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15 Songs About Fixing Relationships

Put these hits about fixing your relationship at the top of your queue.

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In the summer where couples are breaking up left to right, the idea of keeping one's relationship seems implausible. With the endless bickering, never being on the same page, and constant dissatisfaction, it is only natural for couples to want to call it quits. Though, just because it's natural, doesn't mean it's necessary. Sometimes the best thing for a rocky relationship is to take a step back and decide what you want and need. This could be something as simple as acquiring your partner's attention ("Focus"), space and time to return to yourself ("Distance"), or just a time out from yet another fight ("Don't Wanna Fight").


Regardless of what it is, it is important to attempt to fix one's relationship before throwing the whole thing away. In a time where things are so easily picked up and thrown back down, fighting for your relationship, no matter how frustrating, might just be your solution. At the end of the day, if it doesn't work out, you'll know you at least gave it your all. With break-up songs leading in the summer hits, turn off the radio, and put these hits about fixing your relationship at the top of your queue.

1."Need U Bad" - Jazmine Sullivan

"Need U Bad" by R&B sensation Jazmine Sullivan perfectly represents the relentless, desperate passion one exudes when attempting to save their relationship. Over a Carribean bounce, and entranced by a harmonious flow, Sullivan calmly begs for her lover. She is begging for him to let her back in, to regain his trust. Extremely self-aware, she apologizes for her shortcomings. Although, it's clear that she has some groveling to do. Eventually, the juxtaposition of the calm island sway combined with the anxious drums, bleeds into an emotion-filled R&B groove. It's good. Making-an-ugly-face-and-shaking-your-head kind of good. So good, that it's the perfect song to fully explain how heart-wrenching and critical fixing a relationship can be.

2."Ordinary People" - John Legend

Contrary to those who preach: relationships are hard. Learning to be with another person is hard. They don't think the way you do. They don't act the way you do, and they certainly don't react the way you do. Therefore, it's hard. Despite learning the way they speak, argue, or react, everyone manages to go back default sooner or later, and arguments are bound to happen. In "Ordinary People," John Legend knows exactly this. In this piano ballad, Legend explains that he is in love with this woman. Not cute, infatuated love, but real, honest to God—hand to the Bible kind of love. And in being in love, he is willing to take a step back and consider fixing their relationship. Maybe things aren't working out because they're putting too much pressure on themselves, and, in turn, one another. Instead, they should consider the notion that they are just ordinary people.

3."Don't Wanna Fight" - Alabama Shakes

"Don't Wanna Fight" shows how truly frustrating fixing a relationship can be. Beginning at the 40-second mark, at what could only be interpreted as a frustrated screech, Brittany Howard perfectly depicts the moment where you realize you love your partner, but you don't quite like them. In moments like this, it's best to step back, acknowledge what has been said, and take a break. Sometimes it is crucial to just let a fight die. Especially when you realize that what you're fighting for, isn't something worth fighting about at all. There is a clear difference between fighting for a relationship and fighting pointlessly for your pride. When this is discovered, Alabama Shakes serves as a reminder to give up the battle for the sake of winning the war.

4."We Belong Together" - Mariah Carey

I'm sure that I don't have to explain why "We Belong Together" makes for a great song about fixing a relationship. Although, in case I do, here it goes: Mariah Carey. This chef's kiss of a song, doubles as a ballad and a bop. The moment the piano riffs and Mariah harmonizes, it's clear she is out for blood. And boy, how easy it was to fall into her trap. With enticing vocals, layered harmonies, and a moment to scream, it's hard not to. "We Belong Together" is the final call. The moment where everything is laid out on the line. Where you try to stop the arguments, the coldness, or whatever it is that's making your relationship rocky. Instead, you work out your problems because the idea of the two you not being together is ridiculous. After all, returning to one another is inevitable.

5."Distance" - Emily King

"One room just ain't enough when there's two folks trying to get along." A truer statement has never been said. "Distance" by Emily King shows that, sometimes, the best way to fix a relationship is to give one another space.

Not the type of space in the sense of "taking a break." But more in the sense of maybe you should spend a day apart returning to yourself. In relationships, it easy to get lost in being someone's else partner. Being stuck in just that one role, when you're a multitude of others, can be irritating and result in unnecessary arguments. Therefore, spend a day or two apart. Take time to check in with yourself and what you want. Then, if you must return back to your argument when you're both clear of mind.

6."Let's Stay Together" - Al Green

Why break up when you can just stay together? In "Let's Stay Together," Al Green believes that if you love someone you should work with them whether your relationship is at the highest high, or lowest low. Mainly about compromising, "Let's Stay Together" talks about what happens when one person is willing to compromise what they want for what their partner needs. Sometimes, it is OK to give a little, especially when what you're fighting for doesn't compare to what you could lose. To fix a relationship--as long as you're not playing martyr for your partner--consider if what they're asking for is rational and plausible.

7."Slipping" - Eryn Allen Kane

In the impassioned ballad, "Slipping," Eryn Allen Kane sings about the hardships of solely fixing a relationship. Unlike some of the ballads before her, Kane doesn't need a chance to step back and view her relationship. Instead, she sees things for what they are: her partner is unhappy. Knowing this, she makes it her mission to help them find happiness. Though, in doing so, she loses her own when she realizes her partner doesn't care for her efforts. There is an enchantment in being seen. Though she sees her love, she becomes bitter knowing that he doesn't see her. In the end, she challenges him. They could either work it out, or continue to slip away. They still have time to win, but he is going to have to be willing to step up.

8."Passionfruit" - Drake

This song is a coin toss. On one hand, it's clear that Drake is realizing that his relationship might've come to an end and wants to fight for it. On the other hand, he understands why his lover might choose to leave. Regardless, in this R&B, pop, dancehall tune, Drake attempts to fix his relationship. Having a long-distance relationship is stressful. Not only are you separated from the person you care most about, but that separation can also bring about insecurities.

In "Passionfruit," this is no different. Drake is constantly away and the woman he has left behind has had enough. This eventually puts them at an odds, where Drake is left to explain that he is still wanting this relationship. Although, he understands why his romantic interest might think differently because he is not around to prove it. By the end of the song, he is left fighting for the relationship, but whether his partner wants to remain is up to her.

9."Focus" - H.E.R.

Giving your partner attention is important. Despite our hectic lives and busy schedules, the need to ensure connection with your partner should always come first. When connection and attention are often ignored, problems in the relationship can easily occur. In H.E.R.'s "Focus," politely demands attention of her partner. Instead of being focused on the games, phones, and other miscellaneous things, she asks that he just focus on her. This song shows many ways a relationship can be fixed. The most important way being communication. Unlike other songs, she isn't beating around the bush, she isn't alluding to what she wants. Instead, H.E.R. is very clear about what she needs to save this relationship, and that's her partner's unrelenting focus.

10."Lost In Translation" - Johnnyswim

Listening to "Lost in Translation" by Johnnyswim is like listening to the aftermath of a huge, heated argument. Stopping in the middle of their argument, or immediately after one has ended, Abner takes things into perspective. Realizing that he might have taken things too far, he wants to know what can be done to salvage their relationship and the guilt he feels. He no longer cares why they are arguing, he just wants to return back to how things were. Meanwhile, Amanda agrees. She acknowledges that they are missing something, so instead of choosing to fight or figure it out that night, she wants them to enjoy one another's company like they did in the past. Fighting has gotten them nowhere and they are aware that despite wanting the same thing, they keep colliding. So, instead of trying to end the argument, maybe the best thing would be to leave it where it is.

11."He Won't Go" - Adele

At times, fixing a relationship often requires silencing the people closest to you. Not that they're not right in what they're saying. They just aren't as informed as you. They know only what you've told them and are responding with your best interest in mind. You and your partner on the other hand know what you've gone through and what has brought you in. This can be said for "He Won't Go." In this R&B pop song, Adele sings about wanting to try for her relationship because her past cannot let her easily leave it behind. The same can be said for her partner. Therefore, they are going to try to make the relationship work because they have something worth fighting for. As long as he is willing to stay, she is, too.

12."Mercy" - Jacob Banks

This type of relationship in need of fixing is far from romantic. Nevertheless, it could be interpreted as such. "Mercy" by Jacob Banks talks about the ostracism African-American experience in the United States. Tired of being treated like a "second-class citizen," Banks demands "a little mercy" be given to himself and his community. After sacrificing and playing along with the majority, he hopes to be treated like someone who has hopes and aspirations of his own. This makes the perfect song for fixing a relationship, because it calmly takes things into perspective. When we're in a rough place, we spend most of our time victimizing ourselves and wondering why we're being treated badly. Nonetheless, when the situation is calmly addressed, there is an opportunity to acknowledge and validate the imbalance someone might be experiencing in a relationship. This can, of course, lead to a road of rectification.

13."Loved By You" - Kirby

When you've been a relationship for too long, it is easy to take advantage of what you have. Whether you're used to the affection, care, love, kindness, or whatever it is your partner gives to you, it would be wise to speak up and openly appreciate the love given. Otherwise, you won't know what you had until it's too late. Kirby's soulful, heartfelt ballad, "Loved By You" is the final chance to acquire the love she always wanted. Hoping to amend her previous relationship, Kirby openly expresses her desire to love and be loved. She knows that this might be the last chance that she is given to experience true, all-encompassing, passionate love and she wants to work on doing so with the one she admires.

14."Piano Joint (This Kind of Love)" - Michael Kiwanuka

Michael Kiwanuka has been beaten and bruised by love. This time, he won't let it happen, again. "Piano Joint (This Kind of Love)" focuses his relationship on the right type of love. Kiwanuka tells his partner that he is tired of fighting and hopes that in choosing to lose this battle, he might actually win in the end. Giving up in hopes of fixing his relationship, he tells his love that this kind of love is something that he has never experienced. Due to this, he knows that this has the potential to make him happy. So, he chooses to put their grievances aside and gives himself the opportunity to enjoy "this [new] kind of love" that has liberated him.

15."Mad" - Ne-Yo

According to studies, going to bed while angry can create long-term damage in relationships. When one goes to bed angry, one's brain places that experience into sections that hold long-term memories, while asleep. Which ultimately results in the argument holding a lasting impression and intensified anger on the matter. Therefore, it's best to refrain from going to bed mad and/or find a comprisable stopping point. Ne-Yo's hit single "Mad" says just this. Knowing that possibly going to bed mad will only ruin his relationship, Ne-Yo asks his girlfriend what they're fighting for. When they realize that they can't recall why they're arguing or why they're mad in the first place, Ne-Yo asks for the argument to end. He doesn't want to go to bed mad at her or vice-versa, so it's best to just settle things.

Featured image by Getty Images

You may not know her by Elisabeth Ovesen – writer and host of the love, sex and relationships advice podcast Asking for a Friend. But you definitely know her other alter ego, Karrine Steffans, the New York Times best-selling author who lit up the literary and entertainment world when she released what she called a “tell some” memoir, Confessions of a Video Vixen.

Her 2005 barn-burning book gave an inside look at the seemingly glamorous world of being a video vixen in the ‘90s and early 2000s, and exposed the industry’s culture of abuse, intimidation, and misogyny years before the Me Too Movement hit the mainstream. Her follow-up books, The Vixen Diaries (2007) and The Vixen Manual: How To Find, Seduce And Keep The Man You Want (2009) all topped the New York Times best-seller list. After a long social media break, she's back. xoNecole caught up with Ovesen about the impact of her groundbreaking book, what life is like for her now, and why she was never “before her time”– everyone else was just late to the revolution.

xoNecole: Tell me about your new podcast Asking for a Friend with Elisabeth Ovesen and how that came about.

Elisabeth Ovesen: I have a friend who is over [at Blavity] and he just asked me if I wanted to do something with him. And that's just kinda how it happened. It wasn't like some big master plan. Somebody over there was like, “Hey, we need content. We want to do this podcast. Can you do it?” And I was like, “Sure.” And that's that. That was around the holidays and so we started working on it.

xoNecole: Your life and work seem incredibly different from when you first broke out on the scene. Can you talk a bit about the change in your career and how your life is now?

EO: Not that different. I mean my life is very different, of course, but my work isn't really that different. My life is different, of course, because I'm 43. My career started when I was in my 20s, so we're looking at almost 20 years since the beginning of my career. So, naturally life has changed a lot since then.

I don’t think my career has changed a whole lot – not as far as my writing is concerned, and my stream of consciousness with my writing, and my concerns and the subject matter hasn’t changed much. I've always written about interpersonal relationships, sexual shame, male ego fragility, respectability politics – things like that. I always put myself in the center of that to make those points, which I think were greatly missed when I first started writing. I think that society has changed quite a bit. People are more aware. People tell me a lot that I have always been “before my time.” I was writing about things before other people were talking about that; I was concerned about things before my generation seemed to be concerned about things. I wasn't “before my time.” I think it just seems that way to people who are late to the revolution, you know what I mean?

I retired from publishing in 2015, which was always the plan to do 10 years and retire. I was retired from my pen name and just from the business in general in 2015, I could focus on my business, my education and other things, my family. I came back to writing in 2020 over at Medium. The same friend that got me into the podcast, actually as the vice president of content over at Medium and was like, “Hey, we need some content.” I guess I’m his go-to content creator.

xoNecole: Can you expound on why you went back to your birth name versus your stage name?

EO: No, it was nothing to expound upon. I mean, writers have pen names. That’s like asking Diddy, why did he go by Sean? I didn't go back. I've always used that. Nobody was paying attention. I've never not been myself. Karrine Steffans wrote a certain kind of book for a certain kind of audience. She was invented for the urban audience, particularly. She was never meant to live more than 10 years. I have other pen names as well. I write under several names. So, the other ones are just nobody's business right now. Different pen names write different things. And Elisabeth isn’t my real name either. So you'll never know who I really am and you’ll never know what my real name is, because part of being a writer is, for me at least, keeping some sort of anonymity. Anything I do in entertainment is going to amass quite a bit because who I am as a person in my private life isn't the same a lot of times as who I am publicly.

xoNecole: I want to go back to when you published Confessions of a Video Vixen. We are now in this time where people are reevaluating how the media mistreated women in the spotlight in the 2000s, namely women like Britney Spears. So I’d be interested to hear how you feel about that period of your life and how you were treated by the media?

EO: What I said earlier. I think that much of society has evolved quite a bit. When you look back at that time, it was actually shocking how old-fashioned the thinking still was. How women were still treated and how they're still treated now. I mean, it hasn't changed completely. I think that especially for the audience, I think it was shocking for them to see a woman – a woman of color – not be sexually ashamed.

I hate being like other people. I don't want to do what anyone else is doing. I can't conform. I will not conform. I think in 2005 when Confessions was published, that attitude, especially about sex, was very upsetting. Number one, it was upsetting to the men, especially within urban and hip-hop culture, which is built on misogyny and thrives off of it to this day. And the women who protect these men, I think, you know, addressing a demographic that is rooted in trauma that is rooted in sexual shame, trauma, slavery of all kinds, including slavery of the mind – I think it triggered a lot of people to see a Black woman be free in this way.

I think it said a lot about the people who were upset by it. And then there were some in “crossover media,” a lot of white folks were upset too, not gonna lie. But to see it from Black women – Tyra Banks was really upset [when she interviewed me about Confessions in 2005]. Oprah wasn't mad [when she interviewed me]. As long as Oprah wasn’t mad, I was good. I didn't care what anybody else had to say. Oprah was amazing. So, watching Black women defend men, and Black women who had a platform, defend the sexual blackmailing of men: “If you don't do this with me, you won't get this job”; “If you don't do this in my trailer, you're going to have to leave the set”– these are things that I dealt with.

I just happened to be the kind of woman who, because I was a single mother raising my child all by myself and never got any help at all – which I still don't. Like, I'm 24 in college – not a cheap college either – one of the best colleges in the country, and I'm still taking care of him all by myself as a 21-year-old, 20-year-old, young, single mother with no family and no support – I wasn’t about to say no to something that could help me feed my son for a month or two or three.

xoNecole: We are in this post-Me Too climate where women in Hollywood have come forward to talk about the powerful men who have abused them. In the music industry in particular, it seems nearly impossible for any substantive change or movement to take place within music. It's only now after three decades of allegations that R. Kelly has finally been convicted and other men like Russell Simmons continue to roam free despite the multiple allegations against him. Why do you think it's hard for the music industry to face its reckoning?

EO: That's not the music industry, that's urban music. That’s just Black folks who make music and nobody cares about that. That's the thing; nobody cares...Nobody cares. It's not the music industry. It's just an "urban" thing. And when I say "urban," I say that in quotations. Literally, it’s a Black thing, where nobody gives a shit what Black people do to Black people. And Russell didn't go on unchecked, he just had enough money to keep it quiet. But you know, anytime you're dealing with Black women being disrespected, especially by Black men, nobody gives a shit.

And Black people don't police themselves so it doesn't matter. Why should anybody care? And Black women don't care. They'll buy an R. Kelly album right now. They’ll stream that shit right now. They don’t care. So, nobody cares. Nobody cares. And if you're not going to police yourself, then nobody's ever going to care.

xoNecole: Do you have any regrets about anything you wrote or perhaps something you may have omitted?

EO: Absolutely not. No. There's nothing that I wish I would've gone back and said to myself, no. I don’t think at 20-something years old, I'm supposed to understand every little thing. I don't think the 20-something-year-old woman is supposed to understand the world and know exactly what she's doing. I think that one of my biggest regrets, which isn't my regret, but a regret, is that I didn't have better parents. Because a 20-something only knows what she knows based on what she’s seen and what she’s been taught and what she’s told. I had shitty parents and a horrible family. Just terrible. These people had no business having children. None of them. And a lot of our families are like that. And we may pass down those familial curses.

*This interview has been edited and condensed

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