Life Ain't Fair and the World Is Mean

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"Life Ain't Fair and the World Is Mean"
Single by Sturgill Simpson
from the album High Top Mountain
Released October 22, 2012 (2012-10-22)[1]
Format Digital download
Genre Country
Length 2:06[2]
Songwriter(s) Sturgill Simpson
Producer(s) Dave Cobb
Sturgill Simpson singles chronology
"Life Ain't Fair and the World Is Mean"
"Living the Dream"

"Life Ain't Fair and the World Is Mean"
"Living the Dream"

"Life Ain't Fair and the World Is Mean" is a song written and recorded by American country music artist Sturgill Simpson. It was released in October 2012 as the first and only single from his debut album High Top Mountain.


The song a personal story about Simpson coming to grips with the struggles and injustices of life. The song also includes several references to traditional and outlaw country songs, including the Country supergroup The Highwaymen in the line "daddy was a highwayman, but he never wrote any ole country song", Hank Williams, Jr.'s A Country Boy Can Survive with "I still got the wife and the dog, but I swapped my truck out for a van." Buford Abner's song (which Simpson would later cover) "Long White Line" and Willie Nelson's "The Promiseland" with "gonna hit the road find the end of that long white line in the promised land". Loretta Lynn's hit song "Coal Miner's Daughter" is referenced in the line "...but he raised a proud coal miner's daughter and I'm proud to be her son.". Also referenced is Bob Seger's "Turn the Page" in "ain't gotta read between the lines, you just gotta turn the page".

Critical reception[edit]

Trigger of Saving Country Music gave the song a positive review, giving it Two guns way up and heavily praising both Simpson's performance as well the songwriting, stating that "The magic of 'Life Ain’t Fair' is the way it trivializes all the issues it raises by simply pointing out the obvious: that life’s unfairness is inherent, and complaining about it or using it as an excuse to not pursue your dreams is foolish. It’s cynical and inspirational all at the same time, and that feat of acrobatics can’t be performed without some acute dexterity and prowess with the pen."[3] In their review of the album, website Something Else! also praised the song, saying that "The song starts with a record executive telling him what to do to sell more records. In response, Sturgill sings, “The most outlaw thing that I ever done was give a good woman a ring. That’s the way it goes, life ain’t fair and the world is mean.”"[4]

In television[edit]

The song was featured on "How Do You Like Me Now?", the fifth episode of the third season of Hart of Dixie.[5]


  1. ^ "Life Ain't Fair & the World Is Mean - Sturgill Simpson - Music Storage". Retrieved 2 October 2015. 
  2. ^ "Life Ain't Fair and the World Is Mean - Sturgill Simpson". Allmusic. Retrieved October 2, 2015. 
  3. ^ Trigger (October 13, 2012). "Sturgill Simpson's "Life Ain't Fair & The World Is Mean"". Saving Country Music. Retrieved October 2, 2015. 
  4. ^ Trigger (June 10, 2013). "Sturgill Simpson - High Top Mountain (2013)". Something Else!. Retrieved October 2, 2015. 
  5. ^ "Life Ain't Fair and the World Is Mean - Sturgill Simpson - TV Fanatic". TV Fanatic. Retrieved October 2, 2015.