Life isn’t easy, and sometimes you’re going to deal with adversity. Once that adversity comes, you’re going to need to hear songs about overcoming various obstacles in order to find success. So in this article, we’re going to provide our list of the best songs on this topic—ones that talk about meeting challenges head on and never giving up.
Songs About Overcoming and Never Giving Up
Let’s begin with a song aptly titled “Survive.”
Survive by Lane 8 featuring Channy Leaneagh
Sometimes life seems so hopeless that the only thing keeping you going is the love you have for someone else. That may be your beloved, a best friend,a close family member or maybe even some kind of support group.
And that’s not a bad thing! Love is definitely worth living for. Vocalist Channy Leaneagh sings about the world being scary and unfair. Heck, just going outside is dangerous these days.
Life has got Channy down so badly that even the drugs don’t get her high anymore. But she is inspired by someone else so much, that it’s the driving force that keeps her going. She may be staying alive for someone else, but if that’s what it takes, so be it.
“For you, I’d try to survive.”
Thunder by Imagine Dragons
Ignoring hate can be difficult. Especially when the hate is about your dreams. There will be tons of people that doubt you and may even laugh at your aspirations. The guys from Imagine Dragons have been there!
Lyrics that describe old classmates laughing at their desires to be famous soon turn into a story of sweet revenge, as those old bullies now sit in the “nosebleed” seats at the Dragons’ concerts. A great hype song for those surrounded by critics.
“Who do you think you are? Dreaming ’bout being a big star.”
Follow Your Arrow by Kacey Musgraves
Finding the courage to be yourself can be incredibly scary. It seems that you could be the best person in the world, and someone would still find a criticism to have! So, in this song, Kacey Musgraves decided that caring about what other people think is just a waste of time.
Do what you want, live the life you want to live and love who you love! It may be scary but you’re the only one living your life. And not to be cheesy, but YOLO!
“Say what you think. Love who you love. ‘Cause you just get so many trips ’round the sun. Yeah, you only, only live once.”
I Lived by OneRepublic
Living the life of your dreams will still have its ups and downs. But when it’s all over, don’t you want to look back and know you really went for it?
Lead singer of OneRepublic, Ryan Tedder, sings about both sides of an amazing life. The jump will have a fall. The water rising won’t overtake you if you’ve prepared for it. Your days will eventually be spent, so they should add up to something good. Tedder knows that life comes with pain as well as joy, but he’s going to make sure that he really lived it.
“I saw so many places, the things that I did…With every broken bone, I swear I lived.”
Thank U by Alanis Morissette
We can be our own worst enemy at times. Alanis Morissette has said that this song was about taking a moment to breathe and becoming ready to deal with life. She claims that she was basing all of her self-love on external factors and success. When she found success but not self-love, it was clear that doing so was a mistake.
After taking a much needed break to take care of herself, she realized she was still worth happiness even if she had decided to never write another song again. Alanis expresses gratitude to many things that helped her grow in this song. She thanks ideas such as forgiveness and frailty as contributing factors to her growth and self- realization. It’s a song about growing, correcting self-destructive tendencies and thoughts and overcoming one’s self.
“How ’bout no longer being masochistic. How ’bout remembering your divinity.”
I’m Still Here (Jim’s Theme) by John Rzeznik
You may recognize this theme from the movie “Treasure Planet,” based on the book named Treasure Island.
In the movie, a troublesome teen named Jim boards a space boat and helps find a planet (full of treasure, obviously) and grows as a person on the journey. The song is a journey as well, as John sings about figuring out who he wants to be is while also realizing he isn’t defined by what everyone else says he is.
Admittedly, he isn’t completely sure as to who that is yet. Defying the majority and standing up for yourself can be a frightening thing to do. But if you’re on the path to self-discovery, isn’t it worth it?
“I am a question to the world. Not an answer to be heard.”
Try Everything by Shakira
Another movie pick, this song is the theme from the flick “Zootopia.” The animated film is about a world where the animals are people and it tackles issues such as discrimination (predatory animals treated as more dangerous than non-predators), stereotypes and overcoming obstacles.
The main character, Judy, is a bunny from a country town that wants to be the first ever bunny-cop. The people around her, even her family, try to convince her to do something more suitable for someone as small as she is.
And she ends up making a lot of mistakes in her journey towards the job. But once she embraces her stature and unique strengths, she persists, works hard, and eventually reaches her dream. She becomes a cop…only to be mistreated and underestimated at her assigned precinct.
She then enlists the help of a conman fox named Nick. Nick’s backstory explains that he’s a good guy at heart, but since he’s been seen as nothing other than a stereotyped dishonest and “sly” fox, he sadly embraced the role.
Together, they end up proving to everyone that they won’t be defined by stereotypes or be controlled by fear.
Even without the movie, the song is pretty inspirational. Shakira sings about making mistakes, learning from them, knowing she’s going to eventually make more, but trying new things anyway. The mistakes can be corrected, so don’t let fear keep you from trying everything.
“No, I won’t leave, I want to try everything. I want to try even though I could fail.”
Recovery by James Arthur
Warning: this topic addresses songs about addiction.
Addiction of any kind is a huge inner war to those in its grasp. Not only are there physical and emotional symptoms to face, but there are life changes that have to be made, as well as apologies made to anyone else affected by it.
As James makes clear in his song, it’s easy to fall back into a relapse. He knows it could be as easy as letting negativity get to him or answering an old friend’s phone call. Every day is a battle against his demons, but he is making it so far.
He’s had to find what works for him specifically and he’s had to cut ties with some people, which some may view as dismissive. But he’s had to “design and define” his recovery and he’s determined to win.
“In my recovery, I’m a soldier at war. I have broken down walls…I defined, I designed my recovery.”
- You Might Also Like: Songs About Losing Someone to Addiction
Praying by Kesha
Warning: the topic of abuse is addressed.
Surviving abuse of any kind can leave not only physical scars but emotional ones, as well. Escaping it at all takes incredible courage. But even once separated from the source of that abuse, it can still lead to a heightened sense of fear, paranoia and rage.
Kesha has spoken about the abuse she endured and now that she has the ability to do so, she has begun writing music about it. In hopes that it will help others in their survival to seek aid or refuge, Kesha sings about her abuser telling her that she was nothing without them.
This person made Kesha fear speaking out against them and standing up for herself. Now that she has her freedom back, she is realizing just how strong she was to endure the bad times for so long.
In the ultimate act of moving on, she makes it known that she does NOT need them, but does hope that they’re changing. Although she can’t forgive them for everything, she is overcoming the trauma they put her through. When she lives the life she wants, her abuser won’t even be remembered.
“I hope you’re somewhere prayin’, prayin’. I hope your soul is changin’, changin’. I hope you find your peace, falling on your knees, prayin’.”
- You Might Also Like: Songs About Emotional Abuse
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Reborn by Kids See Ghosts
This team up of Kid Cudi and Kanye West created a beautiful anthem about battles with mental illness. Kanye has been famously featured in many gossip and celeb articles during some of the lowest moments of his Bipolar Disorder. And Cudi has spoken up about his struggles with anxiety and depression.
This collab could be the least preachy example of gospel, as it mentions “Lord” but really focuses on self-recreation after depressive moments in life. In “Reborn”, they both mention some of the more negative parts of these conditions, but they also address that peace comes from within. With that in mind, even when that mind is messy, they are going to continue moving forward.
“I had my issues, ain’t that much I could do. Peace is something that starts with me.”
Obstacles and the difficulty in overcoming them cannot be judged by anyone watching from the outside. What may seem a small hurdle to some, could be a monumental struggle to others. We all experience life from the perspective of our own individual inner universes. And because of this, we all see things a little differently.
But, regardless of those differences, none of us escape being exposed to life’s problems. As shown in this list of songs about overcoming, even the most successful, rich, beautiful and popular people deal with their own issues.
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