Sometimes you find yourself stuck, whether it’s in a relationship you don’t like or a dead end job. And when that happens, you can feel utterly trapped, with no easy escape plan. Thankfully, music can help us find our way home. So, in this article, I’m going to provide you with my favorite songs about being trapped that you’ll absolutely love.
Trapped In My Mind by Kid Cudi
Trapped In My Mind dives into Cudi’s unstable mental state. He sings in the chorus:
I’m trapped in my mind and I know it’s crazy
Hey, It’s not that bad at all
When you think of the world, I know it’s crazy
Hey, I’m not that bad at all
Although he’s battling with the thoughts going on in his mind, he would rather stay in his head than be present in the world. I have always appreciated Cudi’s transparency in his music. Not only does he talk about his mental health, but he also covers many other deep topics, like drug use or his upbringing.
It’s so easy for people to relate to him, especially those who also struggle with mental health. And even if you can’t relate to him, you can definitely sympathize with his plight and hope for his internal healing.
Chains by Nick Jonas
Formally known as one of the members of the band, The Jonas Brothers, Nick decided to go solo and create some of his own music. And Chains is one of my favorite songs from Nick Jonas.
I love the heavy bass drop in the track—it gives the song depth and adds to the idea of being “trapped” or confined. This song shows Nick feeling stuck in a relationship that he knows is not healthy. The chains, as he references, are a metaphor that he used to describe his feeling restricted.
I, myself, have dealt with situations that were hard to walk away from, even the not-so-good ones. It’s nice to hear a track that digs deep into this idea. It really shows how many of us experience the same things. You may be trapped, but you are never alone.
Bad Trip (Interlude) by Jhene Aiko
Jhene Aiko is not only an artist, but she’s a sound healer. Bad Trip is an interlude from Jhene Second studio album, Trip; an album I think everyone should listen to. The album actually takes the listener on a “trip” throughout her mind while on psychedelics.
With this album, we get it all—the good, the bad, and the ugly. This interlude takes us through Jhene’s mind after taking too many drugs. With the oddly looped instrumental and Jhene’s echoing screams, this track makes you feel like you’re a part of the downward spiraling high.
I just love how Jhene turns this track into a whole experience for the listeners. She even spoke about her relationship with drugs in an interview, stating:
“When I was alone with my thoughts, I don’t know where my head went sometimes. I’d turn to drugs and feel horrible, physically and mentally. It started showing up on my skin, my hair… I started to gain weight and stuff like that. That’s where the writing comes in. Expressing every single part of my story has helped me heal and get better. I have been sober since the release of my album and I had to be healthy in order to make that happen.”
I truly admire and appreciate Jhene for creating such a personal album and for letting listeners into her world. It’s not easy being vulnerable, especially when you’re dealing with dark emotions. I will always cherish this song—and the album as a whole.
Stuck by Norah Jones
Stuck by Norah Jones is an emotional track that talks about being stuck on someone that you can’t leave. She sings in the chorus:
Why don’t you leave
Leave me be
I can see you swaying
I can’t hear what you’re saying
I’m sitting here stuck
And plastered to my seat
These lyrics show that Jones is lost and confused, yet she feels confined to where she’s at. I was able to hear just how emotionally tired she was in this relationship. I always wonder why it’s so hard for us to leave things that are no good for us.
When I listened to this track for the first time, I thought of a relationship that’s constantly starting over. It’s no fun running in circles with someone you care about. After hearing this song, I just want to tell Norah Jones to stop the fight and choose herself.
Four Pink Walls by Alessia Cara
Alessia Cara talks about her dreams and ambitions on Four Pink Walls. This song has always resonated with me. Similar to Alessia, I also had pink walls in my room with dreams of being successful and giving back to my family.
I love this track—it’s nostalgic and motivating at the same time. The songwriting here is particularly quite nice, as well:
I assumed there was only room for
My dreams in my dreams so I’d sleep and repeat ’til the moon went home
And I didn’t know where it’d take me but made me so crazy in love with it
Then the universe aligned
With what I had in mind
Who knew there was a life
Behind those four pink walls?
Alessia Cara is reminding us that if you really want something, you have to go out and grab it. This song is always on repeat, and it encourages me to make all my dreams become a reality. The sky’s the limit.
No Way Out by Xavier Omar featuring GoldLink
No Way Out is a soft, dreamy track with strong vocals from Omar and GoldLink. Omar sings about a love that he’s always longed for, and now that he has “the one,” he never wants to leave her side. He sings in the second verse:
Walkin around acting like you ain’t everything
I’m reacting only to the pain
My reaction always is to blame
Help me figure it out
Cuz I’m never leavin
You and I is where it begins
There will never be a “the end”
I’m about you
I think this is a type of love that most of us deserve—a love that never leaves. This song reminds me of my own thoughts. Someone when I am entering into a new relationship, I question if I am really ready to fully commit. Once I’m in, there’s “no way out”, as the artist sings. As scary as loving someone can be, it’s also a very beautiful thing, and this track reminds us of that.
Stuck in the Moment You Can’t Get Out Of by U2
Inspired by the suicide of Michael Hutchence, a close friend of U2’s lead singer Bono, this song was written as fictional argument amongst two friends over the touchy subject of suicide. I can’t even imagine the type of pain Bono was experiencing at that time. Outside of the sadness of the meaning behind the track, I think this is a very beautiful song. I can even hear some gospel-influenced sounds, which I absolutely love.
I think this track was not only paying homage to Hutchence, but also promoting a message of hope. As someone who is still dealing with grief, this song definitely resonates with me. I know that these feelings are just feelings, and that time will pass and these feelings won’t last forever.
Trapped in A Box by No Doubt
This song is very fun, to say the least, which lyrics such as:
Trapped in a box, four walls as sky
Got a screen for a window about two feet wide
My mind rides and slides as my circuits are fried
No room for thought, use the box as my guide
Trapped in a box
No Doubt sings about how we are all trapped in a “box,” meaning that we are glued to our TV screens. It’s so crazy how a track that was released in 1992 is still so relatable nearly two decades later.
With the world getting more and more digital, we are all becoming dependent on technology. Even with its bouncy sound, the message behind the track will have you thinking real hard about how much time you spend staring at screens.
Nowhere To Run by Martha Reeves & The Vandellas
In this track, there is a woman that believes her heart is about to get broken, with lyrics such as, “Got nowhere to run to, baby, nowhere to hide.”
The woman in the story of this song doesn’t know where in the world she’ll go. And that’s because, similar to other songs on this list, she can’t resist being with someone that’s clearly not good for her.
Interestingly enough, this track actually uses tire chains in the song as percussion. The beat makes you want to get up and move! Sometimes when things get too confusing, the best thing to do is just dance and live in the moment.
Overall, this is a super groovy track with elements of pop, R&B, and soul. I definitely recommend this track to lighten your mood if you’re feeling stuck on something.
Trapped by Love by Manu Chao
Trapped by Love by Manu Chao is about a relationship that never, ever seems to end. Manu starts the song by singing:
When you come I feelin’ better
Sky is blue you say forever
Ooh ooh, I’ve been trapped by love
Then you go so change the weather
Sky is grey bit more than ever
Ooh ooh, I’ve been trapped by love…
I have dealt with falling in love, as well as relationships that fall apart. And, well, it’s definitely quite the rollercoaster. This song paints the perfect picture for listeners to look deeper into this feeling.
The repetition of “I’m trapped by love” gets stuck in my head after every listen. Manu seems to have a huge impact on lots of listeners, especially within the Latin community. Jasmine Garsd, a writer at NPR, shared her experience listening to Manu Chao live for the first time. She wrote:
“I’ve never cried at a concert, but last weekend in New York, when I heard all those people in the crowd chanting “Proxima Estación: Esperanza!” (“Next Stop: Hope!” the title of one of his records) I teared up. I looked into the crowd around me and saw my friends, each of whom represented a different story within the Latin American experience. Manu has done some great work, but I’d venture to say getting a crowd of such different people to sing in unison about hope is one of his finest achievements.”
As you can see, his music is for everyone. With Chao knowing several languages and being very politically active, he uses his platform to connect, and I definitely felt the connection through this relatable track.
Trapped by Tupac Shakur
The song “Trapped” by Tupac is the kind of hip hop record you don’t get anymore. Sure, this record came along fairly early in the life of hip hop (1991), and times were definitely a little different back then. But on this song, it almost feels like ‘Pac is sitting you down and telling you a tale of horrific, but very real, crimes against humanity—that he’s seen.
But more than that, this song could almost be an anthem for black men trapped in inner cities today. Those walking around, with limited opportunities and even less hope, constantly worried about being jumped by a homie on the corner or a boy in blue with a badge.
And that’s mostly where this song makes most of its impact, as it confronts you with the reality of police brutality, but also challenges you about the cost of that violent reality—specifically the moral cost. In the eyes of Tupac, he wants to know is America content with keeping a large portion of its population constrained to the ghetto. And, in turn, how can you be surprised when that same population vows that they simply won’t take their mistreatment any longer.
One day I’m gonna bust, blow up on this society
Why did you lie to me? I couldn’t find a trace of equality
Worked me like a slave while they laid back
Homie don’t play that, it’s time I let ’em suffer the payback
I’m tryin’ to avoid physical contact
I can’t hold back, it’s time to attack, Jack
- You Might Also Want to Read: Top 10 Best Hip Hop Albums of the 90s
There are many things that can contribute to feeling stuck. Whether it be physically, emotionally, or spiritually, there is always a way out. And, thankfully, these songs about being trapped give us guidance to finding that freedom.
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