20 Songs About Pretending

We all pretend sometimes. We put on a brave face for our friends and family, we wear masks to conceal our true feelings, and sometimes we even deceive ourselves into believing something that isn’t true. Pretending is a natural part of life, but it can also be a source of pain and confusion.

This list of songs explores the many different ways that people might choose to pretend. From songs about hiding one’s true self to those about lying and deception, these tracks offer a candid look at the sometimes-messy reality of pretending.

1. “Fake Happy” by Paramore

The most common form of pretending is probably putting on a happy face when you’re anything but. This Paramore song captures that feeling perfectly, with frontwoman Hayley Williams singing about how “I been doing a good job of makin’ ’em think / I’m quite alright.” With over 19 million views on Youtube, it’s clear that this song resonates with a lot of people.

2. “Pretending” by Eric Clapton

Eric Clapton’s “Pretending” is a classic song about deception and self-deception. In the lyrics, Clapton sings about how the woman he’s with is only pretending to be in love with him, and how he’s pretending that he doesn’t know. It’s a sad song, but it’s also a reminder that sometimes the truth is better than living a lie.

3. “World Leader Pretend” by R.E.M.

R.E.M.’s “World Leader Pretend” is a biting political commentary disguised as a pop song. This song is a tribute to Leonard Cohen, using military terms to describe an inner battle.

Sometimes we all need to step back and take a look at the world around us, and this song encourages us to do just that.

4. “Pretend” by Nat King Cole

For fans of jazz and big band music, “Pretend” by Nat King Cole is a classic example of masking one’s emotions.

It’s a lighthearted tune about faking happiness, and how good it can feel to just pretend that everything is okay. It’s one of his most popular tracks which has been covered by various artists over the years.

5. “Pretend It’s OK” by Little Mix

This next song emphasizes how we only have borrowed time and how we should make the most of every moment.

“Pretend It’s OK” by Little Mix is about putting on a brave face in the face of adversity and continuing to move forward even when things are tough. It’s an empowering track that reminds us that we’re all strong enough to get through whatever life throws our way.

6. “Pretend We’re Dead” by L7

“Pretend We’re Dead” by L7 is a punk rock anthem about living in a society that’s toxic and soul-sucking. It’s a call to arms for anyone who feels like they’re stuck in a rut and ready to break free.

The song is empowering and liberating, so if you’re looking for a song to help you let go of your inhibitions, this is the one for you.

7. “Pretend” by Marvin Gaye

Marvin Gaye’s “Pretend” is a classic Motown love song with a twist. It’s actually a cover of an earlier song by Nat King Cole, but Gaye puts his own spin on it. He released this cover in 1965 as part of his A Tribute to the Great Nat “King” Cole album.

8. “So Much for Pretending” by Bryan White

“So Much for Pretending” by Bryan White is a country ballad about a man who’s finally admitting to himself that he’s still in love with his ex-girlfriend.

He’s been pretending not to care, but he can’t keep up the act any longer. This song perfectly captures the feeling of being unable to move on from someone you actually cared about.

9. “Fake Love” by Drake

In “Fake Love” by Drake, the rapper calls out people who only show him love when he’s successful. He’s tired of their “fake love” and he wants nothing to do with them anymore.

This song is perfect for anyone who’s been burned by so-called “friends” who only care about you when you’re doing well.

10. “The Pretender” by Foo Fighters

“The Pretender” by Foo Fighters is a rousing rock song about being fed up with all the phonies in the world.

It’s a call to arms for anyone who’s sick of pretending to be something they’re not. It’s one of the most popular tracks from their Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace album released in 2007.

11. “The Great Pretender” by The Platters

Here’s another hit song about faking it till you make it. “The Great Pretender” by The Platters was released in 1955 and was a massive success.

It’s about a man who’s good at pretending to be something he’s not, but deep down he knows he’s not being genuine. This song has been covered by various artists over the years and has become a pop culture classic.

12. “Just Pretend” by Elvis Presley

Featured in the film, Elvis: That’s the Way It Is, “Just Pretend” is a sweet ballad about finding comfort in someone’s love.

In the song, Presley sings about long-distance love and how it can feel like the person you love is right there with you even when they’re far away. This track is sure to tug at your heartstrings.

13. “Game Of Pretend” by Lindsey Buckingham & Christine McVie

Up next is a light-hearted little tune about the games we play in our relationships called “Game Of Pretend” by Lindsey Buckingham & Christine McVie.

This delightful ditty is all about two lovers who know they’re not really in love, but they go through the motions anyway because it feels good. You can find this gem on the album Lindsey Buckingham, Christine McVie.

14. “Let’s Pretend” by Raspberries


Raspberries were a short-lived but excellent power pop band from the early 1970s. “Let’s Pretend” is a classic example of their hook-laden sound. You can find it on the Fresh album released in 1972 and can still be streamed on all music platforms today.

15. “Can We Pretend” by Pink

Pink is known for her powerhouse vocals and “Can We Pretend” is a perfect example of her vocal range and control.

This synth-pop track appeared on her album Hurts 2B Human and was co-written with Ryan Tedder, Jean Paul Makhlouf, Alex Makhlouf and Samuel Frisch. This track is about wanting to forget the pain of reality and escape into a world of make-believe.

16. “Can’t Pretend” by Tom Odell

From the Long Way Down album, “Can’t Pretend” is a heart-wrenching ballad about a relationship that’s on the rocks.

The lyrics express the feelings of betrayal and pain one feels when one realizes they’ve been lied to. This track showcases Odell’s beautiful voice and is sure to tug at your heartstrings.

17. “Pretend” by The Mavericks

The Mavericks is a band from Miami, Florida. This song is from their album What a Crying Shame, which was released in 1994.

This song is about a man who can’t get over his ex-girlfriend and wants her to pretend that she still loves him. You can really feel the hurt in lead singer Raul Malo’s voice as he sings, “Pretend you’re still in love with me / And things are what they used to be.”

18. “Complicated” by Avril Lavigne

From the one and only Avril Lavigne, this song is about a complicated relationship. It’s the kind of relationship where you’re not sure if you’re together or not, and it makes you feel crazy.

This is one of her most popular songs and it’s easy to see why. It perfectly captures the confusing and frustrating feeling of being in a complicated relationship.

19. “Hallucination” by Regard

“Hallucination” is a song by Kosovo-Albanian DJ and producer Regard. It was released in 2022 and quickly went viral, amassing over 7 million views on YouTube.

The song is about a relationship that’s based on lies and deception. The person you’re with isn’t who they say they are, and you’re just fooling yourself if you think it’s real.

20. “Don’t You Pretend” by Kelly Clarkson

We are finishing the list with “Don’t You Pretend” by Kelly Clarkson. This song is from her album Meaning of Life, which was released in 2017.

It’s a powerful ballad about a toxic relationship. Kelly Clarkson is known for her powerful voice, and she definitely doesn’t hold back in this song. You can listen to it on all the music platforms out there.

Final Thoughts

There you have it, 20 songs about pretending. Whether it’s pretending to be in love, or pretending that everything is okay when it’s not, we’ve all been there.

These songs perfectly capture those feelings. If you’re going through a tough time, or if you just need a reminder that you’re not alone, give them a listen.