20 Songs About Guilt

Doing something wrong can be a very hard burden to carry. Whether it’s about a past mistake or something you should’ve done, guilt can be a strong feeling that songs can help to express. There are 20 songs about guilt that can help to put those feelings into words.

1. “Alive” by Pearl Jam

The guilt of being alive while the person you care about is not is a heavy burden to bear. In “Alive,” Eddie Vedder croons about feeling guilty for keeping up with life while discovering that his real father passed away a long time ago. The mixed emotions of guilt and sorrow are deeply felt in this moving rock classic.

2. “Mama Tried” by Merle Haggard

In “Mama Tried,” Merle Haggard sings a heartbreaking tune about the guilt of not being able to live up to his mother’s expectations. 

This country classic paints an emotional picture of being a delinquent child while feeling guilt and pain in not being able to make his life better despite his mother’s attempts. This song is the perfect embodiment of a child’s unchangeable decisions.

3. “Hello” by Adele

Reconnecting with someone that you felt guiltily cutting off contact with is a difficult process to go through.

“Hello” by Adele expresses the raw emotions of guilt and regret upon reaching out to someone you did wrong in the past. The hauntingly beautiful melody perfectly captures the heavy burden of trying to make up for lost time and mistakes.

4. “Always on My Mind” by Willie Nelson

This mournful country song speaks of regret and guilt in not giving the person you love what they need. 

In “Always on My Mind,” Willie Nelson sings about how he wishes he had been more attentive to his love and is hoping for another chance. It’s a sad reminder of all the moments when we should have taken better care of our loved ones, but instead, let guilt take over.

5. “Waves” by Dean Lewis

The guilty feeling of lost times, missed opportunities, and broken relationships are captured in “Waves” by Dean Lewis.

This folk-pop tune uses soothing instrumentals to depict the regretful emotions of not being able to turn back time. It’s a melancholic song about living with guilt for not having to do things differently.

6. “The One That Got Away” by Katy Perry

Bittersweet memories of lost love are still carried with guilt and regret. In “The One That Got Away,” Katy Perry sings about the guilt of letting the love of her life slip away.

The lyrics capture the regretful emotions of being unable to fix mistakes and defeatedly accepting that things will remain as the ones that got away.

7. “Back to December” by Taylor Swift

In this Taylor Swift classic, the singer-songwriter expresses her guilt for a past mistake she made. She acknowledges that there was no excuse for it and wishes to go back in time to fix it.

The remorseful feelings of regret are powerfully conveyed through her melancholic vocals and poignant lyrics. This track is great when you’re feeling sentimental and want to reflect on the moments you could have done differently.

8. “Whatcha Say” by Jason Derulo

The guilt of treating the love of your life badly and realizing what you had too late is sung in this R&B track. In “Whatcha Say,” Jason Derulo sings about the guilt of cheating on his partner and how he regrets his wrongdoings.

With this song, you will come to realize that often it takes losing something valuable to appreciate its worth.

9. “Never Be Like You” by Flume ft. Kai

“Never Be Like You” is an electronic dance track by Flume ft. Kai expresses remorse for not being able to be with someone she truly wants to be with. 

The lyrics capture the guilt of wanting to be back with her ex and desperately begging for him to accept her. The rhythmic beats with Kai’s sorrowful vocals will make you feel the deep emotions of guilt, something we can also relate to.

10. “Perfect” by Simple Plan

Not meeting your parent’s expectations can take a toll on your self-esteem and create feelings of guilt. “Perfect” by Simple Plan is all about the pressure to strive for perfection that many of us face.

The song speaks to the struggle between trying to meet his parent’s expectations and apologizing for not being perfect. The band’s signature punk-rock sound will remind you that you’re not alone in your battle against guilt.

11. “Please Forgive Me” by Bryan Adams

This classic rock song from Bryan Adams is about the guilt and regret of a broken relationship. The sorrowful melody and longing vocals are perfect for anyone who feels guilty after coming to terms with the fact that they have made mistakes in their relationships. If you’re feeling sad and need a good cry, this song is sure to help you release those pent-up emotions.

12. “Shape of My Heart” by Backstreet Boys

Deceiving the person you love can take a toll on your relationship and create feelings of guilt. “Shape of My Heart” by the Backstreet boys is about the guilt of lying to someone you care about. 

By apologizing and making a commitment to be truthful from this moment on, the singer makes things right again. If you’re trying to win back someone you hurt and feeling guilty about your actions, this song is for you.

13. “Bohemian Rhapsody” by Queen


A confessional about a crime committed is sung in this six-minute rock classic. “Bohemian Rhapsody” by Queen tells the story of a man who has done something wrong and faces guilt for it.

The complex and beautiful vocals and dramatic melody are perfect for when you need to express your emotions of guilt or just want to sing along to this catchy track.

14. “Please Remember Me” by Tim McGraw

Breakups are never easy, especially when you’ve accepted that you were never the better choice. In “Please Remember Me,” Tim McGraw sings with regret and sorrow about a failed relationship and wanting to be remembered despite everything.

The acoustic guitar and somber melody will make you feel like you’re journeying through the pains and of heartbreak.

15. “Guilty” by Barry Gibb and Barbara Streisand

This R&B-soul track by Barry Gibb and Barbara Streisand is about the excitement of doing things out of love. 

Being guilty shouldn’t always be the case, especially if all you’re trying to do is to be with your lover. The smooth vocals and silky melody will make you feel like you’re no longer weighed down by guilt but rather, having fun and enjoying romance.

16. “She Used To Love Me A Lot” by Johnny Cash

Losing someone’s love can be heartbreaking and make you feel guilty for all the things that went wrong. 

This Johnny Cash classic speaks to the feeling of regret on how quickly things have changed, when once she used to love him a lot. The simple guitar riffs and soothing vocals will take you back in time as you reminisce on past loves and feelings of guilt.

17. “One Last Time” by Ariana Grande

Guilt would always sink in when it’s the last time that you’ll ever see someone. In this contemporary pop track, Ariana Grande sings about wanting to make things right before it’s too late and having one final moment with someone she did wrong.

Ariana Grande’s powerful vocals will make you feel like she is determined to have just one more moment with her loved one, regardless of the consequences. It’s a great song for anyone who is trying to be bold and courageous and accept their feelings of guilt instead of denying them.

18. “Headlights” by Eminem ft. Nate Reuss

Saying mean things to someone you love is never a pleasant feeling and can cause much guilt. In “Headlights,” Eminem brings out his inner vulnerability and expresses regret over the things he said and did that hurt his mother.

He apologizes for failing to realize the sacrifices she has made for him and thanks her for trying her best to raise him and his brother. You might want to prepare some tissues as you listen to this emotionally charged rap track.

19. “Forgive Me” by Evanescence

Words can pierce through someone’s heart and Evanescence understands this in “Forgive Me.” The rock classic is about a woman who says hurtful words and then immediately regrets them, begging for forgiveness. It’s an emotional song that can help you express the pain of guilt and regret.

20. “The Ones We Once Loved” by Ben&Ben

Moving on is never an easy task, especially if the relationship was as perfect as the ones in our memories. In “The Ones We Once Loved,” Ben&Ben sings about how things have changed, with the guilt and sadness of hurting the person you once loved.

The mellow tone and mournful melody will make you feel like the grief is slowly lifting away as you come to terms with what happened. This is a great track for anyone who needs some comfort during tough times.


These songs about guilt capture a wide range of emotions from regretful love stories to feeling pressured by others’ expectations. These songs will help you process the feelings of guilt and make sense of it all.

No matter what you’re feeling guilty about, these songs can help you understand and cope with your emotions by providing insight into the various facets of guilt.