20 Songs About Identity

Embracing diversity, it draws on sounds from across the globe, reminding us that music truly is the universal language. These songs invite us to embark on profound journeys of self-discovery, guiding us to explore our diverse identities and the kaleidoscopic nature of the human spirit.

From the familiar chorus of mainstream pop to the heartfelt strumming of indie rock, these tunes offer a sanctuary for self-discovery, unraveling the layers of who we are. No judgment, no expectations, just you, the music, and the path to understanding your own identity.

1. “I Don’t Want to Be” by Gavin DeGraw

Cue the entrance of this emotive rock anthem by Gavin DeGraw, titled “I Don’t Want to Be.” It’s a lyrical nudge in the ribs, urging you to rise above any tags or labels that society might stick on you because of your family background or personal history. It’s your life, your identity, your rules. Stand tall, embrace your uniqueness, and just be you. For those moments when you need a reminder, DeGraw’s got your back.

2. “Still Here” by JB The First Lady

JB The First Lady, aka the phenomenal Jerilyn Snuxyaltwa Webster, serves us a fire hip hop track with “Still Here.” It’s a vocal high-five to all the minorities out there, reminding us that self-acceptance is a superpower. Wear your roots like a badge of honor because they are integral to your identity and what makes you, you.

3. “Who We Are” by Red

Up next is the rock track “Who We Are” by Red. This song is your mirror, reflecting your worth and highlighting the importance of positive self-perception. Life’s gonna throw curveballs, but guess what? You’re well-equipped to knock ’em outta the park. Remember, your identity is your armor, your strength is your sword – so don’t shy away from being your authentic self.

4. “Black Like Me” by Mickey Guyton

Time to slow it down with Mickey Guyton’s heart-rending piano ballad, “Black Like Me.” It’s a poignant commentary on racial disparities, capturing the struggle of being a person of color in a less-than-fair world. But amid this somber theme, Guyton delivers a message of hope and pride in one’s identity, encouraging resilience despite the odds.

5. “Mistaken Identity” by Kim Carnes

Kim Carnes serves us “Mistaken Identity,” an adult contemporary tune with a dash of self-assurance. It tells the tale of a woman who’s grown past a failed relationship, refusing to fall for her ex’s false promises. This song is a gentle nudge to value yourself in a relationship and to ditch anyone who fails to appreciate your worth. The identity you build for yourself is too precious to be muddied by someone who doesn’t respect it.

6. “Free to Be Me” by Francesca Battistelli

Francesca Battistelli graces us with the uplifting tune, “Free to Be Me”. It’s the soundtrack of your life, tracing the journey of a woman on her mission of self-realization. The moral of the story? Embrace your quirks and imperfections – they’re what make you uniquely you.

7. “Stranger In Town” by Toto

Next up, we’re hitting rewind with Toto’s classic track “Stranger In Town.” Inspired by a film plot of mistaken identity, this tune spins the tale of an escaped convict mistaken for a savior. It’s a metaphor for life’s identity crises and how they shape us. Critical acclaim and multiple awards? Check and check.

8. “Karma Chameleon” by Culture Club

This one throws light on the turmoil of not being authentic to yourself or your partner. The upbeat melody and vibrant music video might fool you, but the song carries a deeper message – karma doesn’t skip anyone. So, authenticity is the best policy, folks.

9. “Who You Are” by Pearl Jam

Brought to you by the kings of alternative rock, Pearl Jam’s “Who You Are” is the warm hug we all need sometimes. It assures you that no matter where you are or what you’re going through, you have a unique role to play in this world. And with an amazing arrangement of drums and guitar work, it’s a sonic comfort blanket.

10. “In My Life” by The Beatles

The Beatles’ nostalgic gem, “In My Life,” will take you on a trip down memory lane, prompting reflections about your life journey, past relationships, and their continued significance. Regarded as one of the greatest songs of all time, it’s a fitting finale to our exploration of identity.

11. “Born This Way” by Lady Gaga

Mother Monster, a.k.a. Lady Gaga, kickstarts this part of our journey with her high-energy anthem “Born This Way.” This is more than just a pop banger—it’s an empowering ode to individuality. Gaga’s message is to embrace your true self, forget society’s cookie-cutter standards, and most importantly, love who you are.

12. “People Are Strange” by The Doors

Next up, The Doors take us into a world where one’s oddity becomes the focal point in “People Are Strange”. The song explores the isolating experience of being judged based on appearances. It’s a poignant reminder of how our attitudes can inadvertently hurt others.

13. “I Call Your Name” by The Beatles

“I Call Your Name” is another Beatles classic that pulls at the heartstrings. Its upbeat arrangement masks a deeper narrative of unrequited love and longing. A sonic snapshot of the desperate plea for a second chance, it’s a testament to the powerful emotions we attach to our personal identities.

14. “Choices and Rights” by Johnny Crescendo

Let’s switch gears with Johnny Crescendo’s “Choices and Rights”, a heartfelt battle cry for all individuals with disabilities. The singer asserts their desire not for special treatment, but for dignity, respect, and the right to make their own decisions. It’s a powerful message of self-affirmation in the face of adversity.

15. “Jillette Johnson” by Cameron

This next song is Jillette Johnson’s introspective track, “Cameron.” It explores the harsh realities of being ostracized for daring to be yourself. As much as it highlights societal judgment, it also applauds those courageous enough to live authentically, regardless of the backlash.

16. “Ain’t That Peculiar” by Marvin Gaye

Marvin Gaye’s soulful hit, “Ain’t That Peculiar”, sings the story of a man so smitten, he overlooks the pain caused by his lover. It begs the question – is this the essence of true love? Or is it just a peculiar case of stubborn heartstrings?

17. “I Am A Rock” by Simon & Garfunkel

Diving into the deeper end, Simon & Garfunkel’s “I Am A Rock” reveals a protagonist who’s become an island – cut off, resilient, yet lonely. A poignant reminder to be aware of our fellow humans who may be cloaked in isolation, even amidst a sea of people.

18. “Pretty” by Lauren Alaina

Next up, Lauren Alaina’s country melody “Pretty” tackles the age-old struggle between outer beauty and inner grace. The song gives a gentle nudge, reminding us that our virtues often paint a more accurate portrait of our identity than any mirror can.

19. “Sit Still Look Pretty” by Daya

Daya’s pop anthem, “Sit Still Look Pretty”, is a fierce refusal to conform to societal expectations of femininity. A powerful nod to owning your identity and living unapologetically in your truth.

20. “What Is Life” by George Harrison

We’re rounding off this set with George Harrison’s introspective hit, “What Is Life”. Posing one of life’s most profound questions, the song marries love with the essence of existence, encouraging us to focus on the impact of our relationships on our personal journey.

Final Thoughts

Whether it’s Lady Gaga encouraging us to embrace ourselves fully or Simon & Garfunkel reminding us of the dangers of isolation, the songs on this list resonate because they tell our truths. They celebrate, ponder, question and challenge what it means to be us.

After all, life’s a complex melody of experiences, emotions, and identities that continually shape and reshape us. So, as you navigate your own personal journey of self-discovery, may these songs serve as a soundtrack to inspire, comfort, and remind you that it’s perfectly okay to be uniquely you.