10 Best Bully Songs
Everyone knows ‘Mean’ by Taylor Swift, but that’s just one of many great bully songs in country music’s history. It’s a popular subject lately, with the fight to stop bullying stronger than ever. Swift’s hit may have won the Grammys, but it isn’t No. 1 on this Best Bully Songs list.
Kenny Rogers, Keith Urban and (more recently) newcomer Morgan Frazier are all artists who’ve recorded letters to their bullies. One song on this list is even sung from the perspective of the bully, and it’s among the most sensitive of the 10.
‘You Had to Pick on Me’
While not a radio hit, Matt Kennon’s 2011 song became an anti-bullying anthem for many. The song tells the story of two kids (a boy and girl) who are picked on by their peers. Each can’t understand why they couldn’t be friends with their abusers, as well as why the bullies took to picking on them instead of just letting them be.
Morgan Frazier’s 2013 single ‘Hey Bully’ is an open letter to her tormenter. The singer is trying to make sense of why he or she is acting the way he is. “Hey, bully did somebody hurt you, make you feel small / You take it out on me because it makes you feel tall,” Frazier sings.
‘They Don’t Understand’
This track from Sawyer Brown’s 2005 ‘Mission Temple Firework Stand’ album was not a radio hit, although the group did make a powerful video for the song. In three verses, the group tells the story of a mother, an old man and Jesus. Each is being ridiculed in a different way, and Mark Miller and company ask for a little compassion.
Keith Urban’s ‘Stupid Boy’ makes the cut of Best Bully Songs, even though it’s not the typical schoolyard bullying type of song. It’s just about a guy who treats a girl poorly. Unlike many found on this list, she gets sweet revenge in leaving him and going on to live a happy life.
‘Nothin’ Grows in Shadows’
Jake Owen‘s track from ‘Easy Does It’ is as much of a bully song as it is a song about faith. He tells the story of kids being bullied by kids and by their parents. The hard-hitting lyrics don’t hold back, and in the end, the track turns to reveal the main character was once a bully.
‘How Do You Like Me Now?’
Toby Keith‘s 1999 single is his answer to a girl that picked on him when he was younger. There is no other song on this list about a guy being bullied by a girl, but that type of torment is just as common as same-sex bullying. This was a No. 1 for Keith and remains one of his top songs of all time.
‘Coward of the County’
This multi-week No. 1 hit from 1979 tells the story of Tommy, a young man who promised his late father that he’d never “do the things I’ve done,” meaning he wouldn’t be a fighter. For that reason, he’s known as the coward of the county — until a group of brothers push him too far. Kenny Rogers’ story is about as dark of a bully story as you’ll find, but it ends well for the bullied.
‘One of These Days’
Tim McGraw‘s 1997 chart-topper is among his all-time greatest songs. It’s one of the few on this list that come from the perspective of a bully. McGraw is looking back at a kid he picked on and then a girl he mistreated before learning that he needs to love himself in order to love others. McGraw is known as a great storyteller because of songs like this.
This may be the most famous bully song of all time. Taylor Swift wrote it after a particularly harsh review of her performance at the 2010 Grammy Awards. In addition to sending a great message, Swift creates an irresistible hook that’s easier to remember than your phone number. OK, it’s even easier than that. Ironically, ‘Mean’ would win Swift two Grammys in 2012.
‘Don’t Laugh at Me’
Mark Wills‘ 1998 Top 5 hit starts sad and becomes even sadder. Wills tells the stories of several types of people often picked on or bullied (kids, teenage mothers, homeless) before reminding listeners: “Someday we’ll all have perfect wings / Don’t laugh at me.” It’s beautiful lyric that became a Top 5 hit that year.