48 Songs About Struggling to Be Perfect
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.
Where does perfection fit in your life?
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.
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.
Even More Songs About Struggling to Be Perfect
24. Perfect Life
25. Perfect World
Huey Lewis & The News
26. Sweet Perfection
Never Shout Never
28. Perfect Match
29. Nobody's Perfect
Tyler, The Creator (featuring Kali Uchis & Austin Feinstein)
Why Don't We
32. Perfect Storm
33. Cracks in Mr. Perfect
All 4 One
36. The Perfect Drug
Nine Inch Nails
38. Nobody's Perfect
40. Never Good Enough
twoloud & Qulinez
42. Perfect World
46. That Don't Impress Me Much
47. I'm Not Perfect (But I'm Perfect for You)
Questions & Answers
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