A Song For Every Kind of Twenty-Something [Confessions of a Twenty Something]

For me, music is therapy. There is nothing that soothes me more than a great song when I’m feeling anxious, upset, nervous or just in need of some sort of release. I’m a word person, so for me, lyrics are a huge part of it. If I can connect with the lyrics of a song, I’m sold. It’s comforting to know that out there is someone who understands what I am going through. When we connect with a song, we feel less alone.

Coming from someone who is right in the limbo of life, music helps me through those times when I’m extremely frustrated with life and can’t seem to find solace. As twenty-somethings, we’ve experienced so many different emotions and facing issues that we’ve probably never had to before. It’s complicated. It’s confusing. It’s sometimes terrifying in an exciting sort of way (see what I mean?). So I’ve compiled some of my favorite songs that will help you through these trying twenty something times.

For the frustrated twenty-something…

Graduate | Third Eye Blind

Speaking from personal experience, there is nothing quite like being one of the few left to graduate college of all your friends. Everyone is getting jobs, getting engaged, getting pregnant, and you’re still studying for midterms. It’s embarrassing. It’s frustrating. It’s no fun. This song was on a pretty heavy rotation for me this past fall. All I wanted to do with turn in my last paper and get my diploma. I was so ready to move on with the rest of my life and continue in my twenty-something glory. While Third Eye Blind may not have been literally speaking of graduating from school, the concept of graduation is pretty heavy. Stephan Jenkins sings and questions, “Can I look in faces that I meet? Can I get my punk ass off the street?” Can we ever just get our s**t together as twenty-somethings?

For the twenty-something with Peter Pan syndrome…

Same Mistakes | The Echo-Friendly

The Echo-Friendly’s “Same Mistakes,” speaks of feeling childish, making the same mistakes over and over, and the urging of others to grow up while we resist. Do you guys ever feel this way? Sometimes I am so desperate to grow up and be an adult, but at the same time, I feel quite comfortable living at my parents and feeling that financial comfort. They sing, “My friends are all a drag. They think I’m such a flake. They want to go to bed. I want to stay up late.” Sometimes, we just want to be young and wild and free, but it’s hard to do so when all our friends are busy having lives. This song is quite the opposite of “Graduate,” but it makes perfect sense to have them next to each other on this mixtape. We’re twenty-somethings. We feel 100 different emotions in a day, which brings me to song number 3…

For the moody twenty-something….

You Can Be All Kinds of Emotional | The Lone Bellow

This song is basically self-explanatory, but when you’re a twenty-something, we’re going through 100 different kinds of emotions. We’re happy then sad then confused then ready to take on the world then we’re complete shut-ins. We’re all over the place. The Lone Bellow recognize this, and while they may be singing to a specific person and pointing how that they have a tendency to be all over the place emotionally. I view this song as an affirmation. I view this song as an allowance to be emotional—all kinds of it. This is a scary time in our lives, and it’s okay to be moody sometimes.

For the fun loving twenty-something…

I Love It | Icona Pop

This first time I heard this song was in a TV promo for that MTV show, Snooki and JWoww. I was like, “This song sucks” and moved on with my life. Then a few months later, I heard the entirety of the song in an episode of Girls, and I was in love. Now, maybe it was the context of where/when I heard it, or maybe it was the fact that I am obsessed with Girls and if Lena Dunham likes a song, I must too. There is just something so empowering and fun about Icona Pop, especially when they claim, “You’re from the seventies, but I’m a nineties bitch.” What is more amazing than that? My friends and I have had some major dance-offs to this song as of late, and I don’t see that ending. This song just makes me really happy, and as a stressed out twenty-something, sometimes that’s what we need.

For the broken hearted twenty-something…

Try | P!nk

If you remember my post from last week, I really fixated on the idea of taking a chance when it comes to love. Trying again is scary, but it’s also necessary in order to find the success we crave. P!nk really hits the nail on the head when she sings about making it work when things seem a little rough in a relationship. There’s going to be fights and problems and let downs, but you have to get up and try again. Having your heartbroken gives you every right in the world to swear off the opposite sex and claim celibacy, but in the grand scheme of things, is that really what we want? We crave human intimacy. We have to risk the hurt in order to feel the love.

For the twenty-something that wants to be everything…

A Better Son or Daughter | Rilo Kiley

This song truly is one of my all-time favorites. Though I have been in love with it since I was 15 or 16, it has never resonated more with me that it does as a twenty-four year old. We have no freaking idea who we are or who we want to be. All we know is that we want to be a good person and live a life that we can be proud of, but unfortunately, we fall short. We’re bad daughters or sons. We’re bad friends. We’re bad girlfriends. We’re bad students. We want to be grownups. We want to be responsible. In “A Better Son or Daughter,” Jenny Lewis sings about how sometimes she is so paralyzed by the fear of living, but she knows that she needs to keep going in order to become the person she wants to be. She sings, “You’ll be a real good listener. You’ll be honest. You’ll be brave. You’ll be handsome, and you’ll be beautiful. You’ll be happy.” And isn’t that what we all want at the end of the day—just to be happy?

What are some of your favorite songs that get you through the tough times? Let me know in the comments! 

Katie recently finished her undergrad at North Central College in Naperville, Illinois. She enjoys wasting hours on Facebook and tweeting things no one cares about. When asked the question, “Do you do marathons?” She promptly responds, “Of course! Which show?” Follow her @KatieGarrity! Or read her personal blog where she talks incessantly about Ryan Gosling and hummus here!

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