10 Great Songs With Metaphors In Them

songs with metaphors in it
Written by Corey Morgan

Songs with metaphors

To convey an idea or make a comparison, we can use a metaphor, which is defined as “a figure of speech that portrays an object or activity in a way that isn’t accurate.” Metaphors are a common tool used to enhance the emotional resonance and vividness of analogies in creative works such as music, film, poetry, and literature.

Metaphors can be found in many kinds of modern music, from pop to hip-hop to country. These analogies can make it easier to explain abstract literary concepts to students. Students’ involvement and interest in language arts can be pictured through the use of musical metaphors since they are grounded in the actual world.

Many popular songs on the radio use metaphors in their lyrics, unless you pay close enough attention, you might get carried away. Let’s examine some contemporary popular songs that make use of metaphors.

1.     Hallelujah by Leonard Cohen

Leonard Cohen - Hallelujah (Live In London)

Ranking first on our list ith sons with metaphors in them is one of the most mesmerizingly lyrical songs of all time, Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” was released in 1984. The song’s interpretation varies depending on the listener because of its use of Biblical imagery. Some hear a lament for lovers lost, while others hear a story of spiritual conflict.

Whether or not you understand the lyrics, you can still appreciate the song’s abundant use of metaphors. The various forms of hallelujah are depicted in the song through references to the Bible.

Cohen uses an extended metaphor to demonstrate that the term “hallelujah” is not only associated with happy occasions; rather, it is also a word that can be used at times of great distress.

2.   “Happy” by Pharell Williams

Pharrell Williams - Happy (Video)

Next on our list of songs with metaphorsinthem is one of the most recognizable songs of the past decade is “Happy,” released in 2013. The song, as the name implies, is meant to make listeners happy regardless of their current circumstances. To convey what it’s like to be happy, Pharell makes use of some figurative language.

The chorus includes some memorable metaphoric lyrics which illustrate how difficult it is to contain one’s joy. Once again, Pharell vocalizes the indescribable elation of being in a good mood.

3.   “Life Is a Highway” by Tom Cochrane

Tom Cochrane - Life Is A Highway (Official Video)

Songwriter Tom Cochrane’s 1991 hit, “Life Is a Highway,” uses a metaphor in its title. The first lines of the song use a metaphor, comparing life to a road.

The main message of the song is that life is like a highway and that its riders need to keep going. The song serves as a gentle reminder that you can’t just sit on the sidelines and watch life go by.

4.   “Let It Go” by Idina Menzel (Frozen)

FROZEN | Let It Go Sing-along | Official Disney UK

This song, which was released in 2013, is more metaphorical than it first appears. Whether you’re a fan of the Frozen movie or not, you have to admit that “Let It Go” is a masterpiece of songwriting. Moments before Elsa must choose between suppressing her true identity and accepting her ice powers, the song is sung.

When Elsa sings, “the wind is howling like this swirling tempest inside,” she is using a simile.

She likens her emotions to an uncontrollable gust of wind. Elsa likens herself in the song to the weather, which she has no power over. She decides to stop fighting against her circumstances and embrace them.

5.    “Watermelon Sugar” by Harry Styles

Harry Styles - Watermelon Sugar (Official Video)

A great summer anthem, published by Harry Styles. Watermelon Sugar came out in 2019, and it has been a hit ever since. The song draws parallels between the sweet taste of summer fruits like strawberries and the exciting feeling of falling in love.

In the opening words of the song, two similes compare the sensation of falling in love to the joy of a summer day. Next, he uses the figurative language of “baby, you’re the end of June” to liken his beloved to the last days of summer’s carefree spirit.

6.   “Willow” by Taylor Swift

Taylor Swift - willow (Official Music Video)

There was one bright spot in 2020, and that was the arrival of two unexpected Taylor Swift albums: Folklore and Evermore. Swift’s new musical and lyrical direction has been well received by both her longtime and new followers. Swift’s songwriting on both albums is exceptional.

The song “Willow” is a classic. The song’s subject matter revolves around a woman’s love for a man who won’t give up on her. Swift employs metaphor and simile to build a lovely story. Swift is first compared to turbulent waters, and then her lover is likened to a ship that can reach her in an opening couple of lines.

Then, in the line with the same name, Swift says that her life is like “a willow that bowed to her lover’s will.” These sentences explain how Swift’s boyfriend or girlfriend finally got to know the real her.

7.    “Wrecking Ball” by Miley Cyrus

Miley Cyrus - Wrecking Ball (Official Video)

There’s no denying that “Wrecking Ball” by Miley Cyrus is one of her most well-known songs. The unique poetic composition stands out. This song’s use of metaphor may lead you to some introspective places emotionally. The song is about a broken-up couple who still harbor resentment for one another.

The song’s most famous phrase, “I came in like a wrecking ball,” is a simile in which Cyrus employs the image of a wrecking ball to reiterate that she gave her all in the friendship. It wasn’t her decision to leave, and she gave it her all to keep things going. She also implies, by the usage of the metaphor, that her initial approach may have been too forceful.

8.   “Bohemian Rhapsody” by Queen

Queen – Bohemian Rhapsody (Official Video Remastered)

Since its release in 1975, many listeners have pondered the deeper meanings of Queen’s six-minute masterpiece, “Bohemian Rhapsody.” Worse, lead singer Freddie Mercury never explained the song’s meaning. He intended for each individual to derive their meaning from it. Whatever the case may be, it’s undeniable that this song is a fan favorite. Mercury has a wonderful command of the English language.

Early in the song, he employs the image of being “caught in a landslide” to illustrate the hopelessness of his predicament. Many people hear Mercury’s struggle with his sexuality in this song, despite its literal interpretation (which tells the story of a young man going to prison and then hell for murder). He, like the landslide, sought to bury his true nature, but in the end, it was unavoidable.

9.   “Human Nature” by Michael Jackson

Michael Jackson - Human Nature (Audio)

This is one of mchael’s well-known song, it’s indisputably well-written and makes extensive use of metaphor to express its point. The song follows a young man as he travels throughout New York City in search of love.

In the first verses of the song, he utilizes a metaphor comparing the city to a woman. He writes songs about how the city winks at him and yells at him so loudly that it rattles his windows.

A few lines later, he employs metaphor once more, this time likening the metropolis to an apple. Near the end of the song, he also likens the metropolis to a heart.

10. “One” by U2

U2 - One (Official Music Video)

Concluding our list of songs with metaphors is this heartbreak song by, U2’s “One” is up there with the best of them. The song tells the story of a couple that breaks up because of their baggage, despite their love for one another. The narrator of the song uses a metaphor in which his sweetheart is compared to Jesus; nevertheless, he laments that she is striving to save a situation that does not require saving.

At its climax, the song uses another metaphor: “you say love is a temple, love is a greater rule.” Ironically, the lover claims love is paramount but treats the narrator badly.