Last year, when I went on the Haggis and Mash Podcast, I talked about songs that had relatable lyrics. Ten is just not enough songs and like everyone, I go through phases of being really into certain bands and genres. I also want to do more short form, lighter reads, so why write a sequel. This time, I’m not self-censoring. These songs really do describe what I feel deep down inside. Here are 10 more relatable classic rock lyrics. The only rule is that I can’t have more than one song by a band, so there’s variety.
1. “Bohemian Rhapsody” – Queen (1975)
“I don’t want to die. Sometimes I wish I’d never been born at all.”
Of course there’s gonna be a Queen song on this list. Sadly, this is the lyric I most relate to. I wanted to put this on the original list, but I wasn’t ready yet to be this open with my struggles with depression. The way Freddie Mercury sings this lyric makes it even more relatable to me.
Last year was a very depressing year for me for many reasons that I don’t want to go into too much detail about. This year is looking to be slightly less depressing, so there’s some distance. I was in a really bad place last year. I attempted suicide in June and thought about suicide constantly.
The movie Bohemian Rhapsody came out at the right time. Right before that, I was dealing with a discrimination case and the hearing went down like a lead zeppelin, let’s just say that. The people who worked for this organisation were incredibly unprofessional and lied. Worst part of it was being told that I “didn’t look mixed” and because I didn’t tell them about my disability, they “couldn’t have possibly discriminated against me”, so invalidating. I was supposed to go and fight the case at a tribunal this month, but I decided to pull out. Not because I felt I didn’t have a case, but I had so much to lose – my reputation.
So when that movie came out, it gave me hope. Reminded me that classic rock was fundamentally about being a misfit, not caring, and just being yourself. Stop caring about what the naysayers think. I just have to keep doing what I do.
2. “I’m a Loser” – The Beatles (1964)
“I’m a loser and I’m not what I appear to be.”
I don’t exactly relate to the song as a whole. This lyric though is a mood.
I always fear that I am not as cool as I appear to be. I get nervous before I meet any friends from online or video chat with them, thinking that they’ll think I’m lame. I don’t always dress in cool clothes, especially when I have nowhere to go. I don’t go to a lot of shows anymore. Most of what I do is spend time working on this blog, when I’m not travelling.
Kinda reminds me a bit of Ace Face in Quadrophenia. Jimmy thought he was so cool, but it turns out that he’s just an ordinary guy with an ordinary job who dresses cool.
Growing up is realising that what people put out there on social media is just a highlight reel, a best of compilation. We share the most flattering pictures, the coolest pictures we took on holiday, the good news, the successes. How often do you see people talk about their failures, show unflattering pictures (not as a joke), or talk about mundane parts of life.
Another thing I didn’t realise until way later is that this song is country influenced. Yeehaw, but a sad yeehaw. Also, can’t stop saying yeehaw unironically, thanks to this song and a few others.
3. “Behind Blue Eyes” – The Who (1971)
“No one bites back as hard on their anger. None of my pain and woe can show through. But my dreams, they aren’t as empty as my conscience seems to be.”
This is one of my favourite Who songs. The way that Roger Daltrey sings these lyrics, even if I can’t stand his political views, I have to admit he can deliver Townshend’s lyrics like no one else.
This lyric to me is a lot about hiding your emotions. I often hide my pain and depression, but then it explodes because I can’t hide it forever. It’s like a pop bottle that has a lot of pressure built up from the carbonation. Suddenly, it all comes out like all those bubbles. Part of depression to me, is feeling empty and numb. There are so many days where I feel numb and empty. Like there’s nothing there.
4. “Fighting My Way Back” – Thin Lizzy (1975)
“I’m tough, rough, ready and able to pick myself up from under this table. Don’t stick no sign on me, I got no label. I’m a little sick, unsure, unsound, and unstable.”
My mum is a fighter and so was her mother and her mother. I wasn’t born a fighter though. That side of me didn’t develop until I was an adult. I was bullied constantly as a kid and I was kind of that helpless, meek nerd. My mum or my grandma would always come in to defend me. My mum had this one friend who told her that I need to learn how to defend myself. Others aren’t always going to be there to come to your defence. It’s important to learn to stand up for yourself.
Anyway, Thin Lizzy are one of those bands that make music that makes me feel tough. Hard rock has that tough guy badass image and that’s what I aspire to be like. This song to me reminds me of the many times I had to stand up for myself even when no one was standing up for me. I don’t let people push me down. If they push me down, I’ll get up again. I also don’t want to be labelled or pigeonholed as anything.
5. “How Soon Is Now” – The Smiths (1984)
“I am human and I need to be loved just like everybody else does”
There are days that I don’t feel loved or appreciated, but I think it’s my depression speaking. I like to pretend that I’m strong and independent and don’t need anybody, but I’m lying to myself. This lyric describes parts of my depression so well.
6. “I Just Wasn’t Made For These Times” – The Beach Boys (1966)
“I keep looking for a place to fit in, where I can speak my mind. And I’ve been trying hard to find the people that I won’t leave behind. They say I got brains, but they ain’t doing me no good. I wish they could.”
Isn’t this an anthem for a millennial classic rock fan? I never felt like I fit in when I was in school, for many reasons. I’ve heard all about how magical the classic rock era was and I just want to experience it for myself. I know it’s cool that I can experience all the classic rock at my fingertips, but there’s nothing like seeing it all unfold as it was happening. Being able to see the rock bands at their prime with the full lineup. Being able to buy the records as they came out. I wasn’t made for this decade.
7. “Girls and Boys” – Blur (1994)
“Girls who are boys who like boys to be girls who do boys like they’re girls who do girls like they’re boys.”
Are the 90s classic rock now? Sure, it’s almost been 30 years. Time flies! This song is a bisexual anthem and an androgynous anthem. As feminine as I look, sometimes I think of myself as androgynous. Whenever people ask what my sexual orientation is, I like to point them to these lyrics.
8. “I Don’t Eat Animals” – Melanie Safka (1970)
“I won’t eat animals and they won’t eat me. Oh no, I’ll live on life, I want nothing dead in me”
I haven’t eaten meat in a very long time, nor do I want to. This is an interesting way of thinking about eating vegan. I’m living on life, plants from the earth, not dead animals. Animals have feelings and I love animals. I do what I can to be kind to animals. No animal tested cosmetics for me!
9. “Freewill” – Rush (1980)
“You can choose a ready guide in some celestial voice. If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice. You can choose from phantom fears and kindness that can kill. I will choose a path that’s clear. I will choose free will.”
This is an atheist anthem. Since I was 10, I was an atheist. At that age, I thought the idea of a “god” or “gods” sounded illogical and didn’t make any sense. The rabbi said I wasn’t a real Jew because my mum is a gentile, so I thought why do I need to be part of a religion? None of this makes sense. I also later found out about the sexism in religion
Now, I didn’t know about Rush back then, but when I was 17 I started listening to them. I chose freewill when I left Judaism. Atheism to me is a clear path. One where I feel more in control and free.
10. “After Hours” – The Velvet Underground (1969)
“All the people are dancing and they’re having such fun. I wish it could happen to me.”
This was one of those songs I regret leaving off my last list, but this one really resonated with me, especially my teenage years. You might not know this, but I didn’t date anyone seriously until I was 20. That’s when I met the guy who is now my husband.
When I was in secondary school, I was awkward looking and guys never paid any attention to me, unless it was to make fun of me or ask me out as a joke. Yup, that really did happen, a lot of times. The first couple of years of undergrad weren’t any better because I was 17-18 and my classmates were all a good bit older than me.
I’d see people holding hands and wonder what was wrong with me and feel like I’m missing out on something. I wanted to have a boyfriend or girlfriend. I wanted to have fun too, going out on dates.
Two other songs come to mind when I think of this part of my life, “Somebody to Love” and “Tous Les Garçons et Les Filles” – might put that as two honourable mentions.
Looking back at it, I wasn’t really missing out on much because the guys in secondary school were not my type and what I really wanted to do was move far away. That’s what I did. I live thousands of miles away from where I went to secondary school. I’m happy with how things turned out in the end.
As a continuation of the last song I mentioned, here are two others that I wanted to add to this list, but I didn’t want to leave out entirely. Basically, I was a lonely teenager who sat around listening to classic rock all day, wishing I could live in London in the 60s.
“Somebody to Love” – Queen (1976)
“I just gotta get out of this prison cell. One day (someday) I’m gonna be free, Lord! Find me somebody to love…”
I wanted to be free from my boring life as a secondary school student in a small town. Freedom for me was moving away from America and finding love. I’m happy to say I’m free from that prison cell that was my teenage years.
“Tous Les Garçons et Les Filles” – Françoise Hardy (1962)
“Oui mais moi, je vais seule par les rues, l’âme en peine. Oui mais moi, je vais seule, car personne ne m’aime”
Basically translates to “Yes, but I walk lonely down the road, my soul in pain. Yes, but I walk alone because no one loves me.”
Shout out to my good friend and Topaz level Patron, Patrick.
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