"Last Resort" is the debut single by American rock band Papa Roach. The song first appeared on the soundtrack to the 2000 film Ready to Rumble and appeared on Papa Roach's second studio album, Infest, shortly after. "Last Resort" was released as the album's lead single on March 7, 2000, and reached number 57 on the US BillboardHot 100 in December 2000. It also topped the BillboardModern Rock Tracks chart for seven weeks and became a top-10 hit in Austria, Germany, Portugal, and the United Kingdom.
"I think the lyrics had a lot to do with it. Because originally the song was about a friend of ours that we grew up with, and he was going through a rough time in his life. And there was that suicide element to it, just like growing up and the struggles of life and questioning whether or not you want to keep going on, and I think a lot of people connected with that. For the kids who had also gone through those kinds of feelings, those kinds of emotions, the lyrics really helped connect with that song."
Papa Roach vocalist Jacoby Shaddix described the song as a "cry for help". He also said "That song was about one of my best friends, and then 12–13 years later, that song was about me. I found myself in that place, where I was like, 'I can't go on this way. I can't do it anymore.'" Shaddix said that "Last Resort" is about a roommate he had who tried to commit suicide. Shaddix then said: "We caught him and took him to the hospital and he went into a mental facility and then he came out the other side better. He actually found God through the process, which was kind of crazy. So he's on a whole different path of his life now, which is cool. I'm really proud of him for the changes he's made in his life."
"Last Resort" is influenced by hip hop music. Both The Fugees and Wu-Tang Clan influenced the song. Although the song does not feature piano, the song was composed with piano. Bassist Tobin Esperance said: "I've written songs on piano – actually, 'Last Resort' with that whole little riff/melody thing, that's done on the piano. And then I just transferred it to the guitar." Speaking about the making of and inspiration behind the song, Esperance said:
"Well, of course at the time we were listening to a lot of Wu Tang Clan, a lot of hip-hop, and a lot of Fugees and a lot of East Coast hip-hop, and we were sampling classical music behind simple pocket grooves. I was playing something on piano and Jacoby came in and started scatting over it. And we just did our typical mixing of a funky kind of hip-hop groove with a punk rock chorus. And that song just came together like that. Jacoby said, 'That's a cool riff, keep playing that noodle' – we called it a noodle. We did it over and over again, and Jacoby put his lyrics to it, and the song just morphed into what it is now. No one ever thought it was going to be a huge, huge hit, but I guess you never expect anything, really, when you're first starting out."
The music video was directed by Marcos Siega. In the music video, the band performs on a floor surrounded by fans. Throughout the video, the camera zooms in on some fans near the stage and shows them in places that appear to be their rooms. In their rooms, they appear to be possibly depressed. Though it had apparently been claimed that this is meant to show how people might not look depressed but still are, the purpose was more so to show the people being taken from where they didn't want to be to where they did – from lonely despair to the rock show where they could have fun with their friends. There are many posters for radio station 98 Rock. This is the rock station out of Sacramento, California, that the band credits for jump starting their career. Inside the Infest album booklet are thanks to DJs of the radio station. About five hundred people, including local fans, came to the shooting of the music video for "Last Resort".
On the MuchMusic version – which utilizes the radio edit – the word "fuck" is completely removed with no replacement. On the MTV and Vevo version, the words "cut", "bleeding", "die", "life" (from the line "if I took my life tonight"), and "suicide" were also muted. After original airings of the video on television, some networks went so far as to additionally censor words such as "suffocation", and even the title of the song itself.