Looking for some top pop rock songs? Well look no further friend, as below we’ve compiled a list of pop rock gold!!
Be sure to check it out for all of the classics and a few that people often regrettably miss.
All Star by Smash Mouth
Song year: 1999
There are no other anthems like Smash Mouth's “All Star.” This song and music video encourage listeners to get off their feet and enjoy life, even if it can be challenging to handle. “All Star” tells everyone that they’re a star and they don’t have to worry about the expectations of other people, as long as they’re having fun – even when things fall apart.
Hey Ya! By OutKast
Song year: 2003
The music video for “Hey Ya!” by OutKast is one of the most iconic videos in the pop-rock scene. Although some may not consider this song a member of the genre, it has a clear and distinct use of drums, guitar, and other elements that make it both poppy and rocky.
The energy of this song is playful and unique, making it a clear top contender for one of the best pop-rock songs.
Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen
Song year: 1975
“Bohemian Rhapsody” is one of the most famous pop-rock songs of the last few decades. Queen is no stranger to classics and this song is one of the easiest melodies to recognize in recent decades. It may be hard to recognize frontman Freddie Mercury in this music video, but as the years passed and Queen played the song more often, the band began to put more and more spins on the classic – including being truer to their style.
Livin’ On a Prayer by Bon Jovi
Song year: 1986
“Livin' On a Prayer” by Bon Jovi is a classic song that discusses the need for people to disconnect from stresses of life and indulging in gratitude for the things and people they have. This song took the world by storm as it played constantly on the radio, and the video was no small feat either. This music video is complete with big hair and stunning fashion choices that made listeners fawn over the members and melody.
Since U Been Gone by Kelly Clarkson
Song year: 2004
“Since U Been Gone” is a Kelly Clarkson hit about moving on from a bad relationship. Although many pop-rock fans may not consider the American Idol singer to be in the genre, this song has all the elements of a pop-rock hit. Clarkson spares no time on grieving or wondering about an ex-partner and instead shows in her video that she’s happier than ever without all the drama and sadness they brought to her life.
Take On Me by A-ha
Song year: 1985
“Take On Me” by A-ha is an 80s classic and has the synths to prove it. This pop-rock song has a stunning music video to accompany the upbeat song about love and romance. The singer promises they’ll find their loved one and will come to collect their love soon. This song is a perfect celebration tune for anniversaries and parties.
Billie Jean by Michael Jackson
Song year: 1982
“Billie Jean” is a classic pop-rock hit by the legend, Michael Jackson, and describes his trouble with a woman who claims to have had his child. However, Jackson is certain the child isn’t his and he’s willing to point out how the story doesn’t make sense. This narrative song and video are among the most melodic and addictive tunes in the music industry, and it has carved out its place in the top 27 pop-rock songs of all time.
Every Breath You Take by The Police
Song year: 1983
“Every Breath You Take” by The Police was initially regarded with overwhelming love and support but has since come under fire for its downright spooky undertones. However, the song remains one of the best pop-rock songs of all time and speaks to the culturally important messages of the 80s. This song and video are from the point of view of a man who is in love with a woman and discusses knowing everything she does, including every breath she takes.
Beat It by Michael Jackson
Song year: 1982
“Beat It” by Michael Jackson is one of the most energizing songs, but shows how little a fight is worth. Instead, Jackson urges listeners to walk away from fights. This song is accompanied by a stunning music video full of choreography that will get your blood pumping and can work perfectly on a gym playlist.
Behind These Hazel Eyes by Kelly Clarkson
Song year: 2004
“Behind These Hazel Eyes” is a perfect anthem for sadness and grief over a relationship that has been lost to infidelity, time, or distance. This song tells the story of a woman who refuses to let an ex-partner see how sad and distraught a relationship has made them, especially when they’ve felt chewed up and spat out by someone they loved. This video clearly shows someone betrayed after caring so deeply.
Welcome To The Black Parade by My Chemical Romance
Song year: 2006
“Welcome To The Black Parade” is a My Chemical Romance hit that took the radio by storm in 2006. The video and lyrics depict the sadness associated with passing on to the other side but offering those who have been left by loved ones an empowering message. The members of the band urge listeners to carry on after the passing of loved ones and live a life full of happiness, love, and fulfillment.
Africa by Toto
Song year: 1981
“Africa” by Toto is one of the most famous pop-rock songs, but it can be a confusing song. Although it may be a little confusing, this song is about romance and being in love with another person. The singer is stating that he would do nearly anything possible to be with the one he loves. The music video uses African imagery to convey their love.
Viva La Vida by Coldplay
Song year: 2008
“Viva La Vida” by Coldplay is one of the band’s most famous hits and discusses living life to the fullest. The song is supposed to be an expose on regrets, life, and death since the music video uses imagery from revolution-era paintings to discuss these themes.
Penny Lane by The Beatles
Song year: 1966
“Penny Lane” by The Beatles is a song about feeling nostalgic for a time long gone and wanting to go back and visit something from childhood. Although not a romance song, the lyrics can double as a stunning ode to a loved one and how much you miss them. The video shows images of the location, showcasing England in all its regal glory.
Hey Jude by The Beatles
Song year: 1968
“Hey Jude” by The Beatles is a song urging a loved one not to carry the world’s burdens on their shoulders. This song can make even the most casual listeners feel strongly empowered if they’ve felt overburdened and overwhelmed. The music video showcases each band member smiling hopefully while playing.
Wild Thing by Troggs
Song year: 1988
“Wild Thing” by Troggs is a serenade to the singer’s special someone, whom they believe to be a wild thing who can’t be reined in or controlled. Although this person is hard to keep a hold of, the singer loves them. The music video shows the band singing directly into the camera as if speaking to their “wild thing.”
Paint It Black by Rolling Stones
Song year: 1966
“Paint It Black” is one of the songs that defined the pop-rock genre in the mid-60s. This song can be a little confusing to understand, and without a music video to accompany it, it can be hard to decipher. However, this song is about a person’s dead lover and how they haven’t healed from the loss.
The Anthem by Good Charlotte
Song year: 2002
“The Anthem” by Good Charlotte is a song about leaving your worries behind and focusing on having a good time. This song is perfect for parties with people who need to let go of their struggles for the moment and try to enjoy life. The music video shows the band members indulging in tricycle rides in the street and allowing themselves the opportunity to be immature for a little while before returning to adult life.
I’m Just A Kid by Simple Plan
Song year: 2002
“I’m Just A Kid” by Simple Plan discusses the difficulty of growing up around adults who expect the most of you and don’t understand the struggles you may be going through. This song and music video show how hard it can be to live with the burdens of trying to fit in with others your age and how nightmarish the world can feel when you fail to live up to those expectations.
I Will Survive by Gloria Gaynor
Song year: 1978
“I Will Survive” by Gloria Gaynor is an unlikely find on any pop-rock list, but this song holds a rebellious nature and a set of instruments that make the song a perfect fit for the genre. This song empowers listeners to keep moving forward and living their lives in the face of terrible strife and challenge. The video shows a stunning Gloria Gaynor in her full power and glory, knowing doesn’t need anyone else to feel satisfied and happy.
Boulevard of Broken Dreams by Greenday
Song year: 2004
The music video for “Boulevard of Broken Dreams” by Greenday matches the energy and tone of the song. This song describes someone who feels lonely in their life and wishes to have other people to lean on, but may not trust anyone else. The video showcases someone walking lonely along a road, showing how lonely life can be sometimes without the support of a strong family and friendship unit.
Numb by Linkin Park
Song year: 2003
“Numb” by Linkin Park is a song about the disappointment others may feel in you and how you shouldn’t have to shoulder that burden. Most listeners think the lyrics directly discuss the disappointment that many parents feel when their children pursue dreams and passions that may not be financially lucrative. However, the words resonate with other relationships, too, as the music video shows well.
“Numb” urges listeners to be who they are, unapologetically, and never give in to the desires of the people around them when it means sacrificing themselves.
Iris by Goo Goo Dolls
Song year: 1998
“Iris” by Goo Goo Dolls is a romantic song where the singer discusses how much they love and adore the person they’re addressing. This love song and video are one of the most famous in the pop-rock genre and show exactly how much they love another person – even when they don’t think the rest of the world would understand their love and affection.
Sk8r Boi by Avril Lavigne
Song year: 2002
“Sk8r Boi” by Avril Lavigne became an emo and pop-rock anthem for many listeners who may have resonated with the message of the work. The lyrics describe a woman who didn’t think a prospective partner was good enough for her and refused to indulge in a relationship, even though she wanted to be with him. The music video is littered with classic pop-rock rebellious imagery like girls wearing neckties and graffiti and skateboarding.
Hey, Soul Sister by Train
Song year: 2009
“Hey, Soul Sister” by Train is a song about being kept up-to-date with everything someone you love is doing and missing them when they aren’t around. The music video shows the main characters constantly thinking about each other and hoping to see each other soon. Most listeners can rightfully think of this pop-rock hit as a romance song.
Everybody Wants To Rule The World by Tears For Fears
Song year: 1985
Tears For Fears wrote the perfect mixture of lament and acceptance anthem with “Everybody Wants To Rule The World.” This song describes how some members of mankind have hurt the environment for personal gain, through the use of vehicles and other damaging behavior. The music video shows the use of planes, cars, and industrial complexes.
She Looks So Perfect by 5 Seconds of Summer
Song year: 2014
“She Looks So Perfect” by 5 Seconds of Summer, often called 5SOS, is a song all about love, romance, and being awe-struck. This song discusses how much the singer enjoys seeing their love interest in their apartment, wearing their clothes, and having an intimate moment.
Unlike many pop-rock songs, this song is about good times and having fun with someone you love. The video only adds to the fun, hypnotic adventure with depictions of everyone, everywhere having a good time and getting struck with love and admiration.
Top Pop Rock Songs, Final Thoughts
Whether you’re a pop-rock fan or you like a few songs in the genre, you’ll likely be familiar with every song on this list. Pop-rock is versatile and may include anything from upbeat love songs to sad and dreary songs about loss.
Some of the best pop-rock songs are from some of the most famous bands of all time, including The Beatles, Greenday, and My Chemical Romance.