A song about how great or sucky it is to be young. It is likely to be sung from one of two perspectives: 1. Someone past their youth reflecting on their youth but putting themselves back in that version of themselves, or 2. Someone still young, singing about it and/or not wanting to grow up. In either case, it may be a Coming-of-Age Story as the time sung about is usually important or symbolic.
Common settings for the song are Everytown, America, the summer that the singer turns eighteen, a last hurrah Road/Field Trip, or saying goodbye to home. And... that's nearly always it, if a time or place is established. Other common features include drugs and alcohol, as well as other questionable activity because they're Young and Stupid.
Whilst unlikely, it is still plausible that the song will be a fond goodbye to youth rather than the more common wanting to go back. It's also unlikely that the adolescence is going to be presented negatively, even if the tempo is slow, a minor key is used, or the lyrics imply hospitalisation - because what got them there will have been having a good time.
Basically, it's an ode... to youth.
Called "Forever Young"
- Alphaville's "Let us die young or let us live forever... the music's for the sad men"
- "Young Forever" was a Jay-Z rework of the Alphaville version.
- Rod Stewart and Bob Dylan who wrote suspicious similar songs, usually accidentally fused, and covered by everyone from The Band to Diana Ross to Idina Menzel. It is also heavily featured in other media.
- Madness in 2010.
- Meat Loaf had one on the album Couldn't Have Said It Better.
- Australian band Youth Group (that's the name) in 2006 rather aptly had a song called this.
- The German group Interactive, making it to the UK top 40 in 1996 but not seeing much fame outside of Western Europe.
- Tyketto's "Forever Young" about a young couple facing adversity in their relationship. Probably inspired by Bon Jovi's "Livin' On A Prayer"
- Care Bears Movie II: A New Generation has an original song called "Forever Young" sung by Carol Parks for the new generation of bears learning about the originals.
- Super Eurobeat artist Symbol also has a song titled "Forever Young", and it was featured in the Fourth Stage of Initial D.
Other titles by genre
- The Killers' "Miss Atomic Bomb", "When You Were Young", "Shot at the Night", and "A Dustland Fairytale".
- Bruce Springsteen's "Glory Days", "No Surrender", "Born to Run", and others.
- P!nk's "Raise Your Glass" - "we will never be, never be, anything but LOUD! and nitty-gritty, dirty little freaks!"
- Brand New's "Soco Amaretto Lime" is on this, despite the title: "we're gonna stay eighteen forever, you're just jealous cause we're young and in love".
- Circa Waves' "T-Shirt Weather" talks about the summer (t-shirt weather) of the summer when the singer stopped being 17.
- Mike Mains and the Branches' "Matches" is very much about the freedom to rebel when young.
- The White Stripes' "We're Going To Be Friends", reminiscing on how easy it was to be friends and then not be friends.
- Journey's "Stone In Love": "Those crazy nights I do remember, in my youth / ... Those were the best times, most of all..."
- New Radicals' "You Get What You Give": "We got the dreamers' disease!"
- Coldplay's "Viva la Vida" is a very metaphorical example "I used to rule the world, seas would rise when I gave the word, now in the morning I sleep alone, sweep the streets I used to own".
- My Chemical Romance's "Sing".
- Pearl Jam's "Leash".
- Take That's "Never Forget", "...someday this'll all be someone else's dream"
- Surprisingly not "When We Were Young" until the last stanza "when we adored the fabulous, when we were young, we were the foolish fearless, we didn't know it wouldn't last, when we were young".
- One Direction's "Live While We're Young".
- Van Morrison's "These are the Days" about an endless summer that needs to be embraced.
- Taylor Swift's "22" ("happy, free, confused, and lonely in the best way"), "Tim McGraw", "Our Song", "Long Live", and "Never Grow Up". Maybe "Welcome to New York", but not "Fifteen" even though the title may suggest that.
- Kid Rock's "All Summer Long" is one of the most definitive examples and quickly comes to mind: "It was 1989, my thoughts were short my hair was long, caught somewhere between a boy and man... It was summertime in Northern Michigan".
- Bryan Adams' "Summer of '69" is hugely popular, too: "Got my first real six-string, bought it at the five and dime, played it till my fingers bled, was the summer of '69... that summer seemed to last forever, oh they were the best days of my life".
- Eric Church's "Springsteen": "When I think about you, I think of seventeen, I think about my old jeans, think about the stars in the sky".
- The Band Perry's "Live Forever": "You will be my only one/Hold my hand so we can run/You and I, we're staying young, yeah/We're gonna live, we're gonna live forever"
- Ladytron's "Seventeen" is, alternatively, sung to the teenagers: "We only want you when you're seventeen. When you're twenty-one you're no fun."
- JET's "Seventeen" - "don't change a thing!"
- Bon Jovi's "Livin' On A Prayer" about a young couple having troubles because of the Union Strikes, but also having faith because they're young.
- John Mellencamp's "Jack and Diane": "Hold onto sixteen as long as you can".
- Little Angels' "Young Gods" - a tribute to their young fans and an exhortation for them to "Stand Up!" and be counted.
- Mr. Big's "Blame It On My Youth" - a song about the singer being wild and carefree but he can't be judged too harshly due to his youth and inexperience.
- Nicki Minaj's "Young Forever", and to a lesser extent, "The Night is Still Young".
- Avicii's "The Nights", about making memories of the nights that never die, and "(These Are) The Days", about making memories of the days we won't regret.
- "Wake Me Up!": ...Wish that I could stay forever this young, not afraid to close my eyes
- fun's "We Are Young" is the more modern upgrade of the country songs that epitomises this.
- "Young Blood" by the Naked and Famous, a song about both the uncertainty and the wonder of youth.
We lie beneath the stars at night,Our hands gripping each other tight,You keep my secrets hope to die,Promises, swear them to the sky.
- Katy Perry's "The One That Got Away" goes the whole hog with all the rural small-town America symbols.
- Metro Station's "Seventeen Forever", singing about having independence and no responsibilities.
- Vitamin C's "Graduation (Friends Forever)" is understandably about graduating and discussing that you're going to stay in touch, which may or may not work out.
- Troye Sivan's "Youth"
- Adele's "When We Were Young"
- Avril Lavigne's "Here's To Never Growing Up" is all about this.
- Chuck Berry's "School Day" is about a kid eager to get out of school for the day and hear some rock'n'roll at the juke joint.
- Cliff Richard and The Shadows' "The Young Ones": 'Young ones shouldn't be afraid... for we won't be the young ones very long'.
- The Who's "My Generation":
People try to put us down / just because we get around / Things they do look awful cold / Hope I die before I get old