Similes have long been a powerful tool songwriters use to create vivid imagery and bring up deep emotions in listeners. These comparisons can transform ordinary lyrics into emotional and memorable masterpieces. In this article, we'll dive into the best songs with similes in them.
“Stitches” by Shawn Mendes
Sing Year: 2015
Stitches by Shawn Mendes is a captivating song that powerfully employs similes as an essential aspect of its lyrics, making it among the most memorable pop hits in recent years.
Released as part of his debut studio album, “Handwritten,” in 2015, this catchy tune discusses love and heartbreak through vivid metaphors and comparisons.
Stitches delve into themes such as missing someone despite the hurt they cause. One poignant simile describes being drawn irresistibly towards this person like a moth is attracted to flames: “Just like a moth drawn to a flame.” This emotional depth is characteristic of many songs from Mendes' music catalog.
“Roar” by Katy Perry
Sing Year: 2013
Katy Perry's empowering anthem, “Roar,” showcases the art of using similes to express emotions and convey a powerful message. Laced with vivid imagery and comparisons that evoke feelings of resilience, courage, and triumph over adversity, the song has become a fan-favorite due to its inspiring lyrics.
“Roar” pairs catchy tunes with memorable lines such as “I got the eye of the tiger” or “Float like a butterfly.” These phrases enrich the listener's experience while underlining how personal growth can come through perseverance during life's trials.
“Shape of You” by Ed Sheeran
Sing Year: 2017
Shape Of You by Ed Sheeran is a prime example of clever similes in modern music. Released on January 6, 2017, it was among the double lead singles from his third studio album and quickly became an international hit.
Combining memorable lyrics, pop-infused rhythms, and captivating storytelling helped propel Shape Of You toward incredible success. It was undeniably the biggest track of 2017, garnering worldwide recognition for its expressive language and innovative sound.
“Sweet Child of Mine” by Guns N’ Roses
Sing Year: 1987
Guns N' Roses' “Sweet Child of Mine” is an iconic rock song released in 1987. Despite some controversial interpretations over the years, the powerful lyrics and emotional guitar riff made it a classic love song.
In fact, “Sweet Child of Mine” is Guns N' Roses' biggest hit and still ranks high on various charts. It ranked seventh on VH1's “100 Greatest Songs of the '80s,” cementing its status as a classic track from that era.
“Like a Stone” by Audioslave
Sing Year: 2002
“Like a Stone” by Audioslave is an iconic song that has been available for over 20 years. The lyrics are rich in metaphors and similes, making it among the best songs with similes in them.
The lyrics of “Like a Stone” focus on waiting for death personified, sitting like a stone as your time runs out. This theme resonates deeply with many people and adds to the song's emotional impact.
“California Love” by Tupac Shakur (Featuring Dr. Dre)
Sing Year: 1995
“California Love” is among the most iconic songs from the gangsta rap and west-coast hip hop genre, produced by Dr. Dre and featuring Tupac Shakur. The song celebrates the California lifestyle that was popular in the 1990s, which included lowriders, palm trees, sunshine, and parties.
A fun fact about “California Love” is that it heavily samples Joe Cocker's song “Woman to Woman,” specifically his use of a talkbox harmonica sound effect.
“Believer” by Imagine Dragons (Featuring Lil Wayne)
Sing Year: 2017
“Believer” by Imagine Dragons, featuring Lil Wayne, is among the popular songs with similes. This incredible song was released on February 1, 2017, through Interscope Records and quickly became a big hit in the United States. It landed fifth in America's best-selling songs that year.
In 2019, Imagine Dragons released a remix version of “Believer,” featuring Lil Wayne himself! The remix received an overwhelmingly positive response from fans and critics alike, with many calling it hot and excellent.
“Just Like Fire” by Pink
Sing Year: 2016
“Just Like Fire” is a popular song by American singer Pink, recorded for the soundtrack of “Alice Through the Looking Glass,” a film from 2016. The lyrics of this song contain a powerful simile where Pink compares her inner strength with “just like fire.”
The figurative language in Pink's lyrics highlights the importance of believing in oneself and not being controlled by society's expectations.
“Not Afraid” by Eminem
Sing Year: 2010
“Not Afraid” by Eminem is a powerful song about resilience, self-improvement, and facing fears.
Eminem's lyrics are raw and honest, urging listeners to take charge of their lives and make bold personal changes. He speaks openly about his struggles with addiction and how he overcame them, encouraging others to do the same.
“Not Afraid” has resonated deeply with audiences worldwide since its release. It was ranked as one of Rolling Stone's best songs of 2010 and has become an anthem for anyone struggling to overcome obstacles or find their way in life.
“Like a Prayer” by Madonna
Sing Year: 1989
“Like a Prayer” is on the list of the most iconic songs from Madonna's career.
The album was dedicated to Madonna's mother, who died when she was six. It wasn't just any dedication – it played an essential role in shaping the record's overall sound.
One interesting fact about this hit single is that it was initially released as part of advertising for Pepsi before being released as a standalone single.
“Levitating” by Dua Lipa (Featuring DaBaby)
Sing Year: 2020
“Levitating,” a collaboration between Dua Lipa and DaBaby, is among the best songs with similes in them. The song features on Dua Lipa's second studio album, “Future Nostalgia,” released in 2020.
It's a pop hit that combines catchy beats, rap verses from DaBaby, and relatable lyrics about romantic experiences.
Despite recent controversy surrounding DaBaby's comments at a music festival, “Levitating” has remained high on music charts globally, cementing its status on the list of past year's biggest hits.
“Love on the Weekend” by John Mayer
Sing Year: 2016
“Love On The Weekend” is a romantic pop song by Grammy-winning singer-songwriter John Mayer. It was released in November 2016 as part of his 7th studio album called The Search for Everything.
The melodic tune and emotive lyrics make this song a perfect representation of uncomplicated love. Mayer's vocals are smooth and sincere, delivering lines that speak directly to people's feelings when they're in love.
“Diamonds” by Rihanna
Sing Year: 2012
“Diamonds” by Rihanna is a massive hit that remains popular today. The song uses extended metaphors and imagery to convey its message about love. Rihanna sings of leaving unhealthy relationships, which was a departure from the focus of her previous songs.
A memorable line in the song is “we're like diamonds in the sky,” which refers to Rihanna's impressive career and net worth. It's an excellent example of a simile, comparing two different things – people to diamonds – to make a point about their value and resilience.
“Fly Like an Eagle” by Steve Miller Band
Sing Year: 1976
“Fly Like an Eagle” is one of Steve Miller's Band's iconic songs. This classic rock hit was released in 1976 and features soaring guitar solos that perfectly capture the freedom and inspiration of its symbolism.
With its chart-topping success, “Fly Like An Eagle” has become a timeless classic that resonates with fans today. It was listed as number five on 70 hit songs featuring similes.
“Even Flow” by Pearl Jam
Sing Year: 1991
Pearl Jam's “Even Flow” is a classic example of similes in songwriting. Written by Eddie Vedder and music by Stone Gossard, the song was released as part of Pearl Jam's album “Ten” in 1991.
The evocative use of similes in “Even Flow” helps to paint a vivid picture that listeners can easily relate to. One memorable line describes the character sleeping “like dead men do,” conjuring up images of hopelessness and desperation.
“Red” by Taylor Swift
Sing Year: 2012
“Red” is a popular song by Taylor Swift that uses a series of similes and metaphors to evoke powerful emotions. In the song, Taylor compares her feelings to different colors, with each color representing a different emotion or experience.
The use of figurative language in “Red” has been praised by music critics and fans alike. Many have noted how it adds depth to the already emotionally charged lyrics and helps listeners better understand the intensity of Taylor's feelings.
“Ice Cream” by BLACKPINK (Featuring Selena Gomez)
Sing Year: 2020
“Ice Cream” by BLACKPINK featuring Selena Gomez is a pop culture phenomenon that took the world by storm. The song was released on August 28, 2020, and quickly became a hit with its catchy tune and playful lyrics.
This collaboration with Selena Gomez marks Blackpink's second hook-up with an American Pop Star in 2020 following their smash-hit single “Sour Candy” featuring Lady Gaga.
In just its first 24 hours since release, “Ice Cream” had surpassed Justin Bieber’s record as the most-viewed artist on YouTube.
“War Pigs” by Black Sabbath
Sing Year: 1970
“War Pigs” is a powerful protest song by Black Sabbath that stands out for its anti-war message. The lyrics are a scathing critique of the military-industrial complex and the politicians who control it.
The song has become an iconic part of Black Sabbath's repertoire, with its popularity growing. Many see it as an anthem for political activism, counterculture movements, and social commentary-driven music.
“Smile Like You Mean It” by The Killers
Sing Year: 2004
“Smile Like You Mean It” is a popular song by the American alternative rock band, The Killers. Written by the band's lead vocalist Brandon Flowers and bassist Mark Stoermer, it was released in 2004 as part of their debut album Hot Fuss.
The lyrics “Smile Like You Mean It” uses similes to describe sadness, emptiness, and loneliness. For example, “Save some face; you know you've only got one” compares putting on a fake smile to saving a face or pretending everything is fine when it's not.
“Rock You Like a Hurricane” by Scorpions
Sing Year: 1984
“Rock You Like a Hurricane” by Scorpions is an iconic hard rock song synonymous with the 80s music era. It was released as the lead single from their album “Love at First Sting” in 1984 and quickly became their biggest hit.
According to Scorpions guitarist Rudolf Schenker, “Rock You Like a Hurricane” is about attitude and sexuality. The lyrics use similes to compare the singer's passion for his lover to a hurricane, creating a powerful image that perfectly captures the intensity of their love.
“Like Suicide” by Soundgarden
Sing Year: 1994
“Like Suicide” by Soundgarden is a classic grunge song and the best slow song ever. It can be found on their album “Superunknown.” Chris Cornell, the lead singer of Soundgarden, wrote this song after a robin crashed into one of his house windows while he was recording.
Despite not using similes in its lyrics, “Like Suicide” remains an iconic slow grunge track that showcases Chris Cornell's exceptional vocal abilities and powerful lyricism.
The song touches on mortality and personal struggles with a haunting melody and evocative imagery. This makes it a must-listen for fans of 90s alternative rock or anyone who appreciates great music with emotional depth.
“Just Like Heaven” by The Cure
Sing Year: 1987
“Just Like Heaven” is among The Cure's most dreamy and romantic songs. It talks about a day near the seaside with someone special, where everything seems perfect and full of love.
This hit single was released as part of their seventh studio album, Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me.
Robert Smith has often called “Just Like Heaven” his best songwriting achievement ever.
What makes this piece special is its unique mix of alternative rock sound and melancholic lyrics that perfectly capture nostalgia for a lost love while still feeling optimistic about what might come next – making it a favorite among fans who just can't get enough!
“Body Like a Back Road” by Sam Hunt
Sing Year: 2017
“Body Like a Back Road” is a catchy love song by American country singer Sam Hunt, released in 2017.
Throughout the song, Hunt uses similes to describe his lover's body, praising her physical appearance through clever comparisons with mundane objects such as roads and hills.
Hunt's “Body Like a Back Road” showcases his skills as a singer-songwriter and an expert in catchy hooks. It fuses disparate influences from pop-rock to traditional country music, making it appealing to fans across different genres.
“Like a Rolling Stone” by Bob Dylan
Sing Year: 1965
Bob Dylan's “Like a Rolling Stone” is an iconic folk rock song that was released in 1965. The lyrics tell the story of a debutante who falls out of high society and becomes a loner.
A striking feature of this song is its use of similes and metaphors woven seamlessly into the poetic lyrics. For example, the line “how does it feel to be on your own, with no direction home, like a complete unknown?” compares being lost and without guidance to feeling like an outsider.
“As Good as I Once Was” by Toby Keith
Sing Year: 2005
“As Good As I Once Was” is a well-known song by Toby Keith that uses similes in its lyrics. The song is a popular country music hit, co-written by Toby Keith and Scotty Emerick and released in 2005.
The lyrics of “As Good As I Once Was” are full of relatable similes that paint a vivid picture of someone past their prime but still trying to keep up.
The regretful anthem reminds listeners not to take their youth for granted while reassuring them that it's never too late to live life fully.
“I’m Like a Bird” by Nelly Furtado
Sing Year: 2000
“I'm Like a Bird” is a Grammy Award-winning song by Nelly Furtado that uses similes in its lyrics. The song was released in 2000 and quickly gained popularity due to its catchy tune and relatable message.
Furtado's unique voice perfectly captures the essence of the song's metaphorical message, making it an instant hit among pop music fans. “I'm Like a Bird” continues to be remembered as one of Furtado's best works, earning her critical acclaim and commercial success.
“Fight Like a Brave” by Red Hot Chili Peppers
Sing Year: 1987
“Fight Like a Brave,” by Red Hot Chili Peppers, is an upbeat and energetic song with a strong message of courage, resilience, and determination. The lyrics feature powerful similes such as “You got to stand your ground, gotta be a man, you got to let her know that you're one of a kind.” These words encourage us to fight for our beliefs and never abandon our dreams.
The music video for “Fight Like a Brave” features Red Hot Chili Peppers performing live in front of an enthusiastic audience while sporting their trademark eccentric style.
“No Diggity” by Backstreet (Featuring Dr. Dre, Queen Pen)
Sing Year: 1996
“No Diggity” by Blackstreet featuring Dr. Dre and Queen Pen is a classic R&B, and hip-hop hit that remains popular today. The song incorporates the simile “she's got class and style, street knowledge by the mile,” which speaks to a woman's impressive qualities and intelligence.
Released in 1996, “No Diggity” was a commercial success and introduced Queen Pen as a protege of Blackstreet member Teddy Riley. It marked a departure from Blackstreet's signature slow jams and solidified their place in the music scene as innovators who were unafraid to take risks.
“Team” by Lorde
Song Year: 2013
“Team” by Lorde is a captivating pop song about the importance of teamwork. It features lyrics that use similes to compare different ideas, creating vivid imagery in listeners' minds.
Lorde's “Team” highlights the value of collaboration and friendship, encouraging people to come together to succeed. The metaphorical language in this track helps paint a picture of unity through music and pop culture references.
With its catchy beat, memorable melody, and relatable message about teamwork within friend groups or life.
Top Songs With Similes, Final Thoughts
Music is filled with poetic devices such as similes and metaphors that add depth and meaning to lyrics. The songs listed above demonstrate the effective use of similes in popular culture, across various genres, from pop music to rock ballads.
Not only are these songs with similes in them catchy and enjoyable to listen to, but they can also serve as great examples for teaching literary devices such as similes in a fun and relatable way.