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April 17, 2007 3:41 PM   Subscribe

I'll be the DJ at this event. I am trying to put together a playlist with lots of songs about being a loser -- or songs that in some other way evoke high-school loserdom, nerd/geek status, etc. I'm personally partial to '80s music and electronic pop, but open to anything (and I want to mix it up). Suggestions?
posted by Artifice_Eternity to Media & Arts (76 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Weird Al: White and Nerdy, I Lost on Jeopardy, Dare to Be Stupid
The Aquabats: Look at Me, I'm a Winner, Playdough, Pizza Day, Adventure Today, The Story of Nothing
posted by martinX's bellbottoms at 3:49 PM on April 17, 2007

Barenaked Ladies - Grade Nine
posted by saffry at 3:50 PM on April 17, 2007

Old 97's Friends Forever:
I was in the chess club
Didn’t have a swimming pool much less a true love
Didn’t have a dalliance much less a hot tub
I was just a brain whose brain never let up
Who’s to say that’s wrong
posted by Good Brain at 3:52 PM on April 17, 2007

Devo - Through Being Cool
Descendents - I'm Not A Loser
Rick Springfield - Jesse's Girl?
posted by macrowave at 3:52 PM on April 17, 2007

Fishbone, "Ugly"
Radiohead, "Creep"
Devo, "Through Being Cool" (actually, pretty much anything by Devo)
Huey Lewis & the News "Hip to be Square" (OK, perhaps not)
posted by adamrice at 3:53 PM on April 17, 2007

Well, to me, songs that are about being a loser and songs that evoke loserdom are two entirely different concepts. With the first, you'd have songs like Beck's Loser; with the second you'd be talking about goth and new wave music. Weird Al, TMBG, and Devo probably transcends both.
posted by rolypolyman at 3:53 PM on April 17, 2007

Don't You Forget About Me would nicely evoke the empowered-loserdom sensations associated with the fist-pumping freezeframe of The Breakfast Club.

And you could play any version of Popcorn that you like.
posted by cortex at 3:54 PM on April 17, 2007

"Bad Reputation" by Joan Jett & the Blackhearts. "Pinhead" (or any number of other songs) by the Ramones (like "Pet Semetary" perhaps).
posted by Martin E. at 3:55 PM on April 17, 2007

Talking Heads' "Psycho Killer".
posted by Dizzy at 3:55 PM on April 17, 2007

The Smiths : Half a Person
Beck's 'Loser' is a gimme.
posted by pompomtom at 3:57 PM on April 17, 2007

Response by poster: Good suggestions! I'd thought of the Weird Al and Radiohead, but not the others.

I'm also thinking that something by The Smiths will be in order.

Keep 'em coming...
posted by Artifice_Eternity at 3:57 PM on April 17, 2007

an ironic take: Trendy by Reel Big Fish
posted by craven_morhead at 3:57 PM on April 17, 2007

Ultimate high school loser:

Saturday Boy - Billy Bragg
"I never made the first team, I just made the first team laugh"


Boys Don't Cry - The Cure
I Know it's Over - The Smiths
My Perfect Cousin - The Undertones
posted by Jakey at 3:57 PM on April 17, 2007

"People are Strange" (Echo & the Bunnymen version)
"Mad World" (Tears for Fears original)
posted by Martin E. at 3:59 PM on April 17, 2007

Suicidal Tendencies, Institutionalized?
posted by Good Brain at 4:00 PM on April 17, 2007

Response by poster: P.S. Any hip-hop suggestions welcome as well.
posted by Artifice_Eternity at 4:02 PM on April 17, 2007

Just thinking,

What Difference Does It Make is probably a better Smiths track for an event, and evokes the appropriate sentiment.

Sally Cinnamon - Stone Roses (a classic)
Inbetweener - Sleeper
Pretty In Pink - Psychedelic Furs
Nimrod's Son - Pixies
Are You Ready to be Heartbroken - LLoyd Cole and the Commotions

It's beginning to look like I had too much time and not enough friends in the eighties
posted by Jakey at 4:05 PM on April 17, 2007

"Humpty Dance" by Digital Underground. I'm sure De La Soul had a song about being a misfit, but I can't recall...
posted by Martin E. at 4:06 PM on April 17, 2007

On the hiphop front, anything by MC Chris would fit the bill nicely. Particularly "Geek" or "Fett's Vette."
posted by hypocritical ross at 4:08 PM on April 17, 2007

Response by poster: For The Smiths, "How Soon Is Now" seems like the way to go.
posted by Artifice_Eternity at 4:08 PM on April 17, 2007

"Teenage Dirtbag" by Wheatus.
posted by mckenney at 4:08 PM on April 17, 2007

skee-lo: "i wish"
biz markie: "pickin boogers"?
posted by ofthestrait at 4:09 PM on April 17, 2007

"Teenage Whore" by Hole. "Schizophrenia" by Sonic Youth.
posted by Martin E. at 4:10 PM on April 17, 2007

"Eighteen" by Alice Cooper (although you can't really dance to it....)
posted by Martin E. at 4:14 PM on April 17, 2007

About half of the very hard to find Weird Science soundtrack, like "Why Don't Pretty Girls Look at Me?"
posted by adipocere at 4:15 PM on April 17, 2007

How Soon is now is working for me, Artifice.

The Only One I know - Charlatans
Wonderful Life - Black
Hanging on the Telephone - Blondie
Ever Fallen in Love - Buzzcocks
I Don't Know Why I love You - House of Love

Ok, I'm going to stop now.
[exit, seeking old LPs]
posted by Jakey at 4:16 PM on April 17, 2007

If you're willing to work in more Smiths songs, I'd recommend "What Difference Does it Make?"

"Kiss off" or "Add it Up" by Violent Femmes

"No Action" by Elvis Costello

"Poor and Weird" the Briefs

"Boredom," "Ever Fallen in Love (with someone you shouldn't've)?" and "What do I Get: by the Buzzcocks

"Needle in the Hay" and "Waltz #2 (XO)" BY Elliott Smith
posted by piratebowling at 4:24 PM on April 17, 2007

"Underwhelmed" by Sloan.
posted by ROTFL at 4:26 PM on April 17, 2007

Weezer's In The Garage is post-dated but seems like a good fit too.
posted by cortex at 4:31 PM on April 17, 2007

Pretty Fly for a White Guy - Offspring
posted by b33j at 4:31 PM on April 17, 2007

The Girl All The Bad Guys Want- Bowling for Soup
Geek Love - Fan_3
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 4:31 PM on April 17, 2007 [1 favorite]

Weezer's 'In the Garage':

"I've got a Dungeon Master's Guide
I've got a 12-sided die
I've got Kitty Pryde
And Nightcrawler too
Waiting there for me
Yes I do, I do."

Aquabats' 'Nerd Alert':

"Well yeah, we're the freaks of nature
We're the kids that easily bruise
We're the geeks and the creatures
Outer space hillbillies from the moon."

Second anything by Weird Al ('White and Nerdy'), TMBG ('For Science'), Devo ('Whip It'), and Barenaked Ladies ('Pinch me'?).
posted by Paragon at 4:32 PM on April 17, 2007

K. McKarty's Dead Dog's Eyeball album, songs by Daniel Johnston. Very much in the vein you ask for.
posted by edgeways at 4:35 PM on April 17, 2007

On the other hand, there's 'Even the Losers' by Tom Petty.
posted by bink at 4:46 PM on April 17, 2007

Turpentine Chaser or Screaming Infidelities by Dashboard Confessional
posted by unreasonable at 4:49 PM on April 17, 2007

Beck -- Loser
posted by modernnomad at 4:53 PM on April 17, 2007

off the top of my head:

Elvis Costello - Mystery Dance
Ben Folds Five - One Angry Dwarf and 200 Solemn Faces
Wheatus - Teenage Dirtbag
Violent Femmes - Prove My Love (more geekishly-danceable than Kiss Off / Add It Up, IMO)
Odds - Someone Who's Cool
Warren Zevon - Poor, Poor Pitiful Me
Timbuk3 - Assholes on Parade

in a sense (of HS-ish rejection):
J. Geils Band - Centerfold
The Cars - My Best Friend's Girl

also, for sheer weirdo loneliness, late-80s They Might Be Giants might work well. Ana Ng ("I don't want the world, I just want your half") and Don't Let's Start ("Everybody dies frustrated inside, and that is beautiful") are good bets.

...and an emphatic second to BNL - Grade 9
posted by theoddball at 4:55 PM on April 17, 2007

"Cool Kids" by Screeching Weasel
"Popular" by Nada Surf (losers mocking the winners)
"Loser" by Beck (too literal?)
"Misshapes" by Pulp
"Underground," "Sports and Wine" by Ben Folds Five
posted by deinemutti at 4:59 PM on April 17, 2007

Square Pegs- the Waitresses
Angst in my Pants- Sparks
posted by oneirodynia at 5:04 PM on April 17, 2007

Five Iron Frenzy's "Suckerpunch" is also a good one.
posted by DMan at 5:08 PM on April 17, 2007

The Losers by Warrior Soul (early 90's metal):

Here's to the losers
The substance abusers
To the rejects
All the imperfects

Cause I think we're beautiful
posted by Gable Oak at 5:09 PM on April 17, 2007

Nerf Herder has some songs that seem appropriate:

"Lamer Than Lame"
I won't be surprised if you don't call me tonight
'Cause I'm lamer than lame
Uncool in every single way
But your boyfriend makes you wanna cry
Don't you think its time you tried a different kind of guy

What can I do?
It's over it's over it's over it's over
What can I do?
I am the loser

"Feeling Bad"
Feeling bad about myself again
Girls ignore me in the chat room
Feeling bad about myself again today

"High School"
these are the things,
i wish i knew,
there are the things i wish i knew,
in highschool.
yeah these are the things,
i wish i knew in highschool.
posted by brittanyq at 5:11 PM on April 17, 2007

Joe Jackson - "Is She Really Going Out with Him"
posted by Otis at 5:14 PM on April 17, 2007

Oh, and if you want rap/hip-hop, how about Rehab's "It Don't Matter"?
posted by Otis at 5:18 PM on April 17, 2007

Also, the soundtrack from "Revenge of the Nerds" is worth investigating.
posted by oneirodynia at 5:19 PM on April 17, 2007

good songs about losers/outsiders:
lisa germano - geek the girl
tom waits - eyeball kid

songs actually that might have been listened to in HS years (1994-1998): michael jackson, enya, megadeath, nirvana, NIN, backstreet boys (not me, but many of my friends)
posted by ejaned8 at 5:27 PM on April 17, 2007

45 posts into this thread and I can't believe that nobody's mentioned Janis Ian's At Seventeen yet.

And those of us with ravaged faces
Lacking in the social graces
Desperately remained at home
Inventing lovers on the phone
Who called to say come dance with me
And murmured vague obscenities
It isn't all it seems
At seventeen

posted by Neiltupper at 5:28 PM on April 17, 2007

Fountains of Wayne, "Leave the Biker" -- and I wonder if he ever has cried, 'cause he couldn't get a date to the prom...
posted by escabeche at 5:40 PM on April 17, 2007

The Smiths "How Soon Is Now?" is obligatory. The Pixies "Weird At My School" definitely fits your theme. Pop Will Eat Itself, "Wise Up Sucker" is a good one. At the risk of overdosing on Morrissey, "The More You Ignore Me, The Closer I Get" reminds me of high school, big time. The Replacements "Unsatisfied." And maybe Nine Inch Nails - "Head Like A Hole."
posted by Banky_Edwards at 5:46 PM on April 17, 2007

The Kinks - David Watts (or the Jam's cover of it, if you want to bring it into the late 70's)
Don Ray - Born a Loser (Catchy blue-eyed soul. The lyrics fit your needs exactly. It's on a few Northern Soul comps.)
Ted Daffan's Texans - Born to Lose
Modern Lovers - Walk Up the Street
Weezer - Buddy Holly
posted by hydrophonic at 5:47 PM on April 17, 2007

Morcheeba - Everybody Loves A Loser
posted by aye at 5:48 PM on April 17, 2007

One more:
The Beach Boys - I Just Wasn't Made for These Times
posted by hydrophonic at 5:51 PM on April 17, 2007

Stuff by The Ataris is good.
like Angry Nerd Rock or Your Boyfriend Sucks.
posted by idiotfactory at 5:53 PM on April 17, 2007

What about Born to Lose (by Ray Charles, but I'm partial to the pop punk cover of it by Bouncing Souls) --

Born to lose, I've lived my life in vain
Every dream has only brought me pain
All my life I've always been so blue
Born to lose and now I'm losing you.

In the self-conscious folk acoustic guitar genre, check out Wally Pleasant, including That's Evolution (when you can't get a date / that's evolution, and it exists so you won't mate!) If you want some sort of victorious set, you could throw in his "She's In Love With a Geek."
posted by salvia at 6:04 PM on April 17, 2007

Oh, strong second to Radiohead "Creep." What about TMBG's "Triangle Man?" (danceable and dorky). Ned's Atomic Dustbin: "Kill Your Television" or "Gray Cell Green?" "Ask" by The Smiths?
posted by salvia at 6:14 PM on April 17, 2007

"I Wish I Looked a Little Better" - Sparks

Turn out the light, yeah, the light
And I might have a chance
I guess I look slightly worse
Than the Elephant Man
Whoa, oh, oh, I wish I looked a little better
Whoa, oh, oh, I wish I looked a little better

I went to high school
And majored in looking real bad
I got a real ugly mom
And a real ugly dad.........
posted by Oriole Adams at 6:28 PM on April 17, 2007

Similar to the Weezer song, there is Flashlight Brown - Ready to Roll:

"Lawful evil, a moral catastrophe
Half-orc, full-dork; the myth and reality
We may not know any girls
But we got graph paper guiding our way
We got confusion, delusion
And all of Friday night to kill..."
posted by ilana at 6:45 PM on April 17, 2007

Ben Folds Five, "The Battle of Who Could Care Less"
posted by Miko at 7:03 PM on April 17, 2007

Barcelona's "I Have the Password To Your Shell Account" is a song I recommended for an earlier question about programming songs. Check out their other songs for the perfect mix of geeky/electronic songs.
posted by hooray at 7:58 PM on April 17, 2007

King Missile - Wuss

"i was into science fiction, math and chess.
It was not fun being a wuss, and even now,
Now that I'm not nearly as much of a wuss as I once was,
I still feel kind of wussy from time to time:
Residual wussiness-
The kind of thing you can never really leave behind.
That's the way it goes."
posted by joeblough at 8:03 PM on April 17, 2007

Seconding Nada Surf's "Popular", Weezer's "Buddy Holly", and Ben Folds Five's "One Angry Dwarf..." and "Underground".

I knew all four of these would be here already. You're all so predictable!
posted by easternblot at 8:21 PM on April 17, 2007

>> P.S. Any hip-hop suggestions welcome as well.

Let's see

The Grouch - "Mr. Invisible" seems especially perfect.
I'm the invisible man / I introduce myself but you don't hear me

Atmosphere - "Godlovesugly"
Oh mom, I promise I'm gonna be large / Someday I'm gonna stop tryin' to borrow your car

Sole - "Sole Has Issues"
I usually dream about gold chains and being an MC 'til I'm old and gray / Instead I wear a tie and fix computers all day

The Grouch - "Simple Man"
I'm not a clone; I got a zone, and Grouch fits in / Forever rockin' twenty-dollar pants to the end

Non-Prophets - "Mainstream 307"
Then one day it all dawned on me yo / I wasn’t down with the mainstream, or should I say their team

Aesop Rock - "The Greatest Pac-Man Victory in History"
And lionheart critters smoke dope and act like illiterates / I ran with a brat pack of loose bolts and high social maladjusties
posted by churl at 8:24 PM on April 17, 2007

Oh, joeblough, thanks for the could I have forgotten King Missile's "Sensitive Artist?" Well, I guess that was maybe relevant only if you went to an arts high school. But damn, was it relevant!
posted by Banky_Edwards at 8:36 PM on April 17, 2007

Also after re-reading your link, I may command you to play Gleaming Spires - "Are You Ready for the Sex Girls"

You know, for the Revenge of the Nerds scene it's in.
posted by churl at 8:52 PM on April 17, 2007

the few i can think of off the top of my head:
the offspring - self esteem
the honorary title - cut short

i think theres a whole lot of emo music that would work for your theme, most of its about boys who are losers and sad that girls dont like them.
posted by baserunner73 at 10:13 PM on April 17, 2007

"Stuck in the middle with you". Can't remember who did it. It's old, but so am I.
posted by Goofyy at 11:46 PM on April 17, 2007

The Pharcyde - Passing me By
The Descendents - I'm not a Loser
posted by jeffmik at 11:52 PM on April 17, 2007

Seconding Atmosphere-GodLovesUgly. And many of their other songs.

Another Offspring song - Why don't you get a job?

Nice guys finish last by Green Day
posted by gauchodaspampas at 12:07 AM on April 18, 2007

I like "Deacon Blues" by Steely Dan.

Appropriate lyrics:
They got a name for the winners in the world
I want a name when I lose
They call Alabama the Crimson Tide
Call me Deacon Blues

And then, this is a stretch, but I think "What a Fool Believes" by the Doobie Brothers is about being a loser. And then a truly sad and moving song about ALWAYS being on the losing end is "Alone Again" by Gilbert O'Sullivan. And if you want to go jazzy and downbeat there is one of my faves "Everything Happens to Me" done by many, but done extremely well by Chet Baker and available on an album called "Pure Jazz."

Can you be more of a loser than this?
I make a date for golf -
You can bet you life it rains.
I try to give a party -
And the guy upstairs complains.
I guess Ill go through life;
Just catchin colds and missin trains,
Evrything happens to me.

And although I don't care for the song, I think Alanis Morisette's "Ironic" runs along the same line, eh? But I'd better stop, because my music library marks me as a loser.
posted by laskagirl at 12:26 AM on April 18, 2007

Seconding Passing Me By / Pharcyde - that's excellent.

Let's see. These aren't all 100% or even 50% literal:
Sick of Myself / Matthew Sweet
I Wanna Be With You Tonight / Screeching Weasel
Human Fly / The Cramps
Desperate Guys / The Faint
The Boy With The Perpetual Nervousness / The Feelies
I'm Straight / The Modern Lovers
Dracula's Wedding / Outkast
Dress / PJ Harvey
I Am Superman / REM
Shit, Just Pick a Random Track / The Ramones (ok, fine, howsabout Cretin Hop)
Don't Let's Start / They Might Be Giants
Wuss / King Missile (150% literal, here)
My Hooptie / Sir Mix-A-Lot
I'll Bee Dat! / Redman
Runnin' / Pharcyde (but after Passing Me By!)
posted by furiousthought at 1:46 AM on April 18, 2007

Placebo - Drag ("You got As on your algebra test/I failed & they kept me behind")
New Order - Subculture ("What do I get out of this? I always try, I always miss")
Smashing Pumpkins - Zero ("Emptiness is loneliness & loneliness is cleanliness & cleanliness is godliness & god is empty, just like ME!") and/or Bullet with Butterfly Wings
Gary Numan - Are Friends Electric? ("Mine turned off, & now I've noone to love")
Pulp - Disco 2000 ("When I came round to call, you didn't notice me at all")
Air - Cherry Blossom Girl ("I don't want to be shy, can't stand it anymore/I just want to say hi to the one I adore")
Teenage Fanclub - Dumb Dumb Dumb ("now I'm all alone & drifting in the dark")
And my Morrissey suggestion is Suedehead ("why do you telephone? And why send me silly notes?")
posted by hgws at 6:23 AM on April 18, 2007

The two that popped into my head are:

Ministry - "Every Day Is Halloween"
Violent Femmes - "Blister in the Sun"
posted by discokitty at 6:54 AM on April 18, 2007

"Better Off Dead" from the movie of the same name. A great teen-loser movie. In fact, you should probably have it projected onto a screen behind you while DJing.
posted by adamrice at 7:11 AM on April 18, 2007

The Decemberists - The Sporting Life
The Who - Baba O'Riley (maybe)
The Beatles - I'm a Loser (It's about being lovelorn, but it does have that "I'm an outcast" feel to it.)
posted by hydrophonic at 7:44 AM on April 18, 2007

Whodini - The Freaks Come Out at Night
Gilbert O'Sullivan - Alone Again, Naturally
Janis Ian - At Seventeen
Kenny Rogers - Coward of the County
Beck - Loser
Lowest of the Low - Eternal Fatalist
Rupert Holmes - The Pina Colada Song
The Smiths - Unloveable
The Smiths - Sing Me to Sleep
Depeche Mode - Blasphemous Rumours
The Streets - It's Too Late
The Streets - Not Addicted
The Streets - It Was Supposed to be So Easy
posted by snatchos at 3:20 PM on April 18, 2007

How about:
Tal Bachman - She's so high above me ?
posted by carpyful at 3:30 PM on April 19, 2007

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