Learning to accept and love yourself can be a difficult journey. Everyone is different and processes things differently, but this can become a struggle under the weight of other people’s expectations or social requirements that might cause you to be left out. In the end, the best thing for everyone is to love and accept our differences, celebrating the fact that we all aren’t the same, because life would be really boring that way. In this article, we’ll look at 45 songs about being different and unique, and how to celebrate those things.
1. Born This Way – Lady Gaga
Lady Gaga’s hit single Born This Way became a chart-topping hit around the world for good reason. It’s all about celebrating your individuality and not being ashamed of who you are. It’s these very traits that made it an anthem for LGBTQ+ groups, outsiders, and minorities all over the place. It’s a lesson on the equality of everyone as well, regardless of appearance, sexuality, or origin, and one we should all take seriously.
2. I’m Different – 2 Chainz
I’m Different was one of the most iconic tracks on 2 Chainz’ legendary album Based On A T.R.U. Story. It was all about how he stands out among a sea of rappers, but his lyrical genius and great beat aren’t what makes the song such a good one about being unique. The confidence this track can instill in someone who feels ostracized is more than worthy of inclusion on this list, so make it your personal anthem if you’re feeling that way, and I’m sure it’ll help a bit.
3. Firework – Katy Perry
One thing about feeling like you’re different from others that gets glossed over a lot is the isolation that comes with it. You can feel like you’re all alone and that being who you truly are pushes people away. But that couldn’t be further from the truth, and Katy Perry eloquently describes exactly what you should do instead. Her single Firework is all about how your uniqueness is irreplaceable and that you should never be afraid to stand out for being yourself.
4. Let Me Be Myself – 3 Doors Down
At some point, if you decide to hide who you are and fake it for everyone else, you’re going to lose your individuality and who you really are. The narrator of 3 Doors Down’s song Let Me Be Myself went through a lot of pain because of being different and tried this approach, only to eventually realize they’re happier if they don’t bother trying to fit in. It’s a wonderful track about embracing your uniqueness and being unafraid of showing the world your true self.
5. This Is Me – Demi Lovato and Joe Jonas
This Is Me was an awesome duet by Demi Lovato and Joe Jonas from Disney’s Camp Rock in 2008. It’s all about how hard it can be to accept yourself and how freeing it is to show the world who you truly are. The song won quite a bit of praise from critics thanks to its positive messaging, and it remains a fan favorite of people who grew up with Disney during that era.
6. Freaks Like Me – Todrick Hall
One of the worst things about being different is the emotional pain that comes with being misunderstood. On the days when it gets tough, a little pick-me-up is in order. And the best song for that job has to be Todrick Hall’s Freaks Like Me. The track is all about not letting other people’s words hurt your feelings and how you’ll be a much happier person if you just try to be yourself.
7. Be Yourself – Audioslave
Audioslave’s Be Yourself is all about how people experience emotions differently. Whether it be love, hate, pain, joy, or anything in between, it’s okay to be different in the way you process those feelings. This alternative rock hit will help anyone feeling isolated or ostracized, and it incorporates all of the edgy 2000s alt-rock sounds you could ask for in such an uplifting single.
8. Secrets – Mary Lambert
Mary Lambert wrote Secrets about the way she felt different than everyone else and how she learned to be proud of those differences. It’s a song that celebrates all the little quirks and eccentricities that make her who she is, but it’s also a reminder that it’s worth it to just be yourself. Being special comes with challenges, but this track is a celebration of overcoming them.
9. Man in the Mirror – Michael Jackson
Michael Jackson’s Man In The Mirror is all about being true to yourself, becoming the person you want to be, and how an individual can have a major impact on their community. Even one person can make a big wave, but the place they have to start is with the person looking back at them in the mirror. It’s an ode to being honest, kind, and taking responsibility for your happiness.
10. Black Sheep – Gin Wigmore
Black Sheep tells the story of a woman who is different in every way from the community she lives in. From the way she talks to the way she looks, she just doesn’t fit in. But rather than let that cause her to fail in her goals, she embraces her differences and marks her own way in life. It’s a beautiful and uplifting single that can help anyone who feels like they’re out of place.
11. My Way – Frank Sinatra
My Way was one of Frank Sinatra’s signature songs and one of his favorites to perform. It spends most of the time talking about how he’s lived life the way he chose and never cared what anyone thought about it. He was different, cut from a different cloth, and he built a life that he could be proud of and made him happy. It’s a track about going against the grain and succeeding, a powerful lesson, and an anthem for those of us who are different.
12. Come As You Are – Nirvana
Nirvana’s song Come As You Are is all about acceptance. No matter who you are, no matter where you came from, and no matter what you’ve done, you’re worthy of love and acceptance. That usually has to start within yourself though, teaching an important lesson in the track. But since it was released in 1992, it has been an anthem of outcasts and misfits.
13. Beautiful – Christina Aguilera
Beautiful is a song that addresses inner beauty and self-worth. It’s meant to be a triumphant track about being true to yourself and loving yourself, but it also celebrates the small differences between everyone. Each thing about you makes you beautiful, even if some people don’t see it that way.
14. Just Like Fire – P!nk
Just Like Fire is the perfect song for those with too many negative opinions in their ear. It’s all about proving nay-sayers wrong and making a difference in the world by being different, even if you can only do it in small ways. The narrator of the track is in a fight to sustain her individuality, like many who enjoy the song, but its triumphant success will instill confidence in anyone who takes the time to give it a listen.
15. Elizabeth Taylor – Clare Maguire
Elizabeth Taylor is a song about feeling sad and alone, wanting to stand up for who you are but feeling pressure from outside to hide it. The track compares the narrator to the actress Elizabeth Taylor, who feels like she’s playing a film role in her own life and is watching an unrecognizable version of herself from the outside.
16. Creep – Radiohead
There are plenty of ways to interpret Radiohead’s Creep. But for our purposes, we’ll look at it from the perspective of anyone who’s ever felt like a weirdo for being different. It captures the emotions that go through your head well too, going from almost lazy to being fueled with rage for not being accepted. But the anger is directed inward, which isn’t the best message for the list. Regardless, it is about being different from the people around you, and it accurately captures the struggle of self-acceptance.
17. Hair – Lady Gaga
Lady Gaga’s outrageous style choices are one of the many things that set her apart and make her unique. Her song Hair is a celebration of people finding their own unique style and ideal self, encouraging people to be who they want to be no matter what anyone else might think. It’s all about letting go of societal pressure and being true to yourself.
18. Alien – HAN
Alien is a beautiful but depressing song about what it would be like for an alien on Earth. It’s incredibly relatable for anyone who’s ever felt like they just won’t ever fit in, making it perhaps the saddest track on the list. There’s also no happy ending here, so only listen if you want to get in your feelings for a while.
19. Fatlip – Sum 41
Fatlip is one of Sum 41’s most famous songs, coming from their album All Killer No Filler in 2001. The singer mostly spends the track talking about his teenage years and the ways he felt like an outcast thanks to the expectations of both society and his parents. But it isn’t a song full of regrets, instead, it encourages listeners to embrace their rebellious side and follow their own paths in life, regardless of what anyone else thinks.
20. Complicated – Avril Lavigne
Complicated might not be a song about being different or unique on the surface, but it is. The premise of the track is that the antagonist makes things complicated because they bend to social norms and act like a different person around their friends than they do the singer. It makes the relationship strained despite her liking him for who he is naturally and serves as a warning to not fake who you are to try to impress anyone else.
21. Follow Your Arrow – Kacey Musgraves
Follow Your Arrow is a song about finding your way in life and an encouraging one at that. It tells listeners to say the way they feel, love who they love, and be who they want to be because our time in this life is limited. There’s no time to waste hiding who we are or conforming to other people’s expectations.
22. All Kinds of Kinds – Miranda Lambert
Sometimes, a good song about being unique just needs to remind us to be tolerant of other people. Miranda Lambert’s All Kinds Of Kinds is just that reminder, telling us that it takes people from all walks of life to achieve anything good and that we should be celebrating our differences rather than letting them divide us. Some might think it’s rare air in the country music world, but it’s a more than respectable track that fits in perfectly with this list’s main message.
23. Grace Kelly – MIKA
MIKA went through a time in his career when he was constantly warned by his record label to try to sound like other artists if he wanted to achieve more in the industry. That idea was rejected by him, to the credit of both this song and his values. Grace Kelly serves as a critique of people who try to force their ideals on others and promotes individuality in art and life.
24. La La Land – Demi Lovato
La La Land is all about how society tries to force you to cave to expectations, but remaining true to yourself is the most valuable thing in the world. It was likely written on the experiences of both Demi Lovato and The Jonas Brothers as they came up in Hollywood as teens, with plenty of people trying to tell them how they should act and who they should be if they wanted to find success.
25. This Ain’t A Scene, It’s an Arms Race – Fall Out Boy
This Ain’t A Scene, It’s An Arms Race is a song that talks mostly about conformity in the music world, but it can fit right into a person’s life as well. Fall Out Boy watched plenty of bands they came up with shift to pop-centric sounds for more fame, something they didn’t want to but did do eventually. This is a cult favorite that talks about being proud of who you are and never conforming just to make people like you.
26. Minority – Green Day
Green Day’s song Minority is about a person who just doesn’t seem to fit in anywhere and doesn’t know what to do about it at first. It ends up being an anthem of individuality, accepting that they’re different and affirming that they won’t ever change to please someone else. No matter what you believe or how different you are, it’s okay to stand up for yourself and be an outsider of the majority.
27. Teenage Dirtbag – Wheatus
No matter how different two people are, there’s always something that they can relate to each other. In many cases, music serves as the bridge between two people, just like in this song. Wheatus’ Teenage Dirtbag shows two very different teen guys against each other, with one popular among girls and the other a social outcast. Despite their social difference, the two find they have a lot in common when it comes to music, leading to them striking up a friendship and teaching listeners an important lesson.
28. All I Want – A Day To Remember
Jeremy McKinnon wrote All I Want based on his experiences being an outcast in high school and how he eventually found his way in the world after going through all of that. Obviously, he was able to find success. But that story serves as an inspiration to any person who feels like a social misfit or an outsider and just wants to find the group where they belong.
29. The Middle – Jimmy Eat World
The Middle is one of the most epic celebrations of feeling like you have no place and eventually finding your way. Many people can feel like they’re stuck in life by themselves, but it just takes some time in the middle to figure out where they belong. It’s a song that celebrates individuality and how it’s okay to not be just like everyone else around you.
30. Anklebiters – Paramore
If you need a little motivation or pep in your step, pop punk is a good place to find it. Paramore’s song Anklebiters is all about loving yourself and not letting people get you down for being different. It tells us about how boring life would be if we were all the same and reinforces that it’s okay to accept yourself regardless of what people think. It also works well as a way to shut down anyone who tries to tear you down, even if you just do so in your mind.
31. Robot – Miley Cyrus
Miley Cyrus has certainly gone down the road of figuring out who she wants to be and ignoring what everyone says about her, but her song Robot sums up the ideas of being different and unique well. Not everyone is a robot you can program to be a certain way, and that’s okay.
32. The Way I Am – Charlie Puth
One thing we all have to accept is that not everyone is going to like us, but that shouldn’t ever stop you from being who you are—in most cases, just don’t be a jerk. Charlie Puth wrote The Way I Am while figuring out his musical identity, and after finding it, he realized he didn’t care if people loved or hated what he was doing. It’s an inspiring message about uniqueness that should be taken to heart.
33. Most Girls – Hailee Steinfeld
Hailee Steinfeld sings about the diversity and power of women in the song Most Girls. It celebrates the differences of each individual woman, serving as one of the most empowering singles on this entire list and one that will definitely make you feel better about yourself on a bad day.
34. Road Less Traveled – Lauren Alaina
If you’re feeling the pressure to conform, sometimes, you just need a little bit of inspiration to forge your own path. Fans of country music who feel this way will fall in love with Lauren Alaina’s song Road Less Traveled. It focuses on the idea that you won’t have the same impact if you act the same as everyone else and that everyone has something to offer the world. It was her very first number-one single in 2015, taking the top spot on the Country Airplay chart.
35. Garden Party – Ricky Nelson
Ricky Nelson’s Garden Party is an awesome song that was inspired by the time he was booed off the stage in Madison Square Garden and the lessons it taught him. He learned that you can’t please everyone, no matter how hard you try. So the best thing you can do is to please yourself first and let the rest of the pieces fall where they may.
36. Hurricane – MisterWives
Hurricane was released on MisterWives’ debut album Our Own House. It’s meant as an anthem for people who don’t care what others think of them, serving as the perfect song to roll through your head when dealing with judgemental folk who aren’t worth listening to. It also compares people who put down others to leeches and those who love themselves for who they are as a storm, so there’s some powerful imagery there.
37. I’m Different – Randy Newman
I’m Different seems like Randy Newman is pouring himself out onto his music page. It talks about the way the narrator feels like he is different and better than others in some ways but knows he won’t reach the same level of success without conforming. He resolves not to do this though, preferring to be a bit of a secret genius who does things their own way without regard for the opinions of others.
38. I Don’t Want To Be – Gavin DeGraw
I Don’t Want To Be is about a man who just wants to be himself and figure out the person he wants to become. It derides the notion of societal pressure trying to shame him into fitting into a little box and was meant to be an inspiration for teens going through an identity crisis. Most people will have heard this one as the theme song for the series One Tree Hill.
39. My Life – Billy Joel
My Life is an awesome song about not caring what other people are doing or thinking. It’s about living your life the way you want to, regardless of whether or not it’s different from the people who might judge you for it. No matter what, you don’t need to worry about other people’s opinions.
40. Unbreakable Smile – Tori Kelly
Unbreakable Smile is all about being unwavering in the face of other people’s opinions. Tori Kelly sings about wanting to make a difference and the importance of making the choices that are best for you no matter what anyone else thinks is going to happen. You are the captain of your ship and the master of your fate.
41. Aerials – System of a Down
Aerials is a bit of an abstract song, but the message in it is all about how being an individual frees you from societal expectations. When you’re just like everyone else, you stifle your creativity and freedom and miss out on many of the best things in life. It’s better to just forge your own way and aim high.
42. Hip to be Square – Huey Lewis & the News
Hip To Be Square is an interesting take on being unique. It celebrates the wild young days of the narrator, but it also points out that everyone settles down eventually and finds their way. For most, it’s a normal life, but that doesn’t mean it works for everyone. You just have to figure out the way you want to do it.
43. My Own Dance – Kesha
Kesha certainly went through quite a lot over the past decade, but she emerged in 2020 as a brand new woman who isn’t changing who she is for anyone. My Own Dance is a celebration of her finally finding her freedom and dancing to the beat of her own drum.
44. What’s My Age Again? – blink-182
What’s My Age Again? is a classic pop-punk single about not changing your behavior as you grow up and how people judge you for it. While you should definitely find some ways to mature, you should never let that child-like spark die and always be true to yourself.
45. I’m Not For Everyone – Brothers Osborne
I’m Not For Everyone is a song about how people are all different, and that’s okay. We should celebrate our differences and be tolerant of the people who we don’t particularly get along with because we’re just as different and eccentric as they are in some ways.
As a contributing writer for Music Grotto, Dakotah writes and produces professional music/media content. He works closely with editorial staff to meet editorial standards and create
quality content for the Music Grotto website. Dakotah is passionate about music in a wide variety of genres, from hip-hop to country and lo-fi to metal, and he enjoys creating music pieces for Music Grotto.