The underdog is a timeless and universally relatable theme in music, as it speaks to the struggles and triumphs of those who rise above adversity and overcome obstacles. These songs capture the spirit of the underdog and offer inspiration and encouragement to those who may feel marginalized or overlooked. Whether it’s through powerful lyrics, catchy hooks, or electrifying beats, these songs celebrate the resilience and determination of the underdog. They provide a soundtrack to the journey of perseverance and encourage listeners to never give up on their dreams. This article takes a look at 20 of the best songs about being the underdog, from classic tracks to contemporary anthems. Whether you’re a fan of rock, hip-hop, pop, or any other genre, these songs will resonate with anyone who’s ever felt like an outsider or struggled against the odds. These tracks serve as a reminder that the underdog can overcome, and that with enough determination and hard work, anything is possible.
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1. “Common People” by Pulp
“Common People” by Pulp is a satirical, politically charged song that was released in 1995 as a single from the album “Different Class”. The song is an attack on the idea of cultural appropriation, as Jarvis Cocker sings from the perspective of a wealthy person trying to understand the lives of “common people”. The song’s lyrics paint a picture of class struggle and mock the idea that one can understand or truly experience the lives of those from a different social class. The music itself is upbeat and energetic, with a driving bassline and pounding drums that support Cocker’s snarky vocals. The song was a commercial success, reaching number two on the UK Singles Chart, and has become one of Pulp’s most recognizable and enduring tracks.
2. “The Underdog” by Spoon
“The Underdog” is a song by the American indie rock band Spoon, released on their 2007 album “Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga”. The song is an upbeat, energetic anthem for the underdogs of society, with a driving beat and catchy chorus that celebrates the resilience and determination of those who often find themselves in less-than-ideal circumstances. The lyrics are filled with references to the difficulties of everyday life, but they are sung with a sense of defiance and a refusal to give up. The song’s upbeat, energetic music is a perfect match for its message of empowerment, and has helped to make “The Underdog” one of Spoon’s most popular tracks. Whether you’re an underdog yourself or simply looking for some inspiration, this song is sure to get you fired up and ready to take on the world.
3. “Started from the Bottom” by Drake
“Started from the Bottom” is a song by Canadian rapper Drake, released in 2013 as the lead single from his third studio album, “Nothing Was the Same”. The song is a braggadocious anthem about Drake’s rise to the top, and serves as a testament to his relentless work ethic and determination to succeed. The song’s catchy beat and driving bassline are the perfect backdrop for Drake’s confident rhymes, which recount his journey from humble beginnings to the top of the rap game. Despite its success and popularity, “Started from the Bottom” remains one of Drake’s most relatable tracks, as it speaks to the struggles and challenges faced by anyone who has ever had to work their way up from the bottom. Whether you’re an aspiring rapper or simply someone who appreciates a good underdog story, this song is sure to inspire and motivate you.
4. “We’re Not Gonna Take It” by Twisted Sister
“We’re Not Gonna Take It” by Twisted Sister is an anthem for the underdog. The song is about standing up against authority and fighting for what you believe in. The driving beat and powerful vocals convey the message of defiance and resistance, as the lyrics exhort listeners to break free from the constraints of oppression and take control of their own lives. With its catchy chorus and upbeat tempo, “We’re Not Gonna Take It” has become a staple of rebellion and empowerment, inspiring generations of listeners to embrace their inner strength and rise above adversity.
5. “We are the Champions” by Queen
“We are the Champions” by Queen is a high-energy, upbeat rock anthem that celebrates being the best and rising to the top against all odds. The lyrics, written by Freddie Mercury, are a declaration of victory and a tribute to the unbreakable spirit of those who never give up. With its driving beat, soaring guitar riffs, and powerful vocals, this song is the ultimate anthem for underdogs everywhere and has become a timeless classic, celebrated by generations of fans. The song’s powerful message of perseverance and triumph over adversity continues to inspire people of all ages and backgrounds to chase their dreams and never give up.
6. “Jukebox Hero” by Foreigner
“Jukebox Hero” is a classic rock song by the British-American band Foreigner. The song tells the story of a young man who dreams of being a rock star and standing in front of thousands of adoring fans. He spends his nights playing air guitar to his favorite songs on the jukebox, imagining himself as the star of the show. The chorus repeats the line “I’m a jukebox hero” as the protagonist sings about his aspirations and the power of music to bring people together. With its upbeat, driving beat and powerful guitar riffs, “Jukebox Hero” is an anthem for the underdogs and dreamers, inspiring listeners to chase their dreams and never give up.
7. “Kick in the Teeth” by Papa Roach
“Kick in the Teeth” by Papa Roach is an anthemic rock track that tells the story of overcoming adversity. The lyrics are about the protagonist’s struggles with life and the determination to rise above them, despite the odds being against him. The aggressive guitar riffs and powerful vocal delivery convey the message of perseverance in the face of tough times. The song is a celebration of the spirit of the underdog, who refuses to give up and fight back against all odds. With its infectious chorus and upbeat energy, “Kick in the Teeth” is a rousing anthem for anyone who has ever felt like the odds were against them.
8. “The Last Great American Dynasty” by Taylor Swift
“The Last Great American Dynasty” by Taylor Swift is a powerful and upbeat song that showcases the story of Rebekah Harkness, a former owner of an extravagant estate. The song explores the idea of being the underdog, as Harkness faced many challenges and criticisms during her time as a wealthy widow. Despite her reputation, she lived her life fearlessly and without regrets, inspiring others to break away from societal expectations. With its catchy melody and clever lyrics, this song is a celebration of those who go against the grain and live life on their own terms. It serves as a reminder that true success and happiness can only be found by being true to oneself and not caring about what others may say.
9. “The Pretender” by Foo Fighters
“The Pretender” is a rock song by the American band Foo Fighters. It was released as the lead single from their 2007 album “Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace”. The song features powerful guitar riffs and driving drums, setting the stage for an anthem about staying true to oneself and fighting for what one believes in. The lyrics follow the story of a person who is pretending to be something they are not, and the singer urges them to “come out and see the light”. This song is a rallying cry for anyone who has ever felt like an outsider, and is a testament to the band’s ability to craft anthemic, empowering rock music.
10. “Q.U.E.E.N.” by Janelle Monáe featuring Erykah Badu
“Q.U.E.E.N.” by Janelle Monáe featuring Erykah Badu is an empowering anthem about being unapologetically yourself and embracing your individuality. The song features a lively beat, catchy melodies, and thought-provoking lyrics that encourage listeners to embrace their unique qualities and stand up against those who try to bring them down. Erykah Badu’s guest appearance adds an extra layer of soul and depth to the song, elevating its message and creating a memorable, uplifting experience for listeners. “Q.U.E.E.N.” serves as a powerful tribute to the underdog spirit, inspiring listeners to embrace their individuality and strive for greatness, despite any obstacles they may face.
11. “Uprising” by Muse
“Uprising” is a song by English rock band Muse, released in 2009. The song features a fast-paced, driving beat and powerful vocals, with lyrics that deal with themes of revolution and resistance. The chorus repeats the phrase “rise up” as a call to action, urging listeners to stand up against oppression and fight for their rights. Throughout the song, singer Matt Bellamy delivers a series of rousing and impassioned vocal lines, punctuated by heavy guitar riffs and propulsive drums. “Uprising” is a high-energy anthem that is both politically charged and emotionally resonant, making it a powerful anthem for those seeking to make change in the world.
12. “Southpaw” by Kip Moore
“Southpaw” is a powerful and emotional country rock track by Kip Moore. The song is an anthem for the underdog, with Moore’s passionate vocals and powerful lyrics inspiring listeners to keep fighting even when they feel like they’ve been knocked down. The song features a driving guitar riff and a driving beat, building to a climax of defiance and determination. With its themes of resilience, courage, and perseverance, “Southpaw” is a powerful and inspiring song for anyone who has ever felt like the odds were against them.
13. “Today” by Smashing Pumpkins
“Today” is a song by the alternative rock band Smashing Pumpkins. It was released on their album “Siamese Dream” in 1993 and became one of the band’s most well-known tracks. The song features powerful guitar riffs, fast-paced drumming, and Billy Corgan’s emotional vocal delivery. The lyrics are introspective and melancholic, exploring themes of loneliness, longing, and the desire for something better. “Today” is a classic example of the Smashing Pumpkins’ unique sound, blending alternative rock, grunge, and classic rock influences to create a powerful and memorable track. The song has become a staple of their live performances and continues to be a fan favorite.
14. “Heroes” by David Bowie
“Heroes” is a classic rock song by the legendary musician David Bowie. It was released in 1977 as a single from his album “Low”. The song has a upbeat and optimistic message, encouraging listeners to be their own heroes and overcome the odds. The music features a catchy guitar riff and a driving beat that perfectly accompany Bowie’s distinctive voice. The lyrics are simple but impactful, urging listeners to seize the moment and make their own destiny. “Heroes” has become an anthem for underdogs and a symbol of hope for anyone who has felt like an outsider. Its timeless message and upbeat melody have made it a staple of rock radio and a beloved classic for generations of fans.
15. “Time to Run” by Lord Huron
“Time to Run” by Lord Huron is an upbeat and energizing indie folk song about taking charge of one’s life and going after their dreams. With its driving rhythm, memorable chorus, and powerful vocals, the song inspires listeners to break free from the constraints of their past and embrace the limitless possibilities of the future. The song’s message of hope, perseverance, and determination is a rallying call for anyone who has ever felt held back by their circumstances or doubted their own abilities. Whether you’re a seasoned fighter or just starting out, “Time to Run” is the perfect anthem for anyone looking to take control of their life and forge their own path to success.
16. “The Outside” by Taylor Swift
“The Outside” by Taylor Swift is a powerful and motivational anthem about overcoming the odds and breaking free from societal norms. The song is a dynamic blend of pop and country influences, featuring Swift’s signature storytelling lyrics and infectious hooks. Throughout the track, she encourages listeners to embrace their individuality and pursue their dreams, no matter what obstacles they may face. With its upbeat tempo, driving instrumentation, and soaring vocals, “The Outside” is a rally cry for underdogs everywhere and a testament to the resilience of the human spirit.
17. “Opportunities (Let’s Make Lots of Money)” by Pet Shop Boys
“Opportunities (Let’s Make Lots of Money)” is a upbeat pop song by British duo Pet Shop Boys. The song was released in 1985 as part of their album “Please.” The song is known for its electronic dance music (EDM) inspired beat, combined with playful synths and a catchy chorus. The lyrics depict the duo’s desire for wealth and success, but also satirize the superficial values of capitalist society. The track’s synth-pop sound and clever lyrics make it a classic underdog anthem, reminding listeners that success is not just about material possessions. With its high energy and upbeat tone, “Opportunities (Let’s Make Lots of Money)” is a classic 80s pop song that continues to be a fan favorite to this day.
18. “Back in the High Life Again” by Steve Winwood
“Back in the High Life Again” is a 1986 hit song by British singer-songwriter Steve Winwood. It was released as the lead single from his fourth solo album of the same name. The upbeat and optimistic track features a combination of rock and soul elements with a strong saxophone solo. Lyrically, the song is about a man who has been through tough times and is now in a better place, enjoying the simple pleasures of life. With its memorable hook and upbeat tempo, “Back in the High Life Again” has become one of Steve Winwood’s most enduring songs, and remains a classic of 80s rock and roll.
19. “We Can’t Stop” by Miley Cyrus
“We Can’t Stop” is a pop song by Miley Cyrus, released in 2013. It is an upbeat, party anthem that encourages listeners to live life to the fullest and not worry about what others think. The song features a catchy chorus, infectious beat, and a fun, carefree vibe that is meant to inspire listeners to let loose and dance. With its upbeat energy and empowering message, “We Can’t Stop” has become a favorite among partygoers and fans of energetic pop music. The song has been praised for its catchy hooks and upbeat energy, and remains a staple of Miley Cyrus’s discography.
20. “So Am I” by Ava Max
“So Am I” by Ava Max is a high-energy pop anthem about embracing individuality and standing out from the crowd. With its powerful vocals and confident lyrics, the song encourages listeners to celebrate their unique qualities and not be afraid to be themselves. The beat is upbeat and infectious, with a driving bassline and shimmering synths that will get stuck in your head for days. Overall, “So Am I” is a feel-good anthem that promotes self-love and acceptance.
“We Can’t Stop” by Miley Cyrus is a fun and upbeat pop-dance track that celebrates the joys of youth and living life to the fullest. With its catchy chorus and upbeat beat, the song is the perfect party anthem for anyone looking to let loose and have a good time. The lyrics are playful and carefree, inviting listeners to let go of their worries and embrace the moment. The production is polished and upbeat, with shimmering synths and a pounding beat that will get even the shyest wallflowers up and dancing. Overall, “We Can’t Stop” is a fun, feel-good track that will have you singing and dancing along in no time.
Sometimes a team or competitor may be technically the favorite in a game but be an underdog in the big picture, as they weren't expected to be in that kind of position, such as a Cinderella team in sports. In a story, the Fool is often an underdog if they are the main character.What makes someone an underdog? ›
An underdog is someone who isn't likely to win a competition or contest. When a professional basketball player faces off against a high school student who's a foot shorter, the high schooler is the underdog. Anyone at a disadvantage, whether in general or in a particular situation, can be called an underdog.What was the message about underdog? ›
"Underdog" was recorded for Keys' seventh studio album Alicia (2020). Speaking on the meaning behind the song, she told Rolling Stone: I love this song so much because it's about real life and real people and our experiences. We've all been in a place in our lives where we've had to defy the odds.What is the underdog effect in psychology? ›
Being the underdog can have both positive and negative psychological effects. While underdogs are often given public acclaim when they win, the perception that an underdog is likely to fail can increase the likelihood of failure, harm self-esteem, and cause performance anxiety.What does underdog mean in life? ›
a person or group of people with less power, money, etc. than the rest of society: As a politician, her sympathy was always for the underdog in society. [ C usually singular ] in a competition, the person or team considered to be the weakest and the least likely to win.Is it good to be an underdog? ›
When you're an underdog, nothing is handed to you, which means you are persistent and resilient and are no stranger to picking yourself up. The fact that underdogs can't see their failures as failing is also a great thing. Underdogs may feel like there is nothing to lose—so they often give it everything they've got.What do you call someone who is underdog? ›
Synonyms of underdog (noun unlikely winner in a contest or struggle) dark horse. longshot. bottom dog. out-of-towner.Why does the underdog always win? ›
Underdogs refuse to give up, even in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds. This same level of persistence and determination is necessary for any business to weather the storms of adversity and emerge stronger on the other side.What are the benefits of being an underdog? ›
Because you're an underdog, you're less likely to take things for granted. You remember what it's like to have few resources and little support. You tend to notice when people help you at work, so be sure to show your appreciation. Even a simple thank-you can go a long way toward building good chemistry with coworkers.What makes a good underdog story? ›
At its heart, the compelling underdog story is a rivalry, with at least one character vying against the protagonist for a high-stakes object of desire. But the underdog plot takes it a step further by forcing the hero to face overwhelming odds. A well-written underdog story rouses the reader's sympathy like no other.
The bandwagon effect is a psychological phenomenon in which people do something primarily because other people are doing it, regardless of their own beliefs, which they may ignore or override. This tendency of people to align their beliefs and behaviors with those of a group is also called a herd mentality.What is the bystander effect due to? ›
Latané and Darley attributed the bystander effect to two factors: diffusion of responsibility and social influence.What is the psychology behind bandwagon? ›
The bandwagon effect is the tendency for people to adopt certain behaviors, styles, or attitudes simply because others are doing so. More specifically, it is a cognitive bias by which public opinion or behaviours can alter due to particular actions and beliefs rallying amongst the public.How do you identify an underdog? ›
The team with the plus sign before the line is the underdog. For example, if the spread reads UConn -25, UConn is the favorite, and they have to win by 26 points to cover the spread. In sports betting lingo, UConn would be favored by 25 points. Marquette would be +25, a 25-point underdog.What is a simple sentence for underdog? ›
I always root for the underdog instead of the favorite. As a lawyer, she consistently represented the underdog.
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