Who wants to be just like everyone else?
Sometimes we’re faced with the pressure to conform to what’s cool or what’s acceptable to society. But if that goes against who you really want to be, why hop on the bandwagon? These songs are here to help you feel that it’s a-okay to be different!
Mary Lambert – Secrets
Contrary to the title, the song is about letting go of your secrets to make them the things that make you who you are. In this song, Mary Lambert sings about all her imperfections – from her bipolar disorder to her weight issues to her dysfunctional family. She rejects the idea that she should hide the things that describe her, and instead, urges us all to embrace ourselves, flaws and all.
Lyrics about being different: They tell us from the time we’re young
To hide the things that we don’t like about ourselves
I know I’m not the only one who spent so long attempting to be someone else
Well I’m over it
Mika – Grace Kelly
Grace Kelly is a song that expresses Mika’s frustration with record executives telling him to become something he’s not. The execs want him to have a more pop-friendly sound instead of being different from the cookie-cutter pop stars of his age. That’s why he wrote a song that says that he can be anything people want him to be, even if that’s not who he really his. Think of this as a sarcastic jab against executives who want to put him into just one category.
Lyrics about being different: I could be brown
I could be blue
I could be violet sky
I could be hurtful
I could be purple
I could be anything you like
Gotta be green
Gotta be mean
Gotta be everything more
Why don’t you like me?
Why don’t you like me?
Why don’t you walk out the door?
Fall Out Boy – This Ain’t a Scene, It’s an Arms Race
In line with the theme of being pressured to fit into the mold of other musicians, Fall Out Boy also went through this phase. But instead of record executives telling him what to do, it’s the “emo scene” itself that frustrated him with all these artists blindly following the latest trends to stay relevant. You can tell from the lyrics that they absolutely hate jumping on the bandwagon.
Lyrics about being different: This ain’t a scene, it’s a god damn arms race
This ain’t a scene, it’s a god damn arms race
This ain’t a scene, it’s a god damn arms race
Bandwagon’s full, please catch another
Sum 41 – Fat Lip
As with many pop-punk songs, Fat Lip is all about rejecting conformity. Sum 41 lead singer’s Deryck Whibley’s parents wanted him to be a normal guy who has a normal job. But as exemplified in this song, Deryck wanted to be anything but. So instead, he wrote a song about being a teenager who doesn’t want to fit into a mold. He wanted to be different – someone who’s not just another casualty of society.
Lyrics about being different: I don’t want to waste my time
Become another casualty of society.
I’ll never fall in line
Become another victim of your conformity
And back down
Audioslave – Be Yourself
One of the best ways to come to terms with who you are is accepting all the things that you’ve done in the past. You don’t have to be proud of it, but you have to accept that you did them. That’s what Chris Cornell says about this song. He says that he has gone through so many things he’s ashamed of, but the best way to make up for those things is to no longer be ashamed of them and to accept them as part of who he is.
Lyrics about being different: Someone finds salvation in everyone
Another only pain
Someone tries to hide themself
Down inside himself he prays
Someone swears their true love
Until the end of time
Another runs away
separate or united?
Healthy or insane?
Green Day – Minority
Back in the 80s and 90s, being cool meant fitting in with the crowd. If you didn’t conform to what was fashionable, you were labeled a loser and an outcast. But in the dawn of the new century, being in the minority was no longer seen as being uncool. Instead, it showed how there are so many different people in the world, and that you didn’t necessarily had to fit into any one category – it was the rise of the social minorities.
Lyrics about being different: I pledge allegiance to the underworld
One nation under dog
There of which I stand alone
A face in the crowd
Unsung, against the mold
Without a doubt
The only way I know
Nirvana – Come as You Are
Nirvana has always been known to despise people who followed the herd mentality, and that disdain was made all the clearer with this song. Come as You Are is a song about how people are expected to act a certain way. The lyrics are intentionally confusing to reflect how confusing it is for people to know the difference between what they are expected to be and what they want to be.
Lyrics about being different: Come as you are, as you were, as I want you to be
As a friend, as a friend, as and old enemy
Take your time, hurry up, the choice is yours, don’t be late
Take a rest as a friend as and old memoria
Memoria, memoria, memoria, memoria
Wheatus – Teenage Dirtbag
For many of us who didn’t want to fit in with the crowd as teens, we would be labelled as teenage dirtbags. But even teenage dirtbags can dream of going on dates with the popular girls in school, right? In this song, the protagonist describes how he’s not worthy of this pretty girl who’s dating a douchebag. Little does he know that she has a lot in common with him after all.
Lyrics about being different: But she doesn’t know who I am
And she doesn’t give a damn about me
Cause I’m just a teenage dirt bag, baby
Yeah I’m just a teenage dirt bag, baby
Listen to Iron Maiden, baby, with me, ooh
Jimmy Eat World – The Middle
This song was one of the anthems of individuality of the early 2000s. The Middle is a song about accepting that you don’t have to fit in with the “cool crowd” to be popular. It’s inspired by a letter Jim Adkins received from a young fan who had trouble fitting in. She says she’s couldn’t fit in with the pink crowd at school because she wasn’t “punk enough.” In this song, he comforts her by telling her that she doesn’t have to try so hard to fit in because she’s still got lots of time to discover who she really is.
Lyrics about being different: You know they’re all the same
You know you’re doing better on your own so don’t buy in
Live right now
Just be yourself
It doesn’t matter if that’s good enough for someone else
Four Year Strong – It Must Really Suck to Be Four Year Strong Right Now
This song is for all the dreamers out there. There will always be people who will tell you that you’re setting your sights up a little too high, and that you should always keep your feet on the ground. However, Four Year Strong is telling you that it’s okay to be the dreamer who’s different from everyone else. You’ll one day find some way to become unforgettable, so just keep dreaming until you reach your goal.
Lyrics about being different: Don’t fix it if it hasn’t broken yet
Don’t regret it if it hasn’t happened yet
So let’s go, a tiny spark to set it off
I’ll explode, light up the dark, illuminate the unknown
But since your head’s in the clouds
The best advice I’ve found is don’t look down
A Day to Remember – All I Want
One of the best places to look for motivation to pursue being different from everyone is in a punk song like this one from A Day to Remember. All I Want is a song that goes out to those who are in doubt about what they want to do with their lives. He says that rather than dwell on the doubt and the worries, it’s better move forward towards progressing.
Lyrics about being different: All I want is a place to call my own
To mend the hearts of everyone who feels alone
Whoa, you know to keep your hopes up high
And your head down low
If you take it from me, live your life for yourself
‘Cause when it’s all said and done, you don’t need anyone else
Katy Perry – Firework
Coming out from the rock side of the spectrum, let’s visit the pop side with Katy Perry’s Firework. Firework is about embracing that spark in you that makes you different. Even though there may be times when you feel alone, like no one understands you, there’s something in you that’s original and uniquely you – and you should learn to embrace that.
Lyrics about being different: You don’t have to feel like a waste of space
You’re original, cannot be replaced
If you only knew what the future holds
After a hurricane comes a rainbow
Maybe a reason why all the doors are closed
So you could open one that leads you to the perfect road
Like a lightning bolt, your heart will glow
And when it’s time, you’ll know
Jessie J – Who You Are
Jessie J says that the lyrics of the song were inspired by her own personal experiences. She went through a time when she no longer knew who she was as she was immersed in the life of fame. So she decided to have a long hard look at herself to try and find who she really was.
Lyrics about being different: Don’t lose who you are, in the blur of the stars
Seeing is deceiving, dreaming is believing
It’s okay not to be okay
Sometimes it’s hard, to follow your heart
But tears don’t mean you’re losing, everybody’s bruising
There’s nothing wrong with who you are
Frank Sinatra – My Way
Now here’s the ultimate anthem for embracing your individuality. It became Frank Sinatra’s signature song, though he hated it because it felt so self-serving and self-indulgent. And while we can’t fault Frank for thinking that, there might be people out there who need a self-indulgent song to help them embrace their true selves.
Lyrics about being different: For what is a man, what has he got
If not himself, then he has naught
To say the things he truly feels
And not the words of one who kneels
The record shows I took the blows
And did it my way
Weezer – Pork and Beans
For the younger crowd, there’s always Weezer’s anthem on individuality – Pork and Beans. As with some of the other songs on this list, this was inspired by the pressure to conform to the music industry and create more commercial material. And aren’t we glad artists like Weezer are able to take that frustration and turn it into one of the most iconic songs about being different?
Lyrics about being different: I’ma do the things that I wanna do
I ain’t got a thing to prove to you
I’ll eat my candy with the pork and beans
Excuse my manners if I make a scene
I ain’t gonna wear the clothes that you like
I’m fine and dandy with the me inside
One look in the mirror and I’m tickled pink
I don’t give a hoot about what you think
There’s no reason to force yourself to fit in with everyone else. Your uniqueness is definitely something you should be proud of!