40 Songs About Identity, Belonging, and Having an Identity Crisis

Songs About Identity

Sometimes, it can seem that you are all alone in the world. Everything can look hopeless, from having no sense of who you are to having no place you belong to. Who can you talk to when you are feeling this detached from reality? Many musicians have been in the same place as you, singing about identity and belonging for as long as there has been music.Some go as far as to depict actual identity crises.

There are an infinite number of songs discussing identity, belonging, and identity crises, but here is our list of top modern songs that unmistakably have these themes.

Contents

“Between the Bars” by Elliott Smith

Song Year: 1997

The late Elliott Smith was a master at capturing existential thoughts people, especially young ones, have about identity and belonging.

“Between the Bars” is a song about the more negative aspects of identity. The song’s subject drinks to forget that they could’ve been somebody until they destroyed that chance and instead now loses their identity to the bottle.

“Going to Georgia” by The Mountain Goats

Song Year: 1994

From their very first album, “Going to Georgia” by the Mountain Goats, captures a sense of belonging to someone that you truly love and care about. Belonging to someone completes you as a person, and therefore completes your identity.

“Bedroom Community” by Glass Beach

Song Year: 2019

Glass Beach is a relatively new band, but they have already defined themselves by their music's eclectic mixture of genres.

“Bedroom Community” is one such song that explores a girl struggling with her sense of identity, standing out like a sore thumb in her suburban town for being emo. Whether she is comfortable with her identity or going through a crisis is up to debate, but it paints a perfect picture of being individualistic in identity.

“Existentialism on Prom Night” by Straylight Run

Song Year: 2004

Much like “Going to Georgia,” “Existentialism on Prom Night” explores a sense of belonging to someone. Because the couple described in the song feel as though they belong to each other, they can be themselves in their own company.

“Existentialism on Prom Night” also deals with coming to terms with your identity as you come of age and be your own self no matter what.

“Malfunction” by Steam Powered Giraffe

Song Year: 2016

“Malfunction” is a more straightforward song about identity than the rest on this list. It discusses how there is no one “correct” or “incorrect” sense of identity and that everyone has their own quirks that make their identity unique.

It should not be a surprise, as a result, that the song was written after one of the Steam Powered Giraffe members came to terms with her gender identity.

“Gender is Boring” by She/Her/Hers

Song Year: 2018

“Gender is Boring” challenges the traditional notions of identity, much like “Malfunction.” It challenges the idea of there only being one “correct” kind of identity, and that traditional gender roles are too restrictive to use as a sense of self.

“All the Things She Said” by t.A.T.u.

Song Year: 2002

A classic 2000s hit by Russian pop duo t.A.T.u., “All the Things She Said” details a girl going through her own identity crisis with her romantic attraction, especially as the people around her believe that her feelings are wrong.

“Rise Like a Phoenix” by Conchita Wurst

Song Year: 2014

The 2014 Eurovision Song Contest's winning song, “Rise Like a Phoenix,” is about someone coming to terms with who they really are, ascending past their insecure self and truly being confident in their identity.

“The Villain of This Story” by Machinae Supremacy

Song Year: 2014

“The Villain of This Story,” by Swedish metal/chiptune fusion band Machinae Supremacy, details someone coming to terms with their identity after waking up from a coma, realizing that she has no motives when all she does is murder.

“The Queen and the Soldier” by Suzanne Vega

Song Year: 1985

A ballad by alternative rock singer Suzanne Vega, “The Queen and the Soldier” is about a soldier visiting a queen.

On the surface, it seems to only be about the soldier trying to quit his job, but when you look deeper into the lyrics, you can see that it is really about a man trying to make sense of who a woman is, as she hides her true self.

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