47 Songs About Letting Go & Moving On

Losing someone or something isn't easy. It's tough knowing you have to live life without them, yet you know you have to persevere nonetheless.

If you've ever been in a position where you've had to move on and leave something behind, then you'll take comfort in these beautiful songs about letting go.


“Let Her Go” by Passenger

Song year: 2012

“Let Her Go” is a soothing ballad about letting go of a lost love and trying to move on. The song has a melancholic and introspective feel to it, yet something is comforting within it.

The lyrics seem to describe the struggle of moving past a hard breakup, and while the vocalist of Passenger, Mike Rosenberg, has stated that this was his original intention, he also wanted people to interpret it as not understanding what you have until it's gone.

“Everybody Hurts” by R.E.M.

Song year: 1992

The song “Everybody Hurts” was written to stop teenagers from committing suicide. It's a heart-wrenching symphony full of beauty and includes a variety of themes, such as letting go, enduring, and making it through each day with optimism.

This song reminds us that everyone feels pain and everyone cries. While those times may seem dark and unforgiving, it's important to remember that there's always a light at the end of the tunnel.

“Keep Breathing” by Ingrid Michaelson

Song year: 2007

This folksy composition provides solace to those navigating the complexities of life. It counsels perseverance and exhorts the listener to persist in their pursuits despite the obstacles they may face.

It's also quite calming on the ears, as Ingrid's soft voice meshed with the light piano and violin accompaniments, creates a pretty, dream-like experience.

“Santa Monica Dream” by Angus and Julius Stone

Song year: 2010

While this one never topped the charts or spread like wildfire, it's a hidden gem in the world of slow-paced, acoustic melodies.

“Santa Monica Dream” is a pensive tune with lyrics that talk about getting left behind and saying goodbye to a fantasy you had with someone that was gone as fast as the wind. Not only does this song influence the people who listen to it, but it means a lot to the singer-songwriter, as there are accounts of her tearing up on stage while performing it.

“Carry On” by FUN

Song year: 2012

If you're looking for songs about moving forward to add to your playlist, then you can't forget “Carry On” by FUN. This 2012 hit was all the rage ten years ago and still holds up well today as a slightly melancholy, slightly optimistic bar anthem.

The beauty comes in the way this song's lyrics progress. It starts depressing and full of adversity, yet by the time the bridge comes in, there's a tonal shift to a more motivational message accompanied by an enthusiastic chorus.

“I Will Remember You” by Sarah McLachlan

Song year: 1993

While you might remember “I Will Remember You” from those animal abuse commercials, there's more to this song than just that.

In reality, it's a song about letting go of someone you love and cherishing the memories you made with them. The song is a tender ballad that speaks to the comfort that memories can bring and helps you cope with those who are gone.

“Time to Say Goodbye” by Andrea Bocelli and Sarah

Song year: 1995

Goodbyes don't always have to be sad. Sometimes they are grand and full of hope for the future. “Time to Say Goodbye” is one such instance as the two singers aren't saying goodbye to each other; instead, they are saying goodbye to their lives before they met.

Not only is this song pleasant to listen to (despite most of the lyrics being in Italian), but it's home to some of the most powerful, majestic vocals on Earth.

“Hysteria” by Nano

Song year: 2012

Another singer you probably haven't heard of, Nano, is a Japanese-American singer-songwriter best known for their song “Hysteria.”

If you listen to the ingenious lyrics in this song, you'll quickly realize this underappreciated rock masterpiece is incredibly meaningful, well-written, and all about letting go of past scars and experiences. Even if the style's not your cup of tea, it's a song everyone can relate to and understand on a personal level.

“Supermarket Flowers” by Ed Sheeran

Song year: 2017

Written for his deceased Grandmother, Ed Sheeran's “Supermarket Flowers” is an alluring piece that describes everything she did for him throughout his life.

It's, in part, a song of grievance, but more so a memorial that describes the positives of her life and shows how he can move on while maintaining her memory.

“See You Again” by Wiz Khalifa ft. Charlie Puth

Song year: 2015

In an age where almost every song about letting go is about teenage breakups, it's nice to see one about parting ways with a friend break through to the top of the charts and touch the hearts of billions.

And while part of the song's success had to do with the Fast and the Furious movie it was featured in, it's still a great song that tackles saying goodbye with melancholic optimism.

“Survivor” by Destiny's Child

Song year: 2001

Survivor is a pop-R&B piece that muses on the indomitable nature of the human spirit and serves as a reminder of our capacity to endure. It inspires the listener to continue to move forward and to forge ahead in the face of life's trials and tribulations.

That said, it's also a song with tons of attitude and empowerment. If you didn't feel motivated before, you certainly will after.

“Goodbye My Lover” by James Blunt

Song year: 2004

Whether it's death or a breakup, saying goodbye to a lover is never easy. “Goodbye, My Lover” encapsulates having someone you loved and considered a friend leave your life forever ideally, and puts the pain that comes from those past experiences into words.

Despite the singer believing they could have spent a lifetime together and all the cherished memories, he is still able to say goodbye. While it's not something he'd soon forget, he is willing to put a foot forward and move on stronger than before.

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