Songwriters and musicians have a talent for taking everyday situations or items and making them seem extraordinary. One of the ways that they can make the subject of their art appear more vivid and vibrant is by creating songs with similes in their lyrics.
While they are often confused with metaphors, similes can be easily spotted because they are typically used in conjunction with the words “like” or “as.” Although they are most commonly used in rap or hip-hop music, similes can be used in any genre. As long as the song has lyrics, figurative language can be used to make it more interesting.
1. Stitches by Shawn Mendes
|Genre||R&B, Soul, Pop|
Simile: “Your words cut deeper than a knife. Now I need someone to breathe me back to life.”
Meaning: When a relationship comes to an end, both parties will undoubtedly end up saying things about the other person that they may come to regret later. Sadly, that isn’t what is usually going through their mind in the heat of the moment. Nevertheless, words can hurt, and they most often do. That’s the message Shawn Mendes was trying to get across with this simile. He’s saying that something his ex said hurt him deeply.
2. Red By Taylor Swift
Simile: “Loving him is like driving a new Maserati down a dead-end street.
Faster than the wind, passionate as sin, ending so suddenly.”
Meaning: There are some things that you can do which may not be the best situation you can put yourself in, but they are still fun. Then again, being dangerous or forbidden may be what makes them so exciting. I think that’s the point behind Taylor Swift’s song “Red.” She’s well aware that the relationship she is in may not be going anywhere, but she’s having fun while it lasts.
3. Roar By Katy Perry
Simile: “Now I’m floatin’ like a butterfly. Stinging like a bee. I earned my stripes. I went from zero to my own hero.”
Meaning: Katy Perry is one of the top-selling artists of the last decade, selling over 23.9 million albums worldwide. Her songs have become empowerment anthems for women across the globe, including this gem of a track from her 2013 effort, “Prism.” In this instance, Perry is referring to the late great heavyweight boxing champion Muhammad Ali and his famous catchphrase, “Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee.” This is one of my personal favorite songs about strength as well.
4. Ice Cream By BLACKPINK (Featuring Selena Gomez)
Simile: “Come a little closer ’cause you looking thirsty. I’ma make it better, sip it like a Slurpee. Snow cone chilly. Get it free like Willy. In the jeans like Billie. You be poppin’ like a wheelie.”
Meaning: In 2020, the South Korean girl’s group BLACKPINK released their debut studio record, simply titled “The Album.” On that album, they teamed up with pop sensation and actress Selena Gomez for the track “Ice Cream.” This song contains several similes, all of which they use to give a guy whom the girls admire the “green light.”
5. California Love by Tupac Shakur (Featuring Dr. Dre)
|Genre||Rap, Hip Hop|
|Album||All Eyez On Me|
Simile: “Now let me welcome everybody to the Wild Wild West. A state that’s untouchable like Eliot Ness.”
Meaning: In this song from Tupac’s 1995 release “All Eyez On Me,” rapper and producer Dr. Dre is referring to the 1987 “The Untouchables,” starring Kevin Costner, Sean Connery, and Robert De Niro. The movie was about Federal Agent Eliot Ness and his pursuit of Chicago gangster Al Capone. Dre is saying that the state of California is as unrivaled by other states as Elliot Ness was by other agents and law enforcement officers.
6. Believer by Imagine Dragons (Featuring Lil Wayne)
Simile: “I wear my uniform like a tuxedo. This dragon, don’t hold his breath, don’t need no breather.”
Meaning: This song was a huge hit for Imagine Dragons, propelling their album “Evolve” to the number two spot on the Billboard 200. It certainly didn’t hurt matters that they had a feature from the one and only Lil Wayne dropping lines like the one above. In this line, Wayne is saying that he can make anything look as good as formal wear, even something as drab and dreary as a work uniform.
7. Body Like a Back Road by Sam Hunt
Simile: “Body like a back road, drivin’ with my eyes closed. I know every curve like the back of my hand.”
Meaning: Country music artist Sam Hunt gives us a two-for-one special in this song, doubling up on his similes in one line. First, he is saying that his lover has a body like a back road, which means that he knows every curve, much like driving on a familiar road. Secondly, he says that he knows the aforementioned curves like the back of his hand, which means that he is very familiar with them.
8. Colder Weather by Zac Brown Band
|Album||You Get What You Give|
Simile: “At a truck stop diner just outside of Lincoln, the night is black as the coffee he was drinking.”
Meaning: Usually, people say that things are as black as night, so to hear Zac Brown say that the night was as black as coffee is a refreshing change of pace, lyrically speaking. That’s what he does in this track from his Grammy-nominated album “You Get What You Give.” What he’s saying is that there mustn’t be a cloud or a star in the sky if it was as black as a cup of coffee.
9. Candle in the Wind By Elton John
|Album||Goodbye Yellow Brick Road|
Simile: “And it seems to me you lived your life like a candle in the Wind. Never knowing who to cling to when the rain set in.”
Meaning: The original version was written as a tribute to Marilyn Monroe in Elton John’s “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road.” However, when his dear friend Princess Diana died, he revised the lyrics to honor her memory. In the former, the simile refers to the way that a candle flickers in the Wind, fighting to glow and shine, much like the way Marilyn did throughout her short life.
10. Shape Of You by Ed Sheeran
Simile: “I’m in love with the shape of you. We push and pull like a magnet do.”
Meaning: Ed Sheeran it’s one of the most successful male pop artists of the last decade, selling over 14 million albums in the United States and 10.8 million albums in the United Kingdom. This is due in no small part to his hit single” Shape Of You,” in which he talks about being incredibly attracted to someone. This is why he uses this simile to compare their attraction to the way magnets attract and repel each other. This is easily one of the most famous songs with similes ever written.
11. Like a Stone by Audioslave
Simile: “In your house, I long to be. Room by room, patiently. I’ll wait for you there like a stone. I’ll wait for you there alone.”
Meaning: If you want something badly enough, you will be as patient as you need to be to get it. That’s the point that Audioslave was making on this Grammy-nominated track from their self-titled debut. Lead vocalist Chris Cornell is saying that he is willing to stay as patient and quiet as a stone to be with the one he loves, no matter how long it takes.
12. Like A Prayer By Madonna
|Album||Like A Prayer|
Simile: “Just like a prayer, you know I’ll take you there. Like a child, you whisper softly to me.”
Meaning: Madonna showed us her spiritual side on the Billboard Hot 100 number-one title track from her 1989 release “Like A Prayer.” In this track, she is comparing the way that her lover makes her feel to the effect that prayer has on her spirits. She and her partner are willing to completely dedicate themselves to each other and give the other person whatever their heart desires, much like the act of praying. If you enjoy songs about young love, this is one you’ll likely enjoy!
13. Not Afraid by Eminem
|Genre||Rap, Hip Hop|
Simile: “I promise to focus solely on handlin’ my responsibilities as a father. So I solemnly swear to always treat this roof like my daughters and raise it.”
Meaning: The expression “raise the roof” means to make a lot of noise by shouting and celebrating. When it is used in rap and hip-hop, it means that the artist is capable of setting the party off because his music is so good. Eminem is saying that he is going to raise the roof with his skills, just as he raises his daughters.
14. Skyscraper By Demi Lovato
Simile: “Go on and try to tear me down. I will be rising from the ground like a skyscraper.”
Meaning: Sometimes, when people try their best to tear you down, you can build yourself back up, stronger and better than ever. That’s the message that Demi Lovato is conveying when she uses the simile” like a Skyscraper” in this track from her 2011 effort “Unbroken.” Lovato is familiar with the concept of having to build herself back up, as she has had to do so after a long battle with substance abuse.
15. Live Like You Were Dying by Tim McGraw
|Album||Live Like You Were Dying|
Simile: “Someday I hope you get the chance to live like you were dying.”
Meaning: Being diagnosed with a terminal illness can help you to gain a new appreciation for life. There’s nothing like getting the news that you might die to teach you that life is precious and to make the most out of every second. That’s the point that country Superstar Tim McGraw is hammering home in the title track of his album “Live Like You Were Dying.” In this song, an older man is passing this knowledge on to a much younger man.
16. Just Like Fire by Pink
|Album||Alice Through the Looking Glass (Original Soundtrack)|
Simile: “Just like fire, burning up the way. If I can light the world up for just one day.”
Meaning: Alecia Beth Moore is a unique individual, but you may be more familiar with the singer’s stage name, Pink, which she got from having her pants pulled down by a bully. She turned pink from embarrassment, and the name stuck. She was flush with excitement when she was asked to contribute to the “Alice Through the Looking Glass” soundtrack. In this example, she is saying that she is an original and stands out in a crowd.https://planetradio.co.uk/hits-radio
17. Burning Like a Flame by Dokken
|Genre||Hard Rock, Hair Metal|
|Album||Back for the Attack|
Simile: “Don’t you know that it’s our love that’s burning, burning like a flame? And you know that it’s our love that’s never, never gonna change.”
Meaning: Dokken was always one of the most underappreciated and underrated hair metal bands of the 1980s. When they released” Back for the Attack” in 1987, they caught the attention of metalheads everywhere with their single “Burning Like a Flame.” What I always found interesting about this song was that it is about a love that is still burning strong after being together for some time, hence the simile.
18. Levitating By Dua Lipa (Featuring DaBaby)
|Genre||Pop Funk, Nu Disco|
Simile: “I feel like we’re forever every time we get together. But whatever, let’s get lost on Mars.”
Meaning: If you’ve ever been fortunate enough to meet that special someone, then you know how every moment that you spend with them can feel like an eternity. You want to get lost in that moment and hope that it never has to end. Dua Lipa must have been going through something as special as this kind of love when she recorded “Levitating,” which won Song Of The Year at The 2022 iHeartRadio Music Awards.
19. Betta Off Dead by Onyx
|Genre||Rap, Hip Hop|
|Album||All We Got Iz Us|
Simile: “Suicidal like Nirvana, the end of your world is just beginning. There’s no winning in my inning. The dead things cannot affect the living.”
Meaning: Onyx never got the recognition that it deserved. That’s because they didn’t pull any punches in their music. A perfect example of this can be found on their 1995 release “All We Got Iz Us,” specifically on the track “Betta Off Dead.” In this song, he is telling his enemies that they have to be Suicidal, like Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain if they think that they can approach him.
20. Ex’s And Oh’s By Elle King
Simile: “Ex’s and the oh, oh, oh’s they haunt me. Like ghosts, they want me to make ’em all. They won’t let go.”
Meaning: The title for this track is a play on words from the game tic-tac-toe. CMA Award winner Elle King uses the terms Ex’s and Oh’s to represent former lovers like the x’s and o’s on the board when playing. The song is about how Elle King cannot commit to anybody, and the memory of her exes haunts her just like ghosts haunt other people, refusing to let go of the past. As far as songs about exes go, this one is truly powerful!
21. Love On The Weekend by John Mayer
|Album||The Search for Everything|
Simile: “I’m flying fast like a wanted man. I want you, baby, like you can’t understand.”
Meaning: Wanted men tend to move a bit quicker than the rest of us, but I would venture to guess that’s because they are afraid of getting caught. That’s why when John Mayer says that he’s flying fast like a wanted man on this track from 2017’s “The Search for Everything,” he is trying to reiterate that he is trying to get to his girlfriend as quickly as possible because their time together is so limited.
22. Dynamite by BTS
|Genre||Korean Dance, Korean Pop|
Simile: “Shining through the city with a little funk and soul, so I’ma light it up like dynamite.”
Meaning: Also known as Bangtan Boys, BTS is the biggest boy band in South Korea. The group sold over 7.2 million albums domestically last year, despite having released one full-length album since 2013. Released in 2020, one of their biggest hits was the dance track” Dynamite.” The song uses the simile” light it up like dynamite” to say that the boys are going to arrive on the scene with a bang wherever they go.
23. When We Were Young By Adele
|Genre||R&B, Soul, Pop|
Simile: “Everybody here is watching you ’cause you feel like home. You’re like a dream come true.”
Meaning: for my money, Adele is one of the strongest vocalists currently in recorded music. Her voice can be as quiet as a whisper, as soothing as honey, or as powerful as a thunderstorm. It is on full display in this track from her album “25.” She is also a brilliant lyricist, as Illustrated on this track. She uses this simile to say that her significant other makes her comfortable and he is everything she has ever wanted.
24. Diamonds By Rihanna
|Genre||R&B, Hip Hop|
Simile: “You’re a shooting star I see, a vision of ecstasy. When you hold me, I’m alive. We’re like diamonds in the sky.”
Meaning: With a net worth of over $1.4 billion, Rihanna has had quite an impressive career. Born as Robyn Rihanna Fenty in Barbados, this talented singer knows a thing or two about the spoils of success. That’s why this song makes perfect sense. When she says that she and her lover are like diamonds in the sky, she means that they sparkle and shine together, and they stand out.
25. Like a Rock By Bob Seger
|Genre||Rock and Roll, Classic Rock|
|Album||Like a Rock|
Simile: “Like a rock, I was strong as I could be. Like a rock, nothin’ ever got to me. Like a rock, I was something to see.”
Meaning: Bob Seger is one of those artists whose music transcends genres, having won both a CMA Award and a Grammy Award. The title track from his album” Like a Rock” is one example of this and can fit in any rotation, no matter where it’s played. This song says a lot about Seeger’s personality. He is known for being strong, silent, and patient, like a rock.
26. Bridge Over Troubled Water By Simon and Garfunkel
|Genre||Soft Rock, Pop|
|Album||Bridge Over Troubled Water|
Simile: “Oh if you need a friend, I’m sailing right behind. Like a bridge over troubled water, I will ease your mind.”
Meaning: Simon and Garfunkel’s soft and soothing vocal performances perfectly complement the lyrics they use in the title track from 1974’s “Bridge Over Troubled Water.” For instance, let’s look at the simile they use in this track. When you cross over dangerous waters, having a bridge will put your mind at ease. The two are saying that they will be there for this person when they are going through tough times.
27. Even Flow by Pearl Jam
Simile: “Even flow, thoughts arrive like butterflies. Oh, he don’t know, so he chases them away. Oh, someday yet he’ll begin his life again.”
Meaning: Pearl Jam arrived on the scene with a bang in 1991, with their debut album “Ten” selling over 15.7 million copies. One of the reasons for the amazing success of that record was the single” Even Flow.” This song is about Eddie Vedder’s encounter with a homeless Veteran who has had to battle mental illness. This simile means that thoughts just pop into his head without effort.
28. ATLiens by Outkast
|Genre||Rap, Hip Hop|
Simile: “And when I’m on the microphone, you best wear your sweater ’cause I’m cooler than a polar bear’s toenails.”
Meaning: Coming out of Atlanta, Georgia, Outkast is a Southern rap group consisting of members Andre 3000 and Big Boi. In the title track from their classic record” ATLiens,” Big Boi uses the Simile “cooler than a polar bear’s toenails” to let us know just how cool he is. Polar bears live in the earth’s coldest climate, so any part of their body would be extremely cool.
29. You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch by Thurl Ravenscroft
|Album||Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas (Original Soundtrack)|
Simile: “You’re a mean one, Mr. Grinch. You really are a heel. You’re as cuddly as a cactus and as charming as an eel, Mr. Grinch.”
Meaning: When you think of cuddly things, cacti usually aren’t the first things that come to mind. The same concept applies to eels being charming. These similes are used to describe the titular character in the classic 1966 cartoon” Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas” because he isn’t the most charming or lovable character you’ve ever seen. He is disliked by everyone he meets.
30. Fly Like an Eagle by Steve Miller Band
|Genre||Rock, Classic Rock|
|Album||Fly Like an Eagle|
Simile: “I wanna fly like an eagle to the sea. Fly like an eagle, let my spirit carry me. I want to fly like an eagle ’til I’m free.”
Meaning: Soaring through the sky like an eagle has got to be one of the most exhilarating and carefree experiences on earth. There has got to be something to be said for being able to fly through the sky without any limits or boundaries. That’s the sentiment being expressed in the lyrics to the Steve Miller Band’s Billboard top-five hit “Fly Like an Eagle.” This is one of the most iconic songs about flying ever.
31. Like Suicide by Soundgarden
Simile: “She lived like a murder. How she’d fly so sweetly. She lived like a murder, but she died just like suicide.”
Meaning: Despite the speculation surrounding this song, it was not written about Nirvana’s lead vocalist and guitarist Kurt Cobain. Chris Cornell said that he wrote the lyrics to this track from 1994’s “Superunknown” after seeing a bird crash into his window and break its neck. The two similes in the lyrics of this haunting song are meant to illustrate how people live socially in groups, but everyone or everything dies alone. I’ve even heard many people say that this is a song that made them cry.
32. Rock You Like a Hurricane by Scorpions
|Genre||Hard Rock, Classic Rock|
|Album||Love at First Sting|
Simile: “Here I am. Rock you like a hurricane. Here I am. Rock you like a hurricane. Rock you like a hurricane.”
Meaning: If you have ever experienced the power of a hurricane, then you know that they have the power to level entire city blocks in a matter of minutes. Lead vocalist Klaus Meine, who has fronted the band since 1969, is using the simile” rock you like a hurricane” to describe his romantic intentions towards a female admirer. He’s clearly stating his intentions to impress her beyond her wildest conceivable expectations. If you like songs about storms, definitely consider adding this one to your playlist.
33. As Good As I Once Was by Toby Keith
Simile: “I ain’t as good as I once was, but I’m as good once as I ever was.”
Meaning: We have all heard somebody tell tall tales about how impressive they were when they were back in their prime, or we have told these stories ourselves. In this track, the Academy of Country Music Award-winning artist Toby Keith sees himself in a few scenarios where the singer says that while he may no longer consistently perform at his peak, he can still manage to be at his best every once in a while.
34. War Pigs by Black Sabbath
Simile: “Generals gathered in their masses just like witches at black masses. Evil minds that plot destruction, sorcerer of death’s construction.”
Meaning: Although the name Black Sabbath typically conjures up images of the occult, Ozzy Osbourne and the rest of the band were outspoken advocates of peace and environmentalism. One such instance is heard in “War Pigs,” which was featured in their 1970 release “Paranoid.” Lyricist and bassist Geezer Butler wrote this line specifically to compare the evil intentions of military generals to evil witches participating in black masses or ancient blood ceremonies.
35. Skin o’ My Teeth by Megadeth
|Album||Countdown to Extinction|
Simile: “No escaping pain, you belong to me. Clinging on to life by the skin o’ my teeth.”
Meaning: Whenever somebody uses the expression “skin of my teeth,” it is usually meant to describe a situation in which they are barely clinging to something. Megadeth frontman Dave Mustaine wrote this song about someone who is constantly enduring lots of suffering and pain. He uses the simile to describe how the individual is barely hanging on to life. He’s managing to do this despite the amount of pain and suffering he’s had to endure.
36. Hungry Like the Wolf by Duran Duran
|Genre||Pop, New Wave|
Simile: “Straddle the line in discord and rhyme. I’m on the hunt, I’m after you. Mouth is alive, with juices like wine and I’m hungry like the wolf.”
Meaning: Wolves are known for being primal creatures who exist primarily on instinct. That’s what Duran Duran was referring to when they wrote both the title and the lyrics to their Billboard top-five hit single” Hungry Like the Wolf.” Lead singer Simon LeBon is saying that the object of his affection awakens his primal side, much like a wolf. He intends on having a romantic relationship with her.
37. Just Like Heaven by The Cure
|Album||Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me|
Simile: “Dancing in the deepest oceans, twisting in the water. You’re just like a dream.”
Meaning: To most people, the concept of Heaven is the pinnacle of happiness. When you compare something to Heaven, you are saying that it makes you as happy as you can be. When Robert Smith compares being with this person to Heaven, he is saying that they make him happier than he’s ever been in his life. When he says that this person is just like a dream, he is saying that they are so wonderful that it’s almost unreal.
38. Can I Kick It? by A Tribe Called Quest
|Genre||Rap, Hip Hop|
|Album||People’s Instinctive Travels and the Paths of Rhythm|
Simile: “Doesn’t matter if you’re minor or major. Yes, the Tribe of the game, rhythm player, as you inhale like a breath of fresh air.”
Meaning: A Tribe Called Quest was one of the most beloved and influential hip-hop groups of the 1990s, with many artists like Eminem citing them as major influences on their careers. In this song, when they say that you inhale like a breath of fresh air, they are saying that you need to fully take in what they are saying. They are saying that their music is essential, like oxygen.
39. Love Is Like Oxygen by Sweet
|Genre||Rock, Classic Rock|
Simile: “Love is like oxygen. You get too much, you get too high, not enough and you’re gonna die.”
Meaning: No matter what you are doing, a general rule of thumb is that moderation is key in everything. There is an old saying that says, “there’s no such thing as too much of a good thing,” but I think that the guys from Sweet would disagree. In their song “Love Is Like Oxygen” from 1978’s “Level Headed,” they even go as far as to use something as essential as oxygen to illustrate this point.
40. I Just Don’t Know What To Do With Myself by Dusty Springfield
Simile: “I just don’t know what to do with my time. I’m so lonesome for you it’s a crime.”
Meaning: Comparing something that would normally be considered illegal to an act as egregious as committing a crime is saying that whatever took place is so bad that it should be illegal. In music, this is often used in conjunction with the way the artist is describing how someone treats them. This is the message that was intended by co-writers Burt Bacharach and Hal David and beautifully sung by Dusty Springfield, which only added to its meaning.
41. Cold As Ice by Foreigner
|Genre||Rock, Classic Rock|
Simile: “You’re as cold as ice. You’re willing to sacrifice our love. You want paradise, but someday you’ll pay the price, I know.”
Meaning: This expression is most often used to describe a hardened person’s demeanor, especially towards another individual. It can also be used to describe someone who acts indifferently or coldly towards other people. In their song” Cold as Ice,” the Grammy-nominated hard rock act Foreigner is using this simile to describe a love interest who treats lead vocalist Lou Gramm badly and isn’t willing to give anything of herself in the relationship.
42. Like a Rolling Stone by Bob Dylan
|Album||Like a Rolling Stone|
Simile: “How does it feel, how does it feel? To be without a home like a complete unknown, like a rolling stone.”
Meaning: I’m sure that most of you reading this have heard the expression “a rolling stone gathers no moss” at least once in your lifetime. This phrase means that the individual described does not settle anywhere long enough to accumulate any type of wealth, status, or personal relationships. Bob Dylan uses this simile to ask someone who has fallen on hard times how it feels to be like one of the common people.
43. So Much Like My Dad by Willie Nelson
Simile: “Can we have a talk like it was yesterday? Your boy’s back in trouble, and he needs you right away.”
Meaning: Willie Nelson is one of country music’s premiere singers, songwriters, and poets. In his career that has lasted over six-and-a-half decades, Nelson has sold over 60 million albums around the world. In “So Much Like My Dad,” he uses the simile “can we talk like it was yesterday” to describe how he and his mother used to have conversations back when he was younger. His heart has been broken, and he needs his mama.
44. Oblivion by Mastodon
|Album||Crack the Skye|
Simile: “Close, low bright eyes fading faster than stars falling. How can I tell you I failed?”
Meaning: Meteors, or shooting stars as they are most commonly referred to, travel at speeds that range anywhere from 25,000 to 160,000 miles per hour. Therefore, when somebody compares the speed of an action taking place to the speed of a meteor, they are trying to say that things are happening quickly. In the lead track from Mastodon’s progressive metal masterpiece “Crack the Skye,” they are saying that the person being described is rapidly becoming more and more disappointed.
45. Sweet Child of Mine by Guns N’ Roses
|Genre||Hard Rock, Metal|
|Album||Appetite for Destruction|
Simile: “She’s got eyes of the bluest skies as if they thought of rain. I’d hate to look into those eyes and see an ounce of pain.”
Meaning: Normally, when something is the perfect shade of blue, it is frequently compared to the color of a clear sky. In “Sweet Child of Mine,” which lead vocalist Axl Rose wrote for his ex-wife Erin Everly, he compares the color of her eyes to the sky. What he is saying is that her eyes are the most beautiful shade of blue, much like a perfectly cloudless sky.
46. Free Bird by Lynyrd Skynyrd
|Genre||Southern Rock, Classic Rock|
|Album||(Pronounced ‘Lĕh-‘nérd ‘Skin-‘nérd)|
Simile: “But if I stay here with you, girl, things just couldn’t be the same. ‘Cause I’m as free as a bird now, and this bird you cannot change.”
Meaning: “Free Bird” is unquestionably the most popular song ever recorded by Lynyrd Skynyrd and is also considered to be one of the best songs in the history of rock. In this track, lead vocalist Ronnie Van Zant is telling his partner that he needs to be untethered, much like a bird. He’s saying that he doesn’t want any boundaries and he can’t be changed.
47. Like I’m Gonna Lose You by Meghan Trainor (Featuring John Legend)
Simile: “No, we’re not promised tomorrow. So I’m gonna love you like I’m gonna lose you. I’m gonna hold you like I’m saying goodbye.”
Meaning: There’s nothing that will make you treat your significant other better than the fear of losing them. Meghan Trainor describes a scenario in this song in which she had a dream where her lover disappeared. She awoke in tears, vowing to love this person deeper and more passionately than ever. She says that she is going to love them like she’s going to lose them, illustrating her newfound appreciation for them.
48. Fight like a Brave by Red Hot Chili Peppers
|Album||The Uplift Mofo Party Plan|
Simile: “Make a fist and fight. Not to your death, and not to your grave. I’m talkin’ bout that freedom. Fight like a Brave.”
Meaning: I can’t think of a warrior as Noble and courageous as the American Indian, which is fitting for this song from the Red Hot Chili Peppers because lead vocalist Anthony Kiedis is part Mohican. He must have been proud to include his native heritage in a song honoring the courageousness of his tribal ancestors on Red Hot Chili Peppers’ third studio album, 1987’s “The Uplift Mofo Party Plan.” This is an epic song about fighting and courage.
49. I’m Like a Bird by Nelly Furtado
Simile: “I’m like a bird, I only fly away. I don’t know where my soul is. I don’t know where my home is.”
Meaning: Is it just me, or do people enjoy using similes referring to birds fairly often in music? It seems like there are more similes about birds than any other theme on this list. Much like many other artists, Nelly Furtado compares herself to a bird to indicate her freedom. In this song, she is trying to say that she cannot be caged, nor does she want to be tied down.
50. Cuts Like a Knife by Bryan Adams
|Album||Cuts Like a Knife|
Simile: “I took it all for granted, but how was I to know that you’d be letting go? Now it cuts like a knife, but it feels so right.”
Meaning: When something hurts you deeply, the most often used simile is to say that it “cuts like a knife.” This is applicable whether the hurt is physical or emotional. Bryan Adams uses this simile masterfully in the title track of his Billboard top-ten album “Cuts Like a Knife.” In this song, he is saying that seeing his ex with a new lover hurts him quite a bit.
51. Just Like Paradise by David Lee Roth
Simile: “This must be just like livin’ in paradise, and I don’t want to go home.”
Meaning: The expression “just like paradise” is used when you want to convey a feeling of elation towards something, as often used when describing the feeling of a new relationship or the chance to break away from something you previously felt was unpleasant. Former Van Halen frontman David Lee Roth used this simile to describe how he felt about getting away from his old bandmate. He’s saying he never wants to go back, although we know how that worked out.
52. Love Like Winter by AFI
Simile: “Warn your warmth to turn away. Here, it’s December every day. Press your lips to the sculptures, and surely you’ll stay. Love like winter.”
Meaning: Saying that something is like winter, or that something reminds you of winter, is a lot like saying it is cold as ice. In other words, you are saying that there are little to no feelings involved whatsoever. Winter is known for killing flowers and plants, which is what AFI lead vocalist Davey Havok is saying that he will do to this potential suitors’ love. He’s saying that he is incapable of love.
53. Smile Like You Mean It by The Killers
|Genre||Alternative Rock, Indie|
Simile: “Change your ways while you’re young. Boy, one day you’ll be a man. Oh girl, he’ll help you understand. Smile like you mean it.”
Meaning: Most of the time, when people tell you to smile like you mean it, they are referring to a fake smile that you may be sporting at the time. If someone tells you this, they assume that you are feigning happiness and are asking you to try to make the best of a situation. In this song, Brandon Flowers is telling us to enjoy life while we can.
54. Dirt by Alice In Chains
Simile: “You, you are so special. You have the talent to make me feel like dirt. And you, you use your talent to dig me under and cover me with dirt.”
Meaning: In this track, Lane Staley and Jerry Cantrell used the simile “like dirt” in two ways. First, they are telling someone that they make them feel like dirt. They are saying that this person makes them feel unworthy. Secondly, they say that the person is covering them with dirt, which is a simile meaning that this other person is spreading false narratives about them.
55. No Diggity by Backstreet (Featuring Dr. Dre and Queen Pen)
|Genre||R&B, Soul, Hip Hop|
Simile: “It’s going down, fade to Backstreet. The homies got at me, collab’ creations, bump like acne.”
Meaning: Legendary rapper and producer Dr. Dre teamed up with the R&B group Blackstreet on this hit from Blackstreet’s multi-platinum album, 1996’s “Another Level.” In the verse on this track, Dr. Dre lends the group his microphone skills by saying that his music bumps like acne, which is slang for saying that it has a lot of bass. By saying that it bumps, he is using wordplay because having acne consists of having bumps on one’s face.
56. Team by Lorde
Simile: “Now bring my boys in, their skin in craters like the moon. The moon we love like a brother while he glows through the room.”
Meaning: Much like using the term “bump,” when people employ the simile “craters like the moon,” they are saying that a person’s complexion is rather bad and filled with acne. Lorde also uses the simile “love like a brother” in this song. When somebody says that they love something or someone like a brother, that means that they have a deep, non-romantic affection or appreciation for that person or thing.
57. Satellite by Dave Matthews Band
|Album||Remember Two Things|
Simile: “Satellite in my eyes, like a diamond in the sky. How I wonder.”
Meaning: Things are usually compared to diamonds when you want to illustrate how much they sparkle or shine. Not only is Dave Matthews doing this on the track “Satellite,” but he is also intentionally using his lyrics as a play on the children’s nursery rhyme “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star.” So, besides saying that the satellite is shining in the sky like a star, he is also indicating that it is always there, watching what we are all doing every day. “Satellite” is truly one of those special songs with similes you’ll be listening to on repeat.
58. Heart-Shaped Box by Nirvana
Simile: “She eyes me like a Pisces when I am weak. I’ve been locked inside your heart-shaped box for weeks.”
Meaning: most people don’t realize this, but Nirvana’s song “Heart-Shaped Box” was a love letter to Kurt Cobain’s wife, Courtney Love. . Appearing on Nirvana’s last studio album, the platinum-certified “In Utero,” Kurt used the simile “eyes me like a Pisces” when describing how Courtney Love views him. Pisces are generally known for needing to feel connected to people. By saying that’s how his wife sees him, Cobain is saying that she caters to his needs.
Popular Article: Songs about staying together through hard times.
59. Wake Up In The Sky by Bruno Mars (Featuring Gucci Mane and Kodak Black)
|Genre||R&B, Soul, Hip Hop|
Simile: “I smell like Bond Number 9, nine. Section full of foreign dimes. B*tch is starin’ at me sayin’, ‘Whoa.’ Unforgettable like Nat King Cole.”
Meaning: Back in 1952, R&B and jazz singer Nat King Cole had the biggest hit single and the biggest album of his career, “Unforgettable.” So, when rapper Gucci Mane says in this track that he is “Unforgettable like Nat King Cole,” he is making a play on words because he is not only saying that he is unforgettable, but he is also referencing the legendary artist’s song.
60. Amber by 311
Simile: “You live too far away. Your voice rings like a bell anyway. Don’t give up your independence unless it feels alright.”
Meaning: Long-distance relationships aren’t easy to maintain. Speaking matter-of-factly, sometimes they can seem downright impossible. “Amber,” from 311’s top-ten album “From Chaos,” is a song that tackles the subject matter of long-distance relationships. Lead vocalist Nick Hexum is saying that even though his partner is far away, her voice still calls to him because when people say something rings like a bell, it means that they can hear it clearly from long distances.
61. Halo by Beyoncé
|Album||I Am… Sasha Fierce|
Simile: “Hit me like a ray of sun burning through my darkest night. You’re the only one that I want. Think I’m addicted to your light.”
Meaning: When Beyoncé uses the expression “hit me like a ray of light,” you have to look at the context in which she uses it. She must have been going through a particularly rough time when she recorded this song, but the object of her affection was able to illuminate a time that was otherwise pretty dark for her, just like the light has a way of penetrating the shadows.
62. Ophelia by The Lumineers
Simile: “Oh, Ophelia. You’ve been on my mind girl like a drug. Oh, Ophelia. Heaven help a fool who falls in love.”
Meaning: People often compare being in love to being intoxicated. That’s because falling in love stimulates the oxytocin in your brain, which is very similar to the sensation you get from either being high or drunk. When Wesley Schultz says that his new girlfriend has been on his mind like a drug, he is being quite accurate. However, what he means is that his new love interest is as addictive as a drug.
63. 2002 by Anne Marie
|Genre||Dance, Electronica, Pop|
|Album||Speak Your Mind|
Simile: “I will always remember the day you kissed my lips. Light as a feather.”
Meaning: If you take a moment to consider the properties of a feather, we will see that it is incredibly light. They float gently to the ground when dropped instead of sinking like heavier items. However, when Anne Marie says that her lover’s kiss is as light as a feather, she is not referring to the physical weight. She is saying that her lover doesn’t apply much force to their kisses and that they are soft and gentle.
64. Crooked Smile by J Cole (Featuring TLC)
|Genre||Rap, Hip Hop|
Simile: “You’re the one that was trying to keep me way down. But like the sun, you know I found my way back ’round.”
Meaning: It takes 365 days for the earth to go completely around the Sun. That may seem like a long time, but like clockwork, every year, the Earth starts a brand new rotation. When J Cole says that he will keep coming back around like the sun, he means that you may be able to keep him down for a while, but you won’t be able to keep him down forever.
65. Howlin’ For You by Black Keys
Simile: “Mockingbird, can’t you see? Little girl’s got a hold on me like glue.
Baby, I’m howlin’ for you.”
Meaning: For a short while in the early 2000s, it seemed like the Black Keys were going to be the next big thing in alternative rock. Unfortunately, things didn’t quite work out for them that way, but they did make quite a name for themselves for a few years. On this track from “Brothers,” Dan Auerbach says that his crush has a hold on him like glue, meaning that he’s completely enthralled with her.
66. Under Pressure by Logic
|Genre||Rap, Hip Hop|
Simile: “Slow it down, Robitussin. I’m the king, ain’t no discussion. And now we blowing up like spontaneous human combustion.”
Meaning: As far as I’m concerned, nobody uses similes and metaphors quite as effectively in music as rappers do. When it comes to wordplay, Logic can hold his own with the best the genre has to offer. Spontaneous human combustion refers to a process in which a human body combusts without an external ignition source, and the term “blowing up” refers to when people in rap make it big. That’s why this smile is so effective.
67. Fool For Love by Lord Huron
Simile: “I’m hummin’ like a revved-up truck. Never mind the odds, I’m gonna try my luck with her. Just tell me when you’ve had enough.”
Meaning: Lord Huron lead vocalist Ben Schneider was born and raised in Michigan, far from Los Angeles, where the band is located. You would also be much more likely to find big trucks near the wooded areas of Michigan than in California, which is why the simile used in “Fool For Love” works so well. He is saying that this girl makes his heart race like a truck’s engine.
68. Cherry Wine by Hozier
Simile: “Her eyes and words are so icy. Oh but she burns like rum on the fire. Hot and fast and angry as she can be.”
Meaning: Throwing alcohol on a fire will cause it to burst into flames, so when Hozier says that his lady burns like rum on the fire, he is saying that it doesn’t take much to set her off, but she’s just as passionate as she is hot-tempered. He lets us know this on this track from his self-titled album, which peaked at number two on the Billboard 200 charts.
69. Better by Khalid
Simile: “Love to see you shine in the night like the diamond you are. I’m on the other side. It’s alright, just hold me in the dark.”
Meaning: Khalid Donnel Robinson is an R&B singer from El Paso, but is known better by Khalid. He has had two number-one hits, including the lead single “Better,” which is from his EP “Suncity.” In this track, he says that he wants to see his partner shine like a diamond. That means he’s willing to let her have the spotlight as long as she loves him.
70. Wrecking Ball by Miley Cyrus
Simile: “I came in like a wrecking ball. I never hit so hard in love. All I wanted was to break your walls. All you ever did was wreck me.”
Meaning: Falling for the wrong person is a part of life. You accept that it comes with the territory. What hurts most is when you end up destroying yourself. When Miley Cyrus says that she came in like a wrecking ball, she means that she did everything that she could do to break down her lover’s walls. Unfortunately, she ended up getting hurt in the process.
That does it for this article. Let me know if there are any great songs that we missed in the comments 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.