20 Songs About Control

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Written By Julia Mehalko

Julia is a music journalist with a passion for retro songs. She holds a degree in journalism from University of Nevada.

Control: some of us want it, and some of us really don’t. Some of us are control freaks, others simply like to go with the flow. Regardless of how you personally feel about control, we all like to have some level of control in our own lives… and don’t particularly like it when things are completely out of our hands.

So, we’ve listed 20 great songs about control below that help to understand the many emotions that come with a lack of control and being in control! If you’re struggling with your own desire to gain control, particularly in a romantic relationship, this is the playlist for you.

1. “Control” by Janet Jackson

“Control” by Janet Jackson, first released in 1986, follows the singer as she explains that she finally has control over her life. She’s no longer the child who used to listen to her parents and everyone else, doing what they said even if she didn’t want to. Now, she’s in control of her own life!

Jackson sings, “When I was seventeen, I did what people told me, uh / I did what my father said, and let my mother mold me / But that was long ago, I’m in / Control.”

2. “Power & Control” by MARINA

“Power & Control” by MARINA explores how many romantic relationships can become power fights. Both people in a relationship may want control, even though they think only one can have it. As a result, this song is one of the best about control and power, especially in relationships!

MARINA sings the lyrics, “Power and control / I’m gonna make you fall.”

3. “Self Control” by Bebe Rexha

In “Self Control”, Bebe Rexha sings about not being in control of your own life! Rexha explains that she has absolutely no self-control — especially when it comes to one person in her life. She sings, “Got no self-control / And I don’t mean cigarettes and alcohol / ‘Cause when it comes to you, I can’t say no.”

4. “Control” by Garbage

“Control” by Garbage explores what it’s like to give up control in your life, for whatever reason. Whether it’s for love or to try to just go with the flow, the band sings that many people choose to give up the little control they have. The band does sing about losing control because of a romantic relationship, but this song can really fit any situation!

They sing, “I confess I’ve lost control / I let my guard down / I let the truth out.”

5. “Love Is In Control (Finger on the Trigger)” by Donna Summer

1982’s “Love Is In Control (Finger on the Trigger)” by Donna Summer opens with Summer explaining that she’s been in love before. However, once she meets this new person, she realizes that what she felt before in the past was nothing compared to what she feels now!

She wants to be with this person — and will. Even though it seems very much as if she’s in control, Summer says that she’s not. Instead, she sings, “I’ve got my finger on the trigger / Love is in control.”

6. “Control” by Halsey

“Control” by Halsey, which appears on her album BADLANDS, is about the singer’s struggles with her bipolar disorder. She struggles to understand if she’s in control or not throughout the entire song. In the chorus, she sings, “I can’t help this awful energy / God damn right, you should be scared of me / Who is in control?”

7. “Power” by Little Mix

In “Power”, Little Mix sings about how they have control in their romantic relationships. In what has become a feminist anthem for many, the girls explain they won’t give up control in any way in these relationships!

At one point, they sing, “You should know, I’m the one who’s in control / I’ll let you come take the wheel, as long as you don’t forget.”

8. “Warm Blood” by Carly Rae Jepsen

“Warm Blood” by Carly Rae Jepsen explores Jepsen’s strong emotions towards her crush. She explains how she feels about this person by explaining that she’s also lost complete control over her little crush. So, she sings, “Warm blood feels good, I can’t control it anymore / Sweet one, you should stop me there, but I keep on talking.”

9. “Loss of Control” by Van Halen

1980’s “Loss of Control” by Van Halen is vague when it comes to the lyrics, so it could be about anything listeners feel while listening to it! However, for the most part, it does seem to be about a romantic relationship. The singer explains that this romance must end, as the one he’s with isn’t losing control — much as he is.

He sings, “You’re way too civilized / Loss of control.”

10. “She’s Lost Control” by Joy Division

In 1979’s “She’s Lost Control”, Joy Division sings about seeing a young lady lose control of her body because of her epilepsy. The lead singer of the band also suffered from this and wanted to write a song about it.

However, since its inception, the song has gone on to mean different things, depending on the listener, and many who feel as if they’re control freaks find comfort in it when they do lose control.

The song opens with the lyrics, “Confusion in her eyes that says it all / She’s lost control.”

11. “This Fire” by Franz Ferdinand

“This Fire” by Franz Ferdinand follows the singer as he meets someone he’s interested in. These strong emotions lead him to want to go out on the town and have fun, which results in him singing, “This fire is out of control / I’m going to burn this city.”

12. “Mr. Self Destruct” by Nine Inch Nails

“Mr. Self Destruct” by Nine Inch Nails, which appears on the band’s 1994 album The Downward Spiral, explores the idea that many things in life can control us. The song also deals a lot with manipulation, as these ideas (such as faith or people) can control and manipulate us, too.

As a result, the singer explains that these controlling aspects of his life are worse than what it was before.

13. “Where’s the Party” by Madonna

Madonna’s “Where’s the Party”, which appears on her 1986 album True Blue, follows the singer as she talks about her frustration over her life. She works all week at a regular job and has no chance to have fun until the weekend. When she was younger, she thought her life would be so much better — and not so boring.

However, once the weekend hits, she knows she’s going to head out to a party where she can lose control! So, she sings, “Where’s the party? / I want to lose control.”

14. “Out of Control” by U2

“Out of Control” by U2 explores childhood. The band explains that it’s crazy that we’re all just born and must live in the world — and that this is completely out of control. The song was born over the idea that birth and death are not in our control.

They sing, “I was of the feeling it was out of control / I had the opinion it was out of control.”

15. “Don’t Let Go (Love)” by En Vogue

1996’s “Don’t Let Go (Love)” by En Vogue follows a romantic relationship that begins with two people who are friends. However, things begin to change when the singer expresses her interest in her friend. While her friend at first seems wary of changing their relationship, the singer persists.

She ends up singing, “Hold me tight and don’t let go (Don’t let go) / You have the right to lose control (Don’t let go).”

16. “Blame It On Me” by George Ezra

George Ezra’s song “Blame It On Me” explores the emotions that the singer felt as he struggled to make it in the music industry. Ezra felt that he only had himself to blame, as he wasn’t working hard enough. This song, as a result, can be applied to anyone’s life as they struggle to achieve their dreams.

Ezra also sings about control within this context, singing, “When I lose control and the veil’s overused / Blame it on me / What you waiting for?”

17. “The Greatest Performance Of My Life” by Nancy Wilson

“The Greatest Performance Of My Life” by Nancy Wilson begins with the lyrics, “Tonight I gave the greatest performance of my life / I never lost control, I played the part so well / That not a single soul could tell that I was lying.”

As the song goes on, we learn more about Wilson’s predicament. She explains that she put on a party and had fun to try to convince all her friends that she was fine — and that she wasn’t torn up about the end of her relationship. In reality, she was faking the whole time, as she was sad. But she never lost control of her emotions!

18. “Me Against the Music” by Britney Spears & Madonna

And now, for a pop classic. “Me Against the Music” by Britney Spears and Madonna follows the duo as they sing about how they want to go out, dance to the music, and have fun. They want to lose control!

So, they sing, “Get on the floor, baby, lose control / Just work your body and let it go / If you wanna party, just grab somebody / Hey Britney, we can dance all night long.”

19. “Y Control” by Yeah Yeah Yeahs

“Y Control” by Yeah Yeah Yeahs follows the singer as they express their frustration that their romantic relationship has come to an end. In many ways, this song is about controlling relationships and how it feels when these relationships come to an end!

20. “Hold It, Don’t Drop It” by Jennifer Lopez

At last, we’ve come to the final song on our list! “Hold It Don’t Drop It” by Jennifer Lopez explores a romantic relationship. Lopez explains that she loves someone and doesn’t want to lose him! So, she ends up singing that she’s lost complete control in this relationship — but it doesn’t seem to bother her at all!