20 Songs About Desire and Longing

Many of us handle our desires and longings in two ways: we either hide them or try to satisfy them by pursuing what we think we desire.

While there’s nothing wrong with pursuing what we want, often, we’re not truly fulfilling our desires; we’re just trying to fill an endless void of longing inside us.

Songs often explore these feelings of desire and longing. Songwriters use these emotions to express yearning and passion in their lyrics.

In this playlist, we’ve compiled a list of 20 songs about desire and longing.

20 Songs About Desire and Longing

1. “Life Eternal” by Ghost

Life Eternal” by Ghost express a sense of longing and a desire for eternal connection as the singer asks, “Can you hear me say your name forever?”

The singer calls out to her beloved to hear her name forever and see her longing, expressing her wish to touch her soul and feel the longing for eternity.

Amidst the acknowledgment of life’s darkness, she finds solace in the light within her loved one’s eyes, where “in your eyes it’s gone before you know.”

It’s a moment of letting go, as she ponders the possibility of having eternal life with their beloved in the line “if you had life eternal.”

The song speaks of dancing once more, feeling cold hands, and recognizing that there’s a story within her loved one’s heart waiting to be told.

2. “Power” by The Temptations

The song “Power” by The Temptations explores the theme of desire and longing for power, as evident in lines like “Power, boom boom, Power, boom boom boom.”

The lyrics repeat the word “Power” multiple times, emphasizing its importance and the singer’s craving for it. The singer portrays himself as someone with clean hands and a pure heart who believes he can cure the world’s problems with lines such as “My hands are clean, My heart is so pure, The world is sick, I am the cure.”

He expresses a desire for people to trust in him and have faith, promising to move mountains and part seas for his followers with lines like “Put your faith and trust in me, I’ll move your mountains, Part your sea.” However, there’s also a cautionary note in lines like “

All you poor all you needy, All you’re doin’ is givin’ to the greedy,” suggesting that giving power may not always benefit those in need.

3. “Desire” by Years & Years

“Desire” is a song by the English synthpop band Years & Years, featured on their debut studio album, “Communion” released in 2015. This song was released as the album’s third single on November 23, 2014, and it reached number 22 on the UK Singles Chart.

The lyrics of “Desire” convey a sense of longing and passion as the singer expresses, “Is it desire? Or is it love that he’s feeling for you?” He feels the need to be strong, to fight for his feelings, and not give up on the relationship, with the lines, “I must be tough, I must behave, I must keep fighting.”

There’s a sense of yearning and a willingness to compromise to keep the connection alive. The singer questions whether what he’s feeling is pure desire or genuine love, and he’s willing to take risks to find out, singing, “I want desire, I wanna see what you’re willing to lose.”

The lyrics also touch on the idea of being locked into the intensity of the relationship, wanting to be wanted, and wondering what the other person is willing to lose for this desire.

4. “Desire” by U2

“Desire” is a song by the Irish rock band U2, featured as the third track on their 1988 album, “Rattle and Hum.” It was released as the lead single from the album on September 19, 1988, and marked a significant milestone for the band, as it became their first number-one single in both the United Kingdom and Australia.

The lyrics of “Desire” reflect a sense of restlessness and yearning with lines like “Lover, I’m off the streets, gonna go where the bright lights and the big city meet.” The song’s protagonist expresses a desire to leave the streets and venture into the bright lights of the big city with a red guitar ablaze, symbolizing his passion and energy.

The mention of a candle burning in the room and references to a needle and spoon suggest a connection to addiction and temptation, adding depth to the theme of desire in the song.

5. “Desire” by Joan Jett & The Blackhearts

In the song “Desire” by Joan Jett & The Blackhearts, the lyrics express a strong attraction and longing for someone. Lines like “I want to make you, make you, make you want to stay” and “Give me that love that I desire” highlight the intense desire to keep the person close and experience a deeper connection.

The singer talks about how every time her eyes meet, there is a desire to be close and touch that person. However, there seems to be a push and pull in the relationship, with moments of closeness followed by distancing.

The singer wants to make the other person want to stay, and she is willing to go all the way to express her desire. She mentions that she has learned what the other person wants, but she needs her to show it.

There’s a sense of urgency in the song, as the singer warns that if the person doesn’t take action now, she might lose the opportunity for love.

6. “Desire Brings Me Back” by Blondie

“Desire Brings Me Back” by Blondie express a passionate and intense longing for a wild and fiery love. Lines like “Desire brings me back, Back to where she’s always been” underscore the singer’s deep yearning and how her desire is the driving force that continually brings her back to this powerful love.

She describes the allure of the untamed, dark heat of her lover’s body and the deep connection she shares. She willingly offers herself to the danger and electricity of this intense attraction.

The lyrics emphasize the idea of always returning to this powerful love, comparing it to the earth and a sense of belonging. Desire is portrayed as the force that continually brings her back to where she’s always been.

7. “Desire” by Meg Myers

“Desire” by Meg Myers express intense and passionate feelings of desire and longing.

As the song goes, “Baby, I wanna touch you, I wanna breathe into your will,” she is yearning for physical and emotional connection with someone. She uses explicit language to convey her hunger and need for this connection.

The repeated question, “How do you want me?” suggests a desire for reciprocation and an understanding of how the other person wants her in return.

8. “Desire Me” by Sam Cooke

“Desire Me” by Sam Cooke express a deep longing and desire for someone special. The singer asks the person to desire and want him in the same way he desires the person, singing, “Desire me, desire me, as I desire you.” He hopes that one day, the person will confess their love in return, saying, “And say that you love me as I love you.”

The lyrics emphasize the importance of being desired and loved by this special someone. The singer promises to always worship and cherish this person, singing, “For I will always worship you, no matter where you go or what you do.”

The lyrics convey the idea that there comes a time in everyone’s life when he finds the one person he truly desires, and for the singer, that person is the one he’s addressing in the song.

9. “It’s Enough” by Lenny Kravitz

“It’s Enough” by Lenny Kravitz address various social and political issues. The song expresses frustration and discontent with the current state of the world, as the singer contemplates a world where love and truth prevail over power and deception.

In the lyrics, there’s a poignant question: “When will the desire for love outweigh the desire for power?” This question highlights the longing for a more compassionate and just society.

The song also touches on international conflicts, particularly in the Middle East, suggesting that they may not be motivated by genuine peacekeeping but rather a desire for control and resources.

10. “I’d Like to Walk Around in Your Mind” by Vashti Bunyan

“I’d Like to Walk Around in Your Mind” by Vashti Bunyan express a desire to understand someone better by getting inside his thoughts and emotions.

She wants to explore the inner workings of the person’s mind, even if it means disturbing his peace and solitude, as she sings, “I’d like to walk around in your mind someday, I’d like to walk all over the things you say to me.”

She believes that the person hides his true feelings behind a smile and wants to uncover the meaning of his songs to establish a deeper connection.

Ultimately, she wishes to do all of this without the person being aware, leaving without a trace as she sings, “And I’d just wander away, trailing palm leaves behind me, so you don’t even know that I’ve been there.”

11. “Take This Longing” by Leonard Cohen

“Take This Longing” by Leonard Cohen express a longing and desire for someone’s love and beauty. As Leonard Cohen sings, “Oh, take this longing from my tongue,” the singer reflects on how many men have loved this person, and her beauty has always been something others desired.

The singer wishes to have this longing removed from his tongue and wants to see the person’s beauty in a vulnerable state, like he would do for someone he loves.

He describes the person’s body as a searchlight and mentions her winter clothes and broken sandal straps. The singer expresses a desire to see the person naked and reflects on the faithfulness of the person to someone else.

12. “One Desire” by Hillsong

“One Desire” by Hillsong express a deep devotion and longing to be with the Lord, singing, “You gave it all for me, My soul desire, my everything.”

The singer acknowledges that everything they are is devoted to God, who is the love that rescued them, with the lyrics stating, “How could I fail to see, You are the love that rescued me.” The lyrics convey a desire to be in God’s presence, seeking to be where He is, now and forever, and they declare, “This is my cry, my one desire, Just to be where You are Lord, now and forever.”

It’s more than just a song; it’s a heartfelt cry and a one desire to be with Jesus, as the lyrics say, “It’s more than a song, my one desire, Is to be with You, is to be with You, Jesus.”

13. “Burning Desire” by Lana Del Rey

“Burning Desire” is a song by American singer and songwriter Lana Del Rey. It was initially released for immediate digital download upon pre-ordering Del Rey’s third EP, “Paradise.”

The song is a tragically-themed love song with lyrics that express a sense of excitement and recklessness, as Lana Del Rey sings, “I drive fast, wind in my hair, push it to the limits ’cause I just don’t care.”

In the lyrics, the singer talks about getting dressed up every Saturday night and driving down Hollywood and Vine, cruising through the streets. She has a carefree attitude, pushing the limits without a worry.

The lyrics emphasize the burning desire she feels for someone special, making it clear with the lines, “I’ve got a burning desire for you, baby.”

14. “Longing In Their Hearts” by Bonnie Raitt

“Longing in Their Hearts” is a song by Bonnie Raitt from her twelfth album released in 1994 with the same title.

The song’s lyrics tell the story of a short-order cook who is skilled in his trade but feels a deep longing in his heart. Despite his expertise in making fried eggs, he can’t seem to fill the emptiness he feels inside.

The cook talks to his friends, talks to himself, and even talks to the food he’s preparing. He has a loving relationship with his woman, who runs the restaurant where they work, and they live together in a small house beneath a vast sky.

However, both of them aren’t satisfied with their marriage. They stayed together mainly for “a happier house and home” and because they fear loneliness, so they “made a pact, sealed with desire.” Yet, they still feel that something is missing. Both share this same longing in their hearts, as evidenced in the lines “We know ’cause we can feel it too/There’s a longing in our hearts.”

15. “Longing For You” by Vic Damone

“Longing For You” by Vic Damone express a deep sense of yearning and loneliness, with lines like “Longing, longing, longing for you” and “I just keep on longing for you,” emphasizing the persistent longing for a lost love.

The singer is longing for someone he loves, and this longing persists day and night. The lyrics suggest that the person he loves had made promises of eternal love, but he seems to have left and moved to different places.

The singer mentions receiving a phone call to come to St. Louis but ended up with a bill for the call, and upon arriving in St. Louis, the person he longs for had already gone to St. Paul. The lyrics reflect a sense of abandonment and financial strain as he spent all his money.

Despite the difficulties, the singer can’t forget his loved one and is yearning for a reunion, expressing a strong desire to kiss him again, as seen in the lines “I’m longing to kiss you tonight.” 

16. “Nobody Wants to Be Lonely” by Ricky Martin

“Nobody Wants to Be Lonely” is a song by Ricky Martin from his album “Sound Loaded” released in 2000. He later re-recorded it with Christina Aguilera in December 2000.

The song express feelings of loneliness, heartbreak, and the desire for love and companionship, with lines like “Your heart is cold, and he’s lost the will to love, like a broken arrow.”

It talks about someone who is alone in a dark room, feeling cold and devoid of love, like a broken arrow, and he longs for someone to come into his life and end his loneliness.

The singer emphasizes that nobody wants to be lonely or cry, with lines like “Nobody wants to be lonely, nobody wants to cry.” His body aches to hold his loved one, and time is portrayed as precious and slipping away, with lines like “Time is precious and it’s slipping away, and I’ve been waiting for you all of my life.”

17. “That Feeling In the Moonlight” by Anita O’Day

“That Feeling In the Moonlight” by Anita O’Day convey a sense of longing and romance in the moonlight. As the song goes, “Did you ever get that feeling in the moonlight, That wonderful feeling that you want to be kissed.” The singer describes a feeling of wanting to be kissed while walking in a park under the bright stars.

However, there’s a sense of loneliness as there’s nobody there to love at that moment. This feeling is compared to a wonderful longing that one can’t resist, especially on a June night.

18. “Live Life Now” by Cheryl

“Live Life Now” by Cheryl talk about living in the moment and pursuing your desires without letting money or material things hold you back.

The song encourages people to ask themselves what they truly desire and what they would do if money were not an obstacle, saying, “What do you desire? If money was no object, What would it require?”

It emphasizes the importance of living life to the fullest and not waiting for the future with lines like, “Live life now, What are you doing in this moment? You better live your life now.”

The lyrics also mention the idea of freedom and making the most of the precious life we have, stating, “The things you think you need, Get what you desire,Whatever sets you free.”

19. “I Don’t Want to Live Without You” by Foreigner

“I Don’t Want to Live Without You” is a song written by Mick Jones and was first released by the pop rock band Foreigner on their 1987 album “Inside Information.”

The song expresses a deep longing and love for someone special. The singer finds himself in a perplexing situation, as what started as infatuation has evolved into something more profound.

The lyrics convey a strong desire with lines like “I don’t want to live without you” and “I could never live without you,” emphasizing that he can’t imagine living without the person he loves. The singer hopes for a promise of eternal togetherness and expresses his feelings of being lost without the love of his life.

20. “The Dull Flame of Desire” by Björk

“The Dull Flame of Desire” is a song by Icelandic singer Björk, featuring Anohni from the band Antony and the Johnsons. The lyrics of this song are an English translation of a Russian poem by Fyodor Tyutchev. It was originally featured in the Andrei Tarkovsky film “Stalker” (1979).

The lyrics express a deep affection and admiration for the beloved’s eyes with lines like, “I love your eyes, my dear, They’re splendid sparkling fire.” The singer describes how their lover’s eyes are like lightning flashing in the sky when raised to cast a swift, embracing glance.

However, the true charm lies in the moments when the lover’s eyes are lowered, filled with passion and desire. Through the downcast lashes, the singer sees the dull flame of desire, which represents the intense longing and yearning between two lovers.

The song beautifully explores the complex emotions of love and desire, using vivid imagery and poetic language, as seen in lines like, “And through the downcast lashes, I see the dull flame of desire.”

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