Listening to the Planets: Planetary Archetypes and the Billboard Top 100 Songs of All Time

Camille Michelle Gray
9 min readJan 6, 2022

Using various Billboard rankings, I’ve cobbled together a short list of recognizable songs that I believe correspond quite nicely to planetary archetypes, both in obvious and subtle ways. Music has been a profound source of human storytelling since time immemorial. The planets are like characters, each coming forth with a different set of motives and messages. Songs therefore become narrative. We can not only find our stories reflected back to us in the most pervasive of pop hits but can also learn of and relate to the stories of others. What does it sound like when Mars is singing versus when Neptune is? What do these songs say about our collective experience with these archetypes? I invite you to tune into the messages of the planets by listening to some or all the songs below. You probably already know them. Of course, this is in no way exhaustive. If you are a music fan, I’d encourage closer listens of all your favorite songs, or even a playlist of your own! Who knows, maybe a planetary archetype is lurking.


Staylin Alive by the Bee Gees. The Sun is the source of all life. This song is a celebration of ego and existence but not because of vanity, rather, because of challenge and circumstance. The proverbial Hero’s Journey, and how, despite obstacle, we all fight to stay alive. The lyrics were specifically written about life in New York City, the city that never sleeps. A city where people go to find themselves, make it big, or strike out on their own. A city bathed in the energy of individualism. This is solar energy.

Lyrics of note: “Whether you’re a brother or whether you’re a mother, you’re stayin’ alive.”

Royals by Lorde. While this song takes a more sobered stance against inflated personalities and flashiness, satirizing it even, Lorde does a great job of cementing her identity as other or anti which is still a strong solar statement — to not be some way. In demonstrating her humbler roots, Lorde wishes to establish a different kind of rulership but to still rule and take center stage regardless. Think Aquarius versus Leo.

Lyrics of note: “That kind of luxe just ain’t for us, we crave a different kind of buzz. Let me be your ruler, you can call me queen bee.”