If there’s one element that artists love to sing about, it’s fire. We can’t blame them because of how fire is so similar to many human emotions like love, like a sense of adventure, and even heartbreak.
Below are some famous songs about fire that recount the many ways we can liken fire to the human experience.
Alicia Keys – Girl on Fire
What is a girl on fire? According to Alicia Keys, before making this record, she felt like a lion locked in a cage. But when she decided to stop making excuses for any part of her life, she became a girl on fire – a girl that’s free.
Fiery lyrics: She’s just a girl, and she’s on fire
Hotter than a fantasy, longer like a highway
She’s living in a world, and it’s on fire
Feeling the catastrophe, but she knows she can fly away
Oh, she got both feet on the ground
And she’s burning it down
Oh, she got her head in the clouds
And she’s not backing down
Eminem feat. Rihanna – Love the Way You Lie
An abusive relationship can often feel like it’s burning you from the inside out and there’s nothing you can do about it. Love the Way You Lie is about Eminem’s abusive relationship with his ex-wife Kim. In the lyrics, you can see the conflict of loving someone and wanting to be together versus knowing that your relationship is doing neither of you any good.
Fiery lyrics: Just gonna stand there and watch me burn
But that’s alright, because I like the way it hurts
Just gonna stand there and hear me cry
But that’s alright, because I love the way you lie
I love the way you lie
Jerry Lee Lewis – Great Balls of Fire
Great Balls of Fire is Jerry Lee Lewis’ signature song, and it’s clear why since it’s a fiery, upbeat tune that’s super catchy. The song is about a woman he meets during the height of his career. And she rolls in like a ball of fire with the way she rattles his mind and drives him insane.
Fiery lyrics: You shake my nerves and you rattle my brain
Too much love drives a man insane
You broke my will, oh what a thrill
Goodness gracious great balls of fire
I learned to love all of Hollywood money
You came along and you moved me honey
I changed my mind, looking fine
Goodness gracious great balls of fire
Johnny Cash – Ring of Fire
Despite being one Johnny Cash’s most famous tunes, Ring of Fire was actually written by his wife, June Carter. June compares her relationship with Johnny to a ring of fire because of his volatile and drug-filled lifestyle. Despite Johnny Cash’s rockstar lifestyle, June was able to turn his life around when they married in 1968.
Fiery lyrics: Love is a burnin’ thing
And it makes a fiery ring
Bound by wild desire
I fell into a ring of fire
I fell into a burnin’ ring of fire
I went down, down, down
And the flames went higher
And it burns, burns, burns
The ring of fire, the ring of fire
Billy Joel – We Didn’t Start the Fire
What’s the fire that Billy Joel is singing about in this song? It’s all the disastrous effects of events that his generation had no control over. IN this song, he makes references to events like the Cold War and the Korean War, and even events further back like the reign of Joseph Stalin, Communism, and even the effect of the drug thalidomide. The song itself reads like a stream of consciousness about the events of the past and how we’re stuck trying to repair the damage.
Fiery lyrics: We didn’t start the fire
It was always burning
Since the world’s been turning
We didn’t start the fire
No we didn’t light it
But we tried to fight it
Kings of Leon – Sex on Fire
Those first few riffs are unmistakable. Sex on Fire was undoubtedly one of the sexiest rock songs of the 2000s. Lyrically, the writers admit that they wrote the lyrics because of how they fit in with the melody. But what they eventually created portrays a sensual moment between a couple in the throes of passion.
Fiery lyrics: Lay where you’re laying
Don’t make a sound
I know they’re watching, watching
All the commotion
The kiddie like play
It has people talking, talking
You, your sex is on fire
Adele – Set Fire to the Rain
Meme lovers just can’t enough of this song because of the irony of the lyrics, but little do they know that irony is actually the point. Like with most songs on her album 21, Set Fire to the Rain is about the futility of trying to get over that person who has changed her life so much. In an interview, she even says that the title came to her when she was trying to light a cigarette outside a restaurant while it was raining.
Fiery lyrics: But there’s a side to you
That I never knew, never knew
All the things you’d say
They were never true, never true
And the games you play
You would always win, always win
But I set fire to the rain
Watched it pour as I touched your face
Well, it burned while I cried
‘Cause I heard it screaming out your name,
Scissor Sisters – Fire with Fire
When asked what this song was about, lead singer Jake Shears says that the idea for it came about when he was having a mental block. It was so bad that he thought it would be over for the band unless he came up with a song that’s catchy enough to sell. And in turn, he created a song that’s all about overcoming that moment.
Fiery lyrics: It used to seem we were number one
But now it sounds so far away
I had a dream we were running from
Some blazing arrows yesterday
You said, fight fire with fire
Fire with fire, fire with fire
Through desire, desire -sire, desire
Through your desire
Ed Sheeran – I See Fire
All you fantasy fans might know this song as the one that plays in the end credits of the Hobbit movie The Desolation of Smaug. The movie’s director Peter Jackson personally approach Sheeran to write and perform a song for the movie, and I See Fire was his emotional response to the movie. Ed Sheeran watched the movie, wrote the song, and recorded it all on the same day.
Fiery lyrics: If this is to end in fire
Then we should all burn together
Watch the flames climb high into the night
Calling out for the rope, sent by and we will
Watch the flames burn on and on the mountain side hey
Tina Arena – Burn
When you think about songs about fire, there’s no way you won’t think of this one. Unlike some of the more popular songs at the time, Burn isn’t actually an explicit love song. It’s about a singer urging someone to achieve their dreams with a fiery passion.
Fiery lyrics: Laugh for me, cry for me
Pray for me, fly for me
Live for me, die for me
I want you to burn
Burn for me baby
Like a candle in my night
Burn for me burn for me
What’s your favorite fiery song from this list? Let us know in the comments below!