. Sugar, We’re Goin’ Down by Fall Out Boy
|Album||From Under the Cork Tree|
This song is a little more ambiguous, as were most of Fall Out Boy’s lyrics. It seems to cover unrequited love, but the line “isn’t it messed up how I’m just dying to be him” against the “notch in your bedpost” lyric suggests that there’s more to this story than meets the eye. Fall Out Boy ruled the pop-punk roost during their mid-2000s heyday, and this song is a great example of why. This song won many awards from MTV, Rolling Stone, and many other notable organizations. The Alternative Press also called it one of the most influential Pop Punk songs of all time.
10. Cry Me A River by Justin Timberlake
This was a major smash hit for Justin Timberlake, who ascended to superstardom after leaving NSYNC. His debut solo album took Timberlake into the stratosphere, perhaps aided by his relationship with fellow Disney superstar Britney Spears. This song was supposedly inspired by the breakdown of Timberlake’s relationship with Spears, which Timberlake refused to confirm for years. I really enjoy this song, and it’s one of many songs that use rivers to illustrate a point. It’s also one of my favorite songs with figurative language.
11. The Dark End of the Street by James Carr
|Album||You Got My Mind Messed Up|
James Carr’s mournful, crooning baritone elevated this song to the level its songwriters, Dan Penn and Chips Moman, aspired to. The story goes that the writers, old friends, and session musicians were playing cards and cheating at the card game while they were at it. During a break, Penn set out to “come up with the best cheatin’ song. Ever.”
Slow, mournful love ballads about men having affairs were hardly new territory for soul music. However, this song’s aspirational tone, which sees Carr admit that he and his lover must meet “at the dark end of the street” to avoid getting caught by their own significant others, takes it to a whole new level.
12. Bed of Roses by Bon Jovi
|Album||Keep the Faith|
Bon Jovi might have been growing up from their big-haired heyday by 1992, but the boys from New Jersey could not resist a power ballad. This song sees Jon Bon Jovi referencing “some blonde” who gave him nightmares and his “mistress” who will “stand in her spotlight again.” The song seems to examine feelings of guilt for Bon Jovi, laying in a “bed of nails,” while the woman he presumably means to be faithful to sleep in a “bed of roses.”
13. Go Your Own Way by Fleetwood Mac
Considering that virtually the entire Rumours album is about affairs, it’s no surprise that this, the biggest hit from that record, is the ultimate affair song. The song chronicles the end of the romantic relationship between Stevie Nicks and Lindsay Buckingham, with Buckingham accusing Nicks of infidelity, saying that “packing up, shacking up’s all you want to do.” Nicks herself resented having to perform that lyric every night, later stating that “every time those words would come onstage, I wanted to go over and kill him.” Perhaps they should have gone their own ways, after all.
14. Dirty Little Secret by Bon Jovi
|Album||Have A Nice Day|
“I want, I need/the fruit of your vine/It tastes so bittersweet because I know it’s not mine,” sings Jon Bon Jovi in this later-era song about being the “other man” in a relationship. The song chronicles the thrill of conducting an affair, behaving “like strangers” in public, knowing that the object of his affection will “go back to him” at the end of the day.
15. Thinking of You by Katy Perry
|Album||One of the Boys|
Katy Perry wrote this song in 2002, but it appeared in her 2009 debut, One of the Boys. It’s more about emotional than physical infidelity, with Perry describing how she thinks of an old lover when she’s with her new man.
16. Pretty Little Lie by Blackberry Smoke
Blackberry Smoke, on this track, discusses the “pretty little lie” of an affair. The persona singing the song feels comfortable in his status as the other man, known as “whatshisname.” He’s so grateful for her company, even though she’s in a relationship with someone else, that he’ll let her treat him as poorly as she likes. The song is capped off with a gorgeous slide solo, a relative rarity in rock music in the 21st century.
17. Damned by Bon Jovi
1995’s These Days saw Bon Jovi venturing even further into the more mature sound they began exploring on the previous album, Keep The Faith. In this song, Jon Bon Jovi plays the part of the other man while the rest of the band channels some organ-heavy Philadelphia soul via their arena-ready rock.
18. Stay by Sugarland
|Album||Enjoy the Ride|
Written in riposte to Reba McEntire’s “Whoever’s in New England,” “Stay” tells the story of the other woman. It depicts how “it’s too much pain to have to bear / To love a man you have to share.” Eventually, the lonely character in this song comes to accept that her lover won’t ever leave his wife, despite her begging him to stay. “Stay” won many awards and was nominated for many more. This is easily one of my favorite Sugarland songs of all time.
19. This Kiss by Carly Rae Jepsen
Carly Rae Jepsen’s ear for melodies so sweet they cause cavities is on full display in this classic track from her 2012 album Kiss. One of Jepsen’s favorite songwriting tricks is to throw a twist into the lyrics, and she definitely delivers that in this song. While the song seems at first to be a simple declaration of desire for her beloved and their “undeniable” lips, it reveals in the first verse that “she’s a real sweet girl and you know I got a boy.” She might have somebody waiting at home, but she and her paramour are more than happy to forget about it for the sake of a kiss.
20. Jolene by Dolly Parton
Arguably Dolly Parton’s magnum opus, this track sees Dolly addressing her husband’s mistress and begging her not to take him away. Parton revealed in later years that she was inspired by a red-headed bank clerk who flirted with her husband when the pair were freshly married. The good news is that Parton and her husband, Carl Thomas Dean, remain happily married, and the song itself is entirely fictional.
21. Heard it Through the Grapevine by Marvin Gaye
|Album||I Heard it Through The Grapevine|
Although Marvin Gaye’s version of this heart-wrenching soul classic was not the first to be released (that honor went to Gladys Knight & The Pips), it is the definitive version to this day. Gaye’s powerful, soulful tenor delivers the song’s tragedy and desperation in an inimitable fashion. Buoyed by an infectious beat and syrupy strings, Gaye sings the song in a register just beyond his comfort zone, lending his tenor a distinctive rasp and howl that made this track an instant classic.
22. Irreplaceable by Beyonce
Beyonce, in this song, commands her cheating man to pack up his things and go. The chorus oozes confidence, with Beyonce reminding the man not to “ever for a second get to thinking you’re irreplaceable.” The song was originally written as a country track, then rearranged to suit Beyonce’s style. It’s a heartfelt tale of bravado, anger, and heartache, with Beyonce’s incredible voice carrying the song throughout.
23. Emo by Blink-182
This song sees Blink-182 pre-empting the “emo” label of the mid-2000s by almost a decade. It contains several vicious lyrics about “sleeping on the floor” and showcases a more incisive, vindictive side to the band’s typically irreverent, slice-of-life storytelling ability. The song’s relentless beat sees it err more on the side of punk than pop, particularly when compared to the band’s later, more melodic work. A classic that reminds fans that Blink-182 was always a little smarter and a little sharper than the critics ever gave them credit for.
24. She Don’t Have to Know by John Legend
|Genre||Soul, Pop, R&B|
John Legend’s forward-leaning blend of jazz, soul and r&b genres here embraces the classic soul topic: an affair. Legend sings about the thrill and risk of unapologetic cheating, epitomized in the song’s refrain of “she doesn’t have to know.” The track is unabashed about the affair, with Legend singing, “I know it’s supposed to be the last time for you and I/But let’s not end this way, wait another day.”
25. You Know I’m No Good by Amy Winehouse
|Album||Back to Black|
Amy Winehouse’s retro stylings and unmistakable voice made her an overnight star upon the 2006 release of Back to Black. Over the course of the song, Winehouse expresses some regret about her inability to stay faithful but refuses to take responsibility. The song kicks it up a notch with the lyrics, “I cheated myself like I knew I would/I told you I was trouble/you know that I’m no good.”
26. Facebook Friends by Brad Paisley
This song, a bonus track from Paisley’s hit album Wheelhouse, follows a decidedly modern narrative. In this song, a woman conducts an online affair via Facebook. She becomes “Facebook friends” with her teenage love but is engaging in a full-blown affair by the end of the second verse. Paisley reveals that she has a “husband and a minivan.” In the end, her paramour deletes his profile and disappears from her life once more. If you enjoy this song, check out our full playlist of country breakup songs.
27. It Wasn’t Me by Shaggy
Shaggy’s 200 hit “It Wasn’t Me” sees the singer offering a simple and implausible solution to getting busted cheating. Shaggy simply insists it wasn’t him. His entire strategy for getting caught cheating (in one instance, “butt-naked banging on the bathroom floor”) is to say it wasn’t him. It’s unabashed, shameless, and audacious, propelled by an irresistible beat and powerhouse vocal performance. If you’re someone who enjoys songs that tell a story and are easy to follow, you’ll really enjoy this one.
28. Mr Brightside by The Killers
“Mr Brightside,” the Killers’ debut single, propelled the band to superstardom upon release. The stomping beat, powerful synths, and Brandon Flowers’ iconic drawl proved to be a very successful formula for The Killers, who enjoy critical and commercial acclaim to this day. A little nod to “Ode to Joy” in the post-chorus riff and lyrics depicting a man discovering his partner cheating on him define this modern classic. Apparently, the lyrics tell a true story in which Flowers walked into a bar and saw his then-girlfriend cheating on him.
29. Lies by Marina & The Diamonds
Marina Diamantis’ unmistakable contralto delivers these incisive, razor-sharp lyrics about discovering a man cheating on her. Diamantis’ ear for powerful melodies and lush, electronics-heavy production elevate this track above many others of the era. Diamantis’ avant-garde art-pop vision was rare for a female singer-songwriter in the early 2010s, and Electra Heart was a fantastic example of her rare musical ability. If you’re someone who resonates with this song, you’ll want to listen to our playlist of songs about liars and lies.
30. You Oughta Know by Alanis Morisette
|Album||Jagged Little Pill|
Alanis Morisette’s Jagged Little Pill saw the singer-songwriter dominate the charts with her unique voice and alternative rock styling. This song’s tremolo-drenched guitar and stark dynamic contrast between the verse and chorus tell the tale of a woman declaring that she’s all done with her man after discovering an affair. It also features Flea and Dave Navarro, both then playing for the Red Hot Chili Peppers, propelling the song with a funky, slinky rhythm.
31. Girlfriend by Avril Lavigne
|Genre||Rock, Pop Punk|
|Album||The Best Damn Thing|
Avril Lavigne’s bratty, high-energy pop-punk stylings made her an overnight superstar in the heyday of this supercharged rock subgenre. On this track, Lavigne simply declares in the chorus, “I don’t like your girlfriend/I think you need a new one/I could be your girlfriend.” It’s straightforward, powerful, and boasts an infectious beat and one of the finest call-and-response choruses to grace 2000s rock radio.
32. Little Lies by Fleetwood Mac
|Album||Tango in the Night|
Fleetwood Mac never shied away from songs about infidelity. One might argue that their magnum opus, Rumours, was defined by it. This track, from Fleetwood Mac’s 1980s period, features a relatively uncommon lead vocal from Christine McVie, backed in the chorus by Stevie Nicks and Lindsay Buckingham. Coupled with a catchy synthesizer hook and an instantly singable chorus, the song was a massive hit for a band two decades into their multi-platinum career.
33. Where Did You Sleep Last Night by Nirvana
Although the original iteration of this song, titled “In The Pines,” is an old American folk song popularized by Leadbelly, it was Nirvana’s 1995 unplugged rendition that stayed with most modern listeners. Kurt Cobain displayed his typically haunting vocals in this performance, showcasing a softer side of the greatest grunge band of them all.
34. Careless Whisper by George Michael
|Album||Make it Big|
Variously credited as a George Michael song or “Wham! Featuring George Michael”, this song is perhaps most famous for its irresistible saxophone refrain. Its lyrics, however, depict the remorse of a man caught in an affair. It was inspired by a real-life affair from George Michael’s childhood, which saw him go from “being a total loser to being a two-timer,” commencing an affair with an old crush while still dating another girl.
35. Jar of Hearts by Christina Perri
Christina Perri’s tender piano ballad expresses the sorrow and anger at an old love attempting to rekindle a relationship. Perri reprimands the man in this story for collecting his titular “jar of hearts,” which is arguably the most scathing lyric on this list.
36. I’m At Home Getting Hammered by Jesse Dayton
|Album||The Devil’s Rejects|
Country guitar virtuoso Jesse Dayton wrote this song for the Rob Zombie horror film The Devil’s Rejects. Over the course of the song, the persona describes “sad commentary on a marriage that has failed”: he’s at home drinking while she’s out having various affairs. He laments, “I’m at home getting hammered while she’s out getting nailed,” one of the finest puns ever put to pen and paper in a song about an affair. This is, without a doubt, one of those sad breakup songs that might just make you cry, and if you’re someone who’s been through a divorce, it will probably resonate with you.
37. Whoever’s in New England by Reba McEntire
|Album||Whoever’s in New England|
Over the course of this tragic country song, Reba McEntire reminds her cheating husband that she’ll be waiting at home when “whoever’s in New England is through with you.” McEntire describes how suspicious his frequent “business trips” to Boston are becoming and how much money he’s spending up north while she waits in the South. Is it any wonder that this heart-rending track won a Grammy? If you’re looking for songs about secret love affairs, this is a song you simply must have on your playlist.
38. You Ain’t Woman Enough (To Take My Man) by Loretta Lynn
|Album||You Ain’t Woman Enough (To Take My Man)|
This track, Loretta Lynn’s signature song, sees her letting her husband’s mistress know that she’s not nearly enough to really keep him around. It’s a defiant, empowering ode to girl power inspired by a real-life incident. Backstage, before a performance, a woman confided in Lynn that another woman was attempting to steal her husband, to which Lynn replied, “Honey, she ain’t woman enough to take your man!”
Lynn then wrote the song in her dressing room, and the rest is country music history.
39. Married, But Not to Each Other by Barbara Mandrell
|Album||Lovers, Friends and Strangers|
Although the original version of this song was a major hit for Denise LaSalle, it was Barbara Mandrell’s version that entered the public consciousness. The story of the song is neatly encapsulated in the title: “married, but not to each other,” and how hard it is to love somebody else while not wanting to hurt your spouse.
40. You Belong With Me by Taylor Swift
Taylor Swift’s knack for writing lyrics that live and breathe and instantly catchy choruses is on full display in this song. It describes the feeling of loving a friend who is trapped in an unhappy relationship. It captures an almost universal feeling of knowing a guy almost their whole life, only to see their heart belong to “the popular girl” instead. The characters seem to jump out of Swift’s lyrics and into the real world with the line “she wears short skirts/I wear t-shirts,” an early insight into Swift’s incisive writing skill. This is one of Taylor Swift’s most famous songs of all time, and it was nominated for many awards, including song of the year, the record of the year, best female vocalist performance, and many others. Another fun fact is that this is one of Taylor’s best-selling singles ever, along with being certified 3x platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).
41. Two Timer by KISS
|Album||Dressed to Kill|
In this song, KISS strays from their stalwart party-hardy hard rock stylings to tell the story of a man who laments, “my baby is two-timing me.” Buoyed by a trademark incendiary Ace Frehley solo, the song hopes that the woman will remain loyal but accepts by the end that she simply cannot.
42. Would I Lie To You by Eurythmics
|Album||Be Yourself Tonight|
Like all classic Eurythmics material, this track from the synth-pop pioneers employs a less-is-more philosophy. The song follows the story of a woman confronting her partner who is having an affair. This narrative is also explored in the music video. Annie Lennox delivers a powerhouse vocal performance, with her powerful contralto a commanding presence throughout.
43. Better Man by Pearl Jam
Pearl Jam’s lyrics were always abstract, so while this song is less literal than others on this list, it is actually fairly straightforward for Vedder and company. Eddie Vedder actually wrote this song when he was still a teenager, about his stepfather, who was far from a “better man.” This song features as much aspiration as condemnation, with Vedder aspiring to be a better man than the men who came before him.
44. Go Away by Weezer
|Album||Everything Will Be Alright In The End|
Featuring a guest vocal from Best Coast’s Bethany Cosentino, this song tells a simple story of a woman telling her cheating lover to “go away.” The song features catchy fuzzy guitars, Weezer’s signature layered harmonies, and a beat reminiscent of the best of 1960s surf music. This is one of my favorite Weezer songs and angry breakup songs ever.
45. A Quick One, While He’s Away by The Who
|Album||A Quick One|
This song marked The Who’s first foray into operatic rock storytelling. With its a capella intro quickly giving way to a typically thunderous Keith Moon drum part, the song offered some insight into the arena rock that The Who would deliver in years to come. Over the course of the song, a woman whose lover has been away succumbing to temptation in the form of “Ivor, the dirty old sooty engine driver,” confesses upon his return and is ultimately forgiven.
46. Between the Cheats by Amy Winehouse
|Album||Lioness: Hidden Treasures|
This syrupy, soulful ballad from Amy Winehouse’s posthumous 2011 album, Lioness: Hidden Treasures, reminds listeners of why Winehouse’s talent was so impressive in the first place. All the pain and sorrow of a torturous relationship come across in her vocal performance, as the song tells the story of a doomed marriage characterized by infidelity.
47. Ring on Her Finger, Time on Her Hands by Lee Greenwood
This classic country song tells the story of a woman conducting an affair from the perspective of a scorned husband. The song has been covered many times, with female singers often switching the story to tell the woman’s perspective.
48. Papa Loved Mama by Garth Brooks
|Album||Ropin’ The Wind|
This song tells the story of a woman who commits adultery despite being in a loving marriage. Her reason is that the man, a truck driver, is away from home all the time for work. The husband comes home unexpectedly, finds his wife having a one-night stand at a hotel, and he drives his truck into the hotel room, killing her instantly. “Papa” ends up in prison for the crime.
49. Reasons I Cheat by Randy Travis
|Album||Storms of Life|
This song simply lists the reasons that a man might have an affair. “A willing young woman” feels like the antidote to a man getting older and burying his dreams. The song feels at once wistful and unrepentant, a curious mixture.
50. Say My Name by Destiny’s Child
|Album||The Writing’s On The Wall|
This is a true modern classic when it comes to songs about affairs. Destiny’s Child boasted phenomenal harmonies and, of course, some of the deepest grooves in contemporary pop. “Say My Name” sees Beyonce and co accusing her boyfriend of having an affair right under her nose while they’re on the phone with one another.
51. Back Door Man by The Doors
Jim Morrison calls on this Willie Dixon classic, borrowing the old Southern trope of the “back door man” for this bruising, grooving tale of a man who knows he’s messing around with a married woman.
52. Betcha Gon’ Know By Mariah Carey
|Album||Memoirs of an Imperfect Angel|
Mariah Carey, in this song, catches her lover in the act. Instead of breaking up with him then and there, she resolves to get him back so he can know how it feels to be cheated on. She heads to a hotel room where she plans to exact her revenge.
53. Keep on Loving You by REO Speedwagon
The title of the album to feature this song, Hi Infidelity, should offer the first clue as to the lyrical content of this hit REO Speedwagon single. Over the course of the song, the singer pledges to “keep on loving” his unfaithful partner even though he knows “all about those other men.” That’s devotion.
54. Creep by TLC
This song by TLC tells the true story of T-Boz Watkins’ experience with infidelity. She depicts a relationship where her boyfriend is not offering enough attention, so she turns to – of all people – one of his friends. Knowing that the consequences could be disastrous, she must “creep, creep.”
55. Picture by Kid Rock & Sheryl Crow
This was a major hit for Kid Rock and features a stellar guest vocal from Sheryl Crow. Rock confesses that he must put his partner’s picture away while he’s carrying on his affairs on the road, consumed by guilt. The duet allows this song to tell both sides of this unfaithful story, a rarity for songs about affairs.
56. All I Wanna Do Is Make Love To You by Heart
There are many reasons that people engage in affairs. Heart’s 1990 hit “All I Wanna Do Is Make Love To You” sees the singer seeking out a one-night stand because her husband cannot have children. Supposedly, Heart’s lead singer, Ann Wilson, dislikes the song and prefers not to perform it live, thanks to its controversial content.
57. Lyin’ Eyes by The Eagles
|Album||One of These Nights|
Supposedly, this Eagles classic was inspired by Glenn Frey and Don Henley frequenting Los Angeles bars in which beautiful women would routinely cheat on their husbands. It has a little bit of country flavor and, of course, the complexity and harmonic density of classic Eagles.
58. Your Little Secret by Melissa Etheridge
|Album||Your Little Secret|
In this song, Melissa Etheridge, playing the part of a reformed cheater, threatens to expose her new lover’s secret. It’s an interesting inversion of the classic trope, with Etheridge’s distinctive snarl truly carrying this slice of mid-90s radio-rock goodness.
59. If That’s Your Boyfriend (He Wasn’t Last Night) by Me’shell Ndegeocello
|Genre||Pop, Jazz, Hip-Hop|
|Year Released||Plantation Lullabies|
Me’shell Ndegeocello taunts another woman in this song, boasting about sleeping with someone else’s boyfriend. The song is potentially the meanest, with a schoolyard chant serving as the song’s hook over a classic hip-hop beat and some surprisingly busy jazz chords.
60. Wake Up Call by Maroon 5
|Album||It Won’t Be Soon Before Long|
Maroon 5’s jazz-influenced pop chops made them superstars. Adam Levine’s piercing falsetto sees him depart from the band’s usual lyrical softness and threaten his cheating woman’s other man. The song even has a gunshot sample heading into the chorus, standard for gangsta rap but pretty unusual for a soft-edged radio-rock act like Maroon 5.
61. Mr and Mrs Smith by Stereophonics
|Album||Keep the Village Alive|
Stereophonics released this as the final single from their 2015 album Keep the Village Alive. Released decades after the band’s Britpop heyday, it paraphrases Oasis’ “Supersonic” with its guitar line and tells the story of a woman married to a “banker man who only cares to dig for gold.” She seeks solace in a hotel room every Friday night under the name “Mr. and Mrs. Smith.” Stereophonics nod to AC/DC, too, with the line “shake me all night long.”
62. Rumor Has It by Reba McEntire
|Album||Rumor Has It|
Reba McEntire’s list of songs about affairs might be one of the longest in music history. This song, the title track from 1990’s Rumor Has It, sees McEntire reminding her husband that news travels fast in a small town. McEntire delivers one of the best vocal performances of her stellar career on this one, soaring into each chorus with all the heartache and sorrow of a woman scorned.
63. You Lie by Reba McEntire
|Album||Rumor Has It|
One might wonder if Reba McEntire was OK in 1990. She released two singles in a row about affairs, with this single telling the story of a marriage falling apart. In the video, a rather heavy-handed metaphor recurs throughout, where the husband spends all his time taming a wild horse rather than with his wife. McEntire, as always, unleashes a masterclass in country singing, showing off her emotional and vocal range throughout the song.
64. Hey Joe by Deep Purple
|Album||Shades of Deep Purple|
While Deep Purple’s version of this song is not the most famous, nor the original, their Mexican-tinged take on this Hendrix classic captures the mind-warping heartache of catching your lady “messin’ round with another man.” Over the course of the song, Deep Purple channel Ennio Morricone as much as Hendrix, depicting with both music and lyrics the protagonist’s descent into madness and his choice to shoot his woman over the infidelity.
65. Jessie’s Girl by Rick Springfield
|Album||Working Class Dog|
This song, by Australian singer Rick Springfield, was originally called “Gary’s Girl,” named for a friend of his. The story of this song, which sees Springfield jealous of his friend’s relationship, is true, but Springfield ultimately chose friendship over love and got a major hit out of the experience. Supposedly, the real-life “Jessie’s Girl” has no idea that this song is about her. The song even earned a sequel, penned by prog-rock act Coheed and Cambria.
66. I Saw Red by Warrant
Warrant was best known for their smash hit “Cherry Pie,” but the band had a serious knack for writing some killer power ballads. “I Saw Red” is, at its core, about the heartbreak of seeing the love of your life have an affair. Warrant singer Jani Lane walked in on his then-girlfriend in bed with his best friend, triggering Lane’s nervous breakdown right before the release of Warrant’s first record, Dirty Rotten Filthy Stinking Rich.
67. Self Esteem by The Offspring
In this song, lead singer Dexter Holland regrets being unable to leave a woman who openly sleeps with all his friends. He laments, “I may be dumb, but I’m not a dweeb/I’m just a sucker with no self-esteem.” The song serves as a harsh lesson in self-respect for anyone, buoyed by a pounding punk-rock rhythm section.
68. If It Hadn’t Been for Love by The Steeldrivers
Like many other songs about affairs, this song sees the scorned party behind bars after shooting their cheating partner dead. Chris Stapleton’s whiskey-soaked, gravelly voice carries this tune, which was later covered by English soul singer Adele. He reveals over the course of the song that his character crossed multiple state lines to commit the murder, perhaps indicating that it was not quite as much of a crime of passion as initially implied.
69. If Your Girl Only Knew by Aaliyah
|Album||One in a Million|
On this track, Aaliyah reprimands a man for hitting on her when she knows he’s in a relationship. Rather than allowing the affair to happen, Aaliyah reminds the man that she’d likely leave him and that she wouldn’t be a fool and let him get with her, either. On this track, Aaliyah isn’t bragging about hooking up with someone else’s man: she’s letting him know he’s making a mistake.
70. Hotter Than Hell by KISS
|Album||Hotter Than Hell|
At first, this song seems like standard KISS fare. It’s a track about Paul Stanley seducing a willing woman who, it turns out, is “hotter than hell,” able to burn men “like the midday sun.” At the end of the second verse, however, she reveals a wedding band. It’s unclear whether Stanley follows through, but one can assume that the line “she’s gonna leave you well done” is the Starchild speaking from experience.
Spotify Playlist of Songs About Affairs
Let us know in the comments section below what you think of this playlist. Also, let us know if there are any great songs that we missed!
Hi, my name is Kevin and I’m from Butler, Pennsylvania. I’ve been obsessed with music and audio gear for as long as I can remember. I started this website to help people find professional advice related to a wide range of audio topics. We have a number of Audio Engineers on our team who have been designing and fixing audio gear for decades.