Good literature is recognized by its creativity, and what is one of the best displays of creativity, if not figurative language? All the lyrics to songs are essentially poetry. Songwriters and lyricists have used their wide range of vocabulary and included figurative language in their songs.
The use of figurative language in the music industry made understanding the lyrics more interesting. Here is a list of some songs that make extensive use of metaphors and figurative language and paint emotional scenarios just by crooning the lyrics.
Song # 1: Another Brick in the Wall by Pink Floyd Child abuse was at the height of its peak in the 90s when this figurative language in song came out. Pink Floyd did what they do best and released a song as a means of protest to effectively fight against it.
Bricks and walls have been used as metaphors to describe separation and being emotionless throughout time. Being at the receiving end of abuse makes you build walls around you, and trusting someone becomes difficult. ‘Another brick in the wall’ signifies how the teachers are one of the reasons those walls have been put up and messed with a child’s mental health.
To deeply influence their audience to grasp the gravity of the lyrics, all the band members of Pink Floyd built a wall brick-by-brick when performing this song live. The addition of each brick to the wall was emphasized where teachers were mentioned. Song # 2: Rain On Me by Lady Gaga and Ariana Grande Many forms of water, such as rain and tears, have been the go-to metaphors to spell out grief and struggle in history.
This song is about a woman calling out her ex-lover for leaving her and not loving her enough. The woman talks about empowering herself and respecting herself enough to let go in the face of struggle. Her lover didn’t love her, but she loves herself enough to show that she’s strong even when she feels at her lowest. Song # 3: What a Wonderful World by Louis Armstrong The master of jazz ‘Satch’ sang this song about the beauty of this world, and he amplified its beauty by adding exceptional adjectives in it.
This song talks about how one finds simple beauty in every aspect of the world, and even a bright sunny day or a dark night is something beautiful to behold. This song talks about how people find happiness when they see something wonderful in the world, like a rainbow after a long rainy day. Song # 4: Hungry Like the Wolf by Duran Duran This song figurative language in song a perfect example of using more than one type of figurative language at the same time.
This song uses both similes and metaphors. The man is personified as the wolf (a similie) who lusts after a woman and hence is hungry like the wolf (a metaphor). He is the alpha male and will scour the city till he finds the woman he wants and make her his mate. Song # 5: Girl On Fire by Alicia Keys Fire has been used to illustrate so many things in the history of figurative language passion, anger, comfort, activity, controversy, or even hurt. In this song, Alicia Keys talks about fire in the sense of motivation.
The girl is on fire because she’s motivated to reach new heights and become the best despite the many catastrophes happening in the world. This girl burns so brightly figurative language in song you can’t take your eyes off her. She’s struggling, but she will do anything to fulfill her dreams, and her burning passion for doing just that will light her way ahead. Song # 6: Sad Songs (Say So Much) by Elton John One of the most popular types of figurative language is an alliteration because of how easy it is to use.
The use of the same sound in each line made even simple poems become masterpieces. Elton John uses alliteration in this song which gels perfectly with the harmonious music. Song # 7: Come Sail Away by Styx ‘Come sail away’ is another way of calling one to the adventure of life. The lyrics are simple, and the voyage out to the sea is actually the journey of one’s life in the face of the unknown. Lyricist Dennis talks about how memories of the past pick at your mental peace.
You try to live your life and struggle through another day despite those memories dragging you back and under. Song # 8: Ain’t No Sunshine When She’s Gone by Bill Withers Hyperbole is a powerful way of expressing many different things, especially grief. The exaggerated statements signify the emptiness you feel in the absence of a loved one.
Bill Withers talks about this in his song, ‘ Ain’t No Sunshine’. Bill Withers expresses his grief at the going away of his lover. He exaggerates how the sun does not rise when his lover is not with him, and even if it does, he doesn’t feel the sunlight. His life becomes dark, and his home becomes just a lifeless house.
Song # 9: Total Eclipse of the Heart by Bonnie Tyler Bonnie Tyler compares her love to this rarely appearing celestial event.
Tyler’s lover was like a ray of sunshine in her life, but since the day that he broke her heart, there’s only darkness. Like the moon blocks out the light of the sun during the solar eclipse, her life also has only darkness in it after her lover left her. Song # 10: Eye of the Tiger by Survivor This song is famous for its appearance in the famous boxing series ‘Rocky’ because of its motivational lyrics.
The metaphor is used to compare a man with a tiger. A man who is also a fighter possesses the same instincts and abilities as a tiger.
He has the will to survive; therefore, he must always be one step ahead of his rival and be aware of his actions. If you’re as careful as the tiger in your challenge, only then can you get the glory and become a survivor. Song # 11: Fireworks by Katy Perry Fireworks are bright and colorful and always catch the attention of everyone nearby when they go out. This is how Katy Perry thinks everyone should be when she used fireworks as a metaphor for humans.
Sometimes all you have to do is take the first step in the direction you want when you are feeling down. That spark is enough to set you off to achieve your dreams until you become an eye-catching firework show. Check out the music video of the song here for the full experience. Song # 12: The Sound of Silence by Simon and Garfunkel We covered a lot of different aspects of figurative language in the article.
One final type is the use of real or imaginary events to spell out how you feel. Simon and Garfunkel use the story from the Old Testament about the Israeli disbelievers building a golden calf and worshipping it to spin their own lyrics fashioned on imaginary events: And the people bowed and prayed To the neon god they made However, perhaps the most popular lyrics from the song are the following: Hello darkness, my old friend I’ve come to talk with you again These lyrics signify how darkness and misery have become friends because of how frequently it visits.
Final Thoughts We hope you enjoyed reading this blog on ’12 Songs with Figurative Language’, and some of them touched the chords of your heart. Do you know of any more songs with figurative language? If ‘Yes’, feel free to share them in the comments section below. Categories General This post may have affiliate links, meaning we earn a small commission on purchases through the links (at no extra cost to you).
This does not change our opinion but does help support the site. Thank you! Check out our list of ten songs with figurative language.
It’ll change the way you listen to music and make you appreciate the songwriters even more. Our Top Picks: Songs with Figurative Language 1. Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen* “ Bohemian Rhapsody*” is arguably Queen’s most popular song and one of the most famous rock songs of all time. It tells the story of a young man who has killed someone, gone on the run but knows that he will eventually be figurative language in song and punished.
Fans have speculated that the song is a metaphor for something more, but no one knows. The song contains some outstanding elements of figurative language, such as: “Caugh in a landslide no escape from reality.” This line is a metaphor for feeling stuck by what is going on in your life and not being able to escape. It also contains allusions to the Bible and a 17th-century comedy. 2. What a Wonderful World by Louis Armstrong* Louis Armstrong’s “ What a Wonderful World*” is one of the most iconic songs of the past century.
The simple tune encourages listeners to see the beauty in everything around them. The chorus pulls the piece together: “And I think to myself What a wonderful world.” It features a beautiful use of alliteration that makes the song memorable and timeless.
3. Fireflies by Owl City* The song “ Fireflies*” by Owl City lit up the airwaves in 2009. Users have speculated whether the song is about insomnia, lucid dreaming or moving from the innocence of childhood to adulthood. The song features extended use of figurative language like personification, as the fireflies take on some human-like qualities.
“As they tried to teach me how to dance A foxtrot above my head A sockhop beneath my bed.” Fireflies do not dance, but these lyrics paint some incredible imagery in the minds of listeners.
4. Hungry Like the Wolf by Duran Duran* Duran Duran’s 80s hit “ Hungry Like the Wolf*” is an extended metaphor, comparing a man’s pursuit of a beautiful woman with a wolf on the hunt for its prey. Almost every line lends itself to this metaphor. Additionally, the song’s iconic title is a simile, a type of metaphor that uses the words “like” or “as.” “I’m on the hunt I’m after you.
Mouth is alive with juices like wine. And I’m hungry like the wolf.” There are two similes in the lines above, comparing saliva to wine and romantic desire to a wolf’s hunger. 5. Let It Go by Idinia Menzel* “ Let It Go*,” sung by Idina Menzel, is the feature song of Disney’s hit film, Frozen.
The song appears at a pivotal moment when Elsa has run away after accidentally using her ice powers in front of a crowd. She decides to “let it go” and be herself, magical powers and all. The song is an extended metaphor, relating Elsa’s complicated feelings about her abilities to an ice storm. “The wind is howling like this swirling storm inside” is a simile, comparing the storm outside to the intense feelings Else is experiencing.
7. I Am a Rock by Simon and Garfunkel* Perhaps one of the saddest songs of all time, “ I Am a Rock*” by Simon and Garfunkel, tells the story of a young man who has become a recluse to avoid pain. The famous lyrics: “I am a rock I am an island.” are a metaphor for the man’s solitude. He relates himself to a rock and an island, something that is entirely alone. 8. Hallelujah by Leonard Cohen* Leonard Cohen’s “ Hallelujah*” didn’t get much popularity until Jeff Buckley covered it. It has gone on to become one of the most covered songs in music history.
There is much speculation about the song’s meaning, but Cohen figurative language in song only said that it is an attempt to find joy in the many messes of life.
The song relates the Biblical story of David. “Your faith was strong, but you needed proof You saw her bathing on the roof Her beauty and the moonlight overthrew you.” These lines are an allusion to David’s adultery. 9. Girl on Fire by Alicia Keys* Alicia Key’s song “ Girl on Fire*” is an anthem for all the women in the world who are making it and winning at life, despite all of the hardships women face in modern society.
Keys uses the metaphor of fire to describe the woman in her song, and all women in general. “She’s just a girl And she’s on fire.” The metaphor is extended throughout the song and, at points, becomes hyperbole. No one is actually on fire, but Keys uses the metaphor to say the girl is both strong and persecuted. 10. Thunder by Imagine Dragons* The song “ Thunder*” by Imagine Dragons tells the story of a young man who was always different from his peers.
He uses that difference to get ahead and find fame as a musician. The song features the line: “I was lightning efore the thunder.” This line is a metaphor. The singer compares himself to lightning and uses the metaphor to show that he was always a step ahead of everyone else. The words “lightning” and “thunder” are repeated throughout the song, reiterating the metaphor.
11. Chandelier by Sia* Another pop anthem by the musical genius Sia, “ Chandelier*” embraces figurative language. The talented artist uses the perfect blend of her amazing voice and figurative language to convey her need to indulge in extreme behaviors. In the chorus, Sia sings, “I want to swing from the chandelier.” In this beautiful melody, Sia describes her battles with alcohol and substance abuse and the personal troubles she endured in her past.
Although Sia touches on her personal troubles, it is a song that many people can still resonate with. 1 2. Fireworks by Katy Perry* This upbeat pop song is a must-have for this list. In addition to having an uplifting upbeat melody, this catchy song will have you joyfully singing in a manner of seconds. Katy Perry’s song “Fireworks” is filled with figures of speech as well. Even the title of the song is hyperbole.
In the song, Katy uses the term fireworks to allude to people’s inner light and stardom. A deeper analysis of the song highlights lyrics like “there’s a spark in you” to depict the song’s figurative nature. 1 3. God’s Plan by Drake* Although “ God’s Plan*” may be categorized as hip-hop, it is another upbeat tune that is filled with figurative language. In this song, Drake highlights his road to fame and wealth while navigating through enemy territory.
One line that exemplifies the figurative nature of this song is when Drake states that, “he might go figurative language in song as G.O.D”. This metaphor eludes to all the accomplishments and achievements Drake has acquired, which perhaps makes him immortal in the eyes of his fans. If the beat and tune figurative language in song this song does not catch your attention, the deeper meaning definitely will.
1 4. New York, New York by Frank Sinatra* Frank Sinatra’s classic New York, New York* is another must-have on the list of figuratively speaking songs. Although Frank is actually referring to the big city of New York, there are several lines throughout the song with hyperboles and metaphors. For example, on one line Frank speaks of waking up in the city that never sleeps. While this line shouldn’t be taken literally, it speaks to the constant hustle and bustle of the big apple and the need to always be your best.
1 5. Happy by Pharrell Williams* If you are looking for a song to lift your spirits, you may want to consider giving “ Happy*” a listen to. Listening to this upbeat song, you cannot help but feel happy. The song is sung by talented artist Pharell Williams, who uses his unique voice to convey a wonderful message. Although some of the lines in this song are written in figurative language and metaphors, it is still fairly easy to comprehend.
1 6. Love Story by Taylor Swift* In “ Love Story*,” pop singer Taylor Swift delivers a loving portrayal of unrequited love. In her love story, Taylor describes forbidden love through the use of metaphors. In one part of the song, Taylor speaks about being a scarlet letter to her Romeo. “You were Romeo, I was a scarlet letter.” Figuratively speaking, Taylor is noting that the guy she is in love with is her crime.
Although Taylor Swift’s Love Story is a bit mystified, it has a beautiful message worth listening to. 1 7. Animals by Maroon 5* Another song filled with figurative language is “ Animals*” by Maroon 5. In this portrayal of love, Maroon 5 unleashes their wild side and uses figurative language as a musical expression.
Maroon 5 adds a new meaning to having an animal nature with lines like: “hunt you down” and “I can smell your scent for miles” Riddled with metaphors and hyperboles, this song is a thought-provoking musical composition that everyone can enjoy. 18. Halo by Beyonce* This list of songs cannot be completed without adding a song from Queen B. In her song “ Halo*“, Beyonce uses figurative speech to describe her love as angelic.
The chorus of the song repeats: “I can see your halo.” This song features a beautiful melody along with its beautiful message. If you are looking for a figurative song with a positive message, you may want to give this one a listen to. 1 9. I’m Like a Bird by Nelly Furtado* Another great song filled with figurative language you may want to listen to is “ I’m Like a Bird*.” In this song, Nelly Furtado uses similes to compare herself to being a bird free to fly.
“I’m like a bird, I want to fly away. I don’t know where my soul is. I don’t know where my home is.” It has a joyful tune and a hopeful message that is truly uplifting. In the song, Nelly speaks of not knowing where she is going or where her home. Although the line is a bit melancholy, listeners are reassured she will get to her destination by taking flight.
20. Boulevard of Broken Dreams by Green Day* If you’re looking for a more rocking version of figurative speech in song, try “ Boulevard of Broken Dreams*” by Green Day.
As one of the classics, this song takes listeners on a journey through a boulevard of hardships. The song starts with the somber lines: “I walk a lonely road, the only one that I have ever known.
Don’t know where it goes, but it’s home to me, and I walk alone.” If you are into rock music, this one may be right up your alley. In the song, Green Day describes the feeling of being alone in a world of broken dreams. Their use of figurative wordplay envelopes its deep meaning of being scared and alone to connect and resonate on a deeper level with their fans.
If you have yet to hear this rock anthem, consider giving it a listen today. Repeat Replay participates in various affiliate marketing programs, which means we get paid commissions on purchases made through our links to retailer sites. Our editorial content is not influenced by any commissions we receive. RepeatReplay.com is also a participant in the Amazon Services Figurative language in song Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.
Amazon and the Amazon logo are trademarks of Amazon.com, Inc or its affiliates.
Do you love songs with figurative language? So do we! In this blog post, we’ll share 51 of the best popular songs with figurative language. From country to rap, these songs will have you feeling the beat and understanding the lyrics. Whether you’re a fan of oldies or today’s hits, there’s something for everyone on this list.
Enjoy! Best Popular Songs with Figurative Language Let’s move to the list of the most popular songs with figurative language and enjoy the reading with listening. 1. Hungry Like the Wolf (Duran Duran) Hungry Like the Wolf is the perfect song to kick off our list of popular songs with figurative language. These early 80s songs with figurative language are full of imagery, from the opening lines: “I’m on the hunt, I’m after you.” 2. A Thousand Miles (Vanessa Carlton) A Thousand Miles is a beautiful ballad with powerful lyrics.
The song is written in the form of a letter and uses plenty of figurative language to evoke emotion. “I would walk a thousand miles If I could just see you smile.” 3. I Am a Rock (Simon & Garfunkel) I Am a Rock is a classic song from the 60s with dark lyrics and a powerful message.
The song is written in the form of a letter and uses plenty of clean songs with figurative language to evoke emotion. 4. Let It Go (Idina Menzel) Let It Go is another song that uses figurative language to great effect. The song is about being free and not caring what other people think.
It’s a powerful message, and the lyrics are very moving. 5. Demons (Imagine Dragons) Demons is an Imagine Dragons is a great song, this song is about addiction. The lyrics are very simple, but they’re also both literal and figurative at the same time. Listen to the song below! 6. God’s Plan (Drake) God’s Plan is a song by Drake that was released in early 2018. It is another one of the greatest songs.
The song is about Drake’s journey to fame and how he’s been blessed with everything he’s ever wanted.
The lyrics are very inspirational, and the song is bound to become a classic. 7. Happy (Pharrell Williams) Happy is a song by Pharrell Williams that was released in 2013. The song is about being happy and enjoying life. The lyrics are very positive, and the song is an instant classic.
It is another one of the greatest songs. 8. Thunder (Imagine Dragons) Thunder is a song by the rock band Imagine Dragons. The song was released in April 2013 and is featured on the second studio album, “Night Visions.” This piece of popular music contains many literary devices such as personification, metaphor, and simile.
9. What a Wonderful World (Louis Armstrong) What a Wonderful World is a classic jazz song that was recorded by Louis Armstrong in the year 1960.
This popular classic contains much figurative language such as alliteration, simile, and metaphor. What a Wonderful World has been used in many media platforms throughout the years including commercials for Delta Airlines and Master Card. 10. Bohemian Rhapsody (Queen) Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen is another one of popular song with figurative language that is a song by the famous rock band, Queen. This British rock anthem was released in 1975 and became one of the most popular songs that year.
There are many literary devices found throughout this classic piece including alliteration, metaphor, and personification. 11. Figurative language in song (Sia) Chandelier is a complex song with complex lyrics.
But, the most obvious song with the figurative language used is in the chorus. Also, the song is about a girl whose life revolves around a bad relationship she’s in. 12. Story of My Life (One Direction) Story of My Life is a great song with diverse figurative language in it. The most common types of figurative language used are metaphors, similes, and personification. Also, the song itself is about not remembering what life was like before this relationship. 13. Love Story (Taylor Swift) Love Story is a perfect love song with many metaphors and personifications.
The refrain of the song has a lot of great examples of figurative language. This song is about how it seems like they are from two different worlds but still have something between them. 14. Moves Like Jagger (Maroon 5) Moves Like Jagger uses figurative language very well. The lyrics are about how this person is so amazing that they move like Jagger.
The song is a great example of how to use figurative language in a pop song. 15. Stuck Like Glue (Sugarland) Stuck Like Glue is about how this relationship is so good that they are stuck together like glue. The song uses interesting figurative language to describe how well this relationship is going. 16. Grenade (Bruno Mars) Grenade is the story of a man who is in love with a woman who is “out of his league.” It is one of the best songs with imagery because it paints a very vivid picture in the listener’s mind.
17. Stereo Hearts (Gym Class Heroes) Stereo Hearts is the story of a man that is in love with a girl so much so that he feels as if his heart has been put into “stereo” and it is on “repeat.” It is another great song with imagery because it paints such an emotional picture. 18. Theme From New York (Frank Sinatra) Theme From New York is a song about a city figurative language in song never figurative language in song. Sinatra perfectly captures the hustle and bustle of the city in this song with his amazing lyrics.
19. She’s Everything (Brad Paisley) She’s Everything is a song about when two people fall in love and the feeling of butterflies won’t go away even when they are together because she brings out all his “best.” 20. Life is a Highway (Rascal Flatts) Life is a Highway song with figurative language is a perfect example of how a song can be so poetic.
The lyrics are written in a way that makes you think about the different aspects of life. 21. Fireflies (Owl City) Fireflies is a beautiful song that talks about the simplicity of life and how sometimes we forget to enjoy the present moment.
The lyrics are written in a way that makes you appreciate the little things in life. 22. Mercy (Shawn Mendes) Mercy song with figurative language is about finding inner peace and hope. The lyrics are written in a way that makes you think about how blessed you are to be alive. 23. Amnesia (5 Seconds of Summer) Amnesia song with figurative language is about letting go of the past and moving figurative language in song while not forgetting who you are.
The lyrics are written in a way that makes you think about the mistakes we have made in our lives, and how it’s important to learn from them. 24. Imagination (Shawn Mendes) Imagination is the ability to create mental images, including ideas and imagined experiences. Figurative language includes similes, metaphors, personification, and hyperbole. In “Imagination” by Shawn Mendes, the lyrics reference a number of popular figures of speech.
25. Scars to Your Beautiful (Alessia Cara) Scars to Your Beautiful is a song about self-acceptance. Alessia Cara sings about how beauty is more than skin deep. The song is full of figurative language, including metaphors and similes.
26. Carousel (Melanie Martinez) Carousel is a song about a relationship that is falling apart. Melanie Martinez sings about how the relationship is like a carousel, going around and around but never really getting anywhere. The song is full of figurative language, including metaphors and similes. 27. Broken Home (5 Seconds of Summer) Broken Home is a song about divorce. In the lyrics, 5 Seconds of Summer describes how their home has been broken, and they are waiting for the pieces to be put back together again.
The song is full of figurative language, including hyperbole. 28. Something Different (Why Don’t We) Something Different is a song about being in love with someone who is different than you. In the lyrics, Why Don’t We sings about how they have never been in love with someone like this before.
The song is full of figurative language, including metaphors and similes. 29. Old Friends/Bookends (Simon & Garfunkel) Old Friends/Bookends is another popular songs with figurative language.
Bookends is a song about two old friends who were separated by opposite lifestyles and meet again: 30. Better Together (Luke Combs) Better Together is a song about how two people are better together than they are apart. The lyrics talk about how the two people complement each other and figurative language in song each other better. If you’re looking for a good songs with figurative language, then this song is perfect for you. 31. Tonight I Climbed the Wall (Alan Jackson) Tonight I Climbed the Wall is a song about how the narrator’s love for the person he’s singing to is so strong, he would do anything to keep her.
The lyrics talk about how the narrator is willing to do whatever it takes to be with her. 32. Ships (Barry Manilow) Ships is another popular song and is a song about two people who are in love and are separated by the ocean.
The lyrics talk about how the two people are always thinking of each other and how they wish they could be together. 33. Birdhouse In Your Soul (They Might Be Giants) Birdhouse In Your Soul is a song about how the narrator wants to build a birdhouse in his loved one’s soul so she can be happy. The lyrics talk about how the two people are perfect for each other and want to take care of each other.
34. When I Fall (Barenaked Ladies) When I Fall is a song about how the narrator doesn’t want to let go of his loved one and wants her to know that he’ll always be there for her. The lyrics talk about how the person is like an angel who took over the narrator’s life and heart. 35. Carrying Cathy (Ben Folds) Carrying Cathy is a song about the narrator’s sister dying of cancer. The lyrics talk about how Cathy was diagnosed with cancer and her last days.
36. Waiting for Superman figurative language in song Waiting for Superman is the most popular song. This song is about a guy that wants his life to change. He feels stuck in the same routine and he wants out but doesn’t know how to make it happen. The song is about hope and waiting for the right person or thing to come along and save him. 37. Summer Love (One Direction) Summer Love is the most popular song. Besides, this song is about a guy that falls in love with a girl at first sight and spends the summer with her.
However, when the summer is over and it’s time for her to go back home, he realizes that he doesn’t want the summer to end and asks her not to leave.
38. Pompeii (Bastille) Pompeii song is about a guy that lives in Pompeii as it’s being destroyed by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius. He’s in love with a girl and he’s trying to tell her how he feels before it’s too late, but she’s not listening. 39. Cold One (Eric Church) Cold One song with imagery. The song is about a guy that walks into a bar and sees the girl of his dreams.
She’s playing pool with her friends and he realizes that he has never seen anyone more beautiful. He approaches her and asks to buy her a cold one, saying that he always pays his debts. 40. Beside You (5 Seconds of Summer) Beside You is one of the songs that use figurative language, such as imagery and similes, to describe how it feels for someone to be with the one they love.
“When you’re close enough to hold my hand, I feel like I can finally breathe,” is an example of imagery. 41. Bad Company (Five Finger Death Punch) Bad Company uses imagery to describe how bad thoughts can get in the way of doing things. “The devil’s knocking at my door, he wants my soul again. He sees your face, he takes my hand and drags me to the other figurative language in song is an example of imagery. 42. Every Storm Runs Out of Rain (Gary Allan) Every Storm Runs Out of Rain is a song about dealing with someone you love being in trouble.
It uses imagery to describe how the narrator is “cheering him on” through hard times. “I’m standing on the sidelines cheering for you, telling you everything will be alright,” is an example of imagery. 43. Watching You (Rodney Atkins) Watching You is a love song about caring for the other person. It uses imagery to express how it feels to be with them. “I’m chained to you, I can’t escape these chains that bind me. You’re playing with my heart again,” is an example of imagery.
44. Caraphernelia (Pierce The Veil) Caraphernelia is about leaving someone you loved. It uses similes, or comparisons using like or as, to describe how it felt when you’re trying to move on. “There’s not enough time in the day to get all of this stuff out of my head,” is an example of a simile.
It is one of the rap songs with figurative language. 45. So Far Away (Staind) So Far Away is a song about a relationship that has ended. It uses imagery to describe how the narrator feels.
“I’m looking through a hole in the sky, I’m seeing nowhere in my life,” is an example of imagery. 46. Sink or Swim (Tyrone Wells) Sink or Swim is a song about trying to hold on to a relationship.
It uses metaphors or comparisons that are not used like or as, to describe how the narrator is feeling. “I’m holding on for dear life, I’m kicking and screaming,” is an example of a metaphor. 47. The New National Anthem (Pierce The Veil) The New National Anthem is about someone who is in love with someone they know is bad for them. It uses imagery to describe how it feels when they act like nothing’s wrong, even though they know it’s not true.
“The skyline reflects my face, but all I can see are all the cracks and scars,” is an example of imagery. 48. The Bomb Dot Com V2.0 (Sleeping With Sirens) The Bomb Dot Com V2.0 is a song figurative language in song someone who was hurt so badly by love that they have decided to not let it happen again.
It uses imagery and metaphors to describe how they feel after the breakup. “My mind’s on overdrive, I think too much – no surprise there,” is an example of a metaphor.
49. Dam Would Break (Toad the Wet Sprocket) Dam Would Break is about someone who loves someone so much that it feels like they would be destroyed if the relationship ended. It uses imagery to describe how the narrator feels when they’re with their love. “You enter my bloodstream, I can feel you touching every part of me,” is an example of imagery.
Dam Would Break is another one of the clean songs with figurative language. 50. Roar (Katy Perry) Roar is a song about someone who has been hurt by love and is trying to move on. It uses imagery to describe how the narrator feels. “You held me down, but I got up.
Already brushing off the dust,” is an example of imagery. Roar is great songs with figurative language. 51. Naturally (Selena Gomez) Naturally is another popular song with figurative language. It uses imagery to describe how the narrator is feeling. “I don’t need anybody else, we could be naturally… I’m figurative language in song find my way to you, naturally,” is an example of imagery.
Conclusion We hope you can find the list of most popular songs with figurative language on our website. We hope you will enjoy it and be able to use this information for your own music promotion. Imagery can be very powerful because it can create a vivid picture in the mind. It can also be emotional and stirring. That’s all for the list of the best songs with figurative language.
The above songs are our favorite songs with figurative language. So what are you waiting for? Let’s check out your favorite songs with a lot of figurative languages and let us know your favorite in the comment section below. You can also check out 50+ Best Banjo Songs of All Time and 50 Best Karaoke Songs for Low Female Voices. Search for: report this ad Recent Posts • 15 of the Best Kid Cudi Songs: A Retrospective• 21 Best Songs About California: From Beach Boys to Tupac Shakur• How Many Octaves are in Music?
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Using metaphor, similes, or personification is very convenient for writing interesting lyrics, but it also figurative language in song the songwriter to be creative and original. In this article, we’ll show you the best songs with figurative language.
Some of them became iconic hits because of their distinctive lyrics. And you’ll probably be familiar with most of them, but you might also come across some great less popular tracks! Table of Contents • 25 Songs With Figurative Language • 1. Queen – “Bohemian Rhapsody” • 2.
Nelly Furtado – “I’m Like A Bird” • 3. Neil Young – “Heart of Gold” • 4. The Rolling Stones – “Sympathy for the Devil“ • 5. Katy Perry – “Firework“ • 6. Pink Floyd – “Another Brick in the Wall“ • 7. Audioslave – “Like a Stone” • 8. Coldplay – “Every Teardrop is a Waterfall” • 9.
Sarah Jaffe – “Clementine” • 10. Jesus and Mary Chain – “Just Like Honey” • 11. Harry Styles – “Adore You” • 12. The Postal Service – “Such Great Heights” • 13. Alicia Keys – “Girl on Fire” • 14. MGMT – “Electric Feel” • 15. Jefferson Airplane – “White Rabbit” • 16. Gym Class Heroes – “Stereo Hearts” • 17.
Radiohead – “All I Need” • 18. Rihanna – “Diamonds” • 19. Green Day – “Boulevard of Broken Dreams” • 20. Frank Ocean – “Thinking Bout You” • 21. Frou Frou – “Let Go” • 22. Tash Sultana – “Jungle” • 23. Red Hot Chili Peppers – “Under The Bridge” • 24. Billie Eilish – “No Time To Die” • 25. Amy Winehouse – “You Sent Me Flying” • Songs With Figurative Language – Final Thoughts 25 Songs With Figurative Language 1.
Queen – “Bohemian Rhapsody” “Bohemian Rhapsody” by Queen is often referred to as the greatest song ever written. Without a doubt, it’s the most popular and iconic rock opera. After all, it was a number 1 for nine weeks in the UK.
One of the things that make “Bohemian Rhapsody” so distinctive is its figurative, highly imaginative language. Freddie Mercury never revealed a true meaning behind the song, so the references and metaphors are left to listeners to decipher. The freedom to find our own personal meaning in songs is what Queen always strived to do. “ Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy? Caught in a landside, No escape from reality.
figurative language in song 2. Nelly Furtado – “I’m Like A Bird” This is perhaps one of the most popular pop songs with figurative language. In her beloved 2000 hit, Nelly Furtado is using similes to describe her restless nature and tendency to leave. Although it might seem like a love song at first, “I’m Like A Bird” is a song about freedom and independence.
“ I’m like a bird I’ll only fly away I don’t know where my soul is (soul is) I don’t know where my home is. “ 3. Neil Young – “Heart of Gold” Having a heart of gold means being genuinely compassionate, kind, and good to other people.
“Heart of Gold”, the song, is definitely one of Neil Young’s most famous and memorable songs. And according to its lyrics, it’s a song about striving to live a meaningful life. “I want to live I want to give I’ve been a miner For a heart of gold It’s these expressions I never give That keep me searching For a heart of gold.” 4. The Rolling Stones – “ Sympathy for the Devil“ In their famous signature song, The Rolling Stones surely don’t have sympathy for the devil.
With figurative language, they are talking about the evil side of human nature and the Lucifer in all of us. Despite the meaning behind it, “Sympathy for the Devil” is a quite uplifting song. And the lyrics were allegedly inspired by the book “The Master and Margarita” by Mikhail Bulgakov.
“ And I was ’round when Jesus Christ Had his moment of doubt and pain Made damn sure that Pilate Washed his hands and sealed his fate. “ 5. Katy Perry – “ Firework“ “Firework” by Katy Perry is a catchy, uplifting song with metaphors and similes. Essentially, the song is about recognizing your worth and fulfilling your potential.
Performed in Katy’s familiar style, “Firework” is an encouraging and empowering tune that will make you feel more confident and optimistic. “ You just gotta ignite the light And let it shine Just own the night Like the Fourth of July.
“ 6. Pink Floyd – “ Another Brick in the Wall “ When thinking about literary devices in songs, Pink Floyd definitely comes to mind. Their timeless 3-part classic “Another Brick in the Wall” uses metaphors to criticize how our educational system and society in general works. The song talks about the figurative language in song having control of the people and turning them into the obedient mass, which is effectively depicted through the iconic lyrics: “We don’t need no education We don’t need no thought control No dark sarcasm in the classroom Teacher, leave them kids alone.” 7.
Audioslave – “Like a Stone” “Like a Stone” was released on Audioslave’s debut album in 2002, and it soon became their signature song. But of course, the band was immediately recognized because of their legendary lead singer Chris Cornell. As one of the songs using figurative language, “Like a Stone” is a song about life and death. At some of the concerts, Chris Cornell used to say “your heaven is what you make it.” “ In your house, I long to be Room by room, patiently I’ll wait for you there Like a stone I’ll wait for you there Alone.
“ 8. Coldplay – “Every Teardrop is a Waterfall” “As we saw, woah, this light I swear you, emerge blinking into To tell me it’s alright As we soar walls Every siren is a symphony And every tear’s a waterfall.” This lively Coldplay tune is one of the most popular songs with figurative figurative language in song of the past decade.
Chris Martin was inspired to write this song after seeing Javier Bardem’s film “Biutiful” and hearing the upbeat “Ritmo de la Noche” by Lorca in one of the scenes.
Also, water is one of the most common metaphors in songs, and many songs about water use rivers, oceans, and waterfalls to convey their message. 9. Sarah Jaffe – “Clementine” “50 states 50 lines 50 crying-all-the-times 50 boys 50 lies 50 I’m-gonna-change-my-minds.” With the title inspired by the popular song “Oh My Darling, Clementine “, this beautiful indie tune was released in 2010.
Performed by the American singer/songwriter Sarah Jaffe, “Clementine” begins with figurative language that determines the atmosphere of the song. It’s a dreamy song that gives you space to interpret its lyrics in your own way. 10. Jesus and Mary Chain – “Just Like Honey” “Just Like Honey” by Scottish rock band Jesus and Mary Chain has distinctive, subtle lyrics with figurative language.
In a way, the alternative sound of “Just Like Honey”, released in 1985, influenced the forthcoming shoegaze genre. The song was also featured in Sofia Coppola’s film “Lost in Translation “, and it captures the film’s atmosphere perfectly. “Listen to the girl As she takes on half the world Moving up and so alive In her honey dripping beehive.” 11. Harry Styles – “Adore You” Harry Styles released “Adore You” on his second studio album “Fine Line” in 2019. In a nutshell, the song is about infatuation and honest feelings towards a girl, and figurative language in song uses a lot of figurative language to express his love.
The music video is also quite metaphorical and quirky, and it’s set in the fictional island Eroda (adore spelled backward). “Oh honey I’d walk through fire for you Just let me adore you Like it’s the only thing I’ll ever do.” 12. The Postal Service – “Such Great Heights” In case you’re not familiar with The Postal Service, it’s an American indie group consisting of Ben Gibbard (Death Cab for Cutie) and the producer Jimmy Tamborello.
One of their most popular songs is “Such Great Heights”, an electronic indie song with a lot of figurative language. “And true it may seem like a stretch But it’s thoughts like this that catch My troubled head when you’re away And when I am missing you to death.” 13.
Alicia Keys – “Girl on Fire” When it comes to popular songs with figurative language in them, we shouldn’t skip “Girl on Fire” by Alicia Keys. It’s a song about a girl who is striving to achieve her goals and knows that she can overcome anything. And by describing someone as a girl on fire, you’re probably thinking of someone passionate, strong, and untamed. After all, there are many songs featuring fire as a metaphor.
“She’s just a girl and she’s on fire Hotter than a fantasy, lonely like a highway She’s living in a world and it’s on fire Filled with catastrophe, but she knows she can fly away.” 14.
MGMT – “Electric Feel” Figurative language in song indie anthem “Electric Feel” by MGMT is undoubtedly one of the most well-known songs with figurative language. The song was released on the band’s debut album “Oracular Spectacular “ in 2007. As the references and metaphors in the “Electric Feel” are quite abstract, there can be many interpretations of the song. “All along the Eastern shore Put your circuits in the sea This is what the world is for Making electricity You can feel figurative language in song in your mind.” 15.
Jefferson Airplane – “White Rabbit” This powerful, memorable track by Jefferson Airplane was written by the band’s frontwoman Grace Slick. Slick was inspired by Lewis Carroll’s book “Alice in Wonderland” and its ‘trippy’ imagery. Although the song clearly has references to drugs, the white rabbit can also easily be interpreted as curiosity and openness to new experiences.
Originally released back in 1967, the song is still a universal hit, and even more so after being featured in the trailer for the new Matrix Resurrections movie. “One pill makes you larger And one pill makes you small, And the ones that mother gives you Don’t do anything at all.” 16. Gym Class Heroes – “Stereo Hearts” “I think I finally found a note to make you understand If you can hit it, sing along and take me by the hand Just keep me stuck inside your head, like your favorite tune You know my hearts a stereo that only plays for you.” The figurative language in this is song is pretty clear.
The guy from the song is comparing his heart to a stereo that is only playing for that special girl. Well, music was always a way of connecting and expressing affection. 17. Radiohead – “All I Need” Defined by smart, unusual metaphors and Thom Yorke’s dreamy vocals, “All I Need” is essentially a love song.
It was released on Radiohead’s seventh studio album “In Rainbows” in 2007, and it remains one of the band’s most haunting and delicate songs. “I’m the next act Waiting in the wings I’m an animal Trapped in your hot car I am all the days That you choose to ignore.” 18.
Rihanna – “Diamonds” In her 2012 track, Rihanna uses figurative language in the first verse. The lyrics were written by Sia, and although the song has a touch of melancholy, they are positive and hopeful, and they capture the feeling of being happily in love.
“You and I, you and I We’re like diamonds in the sky You’re a shooting star I see A vision of ecstasy When you hold me, I’m alive We’re like diamonds in the sky.” 19. Green Day – “Boulevard of Broken Dreams” The 90’s kids probably recognize this song from the first note. “Boulevard of Figurative language in song Dreams” is Green Day’s signature track that won a Grammy for Record Of The Year in 2006.
In a nutshell, it’s a song about loneliness, and that feeling is also conjured with the verse and the personification: “where the city sleeps.” “I walk a lonely road The only one that I have ever known Don’t know where it goes But it’s home to me, and I walk alone.” 20.
Frank Ocean – “Thinking Bout You” “A tornado flew around my room before you came Excuse the mess it made, it usually doesn’t rain.” “Thinking Bout You” was released on Frank Ocean’s debut album “Channel Orange” in 2002.
It’s an R&B song using figurative speech to portray emotions of love and affection. In the first verse, Ocean describes his restless life before meeting this girl as a room wrecked by a tornado. 21. Frou Frou – “Let Go” “Let Go” by the British electronic duo Frou Frou is a beautiful track about letting go. In music, letting go always means being free or going through something without holding back (oh well, another figure of speech).
And to some extent, the Frou Frou song is about starting another relationship without thinking about the previous one. “So let go, so let go and jump in Oh, well, whatcha waiting for? It’s alright ‘Cause there’s beauty in the breakdown.” 22.
Tash Sultana – “Jungle” Released in 2016, “Jungle” by the Australian artist Tash Sultana is a real indie gem. By using figurative language, mostly metaphors, Tash Sultana conveys the message of love (and hurt) in a unique and mesmerizing way. “I know that you’re hurting I see the tears behind those eyes And I can’t wipe them clear Your love is like gold to me.” 23. Red Hot Chili Peppers – “Under The Bridge” In “Under The Bridge”, Red Hot Chili Peppers use personification when talking about Los Angeles.
The song was released in 1991 on their album “Blood Sugar Sex Magik “, and it remains one of the band’s most popular and acclaimed songs. “Sometimes I feel like my only friend Is the city I live in, the figurative language in song of angels Lonely as I figurative language in song, together we cry I drive on her streets ’cause she’s my companion I walk through her hills ’cause she knows who I am.” 24.
Billie Eilish – “ No Time To Die” Billie Eilish recorded “No Time To Die” for the James Bond movie “No Time To Die “. It’s a powerful, Bond-like song with figurative language and an emotional message. In one of the verses, she asks whether the person she is referring to is death or paradise, and concludes: “I let it burn You’re figurative language in song longer my concern Faces from my past return Another lesson yet to learn.” 25.
Amy Winehouse – “You Sent Me Flying” Although it’s not one of Amy’s most popular songs, “You Sent Me Flying” is definitely memorable.
The song was released on her debut studio album “Frank” in 2003. It’s a raw, honest song about former relationships and unrequited love. And the name of the song is surely a nice example of figurative language in songs. “And although my pride’s, not easy to disturbed, You sent me flying when you kicked me to the curb, So with your battered jeans, and your Beasties tee Now I can’t work like this, no, with you next to me.” Songs With Figurative Language – Final Thoughts We hope you had fun going through all of these songs!
Some of them are really defined by their figurative language, and most of them are allowing listeners to interpret the lyrics in their own way. And there are many more great examples figurative language in song the songs with figurative language, but we’ll have to leave them for another article.
Until then, check out our other similar articles. Songs That Tell A Story Love Songs For Him
Twitter Facebook Pinterest In the days of Simon and Garfunkle, a high school English teacher told his disbelieving students they already knew poetry.
Eyebrows rose. The teacher didn’t argue with them. He merely began to recite: Hello darkness, my old friend I’ve come to talk with you again The students’ eyes lit up in recognition. All knew the lyrics to that song. The best poetry, fiction, and nonfiction make extensive use of figurative language. It’s the most effective way to get certain points across. Songs do this too! Here are 21 of the best songs with figurative language of all time. Note how well written they are and how memorable the songs became.
1. Rain on Me – Lady Gaga & Ariana Grande This song is not a weather report. It’s about a woman who’s unlucky in love. Teardrops are her metaphorical rain. But, with all her regrets, she’s determined to retain her self-respect.
Water metaphors are quite common in music, and there are many songs about water that have deeper meanings. Hands up to the sky I’ll be your galaxy I’m about to fly Rain on me, tsunami The metaphors illustrate her need to show strength to her lover no matter how much sadness she experiences.
Up next: The top songs about regret and guilt 2. Another Brick in the Wall – Pink Floyd Hey! Teachers! Leave them kids alone! All in all it’s just another brick in the wall. All in all you’re just another brick in the wall. Walls are time-honored metaphors of separation and alienation. Pink Floyd’s crew constructed a huge wall brick by brick to make this point as obvious as possible while performing the song on stage. The song served as an effective protest against child abuse in the schools back in the Nineties.
Calling teachers “bricks” in a child’s wall of fear was an extremely telling rhetorical device. 3. Love Shack – the B-52’s Metaphors aren’t just used in sad songs.
Hyperbole, or over-the-top language, can make you laugh out loud. Who can forget Fred Schneider boasting… I got me a car, it’s as big as a whale And we’re headin’ on down to the Love Shack I got me a Chrysler, it seats about 20 So hurry up and bring your jukebox money And don’t forget the gang’s funky form of call-and-response onomatopoeia–using words that sound like what they mean–these almost sounding like sound effects.
Bang, bang, bang on the door baby. I can’t hear you. 4. What a Wonderful World – Louis Armstrong When gravel-voiced Satchmo sung this deeply felt song of gratitude for the beauty of the world, he included adjectives that greatly deepened the meanings of their nouns.
This use of figurative language is especially effective in this stanza: I see skies of blue And clouds of white The bright blessed day The dark sacred night And I think to myself What a wonderful world Next: The best songs about gratitude 5.
Bohemian Rhapsody – Queen This song isn’t just a spoof of every opera ever written, it’s Freddie Mercury’s romp through language and imagination. Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy? Caught in a landslide No escape from reality Is life a metaphor for a landslide or vice versa? The operatic wordplay continues section after section in this massive song. Throw in some Italian names and some allusions to Italian stagecraft… I see a little silhouetto of a man Scaramouche, Scaramouche, will you do the Fandango?
Thunderbolt and lightning very very frightening me Galileo, Galileo Galileo, Galileo Galileo Figaro, magnifico Read next: Our guide to learning how to sing opera 6. Hungry Like the Wolf – Duran Duran This song depicts Man the Hunter as like a wolf, a simile, not a metaphor. A simile compares two unlike things. A metaphor says that two unlike things are in some sense the same thing.
The wolf is the simile for the man. The city is the metaphor, a hunting ground filled with figurative language in song Darken the city, night is a wire Steam in the subway, earth is a afire The woman he is after is his prey. He would make her his mate… Straddle the line in discord and rhyme I’m on the hunt I’m after you Mouth is alive, with juices like wine And I’m hungry like the wolf 7. Girl on Fire – Alicia Keys Alicia Keys would have none of that.
Her song is about a woman who is in the struggle and is going all out to achieve her dreams. Note her inner self’s comparison to a fantasy and a highway, a jarring juxtaposition that illuminates her character. She’s just a girl, and she’s on fire Hotter than a fantasy, lonely like a highway She’s living in a world, and it’s on fire Feeling the catastrophe, but she knows she can fly away Up figurative language in song Top songs about dreaming ever made 8.
American Pie – Don McLean This iconic song is jammed with allusions, hyperbole, metaphors, similes, brief references to famous songs, symbolic names for real rock stars, including Buddy Holly, and glances at political and cultural events in post-war America. The title itself refers to McLean’s vision of the Fifties as America’s golden age.
I was a lonely teenage broncin’ buck With a pink carnation and a pickup truck But I knew I was out of luck The day the music died 9.
Sad Songs (Say So Much) – Elton John This song exemplifies one of the simplest forms of figurative language–alliteration. The memorable effect of starting several words in a row with the same sound has been used by poets since long before Homer. They reach into your room, oh-oh-oh Just feel their gentle touch (Gentle touch) When all hope is gone (Ooh) Sad songs say so much 10.
Come Sail Away – Styx This song;s story can be seen as a giant metaphor for the call to adventure. For more storytelling songs, check out our top list now. A gathering of angels appeared above my head They sang to me this song of hope, and this is what they said They said, come sail away, come sail away Come sail away with me, lad And then the surprise twist is applied: I thought that they were angels, but much to my surprise We climbed aboard their starship, we headed for the skies 11.
New York, New York – Frank Sinatra Personification is the rhetorical device of attributing human characteristics to a non-human thing. Here’s how Ol’ Blue Eyes did it: To express a lover’s grief, the songwriter will often describe impossible events happening in the lover’s world. Hyperbole is a powerful form of figurative language. Clearly, the sun must still shine when she’s away.
But he can’t feel it. Check out our list of songs about unrequited love next! Ain’t no sunshine when she’s gone And this house figurative language in song ain’t no home Anytime she goes away 13. Total Eclipse of the Heart – Bonnie Tyler Another metaphor of Man as Hunter, Man as Tiger.
But this time, he seeks a rival for a fight. Check out this list for more top fighting songs. It’s the eye of the tiger It’s the thrill of the fight Rising up to the challenge of our rival And the last known survivor Stalks his prey in the night And he’s watching us all with the eye of the tiger 15. Killing Me Softly with His Song – Roberta Flack Another clearly over-the-top title.
How can anyone kill with a song? It’s a metaphor for the strong emotions a song can generate in the listener. Everyone has the potential to become a superstar. The metaphor of a firework blasting bright colors across the sky standing for a well-lived life is offered by Perry.
Baby, figurative language in song a firework Come on, let your colors burst Make ’em go, “Aah, aah, aah” You’re gonna leave them all in awe, awe, awe 17. The Bones – Maren Morris Lyricists can reuse a metaphor.
A house is said to have good bones. That in of itself is a metaphor for a solid structure and layout. Morris applies this figure to a solid relationship between lovers.
When the bones are good, the rest don’t matter Yeah, the paint could peel, the glass could shatter Let it rain ’cause you and I remain the same When there ain’t a crack in the foundation 18.
Sympathy for the Devil – the Rolling Stones No, the song gives no sympathy to the Devil. The title refers to what a powerful urge might demand of us. The song is an allegory on human evil. The Devil is the personification of human evil. This particular figurative language in song is to the 100 Years War: I watched with glee While your kings and queens Fought for ten decades For the gods they made 19. Operator – The Manhattan Transfer This song can be understood as an allegory of a step-by-step method of prayer.
The old-time telephone technology involving a series of operators physically making long-distance connections possible makes the allegory of trying to call heaven fun. This meshes well with the rousing church spiritual musical style of the song.
Operator Give me information Inf ormation Give me long distance Long distance Give me heaven… Next: Best songs about long distance relationships 20. Blowin’ in the Wind – Peter, Paul, and Mary This powerful folk song consists of nothing but a series of specific questions. Some address events in nature.
Others address the human condition. They all add up to one enormous question about the power, danger, and opportunity that our human nature offers us. Yes, and how many years must a mountain exist Before it is washed to the sea?
And how many years can some people exist Before they’re allowed to be free? Yes, and how many times can a man turn his head And pretend that he just doesn’t see? 21. The Sound of Silence – Simon and Garfunkel Yes, this is the song I led off with. Songs with figurative language can also reference events real or imagined long ago. And the people bowed and prayed To the neon god they made… …And the sign said, “The words of the prophets are written on the subway walls And tenement halls” And whispered in the sound of silence Paul Simon was clearly putting a 20th century technological twist on the ancient story from Exodus of the Israelites fashioning a golden calf and worshipping it in disobedience to Jehovah.
“The words of the prophets” also hints at other Old Testament stories. Did Simon intend his song as a prophetic warning for his time? This is the kind of question that potent use of figurative language by a writer can elicit from attentive readers and listeners. Figurative language opens us up emotionally with the use of telling details used in striking ways. All of the songs I’ve used to illustrate figurative language here hold the skillful use of the well-placed, well-told figurative language in song in common.
A dry message becomes poignant. A dated reference comes alive. A confusing point is illuminated. Sometimes a human truth is subtle. It can’t be captured directly by ordinary prose. It must be addressed obliquely. By comparing two unlike things in such striking ways, we can get at that truth. The readers and listeners then experience that wonderful “ah-ha” moment.
If you write songs, try figurative language in your next efforts. You may be surprised at how effective it can be. Read next: Songs with “baby” in the title Figurative language in song about pain, suffering, hurting and more Songs about missing someone you love Best songs about going through changes Best metaphorical food songs ever Related Posts: • 23 Best Songs to Wake Up To (Great Morning Songs) • 63 Best Sad Songs Ever (Saddest Songs To Cry To) • 51 Best Songs Of All Time (Famous & Iconic Songs) • 51 Best Running Songs - Running Motivation Songs • 55 Best 90s Songs: Greatest Hit Songs from the 90s • Best Guitar Duet Songs To Learn
Contents • “Hallelujah” by Leonard Cohen • “Watermelon Sugar” by Harry Styles • “Human Nature” by Michael Jackson • “Life Is a Highway” by Tom Cochrane • “One” by U2 • “Let It Go” by Idina Menzel (Frozen) • “Firework” by Katy Perry • “Girl on Figurative language in song by Alicia Keys • “Another Brick in the Wall” by Pink Floyd • “Like a Prayer” by Madonna • “Wrecking Ball” by Miley Cyrus • “Happy” by Pharell Williams • “Bohemian Rhapsody” by Queen • “Willow” by Taylor Swift • “Pompeii” by Bastille • “Hound Dog” by Elvis Presley • “Waterfalls” by TLC • “Hungry Like the Wolf” by Duran Duran • “Landslide” by Fleetwood Mac • “One Thing” by One Direction • “Mine” by Bazzi • “Take Me to Church” by Hozier • “Can't Stop the Feeling” by Justin Timberlake • Top Songs With Figurative Language, Final Thoughts “Hallelujah” by Leonard Cohen Song year: 1984 Leonard Cohen's “Hallelujah is one of the most hauntingly poetic songs of all time.
The song uses Biblical imagery to tell a story with different meanings for different people. Some see the song as a lament for those who've lost in love, while others think it's about a person's struggle with religion. Song year: 2019 Harry Styles released one of the best anthems of summer, “Watermelon Sugar,” in 2019, and it's been a bop ever since. With lines about the taste of strawberries on a summer evening, the song compares summer fruits to the heady rush of falling in love.
The first few lines of the song use two similes to create a strong connection between the feelings of falling in love to the wonderful moments of summer. Styles goes on to use the metaphor, “baby, you're the end of June,” to compare his love to the joyful feeling of summer. “Human Nature” by Michael Jackson Song year: 1983 While Michael Jackson's “Human Nature” isn't the most popular song on his Thriller album, it is undeniably well-written and uses a lot of figurative language to convey its message.
The song is set in New York City and tells about a young man who explores the city and finds a romantic partner. In the song's first lines, he uses personification and a metaphor to compare the city to a woman. He sings about the city winking an eye and calling out to him, loud enough to rattle his windows. A few lines later, he uses metaphor figurative language in song, comparing the city to an apple he wants to consume.
He also compares the city to a beating heart near the end of the song. “Life Is a Highway” by Tom Cochrane Song year: 1991 Tom Cochrane's “Life Is a Highway” contains a metaphor right in the title, setting the tone for the rest of the song.
The song opens with a simile, “life's like a road that you travel on.” The song's central theme compares life to a highway, telling listeners how important it is to keep riding. The song reminds you that you have to be a part of life and not just let it pass you by like cars on a highway. “One” by U2 Song year: 1992 The song “One” by U2 is arguably one of the best figurative language in song songs of all time.
The song chronicles a bitter split between a couple who love one another but have too much baggage to figurative language in song things work. The song uses a metaphor, where the narrator compares his lover to Jesus but says that she's trying to fix something that doesn't need fixing. The song reaches its crescendo with another metaphor: “you say love is a temple, love a higher law.” The lover says that love is more important than anything, but then she twists things with her treatment of the narrator.
“Let It Go” by Idina Menzel (Frozen) Song year: 2013 Whether you love or hate Frozen, there's no denying the incredible writing in the smash hit “Let It Go.” The song occurs at a pivotal moment in the film when Elsa has to confront her ice powers and decide whether to hide her true self or to give in and be who she is. The song uses a simile early on when Elsa sings, “the wind is howling like this swirling storm inside.” She's comparing her feelings to a strong wind that can't be contained.
The song itself is an extended metaphor. Elsa compares herself to the weather, something she can't control. She finally accepts her fate and decides to be herself. “Firework” by Katy Perry Song year: 2010 “Firework” by Katy Perry is a famous example used by high school English teachers across the country.
The popular song has some simple metaphors that are easy to spot. The song opens with a simile that talks about feeling wrong and wanting to start over. Perry compares feeling useless to a paper bag in the wind. The refrain uses the metaphor of comparing someone to a firework. Perry tells the listener that they're capable of great things if they just let their talents out like a firework exploding.
“Girl on Fire” by Alicia Keys Song year: 2012 Alicia Keys is undeniably one of the best songwriters of her generation. Her hit “Girl on Fire” proves her writing prowess with its bold, powerful metaphors. The entire song is a metaphor from its repeating mantra of “this girl is on fire” to the line “she's burning it down.” The song compares a particular girl to fire, saying that she's capable of anything and can stand on her own.
Keys' song is so powerful because it came when women were beginning to assert their worth, and it became something of a feminist anthem. “Another Brick figurative language in song the Wall” by Pink Floyd Song year: 1979 Pink Floyd's album The Wall was released in 1979.
The concept album features the main character, Pink, who builds a wall around himself and his emotions throughout the songs. Perhaps one of the most famous songs on the album, “Another Brick in the Wall,” has been the defining song for several generations. The song critiques the British school systems in the 1970s. The famous line “all in all, you're just another brick in the wall” is a metaphor that can have dual meanings.
It can refer to the way school systems are institutionalized. Students are just a number, and learning isn't individualized. Taking in the context of the entire album, as the protagonist Pink is building his wall, all of the bad things that happen to him become just one brick he uses to shield himself.
“Like a Prayer” by Madonna Song year: 1989 Madonna's “Like a Prayer” was one of the most controversial songs of the 1980s. Many listeners felt the song compared religion and sexual relationships, which made many people in the religious community uncomfortable. Love or hate the song, it has some undeniably great examples of figurative language.
In the song, Madonna uses many images to illustrate a young girl's love for God (or a relationship between two lovers, depending on your interpretation). She compares attention from her loved one to a home, prayer, an angel, flying, and more.
The similes go on throughout the song. “Wrecking Ball” by Miley Cyrus Song year: 2013 Miley Cyrus's “Wrecking Ball” is perhaps her most infamous hit. The song tells the story of a couple who called it quits but still have anger toward one another.
The primary use of figurative language is a simile in the most-recognizable line of the song, “I came in like a wrecking ball.” Cyrus uses the image of a wrecking ball to iterate that she gave her all in the relationship.
She wasn't the one to leave, and she tried her best to make it work. She also uses the simile to suggest that maybe she came on too strong. “Happy” by Pharell Williams Song year: 2013 Pharell's song “Happy” is one of the most iconic songs of the last decade.
As its title suggests, the music is all about feeling happy, whether your life is going great or if you're at a low point. Pharell uses a few examples of figurative language to express what it's like to feel happy. One notable line is in the chorus: “clap along if you feel like a room without a roof.” This simile demonstrates how happiness is difficult to contain.
The metaphor used in the line figurative language in song a hot air balloon that could go to space” is another great example. Again, Pharell expresses the uncontainable joy that goes along with feeling happy. “Bohemian Rhapsody” by Queen Song year: 1975 Many music fans love to speculate about the meaning behind Queen's six-minute opus, “Bohemian Rhapsody.” It doesn't help that frontman Freddie Mercury would never say what the song was about.
He wanted people to interpret it for themselves and ascribe a personalized meaning. Whatever it means, it's one of the band's most loved songs, and for a good reason. Mercury's use of language is impeccable. Early in the song, he uses the metaphor “caught in a landslide” to show that he's stuck in a situation he can't get out of. While the song can be taken as pure fiction, telling the story of a young man going to prison (and eventually hell) for murder, many read the song as a metaphor for Mercury's struggle with his sexuality.
Much like the landslide, he tried figurative language in song avoid his true self but eventually couldn't. “Willow” by Taylor Swift Song year: 2020 If anything good came out of 2020, it was the two surprise albums released by Taylor Swift, Folklore and Evermore.
Both old and new fans have lauded Swift's shift in both music and lyrical style. Swift truly outdid herself with the songwriting on both albums. “Willow” is one of the most notable songs.
The song is about figurative language in song woman who falls in love with a man who refuses to give up on her.
Swift uses metaphor and simile to weave a graceful story. The song begins with two similes, comparing Swift to rough waters and her lover to a ship that could get to her. And continues with the titular line in which Swift compares life to a willow that bent to her lover's will.” These lines describe how Swift's lover saw through her facade and was able to get to the real her. “Pompeii” by Bastille Song year: 2013 The volcano Mount Vesuvius erupted in Pompeii in 79 AD, destroying the entire city and many of its figurative language in song.
Almost two thousand years later, Bastille would turn the tragic event into a hit pop song. All of “Pompeii” is a metaphor. The band used the idea of being trapped under the flow of a volcano to compare growing stagnant with your place in life.
“Hound Dog” by Elvis Presley Song year: 1962 “Hound Dog” by Elvis Presley is one of rock and roll's quintessential tunes. The song has only a few lyrics repeated throughout, but the meaning is powerful. Presley calls out a purported friend or lover in a short but scathing metaphor. The insult compares the song's antagonist to a hound dog, who has nothing to offer the singer but pain and problems.
“Waterfalls” by TLC Song year: 1994 TLC's “Waterfalls” is one of our favorite songs with figurative language. The verses tell stories of people who live dangerously, but the chorus uses metaphor to teach listeners a lesson. The chorus warns listeners not to get themselves into dangerous territory, comparing dangerous situations to waterfalls and safety to rivers and lakes.
The group reminds us that staying where you are is sometimes the best thing to do. Sometimes you already have a happy life without having to use illicit means to have more. “Hungry Like the Wolf” by Duran Duran Song year: 1982 “Hungry Like the Wolf” contains a simile in the title and uses metaphor to create a primal connection between a man pursuing a woman to an animal seeking its prey.
Duran Duran's song goes beyond the simple simile of the title and chorus. The singer continually compares himself to a wild animal on the hunt. The lyrics create a song that is both intriguing and a little out of touch with modern times. Most present-day women wouldn't appreciate being compared to prey that a man stalks, not taking no for an answer. “Landslide” by Fleetwood Mac Song year: 1975 “Landslide” is one of Stevie Nicks's most brilliant songs. The song is a lament for the end of a phase in life, be it the end of a romantic relationship, a child growing up, or the death of a parent.
The entire song is an extended metaphor that perfectly encapsulates the fear and hope that comes with a significant life change. The song relates moving forward to looking down from a mountain and attempting not to get caught up in the landslide, which is symbolic of fear.
“One Thing” by One Direction Song year: 2013 Much like Madonna's “Like a Prayer” compares a sensual relationship to religion, Hozier's song is an even more direct metaphor comparing the two. He compares his lover to laughing at a funeral, inappropriate but mirthful. He directly calls her his church and says he must worship in the bedroom.
The song is often tongue-in-cheek while still sounding mysterious and haunting. “Can't Stop the Feeling” by Justin Timberlake Song year: 2016 Timberlake's “Can't Stop the Feeling” has more going for it than a catchy melody and beat that make you want to get up and dance.
It also has some savvy writing and metaphors. Timberlake's song is all about feeling happy and how you can't contain that happiness.
It comes out physically, as shown in his lines about having sunshine in his pockets and soul in his feet. Top Songs With Figurative language in song Language, Final Thoughts These are just a few of the most famous songs with figurative language. Great writers, including songwriters, use figurative language to put a new spin on familiar themes. Now that you've heard of a few of these songs with figurative language, you'll probably start to hear songs with metaphors all the time.
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