We’ve all been selfish at one point or another. Whether you’ve been the selfish one in a friendship or relationship, or you’ve been on the stinging end of a selfish act by someone else, here are my favorite songs about being selfish that I think you’ll love.
Songs About Being Selfish
Let’s begin with a Madison Beer song.
Selfish by Madison Beer
This song is about coming to terms with the fact that the person you’re committed to is too involved with themselves to even consider you. Heartbreak is a common theme in Madison Beer’s music, but she tweeted that Selfish was the most difficult for her to write.
She’s reminiscing on a two-year-long relationship that she now realizes was a lost cause from the very beginning. She knows that she shouldn’t have loved him, but she couldn’t help it. She wishes she didn’t look the other way from his selfishness, clinging to the hope that he might change.
When she says, “I don’t want to break your thread and needle trying to stitch you,” it becomes clear that trying to be responsible for his problems was taking a toll on her, and she decided that it’s not her problem anymore. His name is crossed off.
New Magic Wand by Tyler the Creator
The song begins with someone speaking, “sometimes you gotta close a door to open a window.” This is ironic, considering that phrase is usually implemented in situations where new opportunities are arising. But New Magic Wand is about Tyler, the Creator trying to convince someone to not end a relationship.
He says “don’t call me selfish I hate sharing / this 60/40 isn’t working” before declaring that he wants 100% of this girl’s time. He says that he lives with no fear, except for the idea that she might not be here. He imagines that if he had some type of special magic wand, he could solve this problem and magically fix their relationship.
If you’re looking for songs about being selfish in a relationship, this is a song that touches on this theme quite well.
Should’ve Been Me by Mitski
This song explores selfishness from multiple perspectives. She begins the song talking about experiencing an overwhelming calmness that she doesn’t feel the need to tell anyone about. Then, in a surprisingly upbeat chorus, Mitski says “I haven’t given you what you need, you wanted me but couldn’t reach me” perhaps alluding to a partner who created an ideal version of her in their head, and projecting that onto her instead of accepting her as she is.
But before this, she says she remembers seeing him with a new girl who looked just like her. “And it broke my heart the lengths you went to hold me,” which could be seen as selfish in itself, the thought that someone would intentionally leave you for someone who looks like you.
She goes on to say, “I’m sorry, it should’ve been me”—is she sorry for herself that things ended badly, and she feels they’re the best for each other? Or is she sorry for a man who is so caught up in himself that he refuses to take people as they are? Likely both.
In the next verse, she depicts going about her day, and then being grabbed by a hand that drops her into a labyrinth (seemingly a reference to dissociating/depression). When she talks about seeing the new girl again, she says, “I thought, ‘must be lonely loving someone trying to find their way out of a maze.’”
Even though she’s been discarded, she has sympathy for this girl who’s unknowingly getting looped into a toxic cycle. Before she goes back into the chorus, she says “Oh, I know,” which is a very simple line yet so powerful. She understands how hard it is to love someone who’s internally suffering, because not only did she have to love the man who left her, but she had to learn to love herself in the same way.
Selfish by Saint JHN
Saint JHN openly admits that he’s selfish, and he says that he wishes they were both somebody else so they could be together. He doesn’t want to make promises that he can’t keep and string her along to nowhere, but at the same time being with her is something unique that he doesn’t want to let go.
He wants to feel needed, and he doesn’t want to be alone, yet also doesn’t want to make commitments. He hopes she can forgive his selfishness, ironically asking for forgiveness knowing he won’t change.
Yet he says he’s lost without her and that she’s all he needs. They say love is selfless and patient, but in this song, Saint JHN isn’t afraid to admit the obsessive qualities he has.
Blame by Calvin Harris
The catchy song that took the radio by storm a few years ago is about a man who feels guilty for cheating on his partner—but isn’t willing to take accountability. He wants her to forgive him and stay in their relationship, but doesn’t want to be responsible for the destruction he caused.
He desperately sings “blame it on the night, don’t blame it on me,” as if he truly believes that living a fast life and getting intoxicated is a reasonable excuse for infidelity. At the end of the song, he apologizes and says he’ll be better this time. While it’s hard not to like the song, it’s also hard to believe he’d be willing to change when he can’t even hold himself accountable.
Norman F****** Rockwell by Lana Del Rey
In this song, Lana Del Rey is debating leaving a man. Ultimately, however, she has all the understanding in the world for him—and he has no empathy for her. He blames external sources for his immaturity and moodiness, “with your head in your hands as you color me blue.”
She calls him a man-child multiple times, and says he has no idea what he puts her through. But she still waits for him to change, “why wait for the best when I could have you?” Each chorus starts with the same painfully relatable line, “you’re just a man, it’s just what you do,” as if she shouldn’t have expected anything other than disappointment from the start. She’s accepted that he doesn’t take her feelings into account and his selfishness is “just” the way he is.
As for the title, Norman Rockwell was called the “storyteller” of America through his paintings. His artwork showcased American culture, and when asked why she chose his name, Lana said: “It was kind of an exclamation mark: so this is the American dream.”
Selfish by PnB Rock
In this honest ballad, PnB Rock is speaking to a woman, saying he’s not ready for commitment. Even though he knows it’s not fair to her, he hates seeing her with other people. He sandwiches these feelings between praise and compliments, hoping it’s enough to convince her to not get close to other men.
When asked about his inspiration for the song, he said he was with the girl he wrote it about, while he wrote it. “The song really started as me just singing to her. I didn’t think anything of it until it was stuck in my head, so I had to get in the booth and record it.”
Somebody Else by The 1975
Sometimes we question if people who are selfish really understand their thoughts and intentions, or if they’re only acting off feelings (that usually aren’t at the fault of the victim of the selfishness).
Singer/songwriter Matty Healy answers this question, at least for himself, in Somebody Else. “It talks about the guilty feelings that you don’t really like thinking about,” he stated in an interview.
The ambiance and lyrics of the song are sad, up until the chorus, that is. He heard that his ex found someone new and was so distraught by it that he wanted to pick up everything and move away. But he wasn’t upset in the sense that he misses her. Quite the opposite— “I don’t want your body, but I hate to think about you with somebody else.”
He knows there’s no love between them anymore, but he still gets jealous seeing that she’s moved on. It’s quite refreshing to hear someone talk about negative feelings so vulnerably. He doesn’t victimize himself; just observes his feelings, admits his faults, and writes a hit song.
Rich & Sad by Post Malone
Another common trope in songs about selfishness involves materialism. On this song, Post Malone details having all the material wealth he could ever want, but losing someone he loved in the process. He tried to buy love, and she never cared about money. No amount of designer clothes or mansions could satisfy his soul, “Got a hundred big places but I’m still alone.”
In the chorus, he repeatedly says he would throw it all away and that he was foolish to think she’d stay with him just because he has money. He regrets being selfish and never listening to anyone’s advice because now it’s hard to enjoy being in the spotlight when he’s all alone. He stays out all night partying trying to fill the void, but at the end of the night, he doesn’t want to go home to an extravagant house that’s empty.
Songs About Being a Narcissist
For this section, you know you gotta roll with the talented but very vain Kanye West.
Can’t Tell Me Nothing by Kanye West
Kanye West is a household name, and even people who don’t know much about him or his music likely know him for one thing—his ego. Kanye’s egotistical behavior is prevalent in much of his art but is particularly strong in this song, even just from the title. He acknowledges this, too, “I feel the pressure, under more scrutiny / And what’d I do? Act more stupidly.”
Throughout the song, he talks about how this is just the way he is. He’s never taken “no” for an answer regarding his dreams, and he hasn’t forgotten where he came from. The only difference now is that he has more money and fame, so people can’t tell him he’s unsuccessful anymore, and he doesn’t accept advice because doing his own thing has gotten him this far anyway.
The entire premise of the song is that the more money and success that he has, the less people’s words and opinions matter to him. Even his own mother couldn’t get through to him, and he’s too caught up in living his fast life to listen.
Despite it fitting his mentality perfectly, the song wasn’t originally Kanye’s to begin with. A different rapper, Jeezy, let Mr. West write a verse on it. A few months later, Kanye sent the song back to Jeezy and his producers with almost entirely new lyrics. With their permission, Kanye released it as his own song which ended up going platinum three times, selling over three million copies.
When it comes to Kanye, you know you’re always going to be able to find a few songs about being a narcissist. And this song, is many ways, is no different.
Selfishness is a common feeling–whether we’ve been the victim of someone else’s rudeness or we ourselves are the villain, completely unaware of the damage we’ve inflicted onto another person.
Hopefully, these songs about being selfish will help you rethink your priorities and maybe cause you to change how you interact with other people.
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