48 Songs About Struggling to Be Perfect

Updated on September 16, 2018
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FlourishAnyway believes there is a playlist for just about any situation and is on a mission to unite and entertain the world through song.

Whether you struggle with issues of perfectionism, enjoy the perfect love relationship, or accept your own perfect imperfections as authentically human, make a playlist about the drive to be flawless.
Whether you struggle with issues of perfectionism, enjoy the perfect love relationship, or accept your own perfect imperfections as authentically human, make a playlist about the drive to be flawless. | Source

Our Scars Tell Our Stories

Hold on with those unrealistically high standards and critical judgments. If you're striving for perfection, I have disappointing news. First, you'll never get there. Second, there's a good chance you'll make yourself sick (yes, literally) and unhappy.

Instead of perfection, perhaps instead strive for a personal best, excellence, or learning ... unless you're my surgeon. Then, I'd like you to nail perfection like you're gymnast Mary Lou Retton in the 1984 Olympics.

Flawlessness may seem alluring, but it's our scars that tell our stories—the physical and emotional wounds that tell of struggles won and lost as well as ongoing battles. There is beauty in the imperfect for those with the perspective to appreciate it.

Perhaps you struggle with the plague of perfectionism, or you believe you've found the perfect love relationship. Maybe you've embraced your flaws as what makes you authentically unique. Whatever the case, make a "Perfect Playlist" of pop, rock, and country songs about perfection and struggling with the drive to be perfect. We have a long list to start you off.

Reader Poll

Where does perfection fit in your life?

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1. "Perfect" by Ed Sheeran

Love tenderly permits one to look past human imperfections and instead see flawless beauty. In this 2017 pop song, a young man is enthralled with the girl he first fell in love with years ago.

As they dance underneath the sky, she expresses embarrassment over looking like a mess. Through the lens of love, however, he tells his life partner that she looks perfect.

2. "Dollhouse" by Melanie Martinez

The narrator in this alt-rock song from 2014 provides a sarcastic commentary on dysfunctional families. They hide their troublesome behavior behind picture-perfect public personas. Claiming "I see things that nobody else sees," she notes that they go through life like plastic dolls, posing inauthentically so that others can't see their shortcomings.

3. "She Looks So Perfect" by 5 Seconds of Summer

The young man in this 2014 pop song considers how perfect his lover is. He catches a glimpse of her wearing his American Apparel underwear, her skinny jeans strewn upon the floor. Young and in love, he daydreams about the possibility of marriage.

4. "Perfect World" by Kodaline

One friend tries to provide another some support in this rock tune from 2013 by letting him know that he shouldn't take disappointments too hard. He remarks that in a perfect world it wouldn't have to be this way. Don't be so hard on yourself.

5. "Perfect Two" by Auburn

In this catchy 2011 rock ditty, a young woman playfully lets her love interest know that together they can make the perfect pair. She has so many cute ways to describe all the ways that they can complete each other. Seriously, how can he refuse?

Here are other songs about falling in love to help you express how perfect you and your other half are for one another.

6. "F*ckin Perfect" by Pink

If the little voice in your head is a negative Nellie, it's time to shut her down. We are each, most importantly, the product of the messages we tell ourselves, so make sure those messages are positive ones.

According to this 2010 pop song, we all struggle with bad decisions, personal demons, and judgment. You're not the only person who has made mistakes, so stop beating yourself up. There's no reason to stress yourself out with pressure to conform to some impossible standard of perfection, so stop that right now. You're perfectly fine as you are.

7. "Perfect" by Topic & Ally Brooke

When you find a guy or girl who's a "keeper," then stop looking.

The girl in this pop song from 2018 has found a partner who not only accepts her just as she is but also embraces her uniqueness:

There's always gonna be somebody smarter
Someone prettier who works a little harder
Someone who ain't afraid to take it farther
And every time I feel like I ain't really worth it
Then you say I'm perfect.

Ally Brooke is a former member of the American all-girl group, Fifth Harmony, which went on indefinite hiatus in 2018 as its members pursued individual career paths.

8. "Perfect" by Simple Plan

In this 2003 pop song, a son is crestfallen with his father's disapproval of his life choices. He acknowledges that he'll never be able to meet the high expectations that his father has set for him. No one is perfect. His dad had been his hero, and he seeks his approval the most. Some words can't be retracted, however. Watch your own words, particularly around those you love.

9. "Pretty Hurts" by Beyoncé

After a lifetime of receiving messages that beauty is all that matters, the attractive young narrator in this 2014 pop tune comes to an important conclusion: All the dieting, plastic smiles, and denial in the world can't help you when your soul is broken.

Her mother encourages her to "pageant the pain away," but doing so makes her miserable. Knowing that perfection is unattainable, she asks rhetorically whether you are happy with yourself in moments of reflection and solitude.

Because beauty is not only external but also internal, make a playlist of songs about beauty inside and out as a personal reminder.

10. "Perfect" Anne-Marie

The lady in this upbeat 2018 pop song knows what perfect is, and she's totally okay with never achieving it. Are you?

She owns her imperfections almost too well, listing them as the following:

  • poor eating habits
  • never wearing makeup
  • accepting her body
  • disliking fancy clothes and
  • not thinking before speaking.

11. "Perfect Love" by Trisha Yearwood

In this cheerful country song from 1997, the narrator is nearly giddy about how perfect her love is. She and her honey don't live exciting lives but instead just enjoy being together, sharing their daily lives.

12. "Perfect" by Hedley

When you make a mistake in a love relationship, you can either acknowledge your wrongdoing or try to lie your way through it. The guy in this 2010 pop song takes responsibility for his missteps and commits to being a better man. Fearful that his partner will leave him, he shares his emotional vulnerability:

I'm not perfect, but I keep trying
'Cause that's what I said I would do from the start
I'm not alive if I'm lonely, so please don't leave
Was it something I said or just my personality?

13. "Perfect Illusion" by Lady Gaga

Hindsight is always 20/20, and for the woman in this danceable 2016 rock number her failed romantic relationship now makes perfect sense. Although it seemed like love at the time, in retrospect, it was a mistake, a perfect illusion. Caught up in the ecstasy and emotion of the moment, their attraction was a crush or mere physical chemistry.

If you have a crush, take it slow before convincing yourself it's love. Make yourself a playlist of songs about crushes and crushing on someone. Protect your heart so you don't end up like Lady Gaga in this song.

"I am careful not to confuse excellence with perfection. Excellence I can reach for; perfection is God's business." - Michael J. Fox, Canadian-American actor
"I am careful not to confuse excellence with perfection. Excellence I can reach for; perfection is God's business." - Michael J. Fox, Canadian-American actor | Source

14. "Scars to Your Beautiful" by Alessia Cara

Not everyone knows that they are good enough the way they are. Some people push down their pain and strive instead for perfection.

In a world with impossible, photoshopped standards of beauty, this 2015 pop song offers empathy to those who have turned to self-harm or eating disorders. The narrator stresses being authentically, beautifully you, flaws and all:

And there's a hope that's waiting for you in the dark
You should know you're beautiful just the way you are
And you don't have to change a thing, the world could change its heart
No scars to your beautiful, we're stars, and we're beautiful.

15. "Who Says" by Selena Gomez & The Scene

Is the little voice in your head a naysayer? Does it talk you down, pointing out all your imperfections? This sassy 2011 pop number offers some major pushback to all those things you probably just assume are true.

The tune's narrator questions the assumptions you hold true by asking "Who says?" For example, who says ... ?

  • you're not star potential
  • you're not presidential
  • you can't be in movies
  • you can't be the best
  • you're the only one that's hurting
  • you're not perfect
  • you're not worth it.

16. "Upgrade U" by Beyoncé (featuring Jay-Z)

Queen Bey and her dude-for-life, Jay-Z, put their full chemistry on display in this 2006 hip-hop number. In the song, a confident and successful woman tells her partner that she can upgrade him. She offers him a variety of luxuries. Asking how she's going to improve on perfect ("How you gon' upgrade me; what's higher than number one?"), he teases back.

17. "Perfect" by One Direction

He may look like Prince Charming, but Mama wouldn't approve of this bad boy. The guy in this 2015 ditty claims to be perfect at hookups and stirring up trouble. (At least he's honest, right?)

The narrator warns the girl he's trying to pick up that he may not be the romantic, long-term boyfriend that she has her sights on. He's no good at keeping promises and doesn't fool with bringing girls flowers. However, he boasts that he excels at making trouble in hotel rooms, secret rendezvous, and serving as a muse for breakup songs. (Some say that this song is Harry Styles' shout out to his ex, Taylor Swift.)

18. "Imperfect is the New Perfect" by Caitlin Crosby

Tired of trying to achieve an unattainable, perfect standard of beauty, the young woman in this pop song from 2009 has decided to embrace her imperfection and be herself. She is determined to dance and shake her curves, even if that means she won't fit in. Imperfect, she decides, is the new perfect.

19. "Perfect for You" by Rachel Platten

In this 2017 pop song, the narrator's lover doesn't truly accept her as she is and can only take her in small doses. (Why is she with this guy?) She acknowledges that she is flawed -- jealous, dramatic, and wears her emotions on her sleeves. However, she's done with trying to be perfect, trying to jump through hoops to be something she's not just to please him. Ultimately, she pleads, "Love me or leave me alone."

20. "Perfect" by Alanis Morissette

Ah, perfectionism. Achive more. You're never quite good enough. If you grew up with high parental expectations and love that was conditional, you'll recognize a lot of the lines in this 1995 rock song. It's a sarcastic albeit heartbreaking commentary on the unrealistic expectations that parents put on their children:

  • If you're flawless, then you'll win my love
  • Don't forget to win first place
  • You've got to measure up
  • I'm doing this for your own damn good
  • You'll make up for what I blew

Just remember: you do YOU. You can't do "perfect" or live someone else's dreams.

"Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection we can catch excellence." - Vince Lombardi, American football player and coach
"Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection we can catch excellence." - Vince Lombardi, American football player and coach | Source

Even More Songs About Struggling to Be Perfect

Song
Artist
Year Released
21. Perfect
Smashing Pumpkins
1998
22. Perfect
Darius Rucker
2015
23. Imperfection
Evanescence
2017
24. Perfect Life
Moby
2013
25. Perfect World
Huey Lewis & The News
1988
26. Sweet Perfection
Never Shout Never
2010
27. Perfection
Cher
1987
28. Perfect Match
Dev
2011
29. Nobody's Perfect
Jessie J
2011
30. Perfect
Tyler, The Creator (featuring Kali Uchis & Austin Feinstein)
2015
31. Perfect
Why Don't We
2017
32. Perfect Storm
Brad Paisley
2014
33. Cracks in Mr. Perfect
Ne-Yo
2012
34. Perfect
Fairground Attraction
1988
35. Perfect
All 4 One
2009
36. The Perfect Drug
Nine Inch Nails
1997
37. Perfect
Flyleaf
2009
38. Nobody's Perfect
Hannah Montana
2007
39. Perfect
Selena Gomez
2015
40. Never Good Enough
Rachel Ferguson
2008
41. Perfection
twoloud & Qulinez
2015
42. Perfect World
Simple Plan
2004
43. Perfect
Sara Evans
2003
44. Flawless
MercyMe
2014
45. Flawless
Dorothy
2018
46. That Don't Impress Me Much
Shania Twain
1997
47. I'm Not Perfect (But I'm Perfect for You)
Grace Jones
1986
48. Imperfection
Saving Jane
2005
Know a song about being perfect or struggling with perfectionism that should be on this playlist? Leave us a suggestion in the Comment Section below.

Questions & Answers

    © 2018 FlourishAnyway

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      • FlourishAnyway profile imageAUTHOR

        FlourishAnyway 

        2 months ago from USA

        Ann - Thank you for the kind compliment. It's so good to have you back on HP. I read in your article that you moved, so that would definitely keep a person busy. My husband keeps bugging me about moving but I don't like the thought of packing everything, buying or building, and redecorating. Plus, I don't have much of a problem about where I live now! I hope your new home is just perfect.

      • annart profile image

        Ann Carr 

        2 months ago from SW England

        I know just a few of these. I'm amazed at how many there are, as is often the case with your compilations! Your research is soooo good.

        I like the Fairground Attraction 'Perfect' and Shania Twain's 'That Don't Impress Me Much'. I like Ed Sheeran but I can't remember that one.

        Thanks for entertaining us once more; I look forward to your songs about.... (everything!).

        Ann

      • FlourishAnyway profile imageAUTHOR

        FlourishAnyway 

        2 months ago from USA

        Wow, Mona, that would take hours! You are really special for trying. Thanks for stopping by. Have a perfect week.

      • grand old lady profile image

        Mona Sabalones Gonzalez 

        2 months ago from Philippines

        I actually tried to listen to every song here, Flourish Anyway. But the list is so long. Still, I am grateful that you introduced me to a whole lot of new music:)

      • FlourishAnyway profile imageAUTHOR

        FlourishAnyway 

        2 months ago from USA

        Nithya - Thank you for stopping by! Wishing you a perfectly wonderful weekend!

      • Vellur profile image

        Nithya Venkat 

        2 months ago from Dubai

        A great selection of songs. Striving for perfection should not make our lives miserable.

      • FlourishAnyway profile imageAUTHOR

        FlourishAnyway 

        2 months ago from USA

        Devika - Thanks for stopping by and leaving the comment. Hope you're doing well.

      • profile image

        DDE 

        2 months ago

        Peopke dont have perfection. Nature is perfect and just beautiful.

      • FlourishAnyway profile imageAUTHOR

        FlourishAnyway 

        2 months ago from USA

        Chris - I appreciate the compliment. A lot of people are in your shoes with being satisfied with themselves as they are. Wishing you a perfect weekend.

      • Chriswillman90 profile image

        Krzysztof Willman 

        2 months ago from Parlin, New Jersey

        Really inspiring playlist and opening, personally it has taken me a long time to be happy with myself and accept the flaws. Great mix of modern, contemporary songs as well.

      • FlourishAnyway profile imageAUTHOR

        FlourishAnyway 

        2 months ago from USA

        Jo, Thanks so much. I appreciate your kindness. Have a perfect week. It's raining a bunch here. I hope you're not soaked.

      • jo miller profile image

        Jo Miller 

        2 months ago from Tennessee

        A perfect list. You never disappoint.

      • FlourishAnyway profile imageAUTHOR

        FlourishAnyway 

        2 months ago from USA

        Frances - I agree with you. I wish I had had a music teacher like you. When I played the flute in middle school, what utterly ruined it for me was achieving first chair early on. There was an emphasis on competition. I had practiced and was really enjoying the music and sense of accomplishment. I was so excited that my mom let me call my dad at work to tell him. He expressed his congratulations and pride then said that the hard part was ahead -- maintaining first chair, as everyone would be trying to knock me out of first place. I decided I didn't want the stress. I did what I needed to do to make an A but gave up on music. I stayed in band class through the end of middle school then pursued something else.

      • FlourishAnyway profile imageAUTHOR

        FlourishAnyway 

        2 months ago from USA

        Dora - The drive for perfection can be very destructive and is associated with depression, anxiety, suicide, dichotomous thinking (all or nothing or black vs. white thinking), eating disorders, chronic pain syndromes, irritable bowel disease, heart disease, asthma, migraines, social anxiety, etc. There are some upsides, too, but wow. We're often very hard on ourselves.

      • FlourishAnyway profile imageAUTHOR

        FlourishAnyway 

        2 months ago from USA

        Louise - Thank you for stopping by and commenting. Hope you're having a perfect week.

      • FlourishAnyway profile imageAUTHOR

        FlourishAnyway 

        2 months ago from USA

        Heidi - I've always had high personal standards, too. I tend to be hard driving on both myself and people on my team, but only for things that seem to really matter. A lot of things don't and I give them a lick and a promise and call it good. Thanks for the song addition!

      • FlourishAnyway profile imageAUTHOR

        FlourishAnyway 

        2 months ago from USA

        Larry - I've missed seeing you around. I've recently taken my daughter to college and now have an empty nest. Hope you're doing okay and will find some time to write.

      • FlourishAnyway profile imageAUTHOR

        FlourishAnyway 

        2 months ago from USA

        Linda - I appreciate you reading. Have a wonderful week ahead!

      • FlourishAnyway profile imageAUTHOR

        FlourishAnyway 

        2 months ago from USA

        Genna - That's the way I answered too. I find it fascinating that nature can boil down to mathematics. If that's not perfect, I don't know what is!

      • FlourishAnyway profile imageAUTHOR

        FlourishAnyway 

        2 months ago from USA

        Clive - Thank you! Have a great week!

      • FlourishAnyway profile imageAUTHOR

        FlourishAnyway 

        2 months ago from USA

        Yves - Isn't it perfect when someone who loves you looks at you at only sees the good, like Ed Sheeran does in that song? It is sappy but sweet. Wishing you a perfectly wonderful week.

      • FlourishAnyway profile imageAUTHOR

        FlourishAnyway 

        2 months ago from USA

        Linda - That Brad Pitt is about as perfect as it gets. Mighty fine, if you know what I mean, although I do hear that his grooming habits are less than desirable. Even the pretty boys aren't perfect, I guess. Thanks for the song addition! Have a perfectly lovely week ahead.

      • FlourishAnyway profile imageAUTHOR

        FlourishAnyway 

        3 months ago from USA

        Peggy - Trying to be perfect sure puts a lot of stress on people. It's better to try for more reasonable goals. Thanks for weighing in.

      • FlourishAnyway profile imageAUTHOR

        FlourishAnyway 

        3 months ago from USA

        Liz - Thank you for stopping by. Hoping your week is perfect.

      • FlourishAnyway profile imageAUTHOR

        FlourishAnyway 

        3 months ago from USA

        Bill - None? Well, I guess you have a bunch of new music to discover! Thanks for taking a look.

      • FlourishAnyway profile imageAUTHOR

        FlourishAnyway 

        3 months ago from USA

        Pamela - Thank you for your encouraging comment. It's the character flaws and people's struggles that make people interesting!

      • FlourishAnyway profile imageAUTHOR

        FlourishAnyway 

        3 months ago from USA

        Shannon - Thanks for that addition. I added that one and the one by Dorothy. Have a flawless week!

      • Frances Metcalfe profile image

        Frances Metcalfe 

        3 months ago from The Limousin, France

        I don't think striving to be perfect is healthy... try to be yourself, accept your flaws and try not to hurt anyone. I tried to be as perfect as I could manage when practicing the piano and violin, but actually it's the imperfections that can enhance, the humanity of the performance - if you listen to the pianist Arthur Rubenstein, he didn't always quite manage the span of large spaced chords and hit the odd wrong note, bit it was all the more immediate and unsanitised for it.

      • MsDora profile image

        Dora Weithers 

        3 months ago from The Caribbean

        Impressed and inspired by your opening comments. Amazed that so many artists chose the same title for their songs.

      • heidithorne profile image

        Heidi Thorne 

        3 months ago from Chicago Area

        Wait, did you create this playlist for me? :) While I've gotten way better about the whole perfect thing over the years, it's easy to slip into perfectionism mode.

        And, of course, I'm gonna go all 80s with my addition to the list. Love Grace Jones' "I'm Not Perfect, But I'm Perfect for You."

        Hope you have a perfect week!

      • Larry Rankin profile image

        Larry Rankin 

        3 months ago from Oklahoma

        Even perfect isn't perfect. If you go in with perfection in mind, failure is guaranteed.

        Great read. Hope you're doing well. I haven't had the Hubpages presence I like to lately. I apologize.

      • Coffeequeeen profile image

        Louise Powles 

        3 months ago from Norfolk, England

        There's a lot of songs about being perfect - more than I realised. I remember the Fairground Attraction song. I love that song.

      • AliciaC profile image

        Linda Crampton 

        3 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

        I enjoyed reading the description of the songs, but what I especially liked about this article was the facts about struggling for perfection. Thank you for sharing them, Flourish.

      • Genna East profile image

        Genna East 

        3 months ago from Massachusetts, USA

        Hi Flourish...

        Ah perfection...that annoying little consummation that keeps us from enjoying life. I checked off on the reader poll that we only find examples of perfection in nature. Thank goodness. And maybe that's the way it should be. Thank you for these great songs.

      • clivewilliams profile image

        Clive Williams 

        3 months ago from Jamaica

        This was a PERFECT list.

      • savvydating profile image

        Yves 

        3 months ago

        Well, I'm with Ed Sheeran's "Perfect." It's a little bit sappy, but still beautiful. Beyonce's, Pretty Hurts" makes sense in that it would be exhausting to strive for perfection all the time.... but one can only imagine. As for Anne-Marie, I thought she was a little hypocritical. After all, it's easy to accept your body and your face when they're naturally pretty. So, in her case, I decided to be "judgy". LOL.

        Anyway, it's interesting that the idea of perfection is prevalent and rather troublesome. No one is perfect and that's perfectly fine. ;)

      • Carb Diva profile image

        Linda Lum 

        3 months ago from Washington State, USA

        Had lunch yesterday with a fun group of 60's (and 70's)-something ladies, and we all agreed that we are our own harshest critics. While I was reading this (what a fun list!) I was thinking of that Shania Twain song "That Don't Impress Me Much".

      • Peggy W profile image

        Peggy Woods 

        3 months ago from Houston, Texas

        Trying to be perfect in everything might be a lofty goal but hardly attainable despite our best efforts. I think that it is OK to realize that seldom is anything perfect but we can try to do our best. That should be good enough!

      • Eurofile profile image

        Liz Westwood 

        3 months ago from UK

        This is an interesting collection of songs. I am in awe of how you manage to collate them. I have come round to thinking that I will only find perfection in heaven.

      • billybuc profile image

        Bill Holland 

        3 months ago from Olympia, WA

        I drew a blank last night when I saw the title of this article, and I drew a blank this morning...but then I saw the list of songs and I never heard of any of them. LOL I guess I'll just have to sit out this particular dance.

      • Pamela99 profile image

        Pamela Oglesby 

        3 months ago from Sunny Florida

        I would never have thought there were this number of songs about being perfect. I don't even think about being perfect because who is? We all have at least some little character defects I think, and accepting people as they are is my goal. Interesting list of songs.

      • shanmarie profile image

        Shannon Henry 

        3 months ago from Texas

        Just thought of another one. "Flawless" by Mercy Me.

        You are so right about that not being the worst. I've certainly got worse more important things to work on as far as self improvement goes. LOL

      • FlourishAnyway profile imageAUTHOR

        FlourishAnyway 

        3 months ago from USA

        Mary - I don't blame you! I don't take too kindly to unsolicited commentary on my flaws either! Thanks for stopping by and have a great week!

      • aesta1 profile image

        Mary Norton 

        3 months ago from Ontario, Canada

        I never knew there are these many songs on dealing with being perfect. At my age, it still hurts when people comment on my flaws which I also do. The hardest thing to do in this journey is forgiving one's self even when others have already forgiven you.

      • FlourishAnyway profile imageAUTHOR

        FlourishAnyway 

        3 months ago from USA

        Shannon - We all struggle with habits that we're known for and which drive others crazy. In the grand scheme, running late is not the worst thing. Thanks for stopping by and I appreciate that song addition! Have a perfect Sunday.

      • shanmarie profile image

        Shannon Henry 

        3 months ago from Texas

        Another fantastic playlist from you. Made me think of a conversation I had with someone today. I said I gave up on being punctual awhile ago. I mean, I just accept that not being punctual is a flaw of mine. I try to fix it, but it never sticks. I'll just be late to my own funeral. LOL. And as annoying as it is even to me and especially to others, they can accept the flaw or not.

        Sara Evans - Perfect. That's a song that comes to mind that I didn't see on your list.

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