The future of music

30 Best Songs About Change

December 22, 2023
Songs about change

I’ve curated a selection of the best songs about change, tracks that powerfully capture the essence of transformation and the human experience of shifting circumstances.

This article explores songs that inspire, challenge, and comfort us through life’s inevitable changes, providing a soundtrack for both personal and collective evolution.

Top songs about change

  • David Bowie – “Changes”
  • Tracy Chapman – “Change”
  • 2Pac – “Changes”
  • Christina Aguilera – “Change”
  • Eric Clapton – “Change the World”
  • Bob Dylan – “The Times They Are A-Changin'”
  • Taylor Swift and Ed Sheeran – “Everything has Changed”
  • Keane – “Everybody’s Changing”
  • Joni Mitchel – “Both Sides Now”
  • John Mayer – “Waiting on the World to Change”

1. David Bowie – “Changes”

David Bowie’s 1972 hit is one of the most iconic songs about change.

It’s considered one of Bowie’s best songs, and it was inducted in the GRAMMY Hall Of Fame in 2017.

Whether you agree if it’s his best work or not, this song can be seen as a brilliant musical tribute to youth and all the changes that come with it.

After all, Bowie wrote it when he was going through a lot of life changes himself, including the birth of his first child.

“Pretty soon you’re gonna get a little older
Time may change me
But I can’t trace time.”

2. Tracy Chapman – “Change”

This is another classic featuring lyrics about change.

Change is an opening track on “Where You Live”, Tracy Chapman’s critically acclaimed album released in 2005.

In the song, Tracy keeps asking questions that could possibly lead to someone’s personal change, once again adding depth and emotion to her music.

“If you knew that you would find a truth
That brings a pain that can’t be soothed
Would you change?”

3. 2Pac – “Changes”

One of the first songs that come to mind when speaking of songs about change is probably Changes by 2Pac.

Although it’s one of his most popular songs, “Changes” was actually a posthumous release.

Many songs surfaced after the rapper’s tragic death, and “Changes” was included in the “Greatest Hits” album released in 1998.

Tupac Shakur is still considered one of the most conscious lyricists of the hip-hop/rap genre.

His music had a big impact on the music industry but also put a spotlight on relevant social issues such as racism.

Making music like this was his way of making a change.

4. Christina Aguilera – “Change”

“Waiting for a change to set us free
Waiting for the day when you can be you and I can be me
Waiting for hope to come around
Waiting for the day when hate is lost and love is found.”

This calming pop ballad with heartfelt lyrics was released on Christina Aguilera’s album “Change” in 2016.

The song is about the need for a change and the state the world is in right now, with all its hate and injustice.

However, it’s also a song about hope, and keeping your spirits up is essential during hard times. 

5. Eric Clapton – “Change the World”

When asked to describe his song “Change the World” in one of the interviews, Eric Clapton said it sounds timeless.

Well, it seems he was right.

The song was released in 1996, and it still remains one of the most popular songs about change.

And although it talks about something as grandiose as changing the world, “Change the World” is an easy, gentle tune that’s, in essence, a love song.

„And I can change the world
I will be the sunlight in your universe
You would think my love was really something good
Baby, if I could change the world

6. Bob Dylan – “The Times They Are A-Changin'”

In “The Times They Are A-Changin'”, Bob Dylan talks about anti-establishment feelings and changing times in his iconic style.

Dylan’s lyrics are often a real narrative, filled with authentic ideas and genuine interpretations of things that were happening in the world at the time.

This 1964 track is no different – and along with the appropriate timing of its release, it became an anthem of change.

„The order is rapidly fadin’
And the first one now
Will later be last
For the times they are a-changin’

7. Taylor Swift and Ed Sheeran – “Everything has Changed”

“‘Cause all I know is we said hello
And your eyes look like coming home
All I know is a simple name
Everything has changed

This sweet song about change was released in 2012 on Taylor Swift’s fifth album “Red”.

As Taylor decided to remake her album and release it in November 2021 under the name of “Red (Taylor’s version)”, Ed Sheeran recently posted a video of him singing his part of this song.

Taylor decided to re-record her old albums to get full ownership of her songs.

8. Keane – “Everybody’s Changing”

Released in 2004, “Everybody’s Changing” by Keane is still often heard on the radio.

The song was also covered by other artists including Lilly Allen.

While writing “Everybody’s Changing”, the band was going through a lot of changes in their lives, which inspired them to put their feelings into this beautiful tune.

Essentially, it’s a song about changes in people and the world around you.

And although that’s simply how things are, it can often feel overwhelming, but music like this can definitely help you process your thoughts and accept the changes around you.

9. Joni Mitchel – “Both Sides Now”

“Both Sides Now” is an emotional, delicate ballad released in 1966.

Although it’s been decades since it was released, the song still feels so fresh and relatable.

Perhaps that’s what makes some songs timeless.

In “Both Sides Now”, Joni Mitchell expresses intricate feelings and the idea of how we go through life thinking we can figure things out.

Only later we can perhaps see things as they are.

So, Both Sides Now is indeed a song about change and transformation.

“I’ve looked at life from both sides now
From win and lose and still somehow
It’s life’s illusions I recall
I really don’t know life at all.”

10. John Mayer – “Waiting on the World to Change”

John Mayer won Grammy for Best Male Pop Vocal Performance for his “Waiting on the World to Change”.

Apart from being a catchy pop/rock hit, the song conveys an important message.

Although it’s clearly one of the songs about changes, it also tackles the problem of apathy.

Unfortunately, it’s often easier to do nothing and simply wait on something to change.

But the truth is, that’s not how society makes progress, and even the smallest change you make can contribute to the bigger picture.

11. Deftones – “Change”

“I watched a change in you
It’s like you never had wings
Now, you feel so alive
I’ve watched you change.”

If you’re searching for rock songs about change, this one is for you.

Change” by the American metal band Deftones was released in 2000, and it became one of the band’s most popular songs.

If you look at the lyrics, it’s a song about someone changing, and that can sometimes be painful and disappointing.

Either way, “Change” has a powerful sound which along with Chino Moreno’s distinctive vocals created a memorable rock track.

12. Ziggy Marley – “Changes”

“I just can’t help the way that I feel
We all want our dreams to be real
Yet circumstances that I just can’t understand
Why does money got to make the man?”

Reggae icon’s son Ziggy Marley followed his father’s steps and continued to spread messages of peace through music.

His song Changes, released on his album “Wild and Free” in 2011, talks about necessary changes in a world of injustice and greed.

13. Charles Bradley – “Changes”

Charles Bradley was also known as the Screaming Eagle of Soul.

In 2016, he covered Black Sabbath’s song Changes and performed it in his own soulful style.

His whole album “Changes” reflects big changes in his life.

And we could say he truly is proof of how one can change their life – he went from being homeless to living a dream as an acclaimed soul singer.

Without a doubt, “Changes” remains a beautiful tribute to the unmatching spirit of Charles Bradley.

14. Bonobo – “Stay the Same”

“Seasons change
It won’t ever be the same
I’m hopin’
I won’t stay the same.”

Stay the Same was released on Bonobo’s studio album “Black Sands” in 2010.

The British musician and producer, along with the amazing vocalist Andreya Triana, created a song that blends different genres.

Regardless of the genre we put the song in, Stay the Same tackles the idea of hope that people don’t stay the same.

And there is something comforting about the fact that we always keep changing and, hopefully, growing.

15. Jam Cooke – “A Change is Gonna Come”

We included this song in our list of songs about hope, but we can’t skip it now.

Jam Cooke’s soul classic is one of those songs about change that will leave you feeling hopeful and motivated.

When things around you seem overwhelming and unfair, it’s important to believe that change is gonna come.

And one of the ways to believe that is to surround yourself with soulful music.

“It’s been a long
A long time coming
But I know, a change gonna come
Oh, yes it will.”

16. Michael Jackson – “Man in the Mirror”

We have another overused but truthful quote: “Be the change you want to see in the world.”

That’s one of the messages in Michael Jackson’s song “Man in the Mirror”.

If you want to make a change, you need to start from yourself, and Michael perfectly expressed that through the lyrics:

I’m starting with the man in the mirror
I’m asking him to change his ways
And no message could have been any clearer
If you want to make the world a better place
Take a look at yourself, and then make a change

17. Sia – “Courage to Change”

“World, you’re not alone in all this
You’re not alone, I promise
Standing together we can do anything
I want to leave you better
I want my life to matter
I am afraid I have no purpose here.”

Sia released the song “Courage to Change” in September 2020, so she was well aware of the recent turmoil around the world.

Through her signature pop sound and distinctive vocals, Sia expressed the notion of hope and willingness to change.

And she’s right.

Only if you decide to act and really be a part of this world, you can expect things to change.

It’s the same message that Michael conveyed in his music: you have to start from yourself.

18. Chris Cornell – “Can’t Change Me”

So far we’ve covered songs about change, but we also want to point out there are numerous songs about not changing.

Chris Cornell’s song from his 1999 album „Euphoria“ is a great example.

In “Can’t Change Me”, he addresses a woman who he believes will change the world but not him.

Although you’re constantly changing, some things just stay the same.

Although Chris Cornell created some of his most recognized work with his bands Audioslave and Soundgarden, he released some great, memorable songs on his solo albums, before his untimely death in 2017.

19. Coldplay – “We Never Change”

Another song about not changing is “We Never Change” by Coldplay.

Released on their album “Parachute”, the song has that familiar sweet sound of Coldplay’s earlier work.

Nonetheless, it’s a beautiful, guitar-driven ballad that keeps asking: We never change, do we?

“So I want to live in a wooden house
I want to live life always be true
I want to live life and be good to you

20. Sheryl Crow – “A Change (Would Do You Good)”

Are you ready for a more uplifting, familiar song?

This pop/rock gem by Sheryl Crow lists the things that would need changing.

Unique, somewhat abstract lyrics, Sheryl’s familiar vocals, and that 90s vibe make this song great to occasionally go back to.

“Queen of south beach, aging blues,
Dinners at six, wear your cement shoes,
I thought you were singing your heart out to me,
Your lips were singing and now I see

21. The Verve – “Bittersweet Symphony”

“But I’m a million different people
From one day to the next.”

This is one of those lyrics that really stick with you.

Of course, the melody and the violins in “Bittersweet Symphony” are no less memorable.

In fact, this 1997 hit by The Verve perfectly blends the atmosphere of the song with its meaning.

And that message seems to be clear: life is bittersweet, one minute we try to shape it, and the other the monotony of everyday life kicks in.

Either way, it’s a song about our ever-changing world.

22. Blind Melon – “Change”

“And when your deepest thoughts are broken

Keep on dreamin’ boy, ’cause when you stop dreamin’ it’s time to die.”

The lyrics above portray a simple message of this popular song about change: you should never stop dreaming.

It’s sometimes difficult to change yourself, especially when that’s something you need to decide, but that’s the only way to grow.

Yes, music about personal growth can be full of clichés, but songs such as “Change” by Blind Melon depict these ideas in a very relatable, down-to-earth way.

23. Little Simz – “Introvert”

A song that tackles personal growth, as well as relevant social issues, is “Introvert” by Little Simz.

And it does so in a different, very powerful way.

Released in 2021, “Introvert” feels like a protest song, with a touch of strong emotions and creativity of the young British-Nigerian rapper.

Conscious, open-minded ideas and a fight for human rights have always been a part of quality music, and that’s indeed one of the effective ways to make a change. 

“We walk in blind faith not knowing the outcome
But as long as we’re unified, then we’ve already won.”

24. Macklemore – “Same Love”

When it comes to conscious lyrics and important messages in contemporary music, we have to mention Macklemore.

In his song “Same Love”, he talks about discrimination, LGBT rights, and the need to change the world for the better.

Although the song was released in 2012, this remains a very relevant topic, and there is still a lot left to do when it comes to basic human rights, especially in some parts of the world.

“It’s the same hate that’s caused wars from religion
Gender to skin color the complexion of your pigment
The same fight that lead people to walk-outs and sit-ins,
It’s human rights for everybody

25. Beyonce – “I Was Here”

Beyonce is undeniably one of the artists that made a huge impact both on the music industry and the world around her.

In her song “I Was Here”, she talks about making a change and doing your part in making this world a little bit better.

The thing is, everyone has an impact, whether you’re involved in big humanitarian projects or simply living and doing your best.

And that’s exactly what this song suggests.

“I was here, I lived, I loved, I was here
I did, I’ve done, everything that I wanted
And it was more than I thought it would be
I will leave my mark so everyone will know I was here.”

26. Johnny Nash – “I Can See Clearly Now”

Among songs about change, this is probably one of the most positive and inspirational ones.

I Can See Clearly Now will instantly put you in a better mood, and remind you that the sun always shines after the rain.

So, when things seem to be bad or unfair, remind yourself that no feeling is final.

“Gone are the dark clouds that had me blind
It’s gonna be a bright (bright)
Bright (bright) sunshiny day.”

27. Ben Harper – “With My Own Two Hands”

“I can change the world, with my own two hands
Make a better place, with my own two hands
Make a kinder place, oh with my, oh with my own two hands.”

In the song “With My Own Two Hands”, Ben Harper says that you can make a change in the world, only if you decide to act.

It’s easy to think that you’re too insignificant to make a change, and that can be a good excuse to do nothing. But that’s not how things work, and Ben Harper knows this.

28. U2 – “One”

One is undoubtedly one of U2’s greatest hits, but it’s also a great song about change.

Whether “One” was inspired by the changes in personal (and creative) lives of the band, or by the universal notion that life always keeps changing, the song truly passed the test of time.

The beloved classic also points out that if we act together, as one, we can make a real change.

“Is it getting better?
Or do you feel the same?”

29. Billie Eilish – “All Good Girls Go To Hell”

The most important change in the world right now is undeniably climate change.

In her song “All Good Girls Go To Hell”, Billie Eilish delivers a clear message that it’s absolutely essential to finally start acting on it.

Pop music is a great way to convey important messages, and Billie knows how to ‘use’ her fame and power to warn about relevant problems such as the climate crisis.

30. Nina Simone – “Everything Must Change”

When it comes to the climate crisis and other issues our society is facing right now, Nina Simone resolutely says: everything must change.

We’re rounding up this list with her beautiful, powerful song released in 1978.

After all, Nina Simone made a true change in the world with her activism, music, and unparalleled charisma.

“Young becomes old
And mysteries do unfold
That’s the way of time
Nothing, no one remains unchanged.

Songs About Change – Final Thoughts

We hope this article reminded you of some great songs about change and encouraged you to think about the meaning behind them.

Some life changes can be very overwhelming, but they can also lead to something good.

And music is always here to help us make sense of all of that.

Also, some of these songs send an important message that you should keep making changes in the world around you, without doubting the fact that you can make a difference.

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has” – Margaret Mead

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Will Fenton

Will, the founder of MIDDER, is a multifaceted individual with a deep passion for music and personal finance. As a self-proclaimed music and personal finance geek, he has a keen eye for futuristic technologies, especially those that empower creators and the public.

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