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Best 11 Reflection Songs

Music touches my soul. When I am not singing, dancing or playing an instrument, I am writing articles about the songs that I hold dear.

Want to reflect on the meaning of life or something equally deep? Listen to any of these 11 songs to enter a contemplative, reflective state.

Want to reflect on the meaning of life or something equally deep? Listen to any of these 11 songs to enter a contemplative, reflective state.

Songs About Life: Reflection Songs That Make You Think

For many people today, myself included, it is easy to get caught up in the day-to-day demands of life; people are so very busy that they forget how important reflection is. Reflection allows you to slow down and consider what life is all about, such as enjoying each moment, reminiscing about the past, and even considering the future.

Thankfully, there are songs about the stages of life that have a way of stopping you in your tracks and helping you regain the greater picture. Here is a collection of songs that I hope will inspire you to reflect, celebrate and perhaps better enjoy the totality of your life; after all, “you’re only 15 for a moment.”

The unexamined life is not worth living.

— Socrates

1. "100 Years" by Five for Fighting

John Ondrasik grew up in a musical family and goes by the stage name of Five for Fighting. As a songwriter, John finds inspiration and value in writing songs with a positive message, especially since he is a father and many of his fans are children. The song "100 Years" works so well because it pulls the listener away from focusing on the tedium of their day, inviting them to look at the much larger landscape and contemplate just how fleeting the moments and even years of life can be.

Lyrics to watch for:

15 there's still time for you
Time to buy and time to lose
15, there's never a wish better than this
When you only got a 100 years to live

2. "This One's for the Girls" by Martina McBride

"This one's for the girls, who love without holding back."

Leave it to Martina McBride to celebrate women with gusto and grace! This song is like an extended toast, dedicated to the women of the world. In the song, she suggests taking life in stride and celebrating each stage along the way. For anyone who may not consider themselves a country music fan, this song might easily make you reconsider.

Lyrics to watch for:

This is for all you girls about forty-two
Tossing pennies into the Fountain of Youth
Every laugh, laugh line on your face
Made you who you are today

3. "Photograph" by Nickelback

"Photograph" by Nickelback is a song that sneaks up on you, makes you think of old friends, memories of childhood and in doing so might even make you cry if you listen hard enough.

Lyrics to watch for:

I miss that town
I miss the faces
You can't erase
You can't replace it
I miss it now
I can't believe it

4. "In My Life" by The Beatles

"In My Life" was written by John Lennon with the intention of evoking childhood memories. This is The Beatles' most frequently recorded song, with versions by well-known artists such as Bette Midler, Crosby Stills and Nash, and the cast of Glee. This song invites the listener to envision Lennon's childhood memories and of course their own, as they reminisce about bygone times of their lives.

Lyrics to watch for:

There are places I remember
All my life though some have changed
Some forever not for better
Some have gone and some remain

5. "Kodachrome" by Paul Simon

Singer-songwriter, Paul Simon initially wanted to name this song "Going Home" but ended up using "Kodachrome" because he felt it had a greater appeal. The word "crap" in the first line of the song caused it to be banned from radio play when it was first released. "Kodachrome" refers to a type of film that brought things into even sharper focus, using it as a metaphor for looking back and recapturing the memories of our lives through the mental images that lay stored in our minds.

Lyrics to watch for:

When I think back on all the crap I've learned in high school
It's a wonder I can think at all

6. "Glory Days" by Bruce Springsteen

"Glory Days," one of Bruce Springsteen's most recognizable hits, has the kind of upbeat rhythm that makes you want to get out of your chair and dance, but the lyrics set a different tone entirely. As the lyrics state, this is the tale of the "glory days that have gone by."

For many, it is fun to reminisce about good times from the past, but the song's narrative paints a melancholy portrait of people living their lives through their memories. Bruce Springsteen draws you in with his signature, driving sound, and then makes you think about life in retrospect.

Lyrics to watch for:

Glory days well they'll pass you by
Glory days in the wink of a young girl's eye
Glory days, glory days

7. "Jack and Diane" by John Mellencamp

Listening to John Mellencamp's "Jack and Diane" feels like eating a slice of apple pie that leaves a sour aftertaste, It is a song about American dreams that fall apart and how "life goes on, long after the dream of living is gone." It is a song about reflection and what for many becomes the reality that had not envisioned, all done American style.

Lyrics to watch for:

Oh yeah, life goes on
Long after the thrill of livin' is gone

8. "Fifteen" by Taylor Swift

At the age of 19, Taylor Swift penned the lyrics to "Fifteen," a song that shares the memories of Swift's high school years, though it is meant as much as a cautionary tale for teens about falling in love and having your heart broken. The song magically captures the vulnerable experiences of the teen years, not only for teens but for anyone that was once fifteen.

Lyrics to watch for:

When all you wanted was to be wanted
Wish you could go back and tell yourself what you know now

9. "These Are Days" by Natalie Merchant

Natalie Merchant, as a singer songwriter, falls in a category all her own, with a deep, melodic, earthy sound which seems to travel not from her body but through it, crafting a successful music career for herself both as a solo artist and as a member of The 10,000 Maniacs. "These are days" is a light, carefree sounding song with a depth of meaning found in enjoying each moment, yet while doing this we can discover great wisdom in life. As the lyrics describe..If we let go and enjoy the moment "you'll know how it was meant to be...see the signs and know their meaning."

Lyrics to watch for:

These are days you'll remember
Never before and never since, I promise
will the whole world be warm as this

10. "The Summer of '69" by Bryan Adams

Bryan Adams, standing before a mike holding his guitar and reminiscing about a summer gone by, has guaranteed this song everlasting replay on the radio for 25 years and counting. For Bryan Adams, it may have been "the summer of '69," but for listeners, it is of course any summer of their life. This song truly takes you back and makes you smile.

Lyrics to watch for:

Oh when I look back now
That summer seemed to last forever
And if I had the choice
Yeah, I'd always want to be there
Those were the best days of my life

11. "Puff the Magic Dragon" by Peter, Paul, and Mary

Is a song that I remember well from my childhood. As a little girl, I would play this song on a record player and when the song ended I would pick up the needle and move it back to the beginning so that I could hear the song over again. I didn't know what the words meant but just loved that the song had something to do with childhood and I loved being a kid.

As a parent, when I actually listened to the words of the song and realized that it was about growing up and leaving the toys of childhood behind, it made me cry and chokes me up still. This song, by Peter, Paul and Mary, is an all-time classic that every child, no matter what age, can enjoy.

Lyrics to watch for:

A dragon lives forever but not so little boys
Painted wings and giant rings make way for other toys

Reflection songs offer us a greater perspective on life.

Reflection songs offer us a greater perspective on life.

My car radio is on, my hands are gripping the steering wheel, and my foot is pressing on the gas pedal as I am driving down a sunny, tree-lined road in rural Connecticut, focusing on getting my 10-year-old son to his little league baseball game on time. The game starts in 5 minutes.

My brain is simultaneously focused not only on driving but thinking on what grocery items I will need to pick up after I drop him off. I hope to get back to the game in time to see him up to bat, but then a song comes on the radio; the one by Five for Fighting called "100 Years," and suddenly everything stops; I am still driving, but thanks to this song my mind momentary transcends the moment and is transported to a contemplative state. Instantly, I regain my perspective on life.

These unique songs, each different in its own way, invite us to return to our past and to gain a greater perspective on just what life is all about.

© 2012 Tracy Lynn Conway


Tracy Lynn Conway (author) from Virginia, USA on February 19, 2019:

Katelyn the best,

“Puff the Magic Dragon” is a reflection song about childhood, that it is why it is included.Thank you and your friend(s) for taking the time to comment.

Best, TLC

Hi Anonymous,

I will have to take a listen, thank you!

Hi ChirChir,

It is truly my pleasure!

Best, TLC

Katelyn the best on February 19, 2019:

We have listened to puff the magic dragon, and it does not fit this article at all

Anonymous on April 10, 2018:

What about Time by Pink Floyd?

Chirchir Nicholas on March 16, 2018:

Thanks a lot, this songs cools me down.

Tracy Lynn Conway (author) from Virginia, USA on September 28, 2013:


I am so glad that you like the selection of songs, thank you for sharing them too.

Best, Tracy

Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on September 24, 2013:

Very cool. I will get to all of them in this series and am bookmarking and sharing as I go. Thank you for doing my organizational work for me. All fine and dandy songs.

Tracy Lynn Conway (author) from Virginia, USA on July 16, 2013:

Audrey - Thank you for the comment and suggestion!

Audrey Howitt from California on July 12, 2013:

Sweet hub! I might add Imagine by John Lennon

Tracy Lynn Conway (author) from Virginia, USA on November 07, 2012:

KoffeeKlatchGals - Music has the power to transport us, and in the case of these songs about memories, really make us reflect. I am thrilled that you enjoyed these songs, thank you so much!

Best, Tracy

Susan Hazelton from Northern New York on November 04, 2012:

You have ppicked the most wonderful songs. Music is so powerful with it's ability to take us back to a time and place filled with memories and overwhelming emotions. Great job.

Tracy Lynn Conway (author) from Virginia, USA on September 03, 2012:

Tillsontitan - "In My Life" IS an exceptional song, I do agree. This song is part and parcel to the genius that are The Beatles. I have added this song to a different hub as well, I wonder how many more hubs I can add it to. Wow, thank you for your praise and for sharing the hub. It is so great to connect in this way.

Midget38 - You are right, we do need to take the time to remember what is important about life, and music offers a great opportunity to do so. Glad that I included your favorites. Thank you!

Mperrottet - I also need a pack of tissues when listening to some of these touching songs; it is as though the stereo play button might as well be the cry button. Life does seem to go so fast at times, for me it can feel like holding sand and watching it drop through my fingers. You have listed some amazing songs, thank you! Thank you for your votes as well.

Jools99 - I am glad that you enjoyed the hub and found some new music. Thank you!

Jools Hogg from North-East UK on August 29, 2012:

Great songs and a great opening quote! I liked your intros to the artistes as well -I was pretty familiar with these artistes but not with some of the songs. Great hub, very interesting.

Margaret Perrottet from San Antonio, FL on August 29, 2012:

I've always loved these reflective songs, but the terrible part of listening to them is that they make me cry. You have a great selection here. I also love Frank Sinatra's version of "It was a very good year" and Herry Chapin's "Cats in the Cradle" which cautions you to enjoy and value your children while they are young. I used to listen to these songs as they came out and cry because I knew how fast life passes by, and how you need to treasure each moment. Now that I am 66 the songs are even more poignant. Great hub - voted up and awesome!

Michelle Liew from Singapore on August 29, 2012:

Fantastic songs, favorites are Brusce Springsteen and Paul Simon. I think we should take time to remember the important things in our lives!

Mary Craig from New York on August 29, 2012:

Oh my...where do I begin? You've picked some of the most exceptional songs of all time (not to mention my favorite song ever "In My Life"). I love the way you lead into this hub and tie the music into thoughts and dreams. Of course the videos were the icing on the cake.

Voted all the way across (except funny) and shared with my followers.

Tracy Lynn Conway (author) from Virginia, USA on August 13, 2012:

Rcrumple - Nice to get such a positive comment from a music lover as yourself. I love that you listed your song favorites in this category, I can't wait to look them up and maybe add them to a part deux. Thank you!

Best, Tracy

Rich from Kentucky on August 12, 2012:

Great Hub!

I'm a music fanatic. There are so many songs that tell stories about life's lessons and feelings, you could add to your listing all day. A couple that always meant a lot to me were Buffalo Springfiel's "For What It's Worth" (describing the differences felt in the 60's) and Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young's "Ohio" (describing the horror of the Kent State massacre). The Youngblood's "Get Together" was a call for all to put differences aside and get along. (I'm going to stop before this become's a hub in itself).

You put together a strong listing to travel a great span of time. Great Job! Up & Awesome & Interesting!