Kids of the Future: Songs For and About the Youth

Teenagers are often the topic or the theme of songs and their consequent lyrics. After all, this time and period in ones life is often the most colorful and the most poetic; the overwhelming number of literature and films created to depict this period can attest to that. In fact, this topic already has a number of sub-genres, among them the popular coming-of-age film or literature. Music is no different.

A number of lyrics try to recreate that feeling of wonder, excited, rebellion, confusion, and other emotions connected to being a teenager. Some of these songs may not directly pertain to the youth, and a number of these songs were written several years ago, but their lyrics still successfully mirror current realities in the life of a teen.

Of course, Nirvanas Smells Like Teen Spirit is never left out when people talk about songs about the youth. This is an example of a song that does not exactly talk about teenagers or the youth per se. In fact, while this Nirvana song is iconic, many criticized it for being somewhat nonsensical.

Parts of the lyrics (such as these iconic lines: I feel stupid and contagious / Here we are now / Entertain us / A mulatto / An albino / A mosquito / My libido) does not make sense at all when taken as is, but many say the lyrics speaks of the general feeling of rebellion against the institution and the standards set by the older generation. This makes perfect sense, considering how the composition of the music is very avant-garde, and how the lyrics were not crafted traditionally.

Belle and Sebastian, on the other hand, has a song title We Rule the School, with its lyrics describing the general feeling of being detached from the real world during high school, a precocious time in ones life.

The lyrics go: On a beech tree, rudely carved / “NC loved me” / Why did she do it? / Was she scared? / Was she bored? This already cites the need for teenagers to be accepted through their actions, that each of their action require the proper motivation that not only stems from within but also from the pressures of other people and of particular circumstance. This was further developed by the song when the lyrics later cite a specific example. �Do something pretty while you can / Don’t fall asleep / Skating a pirouette on ice is cool and Do something pretty while you can / Don’t be a fool / Reading the Gospel to yourself is fine demonstrate this in the lyrics.

Others opt to tackle particular issues common among teenagers. An example of this is Brenda’s Got A Baby by 2pac. When lyrics of the song cite that Brendas got a baby But Brendas barely got a brain / A damn shame / The girl can hardly spell her name, the song is actually making a statement about premarital sex and early pregnancies. The lyrics, however, dig in deeper issues. For instance, Cause I bet Brenda doesn’t even know / Just cause your in tha ghetto doesn’t mean ya can’t grow is a statement on the people living in particular communities, and how the perception of people affects them.

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