31 Of The Best Songs About Hope And Perseverance

Written by Dan Farrant
Last updated

It’s amazing how something can help lift us out of despair and helplessness. That’s what hope does. When we hope, we believe that things can change. And that motivates us to keep going.

Sometimes it’s difficult to feel hopeful, especially when we’re going through hardships. But it is the time that we need hope the most.

Thank goodness for music to guide us when we’re in this particularly challenging situation. Music can influence our moods. That’s why songwriters use it as an avenue to give us uplifting songs. And that’s why people turn to music to pump them out of their sadness.

It can be overwhelming to know where to start. To help you, we have 31 of the best songs about hope.

1. “Don’t Stop Believin'” By Journey

If you’re looking for a rock anthem of optimism, tenacity, and hope, Journey has something for you. “Don’t Stop Believin” is one of the band’s most well-known songs to this day.

The song starts with a little story about a small-town girl and a city boy leaving their comfort zones to find their future somewhere else. Taking “the midnight train going anywhere” might be reckless, but it also reflects hope.

The song tells us to “hold onto that feeling” and believe in our dreams no matter where we come from.

2. “Break My Soul” By Beyonce

A song called “Break My Soul” doesn’t seem like it’d be on the list of the best songs about hope. But Beyonce sings about how nobody can break her soul or stop her from believing in herself.

This is what hope is all about. The singer proves that when things get tough, she does not stop looking for motivation. And she finds just what she’s looking for.

Later in the song, she tells us she got the motivation and “found me a new salvation.” It’s not an overnight success, though. She had to go through finding love, quitting a tireless job, and doing good things for her spirit.

This house music track is a fun anthem for everyone who is in a tough spot. May it be with work, relationships, or life in general, this song will leave you uplifted and encouraged.

3. “Begin Again” By Taylor Swift

Singer-songwriter Taylor Swift is no stranger to songs about nuanced relationship situations. “Begin Again” is a fan favorite for many reasons.

It’s about going on a first date and being nervous about it because of the judgment received from a past partner. The singer’s ex wasn’t a good fit because he didn’t like anything that she liked and didn’t treat her well: “He didn’t like it when I wore high heels, but I do.”

However, the song becomes hopeful as the storyline continues. The singer walks into the date and automatically feels more welcomed and comfortable than she ever did with her ex. This song can give someone hope after a breakup that they’ll be able to find love again.

4. “Fight Song” By Rachel Platten

Hope can occasionally be a quiet, subdued emotion. At other times, it resembles a fierce, tenacious battle with everything you do not want in your life. The Rachel Platten hit single “Fight Song” is ideal if you’re looking for music that speaks to the latter.

The song is about acting in a way that aligns with what you want out of life. That is, regardless of what anyone else thinks or says.

People may be troubled or perplexed by your decisions. But what counts most is that you have confidence in yourself and know what you’re doing.

5. “Stronger” By Kelly Clarkson

In “Stronger,” Kelly Clarkson describes a woman who has just gone through a breakup and is moving on. She comes to the realization that she doesn’t need to feel defeated and that this won’t break her.

Because Clarkson sings about how she is “stronger” and better than ever, “Stronger” isn’t just another depressing breakup song. She is free of the emotional burden of her ex. She has gained independence and self-assurance and now knows that what doesn’t “kill” her makes her stronger.

This song is ideal for anyone who needs inspiration and hope at a trying time, like a breakup.

6. “I Hope You Dance” By Lee Ann Womack And Sons Of The Desert

As parents – mothers, in particular – we have hopes for our children. “I Hope You Dance” by Lee Ann Womack and Sons of the Desert reflects our dreams for them. The song was released in 2000 and won the Grammy Award for Best Country Song.

In a song that mentions “hope” many times in the lyrics, the mother hopes that her child takes chances and embraces life. That despite challenges, they’ll learn to hold onto faith. That when opportunities come, they grab them instead of “sitting it out.”

Many listeners find the song and lyrics profound and inspirational, a reminder to live life to the fullest. The timeless message is relatable to parents, survivors, and anyone who has lost someone. The lyrics are a gentle reminder of hope and a push to keep moving forward on the path of life.

7. “It’s My Life” By Bon Jovi

Another song that makes listeners hopeful and encouraged to move forward no matter what is “It’s My Life” by Bon Jovi. It was released in 2000 off their album Crush.

This song encourages people to live in the moment and stop feeling sorry for themselves. Our days on Earth are numbered, thus, there’s no better time to enjoy life than now.

The song also encourages the listeners to feel hopeful. Comparing the heart to an open highway is a fantastic representation of what hope is all about – possibility, adventure, and opportunity.

8. “When You Believe” By Whitney Houston And Mariah Carey

Sometimes, it isn’t just believing in yourself that will get you through tough times. Sometimes, faith is necessary to make it through. And that’s what “When You Believe” is about. The song was released in 1998 and was a collaboration between Whitney Houston and Mariah Carey.

In this power ballad, the singers encourage us to keep believing in something even greater than ourselves. Life is full of tests that sometimes knock us down. But “when you believe,” then we can stand back up.

Here, hope and faith goes hand in hand to see us through life’s difficulties. And even the smallest seed of hope can grow and give us the strength to keep on.

9. “The Climb” By Miley Cyrus

When you’re feeling lost and hopeless, Miley Cyrus‘ “The Climb” can be a terrific method to find inspiration. This song promotes perseverance despite the difficulty of the (metaphorical) climb.

In the song, the mountain is a symbol of all the challenges and obstacles we meet. Going through them is like climbing a mountain. It’s difficult and feels like “an uphill battle.”

Cyrus sings about having faith and hope in the face of losing the battles. It’s not about “how fast I get there.” She reminds us that how we deal with challenges is more important.

10. “Only Hope” By Mandy Moore

When we talk about songs with “hope” in the title, we’re pretty sure you’re thinking about “Only Hope.” This was originally a single by the American band Switchfoot. But Mandy Moore recorded her version in 2002 for her film A Walk to Remember.

This song is an emotional ballad, one that speaks to the heart. In the lyrics, the narrator is addressing God, asking Him to bring her close to Him again. It seemed like she’d gone away from Him, creating a distance between them. But through it all, God has been there for her.

Now she makes a realization that God is her only hope. She implores that He makes her His once again.

11. “That’s The Way It Is” By Celine Dion

It may be more than 20 years since “That’s The Way It Is” was released. But this ’90s hit by Celine Dion is timeless. It’s about going through battles and feeling like you want to quit but receiving encouragement to keep pushing on.

It’s specifically about not giving up on your ability to find love. But it can also be a reminder to never give up on dreams, no matter how hard things get.

The lyrics remind listeners that life isn’t easy. There are times when you want to give up on everything. But if you have hope and faith, you can make it through anything.

12. “Dream On” By Aerosmith

Getting older can make people feel it’s time to give up on their dreams. Aerosmith‘s “Dream On” is about never stopping dreaming until your dreams become fruition.

In the lyrics, the singer realizes that he’s getting old and a lot of his time on Earth is behind him. Time passes by so fast that he’s left wondering where it goes.

But even then, it’s important to keep dreaming and stay hopeful. The song reminds us that we can still reach our dreams no matter what age we are. It requires being hopeful and believing in ourselves.

13. “Empire State Of Mind” By Jay-Z Ft. Alicia Keys

New York City is called “The City of Dreams” for a reason. It’s where people go to make their dreams come true, and the “Empire State of Mind” celebrates that. This Jay-Z and Alicia Keys collaboration works as a love letter to the city and the dreams it holds for people.

“Empire State of Mind” was the result of the songwriters being homesick for their beloved city. As the lyrics say, anything is possible in New York. That is, you need to put in hard work and be determined.

And even though it’s a difficult journey, you can make anything happen. And you don’t necessarily have to live in New York to achieve that. With lots of hope, you can also achieve your dreams from anywhere.

14. “Here Comes The Sun” By The Beatles

When you’re feeling down, it feels like everything around you is dark and gloomy. “Here Comes The Sun” is a song for better and brighter days to come. Although The Beatles are not here anymore, they left a lasting message of hope through this song.

The optimistic lyrics do a fantastic job of putting the listeners in a better mood. Here, the singer is celebrating the end of winter when the sun is out again. Indeed, it’s a good time to enjoy because winter means staying indoors most of the time.

However, it can also be about successfully overcoming challenges. It certainly feels like being under the sun when you feel light and happy.

15. “Imagine” By John Lennon

When The Beatles had broken up, John Lennon found success as a solo artist. “Imagine,” from his 1971 album of the same name, became his best-selling single.

In the song, Lennon calls out various aspects of society that are detrimental to unity and love. He encourages us to imagine that there is no heaven, countries, or possessions. Just “people livin’ life in peace.”

Some may say it’s an unrealistic vision of society. But there is nothing to lose if we hope for a world where we are not divided by greed, materialism, or a superiority complex.

16. “Wavin’ Flag” By K’naan

The chorus of “Wavin’ Flag” is one that sends a message of hope and optimism. Somali-Canadian artist K’naan released the song in 2009 from his album Troubadour.

K’naan is from Somalia and he wrote the song to reflect his people’s desire for freedom. For years, people have struggled from fighting one war after another. They were promised better things, but they only ended up poorer than before.

In the chorus, the line goes, “When I get older, I will be stronger, they’ll call me freedom just like a wavin’ flag.” K’naan has not lost hope that one day, his people will achieve the freedom they’ve been longing for.

17. “Hope You’re Feeling Better” By Santana

In 1971, the American rock band Santana released “Hope You’re Feeling Better” as a single. This came from their album Abraxas.

In this song with “hope” in the lyrics, the singer is describing a person who has gone through some tough times. It seems like this person feels hopeless and that nothing is there for him.

Thankfully, the singer knows how this person feels and has some comforting words to offer. He wishes for the person to feel better despite the hopelessness and sadness.

18. “Hope You Love Me Like You Say You Do” By Huey Lewis And The News

In relationships, partners don’t see eye-to-eye all the time. That’s why it’s important to compromise. This is what Huey Lewis and the News want to tell us in “Hope You Love Me Like You Say You Do.”

In the lyrics, the singer admits he’s stubborn and hard-headed. Just because he loves her doesn’t mean he’ll allow her to turn him into something she wants. At the same time, he recognizes women’s right to be independent within a relationship.

That’s because he loves her. His only hope is, “You love me like you say I do.” He hopes that the love he gives is the love he takes.

19. “Pocketful Of Sunshine” By Natasha Bedingfield

Sometimes, we go through one of those bleak days. We wake up, and it feels like the world is on our shoulders. Natasha Bedingfield‘s “Pocketful of Sunshine” is a song that can help make those days brighter.

When we experience troubles, we hope for a place where we can find peace and comfort. The singer longs to be taken to that secret place where troubles will not find her. A place only she knows about.

The powerful lyrics give listeners hope and assurance that even the toughest days will eventually pass. But more than that, the song reminds us that we have “a pocketful of sunshine” that can lift our spirits in those dark days.

20. “Losing Hope” By Jack Johnson

Singer-songwriter Jack Johnson’s debut album Brushfire Fairytales was released in 2001 and included the song “Losing Hope.”

The first line in this song depicts “a faulty parachute” and continues to reflect times of change. Relationships and friendships change, as do locations and love. It’s easy to lose hope when things are difficult.

Johnson’s lyrics are relatable for anyone who has experienced loss and fears impending changes. But “hanging on is easy” when you have someone who gives you hope. And know that you’re not the only one going through changes. Everybody does.

21. “Try Again” By Aaliyah

Anyone can resonate with Aaliyah‘s “Try Again.” It’s about the ability to keep going regardless of how many times you fail.

Lyrically, the singer implores her lover not to give up on her. But “Try Again” can also be a song of hope to see us through life’s difficulties. When we stumble, the song tells us to “dust yourself off and try again.” We keep doing that until we’ve overcome the challenges.

The lyrics remind listeners that there is light even in the darkest moments and that life is worth living. The song gives us hope and reassurance when we feel like we have failed at something.

22. “Alright” By Kendrick Lamar

Struggles are part of everyday life. And though sometimes we’re not strong enough, we still hope that we can get through them. Such is the meaning behind Kendrick Lamar‘s 2015 single “Alright.”

This song speaks to many challenges in urban communities. Lamar understands from experience the challenges with violence, drugs, police, and more. In fact, the song was inspired when he visited South Africa and saw the struggles that locals faced.

Despite the situation, Lamar comforts his fellows that “we gon’ be alright.” With hope and faith, things will work out for them in the end.

23. “Whispering Hope” By Jim Reeves

One of the oldest songs on this list is “Whispering Hope.” The song was composed by Alice Hawthorne and published in 1868. Country pop singer-songwriter Jim Reeves released his version of the song in 1959 from his album God Be with You.

The song’s lyrics are gentle and uplifting. They give hope to listeners that eventually, the night will end, and the storm will pass. When it does, the heart will “rejoice,” hoping for tomorrow’s sunshine.

Despite the sufferings we go through, we don’t have to despair. Hope is such a powerful virtue whispering into our consciousness. And we better believe it when it tells us that a better tomorrow is coming.

24. “Blind Hope” By David Cassidy

Released in 1972, American singer David Cassidy’s debut album Cherish featured the single “Blind Hope.” The term refers to hoping for something with no guarantee of a positive outcome.

And so, the singer decides to rely on action rather than blind hope that something will get done. He implores his lover to act now as the sun is “already on top of the sky.” There’s no use wasting the time when they could achieve so many things.

Starting with feeling “the morning dew.” He suggests that they start something new because they have the potential and the opportunities. He hopes that one day, all these things will happen.

25. “I Hope You’re Never Happy” By Dolly Parton

At first glance, you might think that the singer in “I Hope You’re Never Happy” is one bitter lady after a breakup. But it’s more than that. Dolly Parton released the song from her 1985 album Real Love.

In the lyrics, the singer shares with her listeners her hopes and wishes for her lover. She wants the best love story for him, like those you see in movies. She wishes for him to be happy and just about anything that he deserves.

That is, she wishes for those things but only with her. She sings, “I hope you’re never happy with anybody but me.” She’s telling him that he’ll want nothing else when he’s with her.

26. “Hope Is An Open Window” By Diana Ross

Our next song is Diana Ross‘ “Hope is an Open Window.” The track was released in her 1999 album Every Day is a New Day.

This song calls for unity and understanding in a world where people care less for each other. The singer witnesses the “quiet despair” in the eyes of people she meets and believes that we won’t lose anything if we try to be kinder.

And so she encourages us “to reach out for each other.” We may be strangers, but when we reach out to someone, we can all be friends. We only have to let hope and love come in and share them with others.

27. “I Can See Clearly Now” By Johnny Nash

Another song on this list of hopeful hits is “I Can See Clearly Now” by Johnny Nash. This song uses the metaphor of rain and sunshine to convey sadness and hope, respectively.

This song is overflowing with positivity as the singer is in a celebratory mood after overcoming his challenges. “Gone are the dark clouds,” and now the sun shines brightly to remind him of a new day.

The song reflects the power of hope. It’s knowing that life consists of ups and downs. But we hope for that day when we can see things in a brighter and more positive way.

28. “Light” By San Holo

Our next song uses the concept of light to suggest better days ahead. In San Holo‘s “Light,” the singer desires to “see the light.”

There isn’t much in the song in terms of lyrics. The underlying message in “Light” is that the singer is hopeful to come out of the darkness and see the light. She doesn’t care if it blinds her.

Even with the repetitive lines, the song leaves a message of hope for the listeners. The words infer that once you discover the light, your life will be happier.

29. “The Cave” By Mumford & Sons

At first, “The Cave” sounds like a semi-sad, semi-aggressive letter to someone who has wronged you. But this Mumford & Sons song speaks to finding strength in pain.

The singer talks about holding on to hope despite the pain he’s going through. He recognizes that he’ll be free once he’s out of someone else’s shackles.

The band uses many metaphors to depict the struggle, such as an empty harvest, a noose, widows and orphans, sirens, and, of course, a cave.

Although jarring in some ways, this is an inspiring song for someone who isn’t sure about their relationship. It provides hope that you can live the life you truly want to once you know what you want and what you deserve.

30. “What A Wonderful World” By Louis Armstrong

As you may have noticed, comparing better days ahead to beautiful weather is a common theme in songs about hope. “What A Wonderful World” by Louis Armstrong does this well.

The song starts with images of blue skies, green trees, white skies, and bright days. The world is a beautiful place, and it can make you feel more hopeful.

The song reminds us to appreciate life, including the people who are a part of it. This can help you become more positive about your own life. In addition, it’s a reminder that even in the darkest moments, there can still be beautiful things to appreciate and look forward to.

31. “I Hope That I Get Old Before I Die” By They Might Be Giants

To end our list, we present to you “I Hope That I Get Old Before I Die.” The song was first released by They Might Be Giants in 1985 on a demo album.

Notably, the title is a play on the line, I hope I die before I get old. But the band chose their point of view in conjunction with most of their songs that are negative in meaning. Their song reflects the fact that society isn’t all about getting old.

Thus, it gets the singer to think about reaching old age. He’s hopeful that he’ll grow old before dying and experience life until the end.

Summing Up Our List Of Hope Songs

Hope is undoubtedly a powerful emotion, but it isn’t always easy to access or describe. Fortunately, we have the songs above for inspiration and motivation when you need them most.

As you can see, music can help capture the complexities of hope in ways that words alone cannot. So be sure always to go back to our list for just the right song to give you hope.

Turn up the volume and let one of these masterpieces fill your heart with optimism, strength, courage, and, of course, hope!

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.