Though not most people admit it openly, life is tough. Understandably, we may occasionally want to escape life’s stresses. In most cases, listening to songs about escaping has helped me get the strength I need to move forward.
It is only natural for anyone to fantasize about escaping at some point, as it is a normal feeling for many. Whether one takes action to do it or not will depend on their courage to do so.
If you have ever wondered how some of your favorite composers handle this feeling, then look no further, as I have compiled some of the best songs that cover this topic.
21 Songs About Escaping To Help You Find Your Way Out
We look at how this artist dealt with their internal struggle and desire to escape.
1. Escape from LA – The Weeknd
The first song on this list is by The Weeknd from his album After Hours which was released in 2020. It criticizes the culture and lifestyle of LA.
The artist shows us that there is some darkness beyond the glamor associated with living in Los Angeles, and he wants to run away from the city. This is after he had found his love, thus he wants to escape the city together with her.
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2. Escape – Rupert Holmes
Escape by Rupert Holmes tells the story of two lovers who are married. The lyrics narrate a man who decides to answer a newspaper ad that states a lady is looking for a man.
To his surprise, the ad was from his wife. This shows the stale state of their relationship and how both of them were willing to escape.
3. Time to Pretend – MGMT
Bored with what is considered the safe choice in society by working a 9 to 5 job, the narrator explores the possibility and lives life differently so that he won’t be drained with endless monotony.
This song’s composition was inspired by observing a praying mantis queen who lived only to lay eggs and die.
4. Piano Man – Billy Joel
Piano Man was one the greatest songs of all time and what made Billy Joel a household name in the 1970s. The composer introduces us to different characters who are living in disappointment and depression because of different reasons.
Though they know what can help them escape what they are going through, they do nothing. We get a glimpse that they are all stuck in a never-ending cycle of misery because they lack the courage to escape it.
5. Elastic Heart – Sia
With over 1.2 billion views on YouTube alone, Elastic heart is one of the most popular songs about escaping in this compilation. It is about Sia’s father suffering from mental illness and Sia’s struggle to make him escape it.
In the music video, the little girl represents Sia while Shia LaBeouf represents her father, the cage is his mental illness, and Sia is trying to make him escape the cage, but ultimately fails.
6. Cough Syrup – Young the Giant
This track by Young the Giants has different elements of escapism. One of the prominent elements is the use of drugs to escape the troubles that they face in their daily lives.
The other is their desire to succeed, but they can’t find any musical success. They want to escape from their usual patterns and the suburbia they grew up in to go venture elsewhere.
7. Leaving on a Jet Plane – Peter, Paul and Mary
Though Peter, Paul, and Mary popularized this song, it was originally Written by John Denver in 1966, who titled it “Babe I Hate To Go.” The track talks about two lovers separating because the girl has to leave for somewhere, and her lover is left there waiting.
8. Drift Away – Dobie Gray
Drift Away will be a great addition to your playlist if you are a fan of the arts and use it to escape to a different safe place. Dobie Gray talks about how listening to music brings relief from the troubles we experience in life.
The song has various versions, but this is the most popular one of them all, and it is considered the greatest homage to rock and roll music.
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9. Runaway – Kanye West & Pusha T
Most songs about escaping talk about the main character being overwhelmed and wanting a break from it all. Runaway takes a different perspective as Kanye West addresses his failed relationships and accepts maybe he is less than an ideal lover.
He warns his current lover that it would be best for her to escape as she will only get hurt.
10. The Great Escape – P!nk
The Great Escape lyrics address this compilation’s very important topic of destructive escapism. It’s about hiding from your emotions in every way possible, even by using drugs. Songwriter Dan Wilson helped the singer pen the song released in 2012.
11. Pursuit of Happiness – Kid Cudi & MGMT
With over 220 million views on YouTube, Pursuit of Happiness is one popular song by Kid Cudi. The song’s video shows the chronicles of the superstar trying to pursue his happiness through alcohol and drugs.
He is coming to terms with the fact that his actions and choices are reckless and have negative implications. We, the audience, see that escape is not a destination but a continuous journey. Finding the right path to happiness can take time and work.
12. I’m Like a Bird – Nelly Furtado
It is quite surreal listening to this magnificent track and realizing that it was released about 23 years ago. The lyrics from the artist talk about how she is unappreciated in her relationships.
It is a perfect piece for anyone who feels lost and confused and desires to escape. The idea of being a bird and flying away to change the artist’s life dominates every aspect of the song.
13. Don’t Stop Believin’ – Journey
This song about escaping also has themes of keeping hope alive. It has been popular for decades as it connects to a listener’s desire to escape and find new life. Journey reminds us that sometimes all it takes to find something new in life is to take action.
14. You Don’t Own Me – Lesley Gore
The message in this song by Lesly Lore is very clear. If you have experienced any form of being controlled by your partner, this track can give you the courage to break free.
The artist reminds us that we should live independently and our significant others should not control us. It is an inspirational piece that shows the desire to escape the patriarchal constructs that put women as lesser than men.
15. Blackbird – The Beatles
Blackbird was composed in 1968 by the Beatles to spotlight African Americans’ civil rights movement after reading about the race riots in the USA. It is about the desire to break free from the social injustices experienced by people of color. The song resurfaced back into popularity in 2020 during the Black Live Matters movement.
Recommended: 21 Of The Best Songs About Silence To Inspire Mindful Reflection.
16. Daydream Believer – The Monkees
The Monkees made it a massive hit and became the number-one single in the music charts. The song captures the essence of a person lost in his head. He lives in a fantasy of her making which she hopes to escape.
17. The Great Escape – Boys Like Girls
Similar to most songs by Boys Like Girls, this piece tells a story of the band’s life. The great escape narrates about the band’s singer Martin Johnson leaving the small town he grew up in. Out of most songs about escaping, this track is also a high school graduation anthem.
18. Escape – Enrique Iglesias
Unlike other songs about breaking free, this piece shows how love cuts deep and can be impossible to escape. The song’s lyrics show the singer telling his significant other that however much she tries to run away or hide, it would be impossible for her to escape the emotions of their love.
The track shows the power of love and its effects even long after a relationship ends.
19. Escape Plan – Travis Scott
This song symbolizes the rapper’s life as he addresses his career goals and desires to escape from the hood. It partly centers on his desire to be a gazillionaire. Upon the song’s release, there were a lot of conspiracies surrounding the true meaning of it, as there was a fatal stampede at one of the artist’s concerts.
20. The Sweet Escape – Gwen Stefani & Akon
To make amends with her lover, she apologizes so they can be on good terms. It is not as easy as she wants, and she ends up creating a new world which becomes her escape.
In this fictional world, she lives happily with her partner, and their relationship flourishes. The song combines the idea of escapism and relationships.
21. Send My Love – Adele
The last song is from one of the most popular singers of this generation, Adele. This track shows the triumphant escape of the singer from her ex and wishes him the best.
Rather than look back and hold on to the end of their relationship, she looks forward and even gives his ex-lover advice to treat his next lover better.
What crosses your mind when you think about escaping? Probably you would think of a young adult running away from home or someone from an abusive relationship.
This topic is a significant issue in our lives, and that is why multiple artists have composed songs about escaping to utilize the idea literally and sometimes figuratively.
In most of the songs in this category, we see escaping mainly means leaving a part of yourself or life in the past so that you can move forward.