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Water is an important sustenance in our lives and one of the elements that tie closely to our emotional states. That’s why many artists incorporate metaphors related to water in their songs to convey certain meanings or feelings.
From rivers to oceans, we’ll be covering a list of aqua-related tracks that would blow you out of the water.
The Best Songs about Water
“Ocean Eyes” – Billie Eilish
While “Ocean Eyes” isn’t Eilish’s first song, it is the track that catapulted her to stardom.
After posting it to Soundcloud, it went viral with over a million plays and has been officially remixed four times.
Using the ocean as a metaphor, the song is about how deeply Eilish has fallen for her love interest.
“Purple Rain” – Prince
It’s iconic, it’s relatable, it’s one of the Purple Man’s signature ballads that stood the test of time.
This popular track centers on a relationship that takes place during the apocalypse.
This dreamlike production goes hard on the instrumentations that blend together to create an emotional ballad with Prince’s mellow vocals.
“Singin’ in the Rain” – Arthur Freed
This song puts a different twist on the meaning of rain and turns it into a memorable show tune.
Set in a gloomy and rainy atmosphere, this track is full of cheer and joy.
It has been covered numerous times over the years, but the most iconic version is by Gene Kelly in the 1952 film Singin’ in the Rain.
“Have You Ever Seen the Rain?” – Creedance Clearwater Revival
This 1971 song goes pretty introspective as it explores the issues of that era and how they remained unresolved.
Despite its melancholic message, it features a simple tune and easy-to-remember lyrics that make it quite easy to sing.
“Cry Me a River” – Justin Timberlake
This catchy smash hit is a snarky ode to Timberlake’s previous relationship with Britney Spears.
The passive-aggressive lyrics certainly depict his feelings as he’s done with her cheating ways and refuses to listen to her excuses.
Timberlake’s falsetto vocals blend well with the combination of bass, synths, and strong beats to create this melodramatic R&B song.
“Set Fire to the Rain” – Adele
It can be intimidating to take on any of Adele’s songs, but this 2010 breakup anthem is just too good to resist.
The track sees Adele singing about a man who played her heart and how fixing their broken relationship is impossible, like setting fire to the rain.
With lush instrumentals and Adele’s powerful vocals, this song just sweeps you off your feet.
“The River” – Bruce Springsteen
Inspired by his sister’s shotgun marriage, “The River” is based on the conversations Bruce had with his brother-in-law.
The song is a story of life as it starts with a young man excited to be wed and ends with him struggling with hardships. The river is meant to symbolize the different stages of his life.
It has a pretty solemn message, but many of us can relate to losing our zeal due to adult responsibilities.
“Water Runs Dry” – Boyz II Men
Had a bad fight with your romantic partner? This tender track speaks about trying to make things right in your relationships before it’s too late.
With soft melodies and smooth vocals, this song will certainly encourage you to reconcile with your partner.
“Waterfalls” – TLC
Released in 1995, “Waterfalls” is TLC’s signature song that explores many social issues including drugs and promiscuity.
Despite its dark commentary, it’s an all-around funky and catchy tune that makes you want to belt it out aloud.
“Drink the Water” – Jack Johnson
Rather than using water as a metaphor, Johnson’s 2001 track is about his personal experience out at sea.
“Drink the Water” is based on a near-death accident Johnson had when he was still a surfer.
With a quiet melody, the lyrics capture the desperation and fear he had when he nearly drowned on a coral reef that left him badly injured.
“Capsize” – FRENSHIP & Emily Warren
This unlikely team-up brought us a tropical-flavored jam that we guarantee will stay in your head for some time.
Though the track alludes to breakups, it can also be interpreted as pretending to be okay when you’re not.
With ocean-inspired sounds and strong beats, “Capsize” succeeds in evoking a feeling of drowning in your emotions.
“Water” – The Who
If you’re into rock, this gritty track is perfect for you. “Water” dives into themes of love and how people have lost their values.
In the song, water is meant to symbolize love as the people are lacking it and are being unkind in their lives.
Featuring a strong melody and vocals, this track has a message for everyone around the world: Spread love, not hate.
“By the Waters of Babylon” – Boney M
Originally released by the Melodians in 1970, this song was re-popularized in the 1970s in Europe by Boney M.
The song has a spiritual message as it was written as an allegory to express dissatisfaction with the Jamaican government at the time.
This track is catchy with a disco-infused tune that would definitely give you a wave of nostalgia.
“(Sittin’ On) the Dock of the Bay” – Otis Redding
This 1968 soul-infused track was recorded before Redding’s death and was arguably his biggest pop hit.
The song is pretty depressive as it sees Redding talk about his loneliness while he sits by the bay watching boats pass by.
Aside from the sounds of gentle waves crashing on the shore, it also features a lilting tune that makes it more immersive.
“Rain” – The Beatles
If you want to get lost in an ethereal-like experience, The Beatles’s “Rain” will certainly give you that.
The song can be interpreted as an LSD-influenced trip that causes a detachment of feelings from the real world.
It has a psychedelic vibe with an Indian-style melody and slow vocals that make it a relaxing listen.
“Wade in the Water” – Eva Cassidy
The original song dates back to the 1900s during the era of slavery, and it was used as a method of expression.
Cassidy’s cover is a mix of jazz, gospel, and blues combined with haunting vocals that make it entertaining to sing out.
“Surfin’ Safari” – Beach Boys
True to the Beach Boys style, this 1962 single is about three things: surfing, women, and cars.
It’s a fun summer jam that also explores the increasing spread of surf culture in California in the ’60s.
“Ol’ Man River” – Paul Robeson
“Ol’ Man River” was initially composed for the 1927 musical Showboat and has undergone various lyrical changes over the decades.
This show tune sees Robeson singing about the struggles of African-Americans and contrasts them with the Mississippi River.
It doesn’t just have a nostalgic feel, but it’s also an eye-opening experience.
“Something in the Water” – Carrie Underwood
Released in 2014, this song details Underwood’s spiritual awakening after she is baptized.
With an upbeat rhythm and Underwood’s soaring vocals, this song is inspiring and certainly would uplift the spirits of anyone who hears it.
“Black Water” – Doobie Brothers
If you’re looking for a nice song to jam out to for a road trip, this track is full of positive vibes.
Published in 1974, this simple song is about taking a journey through New Orleans and enjoying the good life.
It also features melodious acapella lines that add to its nostalgic feel.
“Madman across the Water” – Elton John
This 1971 song is pretty dark as it tells the tale of a madman who lives in an asylum across the water.
John was inspired to compose this track after a conversation he had.
With fierce guitar riffs and John’s powerful vocals, it’s a great song to sing your heart out to.