Songs about fire usually hold metaphors, and Songwriters love their metaphors—for good reasons! According to studies, using metaphors in songs helps invoke an array of emotions and imagery.
One of the most commonly used metaphors in contemporary music is related to fire. Let’s pretend that you are on a camping trip with friends, making s’mores around the campfire.
You feel the warmth, and you see the light.
Fire represents an array of emotions; on this list, we will go over every one of them.
30 of the hottest songs about fire
1. “Girl on Fire” by Alicia Keys
We’re starting our list of songs about fire hot with this globally successful banger as we usually do. From its exquisite production down to Alicia Key’s soaring vocals, this track would make you thirst for more.
American singer and songwriter Alicia Keys recorded the R&B ballad Girl on Fire. It was released as the lead single off the superstar’s album of the same name in 2012.
Alicia Keys wrote the track during a monumental time in her life when it was imbued by the birth of his son alongside her marriage. This translated into a masterpiece that magnetized positive virtual acclaim from critics.
2. “We Didn’t Start the Fire” by Billy Joel
During the late 80s, American musical legend Billy Joel was experiencing a commercial decline. He was known for his rock sound, but he needed something fresh. Hence, this song’s creation and the formation of its subsequent album.
Joel recorded We Didn’t Start the Fire as part of his full-length studio album Storm Front. If you are a fan of Joel, conversations about this song may be polarizing. It is something that we don’t often hear from Joel; it does not have the lyrical prowess, the hummable melody, and the typical instrumentals he usually uses.
3. “Fireball” by Pitbull
He’s sold over a million copies in the US and gold certification in Canada and Australia. This song would surely remind you why Pitbull is called Mr. Worldwide!
American rapper Pitbull released “Fireball” as the second single off of his eighth full-length studio album, Globalization, in 2014. The Eurodance-Samba fusion features vocals from American singer John Ryan. The song’s catchy hook helped propel the song into the US Hot 100’s top 30.
Not to mention, the song’s music video is straight-up Fire, featuring some of the hottest internet celebrities at the time.
4. “I’m on Fire” by Bruce Springsteen
To be exact, American rock legend Bruce Springsteen’s 1985 album Born in the U.S.A. produced hits after hits—seven consecutive top 10s in the US Pop Charts. One of these is the soft rock fan favorite I’m on Fire.
They recorded the song back in 1982, but it was only released in 1985 due to unforeseen circumstances. The track is described to be moody and is sonically close to a soft rock-rockabilly fusion. Lyrically, it talks about sexuality aided by the 80’s signature synths.
The track eventually landed the number 6 spot in the US Pop Charts and was also able to clinch the top spot in the Netherlands
5. “Light My Fire” by The Doors
The Doors really did open doors as they traversed through different genres – producing tantamount pop hits in the process. They were renowned for pushing the envelope when crafting rock songs, which gave the band a sonic and lyrical signature that was immensely present in their breakthrough hit, Light My Fire.
The American rock band recorded the song and released it as part of their first self-titled album in 1967. During its peak, the song became an anthem, solidifying the band as the next big thing to look out for. The psychedelic rock track nabbed the top spot in the US Hot 100 and held the position for three consecutive weeks.
6. “Burning Down the House” by Talking Heads
New Wave music dominated the 80s, a loose umbrella term for all the hot genres in the decade after the emergence of pop-rock. The American rock band Talking Heads was renowned for this genre, and a direct representative of the sound is the track Burning Down the House.
The band released the track as the lead single off of Speaking in Tongues, the band’s fifth studio album released back in 1983. The four-minute track interpolated elements of punk rock with a dash of funk. The band has revealed that the song was born from a random jam session, with initial lyrics being different from what was released.
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7. “Just Like Fire” by Pink
Alice in Wonderland (2010) was indeed impactful. So much so that it resulted in a sequel in 2016, Alice Through the Looking Glass. To give some glitz to the movie’s sonic direction, American singer Pink recorded the song Just Like Fire for the flick’s soundtrack.
The pop wizard Max Martin produced the song, and it served as a single in the soundtrack mentioned above. It was a top 10 hit in the United States and penetrated the top 50 of multiple charts abroad. The song was critically acclaimed, gaining a Grammy nomination for Best Song Written for Visual Media.
8. “Set Fire to the Rain” by Adele
Adele needs no explanation. And let us not forget that this track served as one of the singles in Grammy’s Album of the Year 21 (2011). It’s only natural that the “Set Fire to the Rain” number should grace any list of songs about fire.
The power-pop ballad topped the US charts, making the track the third consecutive single from the album to clinch the number one spot. The song provides a stark contrast to the remainder of the album as it is packed with flamboyant instrumentation in the form of lush strings.
Billboard hailed it as their favorite 2012 number one hit. Critics celebrated this creative work, and it was a big commercial success. It bagged the Grammy award for the Best Pop Solo Performance.
9. “Play With Fire” by The Rolling Stones
“But you’d better watch your step girl or start living with your mother. So don’t you play with me ’cause you’re playing with fire”… Nothing screams “blazing confidence” more than this 1965 track from the English rock legends The Rolling Stones.
The Rolling Stones released Play With Fire as part of the American release of their fourth studio album, Out of Our Heads (1965). The song was incredibly short, at only two minutes, and used baroque and chamber pop elements. Lyrically, the song tackles the idea of dating a high society girl.
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10.”Fight Fire With Fire” by Metallica
The American heavy rock icon Metallica was renowned for its up-tempo tracks during the early start of its career. An example would be the track Fight Fire With Fire, released in 1984 as the opening track off of the band’s 1984 album Ride the Lightning.
Politics heavily influenced the song, showing the group’s awareness of what was happening around them. Lyrically, the song talks about how the abuse of nuclear weapons will lead to the planet’s destruction. The track is considered a fan favorite, being one of the band’s loudest and fastest songs.
11.”Firework” by Katy Perry
American mega pop star Katy Perry owned 2010 with her record-breaking album (some fans would refer to it as the pop bible) Teenage Dream. Among the roster of pop perfection in the album is Firework—a self-empowerment anthem that took the global charts by storm.
Katy Perry released the dance-pop track as the third single from the said 2010 album. The song was a massive commercial success, becoming the third consecutive single from the album to capture the number one spot in the US (which eventually became five). Not only that, but it held the spot for four non-consecutive weeks!
12.”Fire and Rain” by James Taylor
Fire and rain: now it’s time to put an interesting element of antithesis in this list of songs about fire. How could we deny James Taylor? The American rock icon is one of the best-selling artists of all time (100 million records sold) and a six-time Grammy winner. A spot on this list with this blazing number is the barest of the bare minimum.
Taylor released Fire and Rain as the second single off his 1970 album Sweet Baby James. It peaked at number three in the US, but the motive behind the track is anything but glitzy. The song is a tribute to the tragic death of Taylor’s childhood friend.
13.”Sex on Fire” by Kings of Leon
We’re taking a sharp turn back to the 2000s with this 2008 banger by the American rock band Kings of Leon. The band showed off their alternative rock flavor when they released “Sex on Fire”.
It served as the lead single of Only by the Night, the band’s fourth full-length studio album. The song eventually became the group’s first number-one hit in the United Kingdom (eventually catching the top spot in three other countries).
14.”Firestarter” by The Prodigy
The Prodigy is a two-time Brit award winner known for their sick electro-pop beats. If you’re a big fan of raves, you might have known them already—and most likely, you already know the (arguably) hottest track in their catalog.
The group released Firestarter as the lead single of their third studio album, The Fat of the Land, in 1997. It became The Prodigy’s most significant international hit, seizing their first number one in the UK singles chart. “Firestarter” incorporated elements of big beat and rave. Its production attracted positive attention from prominent music critics.
15.”Angel on Fire” by Halsey
This track is fresh from the oven as it is the newest track on this list so far, being released in 2017. The song served as a bonus track in the Hopeless Fountain Kingdom, Halsey’s second full-length album. The track featured production from Gregory Kurstin that helped materialize the song’s indie-pop feel.
Lyrically, the song talks about rebirth – being able to metamorphose into someone entirely different from the past. This was made apparent during the song’s chorus as she sang, “And I’m faded away, you know, I used to be on Fire. I’m standing in the ashes of who I used to be.”
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16.”Fire” by BTS
If we’re talking about the hottest of the hot, no other comes close to BTS today when it comes to global domination. But before they became the international icons we love, Fire has stood as one of their stepping stones.
South Korean boy group BTS (We mean, do they really need an introduction?) released the track as part of their 2016 compilation album The Most Beautiful Moment In Life: Young Forever. The song is heavily produced with massive electro dance-pop elements. What made this song hotter is its accompanying music video that showed the group’s most intense choreo at the time!
17.”Disco Inferno” by The Trammps
If a group can fully embody the meaning of disco and soul, it would be the American band The Trammps. If you are looking for an introduction to these legends, a good start would be their 1976 single Disco Inferno.
Disco Inferno served as the lead single of an album with a similar name – and rightfully so, as the track stood as a perfect insignia of the album’s overall sonic impression. Several other gigantic industry names re-recorded the song, such as Tina Turner in 1993 and Cyndi Lauper in 1998.
18.”Sleep Now in the Fire” by Rage Against the Machine
The Battle of Los Angeles (1999) was indeed a phenomenal rock album, winning a Grammy and being named by both Rolling Stones and Billboard as the best album of 1999. One of the tracks in this legendary body of work was the track Sleep Now in the Fire.
What’s incredibly unique about this track is how it effectively mashed up rap and rock. The song is only three and a half minutes long, so it will surely get you hitting the repeat button. The song featured a short sample from South Korean singer Uhm Jung-Hwa.
19.”Through the Fire” by Chaka Khan
Ah, what would a listicle of songs about fire be without this classic? It would be a crime to leave this song out of this list. Despite only reaching the US Hot 100’s top 60, the song Through the Fire left a long-lasting legacy. This song has been covered and sampled by multiple industry names and becoming a karaoke staple.
American singer and songwriter Chaka Khan recorded the track as a single off of her sixth full-length album, I Feel for You, in 1984. The 16-time Grammy award winner David Foster produced the song and sonically utilized old-school R&B elements. Khan’s soaring vocals and immensely commendable performance were the almost five-minute track’s primary highlight.
20.”Burning Love” by Elvis Presley
The King of Rock and Roll, Elvis Presley, has cemented himself as one of the biggest cultural icons of our time. However, every prime comes to an end; every fire has to dim down. Burning Love was Presley’s last top 10 hit in the US.
The song is almost three minutes long and has incorporated Presley’s signature rock sound. Many analysts have considered this song the King of Rock and Roll’s last big single. “Burning Love” featured writing chops from Dennis Linde and production from Felton Harvis.
21.”Cat People (Putting Out Fire)” by David Bowie
Being deemed among the most influential musicians of the 20th century, English artist David Bowie has undoubtedly proven his impact in the music industry. Cat People (Putting Out Fire), unlike most of the songs listed so far, was not released as an album single. Rather, it served as part of the erotic thriller Cat People’s soundtrack.
The track was released as a single back in 1982 and became a global hit (charting in the US, UK, and several other countries). The song was re-recorded in 1983 as Bowie was not satisfied with the song’s acoustic direction. The song was mater remastered in 2017
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22.”This Wheel’s On Fire” by Bob Dylan
Anything that comes out from Bob Dylan’s pen is guaranteed to be a magical, lyrical experience. We mean, he’s not regarded as one of the best songwriters of all time for nothing.
The track was released in 1975, giving listeners a taste of Dylan’s rock sound. The track was co-penned by Rick Danko with him helping Dylan compose melodies using a piano. The primary theme of the song is kind of complex to decipher as it comes off as some parable of sorts.
23.”Beds Are Burning” by Midnight Oil
Being listed among The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll, Beds Are Burning propped up Midnight Oil’s spot as one of the greatest one-hit wonders that graced our radios.
The Australian rock band Midnight Oil released this four-minute track as the second single off of Diesel and Dust. The track secured the top spot in three countries and entered the top 20 in the US.
24.”Setting Fires” by The Chainsmokers
The American DJ-producer duo, The Chainsmokers, can be loosely deemed the sound of 2016 (If you haven’t heard any of their songs at the time, you’re probably living under a rock.)
Setting Fires was released and promoted as the final single off The Chainsmokers’ second extended play. The track was an EDM-electro pop collaboration with electronic music duo Xylø. The track received modest commercial reception, peaking at 71 in the US.
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25.”Fire” by The Jimi Hendrix Experience
“Just don’t play with me and you won’t get burned. I have only one itching desire. Let me stand next to your Fire.” Is it getting hot in here? Or is this track just on. American musician Jimi Hendrix surely did not miss when he penned this song.
Despite being short at two and a half minutes long, the track blends many genres, including psychedelic rock, hard rock, soul, and funk. Critics even claimed that listening to the song is an “exercise for the soul.”
26.”Great Balls of Fire” by Jerry Lee Lewis
By selling 10 million copies during its first ten days, Great Balls of Fire solidified itself as one of the best-selling singles of its time. “The Killer,” American musician Jerry Lee Lewis, recorded the track as part of the soundtrack for the 1957 movie Jamboree.
“Great Balls of Fire” was written in a classic AABA rhyming scheme. Moreover, Rolling Stone deemed the track as part of the 500 greatest songs of all time – with the track seating beautifully at the 96th spot. The spot is pretty short, fairly making the two-minute mark.
27.”Jump into the Fire” by Harry Nilsson
American singer and songwriter Harry Nilsson recorded and released Jumping into the Fire as the second single off his album Nilsson Schmilsson. It was a modest commercial success, entering the US top 30 and Canadian top 20.
The track was originally almost seven minutes long but was edited down to three and a half when released as a single. This is to accommodate a more radio-friendly approach!
28.”Fire Bomb” by Rihanna
What’s a song list without the Fenty CEO herself? (If you don’t know, we actually compiled the best Rihanna songs on a separate list). For now, we’ll be focusing our limelight on Fire Bomb, the seventh track off of Rihanna’s fourth full-length album Rated R (2009).
Sonically, the track combines elements of R&B and rock with a darker ambiance (which Rated R became known for). The song is a little past four minutes long, but it can surely keep your attention!
29.”I See Fire” by Ed Sheeran
Having the most-streamed album by an artist on Spotify, excluding this entry from the English singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran would be utterly disrespectful.
The track was released in 2013 as part of the soundtrack of The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug. Subsequently, the track was included as a deluxe track in X (2014). Fortunately, the song was able to penetrate the UK’s top 20.
30.”Start a Fire” by John Legend
And of course, we are wrapping up this list of songs about fire with a fantastic John Legend track. This song is from one of the most beloved movies in American cinema, La La Land. Being one of the executive producers for the musical masterpiece, American musician John Legend was tasked to impart some of his writing chops in the movie’s soundtrack. One fruit of this effort is Start a Fire.
When asked to describe the tune, Legend said, “The main instruction was make it a fun song that you can see as a single that still has some jazz influence.”
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These Songs About Fire Should Keep Your Playlist Blazing (Final Thoughts)
According to the Ancient Greeks, Fire is among the four classical elements. It stands for assertiveness, passion, and warmth. And in many of the tracks we listed, this was indeed evident.
Whenever a song uses Fire as its focal highlight, we already know that it’s going to get steamy. Moreover, it induces feelings of empowerment, dominance, and sensuality.
Lastly, just like burning hot flames, music brings light. During the darkest of times, it gives us hope, direction, and comfort.