“Fought & Lost” by Sam Ryder (ft. Brian May)

“Fought & Lost” was released on 24 May 2023, as part of the soundtrack to an Apple TV+ series called Ted Lasso. More specifically, it can be found on the 3rd season, 11th episode of Ted Lasso, an outing titled “Mom City”, which was first aired on the date above. And the tune instantly caught on with fans since, as of this writing a day later, it is sitting at sixth place on iTunes Top Pop Songs list.


Sam Ryder is an English singer with a discography dating back to 2021. Sam’s biggest hit to date would be his debut single, “Space Man”, which came out in 2022. Thus far he has dropped one studio LP – “There’s Nothing but Space, Man!” – which did manage to top the UK Albums Chart.

Meanwhile Brian May, who also hails from England, is of course a longstanding member of the highly-regarded rock band Queen. May provided lead guitar to “Fought and Lost”, thus marking his first collaboration with Ryder. 

Sam Ryder, alongside the song’s producers, Tome Howe and Jamie Hartman, who wrote this song.

Fought & Lost


The first verse sorta gives the impression that the vocalist and addressee are celebrating some type of great accomplishment. Or let’s say that the pronoun usage in this passage leaves something to be desired in terms of understandability. But most simply broken down, the vocalist is congratulating the addressee due to some kind of publicly-recognized feat the latter has accomplished. But at the same time, the selfsame vocalist comes off as if he is very much bitter at this success.

At first, it is not clear what those observations have to do with the thesis sentiment of the song. Perhaps it is somehow related to the storyline of Ted Lasso. In any event, the pre-chorus which follows the first verse rather puts forth the notion that “some of us are born to fight… and fight some more”. 

And as for the title/chorus itself, it revolves around the old adage “better to have fought and lost than never fought at all”.

In other words, “Fought & Lost” is a song of resilience. Or as implied in the chorus, the vocalist is facing an enemy who may currently be victorious. But Sam is not going to give up the fight, coming back year after year if he has to, until he prevails.

“So, we will see you here
Same time, same place, next year
And you may win this battle but you’ll never win the war
Better to have fought and lost than never fought at all”

The second verse then verifies that as far as the first verse is concerned, the vocalist was referring to the success of his rival. In other words, the reason why Sam is congratulating the addressee while coming off as if he’s personally salty is because said addressee is his competitor. 

Therefore, those congratulations would be sarcastic, in a way. And concurrently the vocalist is looking forward to his own success, i.e. taking the addressee’s place, in the near future. So the pre-chorus that follows the second verse centers on a related piece of advice, i.e. being able to handle temporary failure or losses in the name of reaching the ultimate goal.

The bridge then serves as Sam’s vision of the future, with him now being victorious over his rival. The reason he is fantasizing about that moment is in large part due to the expectation that then, said rival would remember how it feels to lose. 

Or perhaps we can close by saying that this song is based on the premise that everyone loses at some point. But as for those who do ultimately prove victorious after initial defeat, they are ones who decide to persist instead of giving up. 

So more accurately, it can be concluded that “Fought & Lost” is rather based on another popular adage unspoken in the lyrics, that of ‘quitters never win, and winners never quit’.

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