42 Songs About Losers, Failing, and Failure
Just Because You Failed Doesn't Mean You're a Failure
Winners are losers who learn from their experience. They stick it out and try again.
We've all been losers on some level whether small or epic. It's okay. Some of the most prominent and successful people are recovering losers:
- J.K. Rowling was once on the verge of homelessness as an unemployed single mother.
- Michael Jordan missed more than 9,000 shots in his basketball career.
- Steven Spielberg was rejected from the college of his choice three times.
- Vincent Van Gogh sold only one painting in his lifetime.
- Actress Elizabeth Taylor was married eight times to seven men. Axl Rose's marriage to Erin Everly lasted only 26 days. Neither Taylor nor Rose found long lasting marriages.
- Soap opera actress Susan Lucci was nominated 18 times for a Daytime Emmy and lost each time. Then, she won on her 19th nomination. Whew!
If you're feeling like a loser in love, academics, business, or another area of life, please give yourself a break. Just because you have failed doesn't mean you're a failure. Make a playlist about losers and failing and realize you're not alone. We have a long list of pop, rock, and country songs. Then get back out there and try again!
Be honest. In what area of your life have you failed most significantly?
1. "Bad Day" by Daniel Powter
If you've had one of those truly rotten days, then this international pop hit from 2005 captures the feeling well. The magic feels lost, the sky is gray, your passion has dissipated. The tune was used as an elimination song for American Idol contestants which probably made losing feel even worse.
So you had a bad day. Come back fighting tomorrow and try again.
2. "The Winner Takes It All" by ABBA
Feeling defeated after a break-up that she didn't seek, the broken-hearted protagonist in this 1980 pop song feels like she has lost everything. The song was written by one ABBA member after divorcing another and became an international hit for the Swedish group.
3. "In the End" by Linkin Park
This 2000 rock song is a comment on the futility of trying to make a relationship work when both partners aren't mutually invested. In such case, it doesn't matter how hard you try to force it. It just ain't happenin'.
The narrator realizes the brevity of life and the value of time. Don't waste it on those who don't return your affections.
4. "Fought the Law" by The Clash
The poor sorry sucker in this 1979 rock song was low on cash so he committed armed robbery. Sadly for him, he wasn't very good at it, so now he's on a behind-bars vacation, working the chain gang. You can hear him singing, "I fought the law, and the law won."
The 1965 version of this song by the Bobby Fuller Four was named by Rolling Stone as one of The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.
5. "Best Of Intentions" by Travis Tritt
The poor fella in this woe-is-me country love song from 2000 wanted to give his lady the world. He had big plans for a large house and all the dreams that come with it. However, none of that materialized, so all he has left to give her is an apology that he truly intended to make good on his promises.
Tell Us How You Bounced Back from Failure in the Comments Section Below.
6. "Loser" by Beck
The guy in this 1992 alternative rock song combines self-denigration ("I'm a loser") and a lot of nonsense lyrics to express low self-image and not taking yourself seriously. It became an anthem for Gen Xers who were alienated from mass culture during the early 1990s. They were labeled slackers and called cynical. Yeah, whatever.
7. "Loser" by 3 Doors Down
This 2000 chart topping rock song was written about one of the band members' childhood friends who became addicted to drugs. The protagonist in the song realizes that he is taking life-threatening risks, and he feels like a loser with no alternative. Realize, however, that there is always help, always an alternative for a healthier, happier life.
8. "Lonesome Loser" by Little River Band
This catchy 1979 rock song is the tale of an unlucky gambler, a habitual loser in the three games of cards, love, and life. The narrator tries to lend him some advice, but it will likely ring as hollow as the gambler's empty pockets:
Sit down, take a look at yourself
Don't you want to be somebody?
Someday somebody's gonna see inside
You have to face up, you can't run and hide.
9. "Loser of the Year" by Simple Plan
Living in the fast lane, the protagonist in this 2011 pop song is rubbing elbows with celebrities. He's on the verge of making it big and is the talk of the town. He has rich and pretty friends and expensive bling, but it all means nothing without the love of his life by his side. Without her, he feels like the loser of the year.
10. "Poor Poor Pitiful Me" by Terri Clark
Terri Clark dusted off this old Linda Ronstadt hit in 1996. It's a woe-is-me tune about a woman who is down on her luck in both love and life and is feeling very sorry for herself.
11. "The Gambler" by Kenny Rogers
The protagonist in this 1978 country ditty tells the story about meeting a gambler who trades him some whiskey for life advice about knowing when to give up. The gambler dispenses this golden nugget of wisdom:
You've got to know when to hold 'em
Know when to fold 'em
Know when to walk away
And know when to run.
12. "Loser" by Saving Jane
Have you ever seen an ex-lover and thought, "Whew, what happened to them? They look awful!" That's the reaction of the woman in this 2007 rock song. By selling her engagement ring for cash and ditching her ex-boyfriend, she now realizes that she has dodged a bullet. He's a liar, a user, a domestic abuser, and yes, a LOSER. Time can give you a little perspective.
13. "Dirty Laundry" by Don Henley
Although Nickelback re-recorded this song in 2016, Don Henley from The Eagles was first to do it in 1982, and that was long before we had 24-hour news cycles filled with ugly, sensational "breaking news" to scare the crap out of you.
This rock song laments tabloid-style reporting of negative stories that take advantage of people losing. People lose their homes, their reputations, their health, their lives, etc. And we just watch it all in short sound bites on the evening news. Who is really the loser?
14. "Loser" by Limp Bizkit
If you've ever been in a relationship with someone who brought out the worst in you, then this 2011 rock song will remind you of them. The narrator calls himself a loser because his partner feels like losing is all he's done since he met her. He puts up with abuse, dwells on the past, and tolerates her constantly pushing his buttons.
The partners bring out the worst in one another, and the guy simply wants control of his life back. Life is too short for a losing relationship like this:
I'm a loser; yes, it's true
Feels like I am losing since I met you
Through the good times and the bad
Feels like I'm losing all I ever had.
15. "Only Happy When It Rains" by Garbage
There's one of these in every crowd. It's not you, is it?
This ironically upbeat rock song from 1995 features a Negative Nellie narrator who admits that she's only happy when it rains, things are complicated, and all is going wrong, She relishes bad news and invites you to "pour your misery down on me." Sounds like one helluva catch, this gal.
16. "Luckiest Loser" by Bowling For Soup
When his best friend since junior high stole his girlfried, the guy in this rock 2006 song responded that they deserve one another. Feeling betrayed, he dishes creative insults to both of them but claims moral superiority by saying that he is the luckiest loser.
17. "The Sound of Failure" by The Flaming Lips
Anyone who suffers from a serious health condition knows that the advice to "stay positive" can grate on your nerves rather than bring comfort. (Stop saying that to people whose bodies are betraying them!)
This sad 2006 alternative rock tune describes a young woman's friend who is dying. Her body is failing her, and she can neither stop the process nor put on cheery airs while fakeness surrounds her. The world may be giddy, but she cannot pretend. The sound of failure is despair.
18. "I'm a Loser" by The Beatles
The poor guy in this 1964 early rock song feels like an utter failure because he has lost the girl he loves. He's feeling sorry for himself and seeks to offer advice to others so they don't become losers like him.
19. "Dammit" by Blink-182
Taking an introspective look at a break-up, the guy in this 1997 rock song says he won't hold it against his girlfriend for leaving him. His life is falling apart right now, but he'll lean on a friend for support and imagines that this relationship failure is just another part of growing up. However, he warns her that later when she regrets their break-up, it'll be her who will need to lean on a friend for support.
20. "Criminal" by Britney Spears
Ever been in love with a loser? Britney Spears has, and we're not just talking about those few years with back-up dancer Kevin Federline. In this 2011 pop song, she portrays a woman in love with a hustler, a liar, a bad boy.
She confesses to her mama that their attraction isn't rational but instead is purely physical. She overlooks his tainted heart and his history as a killer. What's really criminal, however, is her decision making. Wise up, girlfriend!
Even More Songs About Losers, Failing, and Failure
22. Love Will Tear Us Apart
23. Loser Like Me
24. Beautiful Loser
25. I Am A Loser
26. I'm A Good Loser
27. Failure by Design
29. Three Time Loser
David Allan Coe
31.Three Time Loser
32. The Loser
Hank Williams Jr.
33. One of These Things First
34. Say Something
A Great Big World
35. You Win I Win We Lose
37. Who's That Man
38. Someone Else's Star
40. Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?
41. MIdnight Train to Georgia
Gladys Night and the Pips
42. She's Kinda Hot
5 Seconds of Summer
Questions & Answers
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