17 Of The Best Songs About Waves

Written by Dan Farrant
Last updated

You might be surprised by the number of songs out there that talk about waves. These songs capture different aspects of this natural phenomenon. This is a testament to the popularity of waves as an inspiration for musicians across the world.

From the metaphorical depth of waves, their serene beauty, and the unexplored potential they represent, there is a rich tapestry of music exploring the many dimensions of waves.

Today, we are presenting you 17 of the best songs about waves from various genres and eras. So read on and allow yourself to be transported to sandy beaches and roaring seas.

1. “Waves” By Imagine Dragons

Let us start with Imagine Dragons‘ “Waves.” Released in 2022, this track explores life’s unpredictability, much like the unpredictable nature of waves.

The song uses waves as a metaphor for the ups and downs we encounter in our journey through life. It emphasizes mindfulness and the importance of living in the moment. It reminds us to cherish every moment because time is fleeting.

In essence, “Waves” encourages us to let go of regret and face the “waves” of life with resilience. It reminds us to reflect on our experiences and ride the ebb and flow of life.

2. “Waves” By Dean Lewis

Another song with “wave” in the title is a 2019 track from Dean Lewis. “Waves” is a metaphorical exploration of life’s transitions. It uses the concept of waves as an allegory for the unpredictable nature of existence.

The central theme of “Waves” is the struggle of letting go and moving forward, particularly in the context of a breakup. It depicts the emotional turmoil of heartbreak, along with the pain and melancholy associated with such experiences.

The repeated line “It comes and goes in waves” encapsulates the essence of the song perfectly. Life, like waves, is cyclical. There are highs and lows, crests and troughs, and periods of tumult and calm. This is a reminder that life’s challenges, like waves, are transient and will pass.

3. “Waves” By Mr. Probz

Among songs with “wave” in the lyrics, Mr. Probz‘s “Waves” is a gem. This 2013 track can be found in his EP Against the Stream.

In the lyrics, waves are a metaphor for the emotional journey of moving on after a romantic relationship has ended. The song refers to figurative waves of feelings and experiences associated with important life changes.

In “Waves,” the narrator and his love interest drift apart with every fight and misunderstanding. For him, it feels like he’s being pulled away from her by waves, and the distance grows between them.

4. “Cherry Waves” By Deftones

The 2006 single “Cherry Waves” by Deftones uses the metaphor of waves to explore themes such as love, trust, and self-destruction. This complex song uses the imagery of waves to represent emotional states and experiences in a relationship.

The lyrics depict the story of a man and his partner on a metaphorical ship, with her drowning in the “cherry waves.” This can represent a relationship that’s on the brink of breakup, where he is being pulled down by her self-destructive behavior.

In addition, the narrator gauges how deep someone can fall for another person. He expresses his willingness to swim and save her and, at the same time, questions whether she would do the same for him.

5. “Black Wave” By The Shins

At first listen, The Shins‘ “Black Wave” may seem like a complex song. However, this track uses wave imagery to convey feelings of despair, loneliness, and entrapment. The black breeze and waves in the lyrics are metaphors for emotional states.

The lines about “the meadow where the black breeze blows” and “underneath the waves” suggest a sense of feeling trapped, likely due to internal struggles. The narrator grapples with these overwhelming emotions.

The title itself can also be a metaphor for an impending crisis or a dark period in the narrator’s life. It represents a force that he cannot control and avoid, much like the wave in the ocean.

6. “No Waves” By FIDLAR

The four-piece garage punk band FIDLAR talks about drugs, giving up, and surfing in “No Waves.” Here, waves represent the emotional turmoil and struggles associated with substance abuse and addiction.

In particular, the waves are symbolic of the ups and downs and the highs and lows that come with addiction. The narrator feels like he cannot enjoy drinking and surfing as he used to. The effects of using substances have him feeling as if he’s already an old man.

The lyric “I wanna perfect left down a sunset shore” refers to a desire for an ideal surfing wave. It symbolizes his longing for simpler times and a life free of addiction.

7. “Wave Of You” By Surfaces

Falling in love is often accompanied by intense and overwhelming emotions that can be likened to waves. The lyrics of Surfaces‘ “Wave of You” depict a powerful surge of feelings when you’re in the presence of someone special.

In this context, the wave symbolizes intense emotions and a strong desire for connection. He feels as if he’s caught up in a wave of emotions due to his affection for someone.

The line “I think I’m caught up in a wave of you, of you” suggests how deeply he has fallen in love with her. The intensity of his emotions leaves him “spinnin’ around” and “fallin’ in deep.”

8. “Waves” By Luke Bryan

Coming up next is a beautiful song from country music artist Luke Bryan. Released in 2021, “Waves” uses the imagery of waves to depict the ebb and flow of a summer romance.

The song revolves around young love that begins and blossoms during the summer. It entails all the intensity and passion that such a relationship brings. The lyrics “Don’t let go, baby let this summer / Just keep on coming in waves” encapsulate the song’s theme.

In this context, waves represent the recurring emotions associated with this love. Just like the ocean waves, the feelings of love and longing continue to surge within the narrator and his love interest.

9. “Catch A Wave” By The Beach Boys

Take it from The Beach Boys to bring us a song that mentions waves. “Catch a Wave” was released in 1963 from their album Surfer Girl.

The track is all about the thrill and joy of surfing, which was a prevalent sport in California during the 1960s. It uses waves as a metaphor for the exciting experience of surfing. The line “Catch a wave, and you’re sitting on top of the world” depicts the euphoria one feels when riding a wave, similar to conquering the world.

In essence, “Catch a Wave” is a celebration of the freedom, adventure, and sheer fun associated with riding a wave on a surfboard.

10. “Every Breaking Wave” By U2

As U2‘s “Every Breaking Wave” will show you, waves can be used to depict the unpredictable nature of love and life. The song suggests that every breaking wave represents a challenge, just as love can bring about emotional upheaval.

The phrase “cashing every breaking wave” suggests a continuous pursuit of emotional intensity, even when it leads to pain. This reflects the fact that people sometimes seek out emotional turmoil, viewing it as a desirable state.

In addition, the waves crashing against the shore serve as a metaphor for the idea that love can both heal and hurt. These waves symbolize the ebb and flow of life and relationships.

11. “Waves” By Dean Lewis

Up next is “Waves” by Australian pop singer-songwriter Dean Lewis. Released in 2019, it uses the metaphor of waves to represent the changing nature of life and emotions.

In particular, the song revolves around the emotions associated with growing older and losing the sense of excitement we often feel during youth. The title itself refers to the rollercoaster of emotions one feels as he navigates life. Just like ocean waves, these emotions can be unpredictable and powerful.

In addition, “Waves” explores maturity. It likens the process of aging to a storm that creates waves in one’s life. It’s the realization that life is constantly changing, just like the waves that change shape and form in the sea.

12. “The Wave” By Blake Shelton

In “The Wave” by Blake Shelton, waves are a metaphor for the impact that two people have on each other. The wave is symbolic of an emotional connection that swells and impacts, just like a wave hitting the shore.

The lyrics revolve around two people meeting on the boardwalk. The bond they form is likened to the force and movement of ocean waves — powerful and transformative.

Before meeting his love interest, the narrator was brokenhearted, feeling like “a compass that couldn’t find heaven.” But when she came into his life, she was like the wave that washes away the pain and brings about happiness.

13. “Breaking The Waves” By Marc Sway

The Swiss soul and pop singer Marc Sway sings about his journey of self-discovery and personal growth in “Breaking the Waves.” Here, he chronicles his journey home after being “on the road that never turns.”

This symbolizes a constant, monotonous life where he feels like there’s “nothing left to learn.” However, he gains sight of his home and is “breaking the waves.” The term suggests overcoming obstacles and discovering new aspects of himself.

In essence, “Breaking the Waves” uses waves as a powerful metaphor for challenges and transformations. It’s a reminder that we are strong enough to break the waves and come out stronger.

14. “Waves” By Miguel

Some songs use the metaphor of waves to depict an intense, passionate relationship, like Miguel‘s “Waves.” The track was released in 2016 from his album Wildheart.

In the song, waves are symbolic of the rhythmic ebb and flow of emotions, desires, and physical intimacy. When Miguel sings, “I wanna ride that wave,” he means he wants to immerse himself in the powerful emotional and physical connection.

In addition, the waves represent the ups and downs and the highs and lows of relationships. These waves indicate the dynamic nature of the relationship, filled with moments of intensity and calmness.

15. “In Waves” By Trivium

The powerful song “In Waves” by Trivium uses waves to represent life’s ups and downs and the struggles and pain we face. Waves symbolize the cyclical nature of these challenges as they come and go, much like waves in the ocean.

“In Waves” explores some pretty dark themes, such as the narrator contemplating ending his life. At the same time, he fears the effect this would have on his loved ones. This situation can be interpreted as the waves of despair and hopelessness that he experiences.

At its core, “In Waves” uses the imagery of waves to depict the emotional turmoil of the narrator. It reflects on themes of despair, struggle, and the cyclical nature of challenges.

16. “The Last Wave Of Summer” By Cold Chisel

The 1998 single “The Last Wave of Summer” by Cold Chisel captures a sense of nostalgia and the fleeting nature of time. The title itself marks the end of a season or, in a broader sense, the end of an era.

In the lyrics, the narrator reflects on a past relationship, a significant part of his youth. He recollects how he lost his soul to this special person during the last wave of summer. This can mean that his summer (youth) has ended, along with his relationship.

Furthermore, the waves can represent the cyclical nature of life and time. Waves come and go, just like seasons, relationships, and phases of life.

17. “Waves Of Fear” By Lou Reed

Let’s end our list with Lou Reed‘s “Waves of Fear.” From his album The Blue Mask, the track expresses the overwhelming nature of fear and anxiety.

In the song, waves symbolize surges of emotion that crash and recede, just like waves in the sea. The narrator sings about “waves of fear” attacking at night and “waves of revulsion” bringing “sickening sights.” This suggests he’s experiencing intense fear that comes in waves and strikes unexpectedly.

Essentially, “Waves of Fear” paints a picture of the experience of intense fear. It uses the metaphor of waves to encapsulate its overpowering nature.

Summing Up Our List Of Waves Songs

As our list showed you, the metaphor of waves is a powerful tool to express emotions and experiences. Waves are the perfect symbol to show the cyclic ups and downs of life as well as the ebb and flow of emotions and relationships.

So that’s it for today. We hope you liked the songs we’ve included and you’ve found new favorites for your own playlist. If you want to see more wave-themed songs on this list, let us know. We’ll include them for you!

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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.