There are relatively few songs that will make you think about life; most songs that we listen to err more on the side of love, romance, or heartbreak. However, there are a few songs that will make you think about life that are also amazing to listen to! Here is a compilation of a few of the songs that I love to listen to and that often make me think.
1 Cats in the Cradle – Harry Chapin
Of all the songs that will make you think about life, I am pretty sure the Harry Chapin song, Cats in the Cradle, tops the list. This song is about a young boy whose father never has time to play with him as a child. As the father grows old, he realizes he missed out on his son’s life and wants to see him; but, now the boy is busy with his own family and doesn’t have time to see his father. This song is heartbreaking but makes you remember to make time for the important people in your life no matter how crazy your life may get!
2 Ironic –Alanis Morissette
This song gives me goose bumps when I listen to it. It’s about different kinds of ironic things that tend to happen in life. Many of the analogies in this song are unfortunate, and some are downright sad; but they all definitely make you think about different aspects of life. A few of the “ironic” lyrics are: “It’s a death row pardon two minutes too late,” “it’s a free ride when you’ve already paid,” “a traffic jam when you’re already late,” “a no-smoking sign on your cigarette break,” “it’s like ten thousand spoons when all you need is a knife,” and “it’s meeting the man of my dreams, and then meeting his beautiful wife.” I’m sure many of us have experienced these things, so this song is extremely relatable.
3 Both Sides Now– Judy Collins
Both Sides Now, sung by Judy Collins, is such a wonderful song that describes how there are two sides to everything in life. For instance she says she used to look at clouds as “ice cream castles in the air” but now she sees how “they only block the sun. They rain and snow on everyone.” Then she goes on to broaden the analogy to life, and ultimately realizes: “I've looked at life from both sides now, from win and lose and still somehow, it's life's illusions I recall, I really don't know life at all.” What a beautifully complex song!
4 Turn! Turn! Turn! – the Byrds
Turn! Turn! Turn! by the Byrds is one of my favorite songs that will make you think about life. This song is based on a Bible verse and describes how there is a time for both the good and the bad in life. For instance the songs says there is "a time to be born, a time to die, a time to plant, a time to reap, a time to kill, a time to heal, a time to laugh, a time to weep ." I absolutely love these verses, because they are so true to life!
5 Popular Song –MIKA
Popular Song by Mika is based on the song, Popular, from the musical Wicked. The original song from the musical is meant to be comical, and basically states that to succeed in life you simply need to be popular. However, the Mika song twists the original tune to say that the kids who were popular in school by bullying other kids will not go far in life. One lyric states: "Always on the lookout for someone to hate, picking on me like a dinner plate. You hid during classes, and in between 'em. Dunked me in the toilets, now it's you that cleans them." This song sends the message that being the mean kind of popular won’t benefit you in life!
6 If I Die Young—the Band Perry
If I Die Young by The Band Perry is one of the saddest songs I’ve ever heard. One of the lyrics that really stood out to me in this song is, “A penny for my thoughts, oh, no, I'll sell 'em for a dollar, they're worth so much more after I'm a goner, and maybe then you'll hear the words I been singin', funny when you're dead how people start listenin’.” Sadly, it often takes death for people to realize that there is an issue in life that needs to be resolved. This song can teach us that we need to listen to others and take their pleas for help seriously before it’s too late. Sometimes, lending an ear can make all the difference in someone’s life.
7 The Rose – Bette Midler
The Rose is a beautiful song about how even though there are many scary things we can avoid in life by playing it safe, we ultimately will miss out on all of the rewards life has to offer if we do this. “It's the heart afraid of breaking that never learns to dance; it's the dream afraid of waking that never takes the chance. It's the one who won't be taken who cannot seem to give, and the soul afraid of dying that never learns to live.” How beautiful are these lyrics?!
I love all of these songs, especially because they have such deep meanings. What other songs do you like that make you think about life?