A black teen boy sitting outside with his arms resting on his knees, wearing headphones and looking at a smartphone

9 Songs That Have Deeper Meanings

A black teen boy sitting outside with his arms resting on his knees, wearing headphones and looking at a smartphone
(Photo by Ilias Chebbi on Unsplash)

Commentary, Yaslin Rodríguez

Have you ever wondered about the deeper meaning of songs? It can be hard to truly know what songs are about. Sometimes, we don’t even care. We just like the way a song sounds. Or it’s got a beat that makes us want to get up and dance. Or it’s simply a good vibe. The words don’t always matter. But maybe they should. If we listen closer to the lyrics of our favorite pop songs, we can find meaningful messages about relationships, substance abuse, beauty, self-worth and more. Here are some of my favorite songs with deeper meanings.

“I Don’t Like You” by EASHA
In this song, EASHA sings about having cherished memories with someone who has changed. She says that she will always love this person; she just doesn’t like them anymore. She is afraid to leave the relationship because she loves them, but she knows that if she doesn’t, both of them will end up more upset than happy. Yet she also expresses negative feelings about leaving someone that is no longer good for your mental health.

When someone experiences attachment issues like this, it can be tricky to leave someone or to have that person go. This is because the person who will no longer be in one’s life fills up a space that they feel would be empty without them there. This can make it hard to let someone go, even if that person is not good for their well-being.

“Carry On” by Pink Sweat$
In this song, Pink Sweat$ talks about persisting through tough times even if there isn’t someone to walk with you. He says listeners must “carry on.” He brings to attention anxiety and the fear of being alone. Life has ups and downs, but his point is that you are the only person who will always be there for yourself, so you must embrace yourself and give yourself grace.

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“Free Me” by Anees
In his song, Anees addresses self-love. He talks about the experience of having someone leave you, but feeling freed by it. Anees inspires listeners by setting the example of a healthy relationship with himself. He is unbothered by this person leaving him, and rather, he feels better now that they are gone. He loves himself and has enough self-respect to allow himself to be free and unaffected by the toxic actions of others. In setting boundaries, he shows listeners that it is OK for them to protect themselves and create space from others who are bringing toxicity into their lives. Anees’ song brings positivity to listeners’ minds by setting an example of healthy self-respect.

“Too Much” by Teo Glacier
Teo Glacier’s song “Too Much” talks about a breakup he went through. He talks about wanting to stay in a relationship that isn’t serving him. He feels like he was a burden to his partner because of the fact that they left him. He reads into the breakup by saying that he feels like he was always asking for too much and that he was too much to handle. Glacier relates to listeners by stating his true, uncandid feelings about a relationship that ended before he was ready. The song works as a healthy way for listeners to experience their emotions and a relatable vent as it talks about a breakup from the perspective of someone who did not make the decision to let the relationship go.

“Crazy” by Lost Frequencies & Zonderling
Lost Frequencies and Zonderling bring a sense of freedom in their song “Crazy.” The song is about giving your best to those around you, but at the same time, living for yourself, not at the hands of others’ opinions. Lost Frequencies and Zonderling talk about being free from the fear of judgment by using the term “crazy.” This term is generally used to talk about people who are mentally unstable. The artists use this word to say that they do not care about people calling them such. They basically say that nothing is wrong with being crazy.

In this, they are normalizing being free and outside of the norms that society has created. The artists also say, “let me be the one to set them free.” “Them” refers to people in society, and “free” refers to freedom from the fear of judgment. They are saying that, in normalizing being “crazy” — or outside societal norms — one can encourage others to do the same. In doing this, everyone can feel more free and comfortable to be themselves. The message of this song is that, by setting an example and being carefree, one can encourage others to do the same, and these actions will lead to more happiness all around.

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“My Own Person” by Ezra Williams
This song, by Ezra Williams, is about the feeling of detachment. Williams feels as though there is no point to life, because nothing works to make things better. The artist also talks about wanting to be themself without people noticing. They say that they want to “blend into the background,” but they also want to start feeling like they can be themself. In simple terms, this means that they want to be free to express themself in the ways that they would like, but they also do not want to draw attention to themself. In this song, Williams relates specifically to youth listeners by sharing a common experience that is not often talked about.

“Never Grow Up” by Taylor Swift
In her song “Never Grow Up,” Taylor Swift tells listeners to appreciate their youth. While it is physically impossible to stay the same forever, Swift means this figuratively. While it is good to mentally grow and learn new things as you get older, it is also good to remember and appreciate your youth, because it is short and you only get to live through it once. The artist brings to attention the fact that teens usually want to grow up fast, so they can experience freedom. But when they grow up, they wish that they had not done so because there were little worries in their youth.

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Swift also brings to attention the fact that everyone is growing up, even people who are no longer in their youth. She says, “And you’re mortified your mom’s droppin’ you off” … “But don’t make her drop you off around the block … Remember that she’s gettin’ older too.” Here, the artist is showing listeners that parents are also aging, and though it may feel like they know everything, they are also learning as they grow. She is encouraging the audience to have empathy for their parents and to remember that they are also human and are experiencing growth as well. Through her song “Never Grow Up,” Swift teaches listeners to be grateful for their youth and to have empathy for their parents.

“Just The Way You Are” by Bruno Mars
In this song, Bruno Mars talks about a girl that does not know her true beauty. He says, “When I see your face, there’s not a thing that I would change ’cause you’re amazing just the way you are.” In the world today, many girls struggle seeing their beauty from the inside out. In Mars’ song, he is encouraging girls to see that they should not change themselves because they are “amazing just the way [they] are.” He is challenging the toxic beauty norms in our society today by saying that girls should not change for others.

“Scars to Your Beautiful” by Alessia Cara
Similar to Mars’ song, Alessia Cara’s “Scars to Your Beautiful” also challenges society’s beauty standards by bringing attention to the harmful effects they have on young girls. In society, the idea of a perfect body is commonly a skinny one. This thought has a detrimental impact on young girls, as they often go lengths to be a type of skinny that is not generally healthy for everyone. This strive for a perfect body causes eating disorders, depression and anxiety for many girls. Through Cara’s song, she tells girls that they do not have to go through these things in order to be pretty. She says that girls do not have to have scars in order to be beautiful.

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