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Youth Explained by Songs: How Music Described Teens Over Time
Youth Described by Music
Everyone experienced youth in their lives: the period in which you are carefree, the same many people want to live another time. School, girlfriends and boyfriends, parties with friends... youth is full of memories for many people, while other ones are living this period: some of these enjoy being young while other ones want to become adult as fast as possible. Whatever is (or was) your experience as a young person, youth is a very important topic which has been also widely covered by many songwriters. In this article I will list some songs talking about young people and I will describe what particular aspects of youth are described by music, taking in exam songwriters of the past and also the actual pop stars.
Alright - Supergrass
Alright is a famous song published by Supergrass (a rock band who was very famous especially at the end of the last century, and in fact the song belongs to an album released in 1995). Alright starts to highlight some typical aspects of youth:
We are young, we run green
Keep our teeth nice and clean
See our friends, see the sights
Feel alright— Supergrass
Young people are described first of all as boys who have not so much money: if you have a family supporting you that is not a problem, while for people belonging to families with financial problems, or not having a family who support them at all, youth is also made of "running green": in this case, going to the university, eating and staying in a rented room, while working in the free time is the typical life of the young person who is gradually starting to build his future.
After talking about money, another aspect of youth is highlighted: physical aspect. Young people look generally better than older ones: nice teeth symbolize this.
The last typical element of youth mentioned in the song is the moment in which boys and girls hang out with their friends. This is something everyone who has a group of friends does often, but it is clear young people tend to have more occasions of hanging out: discos, parties... being carefree means also enjoying life more often!
Got some cash, bought some wheels
Took it out 'cross the fields
Lost control, hit a wall
We are strange in our world
The last important aspect of youth mentioned by the song is a general rebellion: buying some wheels and hitting a wall is an example of the desire of "owning the world" for a little time. They are also strange "in their worlds": youth is full of surprises and it's beauty consists of being able to live freely without caring about being normal for other people.
Avril Lavigne Songs
Avril Lavigne is maybe one of the most famous pop singers when talking about youth in her songs: all her creations are in some way related to this topic, so choosing a specific song to analyze is impossible. However, there are some pieces from her discography wich may be particularly considered.
Singing Radiohead at the top of our lungs
With the boom box blaring as we're falling in love
I got a bottle of whatever, but its getting us drunk
Singing here's to never growing up— Avril Lavigne
This is a part of the song "Here's to Never Growing Up": I quoted it, even if the whole song describes a specific aspect of youth. This song highlights parties with friends as a main element belonging to young culture. These parties are described in a very explicit way, also by talking about particular aspects, like "going hard the weekend" or "getting drunk". Finally music is something really appreciated by boys and girls, who "sing at the top of their lungs".
We were living so wild and free
Acting stupid for fun
All we needed was love
We were running red lights
We were going all night
Didn't care about anything— Avril Lavigne
What is the aspect you most like of youth?
This other part is extracted from "17" song. Being seventeen is the main topic of it, but in this case youth is not the main theme, even if present: in fact the song talks about love mainly, even if it is specifically between a boy and a girl when they were seventeen, so that is the reason youth is still a important topic.
In this song, being rebel is considered something normal of being seventeen, just like in "Alright": in this case, the topic is highlighted by expressions like "we were running red lights". Living wild and free, running all night, don't caring about anything: being careless is another characteristic mentioned by this song, even if in this case it is associated also with freedom and with the sensation of "being at the top of the world".
In general, talking about Avril Lavigne songs, we can say love in youth age is a topic which comes out very often, even if being rebel and having full parties are two main things which are considered essential by the Canadian singer.
Kesha - Die Young
Young hearts, out our minds
Running 'til we outta time
Wild child's lookin' good
Living hard just like we should
Don't care who's watching when we tearing it up (You Know)
That magic that we got nobody can touch (For sure)— Kesha
Die Young is a popular song from Kesha, even played in many discos sometimes. The song talks about youth and, in particular, about parties, just like the other examples. Kesha's lyrics highlights in particular the energy of movements and the fact young people are always in search of something at parties. Two important aspects which describe life of teenagers on the Saturday or Friday nights.
Rebecca Black - Friday
Friday is a song which became popular after it has been featured in Glee TV series (it has been made a cover song by Glee Cast). However the original version has been realized by Rebecca Black, who intended to describe just a thing: parties on Friday night. Just like in Die Young, nights at the disco, parties and entertainment are the main topics featured in this song. However in this one also some elements belonging to daily life are present (in the first part of the song actions like taking the bus and having cereals at breakfast are described). There are finally references to car driving, in the fast lanes and in the highway: similar situations to the ones described in "Cool Kids" by Echosmith (which is also mentioned in this article) and in "Fast Car" by Jonas Blue (another beautiful song which can be associated to youth, even if young people are not explicitly mentioned there, and that is the reason I have not included in this article).
Echosmith - Cool Kids <-> Glee Cast - Loser Like Me
The two songs by Echosmith and by Glee Cast are not related, however I wanted to compare them because they describe two different type of young people:
- Cool Kids describes boys who are popular, carefree and live without any problem in their life. They are considered invincible and trendy: they are at the top of the world.
- Losers are the opposite: boys who are bullied at school and who are not popular. Glee Cast realized this song as an autobiography of their lives at McKinley High School (it is obviously a fictional autobiography, as Glee is a TV series).
Tinie Tempah - Girls Like
This last song does not describe explicitly youth, however I mentioned it because "girls" and "boys" are the terms used in the lyrics. It does not describe particular events young people experience, but a specific aspect they start to experience: sexuality. "I know what boys like" is played on the stereotype which wants guys only interested in sex.
The songs analyzed in this article describe several aspects of youth: being rebel, careless and free. They also describe physical aspect, the desire of hanging out on nights and also sexual desire. This article meant only to analyze some examples of songs, but obviously there are also many other songs in the world talking about youth.
Have you any other song to add to the list? Feel free to comment this article with the songs about youth you like most!
© 2016 Alessio Ganci