21 Songs About Change and Starting a New Path in Life
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Change is the only constant in this world.
Many of us don’t enjoy going through changes, yet it is something we all experience on a regular basis.
Music can be the best companion to help soften the blow while you’re going through a major upheaval in your life. It’s as if music is a force that can reach us on a soul level when things are scary and uncertain—when we stand at the threshold of something new in life.
To help you walk the new path in your life, we’ve compiled a list of empowering songs about change.
Some of the songs in this collection are famous, and you may already know their lyrics. Sing right along with them, at the top of your lungs if you must!
What You Will Learn
- 1. Tonight, Tonight, Smashing Pumpkins
- 2. All Things Must Pass, George Harrison
- 3. 100 Years, Five For Fighting
- 4. Change, Taylor Swift
- 5. Closing Time, Semisonic
- 6. One Way Ticket, Carrie Underwood
- 7. Stronger, Britney Spears
- 8. Burning Gold, Christina Perri
- 9. Wide Awake, Katy Perry
- 10. Landslide, The Chicks
- 11. Breakaway, Kelly Clarkson
- 12. I'm Coming Out, Diana Ross
- 13. Fast Car, Tracy Chapman
- 14. I Am Changing, Jennifer Hudson
- 15. What About Now, Daughtry
- 16. Break Away, The Beach Boys
- 17. Walk Away, Kelly Clarkson
- 18. Interlude: Moving On, Paramore
- 19. You Learn, Alanis Morissette
- 20. Changing of the Seasons, Two Door Cinema Club
- 21. Wake Me Up When September Ends, Green Day
- Final Thoughts
1. Tonight, Tonight, Smashing Pumpkins
“…Our lives are forever changed. We will never be the same. The more you change the less you feel.”
We start our list with one of the most popular songs of the 1990s, Tonight, Tonight. This song is from the group Smashing Pumpkins.
You may have done things in the past that made you proud or embarrassed, brave or more afraid. Regardless, all of these things are now in the past.
The best thing to do, this song tells us, is move forward, reaping the lessons of what has been and doing your best to make better choices in the future.
2. All Things Must Pass, George Harrison
via George Harrison
“All things must pass, none of life's strings can last. So I must be on my way and face another day.”
This song reminds us that things inevitably come to an end, and when they do, we feel pain. However, it’s something that we have to come to terms with.
After the pain, things will start looking brighter again. Grey clouds will be lifted. There is hope for a more vibrant day.
3. 100 Years, Five For Fighting
“Half time goes by, suddenly you're wise. Another blink of an eye sixty-seven is gone. The sun is getting high, we're moving on.”
This song is about the transitions we go through in life. Everything seems to change in the blink of an eye, and suddenly we find ourselves living the last days of our lives. Have we lived well? Have we followed our hearts and chased our dreams?
These are some of the questions we ponder as we go through life’s changes. Will we achieve wisdom? What will we be our most treasured memories of who we once were? We’ll only know in the end.
4. Change, Taylor Swift
via Taylor Swift
“Because these things will change. Can you feel it now?”
You may have faced a lot of setbacks in the past. Perhaps a new game plan is needed to finally get that elusive break you’ve been seeking?
Let the missteps of your life be the stepping stones for your future success. (Check out this list of our favorite songs about success.) As long as you’re willing to see the lessons from every setback, the way forward is clear and an adventure awaits you.
Embrace the opportunity to change.
5. Closing Time, Semisonic
via SS Music Nation
“Closing time, every new beginning comes from some other beginning's end.”
Sometimes endings can be opportunities for new growth.
It could be that you’re leaving a toxic relationship, or perhaps you’ve finally resigned from an unfulfilling job. Maybe you’ve finally decided to leave your hometown to move to another city.
These endings can be painful and scary, yet they are also the soil in which new dreams can be sown. Never be afraid of closing time.
6. One Way Ticket, Carrie Underwood
via Carrie Underwood
“Grab yourself a drink with a pink umbrella. Goodbye yesterday. Well when life don't go your way, well maybe it's time to take a nice long break.”
When things in your life are not going according to plan, you have the power to change things.
This song assures you that it’s ok to say goodbye to the past and welcome a new and better future.
7. Stronger, Britney Spears
via Britney Spears
“Stronger than yesterday. Now it's nothing but my way. My loneliness ain't killing me no more. I, I'm stronger.”
A breakup—especially after being in a long-term relationship—can be a major upheaval that has far-reaching effects on our health and well-being. If you find yourself recently single again, life can be fraught with uncertainties.
This song is about someone who has left a relationship and learned to find empowerment and happiness in being alone.
8. Burning Gold, Christina Perri
via Christina Perri
“I've had enough. I'm standing up. I need, I need a change.”
We all have the power to change our lives. Sometimes, however, we forget this and get stuck in patterns of negativity.
We need to recognize our ability to choose a better life—to walk a new path.
When you’ve had enough of your old patterns and habits, let Burning Gold be your theme song as you forge better habits and a more positive outlook.
9. Wide Awake, Katy Perry
via Katy Perry
“Yeah I'm falling from cloud nine, crashing from the high. I'm letting go tonight, I'm falling from cloud nine.”
You may have gone through experiences that you wished never happened, and these experiences may have caused you great pain.
If other people were involved, you might wonder how you can forgive them for what they’ve done. (Check out these forgiveness quotes to help let go of a bitter past.)
This song is about moving forward with life even when one has experienced a lot of hurt in the past. After all, letting go of the past is the first step toward true happiness.
10. Landslide, The Chicks
via The Chicks
“Well, I've been afraid of changing 'cause I built my life around you. But time makes bolder, children get older. I'm getting older, too.”
You’ve probably experienced outgrowing people who are dear to you. It’s not their fault—we all change.
This song speaks of someone who has had this realization—who has outgrown their original feelings for their partner. It’s time to move on and live separate lives.
This change might be painful, but it’s the only way to continue to grow.
11. Breakaway, Kelly Clarkson
via Kelly Clarkson
“I'll spread my wings and learn how to fly. I'll do what it takes 'til I touch the sky. And I'll make a wish, take a chance, make a change and breakaway.”
This single from Kelly Clarkson’s album of the same title was written in collaboration with Avril Lavigne, and speaks of someone creating a major change in their life.
Often, our comfort zone lulls us into a sense of security. We don’t want to step out and take risks. However, we risk stagnating if we just stay where we are.
Making a major move, whether it’s in your career, relationship, or health, can be truly terrifying at first. However, if you do take the chance—if you break away—you might find yourself soaring to great heights.
12. I'm Coming Out, Diana Ross
via Marin Ljubić
“I'm coming out. I want the world to know. Gotta let it show.”
Sometimes, it can be terrifying to show the world your true self. It takes a lot of guts to just be who you are and stand up to others’ views of how you should act, dress, or think.
To be an agent of change, you might want to make this song your personal anthem as you begin to express your authentic self wherever you go. (Discover awesome ways to increase your self-love with tips from this post.)
13. Fast Car, Tracy Chapman
via Tracy Chapman
“So I remember we were driving…. And I had a feeling that I belonged, I had a feeling I could be someone, be someone, be someone.”
When you are stuck in a rut, with no opportunities in sight and surrounded by so much misery, that’s when you dream of getting away from it all. You want to experience something better.
This song tells of that kind of life, and what one woman is willing to do in order to get away from the chaos. Tracy Chapman sings about hopes lost and finding one’s personal power amidst all the hardships one has been through. (Here are more songs about hope.)
14. I Am Changing, Jennifer Hudson
via Jennifer Hudson
“I am changing, trying every way I can. I am changing, I'll be better than I am.”
Jennifer Hudson’s rendition of this song is full of power. The song is about giving yourself a second chance. This time, with the help of people who care, you’ll make it through. It inspires those who have been through a lot of disappointments to try again.
15. What About Now, Daughtry
“What about now, what about today? What if you're making me all that I was meant to be? What if our love had never went away?”
In this ballad, the singer is asking for reconciliation. Maybe your relationship has been broken or you are on the verge of breaking up. If so, perhaps a change of heart is needed to save the relationship.
Will you take this chance and take someone back after all the pain? Or will you walk away and start again? The choice is yours.
16. Break Away, The Beach Boys
via Beach Boys
“And I can break away to the better life where the shackles never hold me down. I'm gonna make a way for each happy day as my life turns around.”
Change is easy when you can see the bigger picture. For many of us, taking the leap into the unknown is very scary, so we opt to stay rooted in place.
In this song, the singer chooses to leave the past behind and break away to a better life. They choose to experience happiness every day.
The shape of your future depends on your outlook. Choosing happiness often helps happiness find you.
17. Walk Away, Kelly Clarkson
via Kelly Clarkson
“…Should you stay or should you go? Well, if you don't have the answer why you still standing here? Hey, hey, hey, hey, just walk away.”
Perhaps you’ve had enough of a bad situation and the only thing left to do is to call it quits.
This song suggests that you just walk away. You can walk away from toxic relationships, a lifestyle you’ve outgrown, or anything that doesn’t nourish your personal growth.
18. Interlude: Moving On, Paramore
“Well, I could be angry but you're not worth a fight. And besides, I'm moving on.”
Sometimes, we get hurt by how other people treat us. They trigger us, and it causes us pain.
When we are triggered, we tend to act in ways that are detrimental to our well-being.
This song counsels that the best way to change all that is to ignore the people who mistreat us. It’s better to move on and walk away, rather than engaging those who drag us down with their negativity.
19. You Learn, Alanis Morissette
“You live, you learn. You love, you learn. You cry, you learn. You lose, you learn. You bleed, you learn. You scream, you learn.”
As we’ve mentioned, change often brings pain before things get better.
This song, popular in the 1990s, was an anthem for change and growth. It says that the way we learn is through living, loving, losing, and bleeding.
That’s what life is all about. You might not like it, you might scream about it, but it’s the only way forward.
20. Changing of the Seasons, Two Door Cinema Club
“And I've worn out all the reasons to keep knocking at your door. Could be the changing of the seasons. But I don't love you anymore.”
There are many reasons why relationships end. Usually, the two people involved go their separate ways after breaking up.
Sometimes, though, one partner might have difficulty accepting that the relationship has ended. He or she might continue working for reconciliation, even when the other party is no longer interested.
For this person, the realization is often late in coming. However, once they finally accept that the relationship is over for good, they can move forward and begin to heal.
21. Wake Me Up When September Ends, Green Day
via Green Day
“Summer has come and passed, the innocent can never last. Wake me up when September ends.”
Billie Joe Armstrong wrote this song in memory of his father who passed away when Billie Joe was 10 years old.
A lot of things change when we lose someone dear to us, and it often affects our outlook on life. Some of us might still carry the grief years after.
This song is a testament that, although time passes, the memory of the dearly departed can be a source of strength as we build a life that they are no longer a part of.
Over 2,500 years ago, the philosopher Heraclitus proclaimed that change is the only permanent thing in this world.
Oftentimes, pain accompanies change. We grieve for things that once were part of us.
However, without change, we stagnate.
Change is necessary to grow and progress in life.
These songs about change can empower you and give you comfort during a major transition. We hope you’ve found a favorite among the songs in this collection.
You might also be interested in more songs compiled for specific purposes. You can check a few lists out below: