20 Best Songs About Failure and Success

Richard Ellison

Whether it’s learning from our failures or celebrating our successes, both Failure and Success are important aspects of life that are often celebrated in songs. Here are 20 of the best songs about Failure and Success that will inspire you to keep going despite setbacks and celebrate your victories.

By the way, if you like songs about failure and success you might like some of our other articles, such as songs about dedication, songs about disappointment, songs about faking, songs about fall, and songs about falling.

Bad Day – Daniel Powter

Daniel Powter - Bad Day (Official Music Video) [HD]

Bad Day is a song about the ups and downs of life, and the constant struggle between failure and success. For many people, failures are an inevitable part of trying to achieve their dreams and goals. We may experience setbacks or disappointments at work, in our relationships, or in other areas of our lives. But despite these frustrations, we must learn to keep moving forward, persisting through tough times and never giving up on our hopes and dreams. This can be easier said than done, but it is ultimately what makes us stronger and better individuals.

The Winner Takes It All – ABBA

ABBA - The Winner Takes It All

The Winner Takes It All is one of the most iconic songs in ABBA’s repertoire. This powerful ballad tells the story of an individual who experiences great success, but also endures endless failures along the way. Throughout the course of the song, we witness this individual rise to fame through hard work and dedication, only to fall into obscurity after a string of poor business decisions and unforeseen circumstances. Despite these missteps, however, our protagonist always emerges with a newfound determination to succeed, drawing strength from each failure as she rises up once again toward her ultimate goal.

I Fought The Law – The Clash

The Clash - I Fought the Law (Official Video)

I Fought The Law is one of the most iconic songs in the history of rock music, with an enduring message that resonates with people from all walks of life. Written and originally performed by American band The Clash, the song has come to epitomize the struggle between failure and success, and speaks to anyone who has ever suffered a setback or fought for their dreams. Its lyrics are laced with themes of defiance, frustration, and resilience, conveying the gripping feeling of just wanting to win against all odds.

Loser – Beck

Beck - Loser (Official Music Video)

Loser is a song by American musician Beck that explores the themes of failure and success. Throughout the verses, Beck sings about his own struggles with both of these concepts and lays bare feelings of frustration and disillusionment. However, he ultimately triumphs in the chorus, declaring himself to be a ‘loser’ no longer. This unexpected twist highlights the different meanings that people attach to these words, and encourages listeners to reflect on their own experiences with failure or success. 

Dammit – Blink-182

blink-182 - Dammit

Dammit, by Blink-182, is a song about the complexities and challenges of both failure and success. At first listen, the lyrics seem to be about rejection and heartbreak, with frontman Mark Hoppus expressing his frustration over a broken relationship. However, closer analysis reveals that these lyrics are also tinged with a sense of hope. Despite the pain and confusion that may come from failure or loss, there is always a possibility for redemption and new beginnings – even if it takes time for us to realize this truth.

Failure By Design – Brand New

Brand New: Failure By Design

Failure By Design is a song by the American rock band Brand New. With lyrics that explore themes of success and failure, it paints a nuanced portrait of the struggles and triumphs inherent in the creative process. At its core, the song shines a light on the complex and often conflicted relationship that artists have with their art, showcasing the delicate balance between dedication and despair that is required to create meaningful work. Through its powerful message, this song encourages us to continue pursuing our goals no matter what roadblocks we may encounter along the way. Whether we’re battling self-doubt or overcoming external obstacles, Failure By Design celebrates the unwavering persistence that lies at the heart of all creative endeavors. In short, it reminds us to keep fighting for our dreams, no matter what setbacks we face along the way.

Unbreakable – Four Year Strong

Unbreakable – Four Year Strong is a song about about failure and success. The song starts off with the line “I’m not perfect, I never will be” which sets the tone for the rest of the song. The song is about how everyone makes mistakes and that’s okay because it’s part of life. The song talks about how success is not about never failing, but about getting back up after you fail. The chorus of the song says “So don’t be afraid to fall/ Cause that’s when you learn to fly” which is a message of encouragement to keep going even when things are tough. This is a song that will resonate with anyone who has ever made a mistake or felt like they were not good enough. It’s a reminder that we all have the strength to overcome our challenges and achieve our goals.

Creep – Radiohead

Creep is one of Radiohead’s most iconic and well-known songs. At first, it may seem like a simple song about the struggles of success and failure. However, if we dig a bit deeper, we can see that there is actually more to this hauntingly beautiful track. Throughout the song, the narrator seems to be struggling with feelings of inadequacy; he feels like he will always be viewed as a creep, even though he has accomplished so much in his life. He laments that no matter how hard he tries, he will never be able to shake this perception. Despite this feeling of despair, however, there is still an undercurrent of hope running throughout the track.

Perfect – Simple Plan

Simple Plan - Perfect (Official Video) [HD]

Perfect is a song by the pop-punk band Simple Plan that explores the theme of failure and success. The lyrics of the song weave together examples from both the personal and academic realms, highlighting regrets about past mistakes as well as feelings of success in overcoming adversity. Through its poignant musings on what it means to be “perfect,” Perfect encourages listeners to embrace their imperfections as part of a larger journey towards self-acceptance and growth.

In The End – Linkin Park

In The End [Official HD Music Video] - Linkin Park

“In the End” is a song by American rock band Linkin Park. It was released as the lead single from their debut album Hybrid Theory (2000) and reached number two on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. The song’s success helped to launch the band into stardom and is considered one of their signature songs. The lyrics of “In the End” deal with themes of failure and success, and are told from the perspective of someone who has experienced both. The singer reflects on all the mistakes he has made in his life, and how they have led him to where he is today. While he may not have accomplished everything he set out to do, he has still managed to succeed in some way.

All Apologies – Nirvana

Nirvana - All Apologies (MTV Unplugged)

All Apologies is a song by Nirvana that was released in 1993. The song is about the duality of success and failure. On the one hand, the lyrics speak to the idea that success can be fleeting and ultimately unfulfilling. On the other hand, the lyrics also suggest that failure can be a necessary step on the road to success. In this way, All Apologies is a complex and nuanced exploration of the human experience. The song has resonated with listeners for decades, and its timeless message continues to offer insight and comfort to those who are struggling. Whether you’re trying to achieve something great or simply trying to get through the day, All Apologies is a reminder that we’re all in this together.

My Own Worst Enemy – Lit

Lit - My Own Worst Enemy (Official Music Video)

“My Own Worst Enemy” by Lit is a song about the fear of failure and the importance of perseverance. The lyrics describe the feeling of being trapped in a cycle of self-doubt and insecurity, endlessly trying to escape from your own worst enemy. The song speaks to the universal experience of struggling to overcome our own fears and doubts, and ultimately encourages listeners to keep fighting despite the odds. It’s an anthem for anyone who has ever felt like they are their own worst enemy, and a reminder that failure is only permanent if you give up. With its catchy chorus and relatable lyrics, “My Own Worst Enemy” is a song that will resonate with anyone who has ever battled their own demons.

My Favorite Mistake – Sheryl Crow

Sheryl Crow - My Favorite Mistake

Sheryl Crow’s “My Favorite Mistake” is a song about the complex relationship between failure and success. The song begins with the narrator reflecting on a past relationship that ended in pain and heartache. However, the narrator also recognizes that this experience was invaluable in helping them to grow and learn. As the song progresses, the focus shifts from the past relationship to the present, and the narrator expresses confidence and hope for the future. In spite of the hurt caused by the breakup, the narrator is grateful for the lessons learned and views it as “my favorite mistake.” The song is an uplifting reminder that even our most painful experiences can ultimately lead to growth and happiness.

All These Things That I’ve Done – The Killers 

The Killers - All These Things That I've Done (Official Music Video)

All These Things That I’ve Done by The Killers is a song about failure and success. The song starts with the line “I’ve got soul but I’m not a soldier,” which sets the tone for the rest of the song. The lyrics talk about how the narrator has “seen enough to know that [he] can’t give up,” and how he has “failed at love, failed at life, failed at everything.” However, despite all of his failures, the narrator still believes that he can succeed. The chorus of the song echoes this sentiment, with the lyrics “All these things that I’ve done/ I just wanna live.” The song is ultimately about how failure is a part of life, but it doesn’t have to be defining. Instead, it’s about how we can learn from our mistakes and keep moving forward.

We Are The Champion – Queen

Queen - We Are The Champions (Live)

Although it is one of Queen’s most popular and well-known songs, We Are the Champions is actually a bittersweet tribute to both failure and success. Written in the aftermath of a disappointing defeat in a music competition, this song chronicles the emotional journey that comes with failure and disappointment, from feelings of inadequacy to moments of self-doubt as well as quiet reflection in times of regret. Yet at the same time, it also acknowledges the need for resilience in these difficult moments, particularly when striving towards our ultimate goals.

One Moment In Time – Whitney Houston

Whitney Houston - One Moment In Time (Lyrics)

Whitney Houston’s song “One Moment in Time” is about overcoming failure and finding success. The lyrics tell the story of a person who has faced many challenges in their life, but has finally triumphed over them. The song is an inspiration to anyone who has ever struggled to achieve their goals. It is a reminder that even the darkest moments can be turned into something positive if we just keep fighting. “One Moment in Time” is a powerful anthem that reminds us that anything is possible if we never give up on ourselves.

Winning – Santana

In the song “Winning” by Santana, the protagonist reflects on their life and how they have never felt like a winner. They recount all of the failures and disappointments they have experienced, wondering if they will ever find success. Despite all of the odds stacked against them, they continue to strive for their goals. In the end, the protagonist learns that it is not about winning or losing, but about the journey. They realize that even though they may not always feel like a winner, they are still alive and fighting. And in that sense, they are already a success.

Watch Me Rise – Mikky Ekko

Mikky Ekko - Watch Me Rise

Mikky Ekko’s “Watch Me Rise” is a song about overcoming failure and achieving success. The lyrics tell the story of someone who has faced many challenges in life but has refused to give up. Despite the odds being against them, they have persevered and are now rising to the top. The song is an empowering anthem that encourages listeners to never give up on their dreams. It is a reminder that even when things seem impossible, we always have the potential to surprise ourselves and achieve great things.

Winner – Pet Shop Boys

Pet Shop Boys - Winner [Official Music Video]

Winner, by the Pet Shop Boys, is a song about both failure and success. The narrator of the song reflects on a past relationship that ultimately did not end in success, but also acknowledges that failure has its own precious gifts. Throughout the lyrics, the speaker uses imagery of hardships along the way to achieving victory, suggesting that achieving our goals can be challenging but well worth it in the end. Whether we experience success or failure in life, each moment teaches us valuable lessons and helps to make us stronger and more resilient. Ultimately, through both victory and defeat, we become winners in our own right. And for this reason alone, Winner is one of the most inspiring songs in all of music history.

Back in My Body – Maggie Rogers

Maggie Rogers - Back In My Body (Official Audio)

“Back in My Body” by Maggie Rogers is a song about failure and success. The song begins with the narrator describing a failed relationship, saying “I gave you everything / I was not enough.” However, the song takes a turn towards empowerment when the narrator declares that she is “coming back in my body.” The narrator asserts that she is “not scared anymore” and is ready to face the world again. The song ends on a note of hope, with the narrator saying “I’m coming back home.” “Back in My Body” is a song about overcoming failure and finding strength within oneself. It is an uplifting and inspirational anthem for anyone who has ever felt like they were not good enough.