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August 5, 2008 10:20 AM   Subscribe

What are some songs about being disappointed, discouraged, but fighting back and continuing in the face of great difficulty, especially internal struggle. Can be anything from Shostakovitch to Tito Puente - but bonus points for anything heavy rock-ish like punk/metal/hardcore or anything with distortion and power vocals, or just any type of song that's energizing.
posted by parallax7d to Media & Arts (75 answers total) 27 users marked this as a favorite
As an SF Castro resident, I will throw in Gloria Gaynor's I Will Survive. (But of course that's not punk/metal/etc.)
posted by ClaudiaCenter at 10:24 AM on August 5, 2008 [1 favorite]

How about "tough it out" by Webb Wilder?
posted by midwestguy at 10:25 AM on August 5, 2008

Queen's 'We Are the Champions' is heavy rock-ish.
posted by box at 10:29 AM on August 5, 2008

I always thought "Look Back in Anger" by David Bowie had that kind of vibe.
posted by ian1977 at 10:30 AM on August 5, 2008

And Survivor's 'Eye of the Tiger' was pretty much synthesized in a laboratory to be exactly this kind of song.

Look to Jock-Jams-style compilations and the soundtracks of '80s movies.
posted by box at 10:30 AM on August 5, 2008

Crowbar - ...And Suffer as One
posted by The Straightener at 10:32 AM on August 5, 2008

Fighter--Christina Aguleria (I know I totally botched her name)
Beautiful (her again)
Rehab (sort of. I mean the whole 'no no no' is fighting back. haha)
posted by dasheekeejones at 10:34 AM on August 5, 2008

Against Me - Burn
posted by dunkadunc at 10:37 AM on August 5, 2008

I made a whole mix of those types of songs for a friend after she got fired. The ones I can remember off the top of my head (but may not entirely fit the bill for you) are: Twisted Sister's "We're Not Gonna Take It," Mighty Mighty Bosstone's "Go Big or Go Home," Kanye West's (or Daft Punk's) "Stronger," and Bobby Patterson's "TCB or TYA." I'll check the playlist tonight and post any other ones I think might work.
posted by katemcd at 10:39 AM on August 5, 2008

I get knocked down
but I get up again
you're never gonna keep me down

-Tubthumping by Chumbawumba

(just listen, don't watch - dumb video)
posted by jammy at 10:40 AM on August 5, 2008

Pennywise - Broken
Pennywise - Every Single Day
Pennywise - You Can Demand
Pennywise - Searching
posted by infinityjinx at 10:41 AM on August 5, 2008 [1 favorite]

"Won't Back Down" by Tom Petty
posted by christinetheslp at 10:43 AM on August 5, 2008

Off the top of my head:

JoJo - Too Little Too Late - Pop, but good song. Not sure if this is what you're looking for, but it does have some stand-back-up-again elements to it.

Disturbed - Indestructible - Okay, so this isn't about getting beaten down and standing back up, but I find it brings me back up when I'm down. Heavy stuff right here. And you can't beat the vocals.

Seconding "We're Not Gonna Take It", "Tubthumping", and "Stronger", though I recommend 30 Seconds to Mars' cover of the last song, because they made it into a singable dirge (even if the lyrics are kind of dumb... but then, I hate rap in general, so there you go).
posted by curagea at 10:44 AM on August 5, 2008

Not rock'n'roll but two pretty powerful songs on a related theme:
Gimme Hope Jo'anna by Eddie Grant and Free Nelson Mandela by the Specials.
posted by the-happy-manager at 10:44 AM on August 5, 2008

Warts On Your Dick is an awesome parody of this type of song. (NSFW; song begins at 1:03)
posted by Metroid Baby at 10:45 AM on August 5, 2008

The Flaming Lips - The Gash
REM - Walk Unafraid
OKGo - Get Over It
posted by kittyprecious at 10:54 AM on August 5, 2008

Black Flag's "Rise Above"
Queen's "Friends Will Be Friends"
posted by cadge at 10:57 AM on August 5, 2008 [1 favorite]

Bad Reputation - Joan Jett
posted by SuperSquirrel at 10:59 AM on August 5, 2008

Rilo Kiley "A Better Son/Daughter"
posted by Science! at 11:02 AM on August 5, 2008

Cake has a good version of "I will survive" as well
Cake's "The Distance"

(man it sounds like I am a big Cake fan, though I'm not!)
posted by bottlebrushtree at 11:07 AM on August 5, 2008

Against Me - Burn

Is this a cover of the Nine Inch Nails song?
posted by LionIndex at 11:09 AM on August 5, 2008

Rollins Band's 'The End of Silence' is my go-to album for this sort of thing. Low Self Opinion, Grip, What Do You Do, Blues Jam, all amazing.
posted by pupdog at 11:14 AM on August 5, 2008

Timothy by the Bouyes. Cannibalism is a form of surviving...
Locomotive Breath by Jethro Tull
posted by Gungho at 11:19 AM on August 5, 2008

Never Surrender by Corey Hart

Against the Wind by Bob Seger
posted by arniec at 11:27 AM on August 5, 2008

The Mary Ellen Carter
posted by Miko at 11:28 AM on August 5, 2008

Ministry - Hero
posted by boo_radley at 11:37 AM on August 5, 2008

St. Elmo's Fire (Man in Motion) by John Parr

I admit, I love this song.
posted by Metroid Baby at 11:38 AM on August 5, 2008

Seconding the Rollins Band up there. Also, although it's specifically about feminism, I always enjoy "Seneca Falls" by the Distillers for this kind of thing.
posted by Bookhouse at 11:47 AM on August 5, 2008

Gogol Bordello's Undestructable
posted by gage at 11:47 AM on August 5, 2008

Great vocals on Alanis Morrisette's "You Learn," and the song helped me through some tough times:

I, recommend getting your heart trampled on to anyone, yeah
I, recommend walking around naked in your living room, yeah
I, recommend biting off more than you can chew to anyone, I certainly do
I, recommend sticking your foot in your mouth at any time, feel free
Swallow it down (what a jagged little pill)
It feels so good (swimming in your stomach)
Wait until the dust settles
You live you learn, you love you learn
You cry you learn, you lose you learn
You bleed you learn, you scream you learn.

Also, especially if this is at all related to a breakup (but even if it's not), I highly recommend David Grey's "Shine."

You gotta rise from these ashes
Like a bird of flame
Step out of the shadow
We've gotta go where we can shine.

Good luck!
posted by onlyconnect at 11:48 AM on August 5, 2008 [1 favorite]

Back in Black - AC/DC

Back in the Saddle Again - Aerosmith
posted by amyms at 11:49 AM on August 5, 2008

Here is a youtube of Grey's Shine. It's a really lovely and inspirational song.
posted by onlyconnect at 12:00 PM on August 5, 2008

Sepultura has a lot of these songs. Some examples: Inner Self ("lying and playing dirty, you think you'll win/But someday you'll fall and I'll be waiting"), Propaganda, Clenched Fist.
posted by ignignokt at 12:07 PM on August 5, 2008

This Old Porch, Lyle Lovett.

And this old porch is just a long time
Of waiting and forgetting
And remembering the coming back
And not crying about the leaving
And remembering the falling down
And the laughter of the curse of luck
From all of those passerby
Who said we'd never get back up

posted by bricoleur at 12:08 PM on August 5, 2008

Any and all Rage against the Machine!
posted by poptart at 12:09 PM on August 5, 2008

Response by poster: So many awesome answers, I especially love the links! Thanks folks, and keep them rolling!
posted by parallax7d at 12:10 PM on August 5, 2008

Killing Joke-- Exorcism
posted by Heretic at 12:11 PM on August 5, 2008

Like Ali in the jungle,
Like Nelson in jail,
Like Simpson on the mountain,
With odds like that, they were bound to fail
Like Keller in the darkness,
Like Adam's at the dock,
Like Ludwig Van, how I loved that man, well the guy went deaf and didn't give a f*ck...

Ali in the Jungle by The Hours

posted by BirdD0g at 12:21 PM on August 5, 2008


This Old Porch has also been done by the great Robert Earl Keen, but titled "The Front Porch Song." Personally, I like REK's version much better. And I've always loved that verse! Good call.
posted by BirdD0g at 12:25 PM on August 5, 2008

The Clash - I'm Not Down
Sleater-Kinney - Oxygen
posted by version control at 12:35 PM on August 5, 2008

Avail - Live at the Bottom of the Hill in San Francisco. I just fell in love with this album for the 6th or 7th time last week. Sure, it's kind of personal, but god*damn* it makes me want to do something good. I'm sure you can find it used for like $6 somewhere in Portland.

And go see 'em live, if you get the chance. It's that good.
posted by Ufez Jones at 12:35 PM on August 5, 2008

World up my ass - Circle Jerks
Good things - Sleater Kinney
J.A.R. - Green Day

And many more on the tip of my tongue so I may be back
posted by cjets at 12:56 PM on August 5, 2008

Dylan's "Rainy Day Women #12 & 35", aka "Everybody Must Get Stoned".

Lots of love's labors lost laments would fit this, because they're implicitly about getting knocked down and getting back up again. Petty's "The Waiting", George Michael's "Faith", The Pretenders' "Back on the Chain Gang".

Springsteen's "No Surrender" is more generic lyrically, but a lot of Born in the USA fits this theme. (His earlier anthems such as "Thunder Road" and "Born to Run" have some defiance overlap but are less about getting up than getting out, if you see the point.)
posted by dhartung at 12:57 PM on August 5, 2008

Foo Fighters "Times Like These":

Its times like these we learn to live again
Its times like these we give and give again
Its times like these we learn to love again
Its times like these time and time again...

And that's just the chorus. The whole song is rad and speaks to this theme.

The best part is there is a rockin' original version as well as a touching acoustic version so you can pick the best version for your current mood/outlook.
posted by veronicacorningstone at 1:14 PM on August 5, 2008

Husker Du -- New Day Rising. It doesn't get any more succinct.
Bad Brains -- Sailin' On (link is to a Living Colour cover I never knew existed. Cool.)
Bad Brains -- Attitude fact, just go listen to Bad Brains.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 1:33 PM on August 5, 2008

The ultimate song of this genre is of course "heroes" by Bowie.
posted by merocet at 1:35 PM on August 5, 2008

Best I Can by Queensryche- it is the first track off their Empire album. About a guy who got paralyzed when he was young and his struggle to be the best he can be.

Also thirding the album End of Silence by Rollins Band. One of the most intense albums I have ever heard. I especially love the third track, Tearing.

The album Obsolete by Fear Factory is a great concept album about mankind fighting back against machines- songs deal with internal and external struggles faced by the protagonist.

If you like industrial music at all, the track Revolutions by Informatik would be a good one too- has the great quote from Gandhi- "They may torture my body, break my bones, even kill me, then they will have my dead body. Not my obedience!"
posted by Caius Marcius at 1:47 PM on August 5, 2008

"The record shows I took the blows /And did it my way!"

Frank Sinatra, "My Way"
posted by kirkaracha at 2:29 PM on August 5, 2008

For punk, see Sid Vicious' cover.
posted by kirkaracha at 2:30 PM on August 5, 2008 [1 favorite]

The Offspring have a number of good songs that might work for what you want, including:

Come Out Swinging
Staring at the Sun
Long Way Home
posted by Caduceus at 2:34 PM on August 5, 2008

I'd say there are a bunch of Blue October songs that fit your bill - start with Independently Happy and go from there.
posted by davey_darling at 2:39 PM on August 5, 2008

Modest Mouse - Float On
The Mountain Goats - This Year
Bad Day - Bad Day
Regina Spektor - Ghost of Corporate Future (not heavy by any means, but uplifting nonetheless)
The Rolling Stones - You Can't Always Get What You Want, Satisfaction, and Jumping Jack Flash
posted by clearly at 2:40 PM on August 5, 2008

Bad Religion's "A Walk" might work too.

And seconding those Pennywise songs above. Pennywise has a lot of defiant songs that you might want to explore, if you like punk.
posted by Caduceus at 2:41 PM on August 5, 2008

Sorry, "Bad Day" is by R.E.M.
posted by clearly at 2:41 PM on August 5, 2008

Simon and Garfunkel, The Boxer

In the clearing stands a boxer,
And a fighter by his trade
And he carries the reminders
Of ev'ry glove that laid him down
Or cut him till he cried out
In his anger and his shame,
"I am leaving, I am leaving."
But the fighter still remains

posted by EmilyClimbs at 2:48 PM on August 5, 2008

Less than Jake has a lot of songs with this kind of theme, and their songs are usually really energetic like you're looking for. I can recomment Last Rites to Sleepless Nights and The Space They Can't Touch as a couple of specific examples.
posted by Nedroid at 3:32 PM on August 5, 2008

The Unrepentant by Steve Earle.
posted by andreap at 4:46 PM on August 5, 2008

Finish Steve Earle's very heavy
posted by andreap at 4:46 PM on August 5, 2008

Walk On--U2
Pump It Up -- Elvis Costello
Holla Back Girl -- Gwen Stefani
Changes -- David Bowie
Kryptonite -- 3 Doors Down
Lose Yourself--Eminem
I'm Shipping Up to Boston--Dropkick Murphys
Keep On Rockin in the Free World--Neil Young
You Get What You Give--New Radicals
What I Got--Sublime
posted by maloon at 5:07 PM on August 5, 2008

The Pass -- Rush

"All of us get lost in the darkness; dreamers learn to steer by the stars. All of us do time in the gutter; dreamers turn to look at the cars."
posted by chihiro at 6:07 PM on August 5, 2008

Pat Benatar - Invincible
posted by MaryDellamorte at 7:32 PM on August 5, 2008

Yup, definitely 'I'm Not Down' by the Clash.
posted by Mael Oui at 9:02 PM on August 5, 2008

Hmm. Try this one? Passive - A Perfect Circle. (I think I'm good for 3 bonus points??) There will be more, I'll look. How important are the lyrics??
posted by mu~ha~ha~ha~har at 7:55 AM on August 6, 2008

"Get Up" by Superchic[k].
posted by lintacious at 10:54 AM on August 6, 2008

Limp Bizkit - My Way

This time I'm 'a let it all come out
This time I'm 'a stand up and shout
I'm 'a do things my way
It's my way
My way, or the highway
posted by worlddisciple at 11:28 AM on August 6, 2008

Pink Floyd - Sorrow
His blood has frozen & curdled with fright
His knees have trembled & given way in the night
His hand has weakened at the moment of truth
His step has faltered
posted by worlddisciple at 11:33 AM on August 6, 2008

I'm not a Styx fan, but I can't help but love "You're Fooling Yourself." I always seem to hear it when I need to:

"Get up (get up)
Get back on your feet
You're the one they can't beat
and you know it.

C'mon, (c'mon)
Let's see what you've got
Just take your best shot
And don't blow it."
posted by rubymac at 2:05 PM on August 6, 2008

Seconding Mary Ellen Carter.
posted by mjewkes at 3:47 PM on August 6, 2008

Bob Seger - Little Victories
Richie Sambora - Hard Times Come Easy
Brides of Destruction - Life
Bon Jovi - Bells of Freedom
Sixx AM - Life Is Beautiful
Kyle Vincent - You Will Dance Again
(and if this has ANYthing to do with a relationship, then Junkyard or Tex and the Horseheads - Clean the Dirt or Supersuckers - Sail On)
posted by polexxia at 4:52 PM on August 6, 2008

Hatebreed - "You're Never Alone" ... It's a great, though angry, anthem to not giving up:

It's our struggles that define us
And the hardships we endure
Your spirit can't be broken now
You've come too far
This is for the kids who have no where to turn
Who have nothing to live for
You think you haven't the will to persist
You have to search within yourself
This spirit can't be broken (3x)
It's who you are
posted by Seomanthe at 3:55 AM on August 7, 2008

Oh, and Slipknot's "Pulse of the Maggots" is another really great, heavy, angry, fight song.
posted by Seomanthe at 4:03 AM on August 7, 2008

A little late to the party...
Here's a disc I put together for my wife for this purpose. I put a picture of Supergirl on the cover.

Don't Give Up - Peter Gabriel
Hail To Whatever You Found... - Rilo Kiley
Wallflower - Peter Gabriel
Lookin' Forward - Over The Rhine
*I Don't Ever Give Up - Patty Griffin
I Saved The World Today - Eurythmics
True To Myself - Ziggy Marley
*How We Operate - Gomez
Float on - Modest Mouse
We're All in This Together - Ben Lee
I Can See Clearly Now - Johnny Nash

* these are the songs she cranks up and repeats

Hm. I thought I had Jonathan Coulton's cover of We Are the Champions on there too.
posted by booth at 5:55 AM on August 7, 2008

Darn, booth beat me to the punch on "Don't Give Up." Another good Peter Gabriel candidate would be "Solsbury Hill."
posted by blucevalo at 2:22 PM on August 7, 2008

Absolute best post-breakup song:

Pep Talk by Descendants
posted by caseymcg at 5:32 PM on August 7, 2008

Tough Enough by Vanilla Ninja
(in Japanese) Rebel Luck by Chihiro Onitsuka

A rough translation of the Japanese song (c&p via LyricWiki):

No matter how many times I stray from
the uninterrupted track, I can still say this definite meaning:
“Everything is surely my very own self”

A heart devoid of any traces holds me,
saying, “You’re just a little fragile”

If you’re lying down amid impulses
to lose your destination, remember

No matter how many times I stray from
the uninterrupted track, I can still say this definite meaning:
“Everything is surely my very own self”

“Don’t be afraid of deciding to believe and hitting a wall”
My worn-out shoes will bring me back

Finding out the true colors that make my rust ache
doesn’t get me anywhere

No matter how I trip on the stairs
No matter how I get lost, I can still say that
“Though it’s these legs, they should be able to walk”

No matter how many times I stray from
the uninterrupted track, I can still say this definite meaning:
Everything is surely my very own self
It goes on being changed into a faint thread

When we’re about to be crushed by despair, losing sight of ourselves,
we should just remember
that we haven’t lost a single thing
posted by Syntoad at 12:22 PM on August 13, 2008

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