Illuminate your playlist with the best songs about light.
In this article, we’ve curated a brilliant collection of songs that celebrate the radiance and symbolism of light in music.
Whether you seek inspiration, a melodic journey, or simply the joy of discovering luminous tunes, our list is your guide to the most dazzling songs about light.
1. The Beatles – “The Inner Light”
“The farther one travels
The less one knows”
The Beatles’ “The Inner Light”, written during their transformative journey in India, draws inspiration from their quest for self-discovery and spirituality. This song beautifully exemplifies the symbolic use of light to represent goodness and wisdom.
The lyrics were written off of the back of the 47th chapter of the foundational texts of Taoism. The array of authentic Indian instruments was recorded in Bombay.
2. U2 – “Red Light”
“Red Light” is a seriously underrated track from U2’s War album. It is a song about unrequited love, we use the word light with many different collocations that give the word a change of significance.
We associate a red light with one of two things. So this track has sparked a little debate but the phrasing genuinely works on both levels.
The red light could be ‘stopping’ as it is a song about unrequited love or love that won’t go anywhere. On the other hand, the woman in question could be a prostitute, and that could be the reason that his love can’t ‘be’.
3. The Black Keys – “Shine A Little Light”
Opening their highly anticipated Let’s Rock album, The Black Keys delivered
“Shine A Little Light”, a song that celebrates the theme of light and marks their return to guitar-heavy tracks.
The narrative of the lyrics centers around death with the light in question being begged for. When we shine a light on something we reveal an answer. Many songs with light in the lyrics refer to guidance of some sort.
The words were penned after reading about a death row inmate and his last words actually inspired the album’s title, as when asked if he was ready he simply said “Let’s Rock”.
4. Kings Of Leon – “Red Morning Light”
Okay so this one is perhaps a little too gratuitous in places, it is again one of those songs about light that is focused on a hooker. Unlike the U2 track above, there’s no room for debate with this one.
The “dirty” woman mentioned is described as only living “in between the hollers and the screams”.
The Kings Of Leon go on to give their opinion that her experience is a pretty shallow and loveless one. She leaves men “at the bottom of the cage” and the lads lament that she’s “givin’ all your (her) cinnamon away, That’s not right”.
5. Led Zeppelin – “In The Light”
Stepping away from the cruder light songs and back into the world of songs about light with a hopeful edge we have a beautiful track from Led Zeppelin with ambitious musical arrangements and sound exploration.
The opening sounds were achieved with bows on an acoustic guitar, and we get treated to an offkey synth solo from the opening bars…Not everyone’s cup of tea but it made for an interesting addition to the group’s Physical Graffiti album and had an inspiring point to make lyrically.
“And if you feel that you can’t go on
And your will’s sinkin’ low
Just believe, and you can’t go wrong
In the light you will find the road
You will find the road”
6. The Velvet Underground – “Beginning To See The Light”
The Velvet Underground, “Beginning To See The Light” marked a shift towards a groovier, more straightforward sound compared to their earlier hits. This track, featured on their self-titled third album, embraced a classic rock and roll vibe, making it a departure from their previous work.
It has great harmonies, some unexpected rhythmic and dynamic changes within the different song segments, and the song lyrics about light use it in a classic manner if a little sarcastically.
The protagonist declares that “beginning to see the light”, however, the wisdom he has gleaned is that rather than work hard like some folks he’s going to find a balance between the two as he discusses frivolities such as enjoying wine for breakfast.
7. Disturbed – “The Light”
There are examples of songs about light being used in an ‘at the end of the tunnel’ manner across all genres. This one is a prime example of a hopeful heavy metal song about light.
“You need never feel broken again
Sometimes darkness can show you the light”
The lyrics are dark but encouraging, musically it is a major-key piece, which is different from a lot of Disturbed’s heavier tracks. The keys are haunting and Draiman has some great points to make throughout. The darkness refers to life’s obstacles and the light is a beacon that all will be well in the world again.
8. The Smiths – “There Is A Light That Never Goes Out”
Ever the misery guts, Morrisey treats us to a surprise surprise melancholy song about light with this 1992 hit. It was recorded back in 1985 but never released as a single.
It is a song about anxiety getting the better of you in the context of love that could have been.
The protagonist describes a “light there never goes out” in the way that we refer to someone kindling a fire within you.
British slang actually fits the analogy better, when you fancy someone you carry a torch for them. in this case Morrisey was inspired by the film “Rebel Without A Cause” for the storyline. The lyrics reveal the leading lad still holds a torch although he never carried it publically for them.
9. Keith Urban, Chris Tomlin, Hillary Scott – “Be A Light”
Back to the Light is a good symbology with this unsurprisingly wholesome collaboration. This country song about light was written by Rhett back in 2019, but unreleased.
When the pandemic hit he felt it was the right time to share it with the world as everyone could use a little pick me up.
He convinced Keith Urban, Chris Tomlin, Hilary Scott, and Reba McEntire to get on board, and with nothing better to do during isolation, they four agreed and the results are super-feel-good.
As if that doesn’t leave you feeling happy enough, proceeds were donated to the MusiCares COVID-19 Relief Fund.
10. Bruce Springsteen – “This Little Light Of Mine”
We couldn’t make a list of the best songs about light without including this one, granted there are a plethora of versions available for this gospel staple, public domain ditty, but we love Bruce Springsteen’s passion in this clip performed live in Dublin.
This is one the songs of all songs about light when it comes to using it to describe our inner light that we must let shine through, no matter what. It was originally written by Harry Dixon Loes, perhaps as early as 1920, and whether you know you know it or not, everyone is familiar with its optimistic, catchy refrain;
“This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine.
This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine.
This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine.
Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine.”
11. Lauren Daigle – “Light Of The World”
Sticking in the Gospel-like realms for this next track which was written as a modern Christian Christmas track. There are many Christian groups releasing work year-round, and of course, Christmas is a busy theme but Lauren Daigle struck the right balance as this one made the charts and earned her 2 Grammys!
“The world waits for the miracle
The heart longs for a little bit of hope
Oh come, oh come Emmanuel”
The singer said she was inspired by the questions and concerns followers of God may have had during the 400 years between the Old and New Testaments when God was silent.
12. Katrina And The Waves – “Love Shine A Light”
Most Brits of a certain age will remember this song about light. It was one of a handful of Eurovision wins for the UK, taking the 1st place spot back in 1997 after Katrina And The Waves performed it live in Dublin in the penultimate spot.
The lyrics again refer to a light shining within a person, in this case, grown from a platonic love for one another. The words are focused on global unity, they are simple and sincere, catchy and non-complex making them the perfect candidate for a Eurovision entry!
“Brothers and sisters, in every little part
Let our love shine a light in every corner of our hearts”
13. Justin Timberlake – “Morning Light”
This is one of those songs about light where the light is literal, it isn’t being described in some metaphorical manner and is instead exactly as it is put the genuine bonafide morning light. It is a love song that describes waking up with the one you love with a deep appreciation for them.
“In the whole wide world of guys
I must be the luckiest alive”
It was the first collaboration between Timberlake and featured artist Alicia Keys and makes for a beautiful song with light in the title for our top twenty list.
14. Lorde – “Green Light”
We are sticking with the modern hits with this track full of heartache from Lorde.
The narrative follows a girl going through her first major breakup in the distressing moments that follow immediately before she is ready to rebuild and take on the world again. This is the “Green Light” the singer is waiting for.
“‘Cause honey I’ll come get my things, but I can’t let go
I’m waiting for it, that green light, I want it”
Top of the list of emotional songs about light where the word is used figuratively with a colloquial sense. The green light is the signal she is ready to move on and release much like a traffic light.
15. Ellie Goulding – “Lights”
Again this one appears to refer to the inner light, but it is written about the ‘light’ of someone else being your countenance your guidance, and your counsel. Ellie Goulding sings vulnerable about the way in which the person’s light keeps her grounded and balanced and is always calling her home when she is losing her way.
In truth the metaphorical nature of the story presented is rather more literal, Goulding had a fear of the dark when she was younger and couldn’t sleep without a light on.
The song has a few links with the group ELO. The lyrics below are a shoutout to a song title of theirs.
“You show the lights that stop me turn to stone
You shine them when I’m alone”
16. Demi Lovato – “Neon Lights”
Demi Lovato’s “Neon Lights”, the third single from her album Demi, serves as a prime example of a song literally about light. This electro-pop dance track, with its infectious hook, brilliantly captures the essence of illumination.
“Baby, when they look up at the sky
We’ll be shootin’ stars just passing by
You’ll be comin’ home with me tonight
And we’ll be burnin’ up like, neon lights”
The passion between the lovers that star in the narrative is compared to the slow burn of noble gas-filled neon lighting. There is nothing particularly deep to take away, but it is an infectious chart-topper.
17. The Weeknd – “Blinding Lights”
Another chart-topping song with light in the title is this synthwave pop hit by The Weeknd which actually sat for 90 weeks in the Billboard Hot 100 and was voted #1 hit of all time by them!
Talk about success!
When asked about the context of the blinding lights the artists described the way in which you see someone when you are drunk and out for the evening. We are often blinded by intoxication, we can see what we want in someone we don’t know all that well. Looking past all flaws.
“I said, ooh, I’m blinded by the lights
No, I can’t sleep until I feel your touch”
18. Florence + The Machine – “No Light, No Light”
“No Light, No Light” is somewhat more personal than many of the dreamier artistic tracks we typically get from Florence Welch.
The lyrics describe a relationship that is empty and the revelation that there is no light in the person’s eyes anymore.
The light is an analogy for the spark of their relationship fizzling out and the realization that it’s about to be over regardless of how desperate she is to hold on to what is left.
“And I’d do anything to make you stay
No light, no light
Tell me what you want me to say”
19. Charlie Puth – “Light Switch”
Much like the spark described by Florence as waning in the track above, Charlie Puth uses the analogy to heat things up a little in this raunchy and revealing funky little number.
“You turn me on like a light switch (switch)
When you’re movin’ your body around and around
You got me in a tight grip (grip)
You know how to just make me want you, baby”
The singer tells us about a woman in his life who knows just how to walk in and out of his, well all over him really.
“I say don’t look back, but I go right back and
All of a sudden, I’m hypnotized (hypnotized)”
20. Jessie J – “Flashlight”
We are finishing up with one of the more inspiring examples of songs about light, one that intends to lift you and help drive you when you find yourself at a dark point.
The song is an ode to someone special who provides a light in the protagonist’s life.
“I got all I need when I got you and I
I look around me, and see a sweet life
I’m stuck in the dark but you’re my flashlight
You’re getting me, getting me through the night”
The lyrics are powerful which is no surprise as there were four fantastic writers behind this one; Sia, Christian Guzman, Jason Moore, and Sam Smith. It was written for the sequel to Pitch Perfect where Hailee Steinfeld sings it. Both versions were released in 2015.
It is one of the most moving modern songs about light and ideal to end on.
Wrapping Up Our List of the Best Songs About Light
Songs with lights in the lyrics come in many forms.
Positive songs about light bring with them a certain kind of clarity, they offer hope. On the other hand, there is a fair balance of darker songs about losing your light or the battle of trying to keep it lit through hardships. Songs about light and dark resonate with many of us because the symbolism is very strong.
Popular songs about light, tend to be the more honest and raw, the ones that provide a positive message despite exploring heavier topics, they provide an optimistic resolve to look towards.
We hope our list of songs about light gives you the encouragement you are looking for, no matter how dark things may get on life’s rollercoaster.