Time is an interesting concept. Some people view it as a finite unit of measurement, while others see it as a fluid concept. Since time is so important and has a different meaning to everyone, many songs about time have been written over the years.
It’s been my experience that the good times always go by way too quickly, while the bad times seem to last forever. Then again, maybe I heard that somewhere in a song. Below, we’ve put together an epic list of songs for you to listen to. I hope that they will help you gain a better understanding of time or at least understand the way that other people see it. We also have all the songs discussed below on a Spotify playlist at the bottom of the page.
1. Closing Time by Semisonic
|Album||Feeling Strangely Fine|
“Closing Time,” which appeared on Semisonics’ second album, “Feeling Strangely Fine,” was their breakthrough hit. It was nominated for a Grammy Award and topped the Billboard Alternative Songs chart. Dan Lewis, the lead vocalist for Semisonic, has said that this song has two meanings. The first meaning is the obvious one, in which people are leaving a bar. The song reflects on a time in his life when his wife was pregnant with their daughter. She was born prematurely and wasn’t expected to survive. Wilson said that she served as an inspiration for this song and is doing fine.
2. Fast by Luke Bryan
|Album||Kill the Lights|
When you are a teenager, everything seems better when it is faster. You can’t wait for time to pass by quickly so you can become an adult. However, once you reach a certain age, you start hoping that time will slow down. Luke Bryan covers this concept in his track “Fast” from his album “Kill the Lights.” In the song, Bryan sings the lyrics, “Sixty seconds now feels more like thirty. Tick-tock, won’t stop, around it goes. Sand through the glass sure falls in a hurry,” to illustrate his perception of how quickly time is passing now.
3. Time by Pink Floyd
|Genre||Progressive Rock, Classic Rock|
|Album||The Dark Side Of the Moon|
I previously discussed how some people see time as a fluid concept with plenty of outside variables that can affect it. The opening line to Pink Floyd’s song “Time” is a perfect example of this. On the opening lines to this classic from the English band’s quintuple diamond-certified album “The Dark Side Of The Moon,” Vocalist and guitar player David Gilmour sings, “Ticking away the moments that make up a dull day. This Fritter and waste the hours in an offhand way.” He’s saying that time is passing by slowly because he doesn’t have anything to occupy his time.
4. You Should Probably Leave by Chris Stapleton
There’s something to be said for knowing when the time is right for something meaningful or significant to happen in your relationship. Archer often, people rush into things and take that next big step in the relationship before it’s time, which usually ends up complicating things. Chris Stapleton knows the difference between the right time and the wrong time to move forward, as noted in his song “You Should Probably Leave” from his album “Starting Over.” In this song, Stapleton 2 tells his significant other that she should leave before they do something that they will both regret.
5. Clocks by Coldplay
|Album||A Rush of Blood to the Head|
Coldplay is a seven-time Grammy Award-winning alternative band from England. In 2000, they took home the Grammy for their album “A Rush of Blood to the Head,” as well as Record Of the Year for their single “Clocks.” The song is about a couple who is on the verge of a breakup. The man in the relationship, who is also the narrator of the song, is concerned with the state of the relationship. He realizes that he only has a limited amount of time to be alive, and he doesn’t want to waste it in this relationship that’s going nowhere.
6. Times Like These by Foo Fighters
|Genre||Hard Rock, Alternative Rock|
|Album||One By One|
Initially, Dave Grohl played all of the instruments for Foo Fighters himself on their first record before hiring a backing band. By 2002, the band had released their fourth studio album called “One By One.” One of the album’s hit singles was the track “Times Like These,” which is a progression of the things that you go through when you feel devastated and lonely. When he uses the phrase, “It’s times like these that you learn to live again,” he’s saying that sometimes you have to pick yourself up by the bootstraps and march forward. This is easily one of the most iconic songs about time ever. This is one of the most famous songs about overcoming and moving forward of all time.
7. If You Only Knew by Shinedown
|Genre||Alternative Rock, Hard Rock|
|Album||The Sound Of Madness|
What I find interesting about this song, which always had a romantic tone to me, is that Shinedown lead vocalist Brent Smith wrote it for his son. After he and his former wife went through a messy divorce, she forbade the singer from seeing his son. He did what most great artists do. He wrote a song about it. The result was “If You Only Knew,” which is about all of the time that he has missed with his son. He’s very angry and bitter because he knows that he can’t get any of that time that he lost back.
8. Time After Time by Cyndi Lauper
|Album||She’s So Unusual|
In 1983, the Grammy Award-winning Best New Artist Cyndi Lauper launched her career with her debut album “She’s So Unusual.” Featured on that album was the Grammy-nominated “Time After Time.” Lauper has said that the track, which was the first number-one hit of her career, is about “testing a relationship.” So, what exactly does that mean? Well, I believe that it means that if you give your significant other enough space and time to grow, and they find their way back to you, it means that your relationship has stood the test of time and is meant to be.
9. Sign of the Times by Harry Styles
The dictionary defines the expression sign of the times as “something judged to exemplify or indicate the nature or quality of a particular period,” in Harry Styles’.track “Sign of the Times,” he is singing about a young mother who has just given birth to a child and then has been told that she has approximately five minutes left to live. In an interview, Styles said, “The mother has five minutes to tell the child, ‘Go forth and conquer.’” Can you imagine being told that you only have five minutes left to live? What would you do with that time?
10. Good Times Roll by The Cars
|Genre||Pop, New Wave, Rock|
While the concept of this song is nothing new, it is a tried and true one. Featured on their self-titled debut album in 1978, The Cars embrace the philosophy of living for the moment and continuing to do this until the good times end. More than ever now, many people are embracing this lifestyle, forgetting about the problems of the world and choosing to live for the moment as long as they can. What makes this song Different is the delivery from lead vocalist Rick Ocasek. While it failed to crack the Billboard top 40, it launched its career.
11. Who Wants To Live Forever by Queen
|Genre||Hard Rock, Classic Rock|
|Album||A Kind of Magic|
The title of this track couldn’t be more accurate. In this song from Queen’s album “A Kind of Magic,” lead vocalist Freddie Mercury poses the question, “Who wants to live forever when love must die?” I have always believed that the special moments and the relationships we make are what make life worth living, and a life well-lived makes us feel like we’ve made the most of that limited time. If we did not have a finite amount of time on this planet, would we try nearly as hard to do the things that make life worth living?
12. No Time To Die by Billie Eilish
|Genre||Pop, Alternative Pop|
|Album||No Time To Die (Original Soundtrack)|
In this song, which is the theme song from the James Bond movie of the same name, we don’t know if the narrator is speaking to herself or another person. What we do know is that she is in the midst of ending a relationship in which she is deeply in love with the other person. She ponders whether or not the entire relationship was a lie, and despite thinking that she has every right to curl up and die, she says that she doesn’t have time to die. This means that she must move on with her life.
13. Time In a Bottle by Jim Croce
|Genre||Vocal, Acoustic, Folk|
|Album||You Don’t Mess Around with Jim|
When you meet that special someone, one of the things you find yourself wishing for is that you could have more time to spend with them. In Jim Croce’s Billboard number-one hit Time in a Bottle, featured on his record “You Don’t Mess Around with Jim,” the folk singer says that he wishes that he could take time and store it away so that he would have more time with his lover. To some people, the concept of Eternity means that time loses its meaning. However, Jim Croce won’t believe that eternity brings more time with each other.
14. Father Time by Kendrick Lamar (Featuring Sampha)
|Album||Mr. Morale & the Big Steppers|
It’s not always that good times impact you. As a matter of fact, I have found that it’s usually the bad times that we all have to go through that impact each of us the most. That’s the message being conveyed to us in Kendrick Lamar’s track “Father Time,” which is from his record “Mr. Morale & the Big Steppers.” It addresses Kendrick’s relationship with his father, Kenny Duckworth, who moved and Kendrick’s pregnant mother from Chicago to Compton in 1984. Duckworth had to resort to life on the streets to make ends meet, which had an impact on Kendrick.
15. Spend Some Time by Eminem (Featuring Stat Quo, 50 Cent, and Obi Trice)
Is it funny how some people look at times like it’s currency? I’ve always wondered why people use the expression “spend some time” when they are trying to encourage you to devote some of your time to whatever they are trying to encourage you to do. In Eminem’s track “Spend Some Time,” he’s trying to warn all the men listening to his music not to fall for the first woman that comes their way. He’s telling you to spend some time getting to know them. He finds someone, and he asks her to spend some time with him.
16. Through the Years by Kenny Rogers
|Album||Share Your Love|
In this sweet country ballad from Kenny Rogers, he is reminiscing about all of the years that he and his significant mother have been together. He’s saying that they have been together for so long that they have faced practically every challenge but a couple can face, and they have come through with shining colors. He gives all the credit to his partner, saying that they wouldn’t have made it this far if it wasn’t for her. Although Rogers recalls many of the things that they have been through, you get the feeling he wouldn’t have it any other way. This is one of those songs about time passing that you simply must have on your playlist.
17. Yesterdays by Guns N’ Roses
|Album||Use Your Illusion II|
Some people believe that time travel is impossible, while others believe that interdimensional travel is not only possible but has also already been accomplished. If the latter is true, many people would more than likely go back to their past because it was a much simpler time for them. It was when they still had their entire life ahead of them and not already behind them. However, Guns N’ Roses lead vocalist Axl Rose disagrees. In the track “Yesterdays,” Rose makes it abundantly clear that the past holds nothing for him, and he’d rather spend his time in the present.
18. Raining On Sunday by Keith Urban
Written by Radney Foster and performed by Keith Urban, this song was written about the “quiet time” that everybody has to take on Sunday afternoons at Foster’s house. Foster said that the title is particularly special because it’s always much quieter when it rains. He enjoys those times when he can be alone with his thoughts, even if it’s just for a short designated time on Sunday afternoons. He says that this also allows catching up on the “million other things” that he needs to do that are left undone during the week.
19. Forever Young by Rod Stewart
|Genre||Pop, Rock, Soul|
|Album||Out of Order|
Having children has the power to change your perception of several things, including the passage of time. You find yourself wishing that time would go by slowly so that you have time to enjoy your kids without feeling rushed. This must have been the sentiment that Rod Stewart was expressing when he wrote this track from “Out Of Order” for his children. He was saying that he wants the years to be kind to his kids, and although they will eventually grow up, he hopes that they can stay young at heart as they eventually age.
20. End of The Beginning by Black Sabbath
|Genre||Heavy Metal, Doom Metal|
Formed in Birmingham, England in 1968, Black Sabbath has the distinction of being the band that launched an entire genre of music. That genre became known as heavy metal. After firing Ozzy Osbourne in 1979, they reunited with the legendary frontman in 2013 to release the album “13.” That album was kicked off by the track “End of the Beginning,” which is about not succumbing to the ideologies of everybody around you, but rather living for the moment and making the most of your time on Earth while you’re still alive and not wasting the precious time you have.
21. While We’re Young by April Kry
|Genre||Singer-Songwriter, Alternative Country|
|Album||While We’re Young|
Most people become flustered and rushed once they’ve gotten older and realize that they don’t have much time left. However, in this song by April Kry, we hear the tale of a young couple who wants to make the most out of their youth in life and their romance. There’s also a line in the song about making every second last, which is also indicative of trying to get the most out of your time while you are still young. The song is a catchy tune that takes advantage of April’s impressive vocal range and songwriting skills.
22. Good Riddance (Time of Your Life) by Green Day
After a couple breaks up, it’s only normal to reflect on the time that they spent together. After all, we have a finite amount of time on Earth, and we are constantly reassessing how we spend that time to make sure that we don’t waste it. In this song, lead vocalist/guitar player Billie Joe Armstrong is contemplating a relationship he had when he was younger, where a relationship ended so his significant other could move to Ecuador. After some reflection, he wrote a song about his experience. However, it’s meant to be taken sarcastically.
23. Until the End of Time by Justin Timberlake (Featuring Beyoncé)
People often use the expression “until the end of time” when they are trying to convey their intentions to either be with someone or to do something for a very long time. In this touching duet with Beyoncé, Timberlake is saying that even though there is a lot of bad stuff going on in the world, none of it matters because he is going to love her until the end of time. While the older version of this track was released on Justin Timberlake’s “FutureSex/LoveSounds” album, the duet wasn’t released until Justin released a deluxe version of the album.
24. Remember the Time by Michael Jackson
With combined albums and singles sales of 300 million units sold, Michael Jackson is one of the top-selling artists of all time across any genre. It’s unclear in this track from 1991’s “Dangerous” if the couple has broken up and Jacko was trying to remind her of the time they spent together to win her back, or if the couple has grown old together and they are finally looking back at the time they shared. Whatever the case, it appears that Jackson is quite happy with the memories they share and the times that they had together.
25. Time For Livin’ by The Beastie Boys
|Genre||Rap, Hip-Hop, Alternative Rap|
|Album||Check Your Head|
Before becoming the first rap artist to ever top the billboard charts, the Beastie Boys were formed in New York City in 1978 as a punk rock band. In 1992’s “Check Your Head,” they go back to their punk roots in the song “Time For Livin’.” The chorus of this song repeatedly states, “Time for livin’, time for givin’,” which I believe means that the band realizes that they have wasted a great deal of their time on foolish things, and now they realize that it’s time for them to make the most out of their lives. If you’re looking for songs about wasting time, then this is one you’ll want to listen to for sure.
26. Yesterday by The Beatles
|Genre||Rock, Alternative Rock, Classic Rock|
The Beatles are easily the top-selling artists of all time, with an astonishing 183 million albums sold worldwide. They have had an incredible 20 Billboard number-one singles, including the somber ballad “Yesterday” from their album “Help!.” In this song, Paul McCartney realizes that his current life isn’t all that it was cracked up to be, and he is reflecting on a time when things were much simpler. I think this song makes a profound statement about enjoying the time you have as a child because when you grow up, things become much more complicated.
27. (I’ve Had) The Time of My Life by Bill Medley and Jennifer Warnes
|Genre||Adult Contemporary, Pop|
|Album||Dirty Dancing (Original Soundtrack)|
In 1987, the film Dirty Dancing starring Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Gray was all the rage, thanks to its star power and a phenomenal soundtrack. One of the songs on the soundtrack that stood out was “(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life” because it was featured in the big dance scene at the end of the movie. The song conveys a simple message that time can be subjective. If you look back on the time that you’ve spent with someone you love, you will always have those memories to cherish, and your perception of that time will be favorable.
28. Sign ‘O’ the Times by Prince
|Genre||R&B, Soul, Rock|
|Album||Sign “O” the Times|
There are a few eras in American history that most of us would change if we had the opportunity to go back in time and correct the wrongs of these egregious times. One time in our history is incredibly divisive. That time was the two terms in which Ronald Reagan was the president of the United States. Those are the times the legendary Prince is singing about in this track, which is about violence, drugs, and AIDS. Those three things were incredibly prevalent during that time. Prince’s perception of this time was that it was a bleak time in America.
29. Nothin’ But a Good Time by Poison
|Genre||Hair Metal, Glam Rock|
|Album||Open Up and Say… Ahh!|
The 1980s were a decade of excess, and this can be seen in the lyrics of most of the music released in that decade. One example that stands out as the preferable sore thumb is the hair metal band Poison. As the title of this track would indicate, these guys were out for nothing but a good time. All they wanted to do was party and enjoy the limited amount of time that they were granted. However, as the 90s were ushered in, these four guys would soon come to realize that the good times for about to end.
30. Time Is On My Side by The Rolling Stones
|Genre||Rock, Classic Rock|
|Album||12 X 5|
Since their inception in 1962, the Rolling Stones have enjoyed a career that has lasted over six decades. That’s quite a lot of time to invest in the music industry. Speaking of time, one of the Rolling Stones’ biggest hits was the track Time Is On My Side.” One fact that many people don’t know about this song is that a lot of time was invested in perfecting it, as it was recorded three separate times. In this track, Mick Jagger has lost his significant other, but he knows that time is on his side to win her back.
31. The Day That Never Comes by Metallica
|Genre||Metal, Thrash Metal, Alternative Metal|
Metallica is the biggest band in the history of metal. In the 1990s, they strayed from their thrash roots and adopted a more radio-friendly sound. The results speak for themselves. With little airplay, until they released their self-titled album, Metallica sold over 120 million albums around the world. However, on 2008’s “Death Magnetic,” they returned to those thrash roots. One of the highlights of that album was the song “The Day That Never Comes,” which takes a Firm Stance against domestic violence. The song tells the tale of the time that a woman has spent in an abusive relationship.
32. Time For Temptation by Duran Duran
|Genre||Pop, New Wave|
Duran Duran was one of the most popular new wave and pop bands of the 1980s. Just when everybody thought that the 1990s would leave them behind, they released their self-titled album (commonly referred to as “the wedding album”), reintroducing themselves and regaining some of the fan bases they had in the 1980s. “Time For Temptation” is one of the Lesser known tracks from that album because of its highly experimental nature. This song is lead vocalist Simon LeBon’s Way of saying that organized religion’s time has passed, and the time has come for something new. If you enjoy songs with alliteration, then you’ll love this song.
33. Running Out Of Time by Tech N9ne
|Album||Everready (The Religion)|
When someone says, “Time is on my side,” that’s usually indicative of an abundance of time that they have to reach their goals. Likewise, when someone says that time isn’t on their side, it means that they do not have enough time to accomplish what they want to. In this track, Tech N9ne raps about the mental and physical pain that he is enduring and his search to find peace of mind. When he says, “Time ain’t on my side,” he is saying that he doesn’t believe he has enough time to accomplish this before his time is up.
34. Time Marches On by Tracy Lawrence
|Album||Time Marches On|
If there’s one thing that we can all agree about when it comes to time, it’s that it continues no matter what nobody can stop it. The only thing that any of us can do is adapt to the changing times, which is what the ACM Award nominee Tracy Lawrence says in “Time Marches On.” I find that this song has a unique perspective; acid examines the changing times through the lens of one person. We start with her as a baby, then we see her as a teenager, then we see her as a parent, and then a grandmother.
35. Take Your Time by Lynyrd Skynyrd
|Genre||Southern Rock, Hard Rock, Classic Rock|
When people tell you to take your time, they are telling you not to get in a rush to finish something. There’s a certain wisdom in this saying because our time here is limited. I think that the deeper meaning behind the scene is that we are supposed to enjoy the time that we have instead of rushing through it. That’s what the southern rock Legends Lynyrd Skynyrd are conveying in their track “Take Your Time” from 1974’s “Second Helping.” What song is also saying that no matter how much money you have, you can’t buy more time?
36. Homecoming by Kanye West
Some people will tell you that once you leave, you can never go back home again. However, Kanye West might have a thing or two to say about this in his track “Homecoming” from his album “Graduation.” In the song, Kanye says that it’s time for him to go back home after spending years pursuing his dream of becoming famous. He longs for a simpler time and also for a girl when he left behind. They say that home is where the heart is, and he knows that his heart is with her. It’s time for him to go home.
37. Fell On Black Days by Soundgarden
|Genre||Grunge, Rock, Hard Rock|
People suffering from depression will tell you that one of the most agonizing aspects of it is that it makes time pass by excruciatingly slowly. They also often refer to this as a “black days,” which is where the title of this track was derived from. Lead vocalist Chris Cornell suffers from depression and was an outspoken advocate of mental illness. Unfortunately, Cornell lost his battle with depression and committed suicide in 2017. Considering that this song was written in 1994, the 23 years that passed between this track and his death must have seemed like an eternity to him.
38. Sliver by Nirvana
Many times in my adult life, I have thought back to a specific time in my childhood and wondered if things had gone differently. I may not be the same person I am today. While I don’t know if Nirvana lead vocalist Kurt Cobain was being introspective enough to examine whether or not the event he sings about in “Sliver čhad an effect on him as an adult, I do know that this was one time in his childhood when he felt insecure and upset. Kurt Cobain suffered from mental illness and committed suicide in April 1994.
39. Oblivion by Mastodon
|Album||Crack the Skye|
There are several interpretations that people take from the opening track of Mastodon’s “Crack the Skye.” The one I like best is that drummer and co-vocalist Brann Dailor blame himself for his sister Skye’s suicide, and this song is about the time that he has spent blaming himself. Dailor and his sister were abused by their father as children, but he saw this as something that wasn’t out of the ordinary. He thought that what they were going through was normal, so he said nothing about it. This is the one time in which he feels like he failed her.
40. 10,000 Days (Wings, Pt. 2) by Tool
The title of this song refers to frontman Maino James Keenan’s mother and the time that she spent as an invalid following a stroke in 1973. 10,000 days is the equivalent of 29.5 years. His mother, Judith Marie, was paralyzed for almost 30 years following the stroke and had multiple aneurysms after that before finally passing away in 2003. The song’s title is also a reference to the orbital period of the planet Saturn. In an interview, Maynard James Keenan gave several examples of artists who never got to see Saturn’s return because they died before their time.
41. Time (Clock Of The Heart) by Culture Club
|Album||Kissing to Be Clever|
Time is far too precious to waste on something that you feel isn’t going anywhere. We are only granted so much of it, and nobody wants to feel like they’ve wasted it. In this number-two hit single from Culture Club, lead vocalist Boy George is trying to explain to his lover that there’s nothing there between them, and just because they spent some time together, that doesn’t mean that they’ve had a good relationship. In the end, the only thing that they had was the time that they spent together as a couple. They didn’t have true love.
42. More Time To Kill by Lamb Of God
|Genre||Groove Metal, Metal|
You know that you aren’t at the top of someone’s list when they tell you that every day you breathe is just more time to kill. This seething track from Lamb of God is dripping with malice and is derived from the expression “killing time,” which means that you are wasting time until something important happens. In this track, lead vocalist Randy Blythe is aiming his anger and malice toward one specific individual who he feels isn’t even worthy of the time they have been granted here on Earth by saying, “each day you breathe is more time to kill.”
43. Long Long, Long Time by Tears For Fears
|Genre||Pop, Alternative Poo|
|Album||The Tipping Point|
Tears For Fears is one of the few bands from the 1980s whose popularity has never waned. It seems like the band is just as popular now as it has ever been. In 2022, they released the album “The Tipping Point,” which included the track “Long, Long, Long Time.” The song is about a relationship that hasn’t been real for quite some time. However, the narrator believes that the relationship has been going on for so long that it’s almost impossible to end at this point. Unfortunately, the only thing the couple has left is the time they’ve spent together.
44. Come On Time by Willie Nelson
|Album||Ride Me Back Home|
When The Red Haired Stranger opens this track with the lines “Time is my friend, my friend. The more I reject it, the more that it kicks in,” we immediately get the feeling that he is an old man who knows that time is catching up with him. Of course, none of us can fight time because it always wins. He also recognizes that time is something that is going to keep moving and it’s going to keep moving forever. He is forced to face his mortality when he realizes that it will eventually leave everybody behind.
45. End Of Time by Beyoncé
|Genre||R&B, Soul, Pop|
With over 200 million albums sold, Beyoncé is one of the top-selling female artists of all time. The Queen Bee (as she is affectionately known to her fans) is known for injecting her heart and soul into her music. One example of this day in history can be heard in her track “End Of Time,” which is from her album “4.” The song is about the colloquium that she will love her significant other until the end of time, which is her way of saying that she will love him until she dies. Most people believe that time is something that will never end.
46. Ain’t Got Time by Lil Wayne (Featuring Fousheé)
|Album||Ain’t Got Time (Single)|
When people go to prison, they say that they are “doing time” because there is a predetermined amount of time that they have to be locked away from society as penance for their crimes. Lil Wayne was arrested in 2019 on federal weapons charges to which he pled guilty to illegal possession of a firearm and ammunition by a convicted felon, which carries a sentence of 10 years in federal prison. Dwayne Carter, which is Lil Wayne’s birth name, received a last-minute pardon from President Donald Trump and didn’t have to serve any time in prison.
47. Good Times, Bad Times by Led Zeppelin
People often measure their lives in good times and bad times. As Led Zeppelin lead vocalist Robert Plant says, we’ve all had our share, and both in the track “Good Times, Bad Times.” In this song, Plant is recalling different moments in his life, specifically his romantic life. He tells a tale of a woman he fell in love with when he was only 16 years old. She swore to love him until the end of time but left him shortly after. This left him feeling despondent and alone, but not for long cuz he’s determined to win her back.
48. Time:The Beginning by Megadeth
|Genre||Metal, Thrash Metal|
Megadeth’s frontman Dave Mustaine is known for injecting his dark personality into the lyrics he writes, and this can especially be seen in his song “Time:The Beginning,” from the 1999 Megadeth album “Risk.” In this dark ballad, Mustaine is singing from the perspective of someone who knows that he is facing death and he knows that there is nothing that he can do to stop the passage of time. The inevitable is going to eventually happen, and he’s saying that while time used to be a friend of his, it has now become his biggest nemesis.
49. Back In Time by Huey Lewis & The News
|Album||Back to the Future (Original Soundtrack)|
In 1985, Michael J. Fox and Christopher Lloyd starred in the Robert Zemeckis film Back To The Future. Huey Lewis and the News were tapped for the theme song “Back In Time,” which is about the film’s premise of time travel. Christopher Lloyd’s character Doc invents a time travel machine that Michael J Fox’s character Marty uses to go back in time when his parents were in high school. Marty’s mother ends up falling for him, and he must convince her to go out with his dad, or he and his siblings will be wiped out of existence.
50. Cat’s In the Cradle by Harry Chapin
|Genre||Folk Rock, Soft Rock|
|Album||Verities & Balderdash|
The song was the biggest hit of Harry Chapin’s career. It was his only Billboard top 10 hit, peaking at the number-one position on the Hot 100 chart. “Cat’s In the Cradle” tells the story of the passing of time through the eyes of a father. Each significant chapter is marked by an event with his son. When the child was younger, the narrator was too busy working and didn’t have time for him. When he got older, he wanted his son to spend time with him, but ironically his son did not have time for his father. This is one of my favorite songs that uses metaphors throughout it.
51. Time of the Season by The Zombies
|Genre||Psychedelic Rock, Rock|
This track was written as a means of protesting the political and social turmoil that was happening in the United States in the late 1960s. Initially, The Zombies disbanded because of the poor reception of their second album, “Odessey and Oracle.” However, this song resonated with listeners in the United States, becoming a huge hit in America. The Zombies got back together, but without lead singer Colin Blunstone. The rest of the band has disbanded and gotten back together several times but has always maintained that this song was issued at a time when they thought the world needed love.
52. It’s Just About Time by Johnny Cash
Johnny Cash is a legend not only in country music but also across all genres of music. The reason why the Man In Black maintains popularity after his death is that his lyrics are so relatable. Well, let’s take a look at one of his earlier tracks. It’s Just About Time.” This tune is about a concept that we are all familiar with. Timing is everything. It determines whether something is successful or if it is a failure. In this song, cash is saying that it’s time for him to let the girl he loves know he loves her.
53. California Dreamin’ by The Mamas & The Papas
|Genre||Sunshine Pop, Folk Rock, Indie|
Most people measure the passing of time each year by the month, while others measure it by the changing of the seasons. In “California Dreamin’,” The Mamas & The Papas must be talking either about fall or winter, as indicated in the opening line “All the leaves are brown, and the sky is gray.” Whatever time of year it is, they must not like it because the Grammy Award-winning group dreams of being back in Los Angeles. In the song, they want to be back in California because the weather there is supposedly perfect any time of the year.
54. In Due Time by Outkast (Featuring Cee Lo Green)
Some people need a little time to grow into the person that they were meant to be. They might need a little time to mature. If you give them the patience they need, they will become the person that you need them to be in due time, just like the title of this track. In the verses, Big Boi and Andre 3000 are telling us about different scenarios that they encounter every day, while Cee Lo Green sings the hook that lets the listener know that he will eventually grow into the person they want him to be.
55. Killin’ Time by Clint Black
Some people choose to live in the past when they were much happier. If you ask them, they will tell you that they are just killing time until things revert to the way they once were. That’s the basic message behind Clint Black’s song “Killin’ Time,” which also serves as the name of the album. In the song, Black drowns himself in liquor and says that he is killing time, which is killing him. He means that he’s waiting for his ex to come to her senses, and the long wait has been excruciating. This song by Clint Black is easily one of the best songs about time ever written.
56. If I Could Turn Back Time by Cher
|Genre||Pop, Pop Rock|
|Album||Heart of Stone|
We all do things that we wish we could take back. I know that there have been several occasions when I wish that I hadn’t said the things I said, and also wished there was a way that I could go back in time to prevent myself from saying or doing whatever it is that I regret doing. If this reminds you of a situation you’ve been in, then you can relate to this song from Cher’s hit album “Heart of Stone.” In the song, Cher says something that she wishes she could take back. Unfortunately, she can’t.
57. One More Time by Daft Punk
|Genre||French House, Dance, Electronic Pop|
|Album||Interstellar 5555: The 5tory of the 5ecret 5tar 5ystem (Original Soundtrack)|
“One More Time” is more than the name of this techno-driven dance track from the six-time Grammy Award-winning artists Daft Punk. It is also the expression that we most commonly use when we want to do something over and over again. In the case of this song, two things that they are asking to continue doing are dancing and partying. The chorus and the verses are filled with the expression, “One more time, we gonna celebrate. You know we’re gonna do it right.” Have they been doing it all wrong beforehand, or is this an excuse just to keep partying?
58. Time Is Running Out by Muse
|Genre||Progressive Rock, Alternative Rock|
Some people will tell you that this song’s interpretation is about the nuclear holocaust, as depicted in the video. However, I disagree with that interpretation. That might be what Muse wanted us to get from their art, but the refrain and when she continues to repeat the phrase “one more time” is what makes me think that this song is about a relationship gone wrong. The narrator in this song knows that the relationship is not good for him and may be the end of him, but he is too big for another chance with his lover.
59. Times They Are A-Changin’ by Bob Dylan
|Album||The Times They Are a-Changin’|
Bob Dylan has had a highly successful career that has lasted over five decades. The outspoken folk artist has won several awards, including the Nobel Prize for literature, an Academy Award, and a Grammy award, just to name a few. One of his most popular songs was “Times They Are A-Changin’,” which was meant to serve as encouragement for those who were trying to initiate change in the name of kindness. The pretense of the song is that times will eventually change, and you can either get with the times, or you can be left behind. This is another one of my favorite songs about time because I’m a huge Bob Dylan fan.
60. Passin’ By Me by The Pharcyde
|Album||Bizarre Ride II the Pharcyde|
In this song from The Pharcyde, Bootie Brown recalls a time when he had a crush on his teacher. He would find ways to make her come to his desk so he could smell her perfume or sneak in a small touch. SlimKid 3 then recalls a time when he was a kid and talked about a girl that he had a crush on. Imani thanks back to a time when he was in love with a woman who already had a man. Fatlip then raps about how time moves slowly when he’s around his crush.
61. Punchin’ the Clock by J. Cole
Before the days when everything went digital, l people used to have to manually punch a card into a time clock to record the time they spent at work. The talented and beloved rapper J. Cole uses this idiom in his track “Punchin’ the Clock.” Cole uses work as a metaphor for what he feels that he has to accomplish and what he has accomplished thus far. He also states how he despises wasting his time, a common expression that is used when people feel like they are doing something unproductive. To him, his time is valuable.
62. Too Much Time on My Hands by Styx
|Genre||Rock, Classic Rock|
When someone says that they have too much time on their hands, they are saying that they have some extra time, but they have nothing to do with it. This classic track from Styx was written by the lead guitarist Tommy Shaw, who also took over lead vocals on it. The way that this song came to be is hilarious. Shaw was asked to write one final song for Styx’s “Paradise Theatre” album. He had no idea where to start, which is how he came up with the “Too Much Time on My Hands” theme of the song.
63. Out Of Touch by Hall & Oates
|Genre||Adult Contemporary, Pop|
|Album||Big Bam Boom|
In December of 1984, the music duo Hall and Oates topped the Billboard Hot 100 with their single “Out Of Touch.” You may be asking yourself what that has to do with time, but I’m about to clarify that. The song is about a couple who are on the verge of breaking up because they are drifting apart. Around the chorus, The duo sings, “You’re out of touch. I’m out of time, but I’m out of my head when you’re not around,” you mean that he has invested enough time in the relationship, and he’s ready to move on.
64. Time Warp by The Rocky Horror Picture Show Cast
|Album||The Rocky Horror Picture Show (Original Soundtrack)|
In case you haven’t seen it, “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” is a musical that has been a cult classic since 1975, starring the great Tim Curry and Susan Sarandon. A basic plot synopsis is that a young couple respectively named Brad and Janet break down and go to a house for help. The house is inhabited by aliens who are trying to get back to their home planet. While the young couple is inside the house, they are encouraged to participate in a song and dance number with the rest of the guests called the “Time Warp.”
65. Time Song by The Kinks
|Album||The Kinks Are the Village Green Preservation Society|
This song is quite a change of pace for The Kinks, who created this beautiful acoustic ballad that is only about time. It closely examines the concept of time and mentions many of the sayings we’ve all heard about time. Perhaps the one point that this track is trying to make more than any other is that the narrator realizes that he doesn’t have much time left, and he is taking an in-depth look at the time and all of the things that are centered around it. It is absolutely the most time-centered song I have ever heard in my life.
66. Who Knows Where the Time Goes? by Fairport Convention
It’s amazing how poetic music used to be. In 1969 a band called Fairport Convention released a country-flavored folk song that was called “Who Knows Where the Time Goes?.” This song is about accepting the way things are around you. Once you have done that, it’s only then that you can relax. My favorite line in the song, which is sung beautifully by lead vocalist Sandy Denny is, “I have no thought of time, for who knows where the time goes?” When you can let go of all notion of time, it’s only then that you can truly let go.
67. Time Stand Still by Rush
|Album||Hold Your Fire|
Before drummer Neil Peart’s death in 2020, Rush was still one of progressive rock’s most respected and beloved bands. That’s a pretty amazing feat for a band that was formed in Toronto in 1968. In 1987, Rush released their twelfth studio album, “Hold Your Fire,” featuring the single “Time Stand Still.” The song showed a much softer side of the traditionally hard rock band and featured backing vocals from Aimee Mann of ‘Til Tuesday. The meaning of the song is that they are asking for time to stand still so they can have more time to spend with their loved ones.
68. Breathe (2 A.M.) by Anna Nalick
|Genre||Adult Contemporary, Singer-Songwriter|
|Album||Wreck of the Day|
This song tells three tales in which someone is having a rough time. The last verse is about the singer, and she’s writing a song to get all of the emotions she has inside of her out on paper. The other two people are having problems. One is having problems with romance, while the other is having problems with alcohol dependency. She tells both of them to breathe because life doesn’t have a rewind button, meaning that you don’t get a do-over. You have to face things as they are. You have to forgive yourself because nobody can rewind time.
69. Time Has Come Today by The Chamber Brothers
|Genre||Funk, Soul, Rock, Classic Rock|
|Album||The Time Has Come|
This song, released by The Chamber Brothers in 1967, has made an appearance in 13 films and 10 television shows. The concept of the song is that time continues to pass and can sometimes leave you behind. It tells the story of a man who falls in love and then leaves hurriedly. This leaves the man alone and homeless. The band uses the phrase “Time Has Come Today” to indicate that it is time for whatever happened to happen. The narrator doesn’t seem angry. He accepts things because he feels like it is time for them to happen.
70. Times Of Your Life by Paul Anka
|Genre||Easy Listening, Vocal|
|Album||Times of Your Life|
The basic premise of Paul Anka’s track “Times Of Your Life” deals with holding on to memories. Anka is quite the poet, and his lyrics tell the listener that although you can cherish the memories you’ve made with those that you love, you cannot retain them forever, nor can you go back and live them again. Once a moment has passed, it is gone. Time also plays an important role in this song because the singer conveys the message that all memories fade in time, and we have a finite amount of time to make memories.
71. Ever Changing Times by Aretha Franklin (Featuring Michael McDonald)
|Album||What You See Is What You Sweat|
Aretha Franklin is one of the most respected and loved R&B and soul singers of all time, and has earned her nickname The Queen of Soul. In 1991, the Queen released her album “What You See Is What You Sweat,” featuring the track “Ever Changing Times,” which included vocals from Michael McDonald from The Doobie Brothers and Steely Dan. McDonald keeps referring to the clock on the wall, while the Queen of Soul sings about how she believes that the time has come for the couple to go their separate ways, despite the time they have spent together.
72. A Hazy Shade of Winter by The Bangles
|Genre||Pop, Pop Rock|
|Album||Less than Zero (Original Soundtrack)|
Although I normally prefer the original version, I’m opting for The Bangles’ cover of Simon and Garfunkel’s classic “A Hazy Shade of Winter,” which appears on the soundtrack to Less Than Zero. I like this version better because it is an upbeat rock song as opposed to the original, which is a folk song in which the narrator invests quite a bit of time trying to find something perfect. Sadly, the narrator never found what they were looking for and realizes that time is now running out. The Bangles turned this track into a top-10 hit in 1987.
73. Time After Time by Ozzy Osbourne
|Genre||Metal, Heavy Metal|
|Album||No More Tears|
Merriam-Webster defines the phrase time after time as something that occurs “on many occasions. Very often or frequently.” Ozzy Osbourne uses this phrase in his song “Time After Time” from his album “No More Tears” to illustrate how many times his significant other has broken his heart, as well as how many times he’s allowed it to happen. Picking himself for not recognizing this pattern of behavior sooner and allowing it to happen several times. It’s like he says in the song, “Time after time, line after line, you broke me.” Hopefully, he’ll learn one day.
74. The Changing Times by Earth Wind & Fire
Earth, Wind, & Fire was one of the most popular R&B and soul acts of the 1970s and the 1980s. In 1981, the group released the track “The Changing Times,” which is from their album “Raise!” The general premise of the song is that you have to be able to endure the changing times, or you will be left behind. The song also teaches the importance of self-reliance in the lyrics, “In these ever-changing times, you must learn to stand on your own.” These messages make sense, as this song was released during a turbulent time in American history.
75. (Sittin’ On) the Dock of the Bay by Otis Redding
|Genre||R&B, Soul, Classic Soul|
|Album||The Dock of the Bay|
“(Sittin’ On) the Dock of the Bay” with a classic soul track in which two-time Grammy Award-winning Otis Redding tells us that he moved from Georgia to San Francisco. Throughout the song, he mentions how he is sitting on the dock and wasting time, which is his way of saying that he’s not doing anything with his life. He is not making the most of the time he was given, and he is starting to realize that things may never go his way. He doesn’t have anybody special in his life, and he’s got nothing to do with his time.
Spotify Playlist of Songs About Time Passing
We really hope you enjoyed this playlist. Let us know if there are any hidden gem songs that we missed that we could add in the comments section below.
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.