In this article, I’m going to provide you with my favorite songs about protecting someone, which I hope resonates with you enough to add some of these great music gems to your playlist rotation.
Songs About Protecting Someone You’ll Love
Let’s begin with a song from the musical Rent.
1. I’ll Cover You from Rent
I’ll Cover You is a song from the smash-hit, Broadway musical Rent. This sweet song is about being there for someone and talking about all how you can provide them protection, comfort, and shelter:
“Just slip me on, I’ll be your blanket. Wherever, whatever, I’ll be your coat. You’ll be my king, and I’ll be your castle. No, you be my queen, and I’ll be your moat.”
Whether you’re loaning a coat to protect someone from the cold, or simply lending a listening ear when they need it, this song is the perfect way to describe all the little things you can do to protect someone throughout the day for no other reason than because you care.
2. Jumper Third Eye Blind
“I wish you could step back from that ledge, my friend.” Whoa, what a powerful lyric.
Despite its rather upbeat and cheerful lyrics, Jumper by Third Eye Blind has a powerful message: lead singer Stephan Jenkins doesn’t want his friend to commit suicide.
“Everyone’s got to face down the demons. Maybe today, we can put the past away.”
Jumper is a desperate plea for the person on the edge to take a step back and reevaluate what they’re doing and why they want to kill themselves. And if that means that Jenkins has to leave, then so be it:
“And if you do not want to see me again, I would understand.”
In an interview with Vulture magazine, about a decade after the song was first released, Jenkins confirmed that Jumper was about a person who jumped off the Coronado Bridge, a common site for suicides and suicide attempts in San Diego, California.
While this song has ties to those who have experienced the loss of someone through suicide, it extends beyond that to become incredibly relatable to anyone who feels helpless trying to help someone they love through a difficult time in their lives.
For the first couple of years after my mom died, I was just a shell of my former self and it wasn’t until a year or so ago that my best friend told me what it was like to be on the other end of that experience. She didn’t know what to say, or what to do. Simply put, she felt helpless, and that’s what makes Jumper so relatable to everyone.
We’ve all, at one time or another, felt like things were out of control, and this song serves as a reminder that sometimes the best way you can protect someone from themselves and their pain is to remind them that they’re not alone.
3. How to Save a Life by the Fray
Despite its title, How to Save a Life by the Fray isn’t about suicide. Rather, it’s about trying to figure out how to help someone who’s struggling. Or more specifically, how to protect them from their self-inflicted harm and wasting away:
“…I would have stayed up with you all night had I known how to save a life.”
As I said in the opening paragraph, protecting someone isn’t always physical. Sometimes, it’s like what Isaac Slade did: sitting down with a troubled teen to try and protect his future and let him know that if he continued down the path he was on, it would lead to nothing but heartbreak.
4. Leather and Lace by Stevie Nicks and Don Henley
Leather and Lace is a song about give-and-take and what each person in the relationship offers the other. You’ll take their leather, and you’ll give them your lace. Leather and lace are used as symbols in this song, with Stevie Nicks needing Don Henley’s strength (leather) to get by, while he needs her comfort and vulnerability (lace):
“My city, your mountains, stay with me, stay. I need you to love me, I need you today. Give to me your leather, take from me my lace.”
While on the surface, this song doesn’t seem to talk about protection, I beg to disagree, because a good relationship should involve the protection of the other person’s needs and feelings.
Nicks is telling Henley what she needs from him when she offers up her lace; she wants him to be sensitive to the fact that they’re separated. Likewise, she wants him to help her get through the difficult time (aka taking his leather, because it’s tough and not easily broken).
This is the crux of this song because it demonstrates what people need in a relationship in order to protect it and make it last.
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5. Lean on Me by Bill Withers
“Lean on me when you’re not strong, and I’ll be your friend. I’ll help you carry on.” Way to be a supportive friend, Bill Withers!
Lean on Me isn’t the fanciest song, but despite its simplicity, it’s all about Withers wanting to being there for his friend when it matters most. Whether involves just listening to a friend vent, or actively offering up advice, Withers uses this song as a reminder that we all need help now and again – and that’s perfectly okay.
The reality is that we learn who our true friends are during times of trouble. Unfortunately, that means we may end up entrusting our hardest struggles to someone who dismisses us or makes us feel like a burden when we reach out for help.
However, with the right friend, that won’t happen, regardless of what is on their plate. A real friend can protect your heart and your feelings when you’re at your most vulnerable.
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6. Protect My Heart by Kelis
This song is about protecting your heart after a bad relationship:
“I gotta protect my heart, make all changes, new decisions, and flip it.”
After a breakup of a tumultuous relationship, it’s not always easy to follow through with your decision to “do better next time.” Though we may have learned lessons about what we want (and don’t want) from our next significant other, it’s hard to break habits because oftentimes, we tend to settle for what we think we deserve. And, if we think we’re undeserving of genuine love or friendship, our hearts will just accept any ol’ person that come strolling along.
But it doesn’t have to be that way. What I love about this song by Kelis is that it serves as a huge reminder that change starts with us. Sometimes, the best way to protect ourselves from being hurt is to figure out why we allow certain people into our lives in the first place and what we can do to change it.
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7. Live Like You Were Dying by Tim McGraw
Sometimes protecting someone is about protecting them from wasting their life away, and that’s what this song is about. Live Like You Were Dying is a piece of advice that Tim McGraw has for the listener, as he asks them what they would do if they were only given a short amount of time to live.
This song’s beautiful message blossomed out of real tragedy in Tim McGraw’s life, as he connected to the lyrics after his father’s battle with cancer and death in early 2004. While the song wasn’t written specifically for McGraw’s father, it was indicative of the types of feelings both he and the songwriters were experiencing upon further reflection of those who chose to make the most of the time they had left, rather than fear when the dreaded day would come.
I used to listen to this song a lot when my mom was going through her battle with breast cancer. I’d usually listen to it on the days we were waiting to find out if her cancer spread. Weirdly, this song served as a reminder that you have to treat each day as a gift and live it to its fullest, even if there’s bad news – but especially if there’s bad news because that’s technically when you need it the most.
This song didn’t make losing her easier, but it helped me feel less alone, especially knowing the truth behind everything Tim McGraw was saying. While there are parts of the song that talk about doing actual activities like skydiving, it focused on the little moments that made him a better man—and ultimately happier:
“I was finally the husband that most of the time I wasn’t and I became a friend a friend would like to have.”
“I loved deeper and I spoke sweeter and I gave forgiveness I’d been denying.”
For me, this song was a way to protect my feelings and fend off my worries about when she was going to die. But for someone else, it can serve as a reminder to not waste your life, even when facing the most insurmountable odds. It can protect someone from wasting away when wasting away seems like the easiest option.
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8. People Get Old by Lori McKenna
People Get Old by Lori McKenna talks about life and how the longer you live, the more likely it is that the people you love will get old and pass on. Basically, this song is a country version of the Circle of Life.
So how is this about the theme of “protection?” Well, I think it’s about protecting someone from going down the dark road that grief can easily take them on.
In the music video for this song, McKenna is walking around her childhood home, reminiscing about her dad and of how quickly the days go by. As someone going through this right now, I can say that there are a lot of weird, uncomfortable, and heartbreaking emotions you experience during this transitional period of life. And, truth be told, it’s enough to make you want to quit even though you’re already lagging behind.
It’s easy to put your life aside when you’re busy taking care of an ill parent or their estate after they pass on, but you can’t lose yourself in the process. And I think that’s how this song serves as protection over someone. You can put it on for someone going through a tumultuous time like myself and let them know that what they’re going through is a tragic, but normal part of life. It can protect them from getting lost in their grief, or worse, their victimhood, because stuff like this makes you wonder “why me” pretty dang often.
This song will break you down mentally, but in a good way because you’ll get a good, deep cry out of it and that’s why it makes this list.
9. No Matter What by Calum Scott
No matter what, Calum Scott has his parents’ love and admiration. This message is at the heart of what No Matter What is about. In it, Scott talks about how awful his childhood was since he didn’t fit in and was bullied for being “different.” When the whole outside world seems stacked against you, sometimes home is the safest place.
It’s easy to overlook our parents’ advice when we’re growing up. When we’re being teased on the playground by bullies, hearing our moms tell us to be ourselves pretty much goes in one ear and out the other because “being ourselves” is the root cause of the problem in the eyes of mean people.
But, the older we get, the more we realize how comforting that advice is – and how it’s actually meant to protect us from believing the ugly words we hear about ourselves. This message is what makes No Matter What such a good one to listen to over and over again. We can all relate to it.
10. If You Love Her by Forest Blakk and Meghan Trainor
If a woman is lucky enough to give you her heart, then you have to protect it. That’s what this song is about:
“If she gives you her heart, don’t break it. Let your arms be a place she feels safe in. She’s the best thing that you’ll ever have. She’ll love you if you love her.”
This is a powerful message of what it means to be in a relationship. It’s not about just being physically there as much as it is about being the person your lady can rely on.
If someone trusts you enough with their heart, you should take care to protect it. That means being there with a shoulder to cry on, advice, comfort, support, and unconditional love even when the road ahead may be bumpy.
In this article, we talked a lot about the various methods of protecting a loved one—be it physical protection, protecting someone’s heart or protecting someone from themselves.
Overall, when it comes to these ten songs about protecting someone, hopefully you’d found one or two that really touch you emotionally. If so, be sure to add it to your playlist. Or, better yet, buy the artist’s entire album on CD or vinyl.
This article was written by Courtney and edited by Michael.
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