Music possesses incredible power. For instance, music can soothe our pain and relieve our stress, meaning it can help us through even the most challenging of times. As a result, it makes perfect sense for people to seek out songs about healing when they are feeling hurt for whatever reason.
Here are 20 of the best songs about healing:
20. “Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You)” – Kelly Clarkson
Released in 2012, Kelly Clarkson’s “Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You)” is an uptempo song with a heartening message. Its title refers to a famous Friedrich Nietzsche quote from Twilight of the Idols. A line referenced again and again in a wide range of works.
19. “Heal the World” – Michael Jackson
“Heal the World” was the fifth single from Michael Jackson’s Dangerous. At one point, he said it was the song he was most proud of, presumably because of its message of improving the world for everyone by working to make it a better place. Certainly, it is hard to disagree with the sentiment.
18. “Getting Better All the Time” – The Beatles
“Getting Better All the Time” is a very optimistic song that touches upon some very ugly things. To name an example, it makes a clear mention of domestic abuse, which took direct inspiration from John Lennon’s earlier relationships before he made his turn toward peace. If people are feeling down and out, “Getting Better All the Time” can remind them that a bad situation can change for the better.
17. “I Won’t Let Go” – Rascal Flatts
Some people seem capable of handling everything life throws at them on their own. If so, they are the exceptions rather than the rule because most of us benefit a great deal from the support of our loved ones. “I Won’t Let Go” by Rascal Flatts is a wonderful song in which the viewpoint character vows to help someone they care about through their troubles.
16. “Heal” – Tom Odell
The heartache from a broken romantic relationship is something that most people will feel at some point. Still, that doesn’t make it any less real and any less deserving of healing. Tom Odell’s “Heal” is sure to resonate with people suffering from that kind of pain, meaning it can serve as useful catharsis.
15. “Thank U” – Alanis Morissette
Alanis Morissette’s “Thank U” is more interesting than it seems on initial consideration. We know the lyrics are sometimes expressing gratitude for positive things. Morissette outright said as much when she revealed that she was inspired by a trip to India during which she learned how to take a break for the first time.
However, the lyrics also express gratitude for not-so-positive things, such as terror, disillusionment, and frailty. One popular interpretation is that this is an acknowledgment that we are made up of not just our positive experiences but also our negative experiences, which is a much healthier attitude than disregarding the latter. Regardless, giving thanks has often been a critical step in the healing process.
14. “Burn” – Usher
Sometimes, the best way to heal is to recognize that something has run its course. In Usher’s “Burn,” the viewpoint character still loves his significant other. Even so, he recognizes their relationship is hurting both of them, meaning they should end it. That kind of realization requires a considerable measure of maturity, which is laudable in its own right.
13. “Shine” – Collective Soul
It is very easy to interpret Collective Soul’s “Shine” as an appeal for healing. The song outrights seems like a prayer in some places. With that said, that might be overinterpreting things because the band is more hard rock and post-grunge than Christian rock.
12. “Stop Crying Your Heart Out” – Oasis
“Stop Crying Your Heart Out” sees Oasis offering comfort to the listener in the band’s particular way. It does so by reminding them of a couple of things. One, it isn’t possible to change the past, meaning it isn’t wise to become too caught up about what if and what could have been. Two, the future remains undetermined, meaning people have the power to make it positive rather than negative. The song isn’t the gentlest way to console someone mired in grief and regret. Despite that, it has a certain wisdom to it.
11. “And the Healing Has Begun” – Van Morrison
Van Morrison is an Irish singer-songwriter who has been around since the late 1950s. His music has continued to evolve, which is why his musical output has been compared with everything from blues and folk to rock and R&B. “And the Healing Has Begun” is a gentle, hopeful sort of song that encourages people to have confidence in themselves.
As such, it possesses the power to lift the listener out of the doldrums, particularly when the weather outside is every bit as glorious as what its lyrics describe.
10. “Fight Song” – Rachel Platten
We react to life’s blows in various ways. Sometimes, we want to shy away because everything is too much to bear. Other times, we want to meet it head-on because it is better to fight whatever troubles us than to hide from it. Rachel Platten’s “Fight Song” is the right kind of song for the latter state of mind. It is a vow of defiance that gets the heart pumping and the pulse racing. That may or may not be the right response to the trouble at hand. Chances are good defiance is still better than sullen resignation.
9. “Life Begin Again” – Afro Celt Sound System
Afro Celt Sound System is every bit as unusual as its name suggests. In short, it is an electronic music group that makes extensive use of both traditional Gaelic music and traditional West African music. The result is quite distinctive, thus making the group worth listening to for novelty’s sake at the very least.
As for “Life Begin Again,” it is exactly what it sounds like, which is to say, a moving reminder that people can start over. Something that might offer some consolation to those who are hurting.
8. “Heal Me” – Lady Gaga
It seems safe to say that most people weren’t expecting Lady Gaga to become a celebrated actress when her songs started climbing the charts for the first time. Initial impressions can be misleading.
For proof, look no further than Lady Gaga’s performance in A Star Is Born, which made her one of the few actresses to win an Oscar, a Grammy, and a Golden Globe in a single year. “Heal Me” isn’t the most notable song from the movie’s soundtrack. Despite that, it is a powerful appeal for assistance delivered by one of the great vocalists of her generation.
7. “Easy on Me” – Adele
Adele released “Easy on Me” in 2021. It is deeply personal. The song is quite literally her request for her son to go easy on her for the end of her marriage. The lyrics explain rather than excuse what happened. As such, the song touches upon themes of regret and forgiveness throughout.
Some people think “Easy on Me” isn’t as moving as some of Adele’s earlier songs. Even so, she brought to bear her considerable skill as a singer-songwriter upon the project, meaning it stands out from the crowd anyway.
6. “Better Day” – Goo Goo Dolls
The Goo Goo Dolls are an alt-rock band from Buffalo in the United States. The band is best known because of “Iris” in the late 1990s, but it has been regularly releasing studio albums ever since. “Better Days” is a song from the band’s eighth studio album, Let Love In.
It recognizes the darker moments that can happen in life, but it is unrelentingly positive in the way it continuously looks forward to better times still to come. Not every song manages to live up to its name. This one does that and more besides.
5. “Fix You” – Coldplay
Grief is a natural response to loss. However, support from others can make it more bearable than otherwise possible. “Fix You” clearly describes someone caught in the throes of grieving. As a result, the viewpoint character is determined to help them through it, even if he voices that sentiment in a somewhat unusual way. Everything about the song makes more sense when one learns that Chris Martin wrote it to comfort Gwyneth Paltrow, who had just lost her father a short while before the two met one another for the first time in late 2002.
4. “Everybody Hurts” – R.E.M.
Different people grieve in different ways. Thanks to that, what helps one person to overcome their sense of loss isn’t necessarily what will help another person to do the same. Sometimes, telling someone that everyone suffers from time to time will only irritate them, particularly when the sentiment is expressed in a less than diplomatic fashion.
Other times, it can help people put their feelings into proper perspective, empowering them to work through things by reminding them that many other people have done the same before them and many other people will continue to do the same after them. R.E.M.’s “Everybody Hurts” is rich in sympathy while encouraging the listener to hold on to themselves rather than be carried away by the intensity of their emotions.
3. “Breathe (2 AM)” – Anna Nalick
Anna Nalick released her fourth studio album, The Blackest Crow, in 2019, meaning she remains active as a singer-songwriter. Her most famous song would be “Breathe (2 AM),” which came out in 2005. It offers some surprisingly decent advice for people struggling through tough times.
First, it reminds people that the past cannot be changed because what has happened has happened. Second, it tells people to breathe, which is more useful than it sounds because deeper, slowing breathing has been shown to help people calm down. Fear and anxiety are natural responses to a wide range of situations, but people will always be more capable of tackling them when they are in a calm state of mind.
2. “Broken” – Seether featuring Amy Lee
Some people avoid listening to sad songs when they feel sad because those make the emotion more intense for them. In contrast, other people seek out sad songs when they feel sad because they draw a sort of catharsis from it, thus enabling them to move on faster than otherwise possible.
Those who fall into the second group should consider the song “Broken,” performed by Seether frontman Shaun Morgan and Amy Lee. It is an expression of hurt and loss at the end of a relationship, made much more beautiful and profound by the skill of those who sang it.
Interested individuals should know Morgan was inspired to write it because of the breakup of his family when he decided to move to the United States while his wife decided to stay behind in South Africa with their daughter.
1. “Survivor” – Destiny’s Child
Before Beyonce took the music world by storm on her lonesome, she was already doing so as a part of Destiny’s Child. “Survivor” is one of the group’s most famous songs ever released. Simply put, it is a boast of resilience in the face of the bad things that other people can inflict.
It isn’t just a boast that the viewpoint characters will come out of their experiences stronger and tougher; it is also a boast that they will remain true to themselves rather than be changed for the worse. Suffice it to say that kind of existential victory can be truly sweet because it shows that someone can emerge from adversity not just unbent but also unchanged.
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