With Anti-Bullying Week soon upon us, it’s more important than ever for those of us who feel alone to find music that speaks to our struggles, and which creates a safe space to work through our emotions. This following playlist should be perfect for making you feel better when others are trying to put you down.
1. ‘Leave Me Be’ by Kyle and Kade Kinnamon
Written by brothers Kyle and Kade Kinnamon, this soulful tune directly addresses the need to stop bullying, with the artists having been motivated through their disgust at seeing all the hatred and cruelty amongst some of their peers. Combining their passion for music with the fight against bullying makes for a relevant and irresistibly catchy song.
2. ‘Feel the Pain’ by Alaska Reid
While this single from the up-and-coming sensation is a lot more spare in its lyrics, its messaging is nevertheless just as clear. Singing about feeling the pain caused by others, then telling them to back off, it just might give you the courage to stand up to your tormentors.
3. ‘Boy in the Bubble’ by Alec Benjamin
This amazing track by Alec Benjamin does a beautiful job of empathizing with what it feels like to be bullied, and to try not to stand out, for fear of having a target on your back. But his piece has a more hopeful conclusion, ultimately encouraging those listening to stand up and show their bullies that they can’t get to them.
4. ‘Ghost in My Head’ by Elder Tagi, Tommy Simpson and Tiffany Wan
Originally from the soundtrack to the Blumhouse hit Unfriended (2015), this banger uses dazzling electronic instrumentals, and synthesized vocals, to create an earworm of an anthem against letting cyberbullies have space in your head. It may be difficult, but finding a way to keep those haters from having power over you is necessary. A song like this may just do the trick.
5. ‘Full Course Meal’ by Jessie Paege
Ever been the quiet one in the back of the classroom? This electric song by Jesse Paege is a perfect musical reminder to not let others’ mean speculation about you become your reality. Just remember that there’s nothing wrong with you, embrace who you are, and you’ll be fine.
6. ‘Invisible’ by Hunter Hayes
If you’ve ever been different, and were left out because of it, this country song is all about finding confidence in your being different, no matter what the naysayers are spreading about you.
7. ‘Shake It Off’ by Taylor Swift
I think the title of this one says it all. One of the pop queen’s biggest hits ever (and that’s saying a LOT), this modern classic is just about letting people’s objections against you roll off the shoulders. Sometimes people are just gonna not like you, but you’ve gotta have the peace of mind to just ignore it.
8. ‘Talk Me Down’ by Alyssa Reid
This tearjerker of a song by Alyssa Reid touches on the true depths of the hopelessness one might feel as a result of being pushed around so much by the world. It’s a rhythmic wonder, and serves as a call of help for someone tempted to deal with their pain in the most drastic way possible.
9. ‘People Like Us’ by Kelly Clarkson
It’s not a condemnation to be different, it’s a privilege, and this song is a perfect emphasis of that sentiment. Among this artist’s repertoire of music about inner strength, this one is a standout.
10. ‘Teenage Dirtbag’ by Wheatus
More tragic than the other songs on this list, this one is more about self-sabotaging thoughts when it comes to dating. If you’re an outcast hoping to get the girl, but have always been kept down by the ‘cool guy’ bullies, it’s hard to allow yourself to believe that it could work out with her. It’s a painful space to be in, but maybe this song could let you know you’re worth it.
11. ‘When the Party’s Over’ by Billie Eilish
Pop master Billie Eilish knows how it feels to be self-reproachful, and this work of hers is no different. Being bullied can lead one to sometimes put an act of wanting to be left alone, when in reality they want connection like anyone else.
12. ‘Jump’ by Van Halen
TRIGGER WARNING: discusses the topic of suicide.
If you’ve never heard of this iconic rock band before, this is a great introduction to their oeuvre. It talks about a guy whose friend is ready to jump to his death, but who manages to talk him down and encourage him to keep living.
13. ‘What Goes Around… Comes Around’ by Justin Timberlake
Even though it sucks to be bullied, there can be some comfort found in knowing that the people bullying you, will get their comeuppance at some point. The creator of ‘Can’t Stop the Feelin’ understands that perfectly, and who could disagree when listening to his infectious vocals?
14. ‘Stand By You’ by Rachel Platten
If you liked ‘Fight Song’, you should definitely listen to this other piece from the sonography of Rachel Platten. Bullying can be tough to deal with, but it’s made a little easier to combat when you have a true best friend by your side, and the lyrics of this really understand that.
15. ‘Mother Knows Best’, performed by Donna Murphy, lyrics by Glenn Slater, music by Alan Menken
A spellbinding original song from the hit Disney film Tangled (2010), this fun-sounding track has a more sinister side to it, as it tells the narrative of Mother Gothel (voiced by Murphy) gaslighting Rapunzel (Mandy Moore) into thinking she can’t survive without her. Sometimes our friendships can come to have such a toxic dynamic, and maybe this can help one see that, and break away from their bully of a so-called pal.
16. ‘Dem Haters’ by Rihanna
Rihanna’s got a lot of great songs, but this one is especially good. It’s all about just letting your haters know that they can’t and won’t get to you.
17. ‘God Help the Outcasts’, lyrics by Stephen Schwartz, music by Alan Menken, performed by Demi Moore
‘Hellfire’ might be known as the big showstopper in The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1996), but this is a close second, since it’s about standing up for those who are shamed for being different from the rest of society.
18. ‘No Time for Toxic People’ by Imagine Dragons
What more really needs to be said about the meaning of this song? Regardless, the band responsible for ‘Demons’ and ‘It’s Time’ make this an electric tune about just doing away with people who are bad for your self-esteem.
19. ‘Hair’ by Lady Gaga
If you’re LGBTQ+ and have been treated poorly by your parents for it, have faith that Lady Gaga knows how that feels. No matter what, your identity does not make you a freak, and this is a great way to calm yourself when you’re doubting that part of who you are.
20. ‘HEAVEN’ by Troye Sivan ft. Betty Who
Another song about realizing you’re LGBTQ+, Troye Sivan’s musing on the perils of navigating that part of yourself is a striking antidote against the self-bullying one might go through in trying to repress their feelings. In that, the song becomes an urge to not let that evil inner voice win.