Sometimes we want to pass the time with a song about passing the time. So, in no particular order, here are the best songs about time passing.
“Time in a Bottle” By Jim Croce
Song Year: 1993
This song is all about the issue we all face; never having enough time. Whether it’s for our hobbies, dreams, or loved ones, it feels like we spend our lives searching for something to do, rather than just doing it.
Finding someone to spend those fleeting moments with can make all the difference, since there’s no way to actually bottle up and store time.
“Yesterday” By The Beatles
Song Year: 1965
Yesterday is the quintessential song for those who long for a better moment from the past. Lost days and missed opportunities look so much more enticing when you get farther and farther from them.
Whether it’s a lost love or a memory of childhood, we all yearn for easier times the older we get.
“The Time Warp” By Richard O'Brien
Song Year: 1975
The Time Warp is a fabulous summation of how time can seem to move at different rates. Moments of fun rush by in a blur, while boring things drag out forever.
For being a linear concept, time seems to move and warp when we least expect it. This song is just one example of how time seems to move faster. At just over three minutes, it feels like it’s over in half that time.
“Passing Through (Can’t the Future Just Wait)” By Kaden Mackay
Song Year: 2021
For anyone wondering if people still make songs about time passing, behold Passing Through. This song came out in 2021 and asks why the future always has to come.
We try to hold onto moments, but sometimes it’s better to let things lie in the past.
“The Next Ten Minutes” By Jason Robert Brown
Song Year: 2001
This song was created for a musical in 2001 and used in the 2015 screen adaptation. It really sums up just how falling in love can change our perception of time. The characters go from asking for a mere ten minutes to asking for forever.
It’s the perfect representation of how our feelings shift when we go from casual dating to wanting to spend our life with someone.
“Who Wants to Live Forever” By Queen
Song Year: 1986
Though it’s come to be associated with Freddie’s passing, this song was actually written by Brian May. It’s a somber look at how one good god moment in life can be enough. We don’t need to live forever and experience everything, but rather take what we can while we can get it.
“Changing Times” By Iwan Rheon
Song Year: 2011
Changing Times is a forgotten gem of the early 2010s. It’s an upbeat song about learning to accept how people change.
This song explores how life is hard to keep up with at times and the things we think are important at the moment can pass by in the blink of an eye.
“The Changing Times” By Earth, Wind, & Fire
Song Year: 1981
Earth, Wind, & Fire crafted a song that is a message for the youth of any generation. It’s all about how the world can change unexpectedly and how you need to be independent and self-reliant to adapt. It’s an ode to every new generation and how they bring progress and ingenuity to the world, all wrapped up in a groovy melody.
“Ever Changing Times” By Aretha Franklin ft. Michael McDonald
Song Year: 1991
Ever Changing Times is another look at how people change over time; how we grow together and grow apart, lose our childhood dreams, and accept that things don’t stay the same.
This song is smooth and soulful; a beautiful look at the passage of time with a positive message.
“Here Comes the Sun” By The Beatles
Song Year: 1969
Here Comes The Sun is another Beatles’ hit that focuses on looking to the future and letting the world turn.
This song is particularly close to home for a lot of people as it is one of the first times they were able to understand the transience of life and helped a lot of people adjust their perspective to a more positive light.
“Waiting on the World to Change” By John Mayer
Song Year: 2006
If you’re looking for a deeper take on time and its effects then look no further. This song carries a heavy message about how we sit idly by and expect to see any change in the world without putting in the work to influence it. It’s often hard as an individual to feel like you have any power to make a difference, but you can’t just wait for the world to change on its own.
“When We Were Young” By Adele
Song Year: 2019
Adele brings so much soul and emotion to this retrospective look at how relationships change as we grow up. This song covers everything from regret and fear, to nostalgia and hope.
The collision of past and present is brought to life splendidly in this song. Seeing someone from your past that you have lingering feelings for unexpectedly and realizing just how much time has passed is a common experience for many people.
“Fast” By Luke Bryan
Song Year: 2017
Fast is a hit about a speedy romance that’s sure to enthrall any country lovers out there. It’s all about youth and growing up and how children are impatient for everything, but regret not enjoying their youth when they’re older.
It covers how our views change from being carefree and hyper kids to regretful and burdened adults.
“Forever Young” By Rod Stewart
Song Year: 1988
Sticking with the theme of staying young and growing up, Forever Young discusses how children and child-like ideals live in our hearts and how we wish only the best, easiest life for our kids.
The song has some sad undertones when you think about the impossibility of staying young, but also an air of hope that we raised our children right and they’ll be okay when they grow up.
“Sign of the Times” By Harry Styles
Song Year: 2017
One of the most powerful songs to come out in 2017, Harry Styles perfectly captures how difficult it can be to accept change. As we all know from recent years, bad times can seem like they’ll go on forever, but you can always be sure that times change.
The world can seem difficult at times, but it’s most often just a reflection of present circumstances and will change before too long.
“Unbelievable” By Owl City ft. Hanson
Song Year: 2015
Unbelievable is a song absolutely packed full of nostalgia for any kid that grew up in the 90s. The reference to specific toys, brands, and activities can easily make any 90s kid long for their childhood.
It’s a little tongue in cheek, but equally sincere. It really sums up how we think of progress in relation to our childhoods.
“Die Young” By Ke$ha
Song Year: 2012
Ke$ha’s Die Young was a pop sensation back in the day, and for good reason. It perfectly encapsulates the carefree and wild nature of adolescents and evokes the feelings of living in the moment and cherishing fleeting memories of youth.
In the broader sense, the song is about living each moment to its fullest, because you don’t know if tomorrow will always come.
“’39” By Queen
Song Year: 1975
If songs about time passing aren’t doing it for you, then what about a song about time travel? That’s right, ’39 is actually the tale of a space explorer that goes on a one-year mission and returns home only to find that 100 years have passed on Earth.
It’s a one-of-a-kind sci-fi folk song.
“A Hazy Shade of Winter” By Simon & Garfunkel
Song Year: 1966
A Hazy Shade Of Winter is a rocking lament of fantastical standards and wasted time. It’s all about how you can easily let time and events pass you by when you are looking for something perfect that doesn’t exist.
It’s a warning to not take time for granted in the search of something that won’t come.
“Time” By Pink Floyd
Song Year: 1971
In a similar vein, Pink Floyd’s Time explores how passively we can let time slip by without noticing. You wake up one day and you’re ten years older. It’s not framed in an explicitly bad way, but it’s a reminder to not forget to live like while you’re living.
The longer you’ve lived the faster time seems to go, so make sure to do everything you want while you still can.
“Grew Up Slower” By Dylan Schneider
Song Year: 2017
Grew Up Slower is another country hit about cherishing childhood and taking the time to grow up before getting lost in the rat race.
It explores the bitterness of wasted youth alongside the joys of allowing yourself to remain a kid for as long as possible.
“Time After Time” By Cyndi Lauper
Song Year: 1983
Everyone knows Cyndi Lauper’s Time After Time. It’s an 80s classic that centers around a woman leaving her boyfriend to return home to her mother.
It’s an emotional piece that shows how human connection can outlast time and that feelings don’t always erode with the years.
“Unchained Melody” By Righteous Brothers
Song Year: 1965
A deeply moving vintage tune, Unchained Melody is a romantic piece that describes love through the years and the uncertainty that time forces upon it. Waiting for love, drifting love, and steadfast love are cycles of time.
Many a listener will be able to think back to their first or forever love when they hear this song and see themselves full of youthful wonder.
“Clocks” By Coldplay
Song Year: 2011
This song is the feeling of nostalgia put into words. While the words aren’t calling back to the past, they evoke a feeling of fighting against time and observing how much you accomplished or missed since you last looked back. They resonate with so many people in their simplicity, yet this song says more in the melody than in the words.
“California Dreamin’” By The Mama’s and The Papa’s
Song Year: 1966
It’s obvious to anyone who’s heard this song that it’s about longing for another time and place. If you’ve ever felt stuck in a situation, like you missed your big chance by a minute, then you know it feels just as this song describes. The deep-seated drive that motivates you has no place to go so you sit and watch the leaves turn brown.
“The Man Who Can’t Be Moved” By The Script
Song Year: 2008
The Man Who Can’t Be Moved is the story of a man hoping for his love to return. He passes his day quite literally waiting for her to come back and ignoring everything else, promising that he’ll wait years if he has to.
“Remind Me” By Röyksopp
Song Year: 2011
Remind Me is an electronic-synth bop about how everything is a reminder of another time and place with the person you loved. Anything you see can be a trigger to a memory – happy or sad.
“One More Time” By Daft Punk
Song Year: 2000
As the name implies, this song is about rocking out just one more time. We always want to do things we like, but we can’t always make the time, so do it again when you can.
“Water Guns” By Todrick Hall ft. Jordin Sparks
Song Year: 2016
Water Guns is a provocative piece about police brutality and gun violence, but it’s seated in the tale of growing up and seeing the world go from fun and games to dangerous and deadly. It’s a brilliant piece about the repetition of violence in history.
“What You Waiting For?” By Gwen Stefani
Song Year: 2004
Another forgotten gem of the early 2000s, What You Waiting For? is about exactly that. Stop watching the time roll by when you have the knowledge, power, skills, or drive to do what you need and want to.
“Time (Clock of the Heart)” By Culture Club
Song Year: 1982
This song is about how sometimes you don’t have the time to invest into improving relationships when you know that the only thing that will help them grow is time. Sometimes time is too precious to waste on trying to build out a relationship that won’t go anywhere.
“(Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay” By Otis Redding
Song Year: 1992
Sometimes it’s okay to just let time pass you by and watch the world turn around you. This song is like a lazy Sunday morning or peaceful walk at sunset. It’s all about doing nothing.
“Nothing Compares 2 U” By Sinéad O'Connor
Song Year: 1990
This song by Sinéad O'Connor is about how much more time you have on your hands after a breakup, but how much more time you have to be sad about it, too. It expresses longing over the past and shows how nothing can fill the void of time spent with someone you love.
“An Old Fashioned Love Song” By Paul Williams
Song Year: 1971
An Old Fashioned Love Song is kind of a song within a song. It’s the nostalgia song of an older generation, yet it’s still familiar to people that grew up with modern pop love stories. It’s simple and upbeat, but says so much in so few words.
“Candle in the Wind” By Elton John
Song Year: 1973
Everyone knows that Candle In The Wind is about people that shone brightly and burned out before their time; first Marilyn Monroe and later Princess Diana. It talks about how even though the person may be gone, their legend lives on.
Top Songs About Time Passing, Final Thoughts
Some people say that music is the closest thing we’ll ever get to a time machine, and if that’s true, then these songs are sure to work since they are about the passage of time.