A lot of pop songs that dominate the radio waves usually end up stuck in our heads for days on end. We usually don’t think much of pop songs and more or less just enjoy them because they’re really catchy. But if you took a moment to really listen to and comprehend the lyrics, do you know what these songs are actually about?
You might be shocked to discover that the song stuck in your head is actually a praise to God. While some songs might be blatantly about God, we’ve gathered a list of popular songs that are covertly religious. The first one might shock you!
Hanging By A Moment
Anyone who grew up in the late ’90s will remember when Lifehouse’s 2000 hit “Hanging by a Moment” was played on the radio nonstop. Many couples have enlisted the song to define their relationship since the song is seemingly about a guy who falls madly in love with a woman.
But it is a little-known fact that Lifehouse is considered a Christian band and that lead singer Jason Wade is singing about his relationship with Jesus Christ. He reportedly “wrote the song in about five minutes without thinking about what would happen to it.” Well, he soon found out his love for Jesus was misinterpreted as love for a woman.
You Raise Me Up
If you’re familiar with the angelic voice of Josh Groban, then you’ve certainly heard his 2004 cover of “You Raise Me Up.” Originally written by Irish-Norwegian duo Secret Garden, the song has been re-recorded by many artists around the world. Josh Groban’s rendition was so popular, it made it to number one on Billboard‘s adult contemporary chart in 2004, where it remained for six weeks, and he was nominated for a Grammy in 2005.
Whether or not it was intended as such, “You Raise Me Up” is now a popular Gospel song that has been interpreted to reflect how invincible the love of God can make someone.
Pocketful of Sunshine
British singer Natasha Beddingfield was “Unwritten” when she made her debut on American airwaves and she delighted us again with her 2008 hit “Pocketful of Sunshine.” She notes that the song is about escaping one’s troubles and finding peace in difficult situations.
Given that description of the song, you wouldn’t think that Beddingfield intended the song to be religious. But when you hear her sing “There’s a place that I go / That nobody knows / Where the rivers flow / And I call it home / And there’s no more lies / And the darkness is light / And nobody cries / There’s only butterflies,” you would think that she’s describing Heaven. One could also argue that she’s singing for God to “take her away” to this place.
Bring Me To Life
Evanescence’s 2003 hit “Bring Me to Life” was the emo song we all secretly (or not so secretly) rocked out to in the early 2000’s. According to frontwoman Amy Lee, the song was inspired by her now-husband, Josh Hartzler, who she said could “see inside her” and “bring her to life,” when they had just barely met.
Although not intended as a Christian song, “Bring Me to Life,” and a lot of other Evanescence songs get interpreted as such. The band is even quite popular among the Christian community and it’s easy to see why the song is interpreted as a song about God, especially with lyrics like “Wake me up inside, save me / Call my name and save me from the dark, wake me up.”
English folk-rock band Mumford & Sons is infamous for having songs that all sound the same, but leave it to the Christian community to interpret a lot of their songs as songs about God.The band’s 2010 hit “The Cave” is one of the most popular songs used for gospel, and for very good reason.
With lines that go “And I’ll find strength in pain / And I will change my ways / I’ll know my name as it’s called again,” it wouldn’t be hard to mistake the religious undertones. The son of former church leaders, frontman Marcus Mumford has told relevantmagazine.com about his complicated relationship with his faith, which he says is “a work in progress.”
Are You Gonna Go My Way
Released in 1993, “Are You Gonna Go My Way” is arguably one of Lenny Kravitz’s most popular songs. Kravitz has said that it was one of those songs that “happened in 5 minutes” and that the song is about Jesus Christ, who Kravitz has called “The Ultimate Rock Star.”
The song is interpreted to be about how God gives people choices of where to turn in their lives. The lyrics go “I was born long ago / I am the chosen I’m the one / I have come to save the day / And I won’t leave until I’m done,” so it’s easy to see why many people think that this song is about Jesus.
The 2008 Kings of Leon single is actually about the time frontman Caleb Followill was recovering from a shoulder injury and after letting go of his pride, decided that he needed people around him to get through the healing process. But the song can easily be interpreted as a gospel song, crying out for the help of God in one’s life.
It wouldn’t be far off to assume that, especially considering Followill’s background. Before forming the band, he and his brothers had often traveled as children since their parents were preachers and church leaders for many churches throughout the South. They had a very religious upbringing and were actually not exposed to general rock music until a later age.
Gavin DeGraw’s 2005 hit is believed to be about how DeGraw felt after moving to a new city from his hometown, but many people believe that it was written as a song about being in a better place, such as Heaven.
Of the song, DeGraw has been cited as saying that chariot “is a metaphorical vehicle for getting to a place in your mind that is more broken down and laid back. It’s somewhere to be just for a moment – instead of being wrapped up and living wherever you’re living and consumed with what you’re doing. It’s a place to release and chill out.”
It’s obvious that a song with a title like “Hallelujah” would be religious in itself. Originally written by Leonard Cohen, the most popular version of the song is the one sung by Jeff Buckley in 1994.
Of the song’s meaning, Cohen has reportedly said “Hallelujah is a Hebrew word which means ‘Glory to the Lord.’ The song explains that many kinds of Hallelujahs do exist. I say: All the perfect and broken Hallelujahs have an equal value. It’s a desire to affirm my faith in life, not in some formal religious way but with enthusiasm, with emotion.”
Coldplay’s 2005 hit is “probably the most important song we’ve ever written,” according to frontman Chris Martin. Martin says he found inspiration for the song after using an old keyboard from his late-ex-father-in-law Bruce Paltrow. He discovered the sounds that it could make, which sounded like a church organ.
Martin probably didn’t intend for the song to be a gospel song, but when the first half of the song sounds like it was recorded with a church organ, you can see why it could be used as one. Additionally, the lyrics suggest that someone, like God, will always be there to help you when you’re down: “Lights will guide you home / And ignite your bones / And I will try to fix you.”
Katy Perry’s 2013 hit may very well be about accepting God into one’s life. She sings “I knew you were / you were gonna come to me / and here you are / but you better choose carefully / ’cause I, I’m capable of anything / of anything and everything.” If you think of these lyrics being said from God’s perspective, it makes perfect sense.
While Perry has said that the song is actually about a witch who warns men not to fall in love with her, there are many Christians who could interpret the lyrics to be from God’s point of view as she mentions love that makes you levitate (into Heaven) and not going back once you’re in God’s presence. Considering Perry’s past as a gospel music singer, it wouldn’t be surprising if that’s where she drew some of her inspiration from. The song is also strikingly similar to a Christian rap song called “Joyful Noise” by Flame
Something In The Water
Carrie Underwood’s “Something in the Water” is actually about someone fully embracing their faith after being baptized. So yes, this song is blatantly religious, but nonetheless, it has become quite a popular song among many others that Underwood has released.
While the song is mostly popular in the realm of country music and gospel songs, in 2014 when it was released, it made it to number 24 on the Billboard Hot 100 which showcases music from all genres as loved by the general public. It has since been an inspirational song for many in the Christian community and encourages a lot of people who are apprehensive about getting baptized.
You Found Me
The Fray’s “You Found Me” was the first single off of their sophomore album in 2008. According to frontman Isaac Slade, the song is about the frustration and heartache that is felt when bad things happen to good people.
Slade has reportedly said that the song was inspired by a dream: “I dreamt I ran into God on a street corner. He looked like Bruce Springsteen and he was smoking a cigarette. I had it out with him and asked ‘Where were you when all this bad stuff was happening to these very undeserving, good people?'” It was a time when he was questioning his faith in God because of all the terrible things that were happening to those around him.
Dare You To Move
The 2004 hit by Switchfoot peaked at number 17 on the Billboard Hot 100 when it was released. Frontman Jon Foreman has said that the “defining song” is about feeling stagnant at a point in one’s life and trying to move forward.
According to songfacts.com, the song has a “Christian theme of how we all stumble upon hard times in life, and about how God dares us to move and get back on our feet. It’s about how there’s a difference between who we are and who we should be.” The religious theme of the song would make sense since Switchfoot is also considered by many to be a Christian rock band.
“After Forever” was released by English rock band Black Sabbath in 1971. The song has obvious Christian themes and was written by bassist Geezer Butler, who is supposedly a proclaimed Catholic.
While many people viewed Black Sabbath as a devil-worshiping band because of their sound and image, “After Forever” is actually a pro-Christian song that acknowledges the existence of God. Butler has reportedly said that he wrote the song at a time when in Northern Ireland, Protestants and Catholics were at odds with each other and growing up as a Catholic, he was taught that everyone should accept and love each other regardless of their faith.
Until The End Of The World
Irish rock band U2 released “Until the End of the World” in 1991. Frontman Bono supposedly came up with the idea for the song when he had woken up with the idea of a conversation between Jesus Christ and Judas Iscariot.
Obviously religious, the song lyrics have a biblical theme. The Last Supper is described in the first verse, the second verse explores the incident in which Judas identifies Jesus with a kiss on the cheek in the Garden of Gethsemane, and the song ends with Judas committing suicide over the overwhelming guilt he felt for betraying Jesus. U2 is often considered a Christian band since they often play with Christian themes in many of their songs.
“Everlasting Arms” is a track off of indie rock band Vampire Weekend’s third album, Modern Vampires of the City. While the catchy tune has delighted indie lovers since the album’s release, many might be surprised to know that this song was inspired by a hymn that was inspired by the Old Testament Book of Deuteronomy.
Frontman Ezra Koenig has said, “I’d been obsessed with this 19th century American hymn ‘Leaning on The Everlasting Arms,’ where they talk about the stability the singer gets from their faith, but with our song there’s a darker riff on the same idea – someone who’s maybe in a bad place yearning for that.”
Taylor Swift recorded “Eyes Open” for the soundtrack of The Hunger Games, but it became popular on the radio on its own in 2012. While the song is supposed to be about the relationship between the protagonist and her antagonists in the movie, many people believe that the song is very similar to the Gospel of Matthew and Jesus’s warning to be ready for his return at any time.
Swift sings, “Even when you’re sleeping / Keep your ey-eyes open,” while lines from the Gospel of Matthew read, “Stay awake, for you know neither the day nor the hour.”
Dead And Gone
“Dead and Gone” was released as a single in 2009 by rapper T.I. and featured singer Justin Timberlake. While the song is reportedly about the death of T.I.’s best friend/bodyguard, many people have found a way to religiously interpret the lyrics.
The song goes, “I turn my head to the East / I don’t see nobody by my side / I turn my head to the West / Still nobody in sight / So I turn my head to the North / Swallow that pill that they call pride / The old me is dead and gone / But that new me will be alright.” These lines could symbolize Jesus’s crucifixion on the cross and the song could also be interpreted as someone’s acceptance of God in their lives.