When you're 20, the whole world feels at your fingertips. With the intense feelings and emotions and big life changes, it’s no wonder many artists put together songs about being 20.
So, let's go through some of the best songs about being 20, so you can have some new tracks to listen to; who knows, you might find your new favorite song!
“20 Something” by SZA
Song Year: 2017
Songs about being 20 should remind you of the indecisiveness of being 20. With so many options in front of you, life can seem overwhelming.
SZA's tune is about how her experiences shaped her into the woman she is today. Although not all those experiences were positive, she sees how the challenges made her grow and change.
“Not Nineteen Forever” by The Courteeners
Song Year: 2008
Long, sleepless nights and drunken behavior—that's how the members of The Courteeners experienced their 20s.
In their song, The Courteeners describe the youthful indiscretions we all have at that age. But more importantly, they talk about the fleeting experience of youth that many of us cling to as we grow up.
“Working 9-5” by Dolly Parton
Song Year: 1980
When people get their first job, it's not normally something to get hyped about. Dolly Parton's jam about the monotony of work also has a deeper meaning.
Parton wants to make sure we hold onto our dreams, especially young people who taste their first experience of the working world. So, even if you're stuck at a dead-end job, keep working for your dreams because they may come true!
“Pushing 20” By Sabrina Carpenter
Song Year: 2019
When you're 20, you must start choosing what's important in life. That could mean friends, family, work, or whatever you choose.
For Sabrina Carpenter, turning 20 means finding people who you connect with. She doesn't want to waste more time on people who won't help her achieve her goals.
“Royals” by Lorde
Song Year: 2013
“Royals” is the go-to anthem for any 20-year-old who doesn't have the things they want yet. No matter where you're from, people want to comfort themselves with luxuries.
Lorde wants to point out that we can talk about the excesses of a luxurious life, but those elements don't always make us happy. Instead, having friends who help us recognize that happiness is right in front of us is the most important.
“Twenty-Somethings” by Judah & The Lion
Song Year: 2014
Songs about being 20 wouldn't be complete without a ballad about the struggles of being young. That could mean a lack of money, direction, or life goals.
But being 20 also means figuring out answers to these problems. For Judah and the Lion, being 20 is about figuring out what drives you forward, even when you lack the money and direction to have stability in your life.
“Forever Young” by One Direction
Song Year: 2011
When you're 20, youth feels like it lasts forever. But as you age, you begin realizing how important those days were to developing the person you are today.
Sometimes that development can cause you to lose that youthful exuberance. One Direction wrote this tune to ensure you don't forget those youthful nights filled with good conversation, dancing, and awesome people.
“Wish You Were Sober” by Conan Gray
Song Year: 2020
In your 20s, you'll meet awesome new people filled with new ideas and stories. But as you age, you'll start coming into contact with people with deeper histories and more complex aspects.
Conan Gray's song is about how he struggles to connect with someone he cares for, even if they struggle with alcohol. In his song, he talks about the frustrations of these newfound adult responsibilities.
“Under 21” by Ferris
Song Year: 1997
Sometimes, being 20 is the worst. You have all the responsibilities of an adult, but you don't get to enjoy the privileges, such as going to bars or attending live music.
Ferris sings about the frustrations of not being able to enjoy these events, particularly when her friends are allowed. She even dresses differently to look older, but that just causes more issues.
“Twenty One” by Khalid
Song Year: 2019
Your 21st birthday can be the most memorable birthday of your life. But it can also crash and burn. Khalid's song describes the uneasiness everyone feels on the eve of their 21st.
Khalid sings about young love and people's attitudes toward growing up. Whether you like staying young or acting older, your 21st birthday is a right of passage that you'll look back on for a long time.
“What's My Age Again?” by Blink 182
Song Year: 1999
Blink 182's tune about immaturity and societal pressure is perfect for anyone who doesn't know where they fit in the world.
Whether you're being a bit immature for your age or trying to act older, part of being 20 is finding yourself. In their jam, Blink 182 describes how you should feel comfortable being yourself, no matter what anyone else thinks.
“Lazy Song” by Bruno Mars
Song Year: 2010
One of the best parts about being 20 is you have all the time in the world. But another part is how hard you have to work now that you've entered the adult world.
Bruno Mars created the perfect song to describe those lazy days when you just relax away from the world. For anyone who's experienced a hard day's work, sometimes sitting back and listening to the “Lazy Song” is the perfect way to unwind.
“Yesterday” by The Beatles
Song Year: 1965
If you just turned 20, you won't know how important these days are yet. But looking back, you'll see that these days are some of the most influential in your life.
The Beatles' song is about a man whose partner has left him, only leaving him with memories of the good times. It also perfectly encapsulates the experience of anyone looking back at their 20s with fond memories.
“Forever Young” by Alphaville
Song Year: 1984
In this classic hit, Alphaville tells listeners to live their life as fully as possible because it's impossible to stay young forever.
Even when you try to stay youthful, a part of you knows it's time to grow up. Alphaville wants us to know it's okay to still have fun and act young, no matter your age!
“Time to Pretend” by MGMT
Song Year: 2007
When you're 20, you want to live life to its fullest. Sometimes living life fast means making mistakes. And making mistakes is exactly what MGMT wants us to know about being young.
The song is about some serious choices, but in the end, it's about how we learn and grow from those choices.
“You Oughta Know” by Alanis Morissette
Song Year: 1995
Alanis Morissette's song about heartbreak is the perfect love song for anyone 20-year-old going through a breakup.
With its themes of resentment, growing, and moving on, this song perfectly describes the heartbreak of young love. But ultimately, you must move on and realize that not all relationships last.
“I Love College” by Asher Roth
Song Year: 2009
When you're 20, you might think the fast times and high spirits you had in college will last forever. But, for obvious reasons, that can't be the case.
Songs about being 20 wouldn't be complete without an entry about the college experience. Looking back at those times and realizing how influential they are can be an enlightening experience.
“Life Of The Party” by Shawn Mendes
Song Year: 2014
Shawn Mendes shot to fame at an incredibly young age, causing him to have to grow up fast. In this song, he describes how you have to learn to love yourself.
Mendes spent the better part of his youth not knowing what brought him happiness. But as he reached the age of 20, he started to realize that being happy and knowing who you are is a lifetime's journey.
“'03 Bonnie & Clyde” by Jay Z feat. Beyoncé
Song Year: 2007
Jay-Z got the inspiration for this song from Tupac, who had a similar tune in the 90s. The song is a metaphor for a young life filled with crime.
Although the song has some serious themes, it ultimately comes down to young people making mistakes. And growing from those mistakes is what makes you a better person.
“Unwritten” by Natasha Bedingfield
Song Year: 2004
Life has many twists and turns, and nobody knows that better than young people transitioning into adult life.
In Natasha Bedingfield's song, she sings about the new experiences the world has opened up for her. She also talks about how you must embrace those experiences to grow and become the person you want to become.
“Never Grow Up” by Taylor Swift
Song Year: 2010
When you're 20, one of the new things you get to have is an apartment. No rules from parents, decorations all in your style, and so much more freedom than ever before.
Taylor Swift sings about moving into a new place all on her own after living in her family home. Although she senses her new freedom, it's also an isolating experience. But she grew from that, realizing that your family's company is essential.
“Young, Wild, and Free” by Snoop Dogg, Wiz Khalifa, and Bruno Mars
Song Year: 2011
When you become a young adult, it can feel difficult to express yourself. You may still have all of those unwanted judgments from high school still floating in your mind.
Being able to express yourself freely is one of the best parts of being a young adult. Snoop, Wiz, and Bruno Mars came together to create an anthem for all those 20-year-olds who want to express themselves and show the world who they are!
“Twenty Nothing” by Spector
Song Year: 2012
Being 20 means embracing changes in your life, whether you like it or not. Spector put together an awesome tune that describes the uneasiness of growing up in great detail.
Losing friends, going to parties, and looking for validation from others are all a part of growing up. But realizing that validation comes from within is how you know you're on the path to adulthood.
“Sugar Mountain” by Neil Young
Song Year: 1977
We must all grow up, and Neil Young knows that better than most people. The journey of growing up means making mistakes and learning from them.
But to Young, growing up is an essential part of life. You need to mature and embrace the world as it is because you can't remain 20 forever.
“When I Grow Up” by NF
Song Year: 2019
When you're young, moments fly by, and you often don't stop to think about how important they are to you. Sometimes, you wish you could go back and live those moments again.
NF's tune about his younger days is the ideal song for a nostalgic drive through memory lane. But for young people, it's also a message to embrace what you have now before it slips away.
“Get Lucky” by Daft Punk and Pharell Williams
Song Year: 2013
Long nights with good people—you can't describe a better evening for a 20-year-old! Daft Punk and Pharell Williams' legendary collaboration describes the wild nights of your 20s.
Whether you're up all night for fun or pleasure, you're sure to have plenty of long nights in your 20s. Remember them fondly because they don't last forever!
“Summer & Cigarettes” by Sammy Rash
Song Year: 2021
Songs about being 20 wouldn't be complete without a song about those youthful mistakes we all make in summer. Sammy Rash's song about regrets of yesterday and how they impact the present will make you think about your actions and what you can do to be better.
“Learning to Fly” by Tom Petty
Song Year: 1991
Tom Petty is one of the best songsmiths in history, and his coming-of-age song is among his most well-known.
Deep down, this tune is about leaving the controlled world of your childhood and spreading your wings in adulthood. Although this task can seem overwhelming, everyone can achieve their dreams.
“Two Weeks from Twenty” by Yellowcard
Song Year: 2006
Yellowcard wrote this song to tell people about the sadness and despair some people feel during their young life.
Recounting the story of a man killed in the military before he reached the age of 20, Yellowcard tells a heartbreaking story of wasted youth and a failure to reach the goals you set in your younger years.
Top Songs About Being 20, Final Thoughts
Songs about being 20 are some of the most influential in the modern age. Being 20 is a big transition in life, and it's no wonder songs about it have caught the imagination of so many people. From love to careers and everything in between, these artists reflect on the decade of your 20s.
Did you find any new songs that remind you of your youth?