Many people with ADHD often struggle with feelings of restlessness, anxiety, and the inability to focus on tasks for an extended period. For some, listening to music can provide a sense of calmness and tranquility, even if it’s just for a few minutes. A great deal of songwriters have recognized how ADHD affects people, and have written songs that express just that.
In this article, we will explore a few of those songs and how they shed light on the struggles experienced by people with ADHD.
“ADHD” – Joyner Lucas
“ADHD” by Joyner Lucas is an introspective and multi-layered rap track exploring the rapper’s experience living with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. Joyner’s frenetic and unpredictable flows, combined with vivid storytelling and candid lyrics, paint a poignant picture of the challenges and struggles of coping with ADHD.
From feeling misunderstood and isolated to hyperfocusing on his art, the song captures the complexity of this often-misunderstood condition. Overall, “ADHD” offers a thoughtful and nuanced reflection on a topic that is not often addressed in mainstream music.
“Attention” – Charlie Puth
“Attention” by Charlie Puth is an intriguing pop song that captures the complexities of ADHD through its evocative lyrics and dynamic melody. Through fluid, expressive vocals and a catchy instrumental hook, Puth captures the frustrating misdirection that often accompanies the condition, as well as the intense bursts of creativity and energy that come with it.
Despite its lively beat and accessible sound, “Attention” manages to convey the challenges and surprises of ADHD in a way that is both empowering and enlightening.
“Hyperactive” – Thomas Dolby
Thomas Dolby’s “Hyperactive” is a pop hit that relays a high level of energy and excitement, perfectly capturing the essence of ADHD. The song’s lyrics emphasizes the disarray that stems from the limits of focus that come with the condition. The beat is uptempo, and the layered synths and samples create a hyperactive sound collage that is simultaneously disorienting and catchy.
As a result, “Hyperactive” is a must-listen for anyone looking to get a musical taste of the thrilling, ever-changing, and sometimes perplexing experience of living with ADHD.
“Can’t Keep” – Eddie Vedder
Eddie Vedder’s song delves into the throes of the misguided inner workings of an ADHD afflicted mind. With lyrics that acutely describe the fast-paced and frenzied nature of an ADHD individual, Vedder’s song speaks to a sense of restlessness that permeates through the song’s lyrics.
Vedder’s emotionally charged delivery of the lyrics mirror the erratic and impulsive nature of an ADHD brain. The song does not shy away from exploring the difficulties of living with ADHD and demonstrates the havoc it can wreak on a person’s life.
“Brain Stew” – Green Day
“Brain Stew” by Green Day is a dissonant and frenzied blend of distorted guitar riffs and intense drumming, which perfectly mirrors the frenetic thoughts and hyperactivity commonly associated with ADHD. With its rapid and erratic tempo changes, the song captures the mind-boggling experience of racing thoughts and the inability to focus.
Lead vocalist Billie Joe Armstrong’s angsty vocals add to the overall sound of chaos and frustration, which most individuals with ADHD can relate to. Overall, “Brain Stew” truly encapsulates the chaos and disarray that come with ADHD in a sonically intense manner.
“Lose Yourself” – Eminem
The track is a rap classic about the struggle of losing oneself in the moment and the rush that comes with it. Using vivid and evocative imagery, the lyrics paint a picture of a mind that’s constantly wandering and struggling to focus, even when it’s time to perform. The artist cleverly captures the frenetic energy of life with ADHD, exploring both the upsides and the downsides of a mind that’s always on the go.
Overall, the song captures the timeless struggle of trying to manage an overactive mind in a world that demands focus and concentration.
“Hyper Enough” – Superchunk
“Hyper Enough” by Superchunk is a frenzied punk rock anthem that captures the erratic energy and restlessness of someone with ADHD. The song’s driving rhythm, jagged guitar riffs, and urgent vocals create a sense of perpetual motion that mirrors the racing thoughts and impulsivity characteristic of the condition.
With lyrics that suggest an overactive mind struggling to keep up with the phrenetic pace of life, “Hyper Enough” is a perfect example of how music can express the kaleidoscope of emotions and experiences associated with ADHD.
“Too Much Time on My Hands” – Styx
The tune in question is a rock classic by the band Styx, conveying the sensation of having “Too Much Time on My Hands.” The lyrics depict a person whose ADHD makes it hard for them to concentrate on daily routine activities or jobs. The highly energetic and upbeat melody of the song contrasts with the sense of frustration and confusion reflected in the lyrics, making it an ideal addition to any playlist addressing ADHD.
With its catchy chorus and infectious guitar riffs, this track is sure to leave listeners humming along long after it has ended.
“Wired for Sound” – Cliff Richard
“Wired for Sound” by Cliff Richard is a syncopated pop song that deals with the frenzied state that some individuals with ADHD may experience. The upbeat tempo and frenetic arrangement create a sense of urgency and restlessness, akin to the energy levels that ADHD individuals often display.
The lyrics encourage listeners to embrace their wired-for-sound state and marvel at how the world around them comes to life with their extra energy. Overall, the song captures the essence of ADHD and provides a relatable and catchy tune for those who experience it.
“Unwell” – Matchbox Twenty
“Unwell” by Matchbox Twenty delves into the chaos and confusion that individuals with ADHD experience in their daily lives. The lyrics explore the struggles of feeling like an outsider, never fitting in, and feeling exhausted by the expectations of society. Lead singer Rob Thomas croons with raw emotion, capturing the frustration and internal turmoil that those with ADHD often feel.
The song’s underlying message of self-acceptance and healing ultimately offers a glimmer of hope to those struggling with ADHD.
“Out of Control” – Hoobastank
“Out of Control” by Hoobastank delves into the internal conflict and struggle of those with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. The song portrays the constant feeling of being out of control and overwhelmed by one’s own thoughts and emotions, with the lyrics depicting the internal chaos and physical restlessness.
The emotional intensity and energy of the track capture the overwhelming feelings that come with ADHD, making it a powerful representation of the condition.
“The Impression That I Get” – The Mighty Mighty Bosstones
“The Impression That I Get” by The Mighty Mighty Bosstones is a poignant and introspective song that delves into the inner workings of a hyperactive mind. The lead singer reflects on the difficulties he faces with focusing and staying on task, and how the outside world often misunderstands him.
Using a mix of introspective lyrics and upbeat horn-infused melodies, this song presents a complex yet relatable perspective on the struggles of ADHD.
“A.D.H.D” – Kendrick Lamar
“A.D.H.D” by Kendrick Lamar is a complex and thought-provoking song that delves deeper into the struggles and challenges faced by individuals with ADHD. With vivid and powerful lyrics, Lamar illustrates the difficulties of focusing, the frustration of feeling like an outsider, and the pain of constantly being misunderstood.
Through his unmistakable flow, Lamar conveys a message of hope and resilience, inspiring listeners to embrace their unique strengths and to never give up on themselves despite the obstacles they might face.
“Crazy Train” – Ozzy Osbourne
Ozzy Osbourne’s “Crazy Train” is an electrifying rock song that explores the chaotic inner world of the mind. The pounding drums, frenetic guitar riffs, and Ozzy’s manic vocals create a sense of unease and restlessness. The lyrics about going “off the rails” and being unable to control one’s thoughts and actions capture the experience of someone struggling with ADHD.
The song’s energy and intensity mirror the highs and lows of an energetic and restless mind, making it a perfect anthem for anyone living with ADHD.
“Brain Damage” – Pink Floyd
Pink Floyd’s “Brain Damage” depicts the distressing impact of mental illness on one’s perception of reality. The song captures vividly the feelings of confusion and disorientation that often accompany ADHD, as if the brain is malfunctioning or no longer fit for purpose.
Its surreal, dreamlike quality conveys the sense of being cut off from the world and unable to engage with it fully, creating a feeling of vulnerability and isolation that resonates with many ADHD sufferers. The song’s haunting melody and poignancy invite the listener to confront the reality of living with such an often misunderstood condition.
“Hyperactive!” – Robert Palmer
This particular track, performed by the late British singer Robert Palmer, is an ode to the uncontrollable nature of hyperactivity. The song highlights the pitfalls of being constantly “on,” with references to restless legs and an unstoppable buzz. Palmer’s unique vocals also add an element of frenetic energy to the song, making it a fitting addition to any playlist about ADHD.
“Distracted” – KSM
The track in question is a mid-tempo pop rock song from an all-female group, touching on the subject of struggling with focus. The enigmatic lyrics are framed by a catchy guitar riff and upbeat percussion, making it a sonically pleasing tune to bop along to. Despite its catchy tune, the song doesn’t shy away from the challenges that come with ADHD, and accurately depicts the bursts of hyperactivity and restlessness experienced by those who live with it.
The raw honesty and relatable nature of the track make it an essential addition to any playlist exploring the theme of ADHD.
“In Too Deep” – Sum 41
“In Too Deep” by Sum 41 explores the struggles of feeling overwhelmed and uncertain about how to navigate a situation. The intense bursts of emotions in the lyrics and instrumentation reflect the highs and lows that can be experienced with ADHD. The urgent and restless energy of the song captures the feeling of being pulled in all directions and struggling to maintain control.
Despite the chaotic nature of the song, there is a sense of wanting to keep pushing forward and not give up, which is a powerful message for those dealing with ADHD.
“Fighter” – Christina Aguilera
“Fighter” by Christina Aguilera is a song that embodies the spirit of resilience and perseverance in the midst of challenges. It is a tribute to those who struggle with ADHD and other mental health conditions, and the message is one of hope and empowerment. The song’s powerful lyrics encourage listeners to keep fighting and overcoming obstacles, even when it feels like an uphill battle.
With its upbeat tempo and driving melody, “Fighter” inspires us to channel our inner strength and stay strong in the face of adversity.
“The Sound of Silence” – Simon & Garfunkel
“The Sound of Silence” by Simon & Garfunkel is a hauntingly beautiful melody that delves into themes of isolation and introspection. Though the song doesn’t explicitly reference ADHD, its lyrics and somber tone touch on the feelings of restlessness and inner turmoil often experienced by those with the condition.
The captivating harmonies and melancholic melody make this timeless classic a fitting addition to any playlist exploring the complexities of ADHD.