Even in an age of GPS and more accessible therapy, we all get lost sometimes. We get lost in physical space. We get lost in ourselves or a world that doesn't make sense.
Keep reading as we explore the best songs about being lost or feeling lost.
“Boulevard of Broken Dreams” by Green Day
Song year: 2004
We'll start this list of songs about feeling lost with “Boulevard of Broken Dreams” from Green Day's American Idiot. Billie Joe Armstrong found inspiration for the tune and the title from a Gottfried Heinwein painting of James Dean.
This song is about the disillusionment of the American Dream. The message here is that you are still alone after a lifetime spent chasing success, fame, and wealth. You find yourself lost and wandering. When you pin all your hopes on what others think of you, but others don't care, where does that leave you?
“Like a Rolling Stone” by Bob Dylan
Song year: 1965
In the album Highway 61 Revisited, Bob Dylan's “Like a Rolling Stone” tells the story of a debutante's fall from high society.
This Dylan classic is about losing everything you had, everything that defined you. It's about no longer fitting in the world or with a curated image of yourself. The song warns of the dangers of trying to be what you're not and looking for a life outside of who you are. You do that, and you're bound to lose and get lost.
“Blue Jay Way” by The Beatles
Song year: 1967
George Harrison wrote “Blue Jay Way” in a rental house located on a street called, you guessed it, Blue Jay Way.
On the surface, this psychedelic track from Magical Mystery Tour is a song about waiting for your friends to show up at your house when they've gotten lost on the way.
It also works as a metaphor for waiting for others who are lost or feeling lost to find their path and join you where you are.
“America” by Simon & Garfunkel
Song year: 1968
From Bookends, Simon & Garfunkels melancholy classic, “America,” tells the story of Paul Simon and his girlfriend Kathy coming to America from England to find the American Dream.
We follow the couple as they ride through the country on the Greyhound, trying to find what they want. They're tired, running out of resources and excitement.
“America” is about getting lost because of your own hope and expectations. When you've been promised that a place holds the one thing you've been looking for, but you arrive and can't find that thing anywhere, you will feel lost, confused, and dispirited.
“Wish You Were Here” by Pink Floyd
Song year: 1975
Pink Floyd's “Wish You Were Here,” from their album by the same name, takes inspiration from Syd Barrett's experience of and struggles with schizophrenia.
The song portrays how people cope with the hardness of life by withdrawing from it, but when you do that, it can become hard to tell reality from fiction, and it can become impossible to move forward.
It is the tale of two lost wanderers who keep circling and circling without getting anywhere.
“How to Disappear Completely” by Radiohead
Song year: 2000
Radiohead's “How to Disappear Completely” is from their groundbreaking album, Kid A. Thom Yorke was inspired to write the song after a dream he had of floating, unable to control himself or his destination.
This one is about disassociation, about removing yourself from reality and sensation. The song is about giving in to or choosing to be lost on purpose to avoid pain or trauma.
“Lost in the World” by Kanye West featuring Bon Iver, A Song About Feeling Lost
Song year: 2010
Kanye West joined forces with Bon Iver's Justin Vernon for “Lost in the World” off West's album, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy.
The tune about love gone wrong is another of many songs about being lost, disillusionment, and loss.
When we lose something like love or an expectation we had is turned on its head, we can feel lost. We lose our bearings and our balance. We reel from the change in the world around us.
“Hard Times” by Paramore
Song year: 2017
Singer Hayley Williams wrote “Hard Times” about her experiences with depression. Paramore released the song on their album, After Laughter.
“Hard Times” is about being lost in depression, mental illness, pain, and feeling removed from the world.
It illustrates the lack of choice for people dealing with severe depression. They can't just snap out of it. It is challenging to come out of, and you feel lost while you're in it.
“Breathe Me” by Sia
Song year: 2004
Australian singer Sia's “Breathe Me” from Colour the Small One is about anxiety and self-harm.
The lyrics follow the inner feelings of someone dealing with anxiety and instead of having healthy ways to cope, gets lost in a cycle of self-harm. The song's speaker knows what they're doing isn't healthy, and this song functions as a call to a friend for help.
The singer doesn't want to be lost but knows she can't escape it alone.
“She’s Not There” by The Zombies
Song year: 1964
From the self-titled album by The Zombies, the next one on our list is a little different because the narrator of the song is not the one who is lost or feeling lost.
The lyrics detail a lost love. The singer realizes who this woman is and who he thought she was, was not the same at all. He feels lost without her love but admits it isn't real.
He doesn't know where his ex is but doesn't even want to find her. She wasn't who he thought she was. She was always lost; she was never there.
“Astronaut” by Simple Plan
Song year: 2011
Simple Plan's “Astronaut” is from their album, Get Your Heart On! It's the first song about feeling lost in this list that uses the metaphor of being alone in space, but it will not be the last. Feeling lost and feeling lonely go hand in hand. And what place is more lonely than space?
This particular song uses the metaphor of an astronaut to express how it feels to feel alone among others.
The song's speaker feels lost in the world, even though the world is all around him. He doesn't feel connected to other people. He is so desperate for connection that he uses the song to reach out to others who feel the same way.
“Rocket Man” by Elton John
Song year: 1972
Elton John's “Rocket Man” from Honky Chateau is the next song about being lost in the wider universe. The song got written around the same time as the Apollo 16 mission, and the culture was a little obsessed with space.
This one is slightly different because the titular “Rocket Man” is being sent to space. It's not necessarily his choice to go, but it is his job.
The song's speaker becomes lost, lonely, and isolated from his family and friends. He knows that time away, in a place no one else will have experienced, will change him.
The lyrics here could be a commentary on what happens to a rock star or traveling musician. Still, it would also apply to anyone deployed in the military or with a similar difficult job that takes them anyway from their family.
“I Know It’s Over” by The Smiths
Song year: 1986
“I Know It's Over” is a bleak ballad from the band's album The Queen is Dead. The song is sung from the perspective of a dying man reflecting on his life and regrets.
The song's narrator is hanging on to life, even though he knows he's at the end of it because he doesn't know what else to do. So he does what he's always done, and rather than move forward, he hangs in place, lost in misery and transition.
He doesn't realize his life's disappointments until it's too late, and he can do nothing about them.
“Here I Go Again” by Whitesnake
Song year: 1983
Whitesnake's “Here I Go Again” from the album Saints & Sinners has become an anthem of empowerment, but it's not the feel-good song many interpret it to be.
This song is actually about heartbreak and loneliness. It's about someone getting ready to head back into the world again in search of connection and success. While that sounds motivational, the song's speaker knows he's doomed.
He's been through this before and knows things won't work out any differently this time. But he's still going to try. What else is he supposed to do? The lyrics here paint a portrait of undying, futile hope and being stuck in a loop of loneliness and feeling lost.
“Mad World” by Tears for Fears
Song year: 1983
Tears for Fears released “Mad World” on their album, The Hurting. This song tells the story of a depressed person who feels out of place, looking for an escape.
The song's speaker spends his time watching people living cookie-cutter lives that he deems meaningless. The singer feels lost because he wants something else for himself. He wants something big, a profound, dramatic change.
The singer feels lost because there is no road out for him.
“Creep” by Radiohead
Song year: 1992
Radiohead's “Creep” from their album Pablo Honey hit the airwaves running back in the early ‘90s. For a minute, this song was everywhere, encapsulating the youth's self-loathing.
While that is a valid interpretation, there is another way to look at this song. The song's speaker recognizes who he is and that he is different from everyone else around him. He is lost because he belongs in a different world.
Whether his differences from those around him make him unworthy, what comes through in the lyrics is that he knows he is separate and doesn't belong and that perhaps there is a place for him where he won't feel lost.
“Paradise” by Coldplay
Song year: 2011
“Paradise” was the second released single from Coldplay's Mylo Xyloto. This song about being lost tells the story of a girl who loses her dreams, those lofty life ambitions, and instead, she indulges in them in her actual dreams while sleeping every night.
There is a message here about what we have lost, causing us to be lost. It's a caution against being so attached to one dream that instead of re-creating it, we lose ourselves and live in a fantasy world.
“Can’t Find My Way Home” by Blind Faith
Song year: 1969
Blind Faith was a supergroup that featured Eric Clapton, Steve Winwood, Ginger Baker, and Rich Grech. “Can't Find My Way Home” is from their self-titled album, the only one they released together.
The lyrics tell the story of someone who can't find their way home. The narrator is desperately lost, and it's not clear why. Rather than bog us in the details of their story, this song shows us the raw emotion of what it feels like to be lost and unable to get back to yourself.
“Piano Man” by Billy Joel
Song year: 1973
After a failed record, Billy Joel spent around six months working at a piano bar in L.A. All the characters mentioned in “Piano Man” were based on real people.
This karaoke favorite describes a bar that serves as a middle place for people lost between their dreams and their realities. The piano man's song lifts these people, helping them feel more connected to themselves and less focused on the parts of their lives they feel stuck in.
However, even while trying to forget their disappointment, it is all around them. Even the piano man is lost in this place while trying to be a star.
“I Am…I Said” by Neil Diamond, One Of The Top Songs About Feeling Lost
Song year: 1971
Neil Diamond's “I Am…I Said” is another song about feeling lost, inspired by a career crossroads. Diamond wrote this after a setback in his career, where he felt lost. Things had been going well, but now they weren't. In times like these, it's not always clear what to do.
So the lyrics here are also about being stuck in a kind of purgatory. It's about feeling like you've lost your sense of momentum and purpose. Should you give in to failure and go back where you started, or should you keep trying even though there are no guarantees you'll get where you're going?
“Space Oddity” by David Bowie
Song year: 1969
Our third song that draws from space imagery to comment on feeling lost and disconnected is David Bowie's famous and beloved “Space Oddity.”
Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey greatly influenced Bowie, drawing him to space imagery to capture many emotions. It was an influence and image that stuck with him throughout his career as if Bowie himself were from the stars.
The lyrics here tell the story of Major Tom, an astronaut who loses communication with Earth and ends up stranded in space, just floating around, unable to do anything or to take control of what is happening to him.
At the same time, Major Tom can also see Earth. He is looking down at the place where he's from, the place he's supposed to belong while being completely cut off from it.
“Space Oddity” could be a metaphor for fame. Still, it is also a common experience for a musician or artist to observe and report on reality in a way that is disconnected and isolating.
“Machete” by Amanda Palmer
Song year: 2019
Amanda Palmer released “Machete” on her double album, There Will Be No Intermission. Palmer wrote the song after the death of her lifelong friend.
This emotional song is about becoming lost in grief. When you lose someone close to you, like a parent, friend, or sibling, it can be hard to know who you are without them, and it can be hard to figure out how to live without them.
“How It Feels to be Lost” by Sleeping With Sirens
Song year: 2019
From the album of the same name comes “How It Feels To Be Lost” by Sleeping With Sirens.
This song is about depression, despair, and anxiety and how these things make you feel lost. The lyrics describe how mental illness feels in very visceral, physical terms. Relying on striking imagery, this song shows how personal yet relatable it is to lose yourself in depression.
“I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” by U2
Song year: 1987
Not only is U2's “I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For” off of Joshua Tree a great track to pull up when you're ransacking your house for your keys, but it is also a song about feeling lost.
Despite thoroughly looking for years and years, the singer cannot find what they are looking for. The lyrics could be referring to love, God, or both. It seems implied that there was some promise or expectation here. If he believed in what he was looking for and had faith, he would find it.
But doubt has crept in. He still believes, but until he finds that thing he's looking for, he will be lost, still looking for it.
“Lost” by Meat Puppets
Song year: 1984
“Lost” comes from the Meat Puppets album Meat Puppets II. This song about being lost is one from the band Kurt Cobain loved so much he invited them to share the Unplugged stage with Nirvana.
The lyrics tell the story of someone lost in motion. They are lost on the road and lost on foot. Lost at high speeds and lost at slow. What they're trying to find isn't clear.
This is about getting stuck in the past and the sensation of being lost and removed and becoming increasingly disconnected from the world around you.
“Lost in Yesterday” by Tame Impala
Song year: 2020
Tame Impala's “Lost in Yesterday” from The Slow Rush is about exactly what the title implies.
Getting stuck in the past is dangerous. The lyrics here encourage the listener to hold onto the good memories, to let that nostalgia give you a smile and a warm feeling, but to avoid engaging in bad memories, regrets, and things you would do differently because you can't rewind time.
You can't change the past, but if you're not careful, the past can keep you from moving forward.
“Lost” by Linkin Park
Song year: 2023
Linkin Park recorded “Lost” during the sessions for 2003's Meteroa, but the song was left off the final album. It was, however, included on 2023's 20th-anniversary re-issue of the record.
In “Lost,” the song's speaker gets lost in their pain and regrets of the past and finds that he can't move on. Every time he tries, the memories and the trauma come flooding back, and he cannot change, grow, or find his way.
“Lodi” by Creedence Clearwater Revival
Song year: 1969
“Lodi” is from Creedence Clearwater Revival's landmark album, Green River.
John Fogerty found inspiration for the song from car trips he would take with his father through Lodi, a small town in central California.
“Lodi” tells the story of a failed musician. The musician was on the road and doing great, moving up in the world, and then, it all came crashing down. Now he's back home and doesn't see how to get out.
It's about being lost by being back where you started. It's the feeling of being lost because of regression. You moved forward! You were doing the thing! Then it all went away.
“A Horse With No Name” by America
Song year: 1972
America's “A Horse With No Name” comes from their self-titled album. Singer Dewey Bunnell was inspired to write the song by the California desert air base where his father was stationed.
This song is cryptic and has been made fun of a lot during its time, but it is a great song about being lost that shows the listener that getting lost can be a journey in itself. Being lost isn’t always a bad thing; it can help you grow.
In this song, the singer is lost in a desert and doesn't seem bothered by it. It's not easy, but he's just walking through it, seeing what he sees and going where he goes until he makes it through the desert.
He probably won't be the same on the other side, but without that experience, he would never have the journey to becoming more than he was before.
“Just As Lost As You” by Gomez
Song year: 2011
Gomez's seventh album, Whatever's on Your Mind, brings us to the penultimate song in this list about feeling lost.
“Just As Lost As You” is about a failed relationship. There was a misunderstanding, a failure of communication, or just an incompatibility. Things went wrong for both of them, just in different ways.
The song's speaker is telling the other party that he knows they feel lost in the wreckage of that broken connection, but he does too.
There is an acknowledgment here and a try for company in misery, which, more than forging a connection, widens the cracks.
“Black Horse and the Cherry Tree” by KT Tunstall
Song year: 2006
KT Tunstall's “Black Horse and the Cherry Tree” from Eye of the Telescope is a metaphor for good, evil, and choices.
Tunstall found inspiration for the song from a dream and some images she stumbled on during a trip to Greece.
The lyrics here follow a woman who is lost. She finds herself in odd situations and has to navigate them without help to find her way and where she belongs.
It is about learning to make decisions and live with them. If you're going to come out of the woods, you need to do it on your own.
Best Songs About Being Lost, Final Thoughts
It is impossible not to feel lost sometimes. We may not know where we're going. Or we may know where we're going but not how to get there or stay there. We may get stuck in a hole we can't get out of.
Listening to songs about being lost or songs about feeling lost reminds us that we're not alone. Everyone feels this way. It also reminds us that finding your way is possible.
These fantastic songs about being lost tell us that we may feel lost, but we don't have to feel alone.