Most Inspirational Rock Songs


The inspiration behind making this list was obvious—when times are tough, we sometimes turn to music to make us feel better. With that in mind here are several contemporary rock songs that will boost your spirits and help get you through the day. What’s interesting about these songs is that while being inspiring, they also often touch on sadness, suggesting that we can only know joy by being aware of sorrow.

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Though not one of Pearl Jam’s more famous hits, “I Am Mine” is one of their most defiant tunes, a vigorous blast of self-determination that feels like a raised fist held up in protest. Starting with a reserved verse before blasting into a rousing chorus, the song lays out the case that when everything seems to be falling apart, all we have to rely on is ourselves. Eddie Vedder’s rugged vocals suggest all the struggle and courage required to stand strong when the world lets you down.

R.E.M. – “Everybody Hurts”

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In the 1980s, R.E.M.’s Michael Stipe preferred to sing his cryptic lyrics in mumbled, mysterious tones. But for this openhearted 1992 ballad, Stipe made his intentions plain, delivering one of his most plaintive performances. Over comforting, churchly keyboards and strings, Stipe consoles the listener, urging him or her not to give up. “Everybody hurts sometimes,” he says, “so hold on.”

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Many U2 songs deal with inspirational themes, but “Beautiful Day” is perhaps their sunniest song, a paean to being positive when there are obvious reasons not to be. As the song opens, the main character is literally and metaphorically stuck, but then he realizes all the wonders of the world around him, which immediately improves his mood. As the Edge’s guitar chords aim for the heavens, Bono encapsulates the feeling of buoyant optimism: “What you don’t have/You don’t need it now/What you don’t know/You can feel it somehow.”

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