20 Songs About Betrayal

Betrayal in personal relationships is when someone close to you breaks your trust.

It could be your partner cheating on you, your best friend ditching you for someone else, or feeling let down when your significant other doesn’t support you in an argument. Even when your best friend doesn’t reach out to you when you’re feeling low, it can feel like a betrayal.

Feeling betrayed can stir up many confusing emotions that may be hard to handle.

Betrayal is a strong emotion, and it’s inspired songwriters to turn their pain into music. Songs about deceit, cheating, and disloyalty provide comfort and understanding when you’re going through heartbreak.

In this playlist, we’ll explore 20 best songs about betrayal from different music genres.

20 Songs About Betrayal

1. “You Oughta Know” By Alanis Morissette

In Alanis Morissette’s song “You Oughta Know,” the lyrics convey the intense emotions of a woman who confronts her ex-boyfriend, expressing her anger and pain over their breakup and his quick rebound with someone else.

The song passionately questions the ex’s loyalty and honesty during their relationship, with lines like, “Did you forget about me, Mr. Duplicity?” and “It was a slap in the face, How quickly I was replaced.”

These lyrics vividly capture the essence of betrayal and the raw emotions that come with it.

2. “Jolene” By Dolly Parton

Dolly Parton’s iconic song “Jolene” tells the story of a woman who is deeply insecure and afraid that another woman, Jolene, might steal her man.

The lyrics express the narrator’s vulnerability and anxiety about her partner’s potential infidelity due to Jolene’s irresistible beauty. The song pleads with Jolene not to take the narrator’s man, with lines like, “Oh, I’m begging of you please don’t take my man,” and “Please don’t take him even though you can.”

These lyrics clearly show how the narrator is afraid of betrayal and feeling really upset. She talks about her worries and asks her partner to stay loyal.

3. “Somebody That I Used to Know” by Gotye

“Somebody That I Used to Know” by Gotye featuring Kimbra is a song that explores the aftermath of a bitter breakup and the betrayal between the former lovers.

Gotye reflects on how the relationship made him feel lonely, singing, “But felt so lonely in your company.” Kimbra’s part reveals her perspective, feeling hurt and deceived, with lyrics like, “But I don’t wanna live that way, Reading into every word you say.”

The song emphasizes the feeling of being treated like a stranger with the lines, “But you treat me like a stranger and that feels so rough.”

4. “Rolling In The Deep” By Adele

Adele’s song “Rolling in the Deep” portrays a person who has been deeply hurt and deceived in a relationship. Despite the pain, the narrator realizes that she could have had a strong and enduring love, but her partner’s betrayal shattered her trust.

The song starts with a fiery determination to confront the betrayal, as the narrator declares that there’s a fire burning inside her, bringing her out of the darkness of deception. She warns her partner not to underestimate the lengths she will go to in response.

Throughout the song, the lyrics allude to the scars of the love they once shared, which now serve as a painful reminder of what could have been. She sings, “The scars of your love remind me of us, They keep me thinking that we almost had it all.” 

5. “Cry Me A River” By Justin Timberlake

In Justin Timberlake’s song “Cry Me a River,” the lyrics depict a narrative of betrayal and vindictiveness in a romantic relationship.

The singer reflects on how deeply he loved his partner, only to discover that she cheated on him and made other plans. He sings, “You were my sun, You were my earth, But you didn’t know all the ways I loved you, no.” These lines emphasize the depth of his feelings and the hurt caused by his partner’s betrayal.

The title, “Cry Me a River,” reflects the singer’s lack of sympathy and desire for reconciliation. He mocks his ex-girlfriend, who now wants him back, but he has no interest in returning to what they once had.

6. “Mr. Brightside” By The Killers

The Killers’ song “Mr. Brightside” portrays a man who is deeply obsessed and tormented by the idea that his love interest is involved with another man. He recounts how it all began innocently with a kiss but has spiraled into a web of jealousy and suspicion.

The narrator’s mind races as he imagines the worst scenarios, even though there is no concrete evidence of betrayal. He describes the agony of seeing his love interest with someone else, feeling sick to his stomach, and experiencing overwhelming jealousy, with lines like, “Now they’re going to bed, and my stomach is sick, And it’s all in my head, but she’s touching his.”

Despite the emotional turmoil, the narrator tries to maintain a positive outlook by referring to himself as “Mr. Brightside.” He recognizes that jealousy is taking control of him, turning him into a different person. 

7. “Bad Blood” By Taylor Swift

In Taylor Swift’s song “Bad Blood,” the lyrics reflect a strained and broken relationship, which is speculated to be about her rivalry with Katy Perry. The background of the song revolves around a betrayal that deeply hurt Swift. Perry reportedly hired some of Swift’s backup dancers for her own tour, which led to a rift in their friendship.

In the song, Swift expresses her anger and disappointment. She makes it clear that their once close relationship has turned into a bitter feud, warning the other woman that she has made an enemy out of her.

In the lines “Cause baby, now we got bad blood, You know it used to be mad love,” Swift laments that their once-strong bond has turned into a negative and hurtful situation.   

8. “Don’t Speak” By No Doubt

“No Doubt’s song “Don’t Speak” is a poignant reflection of heartache and betrayal stemming from lead vocalist Gwen Stefani’s breakup with bassist Tony Kanal, her long-term partner.

The lyrics describe the pain and confusion she feels as their relationship ends abruptly, with lines like, “You and me, We used to be together, Every day together, always.” These lines convey the sense of loss and betrayal she experiences.

Gwen repeatedly pleads for silence and not to explain further, as she already knows what her ex will say, and hearing it hurts too much. She sings, “Don’t speak, I know just what you’re sayin’, So please stop explainin’, Don’t tell me ’cause it hurts.”

9. “Betty” By Taylor Swift

In Taylor Swift’s song “Betty,” the lyrics narrate a teenage love triangle from the perspective of a 17-year-old boy named James. The song follows James as he speaks to his love interest, Betty, who has heard rumors about his infidelity from someone named Inez. James doesn’t deny the rumors and acknowledges that he betrayed Betty. He expresses remorse and a strong desire to win her back.

Throughout the song, James reflects on his mistake and apologizes to Betty for what he did. He hopes for forgiveness and a chance to go back to the way things used to be. The lyrics convey his feelings of regret and longing as he navigates the consequences of his actions.

The chorus reflects his uncertainty and vulnerability, with lines like, “But if I just showed up at your party, Would you have me? Would you want me?” He’s willing to make amends and is hopeful that Betty might still have feelings for him.

10. “Traitor” By Olivia Rodrigo

“Traitor” by Olivia Rodrigo is a song that tells the story of heartbreak and betrayal in a romantic relationship. The lyrics describe how the narrator’s ex-boyfriend, despite not cheating, betrays her by immediately moving on to another girl just two weeks after their breakup.

The narrator had suspicions during their relationship, as her ex-boyfriend had been talking to this girl even before they broke up. However, he had denied any romantic feelings for her.

The song expresses the hurt and pain the narrator feels with lines such as, “You betrayed me, And I know that you’ll never feel sorry, For the way I hurt, yeah.”

11. “You Give Love A Bad Name” By Bon Jovi

In Bon Jovi’s song “You Give Love a Bad Name,” the lyrics tell the story of a narrator who has been hurt and betrayed by his lover. The narrator expresses a sense of being deceived and let down by someone he thought was his partner in love.

The song begins with the iconic lines, “Shot through the heart, and you’re to blame, darlin’, you give love a bad name.” These lyrics convey the feeling of being wounded and attributing the pain to the actions of his lover. The narrator believed in the promises of love and commitment but ended up feeling betrayed.

Throughout the song, the narrator reflects on how his lover’s angelic facade concealed deceit. The imagery of a “loaded gun” and feeling trapped in a “passion’s prison” symbolizes the destructive nature of the relationship.

12. “Gives You Hell” By The All-American Rejects

“Gives You Hell” by The All-American Rejects is a song that conveys the emotions of hurt and betrayal from the perspective of someone whose heart was broken in the past.

The lyrics describe how the singer has moved on and achieved success, while the person who hurt him is still stuck in a mundane nine-to-five job.

The narrator takes satisfaction in the thought that seeing his success will bring pain and regret to the person who betrayed him, as expressed by the lyrics, “When you see my face, hope it gives you hell, hope it gives you hell, When you walk my way, hope it gives you hell, hope it gives you hell.”

The song reflects the idea of revenge and wanting to show the person who left him for someone else what a mistake she made.

13. “Irreplaceable” by Beyoncé

“Irreplaceable” by Beyoncé is an empowering song that tells the story of a woman who discovers her self-worth and refuses to tolerate betrayal and mistreatment from her boyfriend.

She asserts her independence and refuses to be swayed by his pleas and claims that she won’t find someone like him, as emphasized by the lyrics, “You must not know ’bout me, I could have another you in a minute.”

The song conveys a message of self-respect, with the woman recognizing that she deserves better than a toxic relationship, which is evident in lines like, “So since I’m not your everything, How about I’ll be nothing?” She firmly tells her boyfriend to leave, emphasizing that she can easily find someone else who values her. 

14. “I’m Not the Only One” by Sam Smith

“I’m Not the Only One” by Sam Smith is a soul-pop ballad that tells the story of a wife who is struggling with suspicions about her husband’s infidelity, as expressed in lines like, “You and me we made a vow, For better or for worse, I can’t believe you let me down, But the proof’s in the way it hurts.”

Despite the clear betrayal, she remains in denial and continues to hold onto their marriage, reflecting on the love and commitment she has given him over the years, as seen in lines such as, “For months on end I’ve had my doubts, Denying every tear, I wish this would be over now, But I know that I still need you here.”

15. “Backstabber” by Kesha

“Backstabber” by Kesha is a song that addresses betrayal by a former friend who turned into an enemy. Kesha vents her frustration at this person who spread lies, gossiped, and manipulated stories about her out of jealousy.

The song conveys Kesha’s exhaustion with hearing rumors and false stories about her life from this backstabbing friend, as seen in the lyrics, “I’m sick and tired of hearing all about my life, From other people with all of your lies, Wrapped up so tight.”

Kesha labels her former friend as a backstabber, making it clear that her actions are transparent to everyone, with lyrics like, “Girl, you’re such a backstabber (stabber), You’re such a backstabber, Oh girl (oh, girl), you’re such a shit-talker, And everybody knows it.”

16. “Judas” By Kelly Clarkson

In Kelly Clarkson’s 2007 song “Judas,” the lyrics depict the singer’s deep sense of betrayal and hurt as she sings, “The only one who took you in, The only one who held your hand, Defended you against the others, Had your back on everything.”

The song expresses the singer’s shock and disappointment at the betrayal, with lines like, “After we’d been through so much, how could you let me down?” and “I never thought you’d do that to me.”

Kelly Clarkson draws a parallel to the infamous biblical betrayal of Judas Iscariot. The song reflects the singer’s heartbreak and determination not to be poisoned by the actions of the person who has let her down.

17. “I Heard It Through The Grapevine” By Marvin Gaye

“I Heard It Through The Grapevine” is a 1968 song by Marvin Gaye that tells the story of a man who learns about his lover’s intention to leave him through rumors and gossip.

The lyrics express the man’s shock and pain upon discovering that his lover is cheating on him and planning to be with another man, as he sings, “Don’t you know that I heard it through the grapevine, Not much longer would you be mine.”

In the song, the man expresses his love for his lover and his confusion and hurt upon hearing the news through the grapevine, which represents rumors and hearsay.

He wonders why she didn’t tell him directly and is devastated by the betrayal, singing, “You could have told me yourself, That you loved someone else, instead.”

18. “Unfaithful” By Rihanna

In Rihanna’s song “Unfaithful,” the lyrics depict the emotional turmoil and guilt experienced by a woman who has been repeatedly cheating on her lover, as she sings, “And I know that he knows I’m unfaithful, And it kills him inside, To know that I am happy with some other guy.”

The woman expresses her inner conflict, acknowledging that her actions have caused her partner immense pain and suffering, with lines like, “I see him die a little more inside, I don’t wanna hurt him anymore.”

She becomes increasingly aware of the damage she’s causing and begins to feel remorse and guilt for her betrayal.

19. “Jar Of Hearts” By Christina Perri

In Christina Perri’s song “Jar of Hearts,” the lyrics convey a powerful message of resilience and self-empowerment after betrayal and heartbreak, as she sings, “I know I can’t take one more step towards you, ‘Cause all that’s waiting is regret.”

The singer addresses someone from her past who left her emotionally wounded and shattered, mentioning how this person had collected the hearts of those they hurt in the lines, “Collecting your jar of hearts, Tearing love apart.”

However, the singer has undergone a transformation and refuses to be a victim any longer, declaring her independence with the words, “Who do you think you are?”

20. “Before He Cheats” By Carrie Underwood

In Carrie Underwood’s song “Before He Cheats,” the lyrics revolve around the theme of revenge after a betrayal, as she sings, “Right now, he’s probably slow dancin’ with a bleach-blonde tramp, And she’s probably gettin’ frisky.”

The singer describes her actions of vandalizing her boyfriend’s vehicle in response to his infidelity, with lines like, “I dug my key into the side (into the side), Of his pretty little souped-up four-wheel drive, Carved my name into his leather seats.” These actions represent her determination to make him pay for his betrayal.

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