When we think back to when we were 14 years old, we recall memories of adolescence. In those memories, we are now in high school. We experience love for the first time. There is a sense of innocence and of easier times.
Musicians ponder back to those times also. Most of the time, those thoughts are warm. Other times, they are somber. Here are some top songs about being 14.
“Touch the World” by Earth, Wind & Fire
Song Year: 1987
“Touch the World” ironically is the 14th studio album by this legendary R&B group. The successful album is known for its Billboard chart-topping number-one dance hit “System of Survival.” But this title track sends a message, and the hidden gem arrives as the third song on Side B of the album.
“Touch the World” has a funky lick reminiscent of “Bad” by Michael Jackson. The song is a call to action that speaks to hardships facing people. Among those suffering in the song is a 14-year-old girl handling a four-month pregnancy alone. “Touch the World” inspires the listener to motivate all humankind to help one another.
“Love Yer Brain” by Flaming Lips
Song Year: 1987
Flaming Lips is an experimental and psychedelic indie rock band that was formed in 1983. The band has three Grammy awards and is considered to be among the top 50 bands you should see before you die. “Love Yer Brain” is from their second studio album, Oh My Gawd!!!
“Love Yer Brain” is over nine minutes long. The track lulls its listeners into a psychedelic time similar to popular 60s and 70s albums. Like many of the songs on this list, “Love Yer Brain” is a cautionary tale. This song tells of a society filled with crime and concludes with a 14-year-old boy sitting in an electric chair. He has a cigarette in his mouth.
“Sandy” by Alex G
Song Year: 2012
Alexander Giannascoli is known by his stage name Alex G. Alex G is a musician who taught himself the guitar. He recorded songs on his parents’ Apple computer at age 11. Alex G dropped out of college and pursued a career in music, releasing songs through Bandcamp. His song “Sandy” is a bonus track off his Rules album.
“Sandy” is written from the perspective of its title character. Sandy is 14 years old. During the acoustic track, Sandy speaks of just wanting to grow up. The mood and music are similar to recording artist Bright Eyes with an offbeat twist.
“She Got to Move Me” by Grand Funk Railroad
Song Year: 1972
There must have been something in the water in the 1970s. Like Van Morrison, Grand Funk Railroad is another famous band from the era that touches on the uncomfortable subject of inappropriate relations with a 14-year-old girl. The arena rock band is known for their smash hit “We’re an American Band.” However, this track is somehow forgotten.
“She Got to Move Me” is from the band’s sixth studio album Phoenix. The lyrics are beyond uncomfortable as lead singer Mark Farner dives right in. His singing leaves nothing to the imagination. Surprisingly, the band was not investigated because of its inappropriate language. Ironically, another track on the Phoenix album is titled “Freedom is for the Children.”
“Tell Mama” by Janis Joplin
Song Year: 1970
“Tell Mama” is a frenzied rock song that Janis Joplin fans come to expect. A feverish live version is on her album Pearl. The track is nearly seven minutes long and makes a lot of noise. Joplin’s live fast and die young lifestyle is all over this song.
Throughout the raucous track, Joplin courts a potential lover. She sings of her knowledge of love. In one line, she says, “I know what you’re looking for, and I figured it out at fourteen years old.” The song’s rhythm and rocking blues is a companion to Joplin’s wild singing. She definitely is wise beyond her years at the time of this recording.
“Toilet Tisha” by Outkast
Song Year: 2000
Outkast is the only hip-hop band making this list. This track is part of their Number One selling, quadruple platinum (yes, really) album Stankonia. The album is remembered for its smash hit singles “B.O.B. (Bombs Over Baghdad)” and “Ms. Jackson.” The five-star album also included the anthem “So Fresh, So Clean.”
Those three hits were intended to make crowds dance. “Toilet Tisha” is a track meant to provoke thought and reflect on society. “Toilet Tisha” opens with a simple drum beat and bass guitar lick. The music is akin to Bootsy Collins. It calls back to the era of funkadelic.
There are conflicting interpretations of the meaning of “Toilet Tisha”. But it is implied that Tisha was found by a loved one in the bathroom. The 14-year-old girl is assumed by some to have died while performing an abortion by herself. The track concludes with a lesson for listeners.
“Cypress Avenue” by Van Morrison
Song Year: 1968
Van Morrison is a rock musician who does it all. The multi-Grammy award winner performs blues, R&B, jazz, rock, Christian, and country. He is a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame legend who records with megastars like Bob Dylan. But “Cypress Avenue” is an uncomfortable song. The bluesy track seems as though it belongs on the Lolita soundtrack.
The tone and music give it “Drift Away” vibes, but the lyrics are a reminder that times have changed. Van Morrison sings nervously about waiting for a girl to arrive and meet him in his car. The problem comes during the last line when he admits the girl he is waiting for is only fourteen. Van Morrison is known to perform the song love even after its release date.
Best Songs About Being 14, Final Thoughts
Many famous musicians tackled the topic of life as a 14-year-old. In several cases, this time of discovery and transition leads to a sense of vulnerability to end in tragedy. Perhaps this is the message these artists choose to convey. Life at fourteen is both precious and dangerous at the same time.