23 Best Songs About Time [Not Enough or Too Much]

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Musicians have long sought to capture the complexity of time. Yet, so often, it passes by so quickly. On other occasions, it drags on slowly, with minutes feeling more like hours. The thing about time that makes us uncomfortable is change. Songwriters have echoed this sentiment, creating music about the clock’s unforgiving nature.

Here are some of the best songs about time.

Songs About Time

1. Time Is on My Side, Rolling Stones

Time Is on My Side | Rolling Stones | songs about time or clocks

via The Rolling Stones

“Go ahead baby, go ahead

Go ahead and light up the town

And baby, I do anything your heart desires, remember

I’ll always be around

And I know, I know

Like I told you so many times before

You’re gonna come back.”

Instead of saying goodbye to love, the songwriter assures his lover that she will return. Time will bring her back to him. All he has to do is wait.

2. Time Has Come Today, The Chamber Brothers

Time Has Come Today | The Chamber Brothers | songs about time passing too fast

via The Chambers Brothers

“Now the time has come (Time)

There’s no place to run (Time)

I might get burned up by the sun (Time)

But I had my fun (Time)

I’ve been loved and put aside (Time)

I’ve been crushed by the tumbling tide (Time)

And my soul has been psychedelicized (Time).”

After fighting to keep the relationship going, the protagonist of this song admits that the time has come to let go. There is an acceptance in the lyrics that suggest the artist understands he has been fighting a losing battle.

3. Yesterday, The Beatles

Yesterday | The Beatles | pop songs about time

via The Beatles

“Yesterday, all my troubles seemed so far away

Now it looks as though they’re here to stay

Oh, I believe in yesterday

Suddenly, I’m not half the man I used to be

There’s a shadow hanging over me

Oh, yesterday came suddenly.”

Yesterday everything was going great, but today, the tables have turned. In this song, the songwriter’s relationship has ended, and he wants to go back to the past, to a time when he and the woman he loves were still together.

4. Who Knows Where the Time Goes?, Fairport Convention

Who Knows Where the Time Goes? | Fairport Convention | best songs about time

via Fairport Convention – Topic

“I have no thought of time

For who knows where the time goes?

Who knows where the time goes?

Sad, deserted shore, your fickle friends are leaving

Ah, but then you know it’s time for them to go

But I will still be here, I have no thought of leaving

I do not count the time.”

In “Who Knows Where the Time Goes,” the protagonist is unaware of the passage of time. He only realizes that thing have changed when his partner decides to move on.

5. If I Could Turn Back Time, Cher

If I Could Turn Back Time | Cher | best songs about time

via Cher

“If I could turn back time

If I could find a way

I’d take back those words that have hurt you

If I could reach the stars

I’d give them all to you

Then you’d love me, love me.”

Cher’s song evokes feelings of regret. She has made mistakes and said things she wishes she could take back. Unfortunately, you can’t reverse time, and she loses the person she loves.

6. Good Riddance, Green Day

Good Riddance | Green Day | songs about time to go

via Green Day

“Another turning point, a fork stuck in the road

Time grabs you by the wrist, directs you where to go

So make the best of this test, and don’t ask why

It’s not a question, but a lesson learned in time.”

You will hear ‘Good Riddance’ by Green Day played at many graduations. The song addresses that period when one chapter is closing and another is about to begin. The mix of excitement, anxiety, and sadness is something that many of us can relate to.

7. Too Much Time on My Hands, Styx

Too Much Time on My Hands | Styx | songs about time passing

via STYX

“Is it any wonder I’m not crazy

Is it any wonder I’m sane at all

Well I’m so tired of losing

I’ve got nothing to do and all day to do it.”

 “Too Much Time on My Hands” describes what happens when idleness takes over. Boredom can be very destructive and hard to bear. This song resonates with those who find themselves feeling rudderless in life. Without a sense of purpose, the 24 hours in a day can seem insufferable.

8. Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?, Chicago

Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is? | Chicago | songs about time travel

via Chicago Band

“Does anybody really know what time it is (I don’t)

Does anybody really care (care about time)

If so I can’t imagine why (no, no)

We’ve all got time enough to cry.”

The songwriter displays a very blasé attitude towards time. He doesn’t care about it even though everyone around him seems obsessed with the minutes ticking by.

9. Cat’s in the Cradle, Harry Chapin

Cat’s in the Cradle | Harry Chapin | songs about time and love

via ETWETWFANS

My child arrived just the other day.

He came to the world in the usual way.

But there were planes to catch and bills to pay.

He learned to walk while I was away.”

“Cat’s in the Cradle” brilliantly describes a problem that fathers face in the modern age. They work to provide a good life for their children, but it robs them of time to watch their kids grow. The song portrays a father and son who do not spend time together.

10. Time Warp, Richard O’Brien

Time Warp | Richard O’Brien | songs about time or clocks

via Richard O’Brien – Topic

“With a bit of a mind flip,

You’re into the time slip

And nothing can ever be the same.

You’re spaced out on sensation.”

“Time Warp” was featured in the 1973 musical ‘The Rocky Horror Show.’ The dance steps described in the song are infectious and have made it a popular choice at weddings and dances.

11. Clocks, Coldplay

Clocks | Coldplay | songs about time lyrics

via Coldplay

“The lights go out and I can’t be saved

Tides that I tried to swim against

Have brought me down upon my knees

Oh, I beg, I beg and plead

Singin’ come out of things unsaid.”

Time seems to have caught up with the singer. He talks about trying and failing to swim against the tide. The “closing walls” and “missed opportunities” mentioned in the song evoke feelings of losing a battle waged against the clock.

12. Time, Pink Floyd

Time | Pink Floyd | songs about time movie

via Pink Floyd Remastered Songs

“You are young, and life is long, and there is time to kill today.

And then one day you find ten years have got behind you.

No one told you when to run; you missed the starting gun.”

Pink Floyd explores the irony of wasting time when you’re younger and not having enough of it as you get older. The sentiment expressed by the artist is one that can be understood by listeners as they advance in age. The young tend to see time as endless, while older people appreciate that their time on earth is precious.

13. Nothing Compares 2 U, Sinead O’Connor

Nothing Compares 2 U | Sinead O’Connor | songs about time wasting

via Sinéad O’Connor

“I can eat my dinner in a fancy restaurant

But nothing

I said nothing can take away these blues

’Cause nothing compares

Nothing compares to you.”

The singer talks about filling her nights with partying while her days are spent in bed. Regardless, none of it means anything without the one she loves. “Nothing Compares 2 U” is a song about heartbreak, of time standing still when a loved one walks out of your life.

14. Remember the Time , Michael Jackson

Remember the Time | Michael Jackson | songs about time telling

via Michael Jackson

“Do you remember

Back in the fall?

We’d be together all day long

Do you remember

Us holding hands?

In each other’s eyes, we’d stare

Tell me.”

“Remember the Time” is about lost love. The songwriter revisits the past, trying to remind his ex about when they were happy together. It’s a song that evokes feelings of nostalgia and longing.

15. Back in Time, Huey Lewis and the News

Back in Time | Huey Lewis and the News | rock songs about time

via hueylewisofficial

“Take me away

I don’t mind

You better promise me

I’ll be back in time

Gotta get back in time.”

The song “Back in Time” was recorded for the “Back to the Future” movie. Huey Lewis and his crew used the time travel plot as inspiration for this piece of music. The lyrics speak about going back in time and not missing out on any aspect of the past.

16. The Time of My Life, Bill Medley and Jennifer Warnes

The Time of My Life | Bill Medley and Jennifer Warnes | best songs about time

via BillMJennWVEVO

“I’ve been waiting for so long.

Now I’ve finally found someone to stand by me.

We saw the writing on the wall.

As we felt this magical fantasy.”

Bill Medley and Jennifer Warnes sing about how moments with loved ones are magical. This is one of the songs about time that has enduring popularity. It’s still well-known decades after it was first released.

top songs about time | songs about time and love | best songs about time

17. Dock of the Bay, Otis Redding

Dock of the Bay | Otis Redding | old songs about time

via RHINO

“I’m sittin’ on the dock of the bay

Watchin’ the tide roll away, ooh

I’m just sittin’ on the dock of the bay

Wastin’ time.”

A song full of despair and heartbreak, Otis Redding sings about watching the world go by. He passes each day sitting on the dock and watching ships come and go. Even though he has moved away from home for a fresh start, he still believes he has nothing to live for.

18. Time, Culture Club

Time | Culture Club | christmas songs about time

via Culture Club

“Oh, in time, it could have been so much more.

The time is precious, I know.

In time it could have been so much more.

The time has nothing to show.”

In this song, Culture Club show how the passing of time can alter the perception of a relationship. The bittersweet lyrics acknowledge the precious nature of time, but how it can also have no meaning at all.

19. Time After Time, Cyndi Lauper

Time After Time | Cyndi Lauper | good songs about time

via Cyndi Lauper

“If you’re lost you can look and you will find me

Time after time

If you fall, I will catch you, I’ll be waiting

Time after time

If you’re lost, you can look and you will find me

Time after time

If you fall, I will catch you, I will be waiting

Time after time.”

An 80s classic, Cyndi Lauper promised to hold on to love. This melody is about a steadfast romance that does not fade away, even when the couple is no longer on the same page. “Time after Time” is a song about time which has become a favorite at prom nights and weddings.

20. Closing Time, Semisonic

Closing Time | Semisonic | all songs about time

via Semisonic

“Closing time, one last call for alcohol

So, finish your whiskey or beer

Closing time, you don’t have to go home

But you can’t stay here

I know who I want to take me home.”

“Closing Time” might be mistaken for a song about staggering out into the night after a bar closes. However, it is about the comfort of knowing that you are not alone at the end of the day.

21. Time Is Running Out, Muse

Time Is Running Out | Muse | songs from about time movie

via Muse

“I wanted freedom, bound and restricted

I tried to give you up, but I’m addicted

Now that you know I’m trapped, sense of elation

You’d never dream of breaking this fixation.”

In this song, the band desperately holds on to a love that has already turned sour. They speak of wanting freedom and of feeling suffocated. But despite all the toxicity, they can’t let go of the relationship. Unfortunately, time is not on their side.

22. Fast, Luke Bryan

Fast | Luke Bryan | songs about times tables

via Luke Bryan

“Sixty seconds now feels more like thirty.

Tick-tock, won’t stop; around it goes.

Sand through the glass sure falls in a hurry.

And all you keep trying to do is slow it down, soak it in.

Keep trying to make the good times last as long as you can.”

Here, Luke Bryant sings about lost moments and time going by too fast. When we’re younger, this seems like a desirable quality. But as we get older, all we want is to slow down the hands of the clock.

23. A Hazy Shade of Winter, Simon and Garfunkel

A Hazy Shade of Winter | Simon and Garfunkel | songs about timeless love

via Simon & Garfunkel

“Seasons change with the scenery

Weaving time in a tapestry

Won’t you stop and remember me

At any convenient time?

Funny how my memory skips while looking over manuscripts

Of unpublished rhyme

Drinking my vodka and lime.”

“A Hazy Shade of Winter” is about taking stock of life. The song reflects on how people mellow with age. You go from being hard to please to accepting that things don’t always work out as planned.

Final Thoughts on Songs About Time

Time is a phenomenon beyond our control. It takes familiar things away and replaces them with new and sometimes scary alternatives. We grow older, lose love, but gain perspective. All the while, the clock keeps on ticking, carrying us through an ever-evolving landscape. Artists have written many songs about time, attempting to capture the confusion and emotion of change. Take a listen to these tracks about time.

songs about time | songs about time passing | songs about time and love

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