25 Great Songs About Silence

So you’re trying to find a song about silence? Now that sounds like an oxymoron if there ever was one…

But there are quite a few amazing songs about silence and how important it is in this crazy world we live in.

Because sometimes you just need to chill out without any distractions.

Or sometimes there are situations where words just aren’t necessary and will end up doing more harm than good. In other words, as the proverb says “speech is silver and silence is golden”.

Like in the song Somethin’ Stupid, crooner Frank Sinatra sang “And then I go and spoil it all by saying something stupid like ‘I love you’”.

So put some duct tape over your mouth and let’s check out some cool songs that explore the beauty of silence.

1. Enjoy the Silence

It would be a crime not to start with this one. 

This one is about how unreliable communication can be, stating that “words are meaningless and forgettable”. 

This was a fun pop song but the questions it raises are similar to old philosophical essays on just how effective communication can really be between people who have had different life experiences. 

For example, if you are talking to someone and use the word “childhood”, the other person may have had a completely different childhood than you did. 

But to get back to the song itself, the video/single ends with the line “Enjoy the silence” and then a few seconds of silence while the album version has a short instrumental song after the silence (before the next listed track). 

  • Written by: Martin Gore
  • Year Released: 1990
  • Album: Violator

2. I Think We’re Alone Now

Here we have silence being used to mean being alone… alone together that is.

This classic song is about love between two young people but no one around seems to approve, somewhat similar to Romeo and Juliet.

So to escape the nagging and prying eyes of everyone telling them they shouldn’t be together and that they’re too young for love, they run off until they’re alone and “The beating of our hearts is the only sound”.

The song even has a little breakdown section after the chorus when drums simulate heartbeats and crickets are chirping. No, it’s not complete silence but I think it’s close enough.

This song has been covered by many artists over the years but the Tommy James & The Shondells version still sounds the best to me. How can you improve on perfection?

  • Written by: Ritchie Cordell
  • Year Released: 1967
  • Album: I Think We’re Alone Now

3. Corcovado

This is a beautiful song and a Jazz standard in the Bossa Nova style. 

Corcovado is a mountain in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and the singer is enjoying some good old-fashioned peace and quiet. Okay, so she is actually playing a guitar but she’s playing it quietly. 

This track is from the same album as the song The Girl from Ipanema, which was hugely popular and introduced many people to the style of Bossa Nova. 

  • Written by: Antônio Carlos Jobim
  • Year Released: 1964
  • Album: Getz/Gilberto

4. Don’t Speak

Here’s another song about a situation when communication isn’t wanted or needed and will in fact just be painful.

During a breakup, the character of the song would rather have silence than listen to her ex-lover try to rationalize or lie about why he is leaving her (“Don’t tell me ‘cause it hurts”).

And apparently, it was based on a real-life breakup between Gwen Stefani and another member of No Doubt.

This one was hugely popular and helped make Ska music mainstream in the 1990s. 

  • Written by: Gwen Stefani and Eric Stefani
  • Year Released: 1995
  • Album: Tragic Kingdom

5. In a Silent Way / It’s About That Time

Now how can an instrumental song be about silence you may ask. 

It’s a valid question but I think that Miles Davis can convey more with his trumpet than some people can with words. And with no language barriers either.

If you listen to the song, it will quickly become apparent how silence fits the mood. It’s very chill and different from Jazz styles such as Hard Bop or Big Band. 

This track is actually split into three parts with In A Silent Way being the first and last 4 minutes with It’s About That Time sandwiched in between.

And the other track on the album, Shhh / Peaceful, follows this same structure.

This album is usually ranked among Davis’ best and is a close contender for the top spot along with 1959’s Kind of Blue.

  • Written by: Joe Zawinul (In a Silent Way) and Miles Davis (It’s About That Time)
  • Year Released: 1969
  • Album: In a Silent Way

6. Silence Kid

Also known as Silence Kit due to an inkblot, this song perfectly serves up the awkwardness and shyness that some people experience growing up

Well, that’s how I interpret it anyway. Some people say that the lyrics of Pavement songs are indecipherable or just nonsense. 

But any way you look at it, it’s an awesome song from one of Alternative Rock’s best eras. 

  • Written by: Stephen Malkmus
  • Year Released: 1994
  • Album: Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain

7. Voices Carry

With this one-hit wonder, we’re back to our theme of times when words simply aren’t necessary.

Just kidding! This song is about a woman who is developing strong feelings for her lover and he’s trying to keep it casual (“When I tell him that I’m falling in love, why does he say… Hush hush, keep it down now, voices carry”).

I wonder if this one was inspired by that Frank Sinatra song since it’s the same basic idea.

As for the video for the song, I don’t think Aimee Mann’s hairstyle has aged very well. Yikes. But at least the song still sounds good. 

  • Written by: ‘Til Tuesday
  • Year Released: 1985
  • Album: Voices Carry

8. When You Say Nothing at All

Another example of staying silent is this song, which has been performed by many Country music artists.

And in this version by Allison Krauss, the lyrics even say “Old Mr. Webster could never define

what’s being said between your heart and mine”. 

Instead, communication takes place through “the smile on your face”, “a truth in your eyes” and “the touch of your hand”. 

  • Written by: Paul Overstreet and Don Schlitz
  • Year Released: 1994
  • Albums: Keith Whitley: A Tribute Album and Now That I’ve Found You: A Collection

17 More Great Songs about Silence

So Quiet in HereVan Morrison
The Sound of SilenceSimon & Garfunkel
The Sound of SilenceDisturbed
I Better Be Quiet NowElliot Smith
A Song for the DeafQueens of the Stone Age
Silent Night, Holy NightWritten by Franz Xaver Gruber and Joseph Mohr
Quiet on the SetN.W.A.
HushDeep Purple
It’s Oh So QuietBjork
The Quiet OneThe Who
Silent ShoutThe Knife
Our Lips Are SealedThe Go-Gos
The Misinterpretation of Silence and Its Disastrous ConsequencesType O Negative
Shut Up and Kiss MeMary Chapin Carpenter
Out of the Silent PlanetIron Maiden
Quiet in My TownCivil Twilight