I’ll be perfectly honest.
This is not a list I could write myself.
I always hire writers to write about topics that are not my area of expertise. Like my sections on the trumpet or violin.
But these lists of songs are not something I usually need to outsource, because I always know enough music to populate them.
But not this time.
When it comes to songs about fake friends, I quickly realized they are all pop songs. And almost all written by young artists.
My knowledge of pop just isn’t sufficient. And bands like Tool or Soundgarden, etc. have not yet written about bad friends.
So I enlisted the help of someone younger and more knowledge of pop music. Keep reading for their list of great songs about toxic friends.
Table of Contents
- 1 Songs About Fake Friends
- 1.1 Everybody’s Fool by Evanescence
- 1.2 Lie Lie Lie by Joshua Basset
- 1.3 Fake Friends by PS1
- 1.4 The Cut Off by J Cole
- 1.5 Lonely by Matoma ft. MAX
- 1.6 No Time by KSI
- 1.7 On The Road by Post Malone
- 1.8 Real Friends by Camila Cabello
- 1.9 Transparent Soul by Willow Smith ft. Travis Barker
- 1.10 Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing by Set It Off
- 1.11 You’re Not Sorry by Taylor Swift
- 1.12 Roses From My Friends by Ben Harper
- 1.13 All My Friends Are Fake by Tate McRae
- 1.14 Complicated by Avril Lavigne
- 1.15 FAB by JoJo ft. Remy Ma
- 1.16 Fake Friends by Joel Adams
- 2 Songs About Bad Friends: Final Thoughts
Songs About Fake Friends
All of the following songs about bad friends are pop songs, as far as I know. Most were written by young artists, though there is no overlap with my list of songs about being 19. It seems once you reach a certain age, you simply stop caring about fake friends, because you have long ago cut them out of your life.
Everybody’s Fool by Evanescence
Evanescence’s Everybody’s Fool is a track about fake people, or people going to any extent to be completely what they are not, just to be loved and accepted by others.
Amy Lee wrote this song based on her sister, when she felt she (her sister) was becoming one of these fake people. Through the song, she tries to tell her sister to be herself, no matter what. She goes on to say that only when you stop pretending, will you be truly happy.
There are a couple of other interpretations of this song. One: it is a criticism of the church and religion, due to the singer stating that all that isn’t real and cannot save them. Two: the song is about fake celebrities who just lie in their public persona to show people they are happy when the reality is very different.
Lie Lie Lie by Joshua Basset
You may be familiar with Joshua Basset if you watched High School Musical – The Musical series. Basset wrote Lie Lie Lie based on his own bitter experience, when he found out that a friend was spreading lies about him.
The lyrics state that the friend is a habitual liar and that the singer has heard his lies before, but now the friend is spreading those lies to others. He goes on to say that he will be cutting off this fake friend from his life now.
Joshua (and High School Musical) fans may know about his very public breakup with his HSM star Olivia Rodrigo. Olivia wrote a song named Driver’s License about the breakup and a week later, Joshua came up with Lie Lie Lie. Hmmm – where words fail, music speaks.
You may also know that Oliva wrote a second breakup song (she is a big Taylor Swift fan, after all) called Deja Vu. We have an article examining the meaning of the Deja Vu lyrics here.
Fake Friends by PS1
PS1 teamed up with Australian singer Alex Hosking for this 2020 song. It depicts the sad reality of today- that the friends we have on social media aren’t always true friends.
Sure, they may like our posts and videos but, in reality, they might say one thing and mean something else. The video of Fake Friends shows an influencer posting about every aspect of her life and how her friends think she is living it up and comment on her videos – praising her all the time.
After all, the influencer seems to have everything. But then the video also shows that most of what she shows online is a complete exaggeration and that things aren’t always so rosy.
The Cut Off by J Cole
The Cut Off is from Cole’s 2018 album KOD. And, like every other song on this album, it is about addiction. However, in The Cut Off, the singer talks about his addiction to helping his fake friends.
The lyrics mention how Cole keeps sending his friends money (bread) and they don’t bother to keep in touch for months until they need him again – when they need a loan. Cole laments the fact that people take advantage of his kindness and how he has had to cut off some of those fake friends from his help and his life.
Lonely by Matoma ft. MAX
Matoma is a Norwegian DJ who released his song Lonely in 2018, as the second single from his second album One in a Million. American singer MAX lend his vocals to the track.
The lyrics talk about fake friends who are only there when you are in the limelight, but disappear when you are in the trenches. The song is about avoiding all those fake people, who only show up when they want you to pay for their drinks and buy you things.
No Time by KSI
The title of this song might make you wonder how it is about fake friends. In reality, it is based on KSI’s own experience. To those who don’t know, KSI happens to be one of the most subscribed YouTubers of all time and is also the UK’s top influencer.
He started making comedy rap videos for his YouTube channel, which became immensely popular. This popularity drove him to take music seriously. By 2020, KSI had released two music albums.
In No Time, KSI talks about his busy daily schedule, from the moment he wakes up, and also mentions that he encounters a ton of fake people, who are only trying to reap the rewards of his massive success.
On The Road by Post Malone
Post Malone, Billy Wahls, Lil Baby, and Meek Mill wrote this song about the people in their lives who claimed to be a part of their journey to success, when, in reality, the artists had achieved everything on their own.
The song goes on to say that they recognize these fake people who sit back and enjoy life while the artists are struggling, and later claim they have been with them the whole time to help.
The lyrics also talk about how people left them when the hard work started, but came back into their orbit when they started reaping the rewards of their hard work.
Real Friends by Camila Cabello
Camila Cabello wrote Real Friends because she was going through the heartbreak of finding out that her friends were unreliable and had let her down time and time again.
Later, in an interview with Elle, Camila went on to say: “I think the only way to know (who your genuine friends are) is time. I feel like there are instances and circumstances in your life that always change. You can think someone’s your friend, and it could be out of convenience, or there was something in it for them, or whatever.”
Transparent Soul by Willow Smith ft. Travis Barker
In Transparent Soul, Willow Smith talks about how she had several friends who were with her just for her celebrity status. She wrote the song at the beginning of the pandemic after reading a quote by a Hindu guru RadhaNath Swami.
Swami talks about a pure soul and when we come in contact with a pure or mirror-like soul, we start seeing the ugliness and beauty of our inner life. Willow was so inspired by this quote, that she simply had to make a song about it.
In Transparent Soul Willow diverted from her usual style. She attributes it to watching her mom’s (Jada-Pinkett-Smith) performance in her rock band Wicked Wisdom.
Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing by Set It Off
Cody Carson, the lead singer of Set It Off, wrote Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing after being betrayed by several people he had trusted deeply.
The song is based on a couple of nursery rhymes and children’s stories like Baa-Baa Black Sheep, Jack and The Bean Stalk, Jack and Jill, Jack be Nimble, etc.
Carson said in an interview that he had come into the music industry as a naive young man who thought everyone in this world was a nice person and they would all be friends and root for each other. He was proven wrong by those negative experiences and betrayals and used his song-writing skills to vent.
You’re Not Sorry by Taylor Swift
Like many of Taylor’s songs, You’re Not Sorry is also based on one of her boyfriends. This guy kept lying to her over and over and had many secrets that he hid from her. One by one, she would find out about them and keep hoping he would turn around – but he didn’t.
Taylor wrote this song for everyone who has been apologized to by an insincere person in their lives, who keeps saying they are sorry, but doesn’t really mean it.
The remixed version of You’re Not Sorry was featured in an episode of CSI (Crime Scene Investigation) co-starring the singer herself. This version even went on to feature in the Hot 100.
Roses From My Friends by Ben Harper
Harper expresses a bitter truth in Roses From My Friends:
The stones from my enemies
These wounds will mend
But I cannot survive
The roses from my friends
In other words, if you are hurt by your enemies, it will hurt but you’ll get over it; if you are betrayed by someone you considered a friend, then you might never ever get over that betrayal.
All My Friends Are Fake by Tate McRae
Young Canadian singer Tate McRae laments in this song that she wishes she had someone she could trust and share her worries with, but unfortunately, loyalty does not come for free. All her friends are fake and they just want her for the day, until they don’t need her.
Complicated by Avril Lavigne
Complicated is about a fake relationship – rather, a fake boyfriend. The singer talks about how he is all sweet and nice when it is just the two of them, but when he gets together with his friends, he becomes fake and acts like a fool.
Avril later stated in an interview that Complicated was a song she wrote about life in general as well as about fake people, fake relationships, and how things are not always simple.
The appealing song went on to become No. 3 on the Adult Contemporary chart. Commendable, really, since Lavigne was just 17 when she wrote it.
FAB by JoJo ft. Remy Ma
JoJo remains one of the most underrated artists despite her unique style. She wrote FAB (which is an abbreviation for Fake-Ass Bitches) about her fair-weather friends, who came in and went out of her life.
The lyrics go on to describe how the singer is all alone and her friends abandon her when she needs them the most. They all smile in front of you, but behind your back, they do not wish you well. They also eat all your food and don’t help with the dishes.
Fake Friends by Joel Adams
Australian singer-songwriter Joel Adams released Fake Friends in 2018. It is also included on his 2020 self-titled debut EP. In the lyrics Adams addresses his girlfriend, telling her that she is hanging out with her wrong crowd.
He tells her they are fake friends, who would never be there for her when it counts. He wonders why she loves them despite the fact that they are never there for her when she needs them.
He concludes that she simply can’t be alone for even a brief moment, so she would rather have the company of people who don’t care about her than not have company at all.
Songs About Bad Friends: Final Thoughts
Reading through the list of songs about fake friends, you probably noticed what I did: that they are all written by young pop stars. Older artists and those in other genres seem not to care enough about toxic friends to compose a song about them. Who knows why.
Of course, I am happy to be proven wrong, as always. If you know any songs about bad friends in other genres are written by older musicians, please let me know in the comments below. I would love to add them to this list.
There are cases where fake friends have led those they’ve hurt or betrayed to end up hurting themselves in some way. Eating disorders are a possible result. We also have a list of songs about anorexia, bulimia and other eating disorders that might help.
Colleen O'Donnell says
Recent song by abit older band! My favourite band , the boys from Ontario,,, Billy Talent,,,. Hanging out with all the wrong people,,, from latest incredible must – have album,,, Crisis of Faith,,, I have it in white vinyl!!!