50 songs about growing up

Having growing pains? These songs can relate

If songs about growing up teach us anything, it’s that adolescence never really ends. Musicians love the subject, often returning to it multiple times – to look back on childhood, reflecting on teenage years, or simply on the process of getting older. There’s a wealth of wit and wisdom about the ageing process in music – here’s 50 songs about growing up to guide you through the sometimes painful process…

1. ‘1979’ – Smashing Pumpkins

Key lyrics:June bug skipping like a stone / With the headlights pointed at the dawn / We were sure we’d never see an end to it all
What it encapsulates: The nostalgia you never realise you’ll feel for your adolescence.


2. ‘West Coast’ – Fidlar

Key lyrics:All my friends they just stay the same / I’m growing up but nothing’s changing / I’m so sick of this stupid place / It’s so suburban and so boring
What it encapsulates: That restless suburban adolescent itch.

3. ‘Dammit’ – Blink-182

Key lyrics:Everybody’s gone / And I’ve been here for too long / To face this on my own / Well, I guess this is growing up
What it encapsulates: Realising you’re a bit of a fuck-up.

4. ‘Time’ – Pink Floyd

Key lyrics:One day you find ten years have got behind you / No one told you when to run, you missed the starting gun
What it encapsulates: Realising time moves faster when you’re older.


5. ‘Growing Pains’ – Ludacris

Key lyrics:Wanna hang with the big boys and play with the big toys / And be with the people making all that goddamn noise
What it encapsulates: Wanting to get older, and not realising what you’ll lose in the process.

6. ‘Grown Up’ – Danny Brown

Key lyrics:Remember back then we thought we growed up / Rushing as a kid just to be grown up
What it encapsulates: That bit of youth when you’re happy not to be ID’d.

7. ‘In My Life’ – The Beatles

Key lyrics:I know I’ll never lose affection / For people and things that went before / I know I’ll often stop and think about them
What it encapsulates: The people you get to know as you grow older.

8. ‘We’re Going To Be Friends’ – The White Stripes

Key lyrics:When I wake tomorrow I’ll bet / that you and I will walk together again / I can tell that we are gonna be friends
What it encapsulates: Those friends you keep your whole life – and the ones you only think you will.

9.‘Ivy’ – Frank Ocean

Key lyrics:You ain’t a kid no more / We’ll never be those kids again
What it encapsulates: Memories, man. Memories.
Frank doesn’t put his stuff on YouTube any more so please enjoy this cover version by Alessia Cara:


10. ‘Changes’ – David Bowie

Key lyrics:Just gonna have to be a different man / Time may change me / But I can’t trace time
What it encapsulates: Being a work in progress, whether or not you acknowledge it.