Turning 12 often feels like the end of childhood and the start of a new chapter in life. For many, this age corresponds with having more freedom or developing crushes.
Some musicians take this theme and talk about the good times of being this age, where some others look back in not such a fond light. Either way, here are the best songs about being 12 years old.
1. “Old” by Paul Simon
Song year: 2000
“Old” is a 2020 track from Paul Simon that reflects the singer’s life. He was 12 in 1953, and the song uses this time to connect his life to broader historical events in the context of the Cold War.
The poetic lyrics talk about getting old and going through changes, but the song also reminds us that our lives are brief compared to human history.
2. “Brenda’s Having a Baby” by 2Pac
Song year: 1991
“Brenda’s Got a Baby” is representative of 2Pac’s efforts to draw attention to social issues through his music. It’s probably one of the most well-known songs about being 12. The song tells the story of a young girl who becomes pregnant at the age of 12.
The lyrics describe her difficult home life and paint a picture of the socioeconomic factors contributing to teen pregnancy. By choosing the tell the story of a girl who is so young, 2Pac makes his message more memorable.
3. “Best Friend” by Pharrell Williams
Song year: 2006
With “Best Friend”, Pharrell Williams reflects on his life and how he overcame adversity to make it in the music industry.
The singer looks back on the neighborhood where he used to live and describes 12-year-olds doing drugs and participating in shootings. Williams explains he built a better life for himself by chasing his dreams.
4. “The Fatha Figure” by Snoop Dogg
Song year: 1998
“The Fatha Figure” is an upbeat rap track about the men who influenced Snoop Dogg as a child. The rapper talks about his cousin, who let him borrow his jewelry when he was only 12 years old.
The song shows to which extent his environment and the adult he grew up around shaped who he is today. Snoop Dogg also reminds listeners that they’re role models for young children in their lives.
5. “Is That All There Is?” by Bette Midler
Song year: 2005
This slow track creates an exciting contrast between happy childhood memories and hardships. The spoken words feel like Bette Midler is telling a story about her childhood, while the chorus reminds listeners that these memories are one of the most essential things in life.
The singer mentions being 12 years old and going to the circus with her father. It’s a beautiful memory contrasting with an earlier memory about her childhood home burning down.
6. “Ol’ English” by The Game
Song year: 2006
“Ol’ English” is a slow-paced rap song where The Game looks back on his past. He grew up in the Ol’ English Westside and remembers the relatives and friends he lost to gun violence.
The lyrics mention the rapper being 12 years old the first time he shot a gun, a detail that shows how gun violence was prevalent in the area where he grew up and contributed to many young lives being lost.
7. “Who I’ve Always Been” by Taylor Swift
Song year: 2005
“Who I’ve Always Been” is an unreleased Taylor Swift song where the award-winning artist comments on the country music industry.
In the lyrics, she addresses a rival encountering commercial success even though she has little talent. Taylor Swift compares herself to this rival and says that country music has always been a part of who she is.
The song mentions Taylor Swift being 12 and living in a small town to show a strong connection between her music and background.
8. “BEYONCE” by Kendrick Lamar
Song year: 2011
Kendrick Lamar pokes fun at himself in his upbeat track “BEYONCE.” The humorous song is about Kendrick Lamar growing up as a Beyonce fan and developing a crush on the singer.
The song is a tribute to Beyonce’s career and highlights how far she has come. It also talks about Kendrick Lamar being 12 and wishing he could go on tour with Beyonce.
Kendrick Lamar would record ‘Freedom’ with Beyonce only five years after releasing this song.
9. “The 12-Year-Old Boy” by Robert Cray
Song year: 2001
Robert Cray’s bluesy style shines in this melancholic track. This song feels like a classic blues track with its use of the twelve-bar progression.
Robert Cray sings about losing his baby to a 12-year-old boy. We can imagine he is lamenting his young daughter having a boyfriend, an original and humorous take on classic tales of woes and loss typically featured in blues music.
10. “12 Years Old” by Bad Waitress
Song year: 2021
“12 Years Old” is a rock song with a heavy bass line and a fast-paced tempo. The song talks about two young girls experimenting with drugs to escape their lives.
The lyrics mention that one of the girls is only 12 and already has a job. It shows how growing up can be a painful experience and explains how some teenagers turn to drugs to cope.
11. “12 Years Old” by Kim Stockwood
Song year: 2010
’12 Years Old’ is a powerful pop ballad from artist Kim Stockwood. The song is about a painful experience the singer is going through, and the chorus compares her feelings to how she felt as a child.
Saying that she feels like a 12-year-old is a way to evoke her feelings of helplessness. It’s an exciting image that brings us back to the first heartbreaks we experienced as children or young teens and how intense these new emotions felt.
12. “12” by Young Dolph
Song year: 2016
Young Dolph looks back on his youth in ‘12’ and talks about getting into drugs as a teen. The lyrics describe him ‘jumping off the porch’ at the age of 12, an image of entering the local gang or drug scene.
The song has some interesting elements to emphasize the rapper’s young age at the time, including a slow and steady pace that resembles a children’s nursery rhyme and the repetition of the number 12 throughout the lyrics.
13. “Little League” by Ryan Skid
Song year: 2020
This slow rap song from Ryan Skid evokes the singer’s childhood memories of seeing drug deals on his way to little league practice at the age of 12. The song explains how the rapper got into drugs shortly after this incident.
This song is an interesting social commentary. It mentions a failing school system and raises awareness about children's neglect, two factors contributing to the drug epidemic.
Best Songs About Being 12 Years Old, Final Thoughts
These songs about being 12 shows how different our childhood memories and experiences can be. While some singers look back fondly on a time when they were dreaming about the future, others describe being 12 as a time when they made poor life choices.
We hope you enjoyed these songs about being 12, discovered some new music, and found songs that resonate with your childhood memories!