10 Songs About Homelessness And Poverty

March 13, 2019

Homelessness and poverty are ongoing themes in popular culture, often depicted in music, film and art.

 

While the issues of homelessness and poverty are frequently described as an invisible problem - despite their prevalence - pop culture shines a spotlight on the issues.

 

Here are 10 of the top songs about homelessness and poverty:

 

1) Moments, Moments, Emerson Drive

 

 

A young man intending to end his life by suicide approaches a bridge in this 2006 country song by Emerson Drive, 4-time Juno Award nominees. The young man is followed by an old homeless man who rises from his cardboard box shelter to share that his own life hasn't always been this way:

 

I've had my moments, days in the sun

Moments I was second to none

Moments when I knew I did what I thought I couldn't do

Like that plane ride coming home from the war

That summer my son was born

And memories like a coat so warm

A cold wind can't get through

Lookin' at me now you might not know it

But I've had my moments.

 

The tender exchange between strangers distracted the young man long enough for him to rethink his decision. Later, the young man looks back on how the homeless man saved his life; we are all capable of heroism.

 

2) Another Day In Paradise, Phil Collins

 

 

In this 1989 pop ballad, a cold, homeless woman cries as she beckons a stranger for help. Obviously suffering, she has blisters on her feet and can't walk. Rather than helping, however, the man does what is easy; he pretends not to hear her pleas, then whistles, and crosses the street to avoid her.

 

3) Allentown, Billy Joel

 

 

An anthem of America's blue collar workers, this 1982 rock song describes the decline of the steel industry and its impact on laid-off workers.

 

4) The 'A' Team, Ed Sheeran

 

 

Ed Sheeran wrote ‘The A Team’ after visiting a homeless shelter. It's a tragic ballad about a young woman, on the edge of homelessness, who struggles to make ends meet.

 

5) Streets of Philadelphia, Bruce Springsteen

 

 

From the 1994 movie ‘Philadelphia,’, ‘Streets of Philadelphia’ describes the life of someone who wanders the streets, fearing he will die lonely.

 

6) Cost of Livin', Ronnie Dunn

 

In this 2008 country song, a man applies for a job and laments the state of the economy. The man is looking for any kind of work to feed and clothe his family. The wolf is knocking at his family's door, and like too many others in his position, he's just trying to survive.

 

7) Almost Home, Craig Morgan

 

Each year, hundreds of homeless people die from hypothermia. In ‘Almost Home,’ a man is on his way to becoming a victim of exposure. In the freezing weather, he lay curled up behind some garbage cans, trying his best to stay warm.

 

8) Bread & Water, Vince Gill

 

Dirty, dead broke, and ashamed, a man who lives on the streets wanders into a homeless mission in this 2001 country song. He's looking for bread, water, and a place to lay his head.

 

9) Fast Car, Tracy Chapman

 

In this 1988 pop song, the narrator is a dreamer who desperately seeks to claw and scrape herself out of poverty. With little formal education and a broken family life, she relies on her own meager savings from a convenience store job to escape her surroundings.

 

10) Burnin' It Down, Steve Earle

 

In ‘Burnin’ It Down,’ a homeless man is living out of his vehicle. This man feels like he's out of options in life.

 

 

Adapted from spinditty.com

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