In this list, you will find the best songs about growing up that will touch on what it feels like to be a teenager but also talk about how there is no guidebook to adulthood.
On one hand, growing up is the most exciting thing on the planet. All of that sexual exploration and the freedom of not being under someone’s roof is an experience like none other.
But on the other hand, growing up sucks. We all remember our high school years vividly — the awkwardness, the drama, and the raging hormones. Some of us have found that our adult lives aren’t so different from those days we spent in class, listening to our crazed teachers ramble on about algebraic equations or some other nonsense we didn’t care for as a teenager. It can get pretty tough sometimes!
Taking into account all above-said, there’s no denying that we have to go through the whole growing-up process in order to finally understand what it means to become a mature adult.
In fact, life is a learning experience both with its ups and downs, and growing up is just a part of learning more about yourself and those around you. And believe me, life, as well as growing up, has a lot of fun and interesting things in store for us, so get moving!
Here are 20 of the best songs about growing up and I hope you enjoy them:
- Alphaville – Forever Young
There is no better way to start than with this masterpiece from one of the most vivid storytellers of our time!
This song will always be relevant. Who doesn’t want to be forever young?
For any young person reading this, savor every moment; treat people right, be happy and no matter how hard life gets, try to locate the shimmer of bright hope and live within its enclosed shelters.
There is no point in living a depressing life, if you choose to keep living, then choose to be happy and savor every moment. You will turn around and you’ll be 60 breaking some bones while you try to sit down (not to scare you!)
- Adele – When We Were Young
Growing up sometimes means separating from people you grew up with or even fell in love with when you were young; sometimes the responsibilities involved in growing up mean people get separated.
Meeting up later in life and sometimes you don’t recognize them or even the shadows of their younger selves, the one you grew accustomed to, all the memories you shared including fearing growing old, but such is life and we have no control over its events- they sometimes precede our coherent capabilities.
Listening to Adele is preferable to seeing a therapist because she expresses what we are feeling and gives language to emotions.
“It was just like a movie…it was just like a song”
- Passenger – When We Were Young
“Do you remember when we were young?” is the question of the day.
Growing up nobody ever thinks they will ever grow old, at least we all feel immortal or something but once old age comes knocking, we are left with a nostalgic trail of how just yesterday, we were bustling with youthful energy and had the world at the palm of our hands – now we just sit back on our recliners, beer in hand and watch some boring soccer game at the television!
This song hits one to the deepest parts of their souls and reminds us to be totally in the present- live by the moment and every time you feel your heartbeat; be thankful for the gift of life!
- The Killers – When You Were Young
“Sometimes you close your eyes and see the place where you used to live” kills me every time.
I remember when this song came out like it was yesterday, going to high school with no care in the world, and now with a significant amount of age to demand respect in family gatherings, I still miss the simplicity of youth and this genuine song is a reminder of that.
As you get older, this is one of the songs about growing up that takes on new meaning and hits you harder and that’s what makes it a certified classic.
- Macklemore & Ryan Lewis – Growing Up (Sloane’s Song) ft. Ed Sheeran
No one is ever quite prepared for that moment they get a baby- it’s one of the musings involved in growing up.
This is one of those songs about growing up that takes you on a beautiful and reflective journey of a young man who is about to become a father and the fear, thrill, hope and nervousness all combine in this phase all at once.
Will you be there to watch them take their first steps? And utter their first words? How long will they get to wrap their tiny fingers on your thumb?
Just turn the volume up, close your eyes, lay back and plunge yourself into this deeply relatable melody!
- Avril Lavigne – Here’s to Never Growing Up
Raise a bottle and toast to staying young forever and never growing up!
I feel bad for the people that didn’t grow up with Avril- the 2000s were special and every teen girl wanted to be like her.
It’s scary how time flies; you just blink once and that song you love is over a decade old! Been listening to this ever since I was a teenager and even now I still love it as it reminds me of the happy moments we got to live without so much a care in the world and this is a message to the younger generation; enjoy it while it lasts!
- NF – When I Grow Up
This is deeply relatable and I mean that literally; it reflects that moment in life when we want to craft our own identities and vocations and face up against individuals who urge us to choose a different path.
We all choose what we get to be when we grow up and if you’ve ever been stuck in the midst of chasing your ambitions or fulfilling other people’s dreams for you, this is the song for you!
You will appreciate how his lyrics progress as a story. It’s not just random lines you have to decipher.
You hear it, you get it, you feel it and you absolutely love it.
Once you discover NF, you don’t want anything else. We can all look back and say officially that “NF succeeded in taking trash from the industry!”
Fun fact: NF is one of the few people who can rap in a garbage truck and make a great song!
- Ruel – Growing Up Is
It is funny how we all at some point want to badly grow up and once we do, we realize it wasn’t as glamorous as we imagined it in our wildest dreams.
Growing up is strange and weird; it’s hard- the broken hearts, paying bills, losing friends, questioning everything we are, making amends and then restarting all over again!
Growing up is moving away, crashing cars, losing everything you made, and drowning in your mistakes.
Ladies and gentlemen, that’s growing up for you and it’s inevitable.
Alexa, play for me Growing Up Is by Ruel!
- Lukas Graham – 7 Years
“Remember life and then your life becomes a better one” feels deeper every day.
We spent our whole childhood wanting to grow up, and we will spend our whole adulthood wishing we were kids again!
“7 Years” hits different every day and will always stick to the mind of a listener from the first listen.
Life is too short, time flies by; just don’t waste it! Once you were 7 years old and soon you’ll be 60 years old- make the moments count!
This is one of those songs about growing up that makes you feel like your childhood is so far away and the best thing about it is that it forces you to think of the future- thank you Lukas for such a relatable masterpiece!
- Khalid – Young Dumb & Broke
This is the only song out there that makes you feel good about being a teenager.
Those last days and moments in high school where you get to relish in the fun times you had counted for everything!
Is it just me, or does Khalid always sound so calm and collected in his recordings?
Sadness and the realization that nothing is permanent flood over me as I listen to this song.
- Snoop Dogg & Wiz Khalifa – Young, Wild and Free ft. Bruno Mars
11 years since this release and still hits all the right spots; tell you what, old times are gold times!
This song just captures perfectly the great period in your life between your late teens and early twenties. No responsibility, nothing to worry about, and only your whole life ahead of you.
I can promise you that this masterpiece will bang till the end of time and if you are young coming through life, sing with me,
“So what we get drunk
So what we smoke weed
We’re just having fun
We don’t care who sees
We go out
That’s how it’s supposed to be living young, and wild and free…”
- Bruce Springsteen – Growin’ Up
People make music, Bruce makes memories.
This is an all-time magnificent classic that takes us through the odyssey of growing up and growing old.
The fascinating thing is that his lyrics had a genuine poetical quality back then and this album was on a different level.
Great artist, a great man, and a master lyricist who exemplifies authentic artistry like no other artist from his generation.
For all those who are afraid of growing up and rightly so, this is one stunningly relatable record to sink your worries into!
- Dua Lipa – Boys Will Be Boys
Love or hate Dua, she was speaking only facts in this song.
The contrast between, “boys will be boys” and “girls will be women” is powerful. It highlights how young girls are sexualized long before they become women. They’re seen, physically, as women before they hit adulthood. And because they mature ‘faster’, they’re not only expected to be more mature than boys emotionally but they’re told to be ever so mindful of how they present themselves physically when they’re around boys.
Meanwhile “boys will be boys” at any age because that’s just how they are. This song is just the strongest message out there and shows the real and sometimes ugly picture of growing up as a boy or a girl!
- Cyndi Lauper – Girls Just Want to Have Fun
There is not much fun in growing old and looking back with regret on all of the good times you avoided and beautiful moments you failed to curve when you were young- it hurts like hell and can result in melancholic death.
So live your life the best way possible for you don’t know what the future holds.
As an 80’s kid, I have loved Cyndi’s music all my life. She continues to grow as an artist and possesses that incredible voice that when paired with her magical melodies creates splendorous anthems that will always ring through generations!
- Billy Idol – Sweet Sixteen
Who wouldn’t do anything for their sweet 16? I don’t quite understand how this song is never on his top 10 list.
It tells a story, paints a picture, and his vocals are on point. A personal favorite.
There are certain ’80s songs that give me an overwhelmingly painful and bittersweet sense of nostalgia. This is definitely one of them; such a mysterious, somewhat unsettling, other-worldly melody but is beautiful in a melancholic sort of way.
Hard to put your finger around it, like the soundtrack of a dream state! This is how groundbreaking records were made back in the day!
- Oasis – Live Forever
This is the anthem of being in your 20s when you probably feel you’re gonna be young forever!
Tom Parker listening to this whilst he was passing hits different, rest in paradise Tom!
Having listened to this song close to a thousand times, it never, even once gets old, especially that guitar solo, truly timeless!
I love how Liam dedicated this masterpiece to Taylor Hawkins; let his memory and music live forever!
A custom recipe for Oasis’ music; tambourine, psychedelic lyrics, really loud mixed guitars, that one chord you don’t see coming, melodies that seem simple but get stuck in your head easily, and a voice that can handle emotion and sarcasm at the same time as good as Liam!
- ZAYN, Taylor Swift – I Don’t Wanna Live Forever (Fifty Shades Darker)
The ugly part in growing up is that sometimes you watch people you grew up with disappear for good, never to be seen again; death in its unforgiving wave steals people we grew to love and make fond memories with and it honestly sucks!
You can literally listen to Taylor when you’re sad, happy, angry, depressed, excited, or nostalgic.
I remember listening to this song on the radio when I was younger, absolutely loved it. Little did I know I’d have an unhealthy obsession with both, Taylor and ZAYN all my life!
The fact that how perfectly their voices synchronized with each other’s is absolutely remarkable, it just makes the song 100x better and my God, ZAYN’s high notes hit higher than my grades!
- JAY Z – Young Forever ft. Mr Hudson
Tomorrow is a gift, not a promise so you might as well live today as if it’s your last day on earth!
JAY Z truly makes timeless music, like he always says, his music is forever young. This was truly a modern classic; time really flies.
Crazy how music like this can really teleport you back to times that were forgotten. Reminiscing and really making you realize how precious every moment is. An insignificant moment now, but in 10 years might be willing to do anything to have that moment back!
When you start growing old, you sometimes wish you were that kid, running back and forth to your parent for help- great times those ones, age comes with its own complications, everybody wants to live forever young!
This masterpiece was more than a song, this was testimony; one of the best songs about growing up ever written!
- The Beatles – In My Life
There is no growing up without The Beatles playing part in it! The lyrics to “In My Life” seem to be written by a man who is at least 50 years old, but when John wrote this song, he was only 25 years old. Only a genius can create these masterpieces.
Arguably one of the greatest songs about growing up of all time; pure joy and sadness simultaneously! This is the kind of track that makes one sit back and reflect on life and how fast it changes.
John Lennon was a next-level songwriter and the astonishing thing is that The Beatles seem to even get better as one gets older; their music continues to inspire generations into the future!
- Tom Waits – I Don’t Wanna Grow Up
Adulthood is hard and nobody wants to grow up. As a person transitioning from his 20s into adulthood and is having a hard time reconciling themselves with adulthood and aging, this song will bring you to tears!
I remember there was a time I was taking a music class in College and we were discussing the projection of emotion in songs and I brought up this one. The instructor said, “Exactly! Tom Waits is a million years old, but when he says, “I don’t wanna grow up”, you believe him!” the whole class burst out laughing!
The thing about this track is that you feel it deep into your bone. Tom waits always sounds like a drunk performing on open mic night at 1am and I absolutely love it!
More Songs About Growing Up
|21.||Wake Me Up||Avicii|
|23.||Oh How The Years Go By||Amy Grant|
|24.||Stealing Cinderella||Chuck Wicks|
|25.||Stand Still||Hilary Weeks|
|26.||Don’t Blink||Kenny Chesney|
|27.||Let Them Be Little||Lonestar|
|28.||A Mother’s Love||Jim brickman & Mark Masri|
|29.||Whenever You Remember||Carrie Underwood|
|30.||Don’t Forget To Remember Me||Carrie Underwood|
|33.||We’re Going To Be Friends||The White Stripes|
|35.||Grown Up||Danny Brown|
|37.||My Old Self||Wide Mouth Mason|
|38.||Youth Of The Nation||P.O.D.|
|39.||Forever Young||Rod Stewart|
|40.||Forever Young||Bob Dylan|
|41.||Good Riddance||Green Day|
|42.||Class Of 2013||Mitski|
|43.||The Man With The Child In His Eyes||Kate Bush|
|44.||Stressed Out||21 Pilots|
|45.||Growing Pains||Alessia Cara|
|47.||Grow Up||Olly Murs|
|50.||Glory Days||Bruce Springsteen|
If I had to pick a favorite from this list, it would be 7 Years by Lukas Graham. The lyrics go over some universal themes and a lot of people who have been through moving past childhood can certainly relate to them.
I’m sure I’ve missed quite a few, so please feel free to share some of your own favorite songs about growing up in the comments. Be forewarned that many of these songs fall into the genre of emo, but they’re almost always worth a listen if you have time.