If there’s one thing we can count on in life, it’s change.
Everything is changing around us.
Even you and I are changing, even though we don’t always notice it.
But change isn’t always comfortable or easy.
There are times to embrace it, times to deal with it and more.
In this guide, we’ve dug up some of the best songs about change, so read on to discover what they are.
“The Times They Are A-Changin’” by Bob Dylan
Song year: 1964
It seems heretical to start this list off with any other song.
In “The Times They Are a-Changin’” by Bob Dylan, each verse tells a different story.
But the core message of the song is clear.
Change is a constant in life.
You can’t expect anything to remain the same.
And, anything that appears one way now may appear differently in the future.
“Regime Change” by Disciple
Song year: 2006
“Regime Change” by Disciple is a song about the battlefield of the mind.
As their song suggests, there is a battle going on in everyone’s mind, and that is the battle between good and evil.
Disciple is a Christian band, so that brings the context of sin and forgiveness into the picture.
But even if not for that, if you love hard rock, this is a great song to put on when you’re looking to say “goodbye” to your old self and welcome a new self into the world.
“Changes” by David Bowie
Song year: 1971
There aren’t too many “face value” David Bowie songs out there, and this isn’t one of them either.
And, to be fair, there are many ways of looking at this song.
The most accessible interpretation is that it’s a song about reinventing oneself artistically – something Bowie himself did many times throughout his career.
And, his reinventions had little to do with remaining relevant and more to do with staying ahead of the mainstream, in “Avant Garde” territory.
Regardless, on some level, we know this is a song about going through changes.
“Man In The Mirror” by Michael Jackson
Song year: 1988
This is basically a song about wanting change in the world, but instead of looking outwardly and blaming others, it’s about taking responsibility for the change you want to see.
“Man In The Mirror” refers to people with not enough to eat and people without homes, so we know the narrator was speaking specifically about poverty and the changes he wanted to make in that regard.
And, the key message is that if you want to make anything happen, first, you must look at yourself and ask yourself what you’ve done to make a difference.
“Waiting On The World To Change” by John Mayer
Song year: 2006
It was hard to avoid this early R&B inspired song in the mid to late 00s.
The song tells the story of a generation that knows the deck isn’t stacked in their favor.
While they’re aware of all the problems in the world, they also don’t feel like they can beat the system.
Thus, “waiting on the world to change.”
Did you know that’s what this song was about?
This is Mayer’s first song with political leanings.
“A Change Would Do You Good” by Sheryl Crow
Song year: 1996
In the mid-90s, if you managed to avoid this Sheryl Crow song, you probably never listened to the radio, watched TV or stepped outside of the house.
Apparently, the trio responsible for this song were so inspired that lyrical ideas for the song were abundant, and they ended up drawing them from a hat.
In the 90s, however, there were plenty of abstract songs, especially in the grunge genre, so this one somehow seemed to fit right in.
Each verse, however, alludes to someone specific.
The first verse is about music producer Bill Bottrell, who left in the middle of the albums’ production.
The second verse is about Madonna.
The third verse is about Sheryl Crow herself.
So, the basic theme of the song is that we all need to change from time to time.
We need to reevaluate occasionally and consider what might be our best move forward.
“Changes” by 3 Doors Down
Song year: 2002
There are different ways of interpreting “Changes” by 3 Doors Down.
On the one hand, it could be a song about depression and anxiety, and the loneliness that can come with it.
On the other hand, it could be a song about transitions.
Making a transition isn’t always easy, whether it’s moving to a new city, taking a new job or entering a new relationship.
We all go through changes, whatever they may be.
The key thing to understand is that going through changes isn’t wrong.
It’s a natural part of life, and even if you feel alone while going through the process, it’s important to embrace it so you’ll come out on the other end stronger and better able to deal with the challenges of life.
“Change” by Faith Evans
Song year: 2010
“Change” by Faith Evans is a pseudo-political song about – well – change.
The message is clearly intended to be inspirational, but for me it misses the mark because it’s so general.
Change could apply to anything.
And, while we can talk about “more”, “better” and “different”, by whose standards can we measure those things?
The only “statement” this song makes is in the second verse, which again makes some vague comments about children, being united and creating our promised land.
Again, it’s just too vague to mean anything.
Still, that’s just my opinion, and if this song leaves you feeling inspired, there’s nothing wrong with that.
More power to you.
And, it’s a well-written song, so to that extent, it’s worth a listen.
“Change” by Blind Melon
Song year: 1992
“Change” by Blind Melon is a little schizophrenic.
But maybe that’s not so bad when we’re talking about a subject like change.
The first verse seems to be about depression more than anything.
Then, the chorus seems to be about someone who’s “on their way out” being judged by his peers.
The second verse is about keeping your dreams alive.
The bridge is about seizing the moment.
So, yeah, it kind of jumps around.
I think the message of the song is basically contained within the final words:
“When life is hard, you have to change.”
And, it’s okay if others don’t agree with the way you change.
You don’t need their validation.
“Change” by Good Charlotte
Song year: 2000
“Change” by Good Charlotte is basically a song about being in love with someone who doesn’t love you back.
We’ve all been there.
I’ve even covered songs about unrequited love before.
Anyway, it’s true that you can’t always change the way you feel.
But most of all, you can’t change the way others feel about you.
The only thing you can be responsible for is you.
And, it’s not exactly easy when someone tells you “there’s no chance.”
But you’ve got to move on.
It’s the best thing you can do for yourself.
“We Never Change” by Coldplay
Song year: 2000
“We Never Change” is perhaps better understood as part of their 2000 release, Parachutes.
The entire album is basically about unrequited love, which this song seems to hint at as well.
If I were to take a stab at something more specific this song is pointing to, I would say it’s about escaping, because of the references to flying and living in a wooden house.
Instead of facing the truth, the narrator is content to run away.
He hasn’t accepted anything yet.
He’s still in denial about the love he desires but may never come to be.
It’s true – sometimes relationships don’t change.
It doesn’t mean they can’t, but we can’t stay in denial forever either.
“Change” by Tears For Fears
Song year: 1983
Songwriter and joint vocalist for Tears For Fears Roland Orzabal says this song isn’t about anything specific.
That’s a relief, because you could be scratching your head looking at the lyrics.
On some level, it appears to be a song about unrequited love.
Still, there are so many other ways you could interpret it.
I guess the main takeaway here is that change is always possible.
Of course, the paradox is reflected in this lyric:
“What it’s all too late/It’s all too late.”
Either way, the accompanying music is cool.
“Change” by Taylor Swift
Song year: 2008
“Change” by Taylor Swift seems to echo the sentiments of Mayer’s “Waiting For The World To Change”, especially these lines:
“So we’ve been outnumbered/Raided and now cornered/It’s hard to fight when the fight ain’t fair/We’re getting stronger now/Find things they never found.”
Apparently, however, the song is about Swift signing to the smallest label in Nashiville, Tennessee.
She didn’t know whether the label would have a fighting chance and started writing “Change.”
She completed the song the day after she won the Horizon Award at the 2007 Country Music Association Awards.
So, the song is positive proof that even when a battle appears to be hopeless, it doesn’t mean you don’t have a chance.
If you keep the faith and work hard, your dreams can come true.
“Change” by Wide Mouth Mason
Song year: 2000
“Change” is a fun, catchy and funky song by Canadian blues-based rock band, Wide Mouth Mason.
And, honestly, it sounds a lot like Prince could have written it.
This is a song about being yourself.
It’s a commentary on how we try so hard to fit in, play by the rules and lose ourselves in the process.
“Did you bring anything that you made yourself?/Did it all come from somebody else?/Are you there, anywhere/On the ground, in a chair/Asking flesh and blood for help.”
It’s okay to express who you truly are.
“We Gotta Get Out Of This Place” by The Animals
Song year: 1965
This is a song about wanting to run away with your lover before time runs out.
You notice people around you getting older.
If you want to go on an adventure, now is the time.
You can’t wait around anymore.
You know there’s a better life just waiting for you around the corner.
This song carries all these sentiments with it and more.
“We gotta get out of this place/If it’s the last thing we ever do/We gotta get out of this place/’Cause girl, there’s a better life for me and you.”
“There’s No Home For You Here” by The White Stripes
Song year: 2003
Breakup is imminent in “There’s No Home For You Here.”
The narrator is done with the girl he’s been with and he’s ready to break up.
The song even seems to indicate that it’s been rough going with this girl:
“I’m only waiting for the proper time to tell you/That it’s impossible to get along with you/It's hard to look you in the face when we are talking/So it helps to have a mirror in the room.”
Change is coming for the partners in crime.
“All Things Must Past” by George Harrison
Song year: 1970
A song in which the narrator attempts to comfort his lover, who he is now leaving.
He reassures her:
“All things must pass/All things must pass away.”
Sometimes there comes a time when you need to let go of someone.
It’s hard to know what to say.
And, even if it isn’t necessarily easy, but you know it needs to be done.
That’s what this song is all about.
“Slowly Slipping Away” by Harem Scarem
Song year: 1991
“Slowly Slipping Away” by Harem Scarem is about finding new love.
If the greatest hurts come from those we know and love, then the greatest healing also comes from those we know and love.
“I feel it in the morning/I feel lit all through the day/I feel the heartache slowly slipping away/Slowly slipping away.”
Whatever heartache and disappointment you’ve experienced, if you’re beginning to find healing in it, you’ll love this song.
“A Change Is Gonna Come” by Sam Cooke
Song year: 1964
At first glance, this appears to be a vague song about homelessness.
Dig deeper into it and you will discover it’s a song about racism.
As the story goes, in 1963, Cooke made a reservation at the Holiday Inn North in Shreveport, Louisiana for his wife and himself.
After arriving, the desk clerk turned them away.
Cooke left reluctantly, hurling insults and blaring horns as they headed to Castle Motel on Sprague Street downtown, where he got arrested for disturbing the peace.
“I go to the movie and I go downtown/Somebody keep tellin’ me don’t hang around/It’s been a long, a long time coming/But I know a change gonna come, oh yes it will.”
“Change” by Christina Aguilera
Song year: 2016
For all those who thought that 90s music had cornered the social commentary market, you might be surprised to find modern artists talking about the very things that people were also concerned about only 20 to 30 years ago.
“Hurt” by Christina Aguilera is basically a song about racism and the freedom to be who we are.
Freedom is often taken for granted, as though it’s something that has already been achieved.
For some people, however, that’s still far from the truth.
This song reminds us that we aren’t free.
“Waiting for a change to set us free/Waiting for the day when you can be you and I can be me/Waiting for hope to come around/Waiting for the day when hate is lost and love is found/Waiting for a change, waiting for a change/Change, change.”
“Change” by Carrie Underwood
timSong year: 2009
“Change” by Carrie Underwood is a song about poverty.
Some people find it hard to believe poverty is still a thing in 2020.
Some believe the government is to blame.
Some ignore the issue completely.
And, many feel there’s no way they could possibly change the world.
“You’re just a fool/Just a fool/To believe you can change the world.”
True, you might not be able to solve the world’s problems and it might even seem overwhelming.
This song reminds us that we can still make a difference, even if it’s just one small step at a time.
“Heal The World” by Michael Jackson
Song year: 1991
“Heal The World” reminds us that we can make our world a better place for ourselves and everyone around us.
It also reminds us of the power of love.
When it comes down to it, love is a verb.
We show our love through the things we do.
Yes, we can show our love through the words we say too.
But at the end of the day, we make the biggest difference through the things we do.
“We could fly so high/Let our spirits never die/In my heart I feel you are all my brothers/Create a world with no fear/Together we cry happy tears/See the nation turn their swords into plowshares.”
Together we can heal the world.
“What About Now” by Daughtry
Song year: 2006
There are a couple ways to interpret this song.
The first is that the narrator is trying to save a relationship before it falls apart.
So, with the repeated “What if” statements in the chorus, the narrator is begging his lover to stay with him.
The second way to interpret this song is through the music video, which depicts scenes of poverty, natural disasters, war and world issues.
This is probably closer to the heart of the song, even though the lyrics don’t reflect it.
Either way, it’s a call to action.
The song is prompting us to make a change today.
“What about now? What about today?/What if you’re making me all that I was meant to be?/What if our love never went away?/What if it’s lost behind words we could never find?/Baby, before it’s too late, what about now?”
“I Need To Wake Up” by Melissa Etheridge
Song year: 2005
As children, we are uninhibited.
We dream up wild dreams of what our future will be like.
As we become adults, we can easily lose our faith and hope in what we once believed to be possible.
And, as we encounter more and more challenges, we find ourselves giving up – sometimes bit by bit, sometimes in a vacuum.
“I Need To Wake Up” by Melissa Etheridge is a song that’s intended to wake us up and help us get back into the fight once more, regardless of what that fight may be.
“’Cause I need to move/I need to wake up/I need to change/I need to shake up/I need to speak out/Something’s got to break up/I’ve been asleep/And I need to wake up/Now.”
“Imagine” by John Lennon
Song year: 1971
This list would hardly be complete without the presence of this entry.
But as some have pointed out, this is kind of a weird song.
It’s a call to imagine a world without countries, religion, possessions, greed or hunger.
Clearly, these are the things Lennon thought was holding the world back.
And, who are we to tell him he was wrong?
“You, you may say I’m a dreamer/But I’m not the only one/I hope someday you will join us/And the world will be as one.”
And, Lennon was certainly on to something when he asked us to “imagine.”
Before we know what direction to head in, we need a clear vision for the world as it should be.
Once we have that vision, we can begin to find the steps necessary to get us to where we need to go.
“With My Own Two Hands” by Ben Harper
Song year: 2003
As we've already seen, there are many songs today about how much of a struggle it is to try to change the world.
But isn’t struggle just a perception?
Maybe it’s not as hard as we think it is.
Maybe it’s just about taking one small step, and then another, and then following the path laid out before you.
“With My Own Two Hands” is an inspiring and uplifting song by Ben Harper.
It’s empowering, because it lets us know that we can cause positive change in the world with our own two hands.
“I can make peace on earth, with my own two hands/And I can clean up the earth, oh with my own two hands/And I can reach out to you, with my own two hands/With my own, with my own two hands/Oh, with my own, oh with my own two hands.”
“Love Is Still The Answer” by Jason Mraz
Song year: 2018
What is life about?
Why are we here?
Is it on purpose?
Or is it by accident?
Sometimes, there are no clear answers to our existential questions.
At the end of the day, Jason Mraz says it’s all about love:
“There’s only one answer that matters/Even if your heart has been shattered/Whatever you want, whatever you are after/Love is still the answer/Love is still the answer.”
We can’t confirm or deny that love is the answer.
But we do know that love makes us feel better about ourselves and the world.
“I Won’t Back Down” by Tom Petty And The Heartbreakers
Song year: 1989
Sometimes we must stand for change.
We never know what we might come up against as we’re trying to cause change in the world.
People might keep pushing us around.
They might come against us.
You might experience oppression.
That doesn’t mean the change you’re standing for is wrong.
If you believe the change, you’re trying to cause in the world is worthwhile, you can’t back down.
“No, I’ll stand my ground/Won’t be turned around/And I’ll keep this world from draggin’ me down/Gonna stand my ground/And I won’t back down.”
“That’s How You Change The World” by Newsboys
Song year: 2013
You dream of change.
You believe you can accomplish anything.
But when it comes time to act, you don’t even notice the people close to you who are suffering.
This song reminds us that we don’t need to do big things to cause big change.
“It’s a prayer in an empty room/Little things we do when nobody’s around/A hand reaching out/To a heart in doubt/It’s the smallest spark/That can light the dark.”
We can all change the world one act at a time.
“If Everyone Cared” by Nickelback
Song year: 2006
Yet another song about the difference love could make in the world.
As with most Nickelback songs, “If Everyone Cared” is vague enough that it could apply to a variety of situations.
But it certainly is prompting us to think about how the world could be different if love prevailed.
“If everyone cared and nobody cried/If everyone loved and nobody lied/If everyone shared and swallowed their pride/Then we’d see the day when nobody died.”
As we all know, if there are any certainties in life, it’s that we will all one day pass.
But if Nickelback is saying that nobody needs to die before their time, in a way, they are right.
“Time Bomb” by Harem Scarem
Song year: 2008
Do you know anyone that’s on the verge of falling apart?
Yet, they won’t admit to anything they’re going through.
They pretend as though everything is fine.
But from the outside looking in, you can see that they’re a time bomb ready to explode.
That’s what “Time Bomb” by Harem Scarem is all about.
“Everybody bleeds/Mind body and soul/I know you’re a time bomb/Ready to explode.”
“Break Away” by The Beach Boys
Song year: 1969
Oddly, “Break Away” is not a song about surfing.
It’s about celebrating your own freedom.
“But now each day is filled with the love, that very same love/That passed me by and that is why/I can breakaway from that lonely life/And I can do what I want to do/And breakaway from that empty life and my world is new.”
We all feel euphoric and happy at times.
This is a song about embracing those feelings and living the life of your dreams.
“Change” by Ace Frehley
Song year: 2014
One day, you wake up to find your life isn’t exactly what you hoped it would be.
Even though you’re living the life others envy, you become present to the fact that you’re no one special and you haven’t accomplished the things you set out to do.
As Ace Frehley says, you can still pick yourself up and change.
“You find your life is not quite like what you thought it would be/And you don’t that you can hold the world in your hand/And all the people surrounding you just want what you have/So you’ve been weak up until now that your soul has been stripped…/Naked in the sand.”
“Change” by Lana Del Rey
Song year: 2017
When you read the lyrics to “Change” by Lana Del Rey, it’s kind of like reading someone’s brainstorming or free association on the topic of change.
The song makes some blanket statements about change being powerful but that’s not objectively the case – change just is.
Being a stand for change, on the other hand, can be incredibly powerful.
It also talks about the idea that change is going to come, but that’s just an obvious truth.
To be fair, this section of the song is about taking responsibility for yourself instead of just standing by being a passive observer:
“Lately I’ve been thinking it’s just someone else’s job to care/Who am I to sympathize when no one gave a damn?/I’ve been thinking it’s just someone else’s job to care/’Cause who am I to wanna try but.”
It’s kind of a funny song in my opinion.
“Calm Before The Storm” by Harem Scarem
Song year: 2008
Do you ever feel like you’re destined to repeat the same things over and over?
Does it seem like you get the same results every single time, no matter what approach you take?
Then you’ve gotten the essence of “Calm Before The Storm” by Harem Scarem.
“You will drop down to your knees/Bathe in the foul rain of defeat/Count up your blessings/Choke down your pills.”
This song could apply to a variety of situations, whether it’s overcoming addiction, the futility of trying to achieve a goal, relationships that keep failing and so on.
This song comes from the Harem Scarem album titled Hope, however, which lets us know there is always hope.
Songs About Change, Final Thoughts
Change can take many forms.
And, even though it’s constant, sometimes we don’t even notice it until we find ourselves going through major changes – graduating, getting married, buying a car or a house, landing a windfall, falling ill, going through bankruptcy, breaking up, losing someone you love and so on.
When it comes to bringing about change in the world, it’s important to remember that we all have the power necessary to be the stand we need to be for others.
All that’s required of us is to take one step and then another.
In closing, I’ll leave you with this famous quote by Mohandas Gandhi:
Be the change you want to see in the world.