20 Songs About Feeling Ugly

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Written By Julia Mehalko

Julia is a music journalist with a passion for retro songs. She holds a degree in journalism from University of Nevada.

Feeling ugly on both the inside and outside is a universal feeling, something musicians have proven over the decades. So many songwriters have written great songs about this feeling, helping others connect to their words along the way.

Below, we’ve listed 20 of our favorite songs about feeling ugly!

1. “Unpretty” by TLC

TLC released the song “Unpretty” on their 1999 album FanMail. This song discusses how many women feel “Unpretty”, ugly, and insecure because they think they need plastic surgery, makeup, or extensions to look attractive. In this song, TLC says that women can find beauty and confidence if they look inside themselves and realize they don’t need this.

TLC also sings about those who make them feel “Unpretty”. They state that they’ll make them feel “Unpretty”, too, for all they’ve put them through. TLC says we shouldn’t all worry about feeling fat and ugly, as this is what society puts on us.

2. “Uglykid” by Hobo Johnson

Hobo Johnson’s 2019 song “Uglykid” also discusses feeling ugly. In this song, Johnson talks about how ugly he feels, especially when he’s comparing himself to others. He even compares himself to his lover, saying that she’s so much more beautiful than him.

Johnson sings to this beautiful person, saying that he wants to be taught how to be as beautiful as them. However, this never happens, and he feels that they will end their relationship as a result, as someone as beautiful as her can never be with him.

3. “Ugly” by Jon Bon Jovi

In Jon Bon Jovi’s 1997 song “Ugly”, which appears on the album Destination Anywhere, Bon Jovi sings to another and discusses how beautiful they are. However, it appears this person may feel insecure and think they are ugly.

As a result, he sings, “If you’re ugly, I’m ugly too / In your eyes the sky’s a different blue / If you could see yourself like others do / You’d wish you were as beautiful as you”.

Bon Jovi knows that so many of us can feel ugly sometimes. Elsewhere in the song, he sings, “Ugly, all of us / Just feel like that somedays”.

4. “Pieces of You” by Jewel

In Jewel’s 1995 song “Pieces of You”, she sings about the terrible things people say about other men and women. However, she says that when they say all these things, they’re pointing out their own flaws or opinions. As a result, they’re talking about pieces of themselves, rather than the other person.

To help get this point across, Jewel opens the song by discussing a woman that others consider ugly. She sings, “She’s an ugly girl, she doesn’t pose a threat / She’s an ugly girl, does that make you feel safe?”.

However, she then goes on to say that this ugly girl is “Pieces of You”. Therefore, this person feels ugly themselves — which is why they’re calling someone else ugly.

5. “Ugly” by First Aid Kit

First Aid Kit released their song “Ugly” on the 2018 EP Tender Offerings. In this folk song, the band discusses how much they wanted to fit in. They wanted to be seen as smart and pretty and worked hard to make this happen.

However, they eventually learned that the people they wanted to impress wouldn’t be impressed by them, no matter what. They sing the lyrics, “So if I’m ugly, well I’m so much more than that / I’m so much more than you’ll ever know”.

6. “Mama Look a Boo Boo” by Harry Belafonte

In Harry Belafonte’s 1957 comedic song “Mama Look a Boo Boo”, Belafonte opens the song by singing the lyrics, “I wonder why nobody don’t like me / Or is it the fact that I’m ugly?”.

Throughout the rest of the song, Belafonte sings about how even his own children don’t like him because he’s ugly. He obviously has an issue with this, but there’s truly nothing he can do.

7. “Pretty (Ugly Before)” by Elliott Smith

Elliott Smith released his song “Pretty (Ugly Before)” on his 2004 album From a Basement on the Hill. In this song, Smith sings about feeling worthless and ugly. However, he does have moments where he feels better — and pretty.

He repeatedly sings the lyrics, “And I’ll feel pretty / Another hour or two / I felt so ugly before”.

Here, he’s admitting that these feelings of prettiness won’t last for long. He will, unfortunately, soon go back to feeling ugly in a few hours.

8. “When I Turn Off the Living Room Light” by The Kinks

In The Kinks’ 1973 song “When I Turn Off the Living Room Light”, which appears on their album The Great Lost Kinks Album, the band talks about how everyone is gorgeous when the living room light is off.

At first, it seems as if the band is only talking about others and how ugly they are. But at the end of the song, they recognize that we all can feel ugly with the lines, “We don’t feel so ugly / We don’t feel so draggy / We don’t feel so twisted up tight / And we don’t feel as ugly as we really are / When we turn off the living room light”.

9. “How You Gonna See Me Now” by Alice Cooper

Alice Cooper released his song “How You Gonna See Me Now” on his 1978 album From the Inside. Cooper sings about returning to his partner after being separated from them for a while. As a result of this separation, he’s worried that they will see him as ugly now — especially because he knows he let them down.

They’ve lived their own lives, and now his partner may not see him in a beautiful light, as they once did. This has left Cooper feeling worried and very anxious about their reunion.

10. “See Through” by Beck

In Beck’s 2019 song “See Through”, he also discusses feeling ugly. Throughout most of this song, Beck sings about a romantic partner. They both “See Through” each other, which seems to be a good thing at first. Beck’s partner can see how much he needs her.

But towards the end of the song, Beck recognizes that sometimes he hates how this makes him feel. He sings repeatedly, “I feel so ugly when you see through me”.

11. “Ugly” by Smashing Pumpkins

Smashing Pumpkins’ 1996 song “Ugly” discusses how many of us cannot see what others see. In this song, the singer admits that others say he’s not ugly. They say he’s beautiful. However, when he looks in the mirror, he cannot see any beauty.

He sings the lyrics, “I was born so beautiful, but now I’m ugly”. Throughout the rest of the song, he talks about how he continues to get uglier, regardless of what people say.

12. “Lithium” by Nirvana

Nirvana’s 1992 hit song “Lithium” describes manic depression and the many unfortunate feelings that can come from this mental illness. At the beginning of this song, singer Kurt Cobain sings about how happy he is. However, in the next line, he immediately sings, “I’m so ugly, that’s okay, ’cause so are you”.

Throughout this song, Cobain sings about many feelings he has, including feeling ugly. He also feels happy, lonely, excited, and more.

13. “At Seventeen” by Janis Ian

Janis Ian released her hit song “At Seventeen” on her 1975 album Between the Lines. This song, which has been covered by a variety of different artists since Ian, discusses how many young teenage girls feel ugly while in high school.

However, Ian sings that once you’re out of high school and mature, you’ll grow into a beautiful version of yourself. Sure, you may not have been beautiful in high school when you were young, but that doesn’t mean anything! She sings the iconic lyrics, “It isn’t all it seems / At seventeen”.

So, don’t worry if you feel like the ugly friend. For one, so many other people feel this way when they’re younger. But once you get older, you’ll grow into your beautiful self!

14. “As Ugly As I Seem” by The White Stripes

The White Stripes’ 2005 song “As Ugly As I Seem” discusses someone who feels terrible and incredibly ugly. The song opens up with the lyrics, “I am as ugly as I seem / Worse than all your dreams / Could ever make me out to be”.

Unfortunately, the narrator of this song never quite finds hope or realizes they’re beautiful. They end the song still feeling terribly ugly.

15. “Me In Honey” by R.E.M.

R.E.M. released their song “Me In Honey” on their 1991 hit album Out of Time. In this song, the singer opens with the line, “I sat there looking ugly, looking ugly and mean”. This means he both felt ugly and he knows he likely looked mean and ugly in the situation.

This song follows the narrator as he learns that his girlfriend is having a baby with him. However, the relationship doesn’t seem to be working out, and the narrator has many issues with what his girlfriend is doing.

16. “Ugly Side” by Blue October

Blue October’s song “Ugly Side” discusses how the singer doesn’t want anyone to see his “Ugly Side”. This song could be seen as the singer talking to a romantic partner — or really anyone. He wants to always keep his “Ugly Side” to himself.

He sings, “I only want you to see / My favorite part of me / And not my ugly side”. Here, he’s talking about his flaws and issues, rather than physical ugliness. However, this can still make him feel quite ugly on the inside!

17. “Grown So Ugly” by Captain Beefheart & the Magic Band

Captain Beefheart & the Magic Band’s song “Grown So Ugly” also deals with feeling ugly. In this song, the singer talks about how doing ugly actions can make you feel ugly on the inside. However, it can also make you appear ugly to others.

He sings, “Got so ugly I don’t even know myself”.

When the singer describes running away from a relationship, he’s disappointed in himself. Later in the song, he mentions how he finally returns to the lover he abandoned. However, she doesn’t recognize this ugly man before her at all!

18. “Merry-Go-Round” by Puddle of Mud

Puddle of Mud released their song “Merry-Go-Round” on their 2007 album Famous. In this song, the band sings about their flaws and feelings in a chaotic, party environment.

They sing, “Don’t look at me I’m too ugly, I’m too skinny and silly / Nobody wants to hang out with a rejection man”. However, they also mention all the people they are seeking out to party with, as nobody in this lifestyle really cares about anything.

19. “So How Come (No One Loves Me)” by The Beatles

While others have sung this song, The Beatles’ version of “So How Come (No One Loves Me)” is worth mentioning! The band sings about how they say that everybody in this world needs someone, and belongs with someone.

However, they feel that nobody wants them. They then sing, “Well if you wonder who the loneliest creatures in the world can be / Well they’re the ugly duckling, the little black sheep, and me”.

20. “The Luckiest Guy on the Lower East Side” by Magnetic Fields

In this 1999 song, Magnetic Fields sings about feeling ugly, but still getting the girl. The singer goes to school with this girl, and she has many friends and potential boyfriends. However, he knows she’ll be with him sometimes, even if he’s ugly — because he has a car. Nobody else does!

He sings, “The day is beautiful and so are you / My car is ugly but then, I’m ugly too”. So, even if he knows she’ll likely go to prom with someone else — and even marry someone else — he still knows that she’ll seek him out, all because he has a car!