27 Best Songs About Rebellion

21. “For What It’s Worth” by Buffalo Springfield

Song Year: 1966

Steven Stills wrote “For What It’s Worth,” not in response to Vietnam but to a confrontation with police on the Sunset Strip.

The incident started as a protest against a city ordinance instituting a curfew, but things got out of hand. Stills’ song became a protest anthem, though it asks not for overt rebellion but an examination of where we were going as a society.

22. “Redneck Woman” by Gretchen Wilson

Song Year: 2004

Another entry in the I’m-the-way-I-am-and-you-can-just-like-it class of songs, “Redneck Woman,” Gretchen Wilson’s debut single and only number-one hit finds the singer letting everyone within earshot know that their ideas of how a woman is supposed to act are irrelevant to her.

She lists the things so-called “normal” women say, do, and like, and then explains how none of those things are for her.

23. “Bad Example” by Pistol Annies

Song Year: 2011

Another song about rebelling against what society expects from a proper woman, “Bad Example” finds the three women of Pistol Annies singing that they are happy to be the ones other people’s mothers warned them about.

The gist is that if people like us aren’t around, who will the upright citizens be able to point to and say, “Don’t be like them”?

24. “Sixty Eight Guns” by The Alarm

Song Year: 1984

Despite the mention of weaponry in the title, “Sixty Eight Guns” is actually about the rebellion of youth. As adolescents look for their way in life, they rebel against their parents, society, and any norms they can find.

“Sixty Eight Guns” couches this rebellion in audience-friendly, singable-at-the-top-of-your-lungs music from a Welsh band that fought hard to rise from poverty into a signed recording act.

25. “Break the Rules” by Charli XCX

Song Year: 2014

About a desire not to go to school, “Break the Rules” is definitely aimed at teenage listeners, but the sentiment from Charli XCX is universal. Haven’t we all had the desire, at least once, not to follow along with what we’re supposed to do?

It was a top-40 hit in several countries, though its showing in the US was less than stellar.

26. “Say It Loud – I’m Black and I’m Proud, Part 2” by James Brown

Song Year: 1968

During the racial unrest of the 1960s in America, James Brown’s exhortation to Black audiences to be proud of who and what they were was rebellious. The Godfather of Soul insists that skin color has nothing to do with much of anything, and African-Americans had every right to be who they were and live like they wanted to live.

He explicitly demands that African-Americans get the chance to do things their way, a pretty radical idea at the time.

27. “Secret Life Of Tigers” by N.E.R.D

Song Year: 2017

While “Secret Life of Tigers” reads like the dissatisfied rant of a teenager whose parents are bumming them out, songwriter Pharrell Williams said that it’s a look at the conservative mindset many parents try to foist on their children.

The secret life of tigers, he says, represents the struggle of the youth to throw off the oppression of the elders who hold different values.

Top Songs About Rebellion, Final Thoughts

If you’re looking for rebellion, music is a terrific place to start. There are songs about rebellion against society, parents, significant others, and all sorts of other things. Finding a song about rebellion is easy. Finding the right one for you takes some work because there are so many great ones out there.

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