Perhaps the most wonderful thing about music is that it always has something to say. The artist almost always has a message that they are trying to convey to the listener, although sometimes their audience may have to dig a little deeper and not take that message at face value if they want to get a better understanding of what the artist is trying to say. There are many songs with deep meanings like this.
Some of the best musicians will often leave the interpretation of the piece open to interpretation, which helps them to gain a wider audience. Others choose simply to either inspire us or teach us a valuable life lesson. Here is a great list of meaningful songs from across all music genres. If you’re interested, we have also included a Spotify playlist with all of the songs shared below at the bottom of the page.
Table of Contents
1. Imagine by John Lennon & the Plastic Ono Band
|Genre||Rock, Classic Rock, Alternative|
Some of the most profound messages we have ever heard are contained within the lyrics of our favorite songs. One of the best examples of this can be found in John Lennon’s classic track “Imagine.” At a time when most of the world was focused on either fighting Wars on foreign soil or acquiring material things, Lennon dared to pontificate about a world in which there were no possessions or religion to fight wars over. To some people, this made him the Antichrist. To others, it made him a visionary that could ignite a revolution against the status quo.
2. Burden In My Hand by Soundgarden
|Genre||Hard Rock, Grunge|
|Album||Down On the Upside|
Soundgarden lead vocalist Chris Cornell’s struggle with drug addiction is no secret. However, what many people may not know is that his struggles were well-documented in most of the band’s music. One example can be seen in the track “Burden In My Hand,” which was from their 1996 release, “Down On the Upside.” Upon first listening, the song sounds like a fictional tale of a man who shoots his wife. However, after familiarizing yourself with Cornell’s past, you will then begin to understand that there is a deeper message contained within the song about his heroin addiction.
3. Everybody Hurts by R.E.M.
|Genre||Alternative Rock, Indie|
|Album||Automatic for the People|
When you’ve had a really bad day, sometimes it helps to know that everybody goes through a rough time at some point in their lives. It’s not that you find solar since someone else’s misery. It’s just comforting to know that you are not alone in this world while you are suffering. That’s the message behind R.E.M.’s Grammy-nominated melancholy masterpiece “Everybody Hurts.” It serves as a reminder that whatever you may be going through or whatever life throws at you, you can take comfort in the fact that you are not facing it alone.
4. Boulevard of Broken Dreams by Green Day
While Green Day was not the first punk act to release a concept album, they perfected it with “American Idiot.” This album tells the tale of a character called Jesus of Suburbia. The track “Boulevard of Broken Dreams” fits into the narrative because Jesus of Suburbia has finally escaped, and he’s realizing that the City wasn’t everything he’d hoped it would be. He’s all alone, with nobody by his side. This is where we see the first appearance of St Jimmy, his alter-ego. The message behind this song is that the grass isn’t always greener on the other side.
5. Can’t Feel My Face by The Weeknd
|Genre||Pop, Dance, Funk|
|Album||Beauty Behind the Madness|
Known professionally by his stage name, The Weeknd, Abel Tesfaye is a Canadian-born hit machine. The soulful singer mixes an Eclectic blend of pop, dance, soul, and funk music to create a sound that has spawned 16 top-ten hits, with six of them reaching the top spot on Billboard. One of those number-one hit singles was the track “Can’t Feel My Face.” At face value (pun intended), the tune seems to be an innocent love song. Nevertheless, it takes on a much darker tone when you discover that Tesfaye was once addicted to hard drugs.
6. Life Goes On by Tupac Shakur
|Album||All Eyez on Me|
When it comes to the most respected, influential, and beloved rappers of all time, Tupac Shakur sits at the top of everybody’s list. Sadly, Shakura was taken in the prime of his life and murdered when he was only 25 years old. The last record that Tupac released while he was alive was the double album “All Eyez on Me,” which featured the single “Life Goes On.” Tupac’s lyrics painted a picture of life exactly as it is. This is probably why his music has carried the message of how hard it is growing up on the streets to this day.
7. Church Bells by Carrie Underwood
Church bells can mean different things, from cheerful to solemn to ominous occasions. The song “Church Bells” from the album “Storyteller” covers all three occasions. The song tells the tale of Jenny, who grew up poor and marries a wealthy man. The first church bells are from her wedding. Her husband becomes abusive. She goes to church and prays for an answer, hearing more church bells. Jenny goes home and murders her husband. The third church bells were from his funeral. The message of this song is as clear as the church bells. Don’t be an abusive partner.
8. Living by Dierks Bentley
This track from Dierks Bentley is the country music equivalent to the old saying, “Sometimes you’ve got to stop and smell the roses.” The artist, who has had 26 top-ten hits, with 11 of them reaching number one on Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart, doesn’t concern himself with concealing messages in clever lyrics. Instead, his music makes his message clear and written out in the open so everybody can hear it. In this song, that message is to take the time to enjoy the simple things in life. Sometimes, you have to live as you will never die.
9. Move Along by The All American Rejects
One of the biggest misconceptions that we have as a society is that the more wealth we accrue, the fewer problems we will face. However, this could not be further from the truth. As the old saying goes, “more money, more problems.” The All-American Rejects turned this concept into a song in 2015. This single was the title track to their second album “Move Along,” and the record was certified platinum, shipping over 2.2 million units and spawning three top-twenty singles. The song’s message says that when life knocks you down, get up and keep moving.
10. No Tears Left To Cry by Ariana Grande
Have you ever reached a point where you felt like you didn’t have any tears left in you to cry about anything? Most of us reading this have reached that conclusion at some point in our lives. Well, Ariana Grande is the latest to join this club, and she’s making it well known with her track “No Tears Left To Cry.” The singer says that this is not only a lifestyle but a state of mind in which she has chosen to live. She’s got no time to be concerned with her past anymore. She’s focused on the future.
11. Slide by Goo Goo Dolls
|Genre||Alternative Rock, Post-Grunge|
|Album||Dizzy Up the Girl|
Goo Goo Dolls lead singer and guitarist Johnny Rzeznik proved how socially conscious he was when performing the Billboard top-ten hit single “Slide” on the television series VH1 Storytellers. At a time when having an abortion wasn’t as common as it has become, Johnny Rzeznik wrote a song with a message that was loud and clear for anybody willing to pay attention. The narrator is voicing his support for his girlfriend, who has become pregnant and wishes to terminate the pregnancy. Instead of becoming angry with her and leaving her, he asks her to marry him.
12. The A-Team by Ed Sheeran
Ed Sheeran was consistently rejected by record labels because his songs did not sound like hit singles, and his look was not a “good marketing tool.” Still, he is one of the most celebrated stars in the music industry. One of the singer’s best songs is also one of his deepest. “The A-Team” references the 1980s TV show while also addressing the problem we have with addiction to class A narcotics. The song tells the story of a girl who becomes hooked on drugs and serves as a warning for those who may be battling substance abuse. This is one of my personal favorite songs with deep meaning, probably because I’m a big Ed Sheeran fan.
13. Delia’s Gone by Johnny Cash
|Album||The Sound of Johnny Cash|
Country music legend Johnny Cash was known for many things, but he was never a murderer. Nevertheless, the Man In Black got his message across loud and clear on the track “Delia’s Gone” twice in his career. Cash originally recorded the song in 1962 and then re-recorded the song in 1994 when he released his “American Recordings” album. As the story goes, he dated a woman in the past who wasn’t faithful, so in typical Johnny Cash fashion, he wrote a song that served as a message to her that he didn’t appreciate it very much.
14. How to Save a Life by The Fray
|Genre||Alternative Pop, Indie|
|Album||Live at the Electric Factory: Bootleg No. 1|
The Fray’s lead vocalist Isaac Slade says the idea for his song “How to Save a Life” came from when Slade worked at a camp for troubled youth. At the camp, counselors were paired with individuals, and Slade was paired with a 17-year-old musician. Nobody could come up with a manual on how to save him, which is where the song was born. Years later, the singer heard that someone died in a car accident, and all of his friends got “Save A Life” tattooed on their arms. He says that’s when the song took on a whole new meaning.
15. Mirror by Lil Wayne (Featuring Bruno Mars)
|Album||Tha Carter IV|
Leave it to New Orleans-born rapper Lil Wayne and R&B sensation Bruno Mars to give us one of the most honest and Introspective songs ever released. The track “Mirror” was featured on Wayne’s album “Tha Carter IV,” which sold nearly a million in its first week after being released. The track’s message is simple but effective, with Wayne talking to himself in the mirror, reflecting on all of the pain and struggles he’s had to endure on his way to the top and how at the end of the day, you can’t hide from yourself.
16. Don’t Stop Believin’ by Journey
|Genre||Rock, Classic Rock|
Journey was one of the most beloved and successful rock bands of the 1980s, selling over 100 million albums worldwide. Thanks to an amazing blend of power ballads and rock anthems like the classic “Don’t Stop Believin’,” their album “Escape” was certified diamond by the RIAA, selling over 10 million COPIES and becoming their best-selling non-compilation album. One of the reasons that this track was so successful in cracking the top ten on Billboard is because of its positive message of always believing in the power of positivity when it comes to making things you want to happen.
17. When I’m Gone by Eminem
|Album||Curtain Call: The Hits|
Sadly, when we lose the ones we love, it’s too late for us to realize that we should have enjoyed the time that we had with them. One of the reasons that Eminem has become such a beloved icon is that he can take everyday situations and make them relatable to his fans. allowing us a glimpse into his emotions and feelings. That’s what he’s done on this track. The message behind the song is that when it’s his time to go, he wants his daughters to remember the good times they had with him instead of mourning his loss.
18. You Can’t Hurry Love by The Supremes
|Genre||Mo-Town, R&B, Classic Soul|
|Album||The Supremes A’ Go-Go|
Founded as the Primettes in Detroit, Michigan, in 1959, the Supremes became one of the premier acts of Motown records in the 1960s. Led by the amazing Diana Ross, the group was later renamed Diana Ross & the Supremes and had an astonishing 12 number-one hits on Billboard. One of those number-one hits was the track “You Can’t Hurry Love,” in which Ross recalls are lesson taught to her by her mother. The message is simple but clear. Good things come to those who wait, including matters of the heart. When it’s time, the right person will find you.
19. Blackbird by The Beatles
|Genre||Alternative, Classic Rock|
|Album||The Beatles (The White Album)|
The Beatles have always been one of the most forward-thinking and progressive acts in the music industry. That’s why it comes as no surprise that the band behind the track “Revolution” would also record one of the most intriguing songs about the civil rights movement of the 1960s. Although its message is not blatantly obvious, the song “Blackbird” serves as a social commentary from Paul McCartney. The Beatles bassist told GQ that he was inspired by the events in Little Rock, so he wrote something that he hoped would reach the people and give them hope.
20. Live Like You Were Dying by Tim McGraw
|Album||Live Like You Were Dying|
Sometimes the messages in songs are hidden with clever wordplay and figurative language, while other times, they are right out in the open. In Tim McGraw’s inspiring track “Live Like You Were Dying,” his message isn’t cloaked in metaphors or hyperbole. Instead, McGraw gives it to us straight. He tells us the story of a man who receives some troubling news. Instead of allowing it to get the best of him, he does all of the things he’s always wanted to do. He lives like there’s no tomorrow because none of us are guaranteed one.
21. Wolves by Selena Gomez
|Genre||Dance, Electronic, Pop|
Many of our favorite artists are struggling with conditions or diseases that we know nothing about because some of them prefer to keep the details of their life private. Others choose to pour their emotions into their music, much like singer and actress Selena Gomez did on her track “Wolves.” Although the song is not blatantly obvious, Gomez’s struggles with lupus have been well-documented, as she is an outspoken advocate for others who suffer from it. One of the more popular interpretations of this song is that it deals with the singer’s struggles with the disease.
22. Pictures from Life’s Other Side by Hank Williams
|Album||Pictures from Life’s Other Side|
Hank Williams had one of the most awe-inspiring voices in country music. He is often regarded as one of the most influential artists of the 20th century, with an incredible 55 top-ten singles, including 12 that reached the top spot. That’s why when the country legend sang about something as profound as the death of a loved one, people took notice. In his cover of “Pictures from Life’s Other Side,” his message to us is to cherish the good times because they won’t last forever. Sooner or later, we will all have to face death.
23. Pumped Up Kicks by Foster The People
|Genre||Alternative, Indie, Electropop|
Many of the songs on this list have uplifting messages that are meant to inspire people. This is not one of those songs. Instead, this song tells the morbid tale of a young man named Robert who has some sinister plans for his classmates. The lines “All the other kids with the pumped up kicks. You better run, better run faster than my bullet” leave no doubt that he is indeed a school shooter. The song was released over a decade after the school shootings at Columbine and served as a message that the threat is still real.
24. You Are My Sunshine by Gene Autry
|Genre||Country, Easy Listening|
|Album||Tumbling Tumbleweeds: Greatest Hits|
Plenty of people are familiar with the song “You Are My Sunshine,” which was originally written and recorded by Jimmie Davis and Charles Mitchell in 1940. However, I have chosen to opt for the Gene Autry cover because his wholesome image is such a contrast to the song’s menacing message. Yes, you read that correctly. This song is not the happy tune you remember. When Autry sings, “But if you leave me to love another, you’ll regret it all someday,” it takes on a much more sinister and threatening tone, especially in today’s social climate.
25. Clocks by Coldplay
|Album||A Rush of Blood to the Head|
Most of us are familiar with the Grammy Award-winning British band Coldplay. They are one of the most successful musical acts to ever cross the pond. If you’ve heard of them, then you’ve probably heard “Clocks.” This song has become a fan-favorite because of its ambiguity. It’s open to interpretation, although most people interpret the song as a romantic tune. With that said, I am going to divulge one of my favorite theories about the track. Its message is more existential, saying that we have a finite amount of time on this planet and not to waste it.
26. Got To Give It Up, Part 1 by Marvin Gaye
|Genre||R&B, Soul, Jazz|
|Album||Live at the London Palladium|
There’s an old saying that says, “The squeaky wheel gets the grease.” That’s some people’s way of saying that if you want something, you have to speak up and make it known that you want it. Otherwise, you’ll get passed by. Well, the same principle applies to love. If you want romance, you have to let people know you’re available. In this song, R&B, and soul legend Marvin Gaye uses dancing as a metaphor for sex. He’s letting any potential partners know that he’s “on the market” and that he’s ready and available for a good time.
27. The Gambler by Kenny Rogers
|Album||80 From America|
“The Gambler” is about a young man who meets an old, seasoned gambler on a train. The two get to talking, and the gambler offers the young man a bit of advice as they share a drink. Many have pondered the meaning of this song, with a few different interpretations becoming the most popular. However, according to Psychology Today, the true meaning of the sun is that you should tailor your behavior to the likelihood of success so that you can surpass whatever barricade you are facing. In layman’s terms, you have to be able to adjust to situations.
28. Poker Face by Lady Gaga
Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta, also known by her stage name Lady Gaga, is a well-known and outspoken advocate for LGBTQ+ rights. She has brazenly championed equality for people of every type, which is why her songs have become anthems for the LBGTQ+ community, especially her number-one hit single, “Poker Face.” The controversial pop star has made no qualms about her bisexuality and has specifically made it a point to be as open, honest, and frank about most aspects of her life. Her message in the song and her life are the same, do whatever makes you happy.
29. In the Air Tonight by Phil Collins
|Genre||Pop, Soft Rock|
This song’s meaning is one of the most debated expositions in modern musical history. There’s even an urban legend that says that Phil Collins watched someone let another person drown, and invited the murderer to his concert to shine a spotlight on him while he sang this song. While we all know that this isn’t true, do any of us know what Phil was singing about? Well, fortunately, Mr. Collins has made it abundantly clear that this song is about his divorce, and writing the song was his way of releasing his anger and resentment.
30. It’s a Great Day to Be Alive by Travis Tritt
|Album||Down the Road I Go|
There are times when you’re feeling dark and mysterious, and you want to look for hidden meanings or alternative interpretations in your favorite songs. Then there are other times when all you want is something simple and happy that can slow you to exist. Travis Tritt’s single “It’s a Great Day to Be Alive” feels like it’s a song written for those days when it feels wonderful to be with the people you love. There’s no hidden agenda or alternate meaning for this track. The message is simple. It’s a wonderful thing to be able to enjoy life.
31. Just Like Heaven by The Cure
|Genre||Alternative, Indie, Rock|
|Album||Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me|
The Cure was one of the most beloved and commercially successful alternative acts of the last few decades, thanks to songs like their hit single “Just Like Heaven.” The band’s lead vocalist Robert Smith grew up in the town of Crawley. This is approximately 40 miles away from Beachy Head, where many suicides occur. Smith has said that the track is a song about spending a day with the ones you love the most. However, due to the location where the song takes place, you might say that it’s about spending your last day with your loved ones.
32. American Pie by Don McLean
Here is a song that helps see its fair share of explication. There are some fans of the song that will tell you that this eight-and-a-half-minute folk opera. it’s simply about The Day the Music Died and nothing more. Still, others are willing to look below the surface and take a little deeper for the song’s true meaning. At face value, it’s about the plane crash that killed Buddy Holly, the Big Bopper, and Ritchie Valens. However, its true meaning is about the loss of Don McLean’s innocence when he heard of their deaths.
33. Born In the USA by Bruce Springsteen
|Album||Born In the U.S.A.|
With over 120 million albums sold worldwide, Bruce Springsteen is one of the best-selling artists of all time. His best song album is the triple-diamond certified “Born in the USA.” The title track to that album is also one of the most misunderstood tracks in the history of rock and roll. Although it is often misinterpreted as an Anthem of patriotic pride, the song is the story of a Vietnam veteran who returns home from war with no options and no money. The message is loud and clear. It’s about the way the United States treats its veterans.
34. If You Love Somebody Set Them Free by Sting
|Genre||Pop, Soft Rock|
|Album||The Dream of the Blue Turtles|
Before reuniting in 2007, The Police officially disbanded after releasing their Grammy Award-winning album “Synchronicity,” with lead vocalist and bassist Sting adopting to pursue a successful solo career. By 1985, he had released his first solo album, “The Dream of the Blue Turtles,” which featured the hit single “If You Love Somebody Set Them Free.” The message of the song that’s right in line with the adage that if you love someone, set them free. If they are yours, they will come back to you. If they don’t, they were never yours, to begin with.
35. Family Portrait by Pink
Pink has always struck me as the kind of artist who never shies away from controversy, nor does she back down from making a statement when she feels it’s necessary. The singer delivered a profound message about what it’s like to grow up in a broken home on the track “Family Portrait” from her second album, “Missundaztood,” which was the best-selling album of her career. The message contained within this song is Crystal clear. It paints a picture of what it’s like for the children who grow up in a home filled with violence and domestic abuse.
36. Everybody Wants to Rule the World by Tears for Fears
|Album||Songs from the Big Chair|
In 1985, the pop duo Tears for Fears released their critically acclaimed second album, “Songs from the Big Chair.” That album featured the first number-one hit of the band’s career, “Everybody Wants to Rule the World.” According to vocalist and guitar player Roland Orzabal, the original title of the song was “Everybody Want to Go to War.” This is especially significant because of the song’s strong anti-war sentiment, but they were encouraged to change the name of the songs because they knew that it would not receive much radio play if they kept the original title.
37. I Cry by Flo Rida
Anybody who has ever said that rap isn’t a valid art form and is only concerned with material wealth has never heard the track “I Cry” by Flo Rida. In this song, the talented rapper bares his soul and leaves nothing on the table as he tells us the story of all of the hardships and struggles he endured growing up in Carol City with his mother and seven sisters. While rap songs about making it to the top of the game are a dime-a-dozen, what separates this song are the feelings, and the emotion poured into it.
38. Hotel California by The Eagles
|Genre||Classic Rock, Soft Rock|
With 10 Billboard Hot 100 top-ten hits, including five that reached the top spot on the countdown, The Eagles are no strangers to commercial success. Nevertheless, the highest charting single of their career has also been the most highly scrutinized and analyzed for being the most ambiguous song they’ve ever written. It has often been interpreted as a reflection of the hedonism that was taking place in the United States in the 1970s. The band’s drummer and vocalist finally set the record straight by saying that the song was “our interpretation of the high life in Los Angeles.”
39. I Shot The Sheriff by Bob Marley & The Wailers
Jamaican-born singer and activist Bob Marley is known for his songs about peace and unity for all people. That’s why it is so surprising that the same man wrote: “I Shot the Sheriff.” Unless you are an avid fan of Marley, you will probably not be aware that this is simply a protest song that was originally supposed to be called “I Shot the Police.” The reggae singer opted to use the word “Sheriff” instead of the word “police” to avoid having the song banned from radio play. Still, the message against police violence remains the same.
40. American Woman by The Guess Who
|Genre||Rock, Classic Rock|
The monster hit “American Woman” by The Guess Who is often misunderstood as a patriotic tribute to women from America, however, lead vocalist Burton Cummings disagrees. The singer said, “What was on my mind was that girls in the States seemed to get older quicker than our girls, and that made them, well, dangerous.” Originally, this song was created live on stage with the guys from the band coming up with a riff and Cummings improvising some lyrics. A fan in the crowd happened to be bootlegging the show, and the band liked the way it sounded.
41. Let’s Go Crazy by Prince
|Genre||Rock, Pop, R&B, Soul|
Prince became a household name in 1984 when he starred in and released the soundtrack to the film Purple Rain. The album spawned top-ten hits, including three that climbed to the number-one spot on Billboard. One of those number-one hits was the rock anthem “Let’s Go Crazy,” The song contains the unusual lyrics, “Let’s look for the purple banana till they put us in the truck.” So, what does that mean? For some people, the message meant that Prince has always refused to conform to the norms of society., and that was perfectly fine with him.
42. Another Brick In The Wall by Pink Floyd
|Genre||Progressive Rock, Classic Rock|
“The Wall” will forever be known as the album that destroyed Pink Floyd. Bassist android singer Roger Waters has taken the majority of the credit for writing the album and officially left in 1985 after tensions reached a peak in the band. The album tells the sad tale of a rock star named Pink, who slowly isolates everyone around him until he is completely alone. This can be seen in the track “Another Brick in the Wall,” in which events that take place in Pink’s life help to build the foundation for this metaphorical wall.
43. Stairway To Heaven by Led Zeppelin
|Genre||Hard Rock, Classic Rock|
|Album||Led Zeppelin IV|
One of the most interesting facts that I have ever heard about the legendary hard rock band Led Zeppelin is that they detest playing the song “Stairway To Heaven” live. I guess that when you have people screaming at you to play one particular song night after night, you eventually grow weary of it. Nevertheless, as popular as the song has become, its meaning is often misconstrued. The meaning of the song is about materialism and greed and how you cannot buy yourself a place in heaven, even with all of the wealth in the world.
44. Closing Time by Semisonic
|Genre||Alternative, Indie, Pop|
|Album||Feeling Strangely Fine|
When he was writing “Closing Time,” Semisonic lead vocalist Dan Wilson discovered that his wife was pregnant with their first child. Their daughter Coco was born prematurely, weighing only 11 ounces. Although the band offered to postpone the recording sessions, Wilson insisted on finishing the album. The day that Coco went home from the hospital was the same day the song was released. Realizing how much his daughter influenced the song, Wilson said, “It’s all about being born and coming into the world, seeing the bright lights, cutting the cord, opening up into something deeper and more universal.”
45. I Saw God Today by George Strait
If you slow down and pay attention to your surroundings, sometimes you see little miracles all around you. Sometimes major life events will help you to appreciate some everyday things that you wouldn’t normally notice. Well, that’s the message that George Strait is delivering in his track “I Saw God Today.” This song is about how the birth of a child can make you realize that God’s work is continually surrounding us. Whether it’s a flower growing out of the cement or a couple holding hands while they walk down the street, you see his work in everything.
46. Dance with the Devil by Immortal Technique
|Album||Revolutionary Vol. 1|
As sordid as Immortal Technique’s track “Dance with the Devil” is, the Peruvian rapper claims that every word of it is true. The song tells the story of a young man who joins a gang and is forced to rape and kill a woman for his initiation. He discovers that the woman is his mother and kills himself. Later, we find out that Immortal Technique was a member of the game who witnessed it. The message behind this song is that you shouldn’t do anything for clout because you never know where it will catch up with you.
47. Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen
|Genre||Hard Rock, Classic Rock|
|Album||A Night at the Opera|
Originally released in 1975’s “A Night at the Opera,” “Bohemian Rhapsody” saw a resurgence when it was featured on the soundtrack for Wayne’s World. The song is now in very prestigious company, as it is one of only a handful of songs to hit the Billboard Hot 100 chart in three separate decades. Most fans believe the song has a hidden meaning. Out of respect for the singer, band members will not divulge the meaning behind the classic track. However, most fans believe that this song was Mercury’s coming out party as a gay man. If you’re looking for songs with deep meaning to add to your playlist, then this is definitely one that I recommend considering.
48. Girls Just Want To Have Fun by Cyndi Lauper
|Album||She’s So Unusual|
Although Cyndi Lauper did not provide the spark that ignited the female empowerment movement, she certainly fanned the flames to reignite it with her Grammy-nominated track “Girls Just Want To Have Fun. ” the message behind the song is a powerful one. Women want to be treated as equals and don’t think that they should be shunned, shunned, or lambasted for wanting to have a good time. As you might expect, the song became wildly popular and skyrocketed to the number-two spot on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, becoming an anthem for uniting women around the world.
49. Dust In The Wind by Kansas
|Genre||Rock, Classic Rock|
|Album||Point of Know Return|
Did you know that Kansas guitarist Kerry Livgren got the idea for “Dust In the Wind” after reading a book of Native American poetry and being inspired by the line “for all we are is dust in the wind?” He began talking about material possessions and the definition of success and how none of this mattered in the end. One day, he was doing fingering exercises on his acoustic guitar when his wife suggested that he put the lyrics to the patterns he was playing. That’s how the Grammy-nominated band’s most famous track was born.
50. Heart-Shaped Box by Nirvana
The hidden meaning behind the closing track to Nirvana’s 1993 release “In Utero” is quite possibly the worst-kept secret in rock music. While some fans still try to make sense of some of the nonsensical lyrics, claiming that the song is just another example of lead vocalist Kurt Cobain’s semi-coherent ramblings, others insist that the track is a loving (although disturbing) tribute to Courtney Love’s lady parts. Because the lyrics make it a point to mention both Cobain and Love’s astrological signs, Pisces and Cancer, I believe that the song’s message it’s about the two unstable lovers. If you enjoy songs with figurative language, then you’ll love this song.
51. Man in the Mirror by Michael Jackson
Of all of the songs included on this list, Michael Jackson’s “Man in the Mirror” has the most positive message. Then again, this shouldn’t come as much of a surprise as the track was one of a record five consecutive number-one singles from his album “Bad,” which is the fourth best-selling album of all time. The message behind this track is simple, yet it is still profound. It states that if you want to make a change in the world, you need to make a change in yourself. It all starts with the man in the mirror.
52. 45 by Shinedown
|Genre||Alternative Rock, Hard Rock|
|Album||Leave a Whisper|
Perhaps the biggest misconception about Shinedown’s single “45” is that it is about someone who commits suicide. This could not be further from the truth. As lead vocalist Brent Smith tells the story, the song is about someone who had the idea to commit suicide. However, the individual in question does not take his own life. After hearing the gun go off while in the next room, Smith investigated to find that his friend was still living. When asked why he didn’t commit suicide, his friend declared that he decided to choose life, and that’s the song’s message.
53. Fire and Rain by James Taylor
|Album||Sweet Baby James|
It’s not very often that we get the chance to hear a song that has three distinct, separate messages contained within its verses. Nevertheless, that’s exactly what we get from James Taylor’s top-five Billboard single “Fire and Rain,” which was also nominated for a Grammy award in 1971. The biggest hit from his album “Sweet Baby James” deals with the suicide of his friends Suzanne. The second verse serves as a confessional regarding Taylor’s heroin addiction. The third verse documents his time in a mental hospital, as well as his time in the band The Flying Machine.
54. Blowin’ In the Wind by Bob Dylan
|Genre||Folk, Indie, Classic Rock|
|Album||The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan|
Bob Dylan would probably be the artist I would choose if someone told me that I could only pick one artist whose lyrics were always open to interpretation. After all, the man has won a Nobel Prize in literature. One of the best examples of this can be heard in his song “Blowin’ In the Wind.” Partially derived from the old Negro spiritual “No More Auction Block,” Dylan vehemently denies that the track was initially meant to be a protest song. Instead, he says that the song was “something to be said for somebody, by somebody.”
55. Romeo and Juliet by Dire Straits
We are all familiar with William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. While there’s no doubt that Dire Straits frontman Mark Knopfler got the inspiration for this track from the Shakespearean story, they end differently, with the song having its unique message. Where these stories differ is that in Shakespeare’s version, the couple is because of their forbidden love. In the Dire Straits version, the couple doesn’t work out in Romeo is particularly heartbroken about it. Juliette insists that the timing is wrong, which serves as the song’s message. Life’s all about timing, and so is love. If you’re looking for songs about forbidden love that also have a deep meaning, this is a great one to listen to.
56. Sing About Me, I’m Dying of Thirst by Kendrick Lamar
|Album||good kid, m.A.A.d city|
Kendrick Lamar is often cited by his peers as one of the most talented and influential rappers of his generation because his flow and his lyrical wordplay are second-to-none. This can be seen first-hand on “Sing About Me I’m Dying of Thirst,” which is probably his most personal track from the record “Good Kid, M.A.A.d City.” When asked what the track’s meaning was, Lamar replied, “It’s a certain situation that I had to go through; I had to bump my head a few times to know what I had to do to get back right.”
57. I Hope You Dance by Lee Ann Womack
|Album||I Hope You Dance|
Not every relationship that you enter into is going to have a fairytale ending like they do in the movies. Is the relationship you’re currently in the first one you’ve ever had? You’re probably shaking your head “no.”Sometimes, relationships don’t work out. That doesn’t mean that you have to wish bad things on your ex-partner. You’ve probably had more than one relationship that you’re glad has ended, and you wish nothing but the best for your ex. That’s the message behind this song from the Academy of Country Music’s Female Vocalist of the Year.
58. You Can’t Always Get What You Want by Rolling Stones
|Genre||Rock, Classic Rock|
|Album||Let It Bleed|
Formed in London in 1962, the Rolling Stones have enjoyed a prosperous and lengthy career that has spanned over six decades. They didn’t last as long as they have without imparting a little wisdom into many of their songs. For instance, let’s take a look at the track “You Can’t Always Get What You Want.” The title of this song is derived from one of the wisest sayings I’ve ever heard, and its message is just as important. The message of this song is to be happy with what you have instead of continually chasing happiness.
59. One Thing Leads To Another by The Fixx
|Album||Reach the Beach|
People vent their frustrations in a plethora of ways. If musicians aren’t happy with the status quo, they put pen to paper and write a song as a means of expressing themselves. The Fixx lead singer Cy Curnin has opened up and allowed us to take a look inside his mind as he states that in an effort to gain votes and win elections, many politicians “say a lot of things and lie to get elected and do nothing.” It’s almost like he was predicting what was to come in the 2020 United States presidential election.
60. Harder To Breathe by Maroon 5
|Album||Songs About Jane|
Maroon 5 saw immediate success with their debut album “Songs About Jane,” which went double-platinum, selling over 2.7 million copies and making it the seventh best-selling album of 2002. To this day, the track “Harder To Breathe” remains the most overanalyzed song on the album, with no less than four viable interpretations. However, lead vocalist Adam Levine spilled the proverbial beans on this track, admitting that the song is nothing but a filler. The record company wanted another track to release as a single and Levine wrote the lyrics to vent his frustrations at the label.
61. Love Yourz by J. Cole
|Album||2014 Forest Hills Drive|
Cole has earned the respect of his peers and has become one of the most sought-after rappers in the game today. Cole’s lyrical prowess can be heard on his track Love Yourz” from his “2014 Forest Hills Drive” album. He opens the song with a line that reflects the message that resonates throughout the entire song, which says, “No such thing as a life that’s better than yours.” The message behind that line is simple. Don’t get caught up in chasing something you may never have. Be content with living the lights you’ve been given.
62. Chop Suey! by System Of A Down
Although System of a Down made waves with their self-titled debut album in 1995, the Armenian metal band was thrust into the spotlight when they released their follow-up album “Toxicity” in 2001. Unfortunately, the first single from that album caught the attention of the wrong people, with the song’s message being misconstrued as an attack on organized religion. System of a Down lead guitarist Daron Malakian, who is responsible for writing this song, set the record straight by saying, “The song is about how when people die, they will be regarded differently depending on the way they pass.”
63. Like A Virgin by Madonna
|Year Released||Like A Virgin|
Madonna is the best-selling female recording artist of all time, with more than 300 million albums and singles worldwide, including her RIAA double-diamond certified album “Like A Virgin.” The message contained within the title track from that record became a topic of debate after Quentin Tarantino featured dialogue about the song between two of the main characters in Reservoir Dogs. In the film, Mr. White says that the song is about a girl who has been wrong and has finally found a good guy. However, Mr. Brown says that the song is sexually explicit.
64. Relax by Frankie Goes To Hollywood
|Genre||Alternative Pop, Electropop|
|Album||Welcome to the Pleasuredome|
Frankie Goes to Hollywood has the distinction of having their song “Relax” remain in the UK Top 40 for 37 consecutive weeks, despite being banned by the BBC for 35 of those weeks over lyrics that were deemed to be overtly sexual. While many people like to believe that there is a hidden agenda behind the lyrics to This hit song, the band has assured us that it can most certainly be taken at face value. The song’s message is a celebration of Paul Rutherford’s homosexuality and is now an anthem in the gay community.
65. I’ll Be Missing You by Puff Daddy & The Family(Featuring Faith Evans and 112)
|Album||No Way Out|
Most people who are familiar with rap and hip hop are also familiar with the close bond between Sean Combs and Christopher Wallace, also known as Notorious B.IG. Wallace was signed to Combs’ label Bad Boy Records, but the two were much more than business partners. They shared a bond that made them consider each other family. After Wallace was gunned down and murdered in March of 1997, Combs entered this studio with his widow Faith Evans and recorded this tribute to his fallen brother. The song samples The Police’s Grammy Award-winning single “Every Breath You Take.”
66. Forty-Six & 2 by Tool
Maynard James Keenan’s lyrics usually aren’t ambiguous but often contain a message. In “Forty-Six & 2,” the singer reflects on the teachings of Drunvalo Melchizedek. Per Melchizedek, the Earth is made of geometrically constructed “morphogenetic grids” that extend from about 60 feet under the Earth’s surface to about 60 miles above the planet. Earth has its own grid that connects the consciousness of all humans. Human beings have a chromosome count of 44 +2. Before our species can take the next evolutionary step, a new bread must be completed. The next grid will develop a chromosome count of 46 + 2.
67. Chandelier by Sia
The phrase “swinging from the chandelier” has often been associated with a life of excessive partying or a hedonistic lifestyle. In Sia’s track “Chandelier,” the singer tells us that she has been the pretty party girl who people only call when they want a good time. However, as she goes on to explain in this hit that reached the top ten on the Billboard Hot 100, she enjoys this lifestyle. The message she conveys in this song is that each day should be lived to its fullest and that you should enjoy life without fear of the consequences of your decisions.
68. Girl Goin’ Nowhere by Ashley McBryde
|Album||Girl Goin’ Nowhere|
“Girl Goin’ Nowhere” is the title track to Ashley McBryde’s third studio album. Throughout the song, the narrator is an aspiring musician who is receiving plenty of unwanted advice from outside forces who are telling her that she is wasting her time pursuing a career in music. Nevertheless, she becomes very successful following her dreams of stardom. As she looks out into the crowd, she can’t see an empty seat in the house and exclaims that it’s “not bad for a girl going nowhere.” The message behind McBryde’s song is to follow your dreams, regardless of what others say.
69. Gangnam Style by PSY
|Genre||Korean Pop, Electropop|
|Album||Psy 6 (Six Rules), Part 1|
A decade ago, “Gangnam Style” was all the rage. You couldn’t turn on the radio without hearing it, nor could you go to a social function without a group of people breaking out into the dance. It was easily the Korean pop star’s biggest hit, reaching number two on Billboard. What many people don’t know is that the song is a tribute to the beautiful ladies from a particular territory in Korea called Gangnam. He is saying that these women are noble as royalty during the daytime but go crazy at night, and he is the right guy for them.
70. Choices by George Jones
|Album||Cold Hard Truth|
Legendary country superstar George Jones has had an astonishing 69 top-ten hits on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart, with 13 of them reaching the number-one spot. Although his track “Choices” did not crack the top ten on the charts, it has become a fan favorite since its release, thanks to its positive message of being responsible for the choices that you make in life and taking ownership of your decisions. If only the rest of the world could follow the example that The Possum has set for us, it would be a much better place.
Spotify Playlist of Songs With Deep Meanings
That does it for this article. Let us know if there are any great songs that we missed 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.