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15 Songs About Failure and Finally Overcoming It


How can we appreciate success if we don’t get a taste of failure every once in a while? Whenever you feel like you’re headed in a downward spiral just think of this line: When you’ve hit rock bottom, there’s no way to go but up!

So for those of you who need an uplifting boost in the form of a song, here are some great songs that deal with failure and how to overcome it. 

Daniel Powter- Bad Day

To start off this list we have a song about feeling like an absolute failure, even if it’s just for one day. We all have those days when nothing seems to be going our way. But thankfully, this song has an uplifting message in that things will eventually get better. After all, we can’t always have good days.

Lyrics about failure: ‘Cause you had a bad day

You’re taking one down

You sing a sad song just to turn it around

You say you don’t know

You tell me don’t lie

You work at a smile, and you go for a ride

You had a bad day

The camera don’t lie

You’re coming back down, and you really don’t mind

You had a bad day


ABBA – The Winner Takes It All

In this song, ABBA sings about how winners get to take everything. And sadly, this is sung from the perspective of the loser. This song has an ever sadder history. It was written by Bjorn Ulvaeus after his divorce from his ex-wife and fellow ABBA member, Agnetha Faltskog. What’s even worse is that Agnetha is the one singing the song that was written about her.

Lyrics about failure: The gods may throw the dice

Their minds as cold as ice

And someone way down here

Loses someone dear

The winner takes it all

The loser has to fall

It’s simple and it’s plain

Why should I complain?


The Clash – I Fought the Law

I Fought the Law was actually written by Sonny Curtis from The Crickets, though it was made popular by the Bobby Fuller Four and The Clash. The song is about a man who goes on a robbery spree and is caught by the police. He describes his life in jail as he breaks rocks, while singing about robbing banks because he had no money.

Lyrics about failure: I left my baby and I feel so sad

I guess my race is run

But she’s the best girl I’ve ever had

I fought the law and the law won

I fought the law and the law won

Beck – Loser

If you’re trying to make sense of the lyrics of this song, you’re doing it wrong. Loser is a self-depreciating song about being a loser in the 90s. It’s an expression of how people had such low self-esteem when they’re not part of the “in group” of the time. Eventually, this gave rise to the whole movement on the importance of being unique and different – something taken to the extreme by hipsters of the 2010s.

Lyrics about failure: Soy un perdedor

I’m a loser baby, so why don’t you kill me?


Blink-182 – Dammit

What is growing up without a little failure along the way? Dammit is a song that captures how we sometimes just fail at things, and it transforms us. It was written by Mark Hoppus, and it’s about a fictional breakup between him and his girlfriend. He imagines seeing her with some other guy, and pretending that everything’s okay even if it’s not. He ends the song by saying that this is all part of growing up.

Lyrics about failure: And it’ll happen once again

You’ll turn to a friend

Someone that understands

And sees through the master plan

But everybody’s gone

And you’ve been there for too long

To face this on your own

Well I guess this is growing up


Brand New – Failure by Design

If you want a meta song about what it’s like to become an artist, this is the one. Failure By Design is about the band’s experience in trying to come up with good music to create for their producers. They state that they don’t believe in filler, and that’s why each song needs a lot of work and effort to pull off. The band is saying that they’re nearly killing themselves just to create new music, but what can they possibly do when they genuinely can’t think of anything to write?

Lyrics about failure: This is a lesson in procrastination.

I kill myself because I’m so frustrated.

And every single second that I put it off means another lonely night I got

To race the clock

What say we go and crash your car?

And every time I leave you go and lock the door

So I walk myself picking at a chip on my shoulder

I’m another day late and

One year older

It’s failure by design


Four Year Strong – Unbreakable

Back in the 80s and 90s when the popular kids would dominate the social scene, the people with different points of view are the ones who are considered losers. But in this song by Four Year Strong, the losers and rejects are rising up and fighting to be accepted. While the ones who are downtrodden might be considered the failures of society, they still have the potential to change the world because of how strong they’ve become.

Lyrics about failure: This is for the losers and the rejects

This is for cowards and cynics

You are the reason you’re to blame

You’re not going to drag me down with you

We are the ones that stand our ground

We are the ones that won’t back down

We are the rise but not the fall

We are the writing on the wall

We are unbreakable

Radiohead – Creep

When we fail to become the popular, well-loved person in a crowd, we become considered a creep. This song by Radiohead is about not belonging to the group of “beautiful people” and feeling like a creep when you like someone. According to Thom Yorke, the song was made to “assert a sexual persona and on the other hand trying desperately to negate it.”

Lyrics about failure: You float like a feather

In a beautiful world

And I wish I was special

You’re so fuckin’ special

But I’m a creep, I’m a weirdo.

What the hell am I doing here?

I don’t belong here.


Simple Plan – Perfect

This might hit a little too close to home to those who have parental issues. Perfect is a song about not being the perfect, golden child that your parents wanted, and instead being a disappointment because you didn’t fulfill their wishes. This was actually written by Simple Plan drummer Chuck Comeau because his parents weren’t supportive of his choice to make a living by being in a band.

Lyrics about failure: Hey, Dad, look at me

Think back, and talk to me

Did I grow up according to plan?

And do you think I’m wasting my time

Doing things I want to do?

But it hurts when you disapproved all along

And now I try hard to make it

I just want to make you proud

I’m never gonna be good enough for

You can’t pretend that I’m alright

And you can’t change me


Linkin Park – In the End

In this song that has one of the most popular piano tunes, Linkin Park describe failing relationship that’s not necessarily romantic. The song is about struggling to make the relationship work, even if the other party is no longer invested in maintaining the relationship. And so, they say that none of it matters despite how hard you’ve tried to make it work.

Lyrics about failure: I tried so hard

And got so far

But in the end

It doesn’t even matter

I had to fall

To lose it all

But in the end

It doesn’t even matter


Nirvana – All Apologies

This one of the songs that Kurt Cobain rarely talked about, but he did say that it was about his wife, Courtney Love, and their daughter, Frances Bean. In the song, he apologizes for failing to meet people’s expectations of him.

Lyrics about failure: What else should I be

All apologies

What else could I say

Everyone is gay

What else could I write

I don’t have the right

What else should I be

All apologies


Lit – My Own Worst Enemy

Have you ever felt like you were your own worst enemy? The members of Lit certainly did. My Own Worst Enemy is about a guy remembering how badly he acted the night before. He got drunk, said a few unsavory things to his girl, and now he’s sleeping with his clothes on as a smoke alarm is going off. He hates what he does, but he does it anyway, which is why he’s his own worst enemy.

Lyrics about failure: Please tell me why

The car is in the front yard and I’m

Sleeping with my clothes on

Came in through the window last night

And you’re gone gone

It’s no surprise to me I am my own worst enemy

Cause every now and then I kick the living shit out of me

A smoke alarm is going off and there’s a cigarette

Still burning

Sheryl Crow – My Favorite Mistake

My Favorite Mistake is a song about a failure of a relationship where only one person is in love with the other. The protagonist knows that this relationship is all a huge mistake, but it will always be her favorite. According to Sheryl Crow, the song is a composite of a bunch of guys she dated before. There have been rumors that it’s about Eric Clapton, but she says that her short relationship with him wasn’t a mistake.

Lyrics about failure: Did you know when you go it’s the perfect ending

To the bad day I’d gotten used to spending

When you go, all I know is you’re my favorite mistake

You’re my favorite mistake


The Killers – All These Things that I’ve Done

The key to finally moving on and becoming successful is acknowledging your failures in the past. And this is exactly what Brandon Flowers did when he wrote this song. The song is about growing up and moving on from the past as you try to make yourself a better person.

Lyrics about failure: Over and again, last call for sin

While everyone’s lost, the battle is won

With all these things that I’ve done

All these things that I’ve done

(Time, truth, hearts)

If you can hold on

If you can hold on


Taylor Swift – Shake It Off

Finally, we end this list with a song for all the people who only focus on your failures instead of your successes. Shake It Off is Taylor Swift’s reply to all those haters who keep on criticizing what she does. So when she hears about people who keep focusing on her, she just shakes it all off.

Lyrics about failure: But I keep cruising

Can’t stop, won’t stop grooving

It’s like I got this music in my mind

Saying it’s gonna be alright


No one stays a loser forever. So the next time you feel like you’re about to fail, listen to these songs to inspire you to succeed!


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