41 Best Songs About Life & the Lessons Along the Way

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Music has a way of revealing the essence of what it means to live a full life.

Considering that music is a universal language, songs about life offer meaningful takes about the world we live in, our relationships, our struggles and victories, and insights into who we are.

Today’s article features a compilation of the best songs that dispense nuggets of wisdom about life to help us learn how to become successful, happy, and free.

Continue reading to check them out.

1. Beautiful Day, U2

It’s a beautiful day. Sky falls. You feel like it’s a beautiful day. Don’t let it get away.

This song is telling us about life’s reality. It will be filled with obstacles, but as much as possible, seize every chance you get to see the beauty amidst the chaos.

2. You Can’t Hurry Love, The Supremes

‘You can’t hurry love. No, you just have to wait.’ She said, ‘Love don’t come easy. It’s a game of give and take. You can’t hurry love. No, you just have to wait. You got to trust, give it time no matter how long it takes.’

We all want to love and be loved.

We also dream of finding the right people with whom to share our lives. Sometimes we get impatient when it takes too long to find that person.

This song tells us that finding true love does not happen overnight. It takes trust and patience.

3. You’ve Got to Stand for Something, Aaron Tippin

He’d say you’ve got to stand for something or you’ll fall for anything. You’ve got to be your own man, not a puppet on a string. Never compromise what’s right, and uphold your family name. You’ve got to stand for something or you’ll fall for anything.

There will be many instances in life where our integrity will be tested.

This song encourages us to choose to do what’s right when faced with difficult decisions. It tells us to never sell out.

Trustworthiness and integrity are a legacy that is worth passing down to our families.

4. 100 Years, Five For Fighting

Fifteen, there’s still time for you. Time to buy and time to lose yourself within a morning star. Fifteen, I’m alright with you. Fifteen. There’s never a wish better than this. When you’ve only got a hundred years to live.

This bittersweet song recounts the life and struggles of a person who is now in his twilight years.

Eventually, we will all grow old and pass on. This song is a reminder that the memories (good or bad) we have of the past will be our companions when we’re older.

It’s worth creating memories that we can treasure and can sustain us later in life.

5. Unanswered Prayers, Garth Brooks

Sometimes I thank God for unanswered prayers. Remember, when you’re talkin’ to the man upstairs and just because He doesn’t answer doesn’t mean He doesn’t care. ‘Cause some of God’s greatest gifts are unanswered prayers.

There will be times in life when you fervently wish for something to happen, and possibly even pray for it. However, you may be disappointed when this wish doesn’t manifest.

This song tells us that when something like this happens, it’s often for the best.

You may not realize it yet, but that unanswered prayer is actually a wonderful gift that brings you to where you are now.

6. Man in the Mirror, Michael Jackson

If you wanna make the world a better place, take a look at yourself and then make that change. I’m starting with the man in the mirror. I’m asking him to change his ways. And no message could have been any clearer.

This song is a powerful reminder that we have the power to influence the course of history. We can create a better world for us and for the succeeding generations.

As Gandhi said, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.

7. Country Roads, Take Me Home, John Denver

Country roads, take me home to the place I belong.

Many of us experience moving from place to place throughout the years.

However, we always return to that place where we feel accepted and welcomed—a place where we belong.

8. Let It Go (Frozen OST), Idina Menzel

I’m never going back. The past is in the past.

This popular song is about struggling to find one’s rightful place in the world.

Often, we get caught up in the bitterness of the past, frustrated about the missed opportunities.

Here’s a reminder that those things don’t matter anymore.

It’s time to let go of the past and move forward.

9. I Will Survive, Gloria Gaynor

Oh no, not I. I will survive. Oh, as long as I know how to love, I know I’ll stay alive. I’ve got all my life to live, and I got all my love to give. And I’ll survive. I will survive. Hey, hey.

This song highlights the tenacity of the human spirit. It is a celebration of our ability to overcome difficulties and rise stronger, prouder, and more aware of our personal power.

A little trivia: This song is one of the 25 tracks inducted into the Library of Congress for its “enduring cultural significance.”

10. Dream On, Aerosmith

Sing with me, sing for the year. Sing for the laughter and sing for the tear. Sing with me, if it’s just for today. Maybe tomorrow, the good Lord will take you away.

Our time is limited, and we don’t know the exact moment when it will end.

This song tells us that, while waiting for our final moment, we might as well live life to the fullest.

11. Life’s a Dance, John Michael Montgomery

Life’s a dance, you learn as you go. Sometimes you lead, sometimes you follow. Don’t worry ‘bout what you don’t know. Life’s a dance, you learn as you go.

Nobody arrives on Earth with a manual on how to live. Most of what we know, we have learned from experience.

Even the best self-help books about life do not have all the answers.

 We’re all here, learning stuff as we go along.

12. The Gambler, Kenny Rogers

You’ve gotta know when to hold ‘em. Know when to fold ‘em. Know when to walk away. And know when to run. You never count your money when you’re still sittin’ at the table. There’ll be time enough for countin’ when the dealing’s done.

In this song, the narrator meets a card shark who dispenses counsel on how to survive well in life.

These “tips” are taken from the card table, and life is compared to a card game.

13. I Hope You Dance, Lee Ann Womack

Don’t let some hell-bent heart leave you bitter. When you come close to sellin’ out, reconsider. Give the heavens above more than just a passing glance. And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance, I hope you dance.

This song is a mother’s message to her children to live full and happy lives.

It encourages listeners to take risks and seize the opportunity to experience the wonderful things life offers.

It’s a wish for us to never lose our enthusiasm for life, and to embrace every opportunity to dance.

14. Dust in the Wind, Kansas

All we are is dust in the wind.

This song encourages us to contemplate our mortality and the impermanence of everything.

It helps us reflect on the value we put on material things and consider what needs to be done to live a more meaningful life.

15. Affirmation, Savage Garden

I believe in karma. What you give is what you get returned. I believe you can’t appreciate real love until you’ve been burned. I believe the grass is no more greener on the other side. I believe you don’t know what you’ve got until you say goodbye.

This song is a collection of “personal statements of belief” about life.

It isn’t something that everyone should adhere to. However, it showcases the guiding principles the narrator lives by, for better or worse.

16. Humble and Kind, Tim McGraw

Hold the door, say please, say thank you. Don't steal, don't cheat, and don't lie. I know you got mountains to climb but always stay humble and kind. When the dreams you're dreamin' come to you. When the work you put in is realized. Let yourself feel the pride but always stay humble and kind.

If you’re looking for a track that provides tips for living a happy life, here’s one you need to listen to.

It features gentle instructions that guide listeners in achieving a meaningful, wholesome, joyful life.

17. You Gotta Be, Des’ree

Listen as your day unfolds. Challenge what the future holds. Try and keep your head up to the sky. Lovers, they may cause you tears. Go ahead, release your fears. Stand up and be counted. Don't be ashamed to cry.

This song is full of nuggets of wisdom on self-discovery and empowerment. It encourages listeners to embrace authenticity and make choices that don’t compromise their principles.

18. Life Changes, Thomas Rhett

Ain't it funny how life changes? You wake up ain't nothing the same and life changes. You can't stop it, just hop on the train. You never know what's gonna happen. You make your plans and you hear God laughing. Life changes. And I wouldn't change it for the world…

Life can be funny sometimes. While we’re busy making rock-solid plans, things happen that disrupt them

Whether they are happy accidents or fate, these “disruptions” often lead us to where we need to be.

19. Live Like You Were Dying, Tim McGraw

…And I loved deeper. And I spoke sweeter. And I gave forgiveness I’ve been denying. And he said, ‘Someday I hope you get the chance to live like you were dying.’

What if you were told that you only have a few days left to live? What would you do?

This song is an invitation to live more mindfully in the present.

It encourages us to appreciate life as it is now. It is about not waiting for the “right” occasion to practice kindness, forgiveness, and happiness, because, by then, it might already be too late.

20. If Tomorrow Never Comes, Ronan Keating

’Cause I’ve lost loved ones in my life who never knew how much I loved them. Now I live with the regret that my true feelings for them never were revealed. So I made a promise to myself to say each day how much she means to me. And avoid that circumstance where there’s no second chance to tell her how I feel.

This song is a cover of Garth Brooks’ song released in 1989.

In life, many of us act as if time does not run out. We think that there will always be the perfect occasion to tell our loved ones how much they mean to us.

This song serves as an urgent reminder to do it now, before it’s too late.

21. Biscuits, Kacey Musgraves

Just hoe your own row and raise your own babies. Smoke your own smoke and grow your own daisies. Mend your own fences and own your own crazy. Mind your own biscuits and life will be gravy.

This song provides sensible tips for living a great life.

The secret is doing your own thing, focusing on personal growth, and not putting your nose in other people’s business.

Actually, there are steps you can take to deal with nosy people—without being rude, of course!

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22. Don’t Be So Hard on Yourself, Jess Glynne

Don’t be so hard on yourself, no. Learn to forgive, learn to let go. Everyone trips, everyone falls. So don’t be so hard on yourself, no.

Life is full of obstacles, so it isn’t surprising that we fall every once in a while.

When this happens, most people’s tendency is to blame themselves.

This song reminds us to avoid self-loathing.

Whenever you fall, use this song to encourage yourself to get up.

As you rebuild, be gentle with yourself.

23. Survivor, Destiny’s Child

I’m a survivor. I’m gon’ make it. I will survive. Keep on survivin’.

This song is about the tenacity and grit we need to make it in life.

It celebrates our personal power and encourages us to never shrink back from it.

24. Fifteen, Taylor Swift

’Cause when you’re fifteen and somebody tells you they love you, you’re gonna believe them. And when you’re fifteen, don’t forget to look before you fall. I’ve found time can heal most anything. And you just might find who you’re supposed to be. I didn’t know who I was supposed to be. Fifteen.

Being young is great. You’ll go through many experiences — some exhilarating and some heartbreaking.

When it comes to love, you don’t have to settle at a young age (in this case, 15).

You still have a lot of things to look forward to as you grow older.

You’ll eventually learn this, as well as many bittersweet lessons about love and life in general.

25. Everybody Hurts, R. E. M.

’Cause everybody hurts. Take comfort in your friends. Everybody hurts. Don’t throw your hand, oh no. If you feel like you’re alone. No, no, no. You’re not alone.

In the midst of heartbreak, people tend to feel that they’re alone.

This song reveals that we all go through pain.

It is also a plea for those who are suffering to never give up hope that things will become better.

26. I’m Still Standing, Elton John

Don’t you know I’m still standin’ better than I ever did? Lookin’ like a true survivor, feelin’ like a little kid. And I’m still standin’ after all this time. Pickin’ up the pieces of my life without you on my mind.

This song reveals that you’ll experience heartache at least once in your life.

However, it also shares some good news: You’ll survive it. You’ll still be standing afterward.

27. Hero, Mariah Carey

So when you feel like hope is gone, look inside you and be strong. And you’ll finally see the truth that a hero lies in you.

Being alone is a scary prospect for many people.

Here’s a song that gives you courage to live alone and be happy doing it.

This song tells you that you can be a hero to yourself. You’ll discover that you are made of stronger stuff than you thought.

28. All I Know So Far, P!nk

And when the storm’s out, you run in the rain. Put your sword down, dive right into the pain. Stay unfiltered and loud. You’ll be proud of that skin full of scars. That’s all I know so far.

In this song, a woman shares what she’s learned about life so far.

She provides a road map for young girls, although she herself didn’t have that kind of guidance when she was growing and trying to navigate the difficulties in life.

We all know that life can be filled with pain. However, P!nk encourages us to be true to ourselves.

One day, those scars will serve as our trophies for being survivors.

29. Never Surrender, Corey Hart

So if you’re lost and on your own, you can never surrender. And if your path won’t lead you home, you can never surrender.

Sometimes, people get lost in life.

They sell out and live for money alone.

It can be a devastating time for those who lose their way.

This song tells you that you must never give up, no matter how difficult things get. Eventually, you’ll see the light and be led back to your path.

30. That’s What Friends Are For, Dionne Warwick ft. Elton John, Stevie Wonder, and Gladys Knight

Keep smilin’, keep shinin’ knowin’ you can always count on me, for sure. That’s what friends are for. For good times and bad times, I’ll be on your side forevermore. That’s what friends are for.

This heartwarming song is a celebration of a friendship that’s true and has stood the test of time.

Good friends can be one of your greatest treasures.

They make life’s struggles more bearable. One shouldn’t be without friends.

31. Big Love, Small Moments, JJ Heller

Big magic in the mundane. The big picture in a small frame. Everything is sacred when you take time to notice. Big love happens in the small moments.

Sometimes, we get too caught up in chasing after our big goals—chasing after stuff and experiences we think will make us happy.

Here’s a song that tells us that the special moments that are worth keeping and that are a true great source of happiness are the ones that you have on ordinary days:

  • Being in the presence of a loving family
  • The smile from a loved one
  • The company of a close friend

This song tells us that we are already blessed in these small moments.

32. What a Wonderful World, Louis Armstrong

I hear babies cry; I watch them grow. They’ll learn much more than I’ll ever know. And I think to myself, what a wonderful world.

This song encourages us to look around and see the beauty of the world, which can be found in the little things.

It tells us that life can be great, but that we often take these things for granted.

Perhaps it’s time to see the world with new eyes.

33. The Climb, Miley Cyrus

There’s always gonna be another mountain. I’m always gonna wanna make it move. Always gonna be an uphill battle. Sometimes I’m gonna have to lose. Ain’t about how fast I get there. Ain’t about what’s waiting on the other side. It’s the climb.

When we have dreams and we decide to pursue them, we often face a lot of challenges getting there.

Sometimes, we utterly and completely fail.

Through all these challenges, it’s easy to think that the prize at the end is all that matters.

However, this song tells us that the journey towards our goals and dreams is just as important.

34. Brave, Sara Bareilles

Maybe there’s a way out of the cage where you live. Maybe one of these days you can let the light in. Show me how big your brave is.

People you meet and circumstances in your life may force you to stay locked in self-doubt.

Here’s a song that challenges you to be stronger than your weakness and to show the world your true brilliance.

You owe it to yourself to be brave.

35. Ironic, Alanis Morissette

Well, life has a funny way of sneaking up on you. Life has a funny, funny way of helping you out.

Even when we’ve got the best-laid plans, life happens according to its own schedule and its own path.

Sometimes, the only way forward is to surrender and let life take you where you’re meant to be.

36. Better Get to Livin’, Dolly Parton

You better get to livin’, givin’. Don’t forget to throw in a little forgivin’ and lovin’ on the way.

Some people erroneously think that happiness in life can be achieved by acquiring wealth, power, and influence. Here are some tips for living a truly happy, fulfilling life.

37. Hands, Jewel

In the end, only kindness matters.

What matters in life?

This song teaches us that wherever you end up in life, the only thing that matters is if you’ve been kind when it was needed.

38. Who You Are, Jessie J

Don’t lose who you are in the blur of the stars. Seeing is deceiving. Dreaming is believing. It’s okay not to be okay. Sometimes it’s hard to follow your heart. Tears don’t mean you’re losing. Everybody’s bruising. Just be true to who you are.

This song is all about acceptance of our weaknesses.

We learn that being sad is okay, and that it’s okay to cry.

We all experience pain and suffering at some point.

Just allow yourself to be.

39. Step by Step, Whitney Houston

I know you’re hurting but don’t let the bad things get to you.

Here’s a song reminding you to not let your pain make you quit when you’re going after your dreams.

You’ll get there. Just take it step by step.

Have faith that you’ll get there eventually.

40. Secret of Life, Faith Hill

The secret of life is nothing at all.

This song reminds us that it’s not the big events that give meaning to life.

It’s the simple, ordinary moments that define it, but these can be easy to miss and take for granted.

If you pay attention to them, you’re given access to one of the greatest secrets of the universe.

41. That’s Life, Frank Sinatra

I’ve been a puppet, a pauper, a pirate, a poet, a pawn, and a king. I’ve been up and down and over and out. And I know one thing. Each time I find myself layin’ flat on my face, I just pick myself up and get back in the race.

Ever felt that life is like a rollercoaster ride?

Some days, you’re victorious. Sometimes, it makes you want to give up.

This song encourages you to keep getting up and moving forward every time life gets you down.

Final Thoughts on Songs About Life

In addition to music’s benefits to health and well-being, it also provides an avenue for people to experience life and learn lessons about happiness, success, and self-discovery.

Hopefully, this compilation of songs inspires you to take what life has to offer and live it to the fullest.

If you enjoyed this article, you might want to check out other posts featuring song collections on specific topics:

songs about life | songs about life and living it | best songs about life
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