15 Of The Best Songs About Miami: Magic City Playlist

Written by Laura Macmillan
Last updated

Miami is a bustling city known for its warm weather and beautiful views. It is no wonder why so many musicians have praised the city through their music. Pop, R&B, rock, soul singers, and rappers have topped charts with their songs about Miami.

Here, we’ve listed 15 of the best songs about the Magic City of all time that you can add to your playlist. So in case you’re planning a visit to Miami, or a trip to any beach, you’ll certainly be singing and dancing to some beats. Read on!

1. “Miami” By Will Smith

Where better to start than with Will Smith’s party anthem “Miami.” Smith glorifies the city for its energetic, party atmosphere with lines while also highlighting the diversity of Miami by singing about the various cultures that are present in the area. 

His music video features him and his band flying from the freezing city of Philadelphia to beautiful Miami. 

This single from his debut solo album titled Big Willie Style was #17 on the Billboard Hot 100. It climbed all the way to #3 on the UK Singles Chart. 

2. “Miami 2017” By Billy Joel

Billy Joel wrote “Miami 2017” as a science fiction song depicting the fall of New York. In the 1970s, many people believed that New York would crumble because it was so close to declaring bankruptcy. 

As a New Yorker, Billy Joel knew that many people from New York retire to Miami. In “Miami 2017”, Joel painted the picture of a grandfather describing the destruction of New York to his grandchildren in 2017.

The grandfather tells of how “the Empire State laid low” and “the mighty skyline [fell]”. Thus, the song found greater significance after the attacks of 9/11. Since then, Billy Joel has performed this song at benefit concerts following 9/11 and Hurricane Sandy. 

3. “Miami” By Randy Newman

Next, we have “Miami” by Randy Newman from the album Trouble in Paradise. While not as popular as his hit “I Love LA,” his synth-heavy pop hit captures the tropical heat of the city.

From the perspective of a frequent tourist, the song dives into some stereotypes of the city while expressing the narrator’s love of the town.

It has a similar theme to his more popular hit from the same album about LA: popular cities known for being close to paradise with trouble brewing just beneath, though the kind of trouble mentioned is likely to be the kind many listeners want to find.

4. “Miami” By John Cougar (John Mellencamp)

Probably best known for his hit “Jack and Diane,” John Mellencamp found artistic freedom when singing under the name John Cougar.

From the fourth album released by Cougar, his song “Miami” is typical Mellencamp: it may sound like pop at first, with an up-tempo beat and vocals just raspy enough to be interesting, but it’s about the seedy nature of the entertainment industry and how it affects women and girls in Miami specifically.

In Mellencamp’s particular fashion, his song has a slightly jaded nature, but it’s still a fun, upbeat listen that celebrates the sunny city.

The video itself especially fixates on the beaches and sun-filled aesthetics of the beautiful Miami.

5. “Everybody’s Got A Cousin In Miami” By Jimmy Buffett

Jimmy Buffett’s social commentary in “Everybody’s Got a Cousin in Miami” still sends an uplifting message today. He talks about people that dream about coming to the US to try to find a better life.

This song paints Miami as a haven for people from around the world. Buffett describes the dangers of leaving home, trying to reach Miami by boat while avoiding the coast guard. 

Buffett sends the powerful message that we end up being all refugees in this fun, laid-back song. 

6. “Move To Miami” By Enrique Iglesias

Enrique Iglesias and Pitbull capture the energy of a Miami vacation with this song “Move to Miami.”

In it, the singer describes the feelings of meeting a woman who is beautiful and very seductive. She is so sexy that he wants to stay in Miami with her. 

Iglesias and Pitbull praise Miami as a place where women are free and tempting to men.

“Move to Miami” is Enrique Iglesias’s second song written in English. Both Iglesias and Pitbull appeared in the music video, which has more than 60 million views

7. “Miami” By Bob Seger And The Silver Bullet Band

“Miami” was released from Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band’s album titled Like a Rock. This album was the #3 album in the US and sold more than 3 million copies. 

This single tells of refugees on their way to Florida for safety. He describes the beauty of Miami through an immigrant’s eyes with the words. Seeing the lights of Miami shining ahead is their biggest desire.

Seger speculates that for an immigrant, it must feel like a dream come true. “Miami” allows listeners to begin to understand the relief of finding freedom in Miami. 

8. “We Already Won” By Flo Rida

Flo Rida earned his way onto this list by writing the anthem for the Miami Heat. He pumps up several players and brags about their skills throughout “We Already Won.”

Of course, LeBron James is mentioned time and time again. Flo Rida insists that with LeBron, no one can defeat the Miami Heat!

“We Already Won” also pays tribute to Miami talking about its beaches and the good vibes.

The confidence factor of the lyrics can prepare anyone for anything. The lines make listeners feel empowered.

9. “Miami” By U2

U2 recounts their time in the Magic City with their hit “Miami.” Although they were supposed to be recording their newest album at that time Pop, they were inefficient because there was so much to do in the busy city.

The band mentions some characteristics of Miami, like the accent, the hairstyles, and the cigars.

The narrator meets a woman and tells her that they could make something beautiful. In Miami, it won’t be a problem.

“Miami” by U2 perfectly captures the whirlwind of emotions and fast-paced romances during a vacation there.

10. “I’m In Miami, B*tch” By LMFAO

LMFAO’s album Party Rock EP was all about the excitement of nightlife. “I’m in Miami, B*tch” was the first single off this album and was released in December 2008. This single was #51 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #37 in Canada.

“I’m in Miami, B*tch” explores the nonstop energy that fuels Miami. The narrator has “a Redbull and vodka” to keep him energized through the night.

He brings a girl in a polka dot bikini back to the hotel, where they continue to party. They “Drink all day / Play all night.”

11. “Summer Wit’ Miami” By Jim Jones

Jim Jones released “Summer Wit’ Miami” off his second studio album titled Harlem: Diary of a Summer. The album sold more than 74,000 copies only a week after it was released. “Summer Wit’ Miami” even reached #78 on the Billboard Hot 100.

The narrator describes a carefree life in Miami, driving his convertible Mercedes Benz. He talks about living the nightlife, that at 6 a.m., it is just starting.

He is fascinated by the women in this city, and he mentions the fact that he is dating three women at the same time. Therefore, it’s hard to keep up with the lies.

Finally, he describes a summer in Miami as “living without a care.” This song reflects upon the freeing feeling of spending time in the Magic City.

12. “Swimming In Miami” By Owl City

Adam Young, founder of Owl City, wrote “Swimming in Miami” during the countless nights he went without sleep while doing warehouse work.

The song has many levels and meanings, and each listener interprets it differently. Several times, he mentions the noise of machinery that surrounds him. Young sings that he’s eager for the silence once the engines shut off.

He also details struggling to find a sleep schedule as he loses track of time, if it’s day or night. Young often describes water rising around him and that one needs to get to safety.

13. “Moon Over Miami” By Ray Charles

Ray Charles, one of the first singers to popularize soul, released “Moon Over Miami” in 1935. In 1941, the music played in the film titled Moon Over Miami

This short song is an ode to romance as Charles begs the moon to shine over him and his date. He hints at an upcoming engagement when he says that one or two dreams may come true.

He praises the natural music of the ocean and the musicians on the shore. 

14. “Going Back To Miami” By Blues Brothers

The Blues Brothers’ single “Going Back to Miami” was released from their 1980 album titled Made in America

Unlike many songs about Miami that discuss brief vacations, “Going Back to Miami” explores the regret of leaving. The narrator has left a girl behind in the city and has decided to get her back. 

Alongside his memories of the girl are his fond memories of Miami. He expresses his desire to have fun and enjoy the sun.

15. “Miami” By Taking Back Sunday

The American rock band Taking Back Sunday released “Miami” in 2006. Many fans believe that Adam Lazzara wrote this song about his struggle with drug and alcohol abuse as his addiction became more intense while he was living in Miami.

Lazzara laments the difficulty of letting go of painful memories and says that he can’t find a way around the past. He also admits his mistakes by singing that the whole truth is just an excuse. 

This single is deeper than most songs about Miami and makes the listener think about their past.

Summing Up Our List Of Best Songs About Miami

Have you found your new favorite beach tunes? Maybe you’ve even found a few songs for your road trip down the coast. Wherever your adventures take you, keep these songs in mind. 

Whether you are in the mood for something upbeat and energized, romantic, uplifting, or thought-provoking, you now have a list of songs about Miami for any occasion. 

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Laura has over 12 years experience teaching both classical and jazz saxophone and clarinet. She now resides in California where she works as a session and live performer.