20 Songs About Surgery

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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.

Over the decades, many artists have discussed surgery when writing songs. In these songs, sometimes surgery is talked about literally, especially if they’re discussing someone they love going through surgery.

However, other times surgery is referenced as a metaphor for their lives, the love they feel, and more.

Below, we’ve ranked our favorite 20 songs about surgery! These songs either are all about surgery, or reference surgery in regards to the overall meaning of the song!

1. “Pretty Hurts” by Beyonce

Beyonce released “Pretty Hurts” on her 2013 album Beyonce. In this song, Beyonce discusses how difficult it can be to try to attain beauty standards in today’s society. No matter what you do, no matter what you wear, many women continue to struggle to be seen as “pretty”.

In the chorus, Beyonce sings the lyric, “It’s the soul that needs the surgery”. Here, she says that we shouldn’t be focusing on fixing our physical or outward appearance through plastic surgery. Instead, we should be focusing on and fixing the soul, or who we are.

2. “Surgery” by Two Door Cinema Club

There are many interpretations listeners can find in Two Door Cinema Club’s 2016 song “Surgery”. In this song, the singer details a relationship between two different people. The relationship isn’t necessarily the greatest and definitely has its flaws.

In the chorus, the band sings, “Baby, how’d you get so cold? / Major sympathy and surgery”. These lines explain the problems between these two people while comparing their issues to surgery.

3. “Mrs. Potato Head” by Melanie Martinez

In the 2015 song “Mrs. Potato Head”, Melanie Martinez sings about plastic surgery and the lengths many women go to when trying to be perceived as “pretty”. This song points out how difficult it is to reach society’s standards of beauty.

Instead of allowing these standards to continue to impact her, Martinez instead sings about how women should try to steer clear of going to great lengths to change their bodies or face.

“Mrs. Potato Head” is a woman who has had plastic surgery on her face. Therefore, she resembles the toy Mrs. Potato Head.

4. “Na Na Na (Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na)” by My Chemical Romance

My Chemical Romance released this song about surgery as their first single on their 2010 album Danger Days: The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys. The band discusses a variety of topics in this hit song, and many meanings can be derived from the lyrics.

This song references surgery in the chorus. The singer sings the line, “Eat plastic surgery”. This could be seen as a take on the “you are what you eat” phrase, meaning that plastic surgery is now very common and everybody gets it.

This line could also be considered a criticism of how plastic surgery is pushed nowadays. 

5. “Crash Course in Brain Surgery” by Metallica

There are many interpretations listeners can find in Metallica’s 1987 song “Crash Course in Brain Surgery”. For the most part, the song begins with the band discussing how they have struggled when others say harmful or rude things to them. Words can hurt.

However, the chorus reveals that the singer is trying to better themselves in these types of situations. He sings, “He shows me how to neutralize the knife / Show to me in surgery / The art of fighting words to conquer life”.

This could mean that the singer has been shown how to better take rude or harmful words. Words can’t truly harm you, and now the singer is working on neutralizing “the knife”, which he learns through surgery.

6. “Jefferson, Aero Plane” by Relient K

Relient K released their song “Jefferson, Aero Plane” on their 2003 album Two Lefts Don’t Make a Right… But Three Do. In this song, the band discusses feelings of sadness and depression, even though they are trying to get better and have a better outlook on life.

Hints of romance also seem to help them, but they still struggle. The band sings the lyrics, “And I’ll go to undergo / A surgery to purge me of this lonely mood”. Here, they discuss how much they’d like to try to cure themselves of their feelings of sadness.

7. “Surgeon” by St. Vincent

St. Vincent’s 2011 song “Surgeon” was created after singer Annie Clark read some of Marilyn Monroe’s diary. The lines, “Best, finest surgeon / Come cut me open” became a huge part of the song, as a result.

In this song, Clark discusses depression and mental illness. The phrase above, which is repeated throughout the song, could be taken as literal and metaphorical, as a result.

8. “Fake Plastic Trees” by Radiohead

Radiohead released their hit song “Fake Plastic Trees” on their 1995 album The Bends. To this day, this song is often considered one of the very best — if not one of the most popular — Radiohead songs!

In this song, Radiohead sings against consumerism. One of the main characters of this song is worn out with the world and everything that is fake.

Another character appears in the form of a former plastic surgeon. The band sings, “He used to do surgery / For girls in the eighties / But gravity always wins”.

No matter what, death and destruction will occur. Therefore, people will age, even if they get plastic surgery.

9. “Miss Me” by Drake

Drake’s 2010 hit song “Miss Me” also references surgery. Drake briefly mentions surgery at the beginning of the song when he says, “Gone for surgery but now I’m back again”. He doesn’t mention surgery recovery or anything else — just that he’s back and ready to make music again.

As for the song as a whole, “Miss Me” deals with being away from home and missing many people and things. 

10. “Black & White” by Juice WRLD

In “Black & White”, Juice WRLD discusses doing drugs, as well as his party lifestyle. While talking about his addictions, he references how many of the drugs make him feel as if they’re doing surgery on him.

This could be viewed in a few different ways. Firstly, Juice WRLD could be saying it feels like doctors are performing surgery on him when he takes these drugs. His addiction isn’t joyful, it’s painful.

Secondly, he could be comparing his addiction to what others go through before and after surgery. Many patients have also become addicted to pain pills, which Juice WRLD could be referencing.

11. “Shame” by Depeche Mode

Depeche Mode released the song “Shame” on their 1983 album Construction Time Again. In “Shame”, the band discusses many terrible tragedies in the world. However, as much as people see these terrible situations, nobody really does enough to make a change. Even hope isn’t enough, to the band.

Surgery is mentioned a few times in this song. The band mentions how many fights are escalated when weapons are involved. This could reference fights between regular people, or fights in a warzone. Even if people see these problems, “Surgery won’t improve your pain”.

This could be taken as both a literal and metaphorical statement.

12. “The Miracle” by Queen

Queen’s 1989 song “The Miracle” mentions many situations and people that have been considered miracles throughout human history. However, even with all of these great miracles, problems still remain. There are still injustices and violence and war in the world.

One of these miracles that Queen mentions in this song? Surgery! The band sings the lyrics, “Open hearts and surgery” when discussing some of the everyday miracles we all now live with.

13. “The Playboy Mansion” by U2

In U2’s 1997 song “The Playboy Mansion”, the band discusses and satirizes those who are obsessed with pop culture — and with being invited to “The Playboy Mansion”. Through many pop culture references, the band discusses key cultural moments.

Therefore, they also discuss plastic surgery. The band sings, “If beauty is truth / And surgery the fountain of youth / What am I to do?”

In these lines, the band discusses how many older people can still stay young, appearance-wise, thanks to plastic surgery.

14. “Do Not Disturb” by Drake

Drake’s song “Do No Disturb” is a biographical take on the rapper’s life. Through this song, he catches people up on what his life has become. He discusses many feuds he’s had with other rappers, as well as failed romantic relationships.

Drake also mentions surgery in this song. He says, “Last verse that I gotta do is always like surgery / Always tryin’ to let go of anything that’ll burden me / That’s the reason you can feel the tension and the urgency”.

Here, he mentions how much of a perfectionist he can be when it comes to his songs. So, he compares it to surgery, as doctors also must be meticulous when conducting surgery.

15. “I’m Gonna Love You Through It” by Martina McBride

Martina McBride released her hit song “I’m Gonna Love You Through It” on her 2011 album Eleven. In this song, McBride tells a story of a married couple who find out that the wife has cancer. She must go through surgeries and many complicated trials to stay healthy and beat cancer.

This song mentions healthcare, doctors, surgery, and everything many cancer patients go through. While the song says that she’s made it through her operation fine, the cancer has still left her half of what she used to be.

However, through all of this, her husband is there by her side, helping her through it.

16. “California Girls” by Gretchen Wilson

Gretchen Wilson’s song “California Girls” details how different women can be. Some women try very hard to stay a size zero all their life. Others, Wilson muses, don’t act like this and instead be who they want to be.

Wilson also mentions surgery in this song, though she doesn’t necessarily denounce it. She sings the lyrics, “There ain’t nothing wrong with plastic surgery / Well, Dolly Parton never looked so good to me / Everybody ought to be exactly who they want to be”.

So, Wilson doesn’t hate plastic surgery. But she does think people should always try to be themselves!

17. “Crazy” by Simple Plan

Simple Plan released their song “Crazy” on their 2005 album Still Not Getting Any… This song details the many different problems in society in today’s age. Therefore, you know the band will mention the issue of unattainable beauty standards!

In one verse of the song, the band discusses their issue with girls getting plastic surgery to end up on TV. They change their whole bodies to try to receive some ounce of fame — and the band thinks it’s wrong. Girls shouldn’t feel they need to change their face to end up on TV.

18. “Love, Love, Love” by Lenny Kravitz

In “Love, Love, Love”, Lenny Kravitz sings about how all he needs is his romantic partner and love. He doesn’t need anything else. He also doesn’t want anything else!

Kravitz mentions surgery in this song in the lines, “Don’t need no plastic surgery / Don’t need no country clubs / Don’t need no butlers, cooks or maids”.

Here, Kravitz talks about high living. He doesn’t need all of these things that other rockstars want and need. At the end of the day, he only needs one person in his life.

19. “Black Man” by Stevie Wonder

Stevie Wonder released his song “Black Man” on his great 1976 album Songs in the Key of Life. Wonder wrote this song in response to racism and in his desire to see racial unity. Therefore, this song is supposed to bring people together!

Wonder talks about how many people of many different races did great things. When he mentions surgery, he sings, “Heart surgery / Was first done successfully / By a Black man”. The rest of the song also mentions other real-life figures of human history’s past!

20. “Fire” by Ingrid Michaelson

Finally, our last song on this list! Ingrid Michaelson’s 2012 song “Fire”, off her album Human Again, also discusses surgery. In this song, she compares her love and her feelings to open heart surgery.

She sings, “Open heart surgery / That is what you do to me”. She also mentions that she walks into fire with her lover.

Therefore, Michaelson here compares the complexities (and potential pain or discomfort) of falling in love to surgery! However, Michaelson doesn’t necessarily equate all of this to bad feelings. Instead, she seems to accept or even enjoy these feelings towards the end of the song.

Listen to the full playlist on YouTube here!