47 Examples of Similes in Popular Songs

What is a simile?

Accordingly to literary professionals, Grammarly, a simile is “a phrase that uses a comparison to describe.” You can easily identify similes by their use of the words “like” or “as” in a comparison.

Remember that similes are not the same as metaphors. While they are both used to compare, metaphors use a direct comparison while similes use the words “like” or “as.”

Let’s look at an example of a simile: “He is as quick as lightning.”

In this example, we understand that the subject is quick, and that lighting is also quick. We use this simile to compare the subject’s quickness to lightning. Instead of simply stating that the subject is quick, this comparative simile adds color and vivid visualization to our writing.

Similes are rather intuitive when it comes to comparisons. Don’t get these confused with metaphors that use direct comparisons, often using the word “is” to state that one thing “is” another thing.

Here are a few more examples of similes:

  • She is as busy as a bee.
  • He is as sly as a fox.
  • It was as slow as molasses.
  • It was as white as snow
  • That movie was as boring as watching paint dry.

 

Why are similes important?

Similes are one of the most essential tools in the writer’s toolbox. They help improve your writing by providing color and powerful visualizations that simple sentences cannot provide. Most importantly, similes help your audience connect with your writing and help deepen their understanding of your message.

Many musicians, writers, and storytellers endorse similes for their ability to enhance comprehension and storytelling. They provide readers with a new and dynamic way to learn and understand.

Let’s revisit the simile example from earlier, “He is as quick as lightning.” We could remove the simile and we’re left with the sentence, “He is quick.” While this statement has the same meaning, it lacks the color and vivid imagery that the simile version provides.

Whether you’re writing an essay for school, an article for your blog, or your own educational song, similes are a useful literary element to include.

 

Similes in popular songs

You may be surprised; similes are incredibly common in popular music! From hip-hop songs to alternative rock, similes are commonly used in all genres of popular music. Similes in popular songs can help teach students about literary concepts in a more relatable, approachable way.

They also offer real-world examples allowing students to strengthen their interest in language arts.

Check your favorite songs on Spotify. Odds are you’ll hear a few similes included in the lyrics. Let’s take a look at a few examples of modern popular music and their use of similes.

*This list of popular songs with similes is listed in alphabetical order, by Artist.

1. 2pac – California Love

Lyrics:
Now let me welcome everybody to the Wild Wild West
A state that’s untouchable like Eliot Ness

Explanation:
Eliot Ness was a law enforcement agent famous for battling gangster, Al Capone. He formed a group he called, “The Untouchables,” because he knew this group couldn’t be bribed or persuaded by gangsters. Flash forward to the early days of hip hop and this simile by Dr. Dre most likely refers to the East vs. West rivalry. By stating that California is untouchable, the lyricist is promoting his home state and making a small nod to this rivalry.

 

2. 311 – Amber

Lyrics:
You live too far away
Your voice rings like a bell anyway

Explanation:
The lyrics, “your voice rings like a bell” is the simile in this song. The writer compares the voice of his romantic partner to that of a bell. This simile most likely refers to the distance between the writer and his romantic partner. While they are far apart in distance, he can still hear her voice within him.

 

3. A Tribe Called Quest – Can I Kick It?

Lyrics:
This rhythm really fits like a snug glove
Like a box of positives is a plus, love
As the Tribe flies high like a dove

Explanation:
A Tribe Called Quest loves to use similes. Almost every one of their songs have some type of simile included. In this 90s classic, the writer uses similes to describe the fit of the rhythm, “fits like a snug glove.” The last line in this example also explains that they “fly high like a dove,” most likely referring to their social status as musicians.

 

4. Anne-Marie – 2002

Lyrics:
I will always remember the day you kissed my lips
Light as a feather

Explanation:
In this modern pop song, Anne-Marie uses a common simile, “light as a feather.” In this instance, she uses this simile to describe the feeling of a kiss on the lips.

 

5. Beyonce – Halo

Lyrics:
Hit me like a ray of sun
Burning through my darkest night
You’re the only one that I want
Think I’m addicted to your light

Explanation:
We had to include a Beyonce song in the list! In this song she uses the simile “hit me like a ray of sun” to describe the feeling of her romantic partner entering her life. Similar to a ray of light, her partner’s appearance provides comfort in a time of darkness.

 

6. Black Keys – Howlin’ For You

Lyrics:
Mockingbird
Can’t you see?
Little girl’s got a hold on me like glue
Baby, I’m howlin’ for you

Explanation:
Here, the writer use the simile, “Little girl’s got a hold on me like glue” to describe his relationship. The simile expresses that he is very attached to his romantic partner, and that she has the control.

7. Blackstreet and Dr. Dre – No Diggity

Lyrics:
Tell me who can stop when Dre making moves
Attracting honeys like a magnet

Explanation:
This 90s tune uses the simile “Attracting honeys like a magnet” to describe the writer’s ability to attract women as romantic partners.

 

8. Bruno Mars and Kodak Black – Wake Up in the Sky

Lyrics:
Unforgettable like Nat King Cole

Explanation:
This line, snuck into the first verse of the song, shows the writer comparing himself to Nat King Cole. As a professional jazz pianist and vocalist, many people still remember Nat King Cole although he passed away over fifty years ago. The lyricist of this song compares Nat King Cole’s unforgetable legacy to himself.

 

9. Cardi B – Money

Lyrics:
Sweet like a honey bun, spit like a Tommy gun
Rollie a one of one, come get your mommy some

Explanation:
Cardi B is known for using many similes in her lyrics. But be warned, they aren’t always the most appropriate of lyrics! In this song, she uses two similes in one line: “sweet like a honey bun” and “spit like a Tommy gun.” Both similes in this situation relate to Cardi B describing herself. She is sweet, but also fiery and aggressive like the bullets of a Tommy gun.

 

10. Coldplay – The Scientist

Lyrics:
Questions of science, science and progress
Do not speak as loud as my heart

Explanation:
Here the lyricist uses the simile, “do not speak as loud as my heart.” This relates to the comparison between science and love. The sentiment of this simile is that love isn’t always a well-defined science. Progress in a loving relationship can’t always be explained with data and numbers.

 

11. Dave Matthews Band – Crash Into Me

Lyrics:
Into your heart I’ll beat again
Sweet like candy to my soul
Sweet you rock
And sweet you roll

Explanation:
The simile, “sweet like candy to my soul,” is a descriptor of a romantic relationship. In these lyrics, Dave is expressing that his romantic love interest is fulfilling his soul, like the sweetness of candy.

 

12. Dave Matthews Band – Satellite

Lyrics:
Satellite in my eyes
Like a diamond in the sky
How I wonder
Satellite strung from the moon

Explanation:
Back to back Dave Matthews similes! Here he uses the simile, “like a diamond in the sky.” While not well understood in the context of this song, this simile is describing the physical look of a satellite as a small shiny object in the sky.

 

13. David Guetta and Jason Derulo – Goodbye

Lyrics:
I pull up on him let him put the pipe in (pipe in)
But then I gotta dash like a hyphen (hyphen)

Explanation:
“I gotta dash like a hyphen!” Hyphens (-) are also called dashes. The lyricist is using a play on words with the term, “dash.” While it can be another name for a hyphen, “to dash” is a common adjective meaning to run or travel somewhere in a hurry.

 

14. DJ Snake – Taki Taki (ft. Selena Gomez, Cardi B)

Lyrics:
I said we should have a date, where? At the Lamborghini store
I’m kinda scary, hard to read, I’m like a ouija board

Explanation:
As we’ve seen, Cardi B is the modern queen of similes. Here she uses the line, “Kinda scary, hard to ready, I’m like a ouija board.” A ouiji board is a spiritual game that is often associated with paranormal activity. Cardi B uses this simile to describe herself as “scary” and unpredictable.

 

15. Drake – Nice For What

Lyrics:
With your phone out, gotta hit them angles
With your phone out, snappin’ like you Fabo

Explanation:
Fabo is a rapper known for popularizing a dance move called “snapping.” In this simile, Drake speaks about the subject in his song as if they are “snapping like they are Fabo.” Or, dancing in a similar fashion to Fabo.

 

16. Ed Sheeran – Shape of You

Lyrics:
I’m in love with the shape of you
We push and pull like a magnet do

Explanation:
In this top chart hit, Ed Sheeran uses the simile “we push and pull like a magnet do.” He uses this simile to express the attraction that he has to his love interest.

 

17. Elle King – Exes and Oh’s

Lyrics:
Ex’s and the oh, oh, oh’s they haunt me
Like ghosts they want me to make ’em all
They won’t let go

Explanation:
Here’s a song that will get stuck in your head! In the chorus of Elle King’s biggest hit, she uses the simile “they haunt me like ghosts.” Most likely, this is referring to her ex-boyfriends, stating that they refuse to move on from their prior relationship. This simile could also imply that Elle King isn’t good at letting go of these relationships either, as they still continue to haunt her like ghosts.

 

18. Eminem – River (ft. Ed Sheeran)

Lyrics:
If all it’s gonna cause is pain
Truth and my lies right now are falling like the rain
So let the river run

Explanation:
This song is all about the writer’s desire to leave his sins beyond. The simile of “truth and lies falling like rain” refer to his self-expression and openness. He is willing to share all of his truths and lies with the world.

 

19. Florida Georgia Line – Simple

Lyrics:
We’re just simple like a six string
The way this world was meant to be
Like laughing love, make a lot out of a little
It’s just that simple, S-I-M-P-L-E
Simple as can be

Explanation:
This country tune uses a simile, “we’re just simple like a six string,” to describe the relationship between two love interests. A “six string” refers to a six string guitar, the most standard and common types of guitars. The lyricist compares their love to a the simplicity of a six string guitar.

 

20. Frank Ocean – Chanel

Lyrics:
I see both sides like Chanel
See on both sides like Chanel

Explanation:
The Chanel brand logo looks like two letter C’s in opposite directions. The writer is describing that he can see both sides of an issue, similar to how the Chanel logo looks like two C’s.

 

21. fun. – Some Nights

Lyrics:
When I see stars, when I see stars, that’s all they are
When I hear songs, they sound like a swan
So, come on
Oh, come on
Oh, come on
Oh, come on

Explanation:
This simile relates to the mythical expression, “swan song.” Swan’s are said to only sing once, right before they die. In this song, the writer is implying that any song that he writes could be his “swan song” or his last song.

 

22. Hozier – Take Me To Church

Lyrics:
Take me to church
I’ll worship like a dog at the shrine of your lies

Explanation:
This line is a dig at institutionalized religion. Hozier is comparing people that worship at these institutions to dogs; holding absolute loyalty to their master even when their master mistreats them.

 

23. Hozier – Cherry Wine

Lyrics:
The way she tells me I’m hers and she is mine
Open hand or closed fist would be fine
The blood is rare and sweet as cherry wine

Explanation:
This beautiful simile compares a volatile relationship with the sweetness of cherry wine. Clearly the relationship described is both wonderful and awful at the same time. The “blood” described in the song is the awful part of the relationship that Hozier compares to cherry wine. In addition, cherry wine is known to be sweet and difficult to detect the alcohol content. The use of this simile could also mean that the relationship makes him feel emotionally good without realizing the negative impacts until it’s too late.

 

24. Imagine Dragons – Believer

Lyrics:
I was choking in the crowd
Building my rain up in the cloud
Falling like ashes to the ground
Hoping my feelings, they would drown

Explanation:
This section of lyrics relates to the writer’s relationship with organized religion. He uses the simile, “falling like ashes to the ground” to describe his feelings about religion. They would bubble up in his head and explode like a volcano’s ashes to the ground.

 

25. J.Cole – Crooked Smile

Lyrics:
I’m on my way, on my way, on my way down
On my way, on my way, on my way down
You’re the one that was trying to keep me way down
But like the sun know you know I found my way back round

Explanation:
This simile is about staying positive. The writer states that “like the sun, you know I found my way back round.” This is a comparison to the sun, that always finds a way to shine back on Earth.

 

26. John Mayer – Love On The Weekend

Lyrics:
You be the DJ, I’ll be the driver
You put your feet up in the getaway car
I’m flying fast like a wanted man
I want you, baby, like you can’t understand

Explanation:
A “wanted man” is a person accused of a crime and hiding from law enforcement. In this song, John compares himself to a wanted man to express his joy and speed of his car on the highway.

 

27. Khalid – Better

Lyrics:
Love to see you shine in the night like the diamond you are
I’m on the other side, it’s alright, just hold me in the dark

Explanation:
This common simile is used to describe a love interest. “Shine in the night like the diamond you are” expresses that Khalid feels his love interest is beautiful and exuberant in the night.

 

28. Kehlani ft. Ty Dolla $ign – Nights Like This

Lyrics:
First day that we met, I flagged you down, I told you, “Hit my line”
Used to promise me you’d never switch on me like Gemini
You think I’m a fool, ain’t nobody stupid

Explanation:
Gemini is an astrological sign that is characterized with twins, having the reputation of being “two-faced.” In this song, the writer uses this simile to express that his love interest has been dishonest with him, even though she promised she wouldn’t be.

 

29. Logic – Under Pressure

Lyrics:
I’m the king, ain’t no discussion
And now we blowing up like spontaneous human combustion

Explanation:
Logic is another talented lyricist using similes and metaphors galore. In this short line from Under Pressure, he uses a simile to express his growth in popularity. “Blowing up” is a slang term for gaining popularity. And “spontaneous human combustion” refers to a human body exploding instantly without a source of ignition. The message? He is gaining popularity quite fast!

 

30. Lord Huron – Fool For Love

Lyrics:
I’m humming like a revved up truck
Never mind the odds I’m gonna try my luck with her
Just tell me when you’ve had enough
I’m dangerous cause I’m a fool for love

Explanation:
In this song, the writer is passionate about a female love interest. He uses the simile, “I’m humming like a revved up truck” to express his deep passion and energy around loving this woman.

 

31. Lorde – Team

Lyrics:
Now bring my boys in, their skin in craters like the moon
The moon we love like a brother, while he glows through the room

Explanation:
There are multiple meanings to this simile, written by Lorde. “The moon we love like a brother” could be a reference that the boys in the song are more like brothers, instead of lovers. It could also be talking about the actual moon, and reflecting on Lorde’s love of night and darkness.

 

32. Lumineers – Ophelia

Lyrics:
Oh, Ophelia, you’ve been on my mind girl like a drug
Oh, Ophelia, heaven help a fool who falls in love

Explanation:
When an addict’s brain is hooked on a drug, often that drug is the only thing they can think about. The Lumineers use this simile to compare their love for a woman, Ophelia, to that of an addictive drug.

 

33. MAGIC! – Rude

Lyrics:
Saturday morning jumped out of bed and put on my best suit
Got in my car and raced like a jet, all the way to you

Explanation:
“Racing like a jet” refers to the songwriter’s quickness traveling to his love interest. Jets are known for being extremely fast, and this simile colorfully describes how enthusiastic the writer is to see his partner.

 

34. Mark Ronson – Nothing Breaks Like a Heart (ft. Miley Cyrus)

Lyrics:
This world can hurt you
It cuts you deep and leaves a scar
Things fall apart, but nothing breaks like a heart
And nothing breaks like a heart

Explanation:
This song is all about the pain of heartbreak. By using the simile, “nothing breaks like a heart,” the songwriters are expressing that heartbreak is the absolute worst type of pain felt by humans.

 

35. Migos – Stir Fry

Lyrics:
Dance with my dogs in the nighttime (yeah, woo, woo, woo, roof)
In the kitchen, wrist twistin’ like a stir fry (whip it)

Explanation:
This simile is all about dance moves! “Wrist twisting like a stir fry” is comparing the dance move to cooking in the kitchen. Awesome simile and a fun dance move to try out. Seriously, give it a whirl!

 

36. Miley Cyrus – Wrecking Ball

Lyrics:
I came in like a wrecking ball
I never hit so hard in love
All I wanted was to break your walls
All you ever did was break me
Yeah, you wreck me

Explanation:
A “wrecking ball” is a heavy metal swung into a building with the goal of demolishing it. In this song, Miley compares herself to a wrecking ball, stating that she wanted to “break the walls” of her love interest and get to know them on a more personal level.

 

37. OneRepublic – Counting Stars

Lyrics:
I see this life like a swinging vine
Swing my heart across the line

Explanation:
This simile relates to the songwriter’s relationship with life. A “swinging vine” is known as a risky, unpredictable means of transportation. The songwriter knows that life is unpredictable, but also knows he has to take the risk.

 

38. OMI – Cheerleader

Lyrics:
She walks like a model
She grants my wishes like a genie in a bottle yeah yeah
‘Cause I’m the wizard of love

Explanation:
A “genie in a bottle” is related to a common legend where a genie grants you wishes for you to choose your desires to come true. This simile expresses that the songwriter’s love interest is that desire he wants.

 

39. Pitbull – Time of Our Lives

Lyrics:
She on the rebound, broke up with her ex
And I’m like Rodman, ready on deck

Explanation:
Dennis Rodman was a professional NBA basketball player for the Chicago Bulls in the 1990s. He was not a starting player, but instead would come off the bench. Pitbull is using this simile to express that he is ready to begin a romantic relationship with a woman that recently broke up with her boyfriend.

 

40. Post Malone – Better Now

Lyrics:
And I’m rollin’, rollin’, rollin’, rollin’
With my brothers like it’s Jonas, Jonas

Explanation:
The Jonas Brothers were an American pop band, containing three brothers. Post Malone uses the simile to express that he sticks with his friends, just like the biological Jonas brothers.

 

41. Red Hot Chili Peppers – Snow (Hey Oh)

Lyrics:
Privately divided by a world so undecided
And there’s nowhere to go
In between the cover of another perfect wonder

And it’s so white as snow

Explanation:
These lyrics are all about starting fresh. “White as snow” refers to the blank canvas of his next journey. It speaks to new opportunity and moving on from poor decisions from the past.

42. Shawn Mendes – Stitches

Lyrics:
Just like a moth drawn to a flame
Oh, you lured me in, I couldn’t sense the pain
Your bitter heart cold to the touch
Now I’m gonna reap what I sow
I’m left seeing red on my own

Explanation:
Moths are instinctively drawn to light. In this song, Shawn uses the simile to express that he was lured into love “like a moth,” but ended up getting burned.

 

43. The Shins – Simple Song

Lyrics:
I told you about all those fears
And away they did run
You sure must be strong
When you feel like an ocean being warmed by the sun

Explanation:
The ocean is so large and the sun is so far away. This simile expresses that the songwriter’s lover is providing warmth and security, but is very far away.

 

44. Taylor Swift – Blank Space

Lyrics:
New money, suit and tie
I can read you like a magazine

Explanation:
Taylor uses a simile in this song to show her understanding of a new love interest. By “reading him like a magazine,” she is expressing that she knows exactly what he’s doing and the next move he is going to make.

 

45. Train – Drops of Jupiter

Lyrics:
She acts like summer and walks like rain
Reminds me that there’s a-time to change, hey, hey
Since the return of her stay on the moon
She listens like spring and she talks like June, hey, hey

Explanation:
This song is about the death of a loved one. The writer uses the similes, “she listens like spring,” and “she talks like June” to express his current memories of her when these particular seasons come around.

 

46. Vance Joy – Georgia

Lyrics:
Lips generous and warm
You build me up like steps
Eyes innocent and wild
Remind me what it’s like, oh

Explanation:
“You build me up like steps” refers to the writer’s partner motivating and encouraging him to keep going. Just like steps going up, his partner helps boost his confidence to move him forward. 

47. Zac Brown Band – Colder Weather

Lyrics:
At a truck stop diner just outside of Lincoln,
The night is black as the coffee he was drinking

Explanation:
This simile is used to express the darkness of night. Not only is the night dark outside, but it’s “as black as coffee.” This simile helps add color and vividness to an otherwise simple comparison.

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