We all wish we had cheerleaders to give us pep talks whenever branches are drooping. Unfortunately, that is not possible. But you can rely on music to be your guiding light during tough times. So to help you find your motivational mojo, we have selected the 31 best songs about hope and perseverance. With these songs in your playlist, you will be unstoppable.
1) “Not Afraid” – Eminem
If this track does not get you pumped to face challenges head-on, you are probably beyond salvation. “Not Afraid” represents Eminem slaying the dragons of grudges, violence, and substance abuse. It is the first track released in the Recovery album. It’s the opposite of Eminem’s typical songs about revenge that are scattered throughout his discography.
Eminem is recognized as one of the greatest hip-hop artists to have ever graced the stage, which is not surprising considering his ability to make powerful songs from his negative experiences. The “Not Afraid” track is a power-packed song that will inspire your next step.
2. “Three Little Birds” – Bob Marley
You have heard this song before, but you thought the title was different, just like many others. “Don’t Worry” is the most common wrong title for “Three Little Birds.” Nonetheless, it is Bob’s most famous track. A plethora of artists have covered the song since it was first released.
Marley’s “Three Little Birds” is the musical equivalent of someone serving you hot chocolate on a cold winter night. Do not worry; things will fall in place. We consider this one of the best reggae songs ever!
3. “The World is Yours” – Nas
The beat to this song is a bit chilled and mellow, but do not be deceived. “The World is yours” is all about conquering the world and is considered one of the greatest hip-hop tracks ever released. The song dropped in 1994, and both its video and title pay respect to the movie “Scarface.”
4. “Stronger” – Kelly Clarkson
Kelly Clarkson’s “Stronger” is a powerful survivor’s anthem centered on gaining strength and healing from a broken relationship. Kelly refuses to wallow in self-pity. Instead, she embarks on a high-spirited approach by proclaiming that “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” We believe this to a be a great song about strength, so check out this one to stand for yourself!
5. “Born to Run” – Bruce Springsteen
“Born to Run” is the album which elevated Springsteen to stardom, and its title track is considered inspirational by many. The title track was a love letter dedicated to Wendy, and it is all about eloping. Initially, it is not inspirational until you understand that the song is also about starting again. In addition, it has an excellent saxophone solo.
6. “Lean on Me” – Bill Withers
Finding peace and comfort within the music of an artist who has kicked the bucket is a meaningful experience. It means the work of the crooner has outlived their physical consciousness, and it is the highest level a person can attain within the music industry. The passing of Bill Withers makes the “Lean on Me” song resonates more deeply with the masses, and without a doubt, the music will attain a near-infinite span.
Next: Best songs about peace
7. “Move on Up” – Curtis Mayfield
In “Move on Up,” Curtis Mayfield cautions us that “There may be the wet road ahead” and “Complication.” Still, Mayfield’s unbelievably joyous chorus, squeals, and triumphant horns meeting rhythmic drums makes it possible to forget about life struggles. It is one of the greatest songs to help a person get lost in their invincibility in the dance hall.
8. “You Gotta Be” – Des’ree
Des’ree wants her fanatics to be several things: including bold, challenging, and calm. In “You Gotta Be,” Des’ree sets the bar pretty high, but it’s essential to know that solving our challenges mostly boils down to the same fundamental things, although easier said than executed. It is easy to get swallowed mentally and emotionally by the prevailing circumstances. Still, Des’ree personifies all the attributes she wants you to go all out for in her songs and performances.
9. “Girl on Fire” – Alicia Keys
I do not think there is a better song to prepare ladies for huge and scary life events than Alicia’s “Girl on Fire.” This song is inspired by Alicia’s marriage to Swiss Beatz and the birth of their child. The “Girl on Fire” track was released in 2012 in its original form with two remixes.
Alicia’s strong vocals blended with bold lyrics make the track inspirational; hence, motivating ladies across the globe to take giant steps towards their dreams.
10. “Jump” – Madonna
Emancipation is the subject matter of this song by the Queen of Pop. “Jump” is a track in Madonna’s tenth studio album “Confessions on a Dance Floor” (2005), and it is all about self-sufficiency and self-empowerment when getting into new relationships. Its latent tributes to the Pet Shop Boys and motivating lyrics make it passion and courage set free.
Whether you are looking for songs to heal from a breakup or you want to focus on feeling emancipated and jubilant, this track might be the anthem you seek.
11. “Time” – Edwin Starr
Crooner Edwin Starr, Nashville-born and Cleveland-raised, showcases some of humanity’s harshest stumbling blocks in his “War and Peace” album, released in 1970. Edwin has a track called “Time” within the album, exploring time passage during a crisis. In a time of a worldwide crisis, we are particularly aware of the slow course of time. Everything around us coming into a grinding halt amplifies the slowness of time. In “Time,” Edwin is frequently asked to wait because better days are on the horizon. Like the track implies, time will help heal the current wounds, but it also demands a calculated effort to revamp things.
12. “I Will Survive” – Gloria Gaynor
“I Will Survive” is another song which proves life goes on after a breakup. It is the greatest anthems of resilience and the most effortless lip-synch-worthy music listed in this blog. “Do you think I’d crumble?” Gloria declares with ostentatious flair. Gloria’s pain hails from a lover who never treated her right – imagine being the guy who hatched one of the highest displays of “I am flourishing in your absence” of all time. In a 2013 anthology of motivating tales known as “We Will Survive,” the track is used as a background tune. Though Destiny’s Child has yelled the loudest surviving heartbreaks, Gloria Gaynor was the initial survivor.
13. “Glory” – Common and John Legend
“Glory” is taken from the moving background movie “Selma,” a 2014 hit duet by crooner John Legend and rapper Common. The rapper is the protagonist in the film that paints the 1995 Selma to Montgomery marches. He plays the role of James Bevel, a Civil Rights Movement leader.
14. “Paper Planes” – M.I.A
M.I.A. is the only artist who will have you pumped while not playing by the rules. “Paper Planes,” which is M.I.A.’s crossover hit from her second studio album “Kala,” was different from everything else in the charts at the time. The song is about being a “bona fide opportunist,” and it has many sociological references, which display the musician at her most blatant renegade, not caring about the repercussions.
15. “It’s My Life” – Bon Jovi
“It Is My Life” is potentially the greatest anthem to sing to when you are about to make a vast, giant decision, which will probably change your life for the better. The tune was released in 2000 and rapidly became a massive hit for the band. It is an anthem for the masses across the globe.
The band’s lead singer, Bon Jovi, believed that he was penning a self-indulgent song about his life. He never realized that the phrase “It’s My Life” would become a catch among teens, adults, and even older citizens. Hence, it is the perfect song to listen to when you are about to make some significant moves, which will potentially change your life for good. It is your life, after all!
Next: Songs about freedom
16. “When You Believe” – Whitney Houston and Mariah Carey
“When you believe” is a song from two of the world’s greatest female musicians and was penned and performed for the 1998 musical animated feature, The Prince of Egypt. It is a massive ballad with motivational and meaningful lines, which expounds on individuals’ ability to realize miracles when they seek a higher power and believe.
Whitney and Mariah’s stunning vocals will leave you with the drive and determination you require to achieve your dreams. The song reminds you that even when hope is frail, miracles still happen if you believe.
17. “Now Or Never” – The Roots
If you are at a crossroads and seeking motivation to take a huge step, this is a track you can relate to. Depending on your vantage point, you can also regard this tune as an “Anthem of Change.” “Now or never” is a song in the Roots’ album “How I Got Over.” The song is all about starting afresh and surging forward.
18. “The Fire” – The Roots ft. John Legend
“The Fire” is another entry by The Roots and U.S.A.’s smoothest crooner John Legend, which you can listen to a hundred times in a row, and still get a new nugget of wisdom in the lines every single time. The song is all about focusing on the prize and facing daily challenges head-on. Whether you intend to run a marathon, ace a job interview, or fight till the last round in the ring, “The Fire” will have you pumped and psyched to achieve all your goals.
19. “Superstar” – Lupe Fiasco ft. Matthew Santos
Probably you’ve heard the 2007 hit, “Superstar.” The song has a haunting melancholic melody to which Lupe Fiasco paint’s his life using words – he speaks about his insecurities and his life in the limelight. On the other hand, Mathew Santos’s gospel-modified refrain presents the hope and courage we all require to recall that it is a bad day, not a bad life.
20. “Try Again” – Aaliyah
Leave alone the verses, the hook to this track applies to those terrible situations where you face disappointments after investing your resources, time, and energy into something that fails to take off. Timbaland produced this track, which got released in February 2000, and it was the lead single from the backdrop to “Romeo Must Die.”
Unfortunately, Aaliyah died the following year in an aircraft crash in 2001, and she never realized her full potential as a musician or an actress. The inspiring hook and memorable beat, which you can dance to, make “Try Again” a track tied to her legacy.
21. “Don’t Give Up” – Peter Gabriel and Kate Bush
Dorothea Lange’s photographs of the U.S. Depression-era inspired the “Don’t Give Up” track. The song is a chilled classic that features Peter Gabriel’s portrayal of total despair on one side, and on the other, Kate Bush’s comfort-laced words. Her words offer hope and encouragement to the people who are about to give up.
Peter Gabriel, an English musician, saw the pictures of impoverished Americans in a 1973 book titled This Proud Land. He believed that a track founded on them was right to the harsh economic circumstances faced by numerous people across the globe. Peter initially spoke to Dolly Parton, an American icon, regarding the project, but she declined. Hence the reason why Peter launched the song with Kate Bush in 1986.
22. “Lose Yourself – Eminem
This article would never be complete without another entry from Slim Shady. Eminem penned this track as the backdrop to the 2002 movie 8 mile. The track sums up Slim Shady’s character, B-rabbit, flawlessly. “Lose yourself” brings on board multiple aggressive themes in a manner that is accessible. We consider this a great song about winning and chasing success. The track discloses how the character triumphs over challenges and tussles to achieve success and respect other people in the long run. “Lose yourself” is a perfect track for when life is unbearable and feels like a boxing match.
23. “(Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher and Higher” – Jackie Wilson
Potentially the best all-time feel-good track, this song is 180 seconds of pure bliss and will take you straight to summer. Numerous covers are knocking around, but the original tune is still the best.
24. “The Climb” – Miley Cyrus
Back before Miley drifted off the path of sanity – before she started doing that awkward thing with her tongue and shaking her behind on live television – she had a great tune about overcoming life stumbling blocks.
“The Climb” was released in 2009 and intricately explained an impossible challenge in which it is not how quickly you realize your objective, but it is about what is waiting for you when the journey comes to an end.
25. “Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger” – Daft Punk
This repetitive electro-banger is seriously motivational. Even the song’s title gives that away. Gym goers have hijacked the banger, but that should not prevent you from adding it to your playlist of motivational songs. For additional inspiration, Kanye decided to sample the track in his hit “Stronger.”
26. “Express Yourself” – Madonna
One of Madonna’s greatest hits in the pop genre is a feminist classic. Emancipations has always been the subject matter in her work, and it is visible in this funk-fueled song penned to pay respect to the Sly and The Family Stone. Madonna tells her female fanatics that all they need is a big strong hand to take them to higher grounds. She continuously urges them to seek partners who will treat them like queens.
27. “Warrior” – Demi Lavato
In 2013, Demi released a ballad about enduring an abusive relationship. Demi talks about standing against dark forces, which brought her fear and shame. Nonetheless, she wears her wounds with pride like a battle scar, rather than being broken and bruised.
28. “Win” – Brian McKnight
Brian urges you to dig down deep and depend on the concealed reserves of resilience when the odds are against you. Brian McKnight’s “Win” showcases his spirit of never quitting nor giving up on himself.
29. “Jesus Take the Wheel” – Carrie Underwood
“Jesus Take the Wheel” is a 2005 Grammy-nominated track in which the narrator is a young mom cruising home one night on a snow-covered road. She has carefully strapped her baby in the back seat.
The young mom had faced a challenging year, and she was distracted while driving when the vehicle starts to get out of control. Seeing her life and that of her infant flash before her eyes, she hands the wheel to her lord.
30. “Firework” – Katy Perry
If you are feeling lost and undervalued, “Firework” is one of the top songs about hope that will motivate you to transform your thinking. Katy urges her fanatics to ignite the light and let it burn. The light refers to the brilliant colors within that showcase your originality.
31. “A Little Bit Stronger” – Sara Evans
In this 2011 country ballad, the central character states that the only way to handle a tough setback is to keep pushing. Suffering a significant heartbreak, she settles on taking it a day at a time. She fakes a smirk and goes back to her usual schedule, realizing that she gets a little stronger even on her bad days.
So when you feel hopeless and down on your knees, the above are the songs about hope you need to listen to.
As the Head Editor and Writer at Music Grotto, Liam helps write and edit content produced from professional music/media journalists and other contributing writers. He works closely with journalists and other staff to format and publish music content for the Music Grotto website. Liam is also the founding member of Music Grotto and is passionate in disseminating editorial content to its readers.
Liam’s lifelong love for music makes his role at Music Grotto such a rewarding one. He loves researching, writing and editing music content for Music Grotto.