56 Songs About Change
Change: The Inevitability of Dangerous Opportunities
Change. Isn't it appropriate that the Chinese word for it is comprised of two symbols—one for danger and another for opportunity? How you perceive and adapt to change makes all the difference. You can:
- enthusiastically embrace it
- try to deny it or
- stubbornly resist.
But in the end, most of life's dangerous opportunities proceed with or without your consent.
Years ago, I discovered the inevitability and the indestructibility of change when a critical piece of paper survived a house fire that destroyed everything else I owned. It was eerie. Had it not actually happened to me, I'd be doubtful.
I had just graduated from college three weeks prior, and as part of graduation ceremonies the director of my program had awarded each student a paper certificate of the Chinese word for change. As he bid us goodbye and good luck, he described the many dangerous opportunities that we would meet in our lives after graduation. He explained that how you perceive and adapt to life's "dangerous opportunities" can make all the difference.
The house fire that consumed 40 percent of my family's home was an electrical fire that started in the roof of the garage adjoining my small bedroom. There were cans of oil, gas, and other accelerants that sadly ensured that it burned hot and spread quickly. Thankfully, most of my family was away visiting relatives, so no lives were lost.
In searching through the fire's rubble for anything salvageable, someone pulled out my change certificate. It was the only item in my bedroom that wasn't utterly destroyed by fire, smoke, or water.
How a paper certificate survived a house fire with only smoke stains, I don't know. But today, more than two decades later, it is proudly framed and displayed in my home as a reminder of the importance of how you perceive and adapt to change. Change can break you or encourage you to redouble your efforts. It's up to you.
1. “The Man in the Mirror” by Michael Jackson
If you're going to change the world, why not start with what you can impact immediately and permanently—yourself? That's the powerful message behind this 1988 pop song.
The narrator decides to open his eyes to the hungry children and the homeless man on the street. He casts off the selfish love that has plagued him for so long and decides to change his ways. What an inspiration to become a better human being yourself!
If you want to make the world a better place
Take a look at yourself, and then make a change.
2. "Landslide" by Dixie Chicks
In this popular 2002 remake of the classic Fleetwood Mac song, the protagonist wonders if she can handle all of the changes of her life. She's built her life around one person, as many people do. She realizes that all of that can change, either gradually or in an instant. Marriages end, children move away, people die. Do you worry about your own capacity to manage the changes that life inevitably has in store for you?
Well, I've been afraid of changing
'Cause I built my life around you
But time makes you bolder
Even children get older
And I'm getting older, too.
3. "Waiting on the World to Change" by John Mayer
Rather than being an agent of change, the man in this 2006 song insists that he and his young friends feel helpless to make a difference in the world. They care, but they feel powerless. Thus they wait on others to do the hard work for them. Is this right? Fair? Is this you?
It's hard to beat the system
When we're standing at a distance
So we keep waiting (waiting)
Waiting on the world to change.
How Do You Change Your Little Corner of the World?
Tell us in the Comments Section below.
4. "Everything Has Changed" by Taylor Swift (Featuring Ed Sheeran)
Smacked silly by love at first sight, the protagonist in this 2013 pop song recalls how a chance meeting with a guy has forever changed her life. Talk about going from zero to 100.
All I know is a new found grace
All my days, I'll know your face
All I know since yesterday is everything has changed.
5. "A Change Is Gonna Come" by Sam Cooke
This 1964 song was based on an incident in Louisiana several months earlier in which Sam Cooke, his wife, and band had their hotel reservations at a Holiday Inn denied on account of their race. The song in turn became an anthem for the American Civil Rights Movement.
It's been a long, a long time coming
But I know a change gonna come, oh yes it will.
Right now, I'm most concerned with enacting changes in
6. "Burning Gold" by Christina Perri
Tired of living a fearful and unfulfilling life, the narrator in this 2010 realizes that the power to realize her dreams lies within her. Empowered, she commits to small changes in every aspect of her life.
Looking back I see I had the flame in me
I’m the wind that’s carrying change.
7. "Change" by Christina Aguilera
In this 2016 pop song dedicated to victims of the Orlando terror attack, the narrator pleads for a better world. She urges people to be proud of who they are, as one day love and hope will prevail over hate and shame.
Waiting for a change to set us free
Waiting for the day when you can be you and I can be me.
8. "Rivers And Roads" by The Head And The Heart
Change can be sad and scary. In this 2011 song, the protagonist is at a crossroads in his life (graduation?), and he's struggling with the significant upheaval it's created in his social support system.
His family lives in a different state and his circle of friends will be dispersing soon. He is especially mournful of leaving the one who means the most to him.
Been talkin' 'bout the way things change
And my family lives in a different state
If you don't know what to make of this
Then we will not relate.
How You Can Help Change the World
pick up litter in your path every day
adopt a homeless animal (and spay and neuter your own pets)
transport an elderly friend or neighbor to their medical appointments or help them with grocery shopping
hold the door for the next person, no matter their age or gender
smile at people; say "please" and "thank you"
write a sincere letter of gratitude to a teacher, a solider, or a healthcare worker
plant a garden and share your bounty with neighbors, coworkers, or the local foodbank
offer respite care for a family struggling with an ill relative
leave extra store coupons you don't need next to the item for purchase
teach someone to read
learn how to actively listen (put down that smart phone)
stop wasting so much food
pass on your gently used books, movies and furniture to others who may benefit
become certified in infant and adult first aid, CPR and AED
9. "A Change Will Do You Good" by Sheryl Crow
The discombobulated lyrics of this 1999 pop song reflect the mayhem infiltrating some people's ordinary lives. The narrator recommends pulling yourself together if your life is this random. It couldn't hurt, right?
I think a change (a change) would do you good.
10. "Breakaway" by Kelly Clarkson
Nearly four in 10 Americans have never moved from the town or city where they were born. But that's not the narrator in this 2004 pop song.
Growing up in a small town, she felt silenced, stifled and not listened to when she voiced her opinion. In order to become who she was meant to be, she has to leave her hometown and embark on a new path.
I'll take a risk
Take a chance
Make a change
11. “Changes” by Ziggy Marley
Ziggy Marley is the eldest son of the late Bob Marley. Ziggy's real name is "David," a nickname given to him by his father because of his love for David Bowie's music.
Ziggy's 2011 reggae-style song laments that money, ego and greed dominate our modern society, and ordinary people need to band together for positive change.
Change for the better and not for the worse
Let's stand together and break our curses.
Tell the truth. How do you typically react to change?
12. "Change" by Taylor Swift
Tired of being held back, held down and not getting what she deserves, the protagonist in this 2008 pop song is fighting back hard. She and her friends may be outnumbered, but they're getting up off their knees and are determined to battle for the change that belongs to them.
When they're done, they plan on singing Halle-freaking-lujah. Take that, naysayers.
We’re getting stronger now
Find things they never found
They might be bigger
But we’re faster and never scared.
13. "Miss Independent" by Kelly Clarkson
The woman in this 2008 pop song was afraid of being hurt so she put up her defenses and projected an image of self-sufficiency. But then she decided to reveal her human vulnerability and her need to connect. This change is exactly what she needed.
She didn't want to end up jaded
And this Miss decided not to miss out on true love.
So, by changing her misconceptions
She went in a new direction
And found inside she felt a connection.
She fell in love.
14. "I'm Coming Out" by Diana Ross
When ex-Supreme Diana Ross released this song in 1980, she was finally on her own after a career with Motown's Barry Gordy. This song's lyrics of positive change and "revelation" made it an unintentional LGBT anthem.
Originally, "coming out of the closet" referred to alcoholism, however the phrase eventually became associated with disclosing one's sexual identity. Being open in how you identify yourself publicly is certainly a change.
There's a new me coming out
And I just had to live
And I want to give
I'm completely positive.
15. "This Is The New Year" by A Great Big World
In this 2014 pop song, friends are ringing in a new calendar year that is full of hope and promise. New Year's resolutions bring assurances of change, and the narrator encourages his friend to live for now and join together with him.
Say everything you've always wanted
Be not afraid of who you really are
'Cause in the end we have each other
And that's at least one thing worth living for.
16. "Laughter Lines" by Bastille
This poignant 2013 song features a relationship that has been interrupted. One partner thus promises the other that they will meet again in the future when they are older.
The narrator describes that future as a time when their life changes will be reflected on their hands and etched as laugh lines into their faces.
Changes on our hands and on our faces, oh, oh
Memories are mapped out by the lines we'll trace.
17. "Change" by Carrie Underwood
Sometimes the smallest gesture can make a huge difference. That's the message in this 2009 country song.
Whether it's helping homeless people or needy children in foreign countries, your kindness can work wonders and bring about change for those who need it. Don't let others discourage you in your mission to change the world.
Oh, the smallest thing can make all the difference
Love is alive, don't listen to them when they say
"You're just a fool, just a fool to believe you can change the world."
18. "The Times They Are-a-Changin’" by Tracy Chapman
Bob Dylan opened up his concert with this folk anthem for change the night after President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas. It became one of Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Songs of All Time, and Tracy Chapman remade it in 1993.
The song's narrator cautions that rapid change is afoot, and one should either help or get out of the way. Dylan has claimed that he wasn't referencing any specific political issue or event, just a general notion of change.
If your time to you
Is worth savin'
Then you better start swimmin'
Or you'll sink like a stone
For the times they are a-changin'.
19. "I Am Changing" by Jennifer Hudson
This 2006 R&B song describes the personal growth that the protagonist is undergoing. Experiencing a personal metamorphosis in self-improvement, she's looking for support from a friend in changing her life.
I am changing, trying every way I can.
I am changing, I'll be better than I am.
But I need a friend, to help me start all over again.
20. "Changed" by Rascal Flatts
The narrator in this country song from 2012 describes a spiritual transformation that occurred upon being baptized. As he came up out of the water, he felt all of his past mistakes wash away in forgiveness. Many Christian religions practice baptism by full immersion in a river or indoor tub of water.
I came up out of the water
Raise my hands up to the Father
Gave it all to him that day.
Even More Songs About Change
21. Change Your Life
22. 100 Years To Live
Five For Fighting
23. It's All About To Change
24. Wind of Change
27. It's Getting Better
3 Doors Down
29. Night Changes
30. Some People Change
31. Better Day
32. Don't You Worry 'Bout a Thing
34. Back When I Knew It All
36. Everything Will Change
37. Starting With Me
Jennifer Nettles Band
41. Change the World
45. You Can't Change That
Ray Parker Jr.
46. Don't Change on Me
47. Time for Change
48. Cool Change
Little River Band
49. Change My Mind
Billy Ray Cyrus
50. We Never Change
51. Stairway to Heaven
53. One Man Can Change the World
Big Sean (featuring Kanye West & John Legend)
54. Everything's Changed
55. Something in the Air
Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers
56. Younger Now
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
Questions & Answers
There is a song I heard last night, and I think Phil Collins sang it, but I can't find it anywhere. The only lyrics I remember are "there is not enough time for change." Do you have any ideas?
I've searched extensively using those lyrics as well as lyrics close to them. I've also taken to YouTube and perused Phil Collins and Genesis songs just in case. There were no matches for the lyrics that would come anywhere close to sounding like Phil Collins (i.e., they were female, African American groups, not the right genre, etc.). Thus, I'm left to wonder if the lyrics aren't quite right. That's actually common.
Rather than return no results, I'll give you two Genesis songs that do refer to change and there not being enough time.
"Please Don't Ask" (1980) by Genesis https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=enlrC2jRg_w
It's not enough, it's not enough
This feeling I'm feeling inside
Oh I know it I know tonight that I'll be
On my own tonight, alone again tonight
Oh I'm alone again, alone again tonight
Oh I'm alone again, and it seems to me that every time I try to change
Say that you'll, say that you'll
Help me reach the other side
Help me please 'cause I know I'm gonna be
On my own again alone again tonight... .
Also check out:
"Feeding the Fire" (1986) by Genesis https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k4rSI8_Z6DQ
Many a thing that used to be a secret
Has become so talked about
Not worth a second thought
There's different kinds of secrets now
Times change, it's not enough to say
It seemed a good idea a hundred years ago
You think it's not your problem
It really doesn't matter at all.Helpful 2
What song has lyrics "to make a change, to make a change"?
There are several songs that I found with that double repeat of "to make a change," including the following:
1) "The Meter Marks Ok" (2005) by Loney Dear, a Scottish alt rock singer-songwriter https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cx1h5Y6feqA
2) "Nerf" (a parody of Ellie Goulding's song "Burn") by Instalok, a creative group that performs parodies of popular songs https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WvFW_FCatLM
3) "Twenty Two" (1997) by Millencolin, a Scottish punk band https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zeuXFT0D_KAHelpful 1
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