21 Of The Best Songs About Midnight

Written by Dan Farrant
Last updated

Midnights inspire a moment of reflection, rest, or revelry. It’s a time that sits on the precipice of today and tomorrow — a moment of transition that has been a source of inspiration for countless musicians.

Whether it’s the somber reflection of a soulful ballad, the pulsating rhythm of an upbeat track, or the lyrical storytelling of a folk song, the magic of midnight has a way of seeping into the music, making these compositions all the more poignant.

So in this post, we present you 21 of the best songs about midnight and all it represents. Let’s start!

1. “Midnight” By Coldplay

First on our list is a song with “midnight” in the title. With its hauntingly ethereal instrumentation and stripped-down vocals of frontman Chris Martin, Coldplay’s “Midnight” creates a mysterious and introspective atmosphere, perfect for moments of contemplation under the moonlight.

The repetitive yet hypnotic nature of the lyrics contributes to the dreamlike quality of the track: “In the darkness before the dawn / leave a light, a light on.” The sparse but powerful words encapsulate a yearning for connection, a desire to hold on to a guiding beacon amid the unknown.

Listeners are enveloped in a sonic landscape that feels both otherworldly and intimate. The electronic beats and distorted vocals add a layer of experimentalism, marking a departure from Coldplay’s more conventional sound.

2. “Thriller” By Michael Jackson

The hours of darkness often inspire chilling themes that could tickle our fantasy, and Michael Jackson perfectly captures this eerie essence in his iconic song “Thriller.” A song with midnight in the lyrics, “Thriller” takes us into a story-like narrative reminiscent of a horror film.

The lyrics delve into the supernatural, with references to creatures that lurk in the shadows and the dance of the undead. The accompanying music video features Jackson and a horde of dancing zombies, offering a visual spectacle that has become synonymous with Halloween festivities.

The cinematic quality of the music video, coupled with Jackson’s dynamic performance, makes “Thriller” an ideal anthem for the midnight hour.

3. “Midnight Show” By The Killers

The dark canvas of midnight could also be a prime time for criminal activity, and The Killers created a trilogy of songs to address just this — one of them being “Midnight Show.”

The upbeat tempo of the song doesn’t hide its macabre theme. It narrates the murder of an unfaithful girlfriend named Jenny, whom he strangles under the midnight sky: “I took my baby’s breath beneath the chandelier / of stars and atmosphere / and watched her disappear / into the midnight show.”

The phrase “midnight show” in the song could also serve as a metaphor for death. The choice of the word “show” implies a theatrical element, as if the murder is a scripted performance, further emphasizing the surreal and disturbing nature of the act.

4. “Midnight Rambler” By Rolling Stones

Another song about the horrors that happen after the clock strikes 12 is The Rolling Stones’ sinister bluesy track “Midnight Rambler.”

With a narrative that’s loosely based on the infamous deeds of serial killer Albert DeSalvo, the song explores the twisted psyche of a character navigating the shadows: “ Did you hear about the midnight rambler? / He don’t give a hoot of warning … / He don’t go in the light of the morning.”

The bridge of the song repeatedly mentions the phrase “Don’t do that,” building a palpable tension that mirrors the escalating psychological turmoil. The twisted allure of the midnight hour becomes a metaphor for the darker aspects of human nature, exploring the boundaries of morality and its consequences.

5. “Like A Prayer” By Madonna

Next up, we have a song that mentions midnight metaphorically. In Madonna’s “Like a Prayer,” the phrase “midnight hour” is a central theme, which serves as a euphemism for sex: “In the midnight hour / I can feel your power / just like a prayer / you know I’ll take you there.”

However, Madonna’s lyrical finesse extends beyond the carnal. She deftly intertwines themes of both physical intimacy and spiritual resonance, creating a song that pays homage to the power and potential of the midnight hour.

The midnight symbolism in Madonna’s composition becomes a gateway to a profound exploration of human connection, simultaneously delving into the realms of desire and transcendence.

6. “God Is A Woman” By Ariana Grande

The hours into midnight are the perfect moment for indulging in the intimate joys between a man and a woman, and Ariana Grande’s “God Is a Woman” serves as a seductive soundtrack.

In the realm where time and desire intertwine, the sultry tones of Grande’s pop track and provocative lyrics create an atmosphere that celebrates sensuality: “You love it how I move you … / When all is said and done / you’ll believe God is a woman.”

The line “I feel it after midnight” takes inspiration from Madonna’s “Like a Prayer,” creating a poetic bridge between two eras of musical storytellers. The symmetry between these musical narratives serves as a reminder that, despite the evolution of sounds and styles, certain themes remain eternally relevant.

7. “Gimme! Gimme! Gimme!” By ABBA

Another sensual midnight song to add to our list is ABBA’s “Gimme! Gimme! Gimme!” Alternatively titled “A Man After Midnight,” the song is about a woman seeking a companion for a carnal rendezvous after the clock strikes 12.

The straightforward lyrics vividly express the yearning of a lonely soul: “Won’t somebody help me chase the shadows away? / Gimme, gimme … a man after midnight / Take me through the darkness to the break of the day.”

The song captures the universal theme of seeking solace and connection during the mysterious and intimate hours when the world is draped in darkness. It serves as an empowering anthem for the broader quest for self-discovery and fulfillment.

8. “Midnight Rain” By Taylor Swift

Renowned for her mastery in composing breakup anthems that are both poetic and catchy, Taylor Swift craftily uses the metaphor of opposites in her pop ballad “Midnight Rain.”

In this song, Swift delves into the complexities of a relationship where stark contrasts define the emotional landscape: “He was sunshine, I was midnight rain … / Chasing that fame, he stayed the same / All of me changed like midnight.”

The thematic dichotomy of “sunshine” and “midnight rain” becomes a symbolic representation of the disparities between the two individuals on the brink of breaking up. The song captures the bittersweet realization that, despite the initial allure of opposing forces, it can be impossible to bridge the rift between two people.

9. “Midnight Train” By Sam Smith

Beyond its ability to inspire themes of horror and desire, midnights can also be a poetic symbol for change and the dawning of a new day. Sam Smith explores these themes through his song “Midnight Train.”

The song narrates the journey of a person who, laden with sorrow, has chosen to bring closure to a relationship: “So I pick up the pieces, I get on the midnight train … / I’ll always love you / but tonight’s the night I choose to walk away.”

The midnight hour, shrouded in mystery and hope, becomes a pivotal moment for the singer, marking the commencement of a new tomorrow and an uncertain future. The train also becomes a vessel of catharsis, carrying not only the weight of heartbreak but also the seeds of resilience.

10. “Midnight Sky” By Miley Cyrus

A singer laden with so much controversy throughout her career since childhood, Miley Cyrus crafted a compelling and catchy composition with her track “Midnight Sky.”

On the surface, this disco-pop anthem may appear to celebrate a night of revelry amid a heartbreak. However, a closer examination of the lyrics reveals an empowering message of self-reliance: “I was born to run, I don’t belong to anyone … / I don’t need to be loved by you.”

During an interview, Cyrus shed light on the title’s significance, explaining that “Midnight Sky” symbolizes the late-night escapades. Drawing a parallel to the disco ball as the focal point of such festivities, she expressed admiration for its fractured yet harmonious nature, akin to how we can turn life’s challenges into inspiring transformations.

11. “A Second To Midnight” By Kylie Minogue And Years & Years

A collaboration between two artists known for their boppy electro-pop tracks, Kylie Minogue and Years & Years’ “A Second to Midnight” is an uplifting disco anthem that melds yesterday’s nostalgia with a futuristic groove.

The lyrics of the song paint a vivid picture of a night out on the town, and the thrill of the moment takes center stage: “I’m chasin’ after midnight / show me the way to your heart / ready for the start of my real life.”

The song also emphasizes how both the young and the old find common ground on the dance floor, breaking down generational barriers with the lyrics: “I think we’re the same.” These words serve as a unifying mantra that, regardless of age or background, the shared experience of music and dancing can create a connection.

12. “Midnight Summer Jam” By Justin Timberlake

Another song that celebrates the timeless power of music to transcend generational boundaries is Justin Timberlake’s “Midnight Summer Jam.”

Behind its electro-pop vibe that makes you want to dance are lyrics that emphasize the Southern hospitality that Timberlake grew up in: “It starts at midnight … / Hey, all of the locals are happy to get out and meet a new face … / Even the old folks’ll come out and rock.”

Timberlake’s ode to the magic of a summer night’s celebration becomes not just a song but a reflection of the shared human experience found in the beauty of music and community.

13. “After Midnight” By Eric Clapton

An upbeat song from singer and guitarist Eric Clapton, known for his bluesy ballads, “After Midnight” captures the essence of carefree nights filled with music, dancing, and a sense of liberation.

The lyrics of “After Midnight” convey the idea of letting loose and enjoying life when the clock strikes midnight. Clapton’s smooth delivery adds a layer of sophistication to the celebration, making the song a perfect soundtrack for those who seek adventure and thrills in the darkness.

Beyond its musical brilliance, “After Midnight” has become an anthem for the free-spirited, reminding us that there’s a certain magic that only comes alive after the world has gone to sleep.

14. “Midnight Memories” By One Direction

One of the most iconic boy bands in music history, One Direction sings about youthful exuberance and the thrill of living in the moment in their song “Midnight Memories.”

The song marked a departure from the pop sound that characterized their earlier work. With a rock-infused vibe and infectious energy, the track became an anthem for young people breaking free from the constraints of everyday life and embracing the spontaneity of their youth.

“Midnight Memories” is a celebration of friendship, fun, and the timeless spirit of adolescence. Whether it’s cruising around the city with friends, dancing until dawn, or making memories that will last a lifetime, the song captures the universal experience of being young and carefree.

15. “Quarter Past Midnight” By Bastille

There’s a certain magic to midnight — a time when the world seems to hit the reset button. In Bastille’s “Quarter Past Midnight,” they weave a tale of a late-night escapade through the city, where the darkness reveals a moment of clarity amid life’s chaos.

Despite the upbeat tempo, there’s a profound contrast in the singer’s contemplations, challenging the relentless pursuit that often defines our lives: “Why are we always chasing after something / like we’re trying to throw our lives away?”

In an interview, the band’s frontman, Dan Smith, talks about how the midnight hours seemingly take you to a parallel universe where reality transforms: Places typically governed by schedules and routines become open playgrounds in the midnight realm. 

16. “Don’t Stop Believin’” By Journey

In the journey of life, dreams unfurl like delicate petals, with some within our grasp and others gracefully flirting with the boundaries of possibility. The difference, however, is in your belief in attaining them, and this is what Journey’s pop ballad “Don’t Stop Believin’” is all about.

Central to the song’s narrative is the mention of a midnight train: “Just a small-town girl, livin’ in a lonely world / she took the midnight train goin’ anywhere.” This metaphorical journey on a midnight train represents the crossroads of life, where decisions are made and destinies are shaped.

The midnight train in “Don’t Stop Believin’” ultimately becomes a symbol of opportunity, beckoning us to embark on a voyage toward our dreams, no matter how improbable they may seem.

17. “I Like Me Better” By Lauv

Being young and in love is an experience that adds color to our lives, and Lauv skillfully crafts a lively portrayal of young romance in his song “I Like Me Better.”

In this catchy pop song, Lauv not only paints a vivid picture of the joyous moments but also delves into the complexities of self-discovery within the context of a blossoming relationship: “Midnight into morning coffee / burning through the hours talking … /  I like me better when I’m with you.”

The notion of midnight becomes a metaphor for the moments when inhibitions fade away and genuine emotions take center stage. It’s a time when vulnerability finds a voice, and the mention of “morning coffee” adds a layer of warmth and continuity to the narrative.

18. “Complexion” By Kendrick Lamar

Midnights are associated with darkness and mystery, and while this symbolism can be poetic, it also reflects a broader societal issue of colorism. This is what Kendrick Lamar addresses in his song “Complexion.”

In the song, he likens the skin color of African-American people to that of midnight: “Dark as the midnight hour or bright as the mornin’ sun … / Brown skinned, but your blue eyes tell me your mama can’t run.”

Through the otherwise upbeat rap song, Lamar challenges the prevailing narrative that associates darkness with negativity and instead calls for a celebration of diverse complexions within the black community.

19. “My Oh My” By Camila Cabello Ft. DaBaby

Going against the norm can be a good thing for valid reasons, but there’s wisdom to a parent’s objection towards your choice of a mate, especially one with questionable intentions. Camila Cabello nails this narrative in her song “My Oh My” alongside rapper DaBaby.

The song delves into the tension between Cabello and her parents, emphasizing the importance of discernment when navigating relationships: “He comes alive at midnight / My mama doesn’t trust him / He’s only here for one thing, but so am I.”

Midnight, in this context, is a metaphor symbolizing the moment when desires awaken and choices are made. The lyrics paint a picture of a clandestine rendezvous, capturing the allure and excitement that often accompany forbidden love. 

20. “The Hanging Tree” By Rachel Zegler

Shifting our focus from the lively tunes that fill the midnight air, we now delve into a more somber one that mentions the word midnight in the lyrics. A soundtrack to The Hunger Games franchise, “The Hanging Tree” is a haunting ballad sung by Rachel Zegler.

In this song, midnight becomes a symbolic threshold, a moment where the weight of history and the burden of choices converge beneath the hanging tree: “Are you comin’ to the tree / where a dead man called out for his love to flee? / Strange things did happen here … / if we met at midnight in the hanging tree.”

The somber tones of the song not only echo the struggles within the fictional world of The Hunger Games but also resonate with the universal human experience of confronting challenges and injustice.

21. “Zero O’Clock” By BTS

Lastly, we have a Korean song by BTS. The band, known for addressing a wide range of emotions in their music, manages to encapsulate the complexities of life in “Zero O’Clock” — a song about resilience and hope amidst a period of darkness and depression.

In the English translation of the lyrics, midnight becomes a significant moment for the singers: “Soon it will be midnight … / When the minute and second hands overlap / The world holds its breath for a little while / zero o’clock / and you’re gonna be happy.”

The phrase “zero o’clock” itself implies a reset, a clean slate where past hardships can be left behind. The lyrics suggest that despite the challenges one may face, there is a certainty that joy and happiness will follow, akin to the comforting assurance that the clock will strike midnight.

Summing Up Our List Of The Best Midnight Songs

That wraps up our list of the best midnight songs! Whether you’re in for a soulful night of introspection or gearing up for a lively late-night gathering, these songs are sure to set the perfect mood for those midnight moments. 

Feel free to explore beyond our list and discover hidden gems that resonate with your own midnight musings. And if you’re up to it, let us know if you have any songs in mind that we can add to our list!

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.