songs with philosophical themes

I am looking for songs that express a particular philosophy.

Two that I can think of are Imagine (John Lennon) and Closer to Fine (Indigo Girls).

This is for teenagers so contemporary music would be best but I’ll take anything from any genre.

Thanks in advance

I don’t know if you mean this kind of philosophy, but this song retells Aristophanes’ speech in Plato’s Symposium. This myth explains that human beings were once round, two-faced, four-armed, and four-legged beings. Angry gods split these early humans in two, leaving the separated people with a lifelong yearning for their other half.

Dust in the Wind comes to mind.

That’s what I came in to say.

There’s Through the Never by Metallica.

One Tin Soldier, made famous in Billy Jack?

Very definitely not contemporary, but definitely based on a philosophy is Yes’s Tales From Topographic Oceans.

From Wiki:

Any philosophy? Any at all?

And who are these “teenagers” you mention?

God Bless the U.S.A.–Lee Greenwood

Simple Man–Lynyrd Skynyrd

Long Haired Country Boy–Charlie Daniels

I take it songs with a religious bent are not included or this would be too easy… Or political or social philosophy?

Lessee, top of my head from my mental jukebox - reflections on the nature of life:

I Will Follow You Into The Dark, Death Cab For Cutie
Free Will, by Rush
Patterns, by Simon & Garfunkel
If 6 Was 9, by Jimi Hendrix
Peace On Earth, by U2
Time, Pink Floyd
If you add a political element, whoo, there’s a ton.

Eve of Destruction - Barry McGuire (1965)
Exodus, Redemption Song - Bob Marley (1977, 1979)
Pride (In The Name of Love) - U2 (1982) (about MLK Jr., of course)
Talkin’ 'Bout A Revolution - Tracy Chapman (1989)
(Keep On’) Rockin’ In The Free World - Neil Young (1989)
Sound Of Da Police - KRS One (1993)

Well OK then.

Here I go.

Heraclitus (ca. 535–ca. 475 BC) believed that “war is the father of all things.” Well shit, now that’s pretty fucking metal, right? Motörhead’s gotcha covered: “Over the fields of corpses, / Over the broken and maimed, / Over the enemy’s banners, beaten and trampled and shamed.”

Empedocles (ca. 490–ca. 430 BC) seems to have been a waaaaay more chilled out dude: Violence was very uncool, he wrote. Once again, paradoxically, it’s Motörhead to the rescue.

Epictetus (55-135 AD) believed, as did the Stoics, that each individual can, and should, do the right thing at all times, no matter the consequences, and without ever expecting earthly glory in return. If one did all this, and calmly followed the paths of reason and duty, one could never go wrong. Or as a great Stoic philosopher once put it, “You know you can’t be hurt, / You gotta believe in your star, / They’ll always treat you like dirt, / They can only push you so far, / They can’t take it away, / If you’ve got something to say. […] You mustn’t shout it out loud, / Don’t create a scene, / Don’t indulge in being proud / It only feeds their scheme.” And that great Stoic philosopher was Lemmy from Motörhead.

Epicurus (341 BCE – 270 BCE), on the other hand, believed that hey, fuck duty, pleasure is where it’s at. So… Motörhead, right? Oh yes: “A million miles, a million girls / A million real good times!”

Then… Ugh… I’m getting a bit tired… Let’s fast forward here… Medieval era… Thomas Of Aquinas… Blah blah blah…

Ah, my man Voltaire (1694-1778)! This being the Age Of Enlightenment, he wrote of the Biblical God that his “image is of agony, [his] servants rape the land / obsequious and arrogant, clandestine and vain / two thousand years of misery, of torture in [his] name / hypocrisy made paramount, paranoia the law / [his] name is called religion, sadistic, sacred whore.” Oh, wait, no, I got confused – that was Motörhead again. But it sums up Voltaire’s thoughts beautifully, at least where it comes to the God of the Bible.

Then there was Marx (1818-1883). He thought bankers were a nasty bunch of sons of bitches. Well, guess what? So does Motörhead.

Who else? Who have I missed?

Nietzsche, you say? Oh, you mean the guy who believed art should be wild, chaotic, ecstatic, irrational? Who said that “you need chaos in your soul to give birth to a dancing star”? Who believed that life is “a thousand times too short for us to bore ourselves”!? Who looked like fucking this, for God’s sake!!??? Clearly, I mean clearly, he was the Lemmy Kilmister of his day.

The Mighty Quinn by Bob Dylan (covered by Manfred Mann)

Ain’t Wastin’ Time No More by the Allman Brothers Band

This unofficial video of Tool’s Lateralus, underlining the vastness of time, space, nature and our place and awareness of it by incorporating the Fibonacci sequence in the construction of the song itself… Love it.

If only Lemmy of Motörhead had anything to offer. :smiley:

Dead Can dance is good for this sort of thing. Fortune Presents Gifts Not According to the Book, for instance, as all about the medieval concept of Fortune’s Wheel, AKA “shit happens”

Blue Oyster Cult, “Godzilla”: History shows again and again how nature points up the folly of man. THAT is DEEP!

Tom Cochrane, “Life is a Highway.” Pretty much says it all.

A couple of obvious ones:

Turn, Turn, Turn, the Byrds.
Tomorrow Never Knows, the Beatles

Springsteen’s “Glory Days” and Joel’s “Piano Man” are both about lost dreams.

All This Time by Sting.

Dang, I was sure your link was going to be to this!

Rush always tried to be philosophical.

How about "The Inner Light" by George Harrison and a few other guys?