What do you do when you’ve been comping a club for weeks, and you find out that you’ve been cut? Or when you missed that party that all your friends were at? You feel alone, isolated—like you don’t belong. Naturally, you seek out the angsty side of rock and alternative music to process these feelings. And it doesn’t take you long to find it, because, after all, this is rock and alternative music we’re talking about. To speed up your recovery, check out this playlist. Wallow in your loneliness; ponder isolation. But most importantly, reaffirm your self-worth. Because you’re too cool for that club anyway.
“Cool Kids” – Echosmith. First, let’s examine our feelings. Echosmith articulates exactly how it seems like the members of that club you wanted to join must know something you don’t, and how you want to be just like them. In fact, Sierota and the band took so long to get their lyrics on this song exactly right that this, their first hit, barely made it onto their debut album (1).
“Pork and Beans” – Weezer. This is what happens when you tell Rivers Cuomo to write “more commercial music” (2). If you want to find out how to be so uncool that you actually transcend coolness, listening to Weezer is a great start. This song’s weird guitar hook will win you over even if you’re a bit wary of Cuomo’s food combinations.
“The Meddler” – Chevelle. Drummer Sam Loeffler’s favorite track off of Hats Off to the Bull (3), this blend of raw vocals and heavy, distorted guitar will address any lingering negativity you feel, while the moody bridge and outro will leave you reflective. After all, if you don’t fit someone else’s style, then you’d better make your own!
“Somewhere I Belong” – Linkin Park. To find where you belong, you should start by knowing yourself. Jam to the transfixing sample in this intro as you ponder what’s left when you strip down to the core. This might not be easy, but it’ll pay off, just like Linkin Park reworked this chorus more than thirty times to get the sound they wanted (4).
“Stick To Your Guns” – Sick Puppies. Sick Puppies wrote this song to empower (5), and from the harsh crescendo right at the outset, this song will definitely get you going. It reminds you to ignore others’ negativity, because when your values are challenged you sometimes need to make your own way.
“The Neverending Sigh” – Foo Fighters. The final track on the Foos’ free EP released in 2015, it comes from a track called “7 Corners” that failed to make it onto the album There Is Nothing Left to Lose from 20 years prior (6). I’m glad that we finally got to hear it, because its rollicking guitar riffs are truly epic, and serve as a reminder that even the best do not always make the first cut.
“Bad Company” – Bad Company. There’s not much you can do if you’re just bad company. You can, however, feel like a rebel and jam to the deep guitar notes in this badass track.
“Hey You” – Pink Floyd. If you’re still feeling isolated, you can’t do much better for catharsis than The Wall, and the echoing, twelve-string guitar on this track that conveys the eerie sensation of being completely alone (7). But don’t be like Pink and wall off the outside world—keep things in moderation.
“Creep” – Radiohead. The classic track for anyone who has ever felt like they don’t belong, “Creep” is so popular among Radiohead fans that Thom Yorke refused to play it for much of the 90s (8). Listen to this for one last chance to get that low self-esteem out of your system.
“Be Yourself” – Audioslave. Complete your journey out of exile with this killer track. By the time you finish listening to Tom Morello’s funky guitar solo, you’ll be all set to tackle your next challenge.