Music has the ability to trigger strong emotional responses. When you’re feeling down, certain songs can boost your mood, while others can serve as a healthy outlet. Personally, I am the type to listen to sad, gut-wrenching songs when I’m feeling down. It’s a cathartic habit that serves as my venting process when I need to let my emotions out in a healthy way.
We all know how it feels to struggle with self-esteem, or even feel jealous of others. Whether you’ve just gone through a break-up, you’re unhappy with your job, or you’re feeling frustrated with life, the relatable songs in this list should offer you some comfort and help you understand exactly what it is you’re feeling.
In this article, we’ll be breaking down the most impactful songs about jealousy and envy and feeling insecure.
The Boy Is Mine by Brandy and Monica
One of the biggest songs about jealousy and envy from the 1990s was definitely the R&B smash The Boy is Mine by Brandy and Monica. On this track, Brandy and Monica face off and trade lyrical barbs, as they both try to lay claim to the same man.
Although some might argue that this song upholds the common trope that women can’t get along, I don’t particularly buy into that. This is a great song that’s playful in nature and shows that if you really want something in life, you gotta go get it.
I think it’s time we got this straight
Let’s sit and talk face to face
There is no way you could mistake
Him for your man, are you insane?
You see, I know that you may be
Just a bit jealous of me
But you’re blind if you can’t see
That his love is all in me
I always find songs that feature two artists on a record actually interacting with one another to be extremely enjoyable to listen tom and The Boy Is Mine definitely fits that bill. It’s hard to put into words how big this song was in 1998. And all these years later, it’s still a memorable R&B jam made by two women still going strong in the entertainment business.
Jealous Guy by John Lennon
If you’re in need of a melancholy classic, then this is the tune for you. In this song, Beatles member John Lennon sings about feelings of regret, jealousy, and insecurity (Name a worse trio, I’ll wait).
His lyrics express how regretful he is about emotionally hurting someone he cares deeply about, because, well what can I say, he’s a Jealous Guy.
When It Was Me by Paula DeAnda
In 2006, Paula DeAnda dropped one of my favorite pop albums of the early 2000s (aptly named Paula DeAnda). And there’s no doubt that my favorite track on that album is When It Was Me, a record that speaks to the pain of jealousy, rather than the anger or bitterness that can come as a result of it.
On When It Was Me, Paula sings of a woman that sees her ex-boyfriend with his new girlfriend. Paula claims she’s not jealous—but she absolutely is. Throughout the song, Paula’s comparing notes on the woman’s appearance, and even disregards her professional accomplishments.
But more than that, this is a song that’s swimming in pain and heartbreak. Paula cannot understand what makes her ex-boyfriend’s new woman a better catch than she was. She can’t understand why his new girlfriend makes him happier than she did.
Yes, Paula sings of a jealous woman. But she’s also an emotionally hurt woman, too.
Tell me what makes her so much
Better than me (what makes her so much better than me)
What makes her just everything
I can never be (I can never be)
What makes her your every dream
And fantasy (Ooh)
Because I can remember
When it was me
Mr. Brightside by The Killers
While this pop/rock masterpiece is the singing and dancing anthem at most bars, the lyrics actually hold a ton of emotional weight. In this one, the narrator feels extremely jealous because the lady he wants is with another guy.
He imagines what exactly is happening between the two to the point where he feels physically sick. This song describes a sense of hopelessness since he knows the woman he cares for is slipping away, but there’s nothing he can do about it.
Do I by Luke Bryan
A dramatic genre change from the last song, I know, but roll with me. In this heartbreaking pop/country song, Luke Bryan is feeling insecure about his wife’s emotions and their marriage. He doesn’t know if she is still in love with him, and an internal battle is raging in his mind.
He feels somewhat hopeless and is trying to figure out how he will move on with his life if things go badly. This song strikes a chord, no pun intended, in those who are married or have been in a relationship for a long time. The moral is that love is not perfect, and marriage requires serious work from both parties.
Jealousy by Iggy Pop
In this one, Iggy Pop compares envy with a boiling rage. He’s jealous of the wealthy and privileged, as well as angry at the entire social class system.
I can definitely understand the desire to “tear the difference down”. It’s extremely frustrating to feel as though you’re not enough and to constantly be comparing your success to others.
Jessie’s Girl by Rick Springfield
Have you ever seen a happy couple strolling down the street, lost in their own little blissful world? But instead of feeling happy for them, you’re left with some bitterness, jealousy, and a little bit of dread? Oh yeah…me neither. Well, this classic Rick Springfield hit is all about that feeling.
He describes how absolutely perfect his friend’s relationship is, and expresses his desire not only for a similar romantic relationship, but a relationship with that particular woman. Sounds a little messy to me, but the heart wants what it wants.
All By Myself by Eric Carmen
Now don’t pretend you haven’t belted this one out at some point. “All By Myself” is one of the most-used songs in movies and TV shows, typically during very depressing scenes…*sigh*.
The raw loneliness and hopelessness expressed by Eric Carmen are more than enough to tug at your heartstrings.
Enough for You by Olivia Rodrigo
It was actually very difficult to choose just one song from this particular album (SOUR) because the entire album reflects themes of jealousy and feelings of insecurity.
While this isn’t the most popular song from this album, I feel that the lyrics are a little more relatable, and who can resist Olivia’s gorgeous, heartbreaking voice?
Lies by MARINA (Marina and the Diamonds)
This song is about a complicated (and slightly toxic) situation where emotions are confused, and one party seems to be taken advantage of emotionally. MARINA creates a storyline where she is in love with a man who does not reciprocate her feelings, yet she refuses to move on.
This song touches on bitterness and anger, but also feelings of vulnerability and insecurity. MARINA also released an acoustic version of this song, you know, for when you really want to have a good cry.
SLOW DANCING IN THE DARK by Joji
This soulful song appeared on Joji’s album “BALLADS 1”, and is truly one of my favorites on this list. Joji expresses how desperately he loves someone, but he feels he isn’t good enough for them.
The combination of lyrics and minor chords takes on a hopeless tone as he states “you should be with him, I can’t compete”.
Who Is He (And What Is He to You)? by Bill Withers
In this one, Withers describes a narrative where he is walking with his lady when another man walks by, and he notices an exchange between them. This leads him to question what their relationship may be and implies that she has been cheating on him.
He states “Something in my heart and in your eye tells me he’s not someone just passing by“. Quite an upsetting accusation, if I do say so myself.
Green Is The Colour by Pink Floyd
In this song, Pink Floyd writes about a woman from the past. My take on this is that she is no longer in the narrator’s life, and he longs for her to return.
While there aren’t too many lyrics, this is a beautiful and relatable song for when you’re missing someone or reflecting on a past relationship.
No One Else by Weezer
This 90’s alternative/indie piece speaks to jealousy (and a little bit of possessiveness) in a romantic relationship. It’s about feeling insecure and craving a sense of control over a significant other.
A little unhealthy? I’m not one to judge, but it is a great song, especially if you’re in need of a break-up anthem.
November by Tyler, The Creator
Tyler, The Creator typically presents a confident, over-the-top, and in my opinion, hilarious outward persona to the public. But in this particular track from his Flower Boy album, he raps about his many worries and insecurities regarding his life and his music career. He questions whether his art is “too weird for the masses” and reflects on the past few years, and how much simpler they were compared to now.
While there are hundreds of other songs that represent similar messages, the ones I’ve listed here resonate the most with me when I’m feeling down. The strength of emotion by the artist is what makes a good song, in my opinion, and these songs about jealousy and insecurity can help you release any pent-up, negative feelings that you may be experiencing. To learn more about how music can impact your emotions, click here.