All right, champ, it’s the big day. It’s all been building to this. You’ve had the montage, you’ve looked into the eye of your challengers and said, Not today. Doves keep bursting into flight when you walk into rooms. (Actually, that part you could live without. It’s a little annoying.) But, it’s time. Time to hang tough and prove you’re the fastest, strongest, smartest person going. Or, maybe it’s not that big and actually you just have a bunch of chores to get through, and that laundry just refuses to clean and fold itself no matter how long you leave it alone. Well, do we have the playlist for you! This is a rundown of the top 10 songs about winning. As ever we’ve kept it broad so that everyone can find a song here they connect with. Get ready to feel like a winner, baby!
#10 – Diddy ft. The Notorious B.I.G., Busta Rhymes – “Victory”
‘Yo the sun don’t shine forever, but as long as it’s here then we might as well shine together’
Kicking off our victory parade is none other than Diddy with “Victory”. This is perhaps an underground cut you won’t find soundtracking an inspirational-quote compilation. But, as it contains the last verses Biggie recorded, put down merely a day before his death, and sampling Bill Conti’s “Going the Distance” from a little movie called Rocky, this is more than just another East Coast workout. While this could be seen as a cold, grisly thing shot through with trademark crime references and aggressive language, we see it a different way. This is the sound of Biggie going out swinging, ensuring that his legacy as one of the greatest to ever do it is upheld beyond his death.
#9 – Pharoahe Monch – “Push”
It’s right there. In the first two seconds. Close your eyes and feel the hairs stand up on your arms with that brass break then take a breath. This thing is just getting started. If you’re a believer that sometimes its more about the journey than the destination, then this is your song.
Pharoahe Monch is here to remind you that sometimes winning is all about the grind. “Push” is that gritty anthem for the underdogs turning setbacks into comebacks. This is nothing less than pure confidence in audio format. After all, who waits nearly two minutes to come in on their own track? This is a calling card, a rallying cry, the world’s hardest pep talk. This track is for the warriors pushing through the struggle. Pharoahe Monch has got you, all the rest is just details.
#8 – Sia – “Unstoppable”
When Sia says she’s unstoppable, you better believe it. This is the ultimate self-empowerment anthem. Whether you’re gearing up for a workout, a job interview, or just conquering a Tuesday, “Unstoppable” is your musical pep talk.
It went somewhat under the radar on its release in 2016, but this is a sonic powerhouse that radiates empowerment from the first note. The song is a beacon of strength, its pulsating beat and Sia’s commanding vocals creating an anthem for resilience and self-belief. If you’re having a tough day, go on and treat yourself, throw this on and see if it helps. Sia’s delivery is both fierce and uplifting, propelling the song into a realm of unyielding determination. The empowering nature of “Unstoppable” lies in its ability to instill a sense of invincibility, urging individuals to embrace their inner warriors and face life’s battles head-on. It’s more than a song; it’s the audio equivalent of a self-help lecture, and the message couldn’t be more clear: If you say that you’re unstoppable enough times, you can’t help but believe it.
#7 – Journey – “Don’t Stop Believin’”
In case it hasn’t sunk in yet, if you came here looking for subtlety, you’re in the wrong place. This, er, is not exactly a reserved tune. From the overwrought lyrics, to the chiming keys, to the frankly wild choice to include a fretboard-tapping guitar solo (one of two, of course; this is the ’80s, after all) before the rest of the band has joined in, this tune has got its warrior’s heart right there on its sleeve.
Now, who can resist belting out the lyrics to “Don’t Stop Believin’”? Journey’s timeless anthem is the soundtrack to every late-night victory drive and the go-to song for karaoke champions. It’s not just a song; it’s a journey (pun intended) through the highs and lows of life. If the song’s stories of down-and-outs just waiting for a comeback aren’t true-to-life enough, the fact the song itself had an unlikely comeback after being used in “The Sopranos”’ infamous cut-to-black finale is too perfect. When that chorus hits, you’re not just singing; you’re declaring to the world that you believe in your own greatness.
#6 – Elton John – “I’m Still Standing”
Cue the piano and the flamboyant outfits because Sir Elton John is here to let the world know that he’s still standing—and so are you. No one does survival in quite the same way as the Rocket Man, Reginald Dwight. After all, you don’t stay on top for as long as he has, alongside overcoming his own demons and campaigning for LGBTQ+ rights, without learning to roll with the punches. One of the strengths of longtime collaborator Bernie Taupin’s lyrics is the clarity with which he delivers them. When they want to say something, they have a way of cutting right through to the point. This song is a fine example. There is no need to second guess what they might be trying to tell us. “I’m Still Standing” is the anthem for those who’ve weathered the storms and come out on the other side stronger than ever. Elton’s voice and the upbeat melody make this track a celebration of resilience. It’s like a musical victory dance in platform shoes.
#5 – Katy Perry – Roar
There are hits, there are monster hits, and then there are Max Martin joints. The super-producer behind everyone from Britney Spears and Backstreet Boys to Taylor Swift and the Weeknd has worked frequently with Perry, but never this successfully. A #1 hit around the world, Perry moved on from her manic-pixie-pinup-girl schtick on her fourth album Prism and translated personal experience into something more universal with “Roar”. The song is a mesh of references and influences, from taming the jungle in one of the most-watched music videos of all time, to channelling Rocky in the chorus. This song doesn’t just feel like it could take over the world, it actually did.
If you’ve ever needed an anthem to unleash your inner roar, Katy Perry has you covered. “Roar” is the battle cry for anyone ready to face challenges head-on. The catchy melody and empowering lyrics make this track a go-to for those moments when you need a confidence boost. So, stand tall, channel your inner lioness, and let the world hear you roar!
#4 – Destiny’s Child – “Survivor”
Rarely has a performer been so self-assured regarding their future greatness. Yes, we’re talking about Beyonce. No, this isn’t a Beyonce song. But, with all due respect to Kelly and Michelle, we all know who the child of destiny actually was. This, written in response to a dig about three members having already left the band in a manner reminiscent of the TV show Survivor, is an early indication of Queen Bey’s own will to power. Simultaneously taking the high road and writing an absolutely sublime R&B song has become something of a Beyonce trademark in the convening years. This proved that, even at 20 years old, Beyonce was determined to survive whatever life threw her way and do so while maintaining her dignity and class. “Survivor” is not just a song; it’s a declaration of strength and independence. Whether you’re convalescing from a breakup or cramming for that exam, Destiny’s Child are there to remind you that you’re a survivor, and you’ll keep on surviving.
#3 – Eminem – “Lose Yourself”
Em may have come through as the self-styled “king of controversy”; thumbing his nose and, lets face it, grabbing his crotch at Middle America, but he was always more than just a foul-mouthed gimmick. This was proven to all but the most hard-line of critics with the release of his semi-biographical 2002 film, 8 Mile. 8 Mile is an excellent film: part biography, part hip-hop love letter. “Lose Yourself” was penned for the soundtrack and is an absolutely clear-eyed deconstruction of how it feels to close in on a dream that you have staked your life on. Don’t take our word for it either; the Academy agreed, bestowing the song with an Oscar—no mean feat for a rap song. Whether you’re about to step onto a stage, into the boardroom, or onto the field, Eminem’s words are a reminder that success is yours for the taking. Life-changing moments are few; when you encounter one, seize it by losing yourself in the music, the moment.
#2 – Queen – “We Are the Champions”
Come on, you knew this would show up eventually. The fascinating thing about Queen and their legendary bandleader Freddie Mercury, is that among all the camp, operatic theatricality in which many lesser acts would have lost themselves, Queen always retained an arch self-awareness. They wrote this song specifically to create a moment of communion with audiences—the titular ‘We’—during their live shows. That’s the official line anyway but, crucially, Queen were the champions, and they knew it.
Is there a more iconic victory anthem than Queen’s “We Are the Champions”? This legendary track is the sound of triumph, the taste of victory, and the sweet melody of success. From stadium celebrations to personal victories, Queen’s anthem has been the soundtrack to it all.
#1 – Survivor – “Eye Of the Tiger”
Lets not get into cod-philosophy here. This is no time for a chin-stroking think piece. This is the eye of the tiger. We’re out in the streets, cold, broke and lonely sure, but we ain’t done yet. Don’t you count us out.
“Eye Of the Tiger” is the ultimate anthem of champions. It doesn’t just motivate; it transforms you into a relentless force. We could describe it, sure, we could tell you about the driving riffs and syncopated rhythm, how just like a good boxer every note seems to hit when you aren’t quite set for it. But we’re not going to. Because it’s time now. Go out and do what you need to do, don’t waste this moment.
Look, we know you’re too pumped up to read this outro; we can’t say we blame you. This stuff should come with a disclaimer: Warning! May cause dangerous levels of self-regard, spontaneous success and sustained crushing of days. If nothing on this list gets your motor running, then maybe it’s time to replace your car!
|Name of the Artist
|Name of the Song
|“Eye Of the Tiger”
|“We Are the Champions”
|“I’m Still Standing”
|“Don’t Stop Believin’”
|Diddy ft. The Notorious B.I.G, Busta Rhymes