Songs about the future can be optimistic or filled with dreary, dystopic images. Some are less about life in general than a personal future for the narrator.
These songs represent several musical genres and styles, with top hits and some more obscure songs that didn't get much radio airplay.
1. “Future Looks Good” by OneRepublic
Song Year: 2016
Many popular songs feature lost loves, regrets, and life-changing events from the past. This song by OneRepublic focuses on the future and how important it is to let go of the past.
The music starts with a simple guitar with piano and percussion as the song gets richer toward the end. The lyrics are optimistic about what's to come, even though they hint that the past wasn't as rosy.
2. “Song for a Future Generation” by The B-52s
Song Year: 1983
“Song for a Future Generation” has that iconic, upbeat sound of the B-52s.
The song suggests that compatible people get together to have children to create an ideal population for the future, with references to mythical glamorous people like models and corporate leaders.
3. “The Future's So Bright, I Gotta Wear Shades” by Timbuk 3
Song Year: 1986
This popular song was the first track on Timbuk 3's debut album and their only hit song.
Many assume the song is about a positive future because of the title and the funky, upbeat music that make it fun to hear, but it's about the possibility of a nuclear holocaust.
4. “Riding to Work in the Year 2025” by The Flaming Lips
Song Year: 1997
Many songs by The Flaming Lips feel psychedelic and filled with existential dread like this one about a man commuting to work in the future on a ship.
The liner notes explain the song and how the pressure of thinking himself so important drives the commuter mad and forces him to wonder about the nature of insanity and reality.
5. “Future Lovers” by Madonna
Song Year: 2005
This synth-heavy song has a driving pop beat and several repeated lines that make it more about the sound and the feel than the lyrics.
The song urges the listener to let go of worldly things and stresses and focus on spirituality and love. Some interpret it to be about facing God after death, but it can also mean that love is more important than superficial things that people focus on, like money and appearances.
6. “Tomorrow” by John Legend
Song Year: 2022
John Legend collaborated on this song with Florian Picasso, Pablo Picasso's great-grandson, and hip-hop rapper Nas.
It's a mix of Legend's smooth singing voice and Nas' rap about how great tomorrow will be and how they won't let the world try to bring them down. The whole song is about how no one should feel bad about being happy no matter who tries to make them feel ashamed.
7. “Future” by Golden Earring
Song Year: 1982
This tune is one of the songs with future in the title that seems to have a bleak message and one that's not easy to interpret. It contains references to lying for survival and something that might be an assassination attempt.
The reference to a brave new world brings to mind the novel by Aldous Huxley, giving the song an even more dystopian feel.
8. “Tomorrow Never Knows” by The Beatles
Song Year: 1966
John Lennon wrote this psychedelic, sitar-backed song that appears on their album Revolver. The song features the first reversed guitar tracks recorded in a pop song.
The lyrics contain Eastern mysticism that Lennon adapted from The Psychedelic Experience: A Manual Based on the Tibetan Book of the Dead. He also used his own experiences with LSD to write the song.
9. “Next Year Baby” by Jamie Cullum
Song Year: 2004
“Next Year Baby” is one of the songs about the future that's based more on the narrator's specific life than what the world will be like someday.
The easy-listening jazz has a crisp, clear sound with bright piano and upbeat percussion. The narrator sings about everything he's going to do in the future to improve his life, including telling the object of his affection how he feels.
10. “Years From Now” by Don Williams
Song Year: 1981
Don Williams was a country singer who became popular in the 1970s and had 17 songs reach number one on the country record charts. The Country Music Hall of Fame inducted him in 2010, seven years before he died at age 78.
This sweet, slow love song is about how the narrator will still love his significant other in the years to come.
11. “Future Love” by Kristinia DeBarge
Song Year: 2009
Kristinia DeBarge released this R&B song after “Goodbye,” her first hit from her debut album. The singer said she viewed the song as her introduction to the world.
The lyrics tell the story of how the narrator's future love for someone won't change and will endure forever.