The future is scary for a lot of people. Whether it’s just the unknown and unstoppable nature of it, or visions of an apocalyptic end of everything that plagues you, it’s something you’ll need to put out of your mind.
In this article, we’ll discuss 35 of the best songs about the future, going through the spectrum of hope and doom as we go over all the possible outcomes.
1. I Hope You Dance – Lee Ann Womack
Many people wrote songs about apocalyptic futures and the dire times we seem to be headed for. Others wrote songs about how much they wanted something bad to happen to someone else or to tell them karma is coming for them. That’s the exact opposite sentiment of this song.
Despite a relationship ending in it, Lee Ann Womack’s I Hope You Dance is one of the most optimistic songs about the future. It wishes the departing partner well, hoping for the best things in life for them in a beautiful sentiment you cannot help but feel good about.
2. Year 3000 – Busted
Ah, if only artists were as successful as their imagined worlds made them out to be. Year 3000 is a fun and quirky song about going to the future in a time machine. Once they go there, they discover all sorts of crazy things, such as most people living underwater and that their album beat out Michael Jackson’s for a number-one spot on the charts. While neither of those has happened yet, it’s really a fun song about the future that doesn’t have the heavy emotions to it of being either vastly negative or undeservedly positive.
3. Tomorrow – John Legend feat. nas & Florian picasso
John Legend has an amazing singing voice, but teaming up with Nas and Florian Picasso turned this song into a masterpiece of positivity. The future can be scary, and the stress of worrying about it can leave a lot of people paralyzed. Tomorrow is all about staying strong and being happy, not letting anything drag you down despite someone trying to make you feel ashamed for your choices.
4. Next Year – Foo Fighters
Foo Fighters’ Next Year is the perfect song for your New Year’s party. It’s more of a resolution to have a better year next year than you just did than a song describing any different type of future we’re headed for. The music video for it is also pretty cool, seeing the band members lift off in a rocket and head for the moon.
Recommended: Top Foo Fighters songs of all time
5. Space Oddity – David Bowie
David Bowie was inspired by the Stanley Kubrick Film 2001: A Space Odyssey to write this song. It sees an astronaut head into space but finds themselves stranded in a far-off future. Interestingly enough, this song came out only a few days before the astronauts of the Apollo 11 mission landed on the moon in real life. Thankfully, they didn’t get stuck.
Recommended: Songs about the space, stars and the universe
6. 2112: overture – Rush
Rush is a huge name in the progressive rock genre, thanks in large part to their experimental sound and explorations into science fiction and philosophy. 2112: Overture is a 20-minute suite of music that took up an entire side of the album it served as the title track for. Full of futuristic musings, sounds, and conjecture, it was one of their best works.
7. Dear Future Husband – Meghan Trainor
Sometimes a look at the future isn’t about the world as a whole or the innovations to come, but the future person you want in your life. Meghan Trainor wrote Dear Future Husband as an open letter to the man she would eventually settle down with, listing all the things he needs to be willing to accept or do to be the right one for her.
8. My Future – Billie Eilish
Billie Eilish had one of the earliest and fastest rises to musical prominence in history. She became the youngest person to ever win all top four categories at the Grammy Awards, for crying out loud. My Future sees Eilish looking forward to the future and all the success she envisions for herself but includes a reminder to put herself and her mental health before anyone else’s demands.
9. Next 100 Years – Bon Jovi
My Next 100 Years is a bit underrated as far as Bon Jovi’s songs go. Instead of looking to what could happen in the future, this song is a promise. He will always be there for his love throughout the next century. It isn’t as rock-heavy as songs like Livin’ On A Prayer, but it’s still an awesome song.
10. Mr. Roboto – Styx
Well, here’s one of the most well-known intros of all time. Mr. Roboto by Styx imagines a future where the machines rule most things, including the jail the narrator is currently in. It’s a dystopian illustration of the future, with the people in power walking all over the working class. It is absolutely not a positive outlook for the vast majority of us. Regardless, it was one of the songs that helped Styx cement itself as one of the best bands of the 80s.
11. One Hundred Years From Now – The Byrds
The Byrds were very popular during the social upheaval in the US during the 60s and 70s, thanks largely to the Vietnam War and the civil issues in the country. This song asks a very important question: Are you going to feel different about your views a hundred years from now? In the end, it’s all about how important change is, especially over time, and how your traditional views may not be as important as you think in the long run.
12. Future Lovers – Madonna
Future Lovers is a typical pop song that repeats itself in a loop, making it feel a bit too repetitive but fitting the genre. Madonna was onto something with it, though, as the music is the song’s main feature. It’s all about letting go of things holding you back and focusing on spirituality and love because those will be the good parts of your future and are much more important than any material things.
13. Future Looks Good – OneRepublic
Sometimes the most important thing you can do is to let go of the past and look to the future. Yes, your past and the things that have happened to you are important, but they can sometimes hold you back. Future Looks Good by OneRepublic is one of those songs that looks to the future with hope despite having things in the past that didn’t quite go as planned.
14. Riding to Work In The Year 2025 – The Flaming Lips
Some things never really change, which is a scary thought when looked at through the wrong lens. This is especially true if you dread your daily work commute as much as those in The Flaming Lips. It’s an existential song about commuting in the future (which isn’t too far away now) in a ship instead of a car and pondering the nature of insanity and how a monotonous life can drive you crazy.
15. Tomorrow Never Knows – The Beatles
How do you make a psychedelic rock song sound even more trippy? Apparently, the answer is reversing guitar tracks from pop songs. Tomorrow Never Knows by The Beatles uses exactly that formula to deliver a meditation on Eastern mysticism and LCD-induced musings by John Lennon on what the future might look like.
16. Rocket Man – Elton John
Rocket Man might be one of Elton John’s best songs, but it was also an interesting thought experiment on the future. Being an astronaut is a normal everyday job. Sadly, the narrator wants to quit his job but sticks with it, going out on a mission and not making it back. Anyone who has to leave home for a long time can relate to this future meditation, and it was a huge hit for Elton John.
17. The Future’s So Bright, I Gotta Wear Shades – Timbuk 3
The Future’s So Bright I Gotta Wear Shades wasn’t exactly an accurate song for Timbuk 3. It came from their debut album and was the only hit of their career, so it wasn’t a true prophecy of things to come. That doesn’t matter, though, because the song was just as dark as its real-life outcome. While it feels like a funky and upbeat tune about positive future possibilities, it can also be looked at as a song about a nuclear holocaust and having to wear sunglasses to block out the blinding light of a nuclear blast.
18. Future – Paramore
Paramore is great at waxing over past events and remembering things, both fondly and with anger. Future goes in a different direction, with Hayley Williams writing a song about letting all that go. Instead of another ode to the past, she penned one for the future that left behind a lot of the drama in the band’s past.
19. Mean – Taylor Swift
Mean by Taylor Swift seemed like she was lashing out at her bullies when it was first released. In reality, it was a peek at her future, telling us the things she had planned and the criticism she expected to get when all was said and done.
20. Future Games – Fleetwood Mac
Wondering about the future isn’t always the right thing to do. You can panic over time wasted or cave under the pressure of your expectations. Future Games by Fleetwood Mac is a reminder to live in the present instead of playing future games and pondering what’s going to happen next.
21. FutureSex/LoveSound – Justin Timberlake
Of course, Justin Timberlake sings this song about the steamy night he spent with the woman he’s infatuated with, but it also comments on the future. After such a good time, he sees that this could be more than a one-time thing, looking for his future lover and hoping he found it in her.
22. Give Me The Future – Bastille
Give Me The Future is a song that positively looks at our development of technology rather than thinking it’s insane to keep going. It welcomes the implementation of things like virtual reality and sees the future as something “gold and bright” because everyone will be able to control their surroundings in a virtual world like that.
23. Hope For The Future – Paul McCartney
Hope For The Future was written by Paul McCartney for the video game Destiny, a futuristic shooter that sees characters trying to protect the Earth from attacking civilizations. It’s meant to be hopeful and bring down the intensity of the dire situation facing every living creature on the planet at the time.
24. Future Nostalgia – Dua Lipa
Some people can idealize the future so much that they develop nostalgia for things that haven’t even happened yet. With limitless possibilities ahead and the right attitude, you can have the same kind of feeling, exactly the one described in Future Nostalgia by Dua Lipa. It was directly inspired by and sampled several classic pop hits to deliver its disco sound.
25. When I Grow Up – the Pussycat Dolls
The Pussycat Dolls’ When I Grow Up is a take on their future from the perspective of their younger selves. With the knowledge they have now, it serves as a bit of a message to their younger selves as well, advising the young girls dreaming of fame from their famous future selves who achieved it.
26. Welcome to the Future – Brad Paisley
Brad Paisley spends Welcome To The Future talking about all the things his younger self envisioned and comparing them to the success he was able to achieve. It’s a beautiful country song about the simple pleasures of life and how he knows his younger self would be proud of the future he built.
27. My Next Thirty Years – Tim McGraw
My Next Thirty Years by Tim McGraw is one of the best songs about the future to ever find a place in country music. He ponders his last 30 years, all the trouble he got into, and the shenanigans he got up to as a youngin’. He then describes what he will do for the next segment of his life, placing special importance on family and bettering himself.
28. Future Proof – Massive Attack
If you wanted an ambiguous song about the future, look no further than Future Proof by Massive Attack. There are plenty of interpretations about this song, from future drug development to mental illness. In the end, it’s a very deep song to sink your teeth into that almost everyone can find something to relate to in.
29. In The Year 2525 – Zager and Evans
2525 is another song about the future that only sees bleak possibilities ahead. A nightmare world where people take pills instead of eating, rely on machines, and have their thoughts controlled at all times is not a future I want to be a part of. It goes through 10,000 years of time, with each verse describing a different year.
30. Years From Now – Don Williams
Sometimes a look into the future is meant to assure someone that you’re going to be around for the long haul. Don Williams’ Years From Now was a very popular country song that sees him telling his lover that he plans on still being there for them years down the road. It’s a sweet song and a nice look into the future that, hopefully, many of us can relate to when it comes to our significant others.
31. The Future – Leonard Cohen
Not every apocalyptic future is a governmental dystopia. Sometimes the apocalypse is a religious one, just like the future described in The Future by Leonard Cohen. It’s a song that warns of the dangers of religious extremism and how the political landscape would look if people like that took everything over. Just like the narrator, I’d want things to go back to the way they were before too.
32. Ghost of Corporate Future – Regina Spektor
It’s easy for people to fall into the corporate trap of constantly chasing the next dollar. Many waste their time slaving away and never actually taking the time to enjoy life. For most, they realize their mistake too late, but the narrator of this song didn’t. Ghost of Corporate Future by Regina Spektor sees the narrator get a reality check from a futuristic ghost that tells them to go enjoy life’s simple pleasures while they still have time.
33. When I’m sixty four – The Beatles
Some of the best Beatles songs came from the group’s members before the Beatles got big. When I’m Sixty Four was written by Paul McCartney when he was still just a teen, a song full of hopefulness about the life that lay ahead of him and projects that it’ll all work out by the time he is in his sixties. I guess his teenage self knew something nobody else did.
34. Next Year Baby – Jamie Cullum
Next Year Baby is a bit of a departure from most of the songs on this list. It’s an easy-listening track about Jamie Cullum’s life more than the future as a whole. It sees him talk about improving himself, telling that girl he loves her, and everything he plans to do. Instead of being prophetic, it comes off as more of a New Year’s resolution, which is just as cool for a song about the future.
35. Virtual Insanity – Jamiroquai
Technology is ever-advancing and changing society in unprecedented ways. In some ways, it’s causing us to lose our humanity and disconnect from each other. Virtual Insanity is about the unnatural nature of many of our advancements thanks to our close relationship and dependency on technological innovations.
As a contributing writer for Music Grotto, Dakotah writes and produces professional music/media content. He works closely with editorial staff to meet editorial standards and create
quality content for the Music Grotto website. Dakotah is passionate about music in a wide variety of genres, from hip-hop to country and lo-fi to metal, and he enjoys creating music pieces for Music Grotto.