31 Songs About Leaving – Work, Home, Or The Past Behind

Sometimes you just want to leave it all behind. Whether it’s things that have happened in your past, leaving home, or something as simple as leaving work for the day.

If you’re in the mood to hear songs about one of the above situations, or many other such ‘leave’ scenarios, here are some of the best songs above leaving things behind. Just don’t leave this list too soon. 😉

“Never Going Back Again” by Fleetwood Mac

Song Year: 1977

One of the shortest songs from a hugely successful band, Fleetwood Mac, this song is about feeling pain from your past and trying to leave it behind. The song, albeit short, talks about a girl from the past and the mutually toxic relationship she and the vocalist shared. He sings about depression and trying to move on and leave the past in the past.

It is rumored that this song was actually written about the messy breakup between Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks, both artists in Fleetwood Mac. Whether or not that is true, this song is quick, catchy, and gives you all the feels.

“Breakaway” by Kelly Clarkson

Song Year: 2004

After her exciting win in the popular singing show, “American Idol,” Kelly Clarkson released this moving song about leaving home and the past behind. In it, she talks about never feeling at home in her small town and always wanting to belong somewhere. She learned that in order to be happy, she needed to let the past go.

This song is powerful and is easy to relate to. Kelly Clarkson wanted to make her own way in the world and she did. The song comes full circle as she ends with humbly singing that she will not forget her roots, even as she learns to soar.

“Changes” by David Bowie

Song Year: 1971

Bowie never fails to produce a chart-topper, and “Changes” is no exception. This tune is about facing the future and the unfamiliar and not being afraid to make waves. It may also have a double meaning about being unsatisfied with the world the previous generation left and a general distaste for “the man.” No argument here.

This song has an upbeat melody and tone, but the lyrics are also highly motivational. This is a great song to listen to as you go off to college, take a job in a new city, or when you are making any changes of your own.

“Movin’ Out (Anthony’s Song)” by Billy Joel

Song Year: 1977

Billy Joel is famous for his songs about the average Joe, living in America, earning him the nickname, “The Storyteller.” His music always has a way of transporting you into the song and making you feel like you know the people and the places he is singing about. “Movin’ Out” is about a young man that becomes dissatisfied with his home situation.

In the song, this young man, presumably Anthony, feels that he will not ever get where he wants to be in his small town, and therefore decides to leave home and “move out.” This is a great song to listen to when you have finally saved up enough to escape your oppressively small hometown and parents, assuming you have such burdens.

“Mexico” by Cake

Song Year: 1998

Cake is an alternative rock band from the 90s that never really got the recognition it deserved. Honestly, who does not love a band with a trumpet? “Mexico” is a song from one of their earliest albums about a relationship the lead singer had with a girl that was just a little too good for him.

He sings about comparing the two of them and how he always felt he stood in the shadow of her successes. He felt there was nothing to do but cross the border. The song ends there, so one can only hope he found what he was looking for south of the border.

Both Sides Now- Joni Mitchell

Song Year: 1969

Joni Mitchell wrote this song decades ago and yet this particular tune paints a beautiful and relatable picture for the listener today. This is a great song to give you perspective about leaving different situations after the fact.

Mitchell sings about the highs and lows of life with multiple metaphors and how moving on in your life and learning from the past can help shape you into the person you want to be.

“Go Your Own Way” by Fleetwood Mac

Song Year: 1977

Fleetwood Mac has a particular talent for writing songs with upbeat tunes and heartbreaking lyrics. “Go Your Own Way” is a perfect example of this, and was such a fan favorite that it appeared on multiple albums for Fleetwood Mac.

This song talks about how it is impossible to keep someone from leaving you when they have already made up their mind. It is a good reminder to let both things and people go, and that hanging on to the past will only hurt you in the long run.

“Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)” by Greenday

Song Year: 1997

One of the slower, more in your feels, songs from Greenday, “Good Riddance” is a song that divided their fan base. Written more as a ballad than a punk anthem, this song tells of the trouble with growing up and leaving the past to die.

When you are feeling nostalgic about your hometown or your college days, this song is a deeply cathartic way to release some of the melancholy feelings you may have. At the end of your life, it does not pay to live in the past, so this song preaches learning from your wins and losses and moving forward.

“Send Me On My Way” by Rusted Root

Song Year: 1992

This song first appeared on a Rusted Root album in 1992, but has since then appeared over a dozen times in movies, TV shows, and commercials. The vocalist can be hard to understand so feel free to look up the lyrics, but the artists themselves have said that many phrases are not real words in this song.

Interpretations of this song include happiness to be going on a journey and even the joy that can come with leaving behind a situation that you are done with. Whether you are leaving a bad relationship, a toxic job, or a situation that was not making you happy, this song is sure to put you in a bright and cheery mood.

Leaving On a Jet Plane- John Denver

Song Year: 1966

John Denver was actually a test plane pilot by hobby, and was killed when one such test resulted in a devastating crash. This fact alone gives a whole new, heartbreaking meaning to this song.

This song is about the sorrow one feels when leaving a loved one or their home behind. If you are leaving people you love and want a good cry, this is the perfect song to help release the pain.

The Anthem- Good Charlotte

Song Year: 2002

This is the ultimate rebel song about leaving the status quo and being your own person. It is up to interpretation if the singer is talking about an oppressive home life or some jerk teacher, but he very clearly does not want to be associated with them anymore.

Aptly named, this is truly “The Anthem” for when you need to leave behind something, or someone, that is holding you back.

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