The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

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CURATED COLLECTIONS: 10 Songs On Growing Up For This Graduation Season

Add these songs to your “Last Semester” playlist.
Photo Courtesy / YouTube Sub Pop

With the 2023 commencement approaching, some are moving back home, starting fresh somewhere new or even staying in their college towns. Whatever it may be, all graduates have one thing in common – they’re growing up and beginning a new chapter in life. This end of an undergraduate era begins a period of change. Whether it’s grassroots country, indie folk or soft rock, there is a song to help navigate these feelings of growing up. From reminiscing about a childhood home to fiery young ambition and childhood dreams, these ten songs fuel nostalgia.

“The House That Built Me” by Miranda Lambert

Through her relatable and nostalgic verses, Lambert tells the story of her childhood home. She explains that while the characteristics of the home may be mundane to the current owners, she did homework and learned to play guitar in “that little back bedroom.” The unfortunate truth that sometimes you actually can’t go home again becomes a reality for her when another family moves into the house that she grew up in.

“Kids” by Current Joys

A dive into change, these verses assure us that we are not alone in our fears of growing up. The repetition of “I’m just a kid” begins as a justification for young mistakes and confusion. In later verses, this transforms into “I’m no longer a kid,” as the artist subtly explains the change into adulthood. The song ends with Joys urging kids to follow their dreams.

“Nikes On” by Healy

Over his soft beats, Healy asks the question: “Why time got his Nikes on?” The song perfectly encapsulates the feeling of time passing quickly. This coincides with a sense of seizing opportunities that people do have by making this time their own.

“Sixteen” by Thomas Rhett

In his full circle hit, Rhett explains the young desires he had to rush through his childhood. Learning to drive at fifteen, all he can think about is being “16 wild and free.” His anecdotes reminisce on childhood memories, reflecting on the next ages of being 18 and 21. In his final verse, Rhett paints the picture of being 25, laughing with his wife on how he used to be “when all we cared about was turning 16.”

“Vienna” by Billy Joel

A musical ode to young adults, Joel tells the story of fiery ambition in adolescence and the anxiety it may create. Using Vienna as a metaphor for life, he assures the listener that there is no need to cram everything into one’s juvenile era. Through these soft piano verses, listeners learn to not rush every beautiful stage in life.

“Love & War in Your Twenties” by Jordy Searcy

A guitar melody takes over as Searcy sings, “everybody knows your twenties are for wasting time.” The song preaches that whether you’re pondering where to visit or deciding on a job offer, everyone just wants to be in love. Searcy leaves us with a hopeful and romantic view of the future.

“Follow You to Virgie” by Tyler Childers

In a song dedicated to his best friend’s late grandmother, Childers reflects on his childhood and hometown of Virgie, Kentucky. Reminiscing on the days of skipping class and “actin’ like we’d live forever,” he reminds us of the people who supported us when we were younger. The theme of friendship is persistent as Childers tells the story of when he and his friends first learned how to play the guitar, and then talks about going back to their hometown to memorialize a loved one.

“Rivers and Roads” by The Head and The Heart

This moving song about friendship speaks about growing up and moving away. Beginning with “a year from now we’ll all be gone” and lines such as, “and my family lives in a different state,” evokes feelings of sadness in regard to change. The repetition of “rivers and roads” is a symbol of how the speaker crosses great lengths to keep these relationships despite the distance.

“In My Life” by The Beatles

With a mixture of Lennon and McCartney duets and piano solos, this classic renders nostalgia about places and people throughout their lives. They reflect on change and how some of these places and people have passed, but will not be forgotten. “In My Life” gives listeners permission to stop and think about memories we cherish.

“Five More Minutes” by Scotty McCreery

Through different anecdotes, McCreery explains that some things in this life will “leave you wishing that you had five more minutes.” He narrates life moments like his last high school football game, “Man, next time to get in here, I’ll have to buy a ticket.” The audience is reminded to appreciate these special moments while we are in them, because later we will wish we had five more minutes.

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