20 Songs About Growing Up Too Fast
Growing up too fast often accompanies good or sad memories that shape our identities. Many songs have been written pondering this inescapable fate of time.
As a kid, we want to grow up, then, as a teenager, we want to grow up more. But, as we become working adults and parents, raising a family, we want to return to the comfort of our younger selves, when things were not so clear but still enjoyable.
Billy Ray Cyrus, Oasis, Ed Sheeran, Bob Dylan, and many other solo or band artists have written and performed songs about growing up too fast. Some are sad and gloomy, some are just a tour on memory lane and reflect the joyous moments of the past, while many songs are about the emotional states of parents who deal with aging.
We'll look at songs about growing up too fast that shows how time flies by in the blink of an eye:
1. In this Diary by The Ataris
In this Diary is collected in the album So Long, Astoria by American rock band The Ataris. It is a melancholic song about growing up and old forgotten memories.
When released in 2003, the song spoke to its generation: those who were growing up and who were already a grown-up. Being one of the best coming-of-age tracks, it sparked the memories of teenagers and adults, bringing back nostalgic feelings for the good old days. It still hasn't lost its charm, thanks to the powerful lyrics that is relatable to so many people.
I guess when it comes down to it
Being grown up isn't half as fun as growing up
These are the best days of our lives
The only thing that matters is just following your heart
And eventually you'll finally get it right
2. Good Old Days by Macklemore
Good Old Days by American rapper and songwriter Macklemore is one of the 16 songs from his 2017 album Gemini. The song appreciates the moments of our lives.
The singer dwells on his past: his struggling days as an artist and even his romantic feelings and hesitations. But, his only regret is that he should have lived every moment of his past to the fullest. He thinks that, because every experience of the present will transform into a memory; we should live as if we have already lived it, and with no remorse left for our future selves.
The song is both a reminiscence and a reminder that life must be lived in the present so that we can form good memories that we might be able to reflect upon peacefully and with joy. The song gives us strength and teaches a lesson: life is happening now!
I wish somebody would have told me babe
That some day, these will be the good old days
All the love you won't forget
And all these reckless nights you won't regret
'Cause someday soon, your whole life's gonna change
You'll miss the magic of the good old days
3. Just Getting Older by Oasis
Just Getting Older by Oasis is a song with a sad realization of being grown up. The song captures the feeling of getting estranged as an adult with many doubts.
The Gallagher brother from the rock band Oasis realized that getting mature is not necessarily full of perks. As stars, they felt hard living in terms with the chaos around them. The lyrics basically point out: it sometimes becomes really depressing to realize things in life and associate them with the passage of time; the fruits might not be the ones we like.
This song is a bit depressing, but on the bright side, we might start to reflect more clearly on the priorities in life.
It's nine o'clock
I'm getting tired
I'm sick of all my records
And the clothes I bought today
Am I cracking up
Or just getting older ?
4. It Was A Very Good Year By Frank Sinatra
This song about growing up and loving relationships won Frank Sinatra Grammy Award for Best Male Pop Vocal Performance in 1966. It was written by Ervin Drake.
Imagine, what does the autumn think about the spring and the harvest? Perhaps, all good memories of bloom. In this song by the king of traditional pop music, Sinatra sings about the love relationships the narrator had in different years of life. He refreshes those intact images of the girls, all of whom left a sweet indelible mark on the narrator as he now reflects back on them.
The majestic vocal of Sinatra and the lively instrumentation makes this one of those cheerful songs that remind us: good memories of growing up stay with us even in our old age just like a good friend who never gets old.
But now the days are short, I'm in the autumn of the year
And now I think of my life as vintage wine from fine old kegs
From the brim to the dregs, and it poured sweet and clear
It was a very good year
5. I Don't Want to Grow Up by Ramones
I Don't Want to Grow Up was amassed in the album Adios Amigos recorded by the punk rock band Ramones. Like other punk genre-defining songs, it revolts growing up.
Often in our teens, sometimes we just want to bring down the established values. Punk lyrics carried such sentiments, and this song in particular became an anthem for youthful verve and nerve to reject it all – the whole idea of growing up and accepting all the troubles that follow.
The repeated line in the song: "I don't wanna grow up," captures the sentiments of teenagers, youths or even adults, who are sometimes tired and impatient to see things happening around unlike their expectations; often colder than their juvenile comforts.
When I'm lyin' in my bed at night I don't wanna grow up
Nothing ever seems to turn out right I don't wanna grow up
How do you move in a world of fog that's always
Changing things Makes wish that I could be a dog
6. Then They Do by Trace Adkins
Parents grow up too as a person and Then They Do by Trace Adkins covers the melancholy of the reflecting parents. The song was written by Jim Collins and Sunny Ross.
For teenagers, it might be a different and difficult experience, but for parents, growing up old often means their children's exit from their home. When you are done parenting, children find their own ways to make living and get married and it won't be very usual that they are around you often – this can be a painful experience.
This remembrance of the things past will fill you with sadness and make you realize that though the challenges of growing up kids have finally settled down, there is cold emptiness at your house. This song by country singer Adkins will make us sad and happy at the same time: children have realized their dreams but you've been left alone.
Then they do
And that's how it is
It's just quiet in the morning
Can't believe how much you miss
7. Young by Kenny Chesney
Young is from Kenny Chesney's hit 2002 album No Shoes, No Shirt, No Problems. The song is no less than a story of growing up as a youth and all the adrenaline.
Chesney is an accomplished country singer and his Young had even topped Billboard Hot Country Singles & Tracks, earning a Gold Certification by RIAA. Youths are just wild! The narrator in the song recounts how his carefree life with his friends was experimental and daring.
He was sort of a rebel living his life among music, booze and girls, and of course even while finding it all difficult to understand, nevertheless he enjoyed it. He just misses those days and wants them back. The song has over 9M views on YouTube.
And man, I don't know
Where the time goes
But it sure goes fast
Just like that
8. Welcome To Paradise by Green Day
American rock band Green Day has a special place, especially among those who grew up listening to them. Welcome To Paradise is their own story of growing up.
One gets out of the home of parents to realize his/her own dreams. Welcome To Paradise, collected in the 1992 album Kerplunk was born out of Green Day's vocalist Billie Joe Armstrong's own personal story when he, with Mike Dirnt had left their homes to settle in a warehouse when they had started out as musicians.
The song takes you out of your comfort and puts you so vulnerable out in the world, but once you adapt to it, you see your place in it. Growing up also means taking challenges to venture out, and face your own personal fears.
Pay attention to the cracked streets and the broken homes
Some call it slums
Some call it nice
I want to take you through a wasteland I like to call my home
Welcome to paradise
9. Cat's In The Cradle by Harry Chapin
Cat's in the Cradle is a folk rock song by award-winning singer Harry Chapin. It is about the father-son relationship & how it shapes & changes as the years pass.
Perhaps the most successful song by Chapin, this song even got him a nomination for the 1975 Grammy Award for Best Male Pop Vocal Performance. A song about a parent-child relationship, it tells a story of a father who at first cannot spend enough time with his son during his forming days, only to regret it later in his old age.
When the son grows up to become a youth first then a father, his father tries to spend time with him, but without success. Only then the father comprehends, that his son has become just like him – a father with no time for anyone.
This song makes it urgent to realize now, that happiness cannot be saved for later; it must be created and relished now!
You would want your children to grow up slowly with your time, but it never happens – it flies by.
And the cat's in the cradle and the silver spoon
Little boy blue and the man in the moon
"When you coming home, son?" "I don't know when"
But we'll get together then, dad
We're gonna have a good time then
10. Stop This Train by John Mayer
Stop This Train by singer-songwriter John Mayer is included in his 2006 album Continuum. The song has a strong sense of time, which takes away our loved ones.
John has used the rushing train as an allegory to time. The narrator of the song discerns that as he is getting older sitting on the train of time, his parents are getting older too, and he is afraid he might lose them soon.
Therefore, he wants someone to slow down the aging, and return to his childhood when his parents too were young, and life hadn't shown him its dark and harsh face: the face of death.
But, the narrator's father advises him, that it's only a matter of time before his son will have a new way of looking at life, just like he did in his time. It is a fact that when we are young we want to get older, have more command over our lives, and be someone we wish to become. This ballad of time has more than 5M views on YouTube.
Oh, come on, stop this train
I want to get off and go home again
I can't take the speed it's moving in
I know I can't
But honestly, won't someone stop this train?
11. Boy by Lee Brice
American country music singer-songwriter Lee Brice's Boy is incorporated in his 2017 album Lee Brice. The lyrics of the song have brought many listeners to tears.
The song has been celebrated by many, who have just become parents and also by kids who had a hard time understanding their parents but who now do. During the teenage years, the parent-child relationship tends to become very complex, and parents are challenged to transition their kids through that age of vulnerability and growth.
Lee Brice's Boy, written from an eye of a father, tells the story of a kid growing up, with the fact that in time the son will be in the same place to reflect all as if life moves in a circle. The song is an unspoken piece of advice a father or mother would want their children to embrace, to get a better view of the world. It has garnered more than 43M views on YouTube.
But boy, you're gonna come back home
You're gonna settle down
But you won't feel the way I'm feelin' now
Until you have a boy
He's gonna know it all
12. The House That Built Me by Miranda Lambert
This country song by multiple award-winning country singer Miranda Lambert brings back the memories of roots and origin. The music video has more than 93M views on YouTube.
We shift places and change homes, but we barely forget the memories of growing up as a kid in someplace. It becomes a timestamp in our memories, to who we become, and defines our emotional selves. Very often, we want to revisit or reconnect with those moments, which define our childhood.
Lambert's song gets many of us dewy-eyed, basically who left their home, and the house doesn't belong to them anymore. This song is a walk on memory lane that has transported many to their roots and their childhood selves.
I thought if I could touch this place or feel it
This brokenness inside me might start healing
Out here, it's like I'm someone else
I thought that maybe I could find myself
13. Forever Young by Bob Dylan
Nobel prize-winning singer-songwriter Bob Dylan's Forever Young was among other songs from the album Planet Waves released in 1974. It is an ode & prayer for life.
We witness the growth of our children, and while we do everything in our strength to give them a better life, we can only give blessings and say prayers for them as we get old ourselves.
Getting older can be a painful realization of diminishing strength and will but parents have still many things to say to their kids, to show them the path not only of glory but also of kindness along the way. For fans of Dylan – probably the best singer-songwriter in the world – this song can be an eye-opener, to what life has to offer.
May you always be courageous
Stand upright and be strong
May you stay forever young
14. Somewhere Only We Know by Keane
Somewhere Only We Know can be best called a Saudade song. Collected in the album Hopes and Fears, it is a longing for a place, time and a relation lost in time.
This song by English alt-rock band Keane evokes nostalgia for relations we weren't successful with. But in the autumn of our lives, when things are more settled, one leans on the soft side, where desires are just vague and where we just want to retire to the comfort of good relationships.
The narrator calls for his old love, to meet again and begin a fresh relationship after all these harsh years that have turned them old and weak. But still, the dream of being together, and the possibility hasn't been claimed by time – the narrator wants to frequent that pleasure once again, now when time is leaving them in the lurch.
Oh, simple thing, where have you gone?
I'm getting old, and I need something to rely on
So, tell me when you're gonna let me in
I'm getting tired, and I need somewhere to begin
15. Jack & Diana by John Mellencamp
Jack & Diana is a song about a teenage boy and a girl in relation who have realized that things are changing as they are growing up. Topping the billboard, it had made John an overnight sensation.
The fine detailing of the lyrics accompanied by acoustic and electric guitar music made Jack & Diana a youth sensational song. The boy and the girl in the song have cherished a carefree life chilling and taking pleasure in each other's company. However, they are also conscious that life won't be the same, and they won't remain teenagers to live the thrilling life they wish to experience forever.
The song has many cultural references to the 80s popular among boys and girls who would roam the city in a speeding car, only to face an abrupt break when the girls got pregnant disrupting their teenage romance.
Holdin' on to sixteen as long as you can
Change is coming 'round real soon
Make us women and men
"Oh yeah, life goes on, long after the thrill of living is gone"
16. Castle On the Hill by Ed Sheeran
Castle On the Hill by Ed Sheeran is an evocative song of longing to return home and frequent the memorable ones. It has more than 519M views on YouTube as of now.
Just like our parents, a place and friends are part of us; they form our identities and memories. In the song, the narrator is returning back to his home after many years and on his way, recalls the time he spent with his friends as a teenager before he moved out.
Now, for grown-up men like him and his friends, life has been pretty harsh; destiny has driven them and turned them into unexpected individuals with difficulties, bearing responsibilities unlikely when they were teenagers.
In this light, while on his way home, the narrator wants to return to that time; he has submerged in a deep nostalgia and melancholy of growing up and missing happy moments on the way.
And I miss the way you make me feel, and it's real
When we watched the sunset over the castle on the hill
And I'm on my way
I still remember these old country lanes
17. It Won't Be Like This for Long by Darius Rucker
This song looks at a growing-up daughter and her father's anxiousness. It was collected in the album Learn To Live by Darius Rucker that was released in 2008.
Like his other critically acclaimed songs from the album Learn To Live, this song which has more than 13M views on YouTube looks at a father who is learning to see his daughter grow into a different being.
The father has emotionally found it all hard to see his daughter change from an infant to a teenager, who soon will be married and leave her parent's home – a father facing the fear of his parting away daughter. This is a song that reminds us that, parents are very sensitive to how their children mature to become unique individuals.
It wont be like this for long
One day soon that little girl is gonna be
All grown up and gone
Yeah this phase is gonna fly by
18. Fade Away by Oasis
Aging also means, most of us have to sacrifice our childhood dreams for a ritualistic life. Fade Away by Oasis is a wake-up call to not let our dreams melt away.
Most of us grownups know, we dwindle in our imagination and dreams of becoming someone as we turn from kids to youths to adults. We might want to ripen early, but when we finally do, we find the world completely different from our fantasy. That may break us and we often give up our dreams.
Fade Away is a reminder that, it is never too late to live a life one chooses.
When I was young
I thought I had my own key
While we're living
The dreams we have as children fade away
19. When You’re Young by The Jam
Another song by a punk rock band on our list, When You're Young is a reflective song about teenage years. It contrasts the two worlds, that is of old & the young.
The drudgery of life is what teenagers hate the most and this song spoke to a generation when it was released in 1979. Limitless, timeless, carefree, rebellious – this is how the teenagers felt then and teenagers feel now. But, the harsh reality is, before they comprehend it and manage through their growing self, they become hard-pressed individuals in a jigsaw world.
This is a song with a punk attitude, but with lyrics true to what is like growing up and finding a world among the chaos of responsibilities.
And you find out life isn't like that
It's so hard to understand
Why the world is your oyster but your future's a clam
20. Ready, Set, Don't Go by Billy Ray Cyrus
Ready, Set, Don't Go is a song from the 2007 album Home at Last by American country singer Billy Ray Cyrus. So far, it has earned more than 4.9M views on YouTube.
Father in the song, but parents, in general, want their kids to grow up and be able to live independently. But it comes with a cost – kids so close to them have to leave their house for better education, a better city and whatnot. This song, written from a perspective of a father, contemplates the departure of a daughter, which breaks the parent's hearts.
This dad-to-daughter song since its release has become relatable to so many parents and kids who are separating after many years of living together under a common roof.
Looks like she's all ready to leave
Nothing left to pack
Ain't no room for me in that car
Even if she asked me to tag along
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