40 Best Songs About Water (2024 With Videos)

So you are looking for songs about water? Well, you are in luck, as one of the most popular music themes besides love is water.

Songwriters have always found ways to incorporate water into their songs in various ways. A few examples are metaphorical, such as drowning in sorrow, time flowing by, being spiritually touched by water, feeling “an ocean away,” or even describing passions in the bedroom.

Songs About Water Featured Image

Other songwriters use water in a more literal sense, such as retelling a fun day at the beach, exploring the nostalgia of growing up on the river, lake, or ocean, or literally describing the movement of water.

While other music playlists you may have found include songs with the words “River,” “Ocean,” or “Tears” in the title or lyrics of the song, this list focuses on the use of the word “water” in the title or the lyrics. Below, you’ll find a huge list of songs from diverse genres, specifically about water.

1. How Far I’ll Go by Auli’i Cravalho

Genre Disney Tune
Year Released 2016
Album Moana: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack

This popular song from Disney’s “Moana” is this show-stopping number where Moana realizes she was destined for something more. Written by Hamilton’s Lin Manuel Miranda, the song explores the title character’s feeling of longing for adventure.

Moana is stuck living within her small village where everyone fits happily into their given role. However, when she stands at the water, she sees the ocean stretched before her and feels that she needs to go beyond the horizon to find her true purpose in life.

Similar to many songs on this list, water represents a paradox of being both a barrier and inspiration. In this case, Moana wants to overcome the obstacle of water by sailing beyond it while also finding inspiration and curiosity in its vast and mysterious existence.

2. Water by Brad Paisley

Genre Country
Year Released 2009
Album American Saturday Night

This nostalgia-rich song is sure to bring a smile to any listener’s face. In “Water,” Paisley compiles a list of his best memories involving water and ladies.

Taking the listener through the songwriter’s first memory of water as a child, to a girls-gone-wild wet T-shirt contest during spring break, and finishing with a hot and sunny summer day spent next to the water, “Water” is a great song for spending some time by your favorite body of water. This is one of my personal favorite country songs about water.

3. Something in the Water by Carrie Underwood

Genre Christian, Country, CCM
Year Released 2014
Album Greatest Hits: Decade #1

This Contemporary Christian Country song tells the story of a woman unexpectedly finding God during her darkest moment, concluding that it must be something in the water. This is a reference to the religious significance of water in Christian religions, such as the use of holy water in baptism.

The vocals of Carrie Underwood, partnered with the expansive musical arrangement and orchestration, invoke an ethereal feeling of expansiveness and magic, much like the story that the lyrics are portraying. The interweaving of the classic “Amazing Grace” at the end of the song helps display this religious experience described.

This song won a Grammy for Best Country Solo performance, as well as broke many airplay records on country radio.

4. Dirty Water by The Standells

Genre Rock
Year Released 1966
Album Dirty Water

This Boston Anthem, beloved by Bostonians alike, describes the state of the Charles River at the time of this song’s release, which was one of the most polluted rivers in America.

This song is now enjoyed by Boston sports fans as an anthem for their teams and city. The joke of this song, of course, is in the irony of the lyrics. While it mocks the crime, pollution, aggression, and dirty waters of the city of Boston, ultimately, Boston is home.

5. Knee Deep by Zac Brown Band (feat. Jimmy Buffet

Genre Country
Year Released You Get What You Give
Album 2010

Do you ever just need an escape? This song back Zac Brown Band does just that by giving you an auditory picture of personal paradise, knee-deep in some water somewhere.

Joining the band is none other than the original escapee himself, Jimmy Buffet. The man who wrote “Escape to Margaritaville” is the perfect featured artist for a song about escaping to the beach!

Water in this song is the narrator’s paradise, the special place he dreams about to escape the reality around him. With a boat on the ocean, a beach chair on the sand, or just wading in the water, paradise is just a daydream away.

6. Lucky by Jason Mraz (feat. Colbie Caillet)

Genre Pop, Folk, Indie
Year Released 2008
Album We Sing. We Dance. We Steal Things.

While water may not be in the title of this song, it plays an important part in the lyrics. “Lucky,” like many of the songs on this list, uses water as a metaphor for isolation and an obstacle keeping two lovers apart.

It’s hard to believe that this song all came from a writing prompt Jason was given from a songwriting group he was a part of. Its back-and-forth verses make this song easy to listen to while also having an optimistic take on loving from a distance.

Despite the water keeping them at a distance, the lovers find themselves lucky to be so in love that they can wait until they will be reunited again.

7. Don’t Drink the Water by Dave Matthews Band

Genre Rock
Year Released 1998
Album Before These Crowded Streets

In “Don’t Drink the Water,” water is a metaphor for religion or holy water. The song is written through the eyes of a white imperialist who takes over the land from its native inhabitant. The drinking of water, in this context, represents drinking in the ideas and beliefs of a religion or the imperialists’ belief in the right to conquer.

Therefore, the title lyrics that come at the end of this story song are that of a warning. If you drink the water, it will justify your horrific actions that will bury all those that do not follow you.

8. Waterfalls by TLC

Genre R&B
Year Released 1994
Album CrazySexyCool

Similar to other songs on our list, “Waterfalls” uses water, or rather, waterfalls, as a tool to give the listener a warning.

Rather than chasing after waterfalls, the listener should learn from the cautionary tales told in the verses and stick to something safe and familiar, like the rivers and lakes that they already know.

This same album that featured “Waterfalls” also included some of TLC’s best hits, “No Scrubs,” “Unpretty,” and the female perspective version of “Creep.” However, “Waterfalls” was one of the most groundbreaking songs on the album, being the first song in pop music to directly refer to AIDs in its lyrics with “Three letters took him to his final resting place.”

9. Head Above Water by Avril Lavigne

Genre Pop Rock, CCM
Year Released 2018
Album Head Above Water

“Head Above Water” captures Lavigne’s experience battling Lyme Disease. With many references to water, this song uses the experience of someone drowning in a storm to captivate the experience of losing control and fighting for survival.

This Christian Rock Anthem was not as popular as some of the songs off of Lavigne’s early albums, but it does have her classic vocal stylings with a Christian Rock spin.

Additionally, there is a clear influence of sound from another writer who worked on this song, Travis Clark, from the band “We Are the Kings”. In particular, the cyclical melody of the chorus echoes some of Clark’s other songs, such as “Check Yes Juliet.”

10. Walk On The Water by Creedence Clearwater Revival

Genre Folk Rock
Year Released 1968
Album Creedence Clearwater Revival

This lesser-known song by Creedence Clearwater Revival is about a man seeing the unexplainable vision of a man walking on water, which makes him believe he must be dying.

The large musical break at the end of the song feels like a soundtrack replaying the events described. At one point, there is this guitar riff that is repeated cyclically, creating an auditory picture of the narrator of the song seeing the man walk on water and choosing to run away frantically. Likewise, the bass line mimics the sound of background music used in an action movie, speeding up with intensity and increasingly becoming more complex, creating tension in the music and for the listener.

11. Water Under the Bridge by Adele

Genre Pop
Year Released 2016
Album 25

A departure from other R&B songs on this album, “Water Under the Bridge” pushes a strong electro-pop beat and powerful chorus.

The song is about a relationship where one partner is questioning the other’s commitment. Water is used as a metaphor in the cliche saying “water under the bridge”, referring to something being in the past and no longer important.

In this song, Adele is saying that the love between this partner and her holds more meaning and is not simply over or void of feeling. Instead, they need to take some action and either stay together or separate in a graceful way.

12. Down By The Water by PJ Harvey

Genre Alternative Rock, Art Rock
Year Released 1995
Album To Bring You My Love

One of the more unique songs on the list, “Down By The Water,” is the eerily haunting song by PJ Harvey that echos the style of a traditional murder ballad through a 90’s rock sound.

The song is about a woman who murders her daughter by drowning her in the water under a bridge. Just like a classic murder ballad, the song incorporates a call-and-response element. However, the heavy rock distortion is a far cry from the classic folk style.

While this terrifying subject matter may disturb first-time listeners, the song was an extreme success at the time of its release, reaching number 2 on Billboard for Modern Rock and a nomination for a Grammy for Best Female Rock Vocal Performance.

13. Cold Water by Major Lazer (feat. Justin Bieber and MØ)

Genre Electro Pop,
Year Released 2016
Album Major Lazar Essentials

This next song on our list features Justin Beiber and Danish singer MØ, collaborating with the electro dance production group Major Lazar. “Cold Water” uses water as a metaphor for falling in love.

Though the lyrics may not be very deep, they keep in the theme of water, using the metaphor to describe how love can be scary and uncomfortable, but when you take the plunge together, you save each other.

With a catchy beat and melody, along with a plethora of talented musicians and producers backing it, this song reached number one in over 15 countries, making it one of the most popular songs internationally in the summer of 2016.

14. Madman Across the Water by Elton John

Genre Soft Rock
Year Released 1971
Album Madman Across the Water

You may be more familiar with a different song from this album called “Tiny Dancer.” However, the title song of this album displays just as much high quality and expertise in its melody and lyrics.

In the video paired with this song on our list, you can listen to the amazing solo section in the middle of the song, showcasing the true artistry of Elton John and his band.

As for the lyrics, this song is one of the more poetic on this list. Its perspective is from that of the madman himself. It becomes clear that his visitors’ true intent is not to give him company but to clear their guilt for his captivity by visiting him, the madman across the water.

15. Wade in the Water by Sweet Honey on the Rocks

Genre Spiritual
Year Released 1988
Album Live At Carnegie Hall

This Spiritual was not written by Sweet Honey on the Rocks but rather is an arrangement of a very classic spiritual allegedly used during the Underground Railroad. Though there is no proven history of the origin of this melody and its lyrics, it is speculated that this song was used as a warning for slaves who were escaping the south to use the water as a way to prevent the Slave catches from tracking their path.

Sweet Honey on the Rocks originally performed this piece in 1987 as part of a 70-minute performance of acapella music at Carnegie Hall in New York City. The recording was later released as an album in 1988.

16. Water by Kanye (Feat. Ant Clemons)

Genre R&B, Rap, Soul
Year Released 2019
Album Jesus is King

In this collaboration, Kanye tasked Any Clemons to explore water through its relationship with purity and the divine. The outcome of this is the song “Water”, which integrates a few genres into one song, including gospel soul, rap, and R&B.

It’s hard to pinpoint whether this song could be considered religious. Though it talks about water in a purifying context with direct references to Jesus, it may just be about the human experience with water as its metaphor. Perhaps the lesson in this story is that water is everything, and it is in us.

17. Water Me by Lizzo

Genre Funk Pop, Electro Pop
Year Released 2019
Album Cuz I Love You

The overall theme of this song, much like the mantra of Lizzo herself, is confidence, body positivity, and living free. This song uses water as a way to convey how water nourishes your self-love. She uses other references to water, such as boiling, sweating, or moisturizing, in creative ways that lead to the title lyric “Water Me,” which really just means “nourish me.”

This song was originally released as a single in 2017 and was later added to the “Cuz I Love You” Deluxe Album in 2019. It took Lizzo over 7 months to write and perfect this song, which can now be considered an anthem for self-love and Black beauty.

18. Drink The Water by Jack Johnson

Genre Soft Rock, Folk Rock, Acoustic Rock
Year Released 2001
Album Brushfire Fairytales

Jack Johnson wrote this song after experiencing a near-drowning after falling off of his surfboard and hitting his head underwater on a reef. Known for his easy-going tunes like “Banana Pancakes” and “Bubble Toes,” “Drink The Water” follows the same musical style but with lyrics that paint a dark picture of this event.

As a song about water, “Drink the Water” explores the scary possibilities of what the ocean and water can be capable of, but uses a soft, light melody line to do so. This paradox of describing such dark realities creates a captivating experience for the listener.

19. Water Runs Dry by Boyz II Men

Genre R&B
Year Released 1995
Album II

In this classic ’90s pop song, the artists sing about a relationship on the outs and how if the relationship is doomed to fail, they should quit while they are ahead, rather than waiting for the water to run dry and possibly living their whole lives resenting each other. By waiting for the water to run dry, they could live their whole lives before they finally acknowledge that they were not meant for one another.

Though nominated for many Video Awards, this song fell short. In one instance, the song was nominated for Best R&B/Soul Single by a group, band, or Trio for the 1996 Soul Train Music Awards and lost out to another song on our list, Waterfalls by TLC.

20. Black Water by The Doobie Brothers

Genre Folk
Year Released 1974
Album What Were Once Vices Are Now Habits

This feel-good song by The Doobie Brothers is one of their most famous tunes. With flowing harmonies and intricate instrumentation, the song was not written with the intent of becoming a hit. Composer Patrick Simmons found inspiration in 1971 when performing a concert in New Orleans for the first time.

The connection to water in this song draws upon the childhood dream of Simmons to be able to visit the birthplace of the music he loved so much in parallel to Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn, in which the two main characters ride a raft down the Mississippi river.

In 2020, the group came together in isolation to perform a remote version of their classic hit, creating one of their most special renditions of this song to date.

21. Smoke on the Water by Deep Purple

Genre Hard Rock
Year Released 1973
Album Machine Head

This song is a great example of narrative writing, in which lyrics describe this event chronologically. It references the true events of a fire that occurred at the Montreux Casino in the winter of 1971.

Bassist Roger Glover is credited for giving the song its name, having woken up from dream days after the incident, reliving the moment he and his bandmates watched the fire from their hotel, smoke rolling over Lake Geneva in the distance.

In this story song, the lyrics describe the smoke on the water as being their only barrier between them and the burning casino. The casino, ironically, was meant to be the location of their mobile recording studio.

The dichotomy between fire and water in this song makes the lyrics in this chorus so interesting; “Smoke on the water and fire in the sky.”

22. Walk on Water by Eminem (feat. Beyoncé)

Genre Rap, Hip Hop, Pop
Year Released 2017
Album Revival

Eminem’s “Walk on Water” explores the anxiety caused by his perfectionism in his craft. Eminem explains how it is impossible for him to be the best and how he can not be compared to the other genius’ of music. Rather, we are all just human, and perfectionism will only cause our demise.

The use of water in these lines explains how walking