From Tyler the Creator to Glen Campbell, everyone feels insecure sometimes.
Am I funny enough? Pretty enough? Entertaining? Am I worthy of this person’s time? How do they like me? These questions can visit you as you’re lying in bed or when you’re going to a party. Sometimes they come unexpectedly. They cut into your confidence and tarnish your self-worth. And the really messed up part is that these questions come from within. You’re stuck battling yourself.
With recent releases like SZA’s CTRL, Lorde’s Melodrama and Tyler, the Creator’s Flower Boy, we’ve seen artists who are usually confident as hell show their insecure side. There’s something very human about hearing these artists get vulnerable, and it’s almost difficult to hear them doubt their attractiveness, their time and their art, when we cherish them so much.
Below, we’ve gathered together a bunch of insecure lyrics to prove that everyone has moments where they’re not 100 percent confident — even the artists we look up to.
SZA, “Drew Barrymore”
“I’m so ashamed of myself think I need therapy-y-y-y
I’m sorry I’m not more attractive
I’m sorry I’m not more ladylike”
SZA isn’t always one to admit her insecurities, but on “Drew Barrymore,” she gets in her feelings and tells the story of a clueless lover whom she feels unworthy of. Throughout the song, she asks various questions — “Am I warm enough, baby, outside for you?” — detailing the accommodations she feels she needs to make a man comfortable.
“I understand, I’m a liability
Get you wild, make you leave
I’m a little much for everyone”
Lorde wrote about the burden of life in the spotlight on 2017’s “Liability,” where she gets down on her relationships with other people. Instead of thinking that she’s worthy of her love’s time, she thinks that they’re better off without her — that her fame is her worst trait, prying into every relationship she has.
Melanie Martinez – “Soap”
“God I wish I never spoke
Now I gotta wash my mouth out with soap”
On “Soap,” Melanie Martinez likens her conversational missteps to the antiquated tradition of washing a kid’s mouth out with soap. She feels that she must be punished for saying the wrong things, and she’s going to inflict the punishment before anyone else has the chance to judge her.
Pink – “Don’t Let Me Get Me
“It’s bad when you annoy yourself
Don’t wanna be my friend no more
I wanna be somebody else”
It’s hard to imagine that someone like P!nk would feel inadequate, but in her 2001 Missundaztood track “Don’t Let Me Get Me,” she reveals that she fights “a war against the mirror.” In this song, she constantly feels like she’s not good enough, and that she hasn’t found her authentic identity.
Avril Lavigne – “Things I’ll Never Say”
“What use is it to you what’s on my mind?”
In this beautifully romantic yet self-deprecating track from 2002, Avril Lavigne rules that she’ll never open her mouth while her crush is around, in fear that she’ll come off too strong. “Trying to be so perfect / ‘Cause I know you’re worth it,” she sings on the pre-chorus, struggling to censor herself. A real soulmate will love you no matter how straight-forward you are, Avril!
Marina & The Diamonds – “Oh No!”
“Cause I feel like I’m the worst
So I always act like I’m the best”
When Marina Diamandis feared that she wouldn’t achieve all the things she wanted to achieve, she wrote “Oh No!” in 2010. Terrified that she would fail, she sang about her fake-it-til-you-make-it lifestyle, playing up the more confident aspects of her personality while secretly thinking she wasn’t going to make it.
John Mayer – “My Stupid Mouth”
“I’m never speaking up again
It only hurts me
I’d rather be a mystery
Than she desert me”
A young John Mayer was always questioning if he was saying the right thing. On 2001’s “My Stupid Mouth,” he vows to never speak again, although he knows he can’t. He was trying to be someone he couldn’t be for the sake of impressing a date.
Mark Ronson feat. Rivers Cuomo – “I Suck”
“Cause I’m bored
And I suck”
This song evokes the very imagery of Rivers Cuomo sitting alone on a La-Z Boy, dwelling on how he doesn’t have plans on a Friday night. Get it together, dude! Don’t be so down on yourself!
Jay Sean – “Do You Love Me”
“Do you love me like I love you?
Do you breathe me like I breathe you?”
Jay Sean cannot accept that someone else actually likes him on 2017’s “Do You Love Me.” Granted, that person is not giving him the best signs, but he over-thinks the situation and sings on the chorus, “Do you feel the things I feel for you? / ‘Cause you got me on the phone like / ‘Do you love me?’”
Snakehips & MØ – “Don’t Leave”
“But I’m not just a fuck-up, I’m the fuck-up you love”
You know, even though MØ claims she’s “a mess” and a “fuck-up” on Snakehips’ “Don’t Leave,” she still understands that she’s entitled to love. In this song from earlier this year, she makes the case for her crush to fall for her, despite her self-described flaws.
Gnash feat. Olivia O’Brien – “I Hate U I Love U”
“You want her, you need her
And I’ll never be her”
Nothing says *self-doubt* and *unhealthy deprecation* more than wanting to be someone else. Olivia O’Brien lays down her most vulnerable feelings in the viral “I Hate U I Love U” from 2016, offering to erase her own personality in order to assume that of another woman — all to get the relationship she idealizes.
K. Michelle – “Wish I Could Be Her
“What does she do that I don’t do
I’m not perfect but I do love you”
K. Michelle dishonors herself in the heartbreaking “Wish I Could Be Her,” where she tosses her self-worth out the window. She’s insecure and acts like her cheating partner defines her, even though he’s probably a total jerk. She deserves better.
Beyonce – “Love Drought”
“If I wasn’t B, would you still feel me?
Like on my worst day? Or am I not thirsty enough?”
In a sea of anger, confusion and revenge, Beyonce’s “Love Drought” nestles like the insecure nugget that it is in the middle of 2016’s Lemonade. “Tell me, what did I do wrong?” she sings, blaming her partner’s infidelity on herself. “Oh, I already asked that/ My bad,” she apologizes again before launching into more questions and squishing her pride to a pulp.
Twenty One Pilots – “Stressed Out”
“I wish I found some better sounds no one’s ever heard
I wish I had a better voice that sang some better words”
Tyler Joseph raps off a long list of sorry imperfections (or what he perceives as imperfections) at the beginning of Twenty One Pilots’ “Stressed Out.” “Now I’m feeling insecure, and I care what people think,” he says, introducing listeners to his villainous alter-ego, Blurryface, who invalidates every feeling he’s ever felt.
Carly Rae Jepsen – “Your Type”
“And if you ever think of me
I bet I’m just a flicker in your head”
Carly Rae Jepsen longs for a lover she can’t have on “Your Type,” claiming that “it’s not you; it’s me.” She wants to conform to his male gaze while apologizing for her feelings: “But I still love you, I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I love you.”
Wolf Alice – “Don’t Delete the Kisses”
“What if it’s not meant for me?
On Wolf Alice’s “Don’t Delete the Kisses,” Ellie Rowsell recalls a time when she wasn’t comfortable enough with herself to date. She couldn’t convince herself of her value — no less someone else. The saddest part of the song? When she questions her right to love.
LCD Soundsystem – “I Can Change”
“I can change, I can change, I can change
If it helps you fall in love”
Rule one to falling in love: never change! However, LCD Soundsystem’s James Murphy pledges to do exactly that — repeal his identity — for the sake of a doomed relationship. In “I Can Change,” Murphy is ready to desperately ditch everything in order to become someone he is not.
Glen Campbell- “I Guess I’m Dumb”
“I guess I’m dumb but I don’t care”
In one of the saddest, most straightforward lyrics of all time, Glen Campbell willing admitted that he was stupid when it came to relationships in 1965. Brian Wilson wrote the track with The Beach Boys in mind, but his bandmates refused to sing it, presumably because they didn’t want to lower their own self-esteem.
Tyler, the Creator – “November”
“What if my music too weird for the masses?
And I’m only known for tweets more than beats?”
Tyler, the Creator sheds the stereotypical rapper ego on his song, “November,” from the just-dropped Flower Boy. In the song, he worries about everything — from the integrity of his accountant to the validity of his art. It’s some heavy stuff, but it has a lot of people relating.
Sharon Van Etten – “Much More Than That”
“I sigh and then I frown.
I write this moment down
‘Cause I cannot paint pictures with my tongue.”
It’s always funny when an acclaimed musician questions their own talent. While we revere Sharon Van Etten for her ability to write a vulnerable song, she rejects it. “One day I’ll be a better writer,” she sings on 2010’s “Much More Than That,” hoping that she’ll eventually express herself more accurately. Only Van Etten can discredit her art while being obviously eloquent about it.