The world of music is as vast and diverse as the human experience itself. Almost everything has already been captured in a song.
Among these themes, songs that revolve around the concept of bad luck are a unique category. These songs blend melancholy, frustration, and even humor to express the misfortune that everyone experiences at some point.
Songwriters across genres use these songs as a way to connect with their audience. And so we have here 25 of the best songs about bad luck. Read on to know more.
1. “Bad Luck” By Social Distortion
While we’re at it, allow us to begin the list with a song with “bad luck” in the title. “Bad Luck” was released from Social Distortion‘s album Somewhere Between Heaven and Hell.
In this 1992 song, the band explores the themes of misfortune and adversity. The narrator seems to always be under a cloud of bad luck, unable to escape a cycle of loss and disappointment.
“Bad Luck” captures the feeling of helplessness that can come with persistent bad luck. To make things worse, no one seems to know why he is always in trouble. This is a reflection of the unpredictability of luck and how unseen forces seem to work against us.
2. “Unlucky 13” By DevilDriver
There are many explanations for why the number 13 is unlucky. This is the main subject in DevilDriver‘s “Unlucky 13” from their album The Fury of Our Maker’s Hand.
The song uses popular superstitions in its lyrics. There’s the mention of walking under ladders and shattering seven mirrors. Both of these are symbols of misfortune. The song further suggests that if you do these things, it will bring seven years of bad luck.
In essence, “Unlucky 13” is about experiencing bad luck through various superstitious actions. The song is a brooding reflection on the power of superstition in our lives.
3. “Mr. Bad Luck” By Jimi Hendrix
Guitarist and singer-songwriter Jimi Hendrix explores the theme of bad luck in “Mr. Bad Luck.” It’s about facing constant misfortune and adversity. He personifies bad luck as someone who’s always around the corner.
The phrase “the thirteenth of any time” could refer to the superstition surrounding this number. This is often associated with bad luck in many cultures. In addition, the line, “Look over yonder here come the blues” suggests an impending doom.
“Mr. Bad Luck” paints a picture of “a double-breasted green and red polka-dot coat.” It suggests a conspicuous figure who’s hard to miss. This is much like bad luck, which can often feel unavoidable when it strikes.
4. “Born Under A Bad Sign” By Albert King
The blues standard “Born Under a Bad Sign” describes a life ridden with bad luck from birth. Blues singer and guitarist Albert King recorded it in 1967 for his album of the same name.
The title implies the narrator’s belief in astrology. It suggests that he was born under an unfavorable astrological sign that destined him for a life of misfortune.
This song, though released in the late 1960s, had a lasting impact on the music world. It was inducted into the Blues Foundation Hall of Fame in 1988 and in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s list of the 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll.
5. “Thirteen” By Danzig
Among songs that mention bad luck, “Thirteen” by the heavy metal band Danzig heavily incorporates the theme of bad luck. It portrays a life bombarded by bad luck since birth.
Throughout the song, it’s clear the narrator is experiencing a life marked by misfortune. It is symbolized by the “bad luck wind … blowin’ on [his] back.” As if that’s not enough, the number 13 is tattooed on his neck.
“Thirteen” does not shy away from exploring the darker side of human existence. It captures a sense of foreboding through its melody and lyrics. It shows how one’s fate can be predetermined by forces beyond their control. What’s left is a life filled with hardship.
6. “Bad Luck Blue Eyes Goodbye” By The Black Crowes
One can also gain bad luck from love and relationships, as “Bad Luck Blue Eyes Goodbye” by The Black Crowes shows. The bad luck suggests his misfortune in relationships, whereas the blue eyes can be a reference to a past lover.
The lyrics depict the narrator’s emotional journey as he bids goodbye to his past. But it’s never easy doing so. He experiences isolation and dissatisfaction with himself. This suggests that the bad luck may not just be external circumstances. It could also be internal struggles and self-doubt.
The narrator further expresses his longing for connection and understanding. This emphasizes his sense of loneliness and misfortune in love.
7. “Paraskavedekatriaphobia (Friday The 13th)” By Fozzy
Up next is a song that dives deep into the concept of bad luck, specifically superstitions and the fear of Friday the 13th. “Paraskavedekatriaphobia (Friday the 13th)” may be a mouthful. But this song by Fozzy definitely deserves a spot on the list.
The title itself refers to the fear of this day, which is considered unlucky in many cultures. The lyrics also reference several symbols associated with bad luck. A cracked mirror, for instance, is said to bring seven years of bad luck.
The song also suggests that bad luck can be unavoidable. This reflects the human tendency to feel at the mercy of unseen forces.
8. “The Jinx” By Peter And The Test Tube Babies
A jinx is a person or something that brings or attracts bad luck. Peter and the Test Tube Babies explores the theme of bad luck in their song “The Jinx.”
Luck, as it turns out, always goes against the jinx. This idea is reinforced by instances where this person leaves bad luck in their wake.
The narrator laments how this person seems to invite misfortune everywhere they go. He observes that in pool or darts, they’ve already lost before the game starts. And in any game or match, their team loses. It’s all because they’re with a jinx.
9. “Bad Luck Streak In Dancing School” By Warren Zevon
In 1980, Warren Zevon released his fourth studio album. The album and its title track, “Bad Luck Streak in Dancing School,” reflect his personal struggles at the time. Particularly, he was battling substance abuse and dealing with his broken marriage.
The title suggests a string of misfortunes, indicating his fight with personal demons. Like a student struggling to perfect their dance steps, Zevon depicts himself as battling his issues. He may stumble, but he tries to regain balance in his life.
In essence, the song is a metaphorical narrative of the singer’s bad luck streak. It paints a picture of a man wrestling with his inner turmoil.
10. “This Is Thirteen” By Anvil
A song containing various symbols associated with superstition and misfortune is up next. “This is Thirteen” by Anvil speaks of bad luck as part of superstitious beliefs.
The lyrics reference tarot cards, tea leaves, a crystal ball, seance, and palm reading, among other things. All these are traditional symbols of foreboding or bad luck in various cultures. On the other hand, the song also delves into the idea of good luck and rebirth.
At its core, the song uses the number 13 to symbolize a journey through hardship. It uses the lens of superstition and bad luck to explore deeper themes of struggle and redemption.
11. “Black Cats” By ZillaKami
In many cultures, black cats are said to bring bad luck. Let’s figure out what these creatures have to do in ZillaKami‘s 2021 song “Black Cats.”
Interestingly, the song makes no mention of black cats anywhere, but it does begin with the line “Bad luck ’til the bitter end.” From this, we can tell the song expresses a sense of despair and hopelessness. It indicates a continuous struggle or conflict.
In essence, the song uses the symbol of a black cat to explore themes of adversity, struggle, and existential questioning. It paints a picture of internal and external conflict.
12. “Bad Luck” By Noah Kahan
Life can be tough sometimes, and it’s understandable when someone feels like they’re bad luck due to the hardships they face. This is the story behind Noah Kahan‘s “Bad Luck.”
The story follows the narrator who reconnects with someone from his past. He yearns to start all over again with her. In the process, he convinces her that he has changed and grown. He acknowledges his past mistakes and recognizes how those things hurt the people around him.
In relation to bad luck, the song uses this concept as a metaphor for all the challenges the narrator has faced. He admits he is bad luck, but he’s also taking steps toward improvement.
13. “Bad Luck” By Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes
In “Bad Luck,” Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes explore misfortune and struggle. They say bad luck is a relentless force that causes persistent failures and disappointments.
The song addresses a person who’s been down on luck in many instances. He loses out on everything he tries to do as if the world is against him. This amplifies the impact of bad luck on his life.
In essence, the song uses the concept of bad luck as a metaphor for struggles and disappointments. It captures the emotional turmoil associated with a string of unfortunate events.
14. “Billy Bad Breaks” By The Damned
Bad luck takes center stage in the narrative of struggle in “Billy Bad Breaks” by The Damned. The song addresses someone named Billy, who constantly experiences setbacks. Hence the name “Billy Bad Breaks.”
The lyrics suggest that Billy always goes through a cycle of misfortunes. Whatever progress he makes, it’s quickly overshadowed by bad breaks. The lines “More bad luck at your front door / You take the silver and I’ll take the gold” seem to suggest an acceptance of bad luck as part of life.
In essence, “Billy Bad Breaks” delivers a powerful narrative about the trials of life. While bad luck brings challenges, it also presents opportunities for growth and learning.
15. “Bad Luck Blues” By Albert King And Otis Rush
Another blues song to grace our list is “Bad Luck” by Albert King and Otis Rush. This collaboration uses bad luck as a metaphor for life’s hardships and struggles.
In the lyrics, the narrator is plagued by persistent misfortune, especially in matters of the heart and personal growth. He encounters setback after setback, seemingly trapped in a cycle of unfortunate circumstances.
This song is a reflection of the trials that one faces in life. It highlights the idea that sometimes, even with all our best efforts, things don’t go the way we planned them.
16. “Bad Luck” By Khalid
In the 2019 song “Bad Luck,” Khalid laments the heartbreaks in his relationships. He shares how his constant troubles with unfortunate relationships have hurt him deeply.
The narrator finds it difficult to establish satisfactory interpersonal relationships. A line with “bad luck” in the lyrics suggests that he is drawn into toxic relationships. Thus, he experiences a cycle of emotional pain and heartbreak.
In essence, the song is about the sense of despair that comes from continuous misfortunes in love. The bad luck symbolizes the repetitive pattern of engaging in relationships that leave him brokenhearted.
17. “Born To Lose” By Johnny Thunders And The Heartbreakers
How unfortunate is someone born to lose? Johnny Thunders and The Heartbreakers talk about life’s struggle, despair, and hardships in “Born to Lose.”
The repeated phrase “born to lose” symbolizes a life marked by constant misfortune and adversity. The bad luck could refer to the narrator’s battle with his personal demons. These keep pulling him back into a cycle of self-destruction.
“Born to Lose” is a reminder of how life choices can lead to a path of continuous misfortune. It captures feelings of despair and helplessness, attributing these circumstances to being “born to lose.”
18. “Bad Luck” By Neko Case
From Neko Case‘s album Hell-On comes “Bad Luck,” which fits our list perfectly. The song explores the theme of misfortune and the unpredictability of life.
The lyrics highlight various instances of bad luck, including eating a black fly in cream. These instances seem to be trivial acts that are superstitiously considered to bring bad luck. This emphasizes the unpredictability of life’s misfortunes.
This song is a commentary on how life’s uncertainties and random events can lead to bad luck. It conveys the message that we cannot control everything in life. And sometimes, things go wrong due to bad luck.
19. “7 Years Bad Luck” By Glasseater
Now, we move on to “7 Years Bad Luck” by the post-hardcore band Glasseater. Released in 2000, the song is all about persistent misfortune, as indicated by the title.
The lyrics follow the life of a person who is plagued by bad luck. He laments that “everything [he] touch[es] falls apart.” The term “7 years back luck” is often associated with the superstition of breaking a mirror. This suggests prolonged misfortune.
The song further demonstrates his struggle with continuous instances of bad luck. It’s a raw and emotional exploration of feeling cursed with relentless misfortune.
20. “Bad Luck” By J.I The Prince Of N.Y
The 2019 song “Bad Luck” by J.I The Prince Of N.Y explores misfortune in relation to life’s challenges and relationships. The narrator keeps battling obstacles only to be met with more difficulties. This can be likened to the concept of bad luck.
The lines “Day after day, seems like I push against the clouds / They just keep blocking out the sun” sum up the essence of the song. It seems that no matter what the narrator does, bad luck keeps coming his way.
In essence, the song shows that going through instances of bad luck can take its emotional toll on a person. It’s about hardships and the impact they have on an individual.
21. “Hard Luck Woman” By Kiss
The hard rock band Kiss moved away from heavy metal with their song “Hard Luck Woman.” It delves into the theme of bad luck in relation to love and relationships.
The lyrics portray a woman who lacks self-worth and is fine with being called “Rags.” This suggests her acceptance of a life filled with adversity. This can be seen as her experiencing bad luck, particularly in personal identity and self-esteem.
At its core, “Hard Luck Woman” delivers a message about the hardships of life and the emotional toll it has on the person.
22. “Tombstone Shadow” By Creedence Clearwater Revival
Up next, we have “Tombstone Shadow” by Creedence Clearwater Revival. It revolves around a prediction of bad luck made by a fortune teller.
In the lyrics, the narrator is chased by bad luck in the form of a “tombstone shadow, stretchin’ across [his] path.” Every good news he gets is replaced by fear of something bad happening.
The narrator is warned of “thirteen months of bad luck,” suggesting an extended period of hardship. He is further warned of pain and that he must avoid traveling. This prophecy speaks to impending doom and the inability to escape the “tombstone shadow.”
23. “Unlucky” By The Shirelles
In “Unlucky,” The Shirelles lament bad luck when it comes to love. It reflects the experience of some who never seem to find a satisfactory relationship.
The narrator expresses frustration over how “unlucky in love” she is. She mentions how “the sun and the moon take to the sky,” and the “berries even take to the park.” But she has been unable to find the man for her.
She attributes it to being unlucky in love. She expresses despair over the possibility that she’ll be alone until she dies.
24. “Black Cat” By Janet Jackson
The hard rock song “Black Cat” by Janet Jackson is about self-destruction and danger in relation to substance abuse. The song was released in 1990 from her album Janet Jackson’s Rhythm Nation 1814.
The “black cat” refers to bad luck, danger, and potential doom. These are common connotations associated with black cats in various superstitions. The song warns listeners about the dangers of getting involved with drugs or other harmful behavior.
The song uses the metaphor of a black cat to signify the impending misfortune if one continues on a dangerous path. It’s a cautionary tale encouraging listeners to steer clear of such paths.
25. “Bad Luck” By BoyWithUke
Last but not least is “Bad Luck” by BoyWithUke. This song explores themes of regret and bad luck in the context of a relationship gone wrong.
The narrator is having bad luck due to decisions made hastily. By the time he realizes it, it’s already too late. The opening line “I got 24 minutes to finish all of my sentences” adds to the urgency and desperation felt due to this unfortunate situation.
In relation to bad luck, the song speaks to the trials and errors of love, attributing these circumstances to being unlucky. It captures the emotional toll of regret and the feeling of being chased by bad luck.
Summing Up Our List Of Bad Luck Songs
Our list above showed us that songs tackling bad luck mirror the universal experiences of misfortune. They use the concept of bad luck to articulate circumstances that can sometimes be difficult to express.
It’s worth mentioning that these songs offer more than just an expression of sorrow or regret. They also provide a form of catharsis for both the artists and the listeners. These songs can help us confront our own instances of bad luck.
We hope you liked our compilation and that you’ve found some new favorites. If we missed some songs that must be on the list, let us know. We’ll add them for you.