Waiting can be one of the most trying challenges a person will face in life. Whether we are waiting for our big break or for true love to show itself, the ache is difficult to ignore. As time crawls by, we begin to doubt the process will end.
Music can help us through the waiting process by putting into words what our hearts cannot express, and there are many songs about waiting. Here are some of the best songs about waiting--be it for someone or something.
1. “A Thousand Years” by Christina Perri
Made popular by the Twilight series, A Thousand Years has become one of the most popular songs for weddings. Using poignant words and beautiful instrumentals to illustrate the passing of time, Christina Perri tells her beloved that she would wait a thousand years if it meant that they would meet again.
A Thousand Years is a song to give us comfort while life prepares us for the appearance of our one true love. Its lyrics express hope and a promise of devotion.
2. “I Will Follow You Into The Dark” by Death Cab For Cutie
When speaking of love, many forget that there is a dark side to this emotion. Death Cab for Cutie’s song is a pledge to accompany one’s beloved to the end of time, even to an uncertain fate.
Some might think that this pledge sounds over-the-top. Consider this: When the wait ends and true love arrives, there’ll be no fear when following our significant other into the dark.
3. “Crying” By Roy Orbison
Something about vintage music allows it to capture our deepest emotions. The simplest of lyrics can get through our deepest layers and reach our broken souls.
Roy Orbison’s classic, Crying, captures the pain we experience when someone we have loved is gone. It reminds us of how our aching souls continue to wait, hoping for one last loving touch of the hand.
4. “Fix You” By Coldplay
Closely married to the concept of waiting is that of loss. Coldplay’s masterpiece, Fix You, can be a song about love--but it’s more complex than that. If you listen to the lyrics, it speaks of waiting for closure after a death or the return of a friend from a dark place.
We can all relate to these powerful emotions. That’s why this song is so deep: It joins the power of waiting for something with the realization that we might need to let go.
5. “Waiting On The World To Change” By John Mayer
The world has always been a difficult place. There has never been a shortage of tragedies or injustices. When we see all of the apathy to our fellow human beings, we find ourselves wishing that things could be different.
John Mayer expresses this wish in his upbeat song Waiting On The World To Change, a theme that will never become outdated as long as there is turmoil in this world.
6. “Trainsong” by Andrea von Kampen
How many love songs speak of waiting for a dear one to return on a train? The very sight of one in a movie sparks nostalgia in our hearts, a longing for those times when lovers waited by the train tracks to receive that special someone.
Trainsong by Andrea von Kampen is an optimistic reminder that one day ‘finally you’ll be home.’ With its light acoustic background, you can almost hear the warm sun joining in anticipation.
7. “You Can’t Hurry Love” By Phil Collins
When we’re young, we all crave the bliss of falling in love--but it’s best to listen to the advice of those who are more experienced when they tell us love cannot be hurried.
Phil Collins’ song You Can’t Hurry Love reminds us that the best things are worth waiting for. If you try to hurry love you risk falling for the wrong person, becoming hurt in the rush of it. This song might not be much of a comfort if you want a hand to hold now, but you will never regret taking sound advice to heart.
8. “If This Was A Movie” By Taylor Swift
Have you ever broken up with someone because the relationship wasn’t working, but wished in the mires of your pain for your ex to return? It’s an agonizing position when you know that the separation was for the best, yet wish it had never happened.
This song by Taylor Swift is a plea for her ex to return so that they can work out their differences. Its lyrics sound like a pained heartbeat as it races, anxious in the absence of that special person who never does return. That’s the harsh reality of most breakups: They can’t be worked out.
9. “Waiting For A Girl Like You” By Foreigner
If you’ve been single for a long time, the wait for love can become frustrating and bring about a feeling of hopelessness. When that love comes at last, we experience a rush of hope and joy. This is expressed in the hit classic Waiting For A Girl Like You.
Released in 1981, Waiting For A Girl Like You is about finding that special person but remaining cautious in the process of falling. After all, it’s important to be certain that a love can survive. This song is an anthem of joy which does not lose the human touch: what if something goes wrong? Is it really you?
10. “To Be With You” By Mr. Big
A time-tested sign of love is recognizing when your beloved is in an unhappy relationship. If you know they are your soulmate you won’t mind waiting for them, staying by their side and providing support when they need you. When the relationship comes to an end, it’s your chance to prove that you care more and are prepared to give your devotion.
Catchy and straightforward with its simple lyrics, To Be With You by Mr. Big was a hit in the 80s. You can’t help but sing along to this gallant promise of a life of happiness. The melody gives us a sense that this story is going to have a happy ending.
11. “Right Here Waiting” By Richard Marx
One of the most famous romantic songs, Richard Marx’s tender vow that time and space will not break a love has touched the hearts of many generations.
Some relationships are made complicated by long absences for reasons such as work. If the love is true, distance cannot fracture this mutual devotion. A popular song to dedicate while in long-distance relationships or weddings, it is a promise to wait--no matter what.
12. “You Belong With Me” By Taylor Swift
Sometimes you know that your best friend is dating the wrong person—and they will only be happy once they mend this mistake. This is sometimes just a crush that will pass when you meet someone else, but not always. Other times, love serves as fuel for someone to wait for years if necessary.
Taylor Swift’s song about being in love with your best friend has become a classic. Released on her platinum-winning album Fearless, it is a song that many of us can relate to.
13. “Waiting On a Friend” By The Rolling Stones
Romantic relationships aren’t the only ones worth waiting for. How many of us long for a confidante who can listen to our troubles and help us through them? This can prove to be more helpful than a romance.
In this famous rock song, The Rolling Stones remind us of the value of good friendship. Romantic relationships come and go, but your best pals will stick with you no matter what life throws at you. They are honest, their advice given to help you rather than seduce you. A real friend and the security they provide are worth the wait.
14. “Waitin’ On a Woman” By Brad Paisley
No matter what you have achieved in life, the wisdom of someone older is a great treasure. In Brad Paisley’s song Waitin’ On a Woman, a young man listens to someone elderly tell him the story of all the times his true love made him wait.
In a culture where everything is instant, we don’t feel comfortable having to wait anymore. This song teaches that it’s always worth waiting for love. In the lyrics, the older man gives encouragement to his listener. Rough times do not mean giving up on that special person.
15. “The Waiting” By Tom Petty
Tom Petty’s classic song The Waiting is a celebration of the joy felt when you find your soulmate. He sings about having known other women during the wait—some who have left him unsatisfied, others who have only given him pain and heartbreak.
Love is worth waiting for. Though each failed relationship in the meanwhile hurts like a knife to the heart, you’ll realize that each person came and left in order to teach you a lesson.
You’ll know when you’ve found the right one because they’ll fill you with joy that nothing can replicate.
16. “Heartbreak Station” By Cinderella
Heartbreak Station, a ballad by bluesy-rock band Cinderella, talks about a different sort of waiting. It is about the emptiness that ensues after lost love, those horrible weeks when the numbness has passed and loneliness begins to sink in.
As the heart begins its gradual healing after a failed relationship, we might find ourselves sitting in our pain, waiting for a memory to comfort us. The question is whether these memories help us or only cause the pain to drag on.
17. “Nothing Arrived” By Villagers
Waiting can be a period of confusion, no matter what it is that you are hoping will arrive. Sometimes we find ourselves waiting for the wrong thing; as a result, the thing we want so badly seems to pass us by.
Nothing Arrived by Villagers is a song about being mindful in the waiting period. It’s not enough to sit in silence: We need to know what to look out for, or we might miss the object as it passes by. On the other hand, if we give up and don’t wait, we might miss out on many chances life offers us.
18. “I’ll Be Waiting” By Adele
Adele stuns us with her trademark rich voice in this upbeat song about failed love. She acknowledges that that her own flaws played a part in the ending of the relationship, as well as the elements working against them.
In this optimistic song, she assures her former lover that she will wait for him to return--and that she will welcome him back.
19. “Please Mr. Postman” By Carpenters
It’s frustrating when you’ve been waiting weeks for a letter from someone that you love. In this vintage hit from the legendary duo Carpenters, the feeling is expressed in Karen Carpenter’s melodic voice. Hopeful and head-over-heels in love, she asks the postman to check in his bag to make sure her letter hasn’t arrived yet.
These days we send text messages instead of love letters. We can still relate to this song when we are waiting anxiously for a text back from our crush!
20. “To Whom It May Concern” By The Civil Wars
If you haven’t found your soulmate yet, you are familiar with that longing to know what they might look like. You wonder where they are and how they’re doing; you wonder how long you’ll have to wait before at last you’ll meet.
The Civil Wars wrote the perfect song for those of us who have yet to find the one we’re to spend our lives with. This acoustic gem is an open letter expressing a desire to know the sound of our soulmate’s laugh and the taste of their kiss.
21. “Wait” By Maroon 5
Relationships can be difficult. To make them work, a lot of foresight is required to ensure that they don’t go horribly wrong.
In Wait by Maroon 5, Adam Levine has done something to put his relationship in great peril. He is begging his girlfriend to stay and allow him a second chance to make amends. This is not always possible; when a love is spoiled, often our one choice is to walk away and start again with someone new.
22. “Need You Now” By Lady A
When you’re madly in love and missing your soulmate, waiting for them can be torture. If this absence was the aftermath of a disagreement, the pain is even greater. The lyrics of Lady A’s famous duet vibrates with pain after a recent fight or break-up.
Caving to the pain she’s feeling, the singer reaches out to her significant other and asks him to return. Her lover’s response is to admit that he is also in pain and trying to numb it with whiskey. It appears that neither of them wants to wait any longer, and the song hints to listeners that love might win again.
23. “The Man Who Can’t Be Moved” By The Script
How far will you go to win back a lost love? In this hit song by The Script we find out how resilient love can be—even after a breakup. Who would camp out on the corner of a street waiting for his ex to return? Would it not be more comfortable to wait at home for a phone call?
Love can sometimes appear to others as madness. In this song a man is waiting for his soulmate to return and refuses to move. His loyalty knows no bounds and he does not care if people are staring at him and his campsite on the street.
24. “Cleopatra” By The Lumineers
Waiting and being late are two things that humans risk throughout life. In Cleopatra, indie rock band The Lumineers sing the life story of a woman who regretfully admits she was late for everything in her life, and that when she dies she’ll be on time.
It is a sobering reminder that no opportunity should be passed up in the pursuit of happiness. It might seem like a simple choice when you first refuse it, but if fear or confusion cause you to continually say no, it can become a habit. One day you might find yourself regretting the chances you missed because you kept on waiting.
25. “Time Waits For No One” By Freddie Mercury
One of the songs that musical legend Freddie Mercury recorded solo, Time Waits For No One urges its listeners to make plans rather than wait. If we want to build a better world, we need to take action before it’s too late. As we see crisis after crisis take place before our eyes, the message becomes prophetic.
We like to tell ourselves that there is always tomorrow; this is an illusion that can cause our lives to waste away.
Waiting comes in many forms, accompanied by several complex emotions. Sometimes it is a wait for love, sometimes it’s for friendship or a memory to keep us company in the loneliest night. There are songs about waiting in all of its forms; don’t wait too long to hear them!
As the Head Editor at Music Grotto, Liam edits content produced from over 30 professional music/media journalists and 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.