25 Songs About Being 25

Songs About Being 25

Though many people think of your 21st birthday as one of the most significant events of your 20s, we would argue that another year in this decade is more important: the 25th one. Being 25 is a strange time; you are usually just on the cusp of figuring out your lifelong career, but you may still be in school or figuring out things no one ever taught you how to do.

So, to commemorate this difficult but important year in everyone's life, here are 25 songs about being 25.

1. “Birthday” by Empty Atlas

Song Year: 2020

Indie rock often takes on the theme of aging and change and consequently, will feature on this list a lot. Thus, we kick off this list of songs with Empty Atlas's “Birthday.”

This song tells the story of a 25th birthday fraught with expectations about a job, life, and a family, none of which have been met. 

A growingly smaller group of friends surrounds the subject, and they are face to face with being halfway to 50. The lyrics turn around by the end – instead focusing on how much time the subject has to make something of their life.

2. “25” by The Smith Street Band

Song Year: 2017

The Smith Street Band brings us the first of many songs with a straightforward title. The Smith Street Band's singer and lyricist, Wil Wagner, sings about a common problem many 25-year-olds experience: comparing their lives to those of others.

He looks at everything around him and sees himself lacking – and sees how much he thinks he should be able to do by the age of 25 but cannot.

3. “We Don't Care” by Kanye West

Song Year: 2004

On “We Don't Care” Kanye rebels against society's expectations and norms, encouraging younger people to do the same to find their way in the world.

Kanye takes an old trope – that most young black men from bad neighborhoods end up in jail or dead by 25 – and pokes fun at both it and society's expectations of its younger people.

Kanye has made it to 25 and neither of those things happened to him. Thus, he tries to bring others to see that society's warnings and pressures do not matter as much as they seem to.

4. “Forever Young” by One Direction

Song Year: 1984

Though “Forever Young” has been famously sampled and covered by other artists, this song is still not necessarily understood properly in popular culture.

Rather than declaring a rebellious intention to live every moment to the fullest as many other songs about being 25 do, the lyrics of “Forever Young” sound like a contradictory, confusing philosophical conversation. The narrator wants to be young forever but also considers just how awful living forever could be.

5. “In Love or Whatever” by Future Teens

Song Year: 2017

Future Teens sing about going through their 20s in general on this song, but this song focuses on a painful aspect of being 25: dating. The narrator's dating life is less than successful and combines with a directionless life to make things worse.

As the narrator goes through a year's story in the song, they struggle with loneliness and wonder if they should give up and spend their life alone.

6. “Movin' On” by Good Charlotte

Song Year: 2002

This iconic song from Good Charlotte tells us a story of someone wondering if they will even make it to 25, and their struggle to find meaning once they do.

While they consider questions and life keeps getting more complicated, the best advice they can get is to keep moving on. While the tone of this message may seem cynical at first, it becomes a genuine call to action by the song's end. Instead of trudging through the rest of your life, you need to make the best of what you have.

7. “25” by Ray BLK

Song Year: 2021

Unlike Good Charlotte, Ray BLK's take on being 25 is not hopeful. She addresses being exhausted, burnt out, and living too much life too early.

While other songs focus on existential crises and struggling with big life decisions, Ray BLK addresses another part of being 25: working too hard to go nowhere.

The song's subject has no time to make the best of things or think about what to do with their life.

Instead, they are constantly stuck working for next to no money and feeling the pressure to succeed from those around them.

But rather than building motivation to keep going, the song's subject just feels tired and they know they are too young to be so spiritually exhausted.

8. “25” by the Amazons

Song Year: 2019

The Amazons' “25” is less about being 25 than it is about turning 25 but the sentiments in the song can still apply.

The song is about trying to find hope for the rest of your life despite how many things are showing you there is no point in finding that hope, even when you are so young.

So, the song's narrator tries to find something encouraging and light a new fire within themselves. Ultimately they cannot conclude how to do so despite the wish, a feeling many 25-year-olds will understand.

9. “Ballad of Maxwell Demon” by Shudder to Think

Song Year: 1998

Shudder to Think employs the main character from Velvet Goldmine – “Maxwell Demon” – to tell a story about being an unhappy 25-year-old in this ballad.

Like Ziggy Stardust, Bowie's alter ego, Maxwell Demon is an alien flitting from planet to planet and when he gets tired of it, he comes down to earth and does not like it.

At the age of 25, Maxwell Demon says he feels like he is dead. The lyrics after this confession are silly, showing the kind of frivolity someone would engage in if they already feel dead.

10. “Run, Brother, Run” by Fireworks

Song Year: 2014

Fireworks' take on being 25 is particularly sad, but unfortunately relatable. The narrator had been all over the world by that age, but their father died the same year.

Missing both their father, and feeling like they have nothing to show for all their adventures, the narrator grows unhappy in other areas of life. All the girls they date remind them of their father, and they start to feel like their skin does not fit them as their 25th year presses on.

11. “Skully” by Nothing, Nowhere

Song Year: 2017

Nothing, Nowhere's take on being 25 is probably the most hopeless on the list, perhaps edging toward nihilism. The lyrics discuss the gradual worsening of mental illness symptoms that comes in the middle of being in your 20s.

Instead of finding cliches or phrases to cling to, Nothing, Nowhere ultimately begs to be left alone.

12. “Home of the Brave” by Lewis Knudsen

“Home of the Brave” by Lewis Knudsen

Song Year: 2017

Lewis Knudsen usually tackles heavy subjects in his songs. In this song, he covers several through succinct storytelling in the verses.

The lyrics tell the story of one family through the ages, and how each worked to give the next generation something better. But the story leads to one of the descendants meeting a tragic end

It is on this list because he tackles mental illness and being 25 in one of the verses.

The character in the penultimate verse struggles with mental illness all through their life and ultimately decides to take their life when they turn 25.

13. “25!” by Bomb the Music Industry

Song Year: 2009

Jeff Rosenstock of Bomb the Music Industry understands how challenging being 25 is and expresses it perfectly in this song.

Before you were 25, careless mistakes were acceptable.

After turning 25, the world expects you to act like an experienced adult, even though your childhood was essentially yesterday.

14. “What's Up” by 4 Non-Blondes

Song Year: 1992

Though this song may be more famous as a meme now, the lyrics are still powerful and it is still one of the best songs from the 1990s.

Linda Perry's powerful voice charges ahead to tell a story about an over-cautious, anxious 25-year-old who is still looking for a point in her life.

15. “Damaged Kids” by Broadside

Song Year: 2015

Broadside joins many other bands in singing about being unable to commit to anything at 25 in “Damaged Kids.”

The narrator cannot do anything or find a destination in life without being beset by questions. Thus, they wonder if they are shy or if something more sinister is going on.

16. “Secrets From a Girl” by Lorde

Song Year: 2021

Lorde explores how quickly time goes by in “Secrets From a Girl” and talks about suddenly being halfway through her 20s.

She begins the song by talking about the end of a night out and the sad, almost nostalgic feeling that comes after it. Then she sings about how we could not wait to grow up as kids. But all of a sudden, the years go by, and you find yourself closer to 30 than 15.

17. “The Night Has Opened My Eyes” by The Smiths

Song Year: 1984

This is one of the stranger songs from an already strange discography. The Smiths' “The Night Has Opened My Eyes” tells the story of two 25-year-olds who accidentally conceive a child and need to suddenly figure out how to raise it and start a family.

For 25-year-olds who may be on the path to having children, this song is likely very relatable.

18. “25” by The Pretty Reckless

Song Year: 2021

The Pretty Reckless's 25 is a song people who hated their teenage years can relate to. The lyrics handle the passing of time and the inevitability of death.

Singer Taylor Momsen tells us about how she idolized rock stars as a teenager and could not picture life past her teens.

Suddenly, she finds herself at 25, surprised to be alive while many of her idols are dead, many even having taken their own lives.

19. “Twenty-Somethings” by Judah and the Lion

Song Year: 2014

While “Twenty-Somethings” is not specifically about being 25, it handles the feelings of being this age quite well.

The lyrics embrace the perspective of someone who is rushing around trying to find a way to make a living and make themselves happy at the same time.

20.“Chocolate” by Snow Patrol

Song Year: 2004

Gary Lightbody wrote “Chocolate” about cheating on his girlfriend and uses this ubiquitous candy as a metaphor for himself.

Though not everyone commits infidelity, “Chocolate” reflects the state of in-betweens that is being 25. The song's protagonist is caught between being a child and learning to be a good person as an adult.

21. “First Love/Late Spring” by Mitski

Song Year: 2014

Mitski, like Lorde, addresses how she wanted to act like a grown person as a child. But now that she is the age she wanted to be – 25 – she feels like a confused child.

But she addresses another difficult part of being 25: falling deeply in love but not wanting to be hurt as you have been in the past.

22. “Getting Started” by Sam Fender

Song Year: 2021

Do not be fooled by the first lyrics of this song. Though Sam Fender mentions being 18, the song's perspective is a 25-year-old looking back on what they thought were failed dreams.

But now – though they are 25 now – it is just the beginning and they can make something out of their life.

23. “A Praise Chorus” by Jimmy Eat World

Song Year: 2001

This anthemic song from Jimmy Eat World, an icon of the 2000s, has a different take on the cliche “live in the moment” philosophy.

Rather than encourage the listener to be reckless, the lyrics say not to take everything so seriously. They profess that even at 25, most of the way through your youth, you can start living earnestly and sincerely.

24. “Beach Front Property” by Spanish Love Songs

Song Year: 2020

Though “Beach Front Property” never mentions the number 25, you can imply that the lyrics are about being this age. They discuss being broke, watching people get nostalgic for their youth, and hoping for a miracle and direction – all classically typical of being 25.

25. “Right About Now” by Millencolin

Song Year: 2000

Swedish Punk Band Millencolin reaches a resolution about life in “Right About Now” – to live more deliberately. Singer Nikola Sarcevic documents his struggle to find a feeling of freedom through the first five years of his twenties.

Now that he is 25, he is still not at the top of the mountain, but he no longer sees the need to get there – just the need to be happy and pay attention to the life he has in reality, not in imagination.

Best Songs About Being 25, Final Thoughts

So, if you're feeling the weight of being 25 or want to reminisce about your youth – you can use this list of songs to do both. All 25 songs capture the essence of this age and what it feels like.

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