23 Of The Best Songs About Guilt And Feeling Guilty

Written by Dan Farrant

Guilt has the power to consume us. We all experience guilt in some form or another, whether it’s from a past mistake, a current action, or even just an underlying feeling.

These emotions can be difficult to navigate, and sometimes, the best way to process them is through music.

In this list, we’ve compiled 23 of the best songs about guilt and feeling guilty that will hopefully offer a sense of connection and understanding. So grab your headphones, sit back, and let these songs speak to you in ways mere words sometimes can’t!

1. “Survivor’s Guilt” By AlexanderThaGreat

To kick off our list, we have a song with guilt in the title. “Survivor’s Guilt” by AlexanderThaGreat tackles the difficult topic of surviving a traumatic event while mourning the loss of the people you love.

The poignant lyrics and emotional delivery make this song a powerful representation of the overwhelming feelings that come with this experience: “Guilty I survived / when all the others died fighting for your life.”

Indeed, the psychological effects of survivor’s guilt can be devastating and can last for years and even a lifetime. This song serves as a reminder that it’s okay to feel guilty but also offers hope in knowing you’re not alone.

2. “Mortal Man” By Kendrick Lamar

Next up, we have Kendrick Lamar‘s “Mortal Man,” a deep and heavy track that stands as a political commentary about the number of injustices that the minority suffers.

In a song with guilt in the lyrics, one particular verse stands out: “Found myself screaming in the hotel room / I didn’t wanna self destruct … / So I went running for answers / until I came home / But that didn’t stop survivor’s guilt.” This speaks to the internal struggle of dealing with guilt and trying to find a way to cope with it.

The song also references influential leaders who have fought for justice, highlighting the guilt we share in not doing enough. It’s a powerful and thought-provoking track that addresses the complexities of guilt in the context of societal issues.

3. “Mirror” By Lil Wayne Ft. Bruno Mars

In life, we often go through phases we are not proud of. This is what Lil Wayne reflects about in his song “Mirror,” featuring the smooth vocals of Bruno Mars.

A song that mentions guilt indirectly, the lyrics explore Lil Wayne’s past addiction to drugs and how it has affected his life. The line “I see the guilt beneath the shame … / I see the scars that remain / I see Wayne” reflects on the guilt he carries with him because of his past actions.

While the song may seem like a typical hip-hop track, it delves deeper into the emotions and thoughts of an individual struggling with their mistakes. It serves as a reminder that we all have battles to fight and that self-forgiveness is necessary for growth.

4. “Guilty Conscience” By Eminem Ft. Dr. Dre

In this collaboration between rap legends Eminem and Dr. Dre, “Guilty Conscience” takes a unique approach to guilt by exploring the internal battle between good and evil in our minds.

The song tells the story of three different scenarios where individuals are about to commit violent crimes, but their conscience intervenes.

The lyrics play out like a conversation between Eminem’s character, who represents the devil on one shoulder, and Dr. Dre’s character, who represents an angel.

This is a prime example of how guilt can manifest in our minds as we struggle with the moral consequences of our actions. The song serves as a call to action to listen to that little voice inside us and make the right decisions, even when it’s difficult.

5. “Guilty All The Same” By Linkin Park Ft. Rakim

None of us are truly innocent, and yet we often like to point fingers and assign blame to others. Linkin Park‘s “Guilty All the Same,” featuring hip-hop artist Rakim, is a powerful commentary on this behavior.

The song talks about how people play the blame game and make others feel guilty for their mistakes while ignoring their own faults: “You’re guilty all the same, too sick to be ashamed / You want to point your finger, but there’s no one else to blame.”

In this angsty rock track, Linkin Park calls out society’s tendency to judge and criticize others. It serves as a reminder that we should practice empathy and understanding rather than judgment.

6. “Guiltiness” By Bob Marley & The Wailers

Politics is a common theme in Bob Marley and The Wailers‘ music, and “Guiltiness” is no exception. 

With his signature reggae sound, Marley sings about the injustice and suffering caused by political oppression: “Guiltiness … / pressed on their conscience / These are the big fish / who always try to eat down the small fish.”

The lyrics call for accountability and recognition of the harm being done. It serves as a powerful message about standing up against oppression and holding those in positions of power accountable for their actions.

7. “Guilty” By Blue

Sometimes, we might experience a kind of love where things go wrong despite doing everything we felt was right. In Blue‘s “Guilty,” the narrator expresses his confusion about what drove out the girl he loved despite giving his all to their relationship.

The lyrics showcase the narrator’s inner turmoil as he questions if it is wrong to love someone so deeply. The line “If it’s wrong to do what’s right / I’m prepared to testify” reflects the idea of being guilty of simply loving someone with all your heart.

A song with “guilty” in the lyrics, it encapsulates the often-confusing experience of love and relationships. Despite our best intentions, things don’t always go as planned, and the key is to learn from these experiences and move forward with an open heart.

8. “Guilty” By Barbra Streisand Ft. Barry Gibb

Next up, we have a song with “guilty” in the title that takes a different spin on the theme. “Guilty” by Barbra Streisand and Barry Gibb is a beautiful love song that celebrates the intensity and passion of being in love.

The lyrics express the unbreakable bond between two people in love: “And we got nothing to be guilty of / Our love will climb any mountain near or far … / And we got nothing to be sorry for / Our love is one in a million.”

The song speaks to the pure and unconditional love that can make us feel guilty for being so lucky and blessed.

9. “Careless Whisper” By George Michael

Passion and lust can lead us to do things that we may regret. In “Careless Whisper,” George Michael sings about the guilt and remorse one feels after cheating on their partner.

In a song that mentions being guilty indirectly, the lyrics reflect the internal struggle of a man who has betrayed his lover: “I’m never gonna dance again / Guilty feet have got no rhythm … / Should’ve known better than to cheat a friend / and waste a chance that I’ve been given.”

Indeed, there’s nothing more painful than a betrayal of trust and the weight of guilt that comes with it. “Careless Whisper” is a poignant reminder to think before we act and to not let our desires cause harm to others.

10. “Guilty” By Usher Ft. T.I.

On another side of the coin, partners who cheat may not always feel guilty. In “Guilty” by Usher and rapper T.I., the narrator seems to be making excuses for his behavior instead of taking accountability for it.

The lyrics reflect the mindset of someone who enjoys flirting and receiving attention from others despite being in a committed relationship: “I guess I’m guilty ’cause girls always wanna show me love / I guess I’m guilty for living and having a little fun.”

While the song’s tone is light and playful, it raises important questions about loyalty and accountability in a relationship. It gives an important message to always consider our partner’s feelings and boundaries before engaging in any behavior that could cause harm or mistrust.

11. “Guilty Love” By ZHU

There are many ways to cheat in a relationship, and being married while cheating with someone else is one of the worst. “Guilty Love” by ZHU highlights the aftermath of such an affair and the guilt that comes with it.

The song begins with a narration of the married woman’s perspective and how she wants to end things to work on her marriage. An electropop song with scarce lyrics, the few lines convey the narrator’s guilt and pain for being involved with a married person: “Guilty love / they kill us off the guilty love.”

The song serves as a cautionary tale about the consequences of infidelity and how it can leave everyone involved feeling guilty and broken.

12. “Guilty Conscience” By Tate McRae

There’s a certain kind of death when you’re involved with a serial cheater, but some people are willing to endure the pain for love. In “Guilty Conscience,” Tate McRae confesses about being in a toxic relationship with someone who can’t stay faithful.

The lyrics reflect the internal struggle of someone who knows their partner is cheating but chooses to ignore it and pretend everything is fine: “All my morals shot, even that don’t faze me / Lovin’ you batshit crazy … / If that’s wrong / guess I’ll live with a guilty conscience.”

Infidelity can make us question our morals, and in this song, McRae acknowledges the cost of staying in a relationship with a cheater. The emotional lyrics and powerful vocals capture the pain and guilt that comes with being in such a toxic situation.

13. “Guilty” By Etham

Some breakups can be complicated, no matter how much we want to make it simpler. In “Guilty” by Etham, the narrator wants to end things amicably, but his partner’s guilt stands in the way.

The lyrics reflect how hard it is for someone to move on when their former partner keeps bringing up things they don’t want to remember: “I lеt it all go / even though you’re feeling guilty … / We’ll be fine / on our own.”

Relationships can end for many reasons, and sometimes, we have to accept that some things are better left unsaid. This song highlights the importance of letting go and moving on without dwelling on guilt or resentment.

14. “Guilt Trip” By Julie Bergan

Breakups can also be messy, especially when infidelity is involved. In “Guilt Trip” by Julie Bergan, the narrator confronts her cheating ex and wants him to feel guilty for his actions.

The lyrics reflect the singer’s desire for revenge and her determination to make sure her ex knows he did wrong: “I’ll make you leave on a bad note / That way, you’ll be right back where you belong … / I know that your conscience won’t leave you alone / guilt-trip you all the way home.”

While some may argue that revenge is not the answer, this song captures the emotions of someone who has been wronged and wants their former partner to feel what they feel.

15. “Back To December” By Taylor Swift

Parting with a treasured relationship can leave us feeling guilty for all the times we didn’t appreciate it enough. In “Back to December” by Taylor Swift, she sings about her regret and apologizes to her ex for not treating him right when they were together.

The lyrics reflect Taylor’s introspection and realization of how she took her former lover for granted: “It turns out freedom ain’t nothing but missin’ you / Wishin’ I’d realized what I had when you were mine / I go back to December, turn around and make it all right.”

This song is a reminder that, sometimes, it’s too late to fix what we’ve broken, and the best we can do is apologize and learn from our mistakes. 

16. “If I Could Turn Back Time” By Cher

Another song about regret and feeling guilty is Cher‘s pop-rock track “If I Could Turn Back Time.” The lyrics speak of a person reflecting on the hurtful things they said and wishing they could take them back.

The lines “If I could turn back time, if I could find a way / I’d take back those words that hurt you, you’d stay” highlight the lasting impact of our words on others, even if we didn’t mean them. There’s also a tinge of desperation and longing to make things right in the song.

Sometimes, we don’t realize the weight of our words until it’s too late, and Cher’s song serves as a reminder to choose our words and actions carefully.

17. “Sorry” By Justin Bieber

While most songs about regret and guilt are melancholic, Justin Bieber takes a spin with his upbeat track “Sorry,” which still captures feelings of remorse.

The lyrics reflect the narrator’s acknowledgment of his mistakes and his plea for forgiveness and a second chance: “Is it too late now to say sorry? / Cause I’m missing more than just your body … / I’ll take every single piece of the blame if you want me to.”

Apologies can be difficult, especially when we have to admit our wrongdoings. But as this song reminds us, sometimes saying sorry is the first step towards reconciliation and moving forward.

18. “Sorry For The Stupid Things” By Babyface

To err is human, but it takes courage to admit mistakes and apologize for them. In “Sorry for the Stupid Things,” Baby Face reflects on his past actions and apologizes for them.

The lyrics showcase the vulnerability and regret of someone who realizes their wrongdoings when it’s too late: “Sometimes a man is gon’ be a man / It’s not an excuse, it’s just how it is … / So, girl, I’m sorry for the stupid things / I wish I didn’t do but I do.”

It’s never too late to apologize, and accountability and remorse can help ease the pain of our past actions. As this song reminds us, we’re all capable of making mistakes, but it’s how we handle them that truly matters. 

19. “When I Was Your Man” By Bruno Mars

There’s truth in the saying that you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone, and Bruno Mars’s “When I Was Your Man” perfectly captures this sentiment.

The song is a remorseful reflection on the things he should have done when he was still with his former partner: “I should’ve bought you flowers / and held your hand / Shoulda gave you all my hours / when I had the chance.”

These lyrics showcase the regret and guilt of not appreciating someone enough when they were still in our lives. It’s a reminder to cherish the present and make the most out of every moment with our loved ones.

20. “The One That Got Away” By Katy Perry

It’s one thing to lose someone due to a breakup, but it’s another thing entirely when that loss is permanent. Katy Perry‘s “The One That Got Away” captures the heartache of losing a great love and the guilt and regret that lingers.

The lyrics paint a picture of a lost love that could have been everlasting if only things were different: “In another life / I would be your girl / We’d keep all our promises … / In another life / I would make you stay.”

Indeed, no pain is greater than the death of a loved one. The regret and longing in the lyrics show just how much we can take for granted until it’s too late. It’s truly a bittersweet tribute to the ones who got away.

21. “Dear Mama” By 2Pac

Even if we have good parents, there’s no guarantee we’ll turn out perfect. In “Dear Mama,” 2Pac acknowledges his mistakes and wrongdoings while also expressing gratitude for the love and guidance he received from his mother.

The lyrics showcase the vulnerable side of a man often portrayed as tough: “I ain’t guilty, ’cause even though I sell rocks / it feels good puttin’ money in your mailbox / I love payin’ rent when the rent is due.”

The song, at its core, humanizes criminals and reminds us that there’s more to a person than their actions. It also highlights the unconditional love of a mother who would continue to love us nonetheless, despite our mistakes.

22. “How Could You Leave Us” By NF

The death of a parent can hit hard, but even more so when it’s by their own hand. In “How Could You Leave Us,” NF expresses the pain and heartbreak of losing his mother to drugs while also acknowledging his struggles with understanding her addiction.

The lyrics showcase a mix of emotions, from anger and bitterness toward his mother to guilt and regret for not being able to help her: “I don’t need a picture of my mom, I need the real thing / Now a relationship is somethin’ we won’t ever have / but why do I feel like I lost somethin’ that I never had?”

The song is a powerful and raw reminder of the effects of addiction on families and the pain that comes with losing a loved one to it. It’s also an encouragement for those struggling with similar situations to seek help and break the cycle. 

23. “Supermarket Flowers” By Ed Sheeran

The hours immediately following the death of a loved one can be difficult to navigate. In his song “Supermarket Flowers,” Ed Sheeran beautifully portrays the deep sorrow and regret felt by his mother following the loss of her own mother.

The lyrics depict the aftermath of his grandmother’s passing: “I took the supermarket flowers from the windowsill / I threw the day old tea from the cup … / Oh, I’m in pieces, it’s tearing me up, but I know / a heart that’s broke is a heart that’s been loved.”

The small details included in the lyrics, such as packing the get-well-soon cards and throwing old ginger beer, add a sense of realism and heartache to the song. It’s a tribute to the love between a parent and a child and how even in death, that love remains.

Summing Up Our List Of Guilt And Regret Songs 

Guilt and regret are complex emotions that can weigh heavily on us, and the songs in our list capture those feelings perfectly.

Whether it’s the regret of not cherishing someone enough or the guilt of not being able to save a loved one, these songs showcase the raw and vulnerable side of humanity.

If there’s a song that captures your feelings of guilt and regret, please feel free to share it with us, and we’ll add it to our list. We hope these songs can bring comfort and healing to those who need it. 

Photo of author

Dan Farrant, the founder of Hello Music Theory, has been teaching music for over 15 years, helping hundreds of thousands of students unlock the joy of music. He graduated from The Royal Academy of Music in 2012 and then launched Hello Music Theory in 2014. He plays the guitar, piano, bass guitar and double bass and loves teaching music theory.