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When words can’t express how sorry you are, songs about forgiveness are a great way to convey your remorse and your willingness to make things right.
In this post, we share a collection of the best songs about being sorry and the true meaning of forgiveness.
We hope that these tracks will pave the way for complete forgiveness and the healing of any pain caused by your actions or words.
Before diving into today’s collection of songs, let’s first discuss the benefits of forgiveness, as well as some pointers on how to make a sincere apology.
What You Will Learn
- The Benefits of Forgiveness
- So, You Want to Say Sorry…
- 1. Apology Song, The Decemberists
- 2. Back to December, Taylor Swift
- 3. Hello, Adele
- 4. A Song for You, Amy Winehouse
- 5. For What It's Worth, Liam Gallagher
- 6. Whatever It Takes, Lifehouse
- 7. In Between, Linkin Park
- 8. Low Man's Lyric, Metallica
- 9. Purple Rain, Prince
- 10. Last Time I Say Sorry, John Legend and Kayne Brown
- 11. I Forgive You, Kelly Clarkson
- 12. Angry Anymore, Ani DiFranco
- 13. Forgiven Me, Mary Mary
- 14. Time Is a Healer, Eva Cassidy
- 15. So Sorry, Feist
- 16. Every Time I Hear That Song, Brandi Carlile
- 17. Baby, Can I Hold You, Tracy Chapman
- 18. Forgive and Forget, You Me At Six
- 19. Wings of Forgiveness, India Arie
- 20. Forgiven, Alanis Morrisette
- 21. If I Could Turn Back Time, Cher
- 22. Please Forgive Me, Bryan Adams
- 23. I Forgive You, Kellie Pickler
- 24. The Heart of the Matter, Don Henley
- 25. Hurt, Christina Aguilera
- 26. Sorry, Sleeping With Sirens
- 27. Forgive Myself, Sam Smith
- 28. Pray for Forgiveness, Alicia Keys
- 29. Dig, Incubus
- 30. Human, Brandy
- 31. Sweet Forgiveness, Bonnie Raitt
- Final Thoughts on Songs About Forgiveness
The Benefits of Forgiveness
There are a lot of benefits you can reap from forgiveness.
So, You Want to Say Sorry…
If you’re the one who has caused offense, here are some quick pointers for how to make amends.
- Apologize as soon as you realize you’ve done something wrong.
- Be accountable. Acknowledge that you are at fault.
- Give an explanation for your action—not as a justification, but as a chance for the one you’ve hurt to know where you’re coming from.
- Make it right. If something has been damaged, make your best effort to restore it.
Read on for our curated list of songs about forgiveness and saying sorry.
1. Apology Song, The Decemberists
“I'm really sorry, Steven, but your bicycle's been stolen. I was watching it for you 'til you came back in the fall. I guess I didn't do such a good job after all. I was feeling really sorry, Steven, and I spent all morning grieving.”
Let’s start off with a lighthearted apology song. In this song, there are no broken hearts or ruined lives.
The only offense that vocalist Colin Meloy is guilty of (and sincerely apologizes for) is the theft of a friend’s bicycle while it was in his care.
Hopefully his friend Steven forgave him for this unfortunate event. After all, Meloy did spend “all morning grieving.”
2. Back to December, Taylor Swift
“So this is me swallowin' my pride, standing in front of you sayin' I'm sorry for that night. And I go back to December all the time. It turns out freedom ain't nothin' but missin' you. Wish I'd realized what I had when you were mine.”
Relationships don’t always last forever. When they end, there may be feelings of regret.
This song is an example of that regret and the apologies one makes in an effort to reconcile with an ex-partner. Sometimes, though, the apologies come a little too late.
3. Hello, Adele
“Hello from the other side. I must've called you a thousand times. To tell you that I'm sorry for everything that I've done. But when I call, you never seem to be home.”
Speaking of late apologies, this hit from Adele is also about missed chances at reconciliation.
Having to swallow one’s pride and admit that we are at fault is not an easy thing for many of us to do—and it becomes more difficult if our attempts at reaching out to the aggrieved person are rebuffed.
However, we need to remember that forgiveness holds the key to lasting peace of mind.
4. A Song for You, Amy Winehouse
“I know your image of me is what I hope to be. I've treated you unkindly but can’t you see? There's no one more important to me. So darlin', won't you please see through me? ‘Cause we're alone now and I'm singing this song for you.”
This song is an indirect apology for all the things that went wrong in a relationship. In this song, Amy Winehouse admits to treating someone dear to her unkindly, and she seems to regret it.
Sometimes we realize that we’ve taken someone for granted while still in a relationship with them. Either way, an apology is typically necessary, whether you are still in a relationship or have already broken up.
5. For What It's Worth, Liam Gallagher
“For what it's worth, I'm sorry for the hurt. I'll be the first to say, “I made my own mistakes.” For what it's worth, I know it's just words and words betray. But sometimes we lose our way. For what it's worth.”
Even a simple “sorry” can make a tense situation a whole lot better. However, it has to be done sincerely in order to truly repair the broken relationships.
This song from former Oasis frontman Liam Gallagher is an example of what a simple sorry can look like.
We also have to be aware that an apology should be accompanied by sincere actions. This further conveys that we truly want to fix things.
6. Whatever It Takes, Lifehouse
“I'll do whatever it takes to turn this around. I know that I've let you down. And if you give me a chance, believe that I can change. I'll keep us together, whatever it takes.”
Sometimes, when people let us down, we’re willing to give them a second chance.
This song is asking listeners to give the person who messed up another chance, and to believe that they can still change.
When you’re the one receiving the apology, will you accept it?
7. In Between, Linkin Park
“Let me apologize to begin with. Let me apologize for what I'm about to say. But trying to be genuine was harder than it seemed. And somehow I got caught in between.”
In this song, the singer is apologizing in advance, and mentioning how difficult it is to be genuine.
When we apologize, it does not mean we’re seeking to be perfect. It means that we humbly admit our shortcomings and hope that the other person will accept this and give us another chance.
8. Low Man's Lyric, Metallica
“So low the sky is all I see. All I want from you is forgive me. So you bring this poor dog in from the rain. Though he just wants right back out again.”
Hitting rock bottom can bring everything into perspective. It’s an opportunity for deeper realizations that can become the springboard to changing destructive habits or thought patterns.
This song from Metallica is about someone who has hit rock bottom and is now asking for a second chance.
Perhaps he has hurt people who cared for him and is unsure if they’ll accept him now.
Low Man’s Lyric is a great apology song for those looking for a way to communicate how deeply remorseful they are for the hurt they’ve caused.
9. Purple Rain, Prince
“I never meant to cause you any sorrow. I never meant to cause you any pain. I only wanted one time to see you laughing. I only wanted to see you laughing in the purple rain.”
This song from Prince offers an apology and a wish for things to get better.
The act of saying sorry can be the start of the healing process. But to complete the process, one must also learn to forgive. Letting go of anger and resentment provides an opportunity for festering negative emotions to dissolve.
10. Last Time I Say Sorry, John Legend and Kayne Brown
“I won't say I'm sorry over and over. Can't just say I'm sorry, I gotta show you I won't do it again. I'll prove my love is true. I hope the last time I said sorry is the last time I'll say sorry to you.”
One of the most important parts about saying sorry is that the person who apologizes no longer commits the offense.
However, there are people who take it for granted that they will be forgiven when they mess up, so they don’t ever change their behavior. We often see this play out in relationships such as marriages.
This song is different from other tracks that glorify getting second chances after big offenses.
In this song, the singer proves his love is true by matching his apology with the resolve to never repeat the action that hurt the one he cared about.
11. I Forgive You, Kelly Clarkson
“I forgive you. We were just a couple of kids trying to figure out how to live. Doing it our way. No shame, no blame. ‘Cause the damage is done. And I forgive you.”
This song is an example of how we can forgive somebody because we understand where they’re coming from.
How easy is it for you to forgive?
Some people hold on to grudges for a long time rather than forgiving the injustices done to them. Sometimes they do so out of fear of being seen weak.
Forgiveness is not weakness.
Nor does it necessarily mean reconciling with the one who has done us wrong.
Instead, it is arriving at a level of empathy that allows us to understand the other person. This way, we can finally let go of the anger and resentment that holds us back from true happiness and peace of mind.
12. Angry Anymore, Ani DiFranco
“I just want you to understand, that I know what all the fighting was for. And I just want you to understand, that I'm not angry anymore. No, I'm not angry anymore.”
This song is a declaration that you’ve cast away all your anger. You finally understand the situation and don’t need the other person’s apology to start forgiving them.
When we come to a place of forgiveness, all the anger, resentments, and bitterness just melts away.
We suddenly feel lighter. Some people who decide to forgive even feel that it is easier to smile again.
Healing can finally begin.
13. Forgiven Me, Mary Mary
“I never ever want to press rewind, never wanna go back in time. Not much glory in that story, but it's mine. So I'm lovin' who I am today. The past has passed away. Finally, I have forgiven me.”
As mentioned previously, forgiving ourselves can be difficult.
It is a process that often opens up a mixed bag of emotions. Once you process self-forgiveness, you must be ready to deal with guilt, self-loathing, and shame.
However, this process eventually strengthens you.
Once self-forgiveness happens, the past no longer has power over you.
You’re finally free to begin a new chapter in life.
14. Time Is a Healer, Eva Cassidy
“I found a picture of your smiling face, bringing old memories that I had locked away. The burden of anger from a heart filled with pain was finally lifted. And I smiled at you again.”
Sometimes we burn at an injustice done to us and plot our revenge on the person who caused us pain. Forgiving them is the farthest thing from our minds.
Fortunately, as this song declares, time helps extinguish the flames of our wrath and dulls the pain. It softens the memories and increases our willingness to forgive.
15. So Sorry, Feist
“I'm sorry. Two words I always think after you're gone, when I realize I was acting all wrong.”
Saying sorry does not require a lot of fanfare. When done in a timely manner, it can heal broken relationships, restore people to health, and even save relationships, even if it’s a simple apology.
If you’re looking for an example of a straightforward apology in song form, this track from Feist is perfect.
16. Every Time I Hear That Song, Brandi Carlile
“By the way, I forgive you. After all, maybe I should thank you for giving me what I’ve found. ‘Cause without you around I’ve been doing just fine. Except for any time I hear that song.”
Romantic relationships are a landmine of misunderstandings and hurt feelings. When a relationship ends badly, the two people in it usually stop speaking to each other, preventing closure and healing for both of them.
This song is about reminiscing about someone who broke your heart so badly that you thought you couldn’t recover. Despite all of the pain, however, one can still decide to forgive and begin moving on.
“Forgive me is all that you can’t say. Years gone by and still words don’t come easily. Like forgive me, forgive me.”
For some people, it’s very hard to ask for forgiveness when they’ve done something wrong. However, they often expect others around them to accept them and act as if an apology is not called for.
This song is about being unable to say the right words, such as “Sorry” or “I love you,” when it truly matters. Consider what you might lose by not saying what’s truly in your heart or what’s needed in that moment.
“Can we forgive and forget, if only for the weekend?”
If there are some people who have difficulty apologizing, there are also those who find it hard to forgive.
This song is about how things change between people over the years. There might have been misunderstandings, but no one wants to accept the other’s apology. They may have been close friends before, but they’re hardly speaking now.
“You’re only human. Let’s shake free this gravity of resentment. And fly high, and fly high. You’re only human. Let’s shake free this gravity of judgment. And fly high on the wings of forgiveness.”
As humans, we all have shortcomings. We all make mistakes. According to this song, despite our failings, we deserve forgiveness.
“What I learned I rejected, but I believe again. I will suffer the consequence of this inquisition. If I jump in this fountain, will I be forgiven?”
This song is found on the album Jagged Little Pill released in 1995.
It is about how religion puts a blanket of guilt and fear over people’s actions. Alanis contemplates if the things she did are sinful and if there is forgiveness for what she’s done.
“If I could turn back time, if I could find a way. I’d take back those words that’ve hurt you and you’d stay. If I could reach the stars, I’d give ‘em all to you. Then you’d love me, love me like you used to do.”
Here is a song about regret that a relationship has ended. The song serves as an indirect apology, with a woman thinking about what she could have done differently to make her lover stay.
“Please forgive me, I know not what I do. Please forgive me, I can’t stop loving you. ”
In this song, Bryan Adams offers an apology for his uncontrollable feelings for someone. This person may have asked him to stop feeling that way, yet the feeling persists.
“And I’ve cursed your name. I’ve tried to numb the pain. There’s no whiskey, there’s no pills to change the way it feels. And I’ve prayed and prayed for it to go away. There’s only one thing left for me to do. I forgive you.”
When someone hurt us really bad, it can take a lot of effort to forgive them. In fact, some people even wish to see something awful happen to those who have wronged them.
However, being unable to forgive is a heavy burden to bear. It can even lead to illnesses and mental disorders.
This song is about realizing that only forgiveness can lift the heavy burden of pain and hate.
“I’ve been tryin’ to get down to the heart of the matter. But my will gets weak and my thoughts seem to scatter. But I think it’s about forgiveness. Even if, even if you don’t love me anymore.”
This song is about forgiving an ex-partner for all the hurt they’ve caused. It’s about realizing that an apology from the person who did you wrong is not essential to your ability to forgive them for what they’ve done.
“Oh, I’m sorry for blaming you. For everything I just couldn’t do. And I’ve hurt myself by hurting you.”
Christina Aguilera sings about accountability in this song. She acknowledges that she has hurt somebody and apologizes for it.
The truth is, when we hurt someone we love, we also hurt ourselves.
“I’m sorry for the things I’ve done, things I’ve done. I’m sorry for the man I was and how I treated you.”
This song is a straightforward apology. It is very specific, as if the singer is aware of the true consequences of their behavior and how they have caused harm to others.
“’Til I wake up in the morning, you’re all that I see. You run through my head, in and out of my dreams. Breathe for a minute, try to focus on me. But I can’t think of anyone else. Now my heart is broken and I’m crying on the floor. And every part of me hopes you walk through the door. But you’re not here, baby, and I can’t love anyone else ‘til I forgive myself.”
It is rare to find a song about forgiving oneself, but this one by Sam Smith is an eye-opener.
This song is about recognizing one’s need for self-forgiveness. It tells us that unless we develop self-love, we’ll be stuck with the same hurtful patterns in our romantic relationships.
“I pray for forgiveness. Look for the answers. ‘Cause it’s hard for me to pretend. Look to my mother, call to the captain. Can’t you see this state that I’m in? And no one would know this, nobody noticed. That it’s me where it begins. And I pray for forgiveness within.”
Here is another song about forgiving ourselves.
We are often too hard on ourselves, especially when decisions we make turn out to be big mistakes. This song is a reminder that it is only after we learn to forgive ourselves that we become capable of forgiving others.
“We all have a weakness. But some of ours are easy to identify. Look me in the eye. And ask for forgiveness. We’ll make a pact to never speak that word again. Yes, you are my friend.”
This song is about having someone who is willing to accept you for who you truly are. You don’t need to wear a mask when you’re around this person because they appreciate you for both your weaknesses and your strengths.
“I’m only human, forgive me. I’m only human, love me. I’m only human, save me, save me from myself.”
This song is about how we humans are prone to make mistakes. But this weakness shouldn’t be held against us.
“Sweet forgiveness, that’s what you give to me. When you hold me close and you say, ‘That’s all over.’ You don’t go looking back. You don’t hold the cards to stack. ‘Cause you mean what you say. Sweet forgiveness, you help me see. I’m not near as bad as I sometimes appear to be. When you hold me close and you say, ‘That’s all over and I still love you.’”
This song is about having someone who sees beyond your shortcomings and weaknesses. It is about someone who’s willing to forgive when you fail and who will always be there, seeing the best in you.
Final Thoughts on Songs About Forgiveness
We hope that you’ve found the perfect song for making an apology in the featured collection today.
A sincere apology should make you feel that a heavy weight has been lifted from your shoulders.
However, there is no guarantee that your apology will be accepted. That is the prerogative of the person you are apologizing to.
Whether you’ve been forgiven or not, the important thing is that you’ve shown the other person that you’re willing to make things right—that you’re committed to healing the pain that you’ve caused.
That act allows you to move forward, free from guilt, shame, anger, or resentment.
If you are looking for more resources on forgiveness and letting go of anger and resentment, you may want to visit the following posts:
In addition, if you’re looking for recommendations of the best songs for a particular topic, here are some posts you might want to check out:
Finally, if you want to use these songs to make a lasting change to your life, then check out these 100 LIFE GOALS that can help you wake up each morning with a sense of enthusiasm about making progress toward what's important..