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Best songs about power
Image: Time Out/Carl Bjorklund/Shutterstock

The 20 best songs about power

Boost your ego with these songs about power and strength

Nick Levine
Edited by
Andy Kryza
Written by
Nick Levine

Power corrupts. But power also slaps... at least when it’s being used as the theme for the kind of song that makes you feel invincible. Songs about power can make you swoon and swagger, pump your fist or start a revolution. And though they’re not quite the prolific muses that love and heartache are, the best songs about power and strength run the gamut from hip-hop calls to arms to sax-heavy pop songs and inspirational classic-rock anthems. Fire up any of these songs and you, too, will have the power.

Listen to these songs on Amazon Music

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Best songs about power, ranked

‘Power’ by Kanye West
Image: Def Jam

1. ‘Power’ by Kanye West

It's no accident that this rap-rock banger is one of Yeezy's most rousing tunes: he tells us in the first verse ‘I guess every superhero needs his theme music.’ But what makes ‘Power’ really fascinating are the way its lyrics switch between vain and jaded, then ambivalent and self-aggrandising. ‘No one man should have all that power,’ West raps on the chorus, ‘The clock’s ticking, I just count the hours.’ Bombastic and complicated, ‘Power’ is peak Kanye.

‘(Something Inside) So Strong’ by Labi Siffre
Image: Polydor

2. ‘(Something Inside) So Strong’ by Labi Siffre

Labi Siffre wrote this supremely stirring gospel ballad after watching a TV documentary which showed white police officers shooting black civilians in Apartheid South Africa. He later revealed that the song was also inspired by his experiences growing up gay. But over the years it's become such a universal salute to the power of inner strength that everyone from Kenny Rogers to ‘Pop Idol’ singer Rik Waller (yes, really) have covered it.

‘Soul Power’ by James Brown
Image: Polydor

3. ‘Soul Power’ by James Brown

One of James Browns biggest hits, ‘Soul Power’ became a revolutionary anthem despite its lyrics boiling down to a slurry of Brown’s signature grunts, asides and come hithers. The repetition of ‘Soul Power’ over and over has become the mantra of many movements since. The eight-minute cut is the ultimate JB funk fest, while an instrumental version from Brown and Maceo and the Macks take the groove to soaring new heights before bringing things back down, down, down, down, down. 

‘People Have the Power’ by Patti Smith
Image: Arista

4. ‘People Have the Power’ by Patti Smith

Though it was released in 1988, a time when Smith was focusing on raising her family and essentially in semi-retirement, ‘People Have the Power’ has become a highlight of the punk icon's live sets. It's not hard to work out why: it's a rousing rock anthem whose lyrics feel more relevant than ever. When Smith sings, ‘People have the power to redeem the work of fools,’ it's a sentiment you could apply to any number of current political situations.

‘Run the World (Girls)’ by Beyoncé
Image: Columbia Records

5. ‘Run the World (Girls)’ by Beyoncé

If you ever truly want to know who’s really in charge, the Queen has a lesson in power dynamics. And if the message of female empowerment and world domination is in any way unclear, don’t worry… this anthem repeats its thesis about who, in fact, runs this mutha no less than two dozen times, just to be extra clear. 

‘The Power’ by Snap!
Image: Arista

6. ‘The Power’ by Snap!

When it was soaring up the charts in 1990, ‘The Power’ was actually a pretty controversial record; Jocelyn Brown sued German Eurodance crew Snap! for unauthorised sampling of her voice, and it turned out that the singer in the video, Jackie Harris, wasn't the singer who actually delivered the irresistible  ‘I've got the power!’ hook. Whatever – three decades later, ‘The Power’ remains a just-cheesy-enough dance anthem that gets kids and grandads alike pumping their fists in the air.

‘Roar’ by Katy Perry
Image: Capitol Records

7. ‘Roar’ by Katy Perry

K-Pez knew exactly what she was aiming for with this 2013 chart-topper: the chorus even references Survivor's all-time empowerment anthem ‘Eye of the Tiger’. But though ‘Roar’ is about as subtle as a Trump tweet (like many of her best songs, actually), there's no denying it hits the target. Let's face it, even your coolest mate couldn't resist belting out ‘Roar’ at karaoke. 

‘We Are the Champions’ by Queen
Image: Elektra

8. ‘We Are the Champions’ by Queen

You'd never expect modesty from a band called Queen, but ‘We Are the Champions’ isn't quite as braggadocious as you might think. Yes, the chorus is all chest-swelling splendour, but the verses outline an appealingly melodramatic triumph agaisnt adversity. ‘I've had my share of sand kicked in my face, but I've come through,’ sings Freddie Mercury. Even if you wanted to resist this one, you couldn't – scientists have declared it the catchiest song ever.

‘Fight the Power’ by Public Enemy
Image: Def Jam

9. ‘Fight the Power’ by Public Enemy

Sometimes, the most empowering songs are the ones that incite listeners to knock the corrupt off their pedestals. That’s the core to the strength of Public Enemy’s classic, which takes everything from the cops to Elvis to task in its call to arms. In fighting the powers that be, we gain control over our destinies. Try listening without raising a fist. 

‘Power to the People’ by John Lennon
Image: Apple

10. ‘Power to the People’ by John Lennon

Though Lennon later distanced himself from this 1970 protest song, saying a decade later that he felt ‘it didn't really come off’, its admirably direct (if slightly naive) message remains galvanising. Really, who can resist a refrain of ‘power to the people, right on!’ underpinned by Phil Spector's swelling Wall of Sound production?

‘Titanium’ by David Guetta feat. Sia
Image: EMI

11. ‘Titanium’ by David Guetta feat. Sia

Strictly-speaking, Guetta's house thumper is about being ‘bulletproof’ and having ‘nothing to lose’, but there's no denying it evokes a real feeling of inner strength and personal power. When the mighty Sia lets rips on the chorus, it's impossible not to feel buoyed by the gutsy bombast of it all. 

‘Girl Power’ by Shampoo
Image: EMI

12. ‘Girl Power’ by Shampoo

It only peaked at number 25 in 1996, but ‘Girl Power’ caught the attention of one Geraldine Estelle Halliwell, who repurposed its title into the Spice Girls' iconic mantra. Though Shampoo's tune is clearly feminist, it's also a wonderfully shouty celebration of being young, unencumbered and ‘coming home drunk in the midnight hour’. Though less well-known than the duo's signature hit ‘Trouble’, it's very nearly as infectious. 

‘Independent Women Part 1’ by Destiny’s Child
Image: Columbia Records

13. ‘Independent Women Part 1’ by Destiny’s Child

Beyoncé, Kelly and Michelle's enormo-hit from the Charlie's Angels soundtrack is a modern feminist classic. It's also a song that acknowledges – for better or worse – that money often equals powers. ‘Try to control me boy, you get dismissed,’ Bey sings on the first verse. ‘Pay my own car note and I pay own bills.’

‘Power of a Woman’ by Eternal
Image: EMI

14. ‘Power of a Woman’ by Eternal

Perhaps because they just pre-dated the Spice Girls, British pop-R&B group Eternal tend to get forgotten about these days. That's a shame, because they racked up an impressive 15 Top 20 hits between 1993 and 1999, and ‘Power of a Woman’ is one of their best. Beginning with a glorious ‘ahhh! do do do do...’ vocal hook, it's a sweetly soulful celebration of the female spirit. 

‘Take the Power Back’ by Rage Against the Machine
Image: Epic

15. ‘Take the Power Back’ by Rage Against the Machine

A hard-rocking cousin to Pubic Enemy’s ‘Fight the Power,’ Rage’s typically fiery ode to dismantling the system is yet another empowering song about wresting control from the corrupt. The song is about questioning authority, calling out bullshit and in turn rising up stronger than ever. Classic Rage in every sense.

‘Power’ by Little Mix feat. Stormzy
Image: Columbia Records

16. ‘Power’ by Little Mix feat. Stormzy

Having blossomed over the last six years into the UK's best pop group, Little Mix definitely have the chops to pull off this female empowerment bop. Stomzy's strong yet sensitive rap adds some cool points, but the song's best bit is its most suggestive: ‘Just 'cause you're packin' packin', whoop, down south / That don't mean I'm ever gonna take it lying down.’ Whatever could they be getting at? 

‘Eye of the Tiger’ by Survivor
Image: Scotti Bros.

17. ‘Eye of the Tiger’ by Survivor

Rock songs don't come much cheesier than ‘Eye of the Tiger’. Then again, they don't get any more evocative, either: just one blast of that opening riff and you're picturing Rocky Balboa running up steps and sweating like a beast. The lyrics are really about resilience and overcoming obstacles, but still, this tune definitely has huge power in its DNA.

‘Power & Control’ by Marina and the Diamonds
Image: Atlantic Records

18. ‘Power & Control’ by Marina and the Diamonds

She may not have become the massive pop star many tipped her to be, but Marina Diamandis knows how to write a huge tune. This standout track from 2012's Electra Heart album explores the 'eternal game of tug and war' that takes place in any romantic relationship. With glossy atmospheric production from Swedish House Mafia's Steve Angello, it almost sounds like a lost '80s synth-pop classic. 

‘Backseat Freestyle’ by Kendrick Lamar
Image: Interscope

19. ‘Backseat Freestyle’ by Kendrick Lamar

Not necessarily a song about power, per se, this good kid m.A.A.d. city standout nonetheless repeats the phrase ‘all my life I want money and power’ enough times that it’s become an incidental anthem for anyone looking to raise their status. For Kendrick, that dream came true. The jury’s still out on whether his Eiffel Tower prayers were answered, but here's hoping.

‘The Power of Love’ by Huey Lewis and the News
Image: Chrysalis

20. ‘The Power of Love’ by Huey Lewis and the News

Truly, the power of love is a curious thing. And while Huey’s Back to the Future theme might seem a bit naive in a cynical world, the song’s insistence that love is enough to keep the world going is a lovely sentiment, especially when it's paired up with some of that quintessential ’80s sax magic.


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