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
Now let me welcome everybody to the Wild Wild West
A state that’s untouchable like Eliot Ness
Eliot Ness was a law enforcement agent famous for
2. 311 – Amber
You live too far away
Your voice rings like a bell anyway
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?
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
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
I will always remember the day you kissed my lips
Light as a feather
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
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
We had to include a Beyonce song
6. Black Keys – Howlin’ For You
Can’t you see?
Baby, I’m howlin’ for you
Here, the writer
7. Blackstreet and Dr. Dre – No Diggity
Tell me who can stop when Dre making moves
This 90s tune uses the simile “Attracting
8. Bruno Mars and Kodak Black – Wake Up in the Sky
Unforgettable like Nat King Cole
9. Cardi B – Money
Sweet like a honey bun, spit like a Tommy gun
Rollie a one of one, come get your mommy some
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
Questions of science, science
Do not speak as loud as my heart
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
Sweet like candy to my soul
Sweet you rock
And sweet you roll
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
Satellite in my eyes
Like a diamond in the sky
How I wonder
Satellite strung from the moon
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
I pull up on him let him put the pipe in (pipe in)
But then I gotta dash like a hyphen (hyphen)
“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)
I said we should have a date, where? At the Lamborghini store
As we’ve seen, Cardi B is the modern queen of similes. Here she uses the line, “Kinda scary, hard to
15. Drake – Nice For What
With your phone out, gotta hit them angles
With your phone out, snappin’ like you
16. Ed Sheeran – Shape of You
I’m in love with the shape of you
We push and pull
In this top chart hit, Ed Sheeran uses the simile “we push and pull
17. Elle King – Exes and Oh’s
Ex’s and the oh, oh,
Like ghosts they want me to make ’em all
They won’t let go
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)
If all it’s gonna cause is
Truth and my lies right now are falling like the rain
So let the river run
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
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
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
20. Frank Ocean – Chanel
I see both sides like Chanel
See on both sides like Chanel
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
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
This simile relates to the mythical expression, “swan song.” Swan’s are said to
22. Hozier – Take Me To Church
Take me to church
I’ll worship like a dog at the shrine of your lies
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
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
This beautiful simile compares a volatile relationship with the sweetness of cherry wine.
24. Imagine Dragons – Believer
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
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
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
This simile is about staying positive. The writer states that “like the sun, you know I found my way back
26. John Mayer – Love On The Weekend
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,
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
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
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
Used to promise me you’d never switch on me like Gemini
You think I’m a fool, ain’t nobody stupid
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
I’m the king, ain’t no discussion
And now we blowing up like spontaneous human combustion
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
I’m humming like a
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
In this song, the writer is passionate about a female love interest. He uses the simile, “I’m humming like a
31. Lorde – Team
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
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
32. Lumineers – Ophelia
Oh, Ophelia, you’ve been on my mind girl like a drug
Oh, Ophelia, heaven help a fool who falls in love
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
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
“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)
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
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
Dance with my dogs in the nighttime (yeah, woo, woo, woo, roof)
In the kitchen, wrist twistin’ like a stir fry (whip it)
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
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
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
I see this life like a swinging vine
Swing my heart across the line
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
She walks like a model
She grants my wishes like a genie in a bottle yeah yeah
‘Cause I’m the wizard of love
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
She on the
And I’m like Rodman, ready on deck
Dennis Rodman was a professional NBA basketball player for the Chicago Bulls in the 1990s. He was not a starting
40. Post Malone – Better Now
And I’m rollin’, rollin’, rollin’, rollin’
With my brothers like it’s Jonas, Jonas
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)
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
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
Just like a moth
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
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
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
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
New money, suit
I can read you like a magazine
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
She acts like summer and walks like rain
Reminds me that there’s
Since the return of her stay on the moon
She listens like spring and she talks like June, hey, hey
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
Lips generous and warm
You build me up like steps
Eyes innocent and wild
Remind me what it’s like, oh
“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
47. Zac Brown Band – Colder Weather
At a truck stop diner just outside of Lincoln,
The night is black as the coffee he was drinking
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