15 songs with deep meanings

21 November 2021, 15:47

Rodin's Thinker pondering the big questions in music
Rodin's Thinker pondering the big questions in music. Picture: Getty Images

It's time to get DEEP. Is your existentialism all relative, or are you in love with a notion?

  1. The Smiths - How Soon Is Now?

    "See I've already waited too long, and all my hope is gone." Morrissey's finest example of bedroom poet philosophy, confronting the very essence of time.

  2. John Lennon - Instant Karma!

    The former Beatles looks at the theory of action and inaction in terms of instant gratification. Can karma be attained immediately, like a cup of instant coffee? *rubs chin, thoughtfully*

  3. Pixies - Where Is My Mind?

    This Pixies track may be one of the biggest anthems to get intoxicated to, but they do pose a pertinent question. After all, Gilbert Ryle's Concept Of The Mind rejects the notion that the mind is separate from the body.

  4. Editors - An End Has A Start

    "You came on your own, that's how you leave." Another stark reminder of the futility of life and the loneliness of death. As Sartre wrote: "You are your life, and nothing else."

  5. Miles Kane - Don't Forget Who You Are

    "I think therefore I am," said French philosopher Rene Descartes. The concept of self is crystallised by the very act of thinking.

  6. The Chemical Brothers - Let Forever Be

    Challenging the concept of time – particularly Hans Reichenbach’s theory of conventionalism – stating that we can never truly apprehend the length of time. So how long is forever, how soon is now? Nobody knows…

  7. Modest Mouse - Float On

    So we press on, boats against the currents… at the end of the day, are we merely floating in the universe?

  8. The Rolling Stones - You Can't Always Get What You Want

    Closely related to John Stuart Mill's concept of Utilitarianism, suggesting that human action is only worthwhile if it contributes to maximising human happiness, not just selfish personal want and desire. Of course, The Stones were probably talking about women and drugs...

  9. Biffy Clyro - Living Is A Problem Because Everything Dies

    An anti-humanist track, more aligned to the sort of sceptical-existentialism that Albert Camus ascribes to the human battle for survival in an absurd world.

  10. The Strokes - Is This It

    "Is this all there is?" is a question no doubt asked by every philosopher and deep thinker, but a Naturalist stance would very much suggest the only life we have is the one here on earth.

  11. Radiohead - Everything In Its Right Place

    This Radiohead track might have very few words in it, but its title reflects the Hegelian belief that "everything happens for a reason".

  12. The Who - Who Are You?

    The Who have the right idea, since the concept of the self is arguably nothing without knowing how you relate to those around you. And how they relate to your massive power chords.

  13. Manic Street Preachers - A Design For Life

    "Libraries gave us power... then work came and set us free." As Karl Marx said: "The rich will do anything for the poor... except get off their backs."

  14. The Charlatans - Love Is The Key

    As the great psychedelic thinker Timothy Leary once said: "If you don't like what you are going, you can always pick up the needle and move to another groove."

  15. Oasis - Don't Look Back In Anger

    Because, essentially, we will all be dust pretty soon. If you have any further questions, see me after class.


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