10 Songs About Hope – Hope for Love, the Future & Humanity

Enjoy our favorite songs about hope

Life can get challenging as the years roll by, and it can even zap your enthusiasm or positive outlook for the future.  And whenever that occurs, I always think it’s wise to listen to songs about hope, as they can help rewire your mind and remind you to never give up.  So in this article, I’m going to provide you with some of my favorite songs on this topic, which hopefully will cheer you up if you’re feeling a bit sad or depressed.

Songs About Hope That You’ll Appreciate

Let’s begin with an Eminem song.

Not Afraid by Eminem

Eminem eloquently starts us off on this journey as we look at hopeful songs.  On “Not Afraid, ”he opens up about his internal journey that involved seemingly giving up all hope, eventually holding on tight through the storm and anguish he suffered, and finally fighting back for those he loves and values.

Journeying out of life’s hardest moments takes hope and courage, especially when we’re looking down the barrel of a “long dark road.” Here are some of the most poignant lyrics:

I’m not afraid to take a stand
Everybody come take my hand
We’ll walk this road together, through the storm
Whatever weather, cold or warm
Just let you know that, you’re not alone
And I just can’t keep living this way
So starting today, I’m breaking out of this cage
I’m standing up, Imma face my demons
I’m manning up, Imma hold my ground
I’ve had enough, now I’m so fed up
Time to put my life back together right now

Seeing someone else who has faced the consequences of their own choices, as well as dealing with the hand they have been dealt, can be the impetus to believing that your own struggles may also be surmountable. 

The Next Right Thing from Frozen 2

Man, this song packs a punch. The Next Right Thing is from the Disney movie Frozen 2. We see one of the heroines in a moment when she believes she has lost everything that matters most to her. This is the type of song that gives life to the feeling of absolute despair, and how to handle those extreme depths. Just look at these heart-rending lyrics:

I’ve seen dark before, but not like this
This is cold, this is empty, this is numb

But a tiny voice whispers in my mind

Just do the next right thing
Take a step, step again
It is all that I can to do
The next right thing

I won’t look too far ahead
It’s too much for me to take
But break it down to this next breath
This next step
This next choice is one that I can make

Sometimes hope looks like doing just one small thing in the right direction. Have you ever had a dear loved one pass away, or made a choice so horrific it ripples through every factor of your life? 

As Anna teaches us, it is the tiny steps that lead to monumental accomplishment. Progress can only be achieved by action, even if those initial tiny steps are seemingly inconsequential. These tiny steps are a show of the most aching kind of hope there is.

The Eye by Brandi Carlile

This song is a personal favorite of mine. Brandi Carlile refers to the extremities of a hurricane and points out that you can dance within it if you’re in the eye. For those of you who are unfamiliar with hurricanes, the very middle is called “the eye” and the storm is swirling around that center. In that “eye,” it is completely calm, even as things are in complete commotion outside of it.

 What does that mean in terms of finding hope? The hurricane is an allegory for the extreme trials that you may face in your life, and Brandi Carlile is saying that you can find a place of peace even in the worst of circumstances:

You can dance in a hurricane
But only if you’re standing in the eye

But that isn’t the only point she’s trying to make. She is communicating that there are times that running from the storm is not the way to find peace. Sometimes you have to go through it, find the rightness of the path, and keep going through to the other side:

I am a sturdy soul
And there ain’t no shame
In lying down in the bed you made
Can you fight the urge to run for another day
You might make it further if you learn to stay

The Eye” is teaching that hope can be found in choosing courage to forge through the path that has been laid and choosing to find the moments, even in the tumult, where you can dance!

After The Storm by Mumford and Sons

Mumford and Sons musicianship is awe-inspiring, but their lyrics hold their own just as powerfully. For these lyrics, they calm their raging banjo and focus on sharing this message of hope. They talk about the power that pain has to propel us forward towards something better and more beautiful than what was there before we went through it:

Night has always pushed up day
You must know life to see decay

It is not an easy thing to allow for our dark times. Sometimes we try to not feel by numbing or avoidance (which tends to just make it all worse). Mumford and Sons explain through their words that the good and the bad in life are inextricably connected. In fact, we need them both to achieve true growth. After all, the life and decay they speak of are both crucial building blocks to the very existence of the natural world and are entirely dependent upon each other.

The tender melody assists the lyrics in reminding us to be gentle with ourselves in the rough times and hold out hope for the moments that will come after the hardships:

There will come a time, you’ll see, with no more tears
And love will not break your heart, but dismiss your fears
Get over your hill and see what you find there
With grace in your heart and flowers in your hair

Fight Song by Rachel Patten

“Fight Song” by Rachel Patten is a song that is on the top list for many people right now as an anthem of hope. Rachel Patten was feeling very little optimism for her music career when she wrote “Fight Song”, but it turned out to be the very song that put her on the world’s radar! Her path to writing this song is a beautiful one to learn about and you can read further about the journey she went through here!

With an upbeat melody that carries its listeners forward, it is hard not to sing along and join in the sentiment that you too can fight for the life you have always desired:

This is my fight song
Take back my life song
Prove I’m alright song

My power’s turned on
Starting right now I’ll be strong
I’ll play my fight song

And I don’t really care if nobody else believes
‘Cause I’ve still got a lot of fight left in me
No I’ve still got a lot of fight left in me

There is a line in the movie Holiday, where the character played by Kate Winslet is told:

“…in the movies, we have leading ladies and we have the best friend. You, I can tell, are a leading lady, but for some reason, you’re behaving like the best friend.” 

Holiday feature film

I think of this quote often when I fall into the moments where I feel like I’m not living the life I’m meant to lead or that I even want to lead. You may have moments when you feel like you don’t matter, but Rachel Patten does a great job illustrating the kind of effect you can have when you choose HOPE and choose to engage with that hope in this crazy world:

Like a small boat, on the ocean
Sending big waves, into motion
Like how a single word, can make a heart open
I might only have one match, but I can make an explosion

This kind of hope ignites a feeling of capability, the feeling that you can conquer the world and the problems at hand. We all can engage in this kind of motion that starts small but can drive mighty change. 

You’re Only Human (Second Wind) by Billy Joel

You’re Only Human, also known as Second Wind by Billy Joel, is a song written with an unwavering purpose in mind: to fuel hope for better days and to fight suicide. Billy Joel had a point in his life where he tried to commit suicide. With the passing of time and gaining more understanding, Billy Joel chose to use his experience to try to help others. 

The song has a jovial upbeat tune and the message rings with reassuring encouragement. Billy Joel points out that even though we must face our inner battles, we are the ones that get to claim the victory!

Just like a boxer in a title fight
You got to walk in that ring all alone
You’re not the only one who’s made mistakes
But they’re the only things that you can truly call your own

Don’t forget your second wind
Wait in your corner until that breeze blows-in

Billy Joel donated all royalties from the song, “You’re Only Human” to the National Committee for Youth Suicide Prevention, which in and of itself inspires me to go and listen to the song a few more times.

Keep in mind, if you are having suicidal feelings, you can reach out for help to the National Suicide and Crisis Hotline at 988 by either calling or texting. It is free, confidential, and available 24 hours a day!

Peace Train by Cat Stevens

This song is a classic, and its message holds strong 50+ years later. In this song, Cat Stevens questions the chaos and pain being faced by the world, and shares his faith that it can all be turned around.

I think that no matter where you are in the world, or what end of the political spectrum you may land, we all can agree that the contention and divisiveness that has been so prevalent is smothering. Cat Stevens reminds us that there is hope for the future:

Oh, I’ve been smilin’ lately
Dreaming about the world as one
And I believe it could be
Some day it’s going to come

I love his optimistic hope that “the peace train” can carry us forward together and he implores us all to board the train so that peace can move onward on a massive scale.

Always Look on the Bright Side of Life from Monty Python

I know, I know—you’re shaking your head and thinking, “Monty Python—really?”  Well, hear me out first.

When I am looking for a bit of hope, music that makes me laugh about the bad often goes a long way to making me feel better. Sometimes I take myself so seriously that I only compound the problems that are going on around me. 

Laughter, especially laughter about how absurd life’s trials can get, truly is one of the best medicines. I know which friends to go to who will laugh at my misfortunes with me, and I have my list of songs that help me to frame things in a way that puts all these troubles into perspective.

So don’t forget, hope can mean laughing and taking a moment to remember your issues aren’t always as all-encompassing as they seem:

Always look on the bright side of life
Always look on the light side of life

If life seems jolly rotten (hoo-hoo)
There’s something you’ve forgotten (hoo-hoo)
And that’s to laugh and smile and dance and sing

Don’t Worry, Be Happy by Bobby McFerrin

Now, wait, isn’t this the same type of hopeful message we just talked about with Monty Python? Well, although there are similarities, I want to point out the difference that I’ve found here.

Bobby McFerrin’s “Don’t Worry, Be Happy,” is a song that has infiltrated many cultures and found its mark in the lives of many, many people. He shares this message with us:

In every life we have some trouble
But when you worry you make it double
Don’t worry be happy

He then lists many different scenarios that would drive a person down. McFerrin’s message here, however, is less about laughing about your problems (like our last song) and more about coming at them from a place of optimism.

The fact is, there is a great deal of hope in approaching life with optimism, and it is a muscle that needs to be worked in order for it to function. Therapists have been teaching our society not to “stuff” our feelings because of how unhealthy it is to do so for your mental health. I do NOT believe that Bobby McFerrin’s message is to get us to ignore our pain but, instead, to reframe things so we can see more than just the negative in that pain. 

Our pain comes with GREAT opportunities, but you will never be able to see those opportunities if you are focused exclusively on the negative.

Hope For the Hopeless by A Fine Frenzy

This song encompasses the whole point of this article. A Fine Frenzy is a singer/songwriter who is not well known, but I’m sure glad I stumbled upon her music. As you listen to her lyrics in this piece, you get the feeling that she truly knows where you are coming from, and has hope for you to come through it. The whole song feels like a hug.

Here’s what she has to say:

Making the best of it
Playing the hand you get
You’re not alone in this

There’s hope for the hopeless

Still, when your heart is sore
And the heavens pour
Like a willow bending with the storm,
You’ll make it

I’ve watched a willow bend in extreme wind and not break, it is incredible. You have also been made to bend with the raging wind. I second her assertion that you WILL make it. There is hope for the hopeless and that includes you.

Conclusion

Songs of hope are all around you, ready to lift you out of a funk and help push you back down the path to becoming mentally well again. Not only can these songs give us a positive outlook on life again, but they can motivate us to get off our butt and take active steps towards improving our living conditions, bank account balances, love lives, and health.

This article was written by Terri and edited by Michael.

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