The future is full of uncertainty, and worrying about your own future can be intimidating.
Whether this creates fear or excitement varies from person to person, moment to moment. The songs on this list take all our mixed feelings over the future and turn them into something tangible.
From dread to hope to acceptance, these amazing songs about the future contain beautiful lyrics, unique themes, and captivating instrumentation.
- The Future – Leonard Cohen
- Future Proof – Massive Attack
- Future – Paramore
- Future Nostalgia – Dua Lipa
- My Future – Billie Eilish
- A Better Future – David Bowie
- Future Reflections – MGMT
- Future Lovers – Madonna
- In the Year 2525 – Zager & Evans
- Virtual Insanity – Jamiroquai
- Future Starts Slow – The Kills
- Dear Future Husband – Meghan Trainor
- Future People – Alabama Shakes
- FutureSex/LoveSound – Justin Timberlake
- Tomorrow – John Legend
- Hope for the Future – Paul McCartney
- Give Me the Future – Bastille
- Any Day Now – Elbow
The Future – Leonard Cohen
‘The Future’ seems to be about the loss of morality as society progresses. Leonard Cohen’s raspy vocals, combined with the harmony-filled backing choir, make this a transportive song. Cohen and the choir sing, “when they said repent, I wonder what they meant.” This kind of future is full of people so far gone that they don’t even know what repenting is.
Related: Check out the best songs about apologizing.
Future Proof – Massive Attack
‘Future Proof’ is ambient and disorienting, which compliments the ambiguity of its message. A common conclusion is that this song is about substance use- humans will always continue to use and develop new drugs, making them “future proof.” Another idea is that this song is about a wanderer, perhaps one with mental illness. Someone with “absent friends” and an “empty pocket” is looking for a place to exist in the world. Either way, this song has plenty of depth for us to explore.
Future – Paramore
This eight-minute anthem about moving through life was a perfect closer to Paramore’s self-titled album. Specifically, the song talks about letting go of difficult times and looking forward to a better future- “don’t get lost in the memories, keep your eyes on a new prize.” Living in the past is dangerous but easy. This song’s swelling drums and emotional build-up remind you how bright the future can be.
Related: Here is our playlist of moving on songs.
Future Nostalgia – Dua Lipa
Dua Lipa aimed to create a timeless song with the hit ‘Future Nostalgia.’ The paradoxical title implies that this song will have such a big impact that we’ll look back on it with a nostalgic feel in the future. This synthy throwback pop track is representative of the album as a whole, which won a Grammy in 2021 for Best Pop Album.
Related: Don’t forget to listen to this memory songs list.
My Future – Billie Eilish
Born out of self-reflection and growth, Billie Eilish looks ahead with hope in ‘My Future.’ A breakout artist known for her dark style, lines like “I’m in love with my future, can’t wait to meet her” make this song a standout in Eilish’s discography. The song starts intimate and acoustic, and about halfway through, the song picks up with a cool and unexpected beat drop. Sonically and lyrically, ‘My Future’ was a great release after the success of Eilish’s first album.
Related: See more songs about getting older.
A Better Future – David Bowie
‘A Better Future’ is an open letter to God but could also be seen as a message to someone you love that is no longer treating you well. Bowie says, “I demand a better future, or I might just stop loving you.” It sounds a bit threatening but stems from feeling underappreciated and disrespected. What is the point of religion if you don’t trust the higher power to give you a better future? What is the point of a relationship if they make you dread tomorrow?
Related: Build up your ego with these self-worth songs.
Future Reflections – MGMT
MGMT paints the picture of a post-apocalyptic world with ‘Future Reflections.’ The setting of this future is on “a green-colored island” with a primitive way of life. Abrasive vocals and riffing guitar build anticipation, and descriptive lyrics make it easy to imagine this world, yet it remains unclear whether or not this future is a good one.
Related: Get prepared with the best end of the world songs.
Future Lovers – Madonna
A hallmark of electronic dance music from Madonna, ‘Future Lovers’ is about the brilliance of new love. “Future lovers shine for eternity” because all they have is potential. They’ve not yet been exposed to romantic conflict or the hardships of a relationship—right now, they have stars in their eyes and hope in their hearts. “There’s no love like the future love.”
Related: You’ll fall for this playlist of songs about falling in love.
In the Year 2525 – Zager & Evans
This song came out when a lot of societal and technological advancements occurred, and it covers the fear people had about where these advancements would lead. The line “everything you think, do, and say is in the pill you took today” describes people’s apprehension that technology would completely take over life. Though today we are much more comfortable with technology, who knows what life will look like in 2525?
Virtual Insanity – Jamiroquai
‘Virtual Insanity’ is a jazzy commentary on the questionable progression of human society. It brings up the somewhat unnatural advancements we’ve made, like genetic engineering and extreme connection to technology, worrying that we may reach a point where we lose the authenticity of human nature. We are often “governed” by the “useless twisting of our new technology,” which can be overwhelming and scary.
Future Starts Slow – The Kills
‘Future Starts Slow’ is about seeing your future in somebody else but not being able to have it yet. It’s not clear exactly what the obstacle in this relationship is, but no matter the hardship, this narrator is unwilling to give up on the love, saying, “you can thump like a broken sail, but I’ll never give you up.”
Related: Stay awhile and listen to these waiting for someone songs.
Dear Future Husband – Meghan Trainor
‘Dear Future Husband’ is a fun pop song with an attitude full of sass and flirtatiousness. Meghan Trainor has a list of requirements for her future husband and isn’t willing to compromise. “Dear future husband, if you wanna get that special lovin’, tell me I’m beautiful each and every night,” Trainor sings, putting a lighthearted spin on the difficulties of commitment.
Related: Head over to our list of songs about wedding day.
Future People – Alabama Shakes
Angelic high-pitched vocals, a heavy bass, and groovy guitar riffs make this song a unique combination of diverse sonic elements. ‘Future People’ is a call to action, pleading with today’s youth to see themselves as the heart of tomorrow. Often, children and teenagers are discredited for their innocence, but Alabama Shakes implores everyone to remember that they are society’s future.
Related: Listen to more children songs.
FutureSex/LoveSound – Justin Timberlake
A seductive R&B song with elements of pop, Justin Timberlake turns up the heat with his provocative lyrics and intimate vocals. He sings about a girl he is infatuated with, a girl he can’t get enough of. Even though the song is about spending a night together, it seems Timberlake is looking for more when he says, “must be my future.”
Tomorrow – John Legend
Too often, the uncertainty of the future creates a feeling of dread in us. But ‘Tomorrow,’ a smooth R&B song full of positivity, may have you changing your outlook on the future. John Legend’s sweet vocals sing about how he “can’t wait for tomorrow” because of all the opportunities and happy moments it may bring. He finds beauty in the uncertainty of tomorrow, encouraging the listener to do the same.
Related: Don’t hesitate to listen to these songs about seizing the day.
Hope for the Future – Paul McCartney
Paul McCartney created this song to be used in the video game Destiny. The song takes inspiration from the game, in which you play a character protecting the Earth. This daunting task is made a bit lighter with the hopeful lyrics of this song, such as “from out of the darkness, our future will come” and “hope shines brightest in the dark.” The orchestral build and invigorated horns also add to this determined outlook.
Related: Hear similar songs on our hopeful songs list.
Give Me the Future – Bastille
‘Give Me the Future’ has an opposing view to another song on our list, ‘Virtual Insanity.’ While ‘Virtual Insanity’ fears the progression of technology, this song welcomes it, especially when it comes to virtual reality. Bastille sings about wearing a headset to see a future that is “golden and bright.” There’s something for everyone in virtual reality because each person is completely in control of their surroundings.
Related: Ready for the future? Here are some new beginnings songs.
Any Day Now – Elbow
Have you ever felt that inexplicable itch just not to be where you are? ‘Any Day Now’ captures that feeling perfectly, saying, “any day now, how’s about getting out of this place?” There’s no destination in mind, no goal to achieve, but you still know you need to leave. The overlapping vocals and eerie instrumentation add to that ominous feeling of needing to get away.
Related: Say hello to these saying goodbye songs.