Ready to listen to some deep songs about the meaning of life?
Songwriters can be extremely thoughtful people. As a result, they often contemplate the meaning of life. We’ve compiled a list of the best songs in which they’ve done so. After listening to these, it might change your world.
“The Climb” by Miley Cyrus
Song year: 2009
One of the first hits of her career, this song by Miley Cyrus touched listeners young and old with a message about perseverance and faith.
This emotional ballad accepts that life will never be free from hardships or trials. Humming this catchy tune, listeners can affirm alongside Miley that an optimistic attitude can move life’s mountains.
“Peace Train” by Cat Stevens
Song year: 1971
Written in the era of activism and societal change, “Peace Train” became a popular anthem advocating for community, harmony, and common purpose.
Drawing on the image of riding along a train, this song interprets life as moving towards a positive destination. The refrain urges all people to join Stevens towards greater peace. With the invigorating tone of this song, that dream just might come true.
“Sign of the Times” by Harry Styles
Song year: 2017
In this heart-wrenching ballad about despair and endurance, Harry Styles poetically wrestles with the contradictions of life.
Ideas in this song waver between strength and weakness to create a strikingly realistic depiction of life’s many emotions. This song ends its meditation on the state of the world with a call to escape with greater strength.
“Unwritten” by Natasha Bedingfield
Song year: 2004
Through bright vocals and cheerful instrumentation, this song creates an experience of positivity and acceptance that listeners can’t help but enjoy.
The lyrics in this song show the value of opening your senses to even the smallest moments. Through appreciating small joys, the biggest mysteries of life can unfold with that same positivity.
“100 Years” by Five for Fighting
Song year: 2004
This poignant and understated ballad explores the fleeting nature of moments across a single lifetime.
In this song, the singer briefly addresses himself between the ages of 15 and 99. As the years progress, his outlook on life becomes more discouraged. The final message to his younger self sadly expresses his wish for simply more time to live.
“Where Is the Love” by Black Eyed Peas
Song year: 2003
Inspired by the tragic events of 9/11, the Black Eyed Peas and Justin Timberlake came together to create a call for love in times of conflict.
Each melodic verse vividly illustrates the horrors of selfishness, violence, and division throughout the world. By acknowledging brokenness alongside hope, this song provides a compelling case for a better life through love.
“Ironic” by Alanis Morissette
Song year: 1995
For a lighthearted, sarcastic interpretation of life’s frustrations, “Ironic” by Alanis Morissette sets a catchy tune to some of life’s most depressing situations.
While expressing humor and wit through some of these exaggerated situations, Morissette embraces the mix-ups it may bring. Her ultimate attitude of acceptance shows that you may find greater comfort in life by laughing at the irony and cheerfully moving forward.
“What a Wonderful World” by Louis Armstrong
Song year: 1968
This well-beloved classic by Louis Armstrong shares a perspective marked by thankfulness and attention to beauty.
These simple, poetic lyrics observe the cycles of seasons, days, and weather with a kind word directed towards each change. Armstrong transitions this meditation to recognize the kindness, growth, and capabilities of those around him.
“Ghost” by Justin Bieber
Song year: 2021
Released shortly after the beginning of the worldwide pandemic, Justin Bieber explores themes of relationships, love, hope, and loss.
Bieber considers this song to ultimately be a pathway to growth for so many of those who must endure the loss of loved ones. The personal words of “Ghost” admit the pain of missing someone while celebrating that the memories remain.
“Skin” by Rascal Flatts
Song year: 2004
This country song tells a captivating story of a young girl with cancer.
The vivid lyrics in this song transport the listener into the experience of a sick girl who now feels the tension between her fears and dreams. She learns to find happiness in new ways as she appreciates her present life to the fullest.
“Cats in the Cradle” by Harry Chapin
Song year: 1974
This narrative-driven song tells the story of an aging father and son through its pensive folk style.
The common theme of this song is expressed through the repeated chorus, voicing avoidance and uncertainty about responsibilities. In a true pessimistic fashion, the son adopts the same attitude as his father, leaving him to feel the weight of a life spent separated from his family.
“Waterfalls” by TLC
Song year: 1994
Deceptively upbeat, this song explores the damage of getting swept away by unrealistic desires.
The chorus of “Waterfalls” urges listeners to adhere to their normal routines instead of following grand ideas. However, the two verses depict individuals who are set in their destructive ways. Whatever the meaning of this song, it is clear that the meaning of life is striving to flourish.
“Let It Be” by The Beatles
Song year: 1970
This iconic tune preaches a message of peace and acceptance even during difficult experiences.
As “Let It Be” repeats the simple chorus throughout the song, that refrain becomes a mantra to reveal the band’s take on the meaning of life. Expressing faith and trust in the goodwill of the universe enables you to have a more positive attitude even in hardship.
“Fast Car” by Tracy Chapman
Song year: 1988
This Grammy-winning song remains a meaningful and beloved representation of the human experience through hope and disappointment.
As the lyrics follow a girl through her growth into adulthood, the theme of escaping in a fast car follows her through her life. Though many experiences let her down, the promise of change enables her to continue.
“Live Like You Were Dyin” by Tim McGraw
Song year: 2004
Through a simple message of deeper presence, this song explores the many ways gratitude changes the way you live.
This country favorite shares a compelling message to embrace the thrills and relationships of life. As McGraw explores the prospect of dying young, he can accept all the blessings of life. Listeners are urged to put on this same mindset.
“Keep Your Head Up” by Andy Grammer
Song year: 2011
The catchy melody of this song spreads optimism to all listeners by promising that every difficult circumstance will eventually turn around for good.
The insightful lyrics of Andy Grammer show ways that a positive attitude can bring about change. This reminder helps to shed brightness on frustrations and helps listeners adopt this chorus into their daily lives.
“Make Your Own Kind Of Music” by Cass Elliot
Song year: 1969
In this timeless anthem for individualism, Cass Elliot explores the delight of unapologetically being true to yourself.
This pop song seeks to persuade young people and adults alike to authentically express themselves. While acknowledging that originality can be difficult or occasionally divisive, Elliot insists that this will give your life the most meaning.
“Doom Days” by Bastille
Song year: 2019
Though this song appears to express extreme pessimism about the world, careful listeners can discover pockets of hope as well.
The basic purpose of this song lists the many wayward choices of modern culture. This self-aware recognition of his faults allows the singer to accept those facts of life and instead focus on his companion who matters most to him.
“The A Team” by Ed Sheeran
Song year: 2010
This emotional ballad draws from Ed Sheeran’s personal experience with individuals who are struggling in life.
While this song does seek to find beauty in these difficult experiences it depicts, the ultimate message centers on the harsh realities of life. Sheeran grapples with finding good in people even in bleak circumstances.
“Bad Day” by Daniel Powter
Song year: 2005
With a small-scale focus on one bad day in a person’s life, this quirky song shares a broader message of tenacity and playfulness.
Through a handful of cliche suggestions for coping with a bad day, this song enables listeners to address feelings of disappointment without brooding too deeply. The hope is that after turning on this sad song, people won’t feel so bad anymore.
“Weird World” by Backstreet Boys
Song year: 2005
This song by the Backstreet Boys creates a patchwork of moments in life to draw greater conclusions about the meaning of life.
In this lighthearted tune, the singers proclaim the strange contradictions and missed connections that can occur in the world. However, they ultimately spread a message of love by recognizing these oddities and choosing to focus on what matters.
“Don’t Take the Girl” by Tim McGraw
Song year: 1994
This heart-wrenching ballad about the growth of a boy and girl invites every listener to explore the most important parts of life.
McGraw’s “Don’t Take the Girl” follows a boy as he grows up, changes his mind, and learns how to protect his partner. This song concludes by repeating the first few lines of the song, drawing out the value of those earliest moments of love and connection.
“No Tears Left to Cry” by Ariana Grande
Song year: 2018
Following the tragic attack at one of Ariana Grande’s concerts, this song captures the experience of mending pain.
As Ariana faced the terrible realities of death and loss, she may have learned a difficult lesson about picking up the broken pieces and continuing life as best as she can. The positive outlook of this song suggests that it is a fulfilling perspective.
“Dust in the Wind” by Kansas
Song year: 1977
Both chilling and comforting, this song meditates on the temporary nature of life.
The lyricist attaches the simple metaphor of dust to all experiences in the world including humanity, nature, and money. While some may gather a depressing philosophy from this song, the view of temporality can also give more meaning to the present moment.
“Young And Beautiful” by Lana Del Rey
Song year: 2013
Written for a film adaptation of “The Great Gatsby,” this epic song explores the delights of youth and the comforts of aging.
As the song title suggests, the beauty of youth will not last forever. Though the lyrics revel in the fun and luxury of that younger age, the chorus affirms that love can continue even without that glamor.
“Stronger” by Kanye West
Song year: 2007
This genre-bending hit from Kanye West and Daft Punk includes a surprising sense of perseverance in the repeated sections of the song.
This motivating song voices the popular sayings that life conquers weakness. Amid the verses’ depicting enjoyment of the fast life, Kanye’s chorus preaches a deeper lesson of survival and progression.
“Note to Self” by Ben Rector
Song year: 2015
This song is rooted in concrete scenes and tasks common to everyday life, advocating for greater awareness and selflessness even in the mundane.
Ben Rector fills every verse of this song with wisdom on living a deeper life through practices like exercise, love, and sacrifice. Ultimately, he concludes that the most fulfilling life comes from putting others first.
“Semi-Charmed Life” by Third Eye Blind
Song year: 1997
Shown through the lens of a volatile relationship, this song expresses a keen desire for a greater sense of fulfillment than the present moment.
The narrator and his girlfriend explore many physical pleasures throughout this song, yet they keep returning to the desire for something else. This song addresses the meaning of life through indirectly discovering those things that only leave him wanting more.
“The Gambler” by Kenny Rogers
Song year: 1978
Another narrative song that suggests a much deeper meaning is Kenny Rogers’ “The Gambler.”
Acting as an acquaintance to an old gambler in this story, the lyricist records the life lessons learned by this seasoned man. Among some of the lessons he has learned is to exercise patience, caution, and faith in the unpredictable game of life.
“Happy” by Pharrell Williams
Song year: 2014
Written for the popular Pixar film “Despicable Me 2,” this song accurately captures the power of a positive attitude.
The song “Happy” supports Gru’s transition from a sad villain to a happy man. Through images of sunshine, clear skies, and clapping, this song appreciates the newfound meaning of a life filled with happiness.
“Changes” by David Bowie
Song year: 1971
With a focus on the continuous passing of time, “Changes” takes a lighthearted approach to the heaviness of life.
While many may sing along to this song without realizing the deeper meaning, those who examine the lyrics will find that David Bowie wrestles with the reality of being changed by time with no way to stop that process.
“Something’s Missing” by John Mayer
Song year: 2003
This introspective blues song by John Mayer captures his dissatisfaction with life even when everything appears perfect.
Mayer recognizes that though he has many physical and social comforts in his life, he still longs for something more. Unfortunately, this song never discovers what can fix his loneliness.
“Funny the Way It Is” by Dave Matthews Band
Song year: 2009
Filled with clever juxtapositions and ironic situations, this song examines many of life’s great injustices.
Every listener who tunes into this song’s insightful lyrics will be left with a feeling of awe for how vast and how contradictory this life can be. By ultimately laughing at the state of the world, this song can produce a greater appreciation for all of life’s meaningful moments.
Top Songs About the Meaning of Life, Final Thoughts
We hope these songs give you a greater appreciation for the meaning of life!
It is amazing to see how unique every perspective can be. If you have a song to share on this topic, we can help! I’d love to hear your song about the meaning of life.