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Community Post: 11 Nineties Songs That Describe Your Twenties


1. “Semi-Charmed Life” by Third Eye Blind

You just left college and you’re feeling pretty awesome. You realize that “The Real World” isn’t all house parties and falling asleep in lectures like school was, but it’s not that bad! You have MONEY now. It’s awesome. And you’re making new, cool, professional friends. You miss college a little bit, but you just drink and party away your sorrows. Yay!

Lyrics to examine:
“Keep smiling, what we go through”
“I want something else, to get me through this”

2. “Slide” by Goo Goo Dolls

At some point in your twenties, you’re in this blissful relationship. It’s pretty great because you two are totally soulmates. Maybe this is someone you were dating in college or someone you met in the Cool New Professional World you belong to now (see #1). Either way, you complete each other.

Lyrics to examine:
“I’ll do anything you ever dreamed to be complete”
“Put your arms around me / what you feel is what you are / and what you are is beautiful / do you wanna get married or run away?”

3. “Barely Breathing” by Duncan Sheik

Oh that person you were totally going to marry (see #2)? Yeah…that got ugly. Someone hurt someone real bad. This one is going to take some time to get over.

Lyrics to examine:
“I only taste the saline / when I kiss away your tears”
“You really had me going / wishing on a star”
“Must have been that yesterday / was the day that I was born”
“You really can’t be serious / if you have to ask me why / I say goodbye”

4. “Gettin’ Jiggy Wit It” by Will Smith

Okay, you can breathe now. You’re moving on from that tragic break up (see #3), and seeing the light. Your Cool New Professional friends helped you get out of that depression involving Rocky Road and a lot of Millionaire Matchmaker. You’re single for the first time in a bit, which is scary, but crazy-fun! You hit the clubs with your support group and remember how fly you really are.

Lyrics to examine:
“Dance floor pro I know you know”
“No love for the haters”
“Only mad chicks ride my whips / livin’ that life that some consider a myth”
“You tryin’ to flex on me / don’t be silly”

5. “Lightning Crashes” by Live

At some point in your twenties, someone close to you gets really sick. It might be you, or a close family member. It could be an addiction, or cancer — but it shakes your entire life. And changes you into someone who really appreciates his/her family and friends, even when they really piss you off.

Lyrics to examine:
“Lightning crashes”
“Forces pullin’ from the center of the earth again / I can feel it / the angel closes her eyes / the pale blue colored iris / presents the circle / and puts the glory out to hide”

6. “One Headlight” by Wallflowers

Maybe due to #5, #3, or you’re tired of #4 (pretending everything is okay when it’s not), you hit a slump. Call it a quarter-life crisis or call it growing up. You start to question why you’re doing what you’re doing, where you’re doing what you’re doing, and/or who you’re doing what you’re doing with! You’re confused and you want a change. Everything feels weird and wrong.

Lyrics to examine:
“Hey, come on try a little / nothing is forever / there’s got to be something better than / in the middle”
“But there’s got to be an opening / somewhere here in front of me”
“Well this place is old / it feels just like a beat up truck / I turn the engine but the engine doesn’t turn / I’m so alone, and I feel just like somebody else / man I ain’t changed, but I know I ain’t the same”

7. “Changes” by 2Pac


Okay, not ALL of these songs are direct links to your twenties, but we can make them work.
You decide after #6 that you need to do something with your life. You up and move, you leave that crappy guy/girl you’ve been seeing, you decide to apply to law school, you decide to join the circus, whatever! You take charge of your own destiny — and it’s pretty liberating…yet terrifying.

Lyrics to examine:
“We gotta make a change / it’s time for us as a people to start making some changes”
“You see the old way wasn’t working so it’s on us to do / what we gotta do, to survive”

8. “Thong Song” by Sisqo.

Personal favorite.
Okay so now you just wanna dance because you’re really proud of yourself for #7 and you feel freakin’ awesome. Round up your friends, head to the nearest 90’s late-night dance party club (shoutout Hangge Uppe) and shake that thang!!!

Lyrics to examine:
“Ooh dat dress so scandalous”
“See ya shakin that thing like who’s the ish / with a look in ya eye so devilish”
“I like it when the beat go da na da na / baby make your booty go da na da na”

9. “Tubthumping” by Chumbawamba


Ouch. So….last night was wild. You wake up with a headache from hell, reminding you that you’re no longer a frat-party star. You really can’t do keg stands and dance until 5 a.m. anymore with this twenty-something body you got. This is sad, but also a relief. Hopefully your friends feel the same way and won’t pressure you to do it all over again tonight.

… and then they do.

Lyrics to examine:
“I get knocked down / but I get up again”
“Pissin the night away”
“He drinks a whiskey drink / he drinks a vodka drink / he drinks a lager drink / he drinks a cider drink / he sings the songs that remind him / of the good times / he sings the songs that remind him / of the best times”

10. “One Week” by Barenaked Ladies

At some point in your twenties, you have some sort of relationship — let’s hope it’s short-lived — with someone who’s completely wrong for you. Pretty dysfunctional, but definitely lesson learned.

Lyrics to examine:
“Get that together come back and see me”
“Realized it’s all my fault but couldn’t tell you / yesterday you’d forgiven me / but it’s still two days till I say I’m sorry”
“I’m the kinda guy who laughs at a funeral”
“I have a tendency to wear my mind on my sleeve / I have a history of taking off my shirt”

11. “What’s My Age Again?” by Blink 182

Whew! You go through a lot in this decade: heartbreaks, happiness, shock, disappointment, tons of hangovers. You realize you’re getting older. You lost some friends, you gain some new ones, you gain some humility. You’ve changed a lot. It’s weird and scary, but you like it. You’ll never really be Grown Up anyway.

Lyrics to examine:
“My friends say I should act my age”
“No one should take themselves so seriously / with so many years ahead to fall in line / why would you wish that on me? / I never wanna act my age / what’s my age again?”

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