It’s hard out there. Understandably, often you just want to escape from the stress of life. It’s natural to experience a desire to escape at some point. Whether you actually are just fantasizing about it, or you decide to escape something in reality, songs about escaping can help you reconcile your feelings.
Look no further than the music of your favorite artists to see how they deal with their own internal struggles and desire to escape. Read on for our roundup of the best songs about escaping!
- 1. Time To Pretend – MGMT
- 2. Don’t Stop Believing – Journey
- 3. Leaving On A Jet Plane – Peter, Paul, and Mary
- 4. I’m Like A Bird – Nelly Furtado
- 5. Escape – Kehlani
- 6. Running Up That Hill – Kate Bush
- 7. Escape From Love – Eva Simmons and Sidney Samson
- 8. Escapade – Janet Jackson
- 9. Freedom – Pharell Williams
- 10. Beautiful Escape – Tom Misch
- 11. Escape – Journey
- 12. Eye Of The Tiger – Survivor
- 13. Dog Days Are Over – Florence And The Machine
- 14. The Getaway – Red Hot Chili Peppers
- 15. Shake It Off – Taylor Swift
- 16. Escape Plan – Travis Scott
- 17. How To Disappear Completely – Radiohead
- 18. Free – Broods
- 19. Sweet Escape – Gwen Stefani
- 20. Escape – Enrique Iglesias
- 21. Runaway – Kanye West
- 22. Xscape – Michael Jackson
- Now it’s time for your escape!
1. Time To Pretend – MGMT
In this classic 2007 indie electronic song about escaping, MGMT explores the vivid times of living a fast and hard rock ‘n’roll lifestyle.
“But there is nothing, nothing we can do” This explains the song’s theme that fame and success as a singer tend to take their own path that the artist cannot fully control.
This song has the perfect bittersweet nostalgic vibe for soundtracking your escape. It is often exhausting to live a dreary existence. This song is about the desire to get away from the stresses of everyday life and live in a fantasy world.
It can be fun to imagine that you’ve achieved fame and fortune or are living the life of your dreams. However, this is a cautionary tale and warns of the downsides of success and fame. The song was written when they were at college before they became famous.
2. Don’t Stop Believing – Journey
Despite the song’s primary theme of staying hopeful through dark times, there is an underlying need for “escape” to be found within it. In the song’s introduction, two strangers are shown boarding a train together.
For a long time, the song has maintained its popularity because it resonates with many people’s yearning to start again. Sometimes, all you need is a change of scenery and a fresh perspective. This is what inspired the song, according to frontman Steve Perry.
3. Leaving On A Jet Plane – Peter, Paul, and Mary
Everybody needs a little motivation from time to time, and this song provides just that.
It’s an expression of the desire to leave everything behind and start a new life. This song offers a positive outlook on the many options available to you if you make the decision to make a change in your life. It also exemplifies how you may go on a new journey or take a major risk in order to advance in your life.
4. I’m Like A Bird – Nelly Furtado
If you’re feeling lost and unsure of yourself, this is the right music for you. In this song, Nelly Furtado sings about wanting to escape and change her whole life. Birds have long been used as metaphors for escape in music and art because they have the symbology of flying free and escaping the ground we walk on.
Furtado in an interview said she feels most like a seagull, an interesting choice!
5. Escape – Kehlani
Kehlani is a California-based singer and songwriter. A contestant on America’s Got Talent as part of the group “Poplyfe,” she was nominated for a Grammy Award last year for Best Urban Contemporary Album despite her tender age of only 21 years. With the release of her first album, SweetSexySavage, it seems like Kehlani has a bright future ahead of her!
This song about escaping has a cool vibe that takes you away from stress. Grab a breath of fresh air and escape with this tune.
6. Running Up That Hill – Kate Bush
Recently featured in Stranger Things Season 4, this is a timeless classic. It’s a soulful 80’s banger. The main theme of the song is about swapping your life with someone else. With powerful emotions and a roaring chorus, listening to this song is escapism at its finest.
Kate Bush was planning on calling the song ‘A Deal With God’, but her record label changed the name.
7. Escape From Love – Eva Simmons and Sidney Samson
“Oh lord, have mercy on me”. This song is about escaping a troubled love. She’s trying to escape from love, but she can’t let go. Love can be a blinding emotion and often gets its hooks into your heart.
Breaking away from love can be one of the hardest things a human goes through. Although sometimes it’s needed. This soulful, minimalist acoustic guitar-based groove is a perfect soundtrack for escaping.
8. Escapade – Janet Jackson
Released in 1989, this feel-good tune gives you a pep in your step as you escape. For those that don’t know, Janet Jackson is the sister of the king of pop, Michael Jackson. They were both in Jackson 5 as youngsters.
“Come on baby let’s get away, save our troubles for a different day”. This tune is about escaping with your lover on an escapade. It’s a sweet song with a catchy 80’s chorus. Full of retro drum machines and soulful vocals, this is a positive take on escaping.
9. Freedom – Pharell Williams
This song references common issues faced by people from minority backgrounds. This includes troubles such as exploitation and poverty. It has a dark touch but is ultimately uplifting. It will empower you to feel like you can overcome obstacles. No matter how oppressed you feel, you can still feel freedom.
It’s another minimalistic beat, but the simple groove is perfect for escaping. You can hear the desperation and emotion in Pharell’s voice. The production is modern and unique, using more distortion than you would expect in a pop song from Pharell.
“Mind, use your power / Spirit, use your wings / Freedom!”
10. Beautiful Escape – Tom Misch
Recent chartbuster Tom Misch released this track in 2015. It’s a mellow groove about the strong emotions felt in a relationship. It covers insecurities and fears, but also the euphoria and rush of love.
“I just wanna go there /I just want a beautiful escape.”
It’s full of classic Tom Misch melodies and guitar licks, underpinned by a lo-fi house beat. Your heart will beat in time and make you fly as you escape. The vocal production is particularly unique and interesting, with hidden layers of depth and complexity.
If you like his work then you should check out his alter ego!
11. Escape – Journey
Escape is a track on a 1981 album of the same name. This high-octane rock song is full of guitars and epic vocals. It was well received by critics. The music is an interesting blend of heavy rock and pop. It’s old-school and makes you feel like you’re escaping down a highway at high speed.
“I’m finally out in the air and I’m free”. Whether you’re escaping from love, home, work, friends, or anything else, this is an uplifting song to feel your newfound freedom.
12. Eye Of The Tiger – Survivor
Another instantly recognizable guitar riff. ‘Rocky’ director Sylvester Stallone requested that Survivor write a song for the film’s title tune – this was the result.
It’s about doing whatever it takes to stay in the game while everyone else is trying to go ahead of you. We all have to face challenges in our lives. This song will inspire you to fight your obstacles and break through to freedom.
“Rising up, back on the street / Did my time, took my chances”
13. Dog Days Are Over – Florence And The Machine
Starting small and timid, this song blossoms into a modern epic ballad. Escaping reality is something that everyone wants to do when times are tough. But if you keep your head down and focus on the important things, then eventually the dog days will be behind you.
“Run fast for your mother, run fast for your father / Run for your children, for your sisters and brothers”
Whether you choose to fight or flight, this song is going to help you escape the pain you are feeling. It will give you a new boost of energy to escape in one direction or the other. The musical arrangement has a huge amount of detail and is almost a timeless classic despite being released relatively recently in 2010.
14. The Getaway – Red Hot Chili Peppers
Another heavy funk song from the iconic Red Hot Chili Peppers band. The lyrics are complex and full of different meanings. That said, there is a heavy theme of escape and getting away. As worldwide celebrities, the Chili Peppers have had their fair share of attention. At times, too much.
Part of this song is about hiding away in your car and escaping problems. It also touches on their prolific use of drugs to escape reality. Further themes touch on how your lover can be an escape from trouble.
15. Shake It Off – Taylor Swift
Taylor Swift’s song “Shake It Off” contains a simple but vital message: Don’t let other people’s ideas and issues stand in the way of living your life.
Taylor Swift composed the uplifting song that simply states, “Shake it off!” to help you shake off the desire to run away from your life or the position you’re in. Sometimes escaping seems like the best option, but when you push through this feeling, you can take hold of your life with a new sense of power.
16. Escape Plan – Travis Scott
The song’s title and lyrics have sparked a slew of interpretations, but Travis Scott seems to be singing about his desire to escape poverty by becoming a well-known musician.
This is shown in the dense and relentless lyrics. “But wait, it opened gates and this shit just starts parading, olé (let’s go) / We out the basement, on one floor where it’s vacant.”
It’s also about attempting to earn a woman’s passionate attention.
17. How To Disappear Completely – Radiohead
The lyrics of How To Disappear Completely, along with all of Radiohead’s songs, are perplexing (and frequently abstract). Radiohead have written many songs about escape, but this is the most obvious.
From their fourth studio album, “Kid A,” comes a lovely, sorrowful, and unforgettable tune. It has a comforting arrangement, but there is a persistent sense of tension created by a discordant drone in the background. You can really feel the metaphor for trouble that you want to escape, niggling away at the back of your mind.
To put it another way, “How To Disappear Completely” is about a desire to leave the present moment and possibly even your own self. It has a strong meditational feeling and is a great song for drifting away into some kind of escape.
18. Free – Broods
Songs about escaping are often filled with a sense of liberation and freedom. Understandable, given that the act of escape usually results in you overcoming problems in your life. This up-tempo, dark club tune is full of freedom and empowerment.
This song by Broods, a New Zealand music duo, is about escaping the daily grind. However, the song’s lyrics and music video reveal the song’s deeper message. It’s inspirational but also has a trapping feeling. Often, it feels like no matter how hard you try, you’re stuck in some kind of cage.
That said, the final message is that you can break free, no matter how hard your barriers are. “If I lose it all, at least I’ll be free.”
19. Sweet Escape – Gwen Stefani
In this song about escaping, a couple in dispute reconcile and look forward to a bright future together.
Gwen Stefani and Akon worked together on the song, which they also composed. (Despite Stefani’s resistance.) They sing about how the lady has injured the guy and they will make things right with each other as the battling pair.
While trying to establish a new world, Gwen Stefani tries to make amends for her previous misdeeds in this song. This includes living happily with her spouse in the new environment that she has created for herself and him.
It’s as if the music is trying to get away from both people and locations at the same time.
20. Escape – Enrique Iglesias
In this song, he informs a lover that she has the option of leaving him, but he doesn’t think she will be able to escape the feelings of love he has for her. Even after a breakup, the experience of love can change the way you think and feel for years to come.
21. Runaway – Kanye West
In this song, Kanye West speaks to those that dislike him, whether physically or socially. He criticizes them and fantasizes about escaping his problems, but he also expresses a wide range of feelings and ideas. Even if he’s one of the jerks, West tells others to avoid them, even if he’s a jerk himself.
22. Xscape – Michael Jackson
Michael Jackson’s long-awaited album, Xscape, was released in 2014. In any event, he didn’t distribute it since he’d already been dead for five years. This was not a bad album, and it deserves to be heard more than once.
When it comes to Michael Jackson, this record is an attempt to bring him into the current decade of music. This album shows how your energy can affect people even after your death. In some ways, death is an escape from life and a new stage for your spirit.
Now it’s time for your escape!
So, that concludes my list of best songs about escaping. However you plan on escaping, the above songs will make the perfect soundtrack. Escaping can be a complex action, and it comes in many forms.
Perhaps it’s a metaphorical escape or even a literal one. Escaping into music can be a great way to relieve yourself of the tensions of day-to-day life. Enjoy feeling some freedom in this playlist!