Similes are often used in music to compare two things that aren’t the same, with them often using the word “as” or “like.” There are several tracks out there through the years that have used similes to convey a message or theme. Keep reading to find out what the 31 best songs with similes used in them are!
1. Like a Rolling Stone – Bob Dylan
First on our list is Bob Dylan with Like A Rolling Stone, which came out in 1965 on his album Highway 61 Revisited. This song has a simile right in the title, and it’s a track where he talks about living his life like a rolling stone, basically living the best life possible until he falls down the ladder because of his misfortune. The song went to number two on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and is thought to be one of the best tracks of all time. It’s also one of his signature songs and is loved by his fans to this day.
2. Red – Taylor Swift
In 2013, Taylor Swift released her album Red, on it is the song of the same name, which contains a simile when she talks about how loving this guy is like driving down a dead-end street in a Maserati. This country tune is all about just having fun with a guy even though you know he’s not right for you in the long term and that it won’t work.
3. California Love – 2Pac Feat. Dr. Dre
Tupac Shakur is on the list with California Love, which came out in 1995 on the album All Eyez On Me. The line in the song with the simile is when he talks about California being untouchable like Eliot Ness, a character in the movie The Untouchables. He’s a federal agent who was pursuing Al Capone at the time. This track is one of the most well-known 2Pac songs, and it went to number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and Hot Rap Songs chart.
4. Like a Stone – Audioslave
Next is Audioslave with their 2002 hit Like A Stone, which comes from their debut album of the same name. The song went to number one on the Billboard Alternative Airplay and Mainstream Rock charts and landed at 31 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. There are so many similes in this track, such as the title, and it’s all about waiting for death to come just like a stone sitting there. The song is full of emotion and contains a very deep meaning.
5. Roar – Katy Perry
Pop star Katy Perry is on the list with Roar, which came from Prism in 2013. She talks about floating like a butterfly and stinging like a bee, which is a reference to Muhammad Ali, the famous boxer who used this catchphrase. This is a song all about empowerment, and it’s no wonder it went to number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart as well as number one on multiple other charts throughout the world.
6. Stitches – Shawn Mendes
Shawn Mendes makes the list with Stitches from his 2015 album Handwritten. This song uses a simile to talk about how a person is being lured just like a moth being drawn towards a flame. It means that even though the moth might be burned by the flame, it still goes towards it because it’s interested; he compares his interest in his partner to this because he still likes the person even though they broke up and they aren’t good for him.
The track went to number one on the Billboard Adult Top 40 chart and four on the Billboard Hot 100.
7. Just Like Fire – P!nk
In 2016, P!nk released the song Just Like Fire, which is from the movie soundtrack to Alice Through The Looking Glass. In the track, she sings about how her strength is internal just like fire, and it’s all about not being controlled by anyone and having power. It went to number one on the Adult Contemporary chart and 10 on the Billboard Hot 100.
8. Candle In The Wind – Elton John
Next, we have Elton John with Candle In The Wind, which was written about Marilyn Monroe and featured on his album Goodbye Yellow Brick Road. He compares how she lived life to a candle in the wind, meaning just going from one thing to another and not having anywhere to go or anyone to cling to for comfort and safety.
The candle will flicker when it’s in the rain or the wind and that’s how she lived her life. When his friend, Princess Diana, died in a car accident in 1997, he wrote an alternate version of the song for her, which also followed the same simile format.
9. Like a Prayer – Madonna
In 1989, Madonna released her hit song Like A Prayer from the album of the same name, and the simile is found in the title as well as the lyric talking about how like a child, you whisper softly. This is all about comparing her lover and the impact it has on her spirit to prayer. The track hit number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and Adult Contemporary chart, and it’s one of her signature songs.
10. Sweet Child O’ Mine – Guns N’ Roses
Next is the rock group Guns N’ Roses with Sweet Child O’ Mine, and it comes from their 1987 album Appetite For Destruction, which was their debut album. The lyrics in the song compare a brand new relationship to innocence like when a child looks up and sees a bright blue sky for the first time. He is comparing the whole experience to childhood, and it’s very sweet. The track is one of their signature songs and went to number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.
11. Rock You Like a Hurricane – Scorpions
In 1984, Scorpions released Rock You Like A Hurricane from Love At First Sting, and this track would become their signature song. There are a lot of sexual references in this track comparing the passion he has for his woman to a hurricane and how he’d make love to her. You can feel the energy in this song, and it went to number five on the Billboard Top Rock Tracks chart and 25 on the Billboard Hot 100. Today, this song remains one of the most beloved rock tracks and is often used to talk about passionate hot sex.
12. Levitating – Dua Lipa Feat. DaBaby
Next is Dua Lipa with Levitating, which comes from the 2020 album Future Nostalgia. It’s using similes to talk about how she would make her significant other feel her love by blasting it to them like a rocket. The song itself is all about falling in love after meeting someone and that exciting feeling you have at the beginning of a new relationship. This track went to number one on the Billboard Adult Top 40 chart and two on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.
13. Not Afraid – Eminem
In 2010, Eminem released Not Afraid on his album Recovery, and this song is all about not being afraid and improving yourself. He talks about how you should make changes in your life, such as getting sober from drugs and alcohol, and encourages people to do what he did and get clean. It’s considered one of his best tracks and an anthem for those struggling with addiction, and it went to number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.
14. Diamonds – Rihanna
Next is Rihanna with Diamonds from her 2012 album Unapologetic. This song is all about how we’re all like diamonds in the sky and compares diamonds to people. It’s all about how resilient people are like a diamond and how they should be high in value just like diamonds. This track is kind of about leaving a bad relationship and realizing your worth, and it’s one of her most well-known songs. When it was released, it went to number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.
15. When We Were Young – Adele
Adele makes the list with When We Were Young, which comes from her 2015 album 25 and is all about when you see people from your past and that nostalgia that you feel from it. You remember all of the good times and want to see what’s been going on with them because you’d like to relive that past connection a little bit.
She uses a simile when talking about how the person sounds like a song and looks like a movie, meaning she’s seen and heard that person before and remembers the feelings it gave her. This track went to number one on the Billboard Dance Club Songs chart and 14 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.
16. Even Flow – Pearl Jam
In 1991, grunge band Pearl Jam released the song Even Flow on their acclaimed album Ten, and this track uses a lot of similes. One of the lyrics talks about how someone is sleeping like a dead man, meaning they seem to be desperate and feeling hopeless. Thought of as one of their best songs, it went to number three on the Billboard Mainstream Rock chart.
17. Bridge Over Troubled Water – Simon & Garfunkel
Next, we have the iconic song Bridge Over Troubled Water by Simon & Garfunkel, which was released in 1970 on the album of the same name. This track is legendary, reaching number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, and is thought of as their signature song. They use a lot of similes in this track, such as when you’re crossing dangerous waters, having a bridge will help ease your mind.
It’s a song talking about how they will be there for the person regardless of what’s going on, and when times are tough, they will lean on one another to get through it.
18. Skyscraper – Demi Lovato
Next is Demi Lovato with Skyscraper from her 2011 album Unbroken. She uses a simile in the song to describe how she will rise up like a skyscraper if someone is trying to tear her down, which is all about being resilient and standing tall when people try to knock her down. She has long battled substance abuse, and this track is about that and putting herself back together again. This song went to number 10 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and is an incredibly powerful track about inner strength.
19. Smile Like You Mean It – The Killers
The Killers are next with Smile Like You Mean It from their 2004 album Hot Fuss. This song uses similes to describe being lonely and sad but how you should keep it together. One simile is when they say you’ve only got one face so save it, which means put a smile on and pretend it’s alright because that’s the only face people will see. The track made it to 15 on the Billboard Alternative Airplay chart.
20. Live Like You Were Dying – Tim McGraw
Country star Tim McGraw had a hit with Live Like You Were Dying from his 2004 album of the same name. The simile is right there in the title, and he talks about how he hopes everyone has a chance to experience life like they were dying. When you have been diagnosed with something terminal, you live your life very differently and tend to make the most out of what time you have left.
In this song, he’s saying he hopes everyone gets a chance to have that feeling, without being terminally ill, of course, where they realize how precious life is and live it to the fullest. This sweet track went to number one on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart and made it to 29 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.
21. Love On The Weekend – John Mayer
Pop star John Mayer makes our list with the 2017 hit Love On The Weekend from his album The Search For Everything. He talks about how he’s flying like he’s wanted and he wants this girl so bad. If you’re wanted by the police then you move around quickly and he’s saying that he’s flying and is hoping to get to his girl as quickly as he can because he knows they don’t have a lot of time.
He also could be saying he’s falling in love with this girl quickly too, and it’s one of those songs that uses similes to talk about love and wanting to be with someone. This track made it to three on the Billboard Adult Alternative chart and 53 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.
22. Just Like Heaven – The Cure
The Cure is next on our list with their 1987 hit Just Like Heaven from their album Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me. This song is very romantic, and it’s a sweet track talking about being with your significant other and how everything is so perfect that you feel like you’re in heaven. There is a feeling of true love in this song, and the simile is right in the title, so it’s hard to miss.
This track was a pretty big hit and went to 40 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. We love this song and think that when you hear this track, you’ll want to play it for that special someone in your life. It remains one of their most beloved songs and one of the most romantic tracks they ever released.
23. Colder Weather – Zac Brown Band
In 2010, Zac Brown Band released the song Colder Weather, which uses a simile to talk about how the night is black just like the coffee the man at a diner at a truck stop was drinking. When he says the night was as black as coffee, he is saying there are no stars in the sky, and it’s pitch black and it’s a great way to illustrate the darkness the guy sees as he sits at the diner. This track was a huge hit and went to number one on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart.
24. Shape Of You – Ed Sheeran
Ed Sheeran is next with Shape Of You from 2017, which uses a simile to talk about how two people pull and push just like magnets. That was his way of talking about how both people are attracted to one another and will find a way to connect. It also could mean that in a relationship, there is a little compromise and give and take that both people have to do to make the relationship work. This song made it to number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and was a worldwide hit.
25. Halo – Beyoncé
In 2008, Beyoncé released Halo as part of her album I Am…Sasha Fierce and this track is all about a love interest who came to her and hit her like a ray of sun while she was having a dark night. When she felt a lot of doom and gloom, here was this guy who came into her life and lit it up just like the sun, which we can assume she was talking about Jay-Z. It was a huge hit and went to number one on the Billboard Hot Dance Club Songs chart and five on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.
26. Like a Rock – Bob Seger And The Silver Bullet Band
Next is Bob Seger with the 1986 hit Like A Rock from the album of the same name. He talks about his personality and compares it to a rock, meaning he’s strong and very patient, and won’t say anything until the time is right. The song went to number one on the Billboard Mainstream Rock Tracks chart and 12 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. This song has been used in multiple commercials for trucks over the years, and it’s so catchy you’ll be singing it all day once you hear it.
27. Circus – Britney Spears
In 2008, Britney Spears released the song Circus from the album of the same name, and this track went to number one on the Mainstream Top 40 chart and three on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. There are many similes within this song including when she says she’s just like a ringleader and calling the shots. She was talking about how she has a lot of power and such a presence that she’s like a circus ringleader and wants people to see she’s in control.
28. A Hard Day’s Night – The Beatles
The Beatles make the list with A Hard Day’s Night from 1964, which uses a ton of similes, as did a lot of their songs. In this track, they talk about working like a dog, which likely was John Lennon talking about how brutal their touring schedule was, and the job is very unforgiving in nature with so much going on during Beatlemania. The song went to number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and is one of their most well-known hits.
29. Butter – BTS
South Korean boy band BTS makes the list with Butter, which comes from their 2021 album Butter (Hotter, Sweeter, Colder). This song uses a variety of similes, and one lyric is going to pop like trouble breaking into your heart, which means having no issues making their way into someone’s heart. They are charming in this track and also reference pop stars such as Usher and Michael Jackson. This song made it to number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and was a worldwide hit.
30. Like Suicide – Soundgarden
Grunge band Soundgarden had a hit with Like Suicide from their 1994 album Superunknown. There is the use of similes in this song talking about how she lived just like a murder but died just like suicide. While some people thought this track was about Kurt Cobain, it was written about a bird that the lead singer Chris Cornell saw fly and crash into his window. The bird broke its neck, and it’s a simile he used to talk about how we all die alone even though we are social people.
31. Free Bird – Lynyrd Skynyrd
Lastly, we have to talk about Free Bird by Lynyrd Skynyrd from their 1973 self-titled album. This song uses similes to talk about how if he stays, things wouldn’t be the same and how he’s free as a bird and cannot change. Essentially, he can’t deal with boundaries or being tied down. This is their signature track and is thought of as one of the best songs in rock music and made it to 19 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.
From the time she was little, Florence loved listening to music and quickly learned how music can make you happy and feel fulfilled. One of her favorite memories is being in the garage with her dad working on classic cars with the local rock station blaring in the background. Ever since Florence was 3, she loved grunge music and spent hours listening to bands such as Alice in Chains, Mad Season, Soul Asylum, and Soundgarden.
She also enjoys classic rock, modern rock, nu metal, alternative rock, and old 90’s R&B. Her love of music grew as she got older, and used music to help her get through tough times in her life. More often than not, you’ll see Florence with earbuds in while she’s writing, cooking, cleaning, and doing other tasks. She also loves to debate music with her friends such as which lead singer is the best vocalist, the most iconic guitar solos in music, and what songs are really the best of the decade.