Skip to Content

21 Best Songs About Pictures 

Lyrics have always been a great way to express emotions and tell a story. But sometimes, those words need another dimension that’s where music comes in. Songs about photographs are just some of the most captivating for their ability to dig deep into our memories and stir up powerful nostalgia.

The following 21 songs about pictures are guaranteed to bring back some great memories of that special person, spot, or time in your life.

“Picture” – Sheryl Crow feat. Kid Rock

Sheryl Crow’s “Picture” is one of the strongest songs about running a picture through your mind on a list that, in truth, could have been twice as long.

The singer reminisces on her first love, her first kiss and all of those memories that are captured in a photograph: “And the photograph is faded, barely legible/but I can still see us holding on to what we believed in.”

In this moving ballad, Sheryl Crow shows that pictures do speak louder than words. This song manages to capture the essence of every relationship that every person in the world has had with a photograph.


“Photograph” – Nickelback

Nickelback’s “Photograph” is a song that has endured throughout the years since its release in 2001. The band successfully recaptures those old-fashioned rock and roll vibes and pairs them with some truly soulful lyrics.

At times, seeing pictures can be enough to bring back the best memories: “I’m so tired of these memories, they’re all so alive/they never want to go away, and they never want to be forgotten.” This song is a great tribute to the power of photographs.


“Pictures of You” – The Cure

The Cure’s “Pictures of You” is one of the most heart-wrenching songs on this list. That is in part due to its use of music, as well as those thoughtful lyrics. The audience can feel the heartbreak and pain that the singer is going through. That is evident as he looks back over his shoulder at his past, remembering how things were: “And when I look at your photographs, I can remember how it used to be. I can see that time hasn’t touched you.”


“Picture to Burn” – Taylor Swift

It’s difficult to think of Taylor Swift as any kind of country artist but “Picture to Burn” is pretty much just your typical country song. The song tells the story of a girl who has had enough of the drama in her relationship and decides to burn the picture of her significant other: “I don’t want you back, I just want you out of my life/So here’s a picture to burn.” But she quickly realizes that it is impossible to forget about him so she sets his picture on fire anyways.


“I’ll Be There for You” – Bon Jovi

Bon Jovi’s “I’ll Be There for You” was a great success on both the pop and rock charts. The song is one of the band’s more heartfelt ballads that tells the story of the singer’s endless love for his significant other.

Although they have endured some hard times, he is still going to be there by her side: “And I’ll be there for you/We stuck it out through the worst of times. That’s why I’m still here trying every day to work it out, so we can live our lives as we should.”

See also  30 Best Songs with Numbers in the Title

Bon Jovi has always been a band that is incredibly relatable and this classic is no exception.


“Take a Picture” – Filter

Released in 1999, this rock tune was the second single to the album Title of Record.

In “Take a Picture” the lyrics sing of an alcohol induced incident that singer Richard Patrick had on a flight once.

Although the lyrics for the listener can take on a different meaning, commonly where the airplane is a metaphor for being high – either due to drugs or alcohol – the song was written from events that were quite literal.

Patrick did in fact have himself photographed and sent it to his dad while he was inebriated. This moment is reflected in the words “‘Take a photo,’ I say since when I’m sober again, I won’t remember anything I’ve said or done.”

The track reached all the way to the top 12 of the US charts in early 2000.


“The Photograph” – Ed Sheeran

Ed Sheeran’s “The Photograph” is an incredibly beautiful song that suggests that everything, even photographs, is fleeting. The song’s narrator recalls his first love and how he was, essentially, crazy back then: “When I was young I found myself/And I felt no shame in looking up at the stars/And I felt no shame in thinking out loud/I’d be married with kids with someone like you.


“Close” – Nick Jonas & Demi Lovato

Nick Jonas and Demi Lovato’s “Close” is the perfect song for anyone who has ever lost someone they love. The song comes from the perspective of a girl who has lost her boyfriend in a tragic accident: “I know that I’ll be okay, someday/There will be sunshine, after the storm/But baby, I don’t know how to feel, tonight.”


“Postcard Picture” – Music Travel Love

The band The Postal Service has released a lot of albums as far as albums go. A lot of the songs in their catalogue are wonderful and well-received but there’s one song in particular that stands out in their repertoire. From the very beginning, “Postcard Picture” seems incredibly odd because of its unique arrangement and unique lyrics.


“Picture Book” – The Kinks

Picture Book” is a song about going through a photo album and finding photos of “you in your birthday suit,” “your mama and father, and fat old Uncle Charlie out boozing with their friends.” The Kinks gave us this great song that everyone can identify with – the nostalgia of looking through old photos.

Prior to crafting the song, Davies reportedly had a concept for the musical motif. The music was originally planned for songwriter Ray Davies to use in a solo project, but the Kinks recorded it in May 1968.

“Pictures of Lily” – The Who

“Pictures of Lilly” by the Who is an example of a song about pictures on the wall. In the track, a father gives his son pictures of a movie star to help him feel better. There is sexual innuendo here. The son becomes infatuated with the movie star until his father tells him she’s dead. 

“Pictures of Lily” from The Who’s 1967 album, Meaty, Beaty, Big, and Bouncy is a song about the relationships people can form with pictures and the idealized idea of who someone is from their pictures. It is about realizing fantasy for what it is.

See also  10 Best Songs About Frogs

“Photograph” – Ringo Starr

Ringo Starr wrote “Photograph” with George Harrison. Harrison plays 12-string guitar on the recording and sings vocal harmony, while Starr is on drums and lead vocals. Ringo Starr played the song live during the 2014 Grammy Awards while old Beatles photos were projected in the background. 

“Photograph” is one of the great melodies about pictures and memories. In the song, a man grieves a lost relationship. The pain is sharper every time he looks at photographs of her because it reminds him of what they once had, of what he’ll never have again. 


“Kodachrome” – Paul Simon

Kodachrome was a color film sold by Kodak from 1935 until 2009. Paul Simon’s “Kodachrome” was on his 1973 album, There Goes Rhymin’ Simon. Initially, he was working on the song under the title “Coming Home,” but at some point, the name of Kodak’s film came to him. 

“Kodachrome” is one of the best tracks about photography. It’s a song about how the brightness of color photography tricks our memories into seeing only the happiness and the positive side of the captured memory. Black and white drains all artifice and imagination and shows things more how they were, stripped of romance. The protagonist realizes this and begs the adults in his life to let him keep this color film. 


“Picture This” – Blondie

“Picture This” from Blondie’s 1978 album Parallel Lines is one of many love songs about pictures. “Picture This” is a song about a woman who wants to make her visions of her life with the one she loves more solid. She is relying for now on imagination, on being able to see and picture the life she wants, and she’s pleading for her love to do the same. 


“Girls on Film” – Duran Duran

An example of 80s songs about pictures, Duran Duran’s “Girls on Film,” was written by all the band members and released on their 1981 album, Duran Duran. 

“Girls on Film” is a track about the exploitation and abuse models go through. It reveals the unglamorous reality of the job, including how lucrative it can be for the women who put up with it. With lyrics critical of an industry and the consumers who buy into it, it is a song that discusses the human price of the perfect picture. 


“Wishing (If I Had a Photograph of You)” – Flock of Seagulls

“Wishing (If I Had a Photograph of You)” by Flock of Seagulls is a song about how photographs are for not just reminding us what someone looks like and reveling in their beauty. Pictures also remind us of that unique person and give us something to hold onto when they’re not there

“Wishing (If I Had a Photograph of You)” is based on a real person writer and frontman Mike Score met before fame struck. He asked her for a picture so he wouldn’t forget her, but she wouldn’t give him one, insisting he’d forget her anyway. 


“selfie#theinternetisforever” – Brad Paisley

Brad Paisley’s “self#theinternetisforever” is a critical take on selfies and social media. Released on his 2017 album, Love and War, the song chastises people who take gratuitous selfies and immortalize bad decisions. 

This song also references famous people and the bad decisions they’ve made with their cameras, and the video for the track uses many selfies posted to social media by celebrities. “selfie#theinternetisforever” is not just critical of individuals, however, but of the culture of vanity inherent in selfies and social media. 

See also  21 Best J. Cole Songs You Must Listen Today

“Paparazzi” – Lady Gaga

From Lady Gaga’s 2008 album, The Fame, “Paparazzi” is a song about fame and the cameras that come along with it. Of course, cameras don’t come along on their own. The paparazzi chase down the famous to capture pictures. On the one hand, they stoke the flames of fame, but on the other hand, they stifle and endanger stars and their private lives. 

“Paparazzi” isn’t just about being a victim or being exploited. It is also about chasing the paparazzi back in a way. The narrator of this song wants them to fall in love with her. She’s doing whatever she can to make that happen. The images that get taken of us become how people see us. It’s hard not to want to control that.


“I’ll Wait” – Van Halen

Van Halen’s “I’ll Wait” is another song about pictures from a magazine. This number is about a man who falls in love with a woman from her photograph in a magazine. He writes her a letter to tell her how he feels but doesn’t send it because it won’t matter. He’s looking at her. But she’s not looking back. 

“I’ll Wait” is another song that shows the divide between the subject and the viewer. The track’s narrator knows the image was created to make men like him fall in love. He’s bitter about it, but that doesn’t change his feelings. 


“Polaroid” – Keith Urban

Before digital cameras and cell phone cameras, the only way to take a picture and be able to develop and view it (nearly) instantly was with a Polaroid. These white-bordered physical photos were not exactly cheap, but they were how family and friends captured the fun and spontaneous moments. 

Keith Urban’s “Polaroid” is an example of country songs about pictures and memories. A man comes across a Polaroid taken of him and his love years ago, when they were younger, and before their whole lives together. This song shows how seeing ourselves in the past can help us appreciate how far we’ve come. 


“Click, Click, Click, Click” – Bishop Allen and The Broken String

If you’ve ever spent time in a big city, as a resident or a tourist, you might have thought about how many strangers’ photos you’re a part of. How people you don’t know will show that picture to their friends and family, how you’re a part of their moment, even though you don’t know each other. 

Bishop Allen and The Broken String’s song “Click, Click, Click, Click” is about that phenomenon exactly. It’s a song about a man who accidentally finds himself in a stranger’s wedding photo while trying to escape the rain. He’s thinking about how he’s a part of that memory for them now, even though he isn’t a part of their lives.

Conclusion

It’s not easy to pick only 21 songs that could have easily been picked 100 but we think that the songs on this list are worth hearing. We hope you enjoy these amazing tracks and that they’ll bring back some great memories of those special people in your life.

Writer

Born and raised in Austin, David is a dedicated writer and avid fragrance lover. When he's not trying out perfumes, he enjoys traveling and exploring new restaurants.