Coming-of-Age is a topic that has interested me for years. I find to have been influenced, not only by my own comingof-age but also by art. Be it film, photography, paintings or music. In this book, I am concentrating on the latter because itâ€˜s the one closest to my heart. Pop music has been a catalyst for the expression of one owns most personal self for many years. I find, that it serves as the most honest form of media for this topic. Not only does it serve as a platform to burst free, let it all out and process oneâ€˜s issues but it inspires a whole new generation. When the Undertones sing about Teenage Kicks, a generation can relate. And music spreads like a virus. The contagion of a melody cannot be understated. Coming-ofAge in music can be like a hug for the melancholic introvert, a party anthem for the jock, a revelation for the confused and a consolidation for the misunderstood. Or it can be a spur for misery.
To start off this project I needed to pinpoint the essence of Coming-of-Age: It‘s the gradual loss of innocence by the continuous confrontation with the adult world. One is overwhelmed by feelings of curiosity, anxiety, fun, frustration, excitement, and isolation the more freedom and independence one receives. The younger one is the older one longs to be, but the older one becomes, the younger one wants to be again. To conclude this introduction, I‘d like to quote John Cusack‘s character from High Fidelity: «Did I listen to pop music because I was miserable, or was I miserable because I listened to pop music?»
Love From the first kiss to the first failed marriage, love is probably the most important theme from all of these, as it seems to be represented in every single age group. Sex/Lust As sexual interest enters our lives during our puberty it takes on a crucial part of many of our lives. Be it overwhelming urges, sexual experimentation or sexual confusion - sex seems to always have a big question mark constantly following it. Drugs/Alcohol The fear of every good parent is their child getting into drugs and it seems like these fears are not far-fetched. Teenagers do drugs because of many different reasons such as boredom, escape from reality or peer pressure.
Independence As you grow up the two first letters of this word slowly fade in. The more one learns and the more one knows, the more society expects you to be able to self-parent and the less you are going to need your real parents. Confusion Confusion is a constant partner during your early years. There will be several first times during that period of time and initially, youâ€˜ll feel confused. You havenâ€˜t learned much yet (relatively speaking) and instead of knowing what to do, you tag along by mirroring people you trust.
Freedom As the symbolic grip of your parents loosens, you‘ll first feel the rush of being able to do something the way you want to do it. Going your own way in life is exciting and new… and you want more! Fun It seems like a generic term, but many I have heard/read many people say/sing/write, that you have the most funs as a child. This is not a rule or an unshakeable reality, but it‘s hard to argue that the younger you are, the more uninhibited, the goofier, the more imaginative you tend to be. And this seems to add up to fun.
Frustration In the process of learning, there is always (and I mean always) one if not several periods of frustration. Adapting to reality and learning the way the world works is not easy to grasp and it needs determination motivation to figure out things fully.
Feeling misunderstood The more and more you develop your conscience, the more and more you may feel like the world is a crazy place. Sometimes this realisation disguises itself. You feel like your reality isn‘t everyone else‘s and you feel isolated and out of place.
Excitement Excitement comes in many forms. Learning something new, the inability to wait to grow up or just to do things you love to do. It seems as though the younger you are the more excited about things you can be.
Curiosity Curiosity needs to be mentioned because the experimental mind of an adolescent and even a child is not to be understated. This is the spark that makes us want to learn and progress. Rebellion Rebellion can be a product of different things, but it always seems to come from somewhere. Maybe you feel misunderstood? Or you feel unfairly treated? Or you feel like you belong to a group that just happens to have a rebellious attitude. Rebellion against your elders seems to be one of the first signs of wanting independence. Irrationality/Violence
Irrationality/Violence Irrational behaviour, which sometimes comes in the form of violence or crime is probably (according to me) something that is taught to you. This can come from peers, friends, parents or different forms of media. It can also be a coping mechanism for the misunderstood or an adolescent cry for attention or help. Or even a method of protest. Whatever it is, it starts early. Loneliness Loneliness is a product of isolation and teenagers seem to sing this blues the loudest and in the most painful form. This comes from the young adolescents need to belong. Being a loner is usually not a choice and it can hurt badly.
Friendship Friends are crucial parts of growing up: These are the people you share the things with, which you can‘t share with your parents. With them, you go on adventures, you talk about your experiences. These are your partners in crime. Longing Longing is something that you may do when you reminisce the past. The older you become, the more you realise how easy life was, when you were younger. And this doesn‘t necessarily ever stop. The more expectations you are confronted with, the more you tend to look back on the beauty of what was. Of course, you can also long for past relationships, past holidays, past friendships etc. but it always seems to be for something that you have experienced before. Loss of Innocence To me, this perfectly sums up growing up. Everybody love a little infant, even if it cries, shouts and poops its pants. The older you become the more society expects of you. You should know better by now and that‘s how you are going to be treated.
Naivety Gullible kids is a stereotype as famous as shy Finns. In order to learn, you have to fall on your face a couple of times. How do you fall on your face? You trust everybody. Naivety is not understanding how the world works.
Loss of Innocence
Alice Cooper (US) The band, that basically consists of a high school cross country team, had their first hit with a track called «I‘m Eighteen» talking about the period between adolescence and adulthood. A theory of mine is that their other coming-of-age songs tried (and managed) to capitalise on this winning formula. This is just a fan theory, though. As mentioned before, that they all were highschoolers, when they formed their band. Writing about your own truths has proven to be successful for many others before. Notable work: I‘m Eighteen, School‘s Out, Teenage Lament ‘74
Win Butler (US) [Arcade Fire (CA)] I don‘t know why Win Butler has such a strong connection to the coming-of-age genre, but he seems to reminisce about his suburban life in Texas a lot. He also notably escaped that place to the North American country called Canada to form Arcade Fire and there is some youthful urgency in the band‘s tone. Nevertheless, growing up plays a big part in his music. Notable work: We Used To Wait, City With No Children, The Suburbs
Alex Chilton [Big Star (US)] Alex Chilton always had a distinctive way of romanticising youth. As someone who went into show business at a very young age (he was the teenaged lead singer of the Box Tops during the 60‘s), he possibly never lived his own teenage years to the fullest. One could argue, that he compensated this lack of experience by reexperiencing his youth in his songwriting with Big Star. Notable work: Thirteen, I‘m In Love With A Girl, Ballad of El Goodo
Lorde (NZ) Lorde has been championed by fellow musicians, funnily enough also by Bruce Springsteen and one can see why. Maybe he sees a little of himself in her, since she started her career at a very young age, much like the Boss himself. So it‘s safe to assume, that most of her lyrics are deeply personal.
Notable work: White Teeth Teens, The Love Club, Perfect Places
Mitski (US/JP) I can relate to Mitski‘s lyrics on a personal level because I think out of all of these protagonists, she has lived a life most similar to mine. She is biracial and moved around quite a lot as a child. She stated that she is «half Japanese, half American, but not fully either» and discusses issues of belonging. Mix this with the adventure of entering adulthood, and you have a mixed bag of emotions coming your way.
Notable Work: First Love / Late Spring, Townie, Drunk Walk Home
Paul Simon [Simon and Garfunkel (US)] As a child to immigrants assimilation was key and so Paul Simon grew up with music. He met his future music partner Art Garfunkel at age 11 and the immediately started their musical career. First under Tom & Jerry in the late 50s and then throughout the 60s. It‘s easy to see why so many coming-of-age thematics pop up in Simon‘s lyrics. Notable work: Leaves That Are Green, Old Friends, Fakin‘ It
Bruce Springsteen (US) Though the Boss is more known for his working-class hero based lyrical themes, he had his fair share of coming-of-age songs. One reason for this may be his drive and insane work-ethic he had at a very young age. His career began when he was 15, so he basically summed up the way he lived, what his dreams for the future were and the things he learned along the way. Notable work: Blinded By The Lights, Growin‘ Up, Backstreets
Brian Wilson [The Beach Boys (US)] Brian Wilson is a special case among these other protagonists. Referred to by many as a sweet soul that never really left childhood, he is like a Peter Pan of the music world. It‘s like he is a child in an adult body, not really because he refuses to grow up, but seemingly because he can‘t. Whether you blame that on his extensive and damaging therapy, that he went through the 80‘s or his destructive drug use throughout the 60‘s and 70‘s is up to you, but he showed signs of this behaviour at a very early age. His coming-ofage songs are more self-reflective and melancholic than wild or rebellious. It also should be noted that he often colaborated when it got to the lyrics (Tony Asher, Van Dyke Parks and Mike Love need to be mentione here).
Notable work: Wouldn‘t It Be Nice, When I Grow Up (To Be A Man), That‘s Not Me
001 Brian Adams wrote this song with his longtime songwriting partner and collaborator Jim Vallance for Adams‘ 1984 album Reckless. Apart from the obvious references to a legendary summer of ‘69 (Adams must have been 9 years old during that summer), during which he tried to make it as a musician and fell in love with a girl standing on her mama‘s porch, this song supposedly is also about sex (hint: 69). Vallance disagrees but Adams insists. Alas, the main theme of the song is newfound freedom and the atmosphere and the lyrics truly encapsulate that.
001 Adams Brian (24) Summer of ‘69 Pop Rock, Heartland Rock
002 Adult Mom (??) I Think I‘m Old Enough Indie Pop
003 Aesop Rock (39) Blood Sandwich Abstract Hip Hop, East Coast Hip Hop
002 This song oozes a slightly irritatingly quirky atmosphere. Every line reads like «yeah, totally, but whatever». The line «cause it‘s weird when your parents are acting like your pals and it‘s weird when your dad is asking for your help» shows how ever-so-slightly confused the protagonist feels about this change in her life. She relies on her friends (and gives an homage to the same-titled TV show at the beginning of the song) and instead of self-parenting, she lives in a co-dependent relationship with them.
003 On Blood Sandwich Aesop Rock dedicates a verse each to both of his brothers. He has said, that their relationship has influenced him and shaped him more than anything in his life and stories of the past, that they tell each other, have become classics to them. Two of them are presented on this track and it is a good mix of the typical growing up themes such as friendship, naivety, and rebellion.
Songs: Adams - American Football
004 I‘m Eighteen captures the feeling of the transitional period between being a boy and being a man. The constant feeling of confusion is frustrating to the protagonist to the point of wanting to flee and «get out of this place». The feeling of not knowing what one is talking about triggers isolation and the feeling of being lost. But: It‘s exciting and he likes it!
004 Alice Cooper (22) I‘m Eighteen Hard Rock, Glam Rock, Garage Rock
005 Alice Cooper (24) School‘s Out Hard Rock, Glam Rock
006 Alice Cooper (25) Teenage Lament ‘74 Pop/Rock, Glam Rock
005 School‘s out is somewhat of an anthem for the rebellious kids in school. It‘s hard to argue that this song isn‘t designed to appeal this group of people. Triggering emotions such as freedom, rebellion and possibly violence («My school‘s been blown to pieces»). It‘s made to unify the boys and girls that are frustrated of authority and rules.
007 American Football (22) Honestly? Midwest Emo
006 This one‘s another testament to the confusing feeling of being a teenager. Not knowing what you are supposed to like, not being able to pursue what you actually do like, the stress within your own four walls and wanting to get away from it all. For this undecisive teenager, life is a melting pot of emotions.
007 The protagonist here seems to have reached a certain form of maturity and looks back on teenage naivety and the person he once was in comparison to the person he now is. Change is a concept one seems to have accepted but not fully grasped since it seems like the search for the sense and meaning of it all isn‘t over. More likely it has just begun.
008 One of the first truly remarkable transitional periods in your early life is the one where you gradually grow out of childhood into early adolescence. «I hear a voice: ‚You must learn to stand up for yourself, cause I can‘t always be around‘» is the father or parent stating something that every child with comforting parents fears: They are not going to be around forever. It‘s gradually time to self-parent: «When you gonna love you as much as I do?»
008 Tori Amos (28) Winter Chamber Pop, Singer/Songwriter
009 Fiona Apple (16) Sullen Girl Chamber Pop, Piano Rock, Singer/Songwriter
010 Fiona Apple (19) Shadowboxer Piano Rock, Jazz Pop, Singer/Songwriter
009 Traumatic experiences during a young age leave big marks and this character ponders if these experiences changed the way people perceive her. Has she changed? Is she different? Even though the trauma is very much alive she knows how she used to be, leading to feeling misunderstood. Is she not the same person anymore? It seems as though nobody really understands what she‘s going through leaving her alone with her experience.
011 Fiona Apple (19) Never Is A Promise Hard Rock, Glam Rock
009 & 011
010 Love is hard, that much is evident. Growing up, experiencing it for the first time, can be a lot harder. There is much to be learned. Making mistakes is a common theme here and this leads to stepping over boundaries one has started to recognise. The protagonist is stuck somewhere jumping back and forth between calling somebody just a friend, wanting them, giving oneself to them (for all the wrong reasons) and regretting it all at the same time. 011 Making experiences is an essential part of growing up. The adult world can bite when you first try to step into it. As sensational as losing one‘s virginity can be, there is a ruthlessly stark contrast to the probable, heartbreaking aftermath of it.
Songs: Amos - Arcade Fire
012 The spirit of adolescence is full of premature naivety and innocence. It can consist of wanting to break loose of supposed authority only because one is unable to see the necessary shelter it provides. Wanting to change the preordained future mixed with the mind of somebody in love equal the atmosphere, this song‘s protagonist feels himself in.
012 Arcade Fire (24) Neighborhood #1 (Tunnels) Indie Rock, Chamber Pop
013 Arcade Fire (24) Wake Up Indie Rock, Art Rock, Chamber Pop 013 014 Arcade Fire (30) We Used To Wait Indie Rock, Art Rock
013 Parental advice is a delicate thing. A child that was told not to worry can fell struck down by the brutal reality of life to the extent of not wanting to take risks anymore. The truth of the matter is: Making mistakes are a vital part of learning. And learning is a vital part to live a happy life. The scarred protagonist‘s advice is to «hold your mistakes up». Embrace making mistakes!
015 Arcade Fire (30) The Suburbs Indie Pop, Heartland Rock, Art Rock
016 Arcade Fire (30) City With No Children Indie Rock, Art Rock, Heartland Rock
014 Not a coming-of-age song by every sense of the definition, but it emphasises the importance of youthful wondering and how our poor way of dealing with the evolution of technology steals that essential part of growing up. 015 This self-declared letter FROM the suburbs tries to capture the nostalgic feeling the place you grew up in. There‘s a longing for the simpler times, which don‘t exist anymore. Everyone was in such a hurry to grow up and show boundaries instead of staying friends. 016 This song tries to capture the frustration one feels when looking back at what once was. The harsh realities of life have changed everything. Life itself has been sucked out of one‘s surroundings and you can‘t help but think about how different it used to be. The death of the child inside and the birth of the self-searcher or the fraction of one‘s future self.
014 - 016
017 The future is uncertain and one often wonders what will be and what one will become. This song asks us this question in many different forms, and you can get a sense of excitement and longing in the tone of its complete form. However the line «won‘t last forever» can be a sad hunch of the vanity of all things.
017 The Beach Boys (22) When I Grow Up (To Be a Man) Baroque Pop, Pop/Rock
018 The Beach Boys (25) Wouldn‘t It Be Nice Sunshine Pop, Baroque Pop
019 The Beach Boys (25) That‘s Not Me Baroque Pop 017
020 The Beach Boys (25) That‘s Not Me Baroque Pop 018
018 When you‘re head over heels and young, these are the type of thoughts you‘d have. «I wish that every kiss was neverending» portrays nothing else than a teenager. Successfully ignoring the hard work relationships can require and naively assuming everything will be carefree and bubblegum forever. Brian Wilson worked with the idea of longing to be older to finally be able to marry and live together on I‘m So Young, but perfectioned it here. 019 The protagonist used to be a passionate young dreamer that also wanted to prove that he could make it alone. It turns out that being a grow-up is not a piece of cake as one imagined. The term alone has changed from something exciting and freeing to something lonely and frightening. There has been a step made forward though. That‘s not me is a realisation made during the course of starting to find oneself. 020 Thoughts and perceptions are a new found ground for a young person. Feeling misunderstood is common among teenagers. The concept of reality changes all the time and can make the entire experience of experience itself extremely blurry. Nobody understands me and I might as well be from another planet. …Or ahead of one‘s time as adolescent arrogance might suggest.
019 & 020
Songs: Beach Boys - Beatles
021 Help! is a song that sounds upbeat, with its lyrics being anything but. One could argue that this is John Lennon coping with his still fairly newfound fame and everything that came with it. But he reflects on the past and uses the analogy of someone being overwhelmed by the process of growing up. And it suits it well!
021 The Beatles (24) Help! Pop/Rock
022 The Beatles (24) In My Life Pop/Rock
023 The Beatles (24) She‘s Leaving Home Baroque Pop
022 This song perfectly describes the most positive form of nostalgia: Reminiscing about the past but moving forward. «And these memories lose their meaning when I think of love as something new». John Lennon has a place in his heart for the past but the present is most important to him.
024 The Beatles (26) Strawberry Fields Forever Psychedelic Pop, Progressive Pop, Art Pop
023 Apparently, McCartney admitted this to be based on a true story. Kind of. At least based on the imaginations of McCartney after reading a newspaper article on a young girl running away from home. It‘s impressive how reflected a twenty-four-year-old can be, touching many parents hearts. At the very same time, it transports the urge of an adolescent to break free and have fun.
024 Strawberry Fields is not only an actual childhood place from John Lennon, but it serves as a symbol for all special childhood places or more accurately the feeling of remembering one‘s childhood. The highly nostalgic ambiance of encapsulates the carefree nature, that is also teased in the lyrics. Sonically, the song is testing boundaries and one could say that this adventurous approach to the song goes hand in hand with the thrill of experiencing something for the first time, which is a constant for a child.
025 Belle and Sebastian (27) Expectations Twee Pop, Chamber Pop, Indie Pop
026 Big Star (20) In The Street Power Pop
027 Big Star (21) Thirteen Folk Pop
025 Expectations is a great title for a coming-of-age song since a young overwhelmed adult often feels like there are a lot of them. These can come from peers, teachers parents and friends and they‘re always dependent on social norms. The song also touches upon high school drama and even offers a sigh of relief: «Soon you will know that you are sane; You‘re on top of the world again». Even if you are a supposed outcast and weirdo, high school is just a smidgeon of your life and when it‘s over, you‘ll realise, you aren‘t crazy and you‘ll find like-minded people. 026 Some of the quintessential teenager-lyrics put to a rock record were released in Big Star‘s #1 Record. It‘s no surprise, that this song was used on the opening credits of the teen-comedy series That 70‘s Show. Driving around in a car, longing to get a little high, nothing to do except talking to… you? At least someone of importance, obviously. Having nothing to do and being alright or even happy with it is successful lack of self-parenting at its best. 027 I read a review of this song once: (To be paraphrasing) ‚Listen to the song and tell me you didn‘t identify with the lyrics (or at least wanted to).‘ Alex Chilton paints a romantic picture. Not only because it‘s love-themed, but because it seems like something you‘d want for yourself in your life. The soft and soothing guitar work only underlines this. A great example of the greatness that can come out of the combination of lyrics and melody.
027 & 028
Songs: Belle and Sebastian - Bowie
028 Big Star (23) I‘m in Love With a Girl Folk Pop
028 Being in love for the first time is a turning point in everyone‘s life. And this is what Chilton tried to capture on the curtains of Big Star‘s sophomore album. The experience is retrospectively quite weird: The amazement of not getting tired of someone and thinking of that person all of the time instead, hardly being able to await the next meeting. 029 Sunday‘s Best describes the life of a black man in three episodes. In every episode, Black Milk hints at mistakes and a life not lived right. The chorus appeals towards change and says that it‘s never too late to make it right. The last episode, however, ends with the killing (spoiler) of our hero and effectively proves that it now is too late to change. The song makes use of many relatable coming-of-age topics such as rebellion to go to church, irrational behaviour due to intoxication and the frustration of learning.
029 Black Milk (29) Sunday‘s Best/ Monday‘s Worst Boom Bap
030 Blink 182 (24) Dammit Pop Punk, Skate Punk
031 David Bowie (23) Changes Pop/Rock, Glam Rock
030 Dammit isn‘t really about having problems adjusting to new obstacles in life but the frustration of losing friends and lovers along the way who would normally comfort you: «But everybody‘s gone and I‘ve been here for too long to face this on my own; Well, I guess this is growing up». 031 Changes has Bowie in his early 20‘s thinking about his young past and the future he will embark on. Time will change him and he will evolve. He will not, however, copy formulas of others and become what others want him to become. «Time may change me but I can‘t trace time» – This is possibly also a criticism on his critics who label him as a faker.
032 Brockhampton (20) FIGHT Experimental HipHop, Conscious Hip Hop, West Coast Hip Hop
032 FIGHT is an aggressively energetic but also freeing song about being labeled and prejudiced and breaking free from that stigmatisation. It‘s an ode to not grow up to be what society thinks you‘ll become and what path your family laid out for you and recognising your own potential.
033 Danny Brown (29) Grown Up Hip Hop
033 Danny Brown, who is notoriously childish most of the time when he is the public eye, apparently couldn‘t wait to grow up fast enough as a child. He reminisces about the past and determination to pursue his dreams. His teachers didn‘t believe in him which is mirrored in the chorus: «Rushing as a kid just to be grown up; Whoever thought I‘d be the greatest growing up?»
034 Kate Bush (13) The Man With The Child In His Eyes Art Pop, Singer/Songwriter
035 Kate Bush (19) Feel It Art Pop, Singer/Songwriter
034 Considering that Kate Bush wrote this song when she was just 13 years old, one can say that it‘s about a young love. The girl in question seems to be Kate herself and The Man With The Child In His Eyes was her first boyfriend. She feels the intensity of the relationship, observing her feelings and actions thoroughly. But, she worries about her love for him as everybody says that «No, no, it won‘t last forever», something she doesn‘t yet understand. She is mesmerized by her loves youthful approach to life.
Songs: Brockhampton - Buzzcocks
035 Feel It tells us about a young lady on a party night that ends with a sexual encounter. It may be her first time because she‘s nervous and excited. She is right there in the moment. Every moment is observed here. Little details such as her feelings («it could be love; Or it could be just lust») and what they, or better said, he does to her vulnerable self («See what you‘re doing to me»). This is a unique retelling of this situation.
036 The Kick Inside sounds like the sun growing out behind the horizon, full of hope and melancholic wonder. But it is, in fact, nothing but a suicide note of a young woman addressed to her lover, her brother, whose child is now growing inside of her. The kicks of the baby inside of her force her to commit suicide because of the terrible sin of incest, that can no longer be kept a secret. Note: I‘ve never read anything like this before.
036 Kate Bush (19) The Kick Inside Art Pop, Baroque Pop
037 The Buzzcocks (23) Sixteen Again Pop Punk
038 The Buzzcocks (23) Sixteen Punk Rock
037 The sentiment of the song seems to be a frustration with the inevitability of not being sixteen forever. The problems one had then seemed harsh then, but are nothing compared to all the new ones. Self-parenting and coping with independence is much work and even the joyous things in life can and will bite.
039 The Buzzcocks (24) I Don‘t Know What To Do With My Life Pop Punk
038 Much like Sixteen Again in its overall message, but much more rebellious and stubborn. This protagonist is basically a sixteen-year-old trapped in a twenty-one-year-old body. 039 As a punk song, it‘s to the point and without unnecessary wishy-washiness. The lyrics are kept very common and universal but the root of the protagonist‘s frustration seems to be relationships. Some growing up has been achieved since one can glance back on all of one‘s blessings and not help but feel satisfied with them. The frustration stays, however. There is more work to be done.
035 & 036
040 Keep Growing is a little unclear in its message, but it seems to be about the frustration about growing up and learning, but not seeing your progress and therefore deciding to do nothing, because nothing‘s going to change anyway. At the same time, the protagonist seems to be doing some little things, despite what she just sang. However, she makes it clear, that she does it for herself and not for «you», whoever that is. A good insight into the irrational brain of a growing adolescent.
040 Camp Cope (?) Keep Growing Indie Rock
041 Car Seat Headrest (24) Fill In The Blank Indie Rock, Power Pop 043
042 Car Seat Headrest (24) The Ballad of Costa Concordia Indie Rock, Power Pop
043 Chance The Rapper (22) Same Drugs Conscious Hip Hop
041 The clever title of this song hints at what the protagonist is frustrated about: Everything and anything. The frustration expresses itself through depression which is a direct result the pressures that come from society. It seems as though the rules and norms dictate a lifestyle, that is hard to get right and one can‘t lose the feeling that one should be getting it right by now. 042 A comparison is being made in this song. The ship of the Costa Concordia is its captain like life during adulthood is to the protagonist. How is one supposed to have known how to steer the ship? This is a direct ode to loss of innocence and the troubles that come, once the gates of adult life have been opened. To the protagonist, they are overwhelming to the point of giving up. 043 «We don‘t do the same drugs no more» is a symbolical way of writing that two people who used to be close have grown apart and now don‘t share many interests anymore. This is a situation many of us can relate to. You both start at point A and one ends up at B, the other at C.
041 & 042
Songs: Camp Cope - Eyedea
044 This is a story about Jack and Diane, two American kids growin‘ up in the heartland. It‘s a little rock ditty about freedom, love, and excitement. The melody here really underlines the vibe of their youth but the chorus reads like a brick in the face: «Oh yeah, life goes on; Long after the thrill of livin‘ is gone».
044 John Cougar (30) Jack and Diane Heartland Rock, Pop Rock, Rock
045 Diet Cig (?) Sixteen Indie Rock, Indie Pop
045 Bluntly said, this track is about a teenaged girl ranting about an unsuccessful relationship with somebody, who didn‘t seem to appreciate her as much as she wanted him to. It‘s a young love (if you want to call it that), which objectively makes this a coming-of-age song. The moral here: Learn to love yourself!
046 Dismemberment Plan (27) Girl O‘Clock Indie Rock, Post Punk
047 Eels (25) My Descent Into Madness Trip-Hop, Chamber Pop 045
046 Despite its caricatural nature, this song is possibly one of the most sincere examples of youthful sexuality i.e. randiness and lecherousness. The urge of needing to have sex and feeling the sensation of warmth and touch is driving the hero of our song to the edge of sanity.
048 Eyedea (20) Red Balloon Abstract Hip Hop
047 The ambiance of this song highlights the lyrics. A sense of losing the grip of reality and being out of touch. Feeling like a crazy person in a crazy world, where turning eighteen is a threatening thing. The main character tries to seem sane while achieving exactly the opposite at the same time. 048 Eyedea is looking for his childhood on Red Balloon (possibly an homage to the children‘s film). He feels like it must have disappeared gradually over the years, but also suddenly, in the sense that he didn‘t notice it fading away. The beauty and sensation of the little things in life have become dire and the prospects of the future depress him.
049 West Coast is an unapologetic ode to the «live fast, die young» lifestyle. Being burned out and wasted all the time, not knowing where or when you are, living in a blurry state of mind. The protagonist in this FIDLAR song sounds like somebody who is desperately running away from responsibilities, (deep) problems and reality. «I should try and get a life, but I don‘t want that 9 to 5; I‘d rather die, keep getting high, so pack my things and say goodbye». Demons live longer than you.
049 FIDLAR (24) West Coast Garage Punk, Pop Punk
050 The Flaming Lips (32) When Yer Twenty Two Noise Rock, Psychedelic Rock
051 Foster The People (29) Coming Of Age Pop Rock, Indie Pop
050 There are several coming-ofage references in these lyrics amongst others the feeling of being stuck in a system (or in a fight against the machine), that seems to destroy you slowly. Even though the Flaming Lips use a psychedelic and edgy approach to describe this, one receives a vibe of overwhelmingness of being a nothing and trying to change this.
052 Frankie Cosmos (21) I‘m 20 Indie Pop, Twee Pop
051 The band has said that this song is like a moment of clarity while growing up. You look back on the couple of years that have passed and see what has changed. You‘ve changed. For the better? Let‘s find out! 052 The topic of the song is despite its title not about being 20 per se, but a highly personal viewpoint of that age. Frankie Cosmos found herself in midst of pressures to follow up on her first record. Still, the age plays a role, since her coping with that situation is defined by her ability to grow up. She feels washed up and scared at that young age.
Songs: Fidlar - Green Day
053 The clue is in the title here. We have a comforting pat on the back in form of a song, telling us that it‘s okay to experiment while you‘re young. You‘ll learn about yourself, learn to be independent and probably learn about your true passions. Be excited about reality and explore. I‘m not saying, that it‘s ever too late to do this, quite the contrary, but 23 is a great age to experiment.
053 free cake for every creature (?) All You Gotta Be When You‘re 23 Is Yourself LoFi Indie, Twee Pop
054 Lukas Graham (27) 7 Years Pop Soul
055 Green Day (21) Burnout Pop Punk, Punk Rock
054 Lukas Graham sings about his coming-of-age breaking it up into several phases and then looking to future wondering what that will be like. It‘s a tale of maturing and learning with the help of (good) parenting, which he wants to give on to his children and his future grandchildren.
056 Green Day (21) Longview Pop Punk, Punk Rock
057 Green Day (21) Sassafras Roots Pop Punk, Punk Rock
055 Also referred to as a possible anthem for the weed-smoking, class-ditching cool kids in high school or college. «I‘m not growing up, I‘m just burning out» – There is not much point in doing anything for the main character here. The daily life is filled with apathy and senselessness. A common way of looking at life for many adolescents.
056 From the same record as the last track, it basically covers the same way of looking at life: being lost in life, seeing no sense in anything and being okay with it. However, this one touches upon not only smoking grass as a part-time activity but also masturbation. 057 The third track in my choices (and, again, off the same album) to talk about wasting time. This time, however, the protagonist invites friends over to waste time with. It‘s like Green Day took Big Star‘s lyric «not a thing to do, but talk to you» and made a song out of those nine words.
058 A significant thematic change to other tracks of the album, this song embraces coming clean to family about your own sexuality. Here, the protagonist says that «mom and dad will never understand» that he is, in fact, bi-sexual [this is not mentioned in the song, but a little research got me that information]. Still, he needs to man up (another reference to a typical coming-ofage scenario) and come clean.
058 Green Day (21) Coming Clean Pop Punk, Punk Rock
059 IDK (24) Maryland Ass Nigga Hardcore Hip Hop
060 Julia Jacklin (25) Coming of Age Singer/Songwriter, Indie Folk
059 IDK talks about his irrational behaviour as a youngster trying to be a gangster. This is part peer pressure, part false idolisation and it has led him down the wrong path: «That‘s messed up, I‘m tryna right my wrongs; But I‘m sorry, them same wrongs help me write this song». A nod to Kanye West, but also a good way to describe the art of this song.
061 Michael Jackson (31*) Off The Wall Disco
060 Julia has said that the song is about the pressures of stepping in the footprints of your idols and comparing your own work to theirs. Intimidation and overwhelmingness are the direct products of that. In the second verse, you can find her singing «Yeah now I‘m alright, I‘m doing fine; […] Yeah now I‘m gonna learn this new stage» showing understanding of how life moves in stages. She is new to this one and is willing to master it. 061 Although this disco classic was written by Rod Temperton, who was in his early 30‘s during its creation, young Michael Jackson, who performs this, was a whole decade younger. It approaches a party fueled lifestyle, trying to escape the burden of 9-5 and living for the weekend. Apparently, Michael Jackson himself was no stranger to grooving out in a disco, so he manages to make this song about him.
*not written by artist
Songs: Green Day - Judas Priest
062 Here we have another case of Michael breathing some Jackson in a song that was written by someone else (Carole Bayer Sager and David Foster). Thematically we are in the head of a young person frustrated by the stages of falling in love. Having been hurt too many times before not to be cautious, the protagonist dreads the being in love-stage, because he/she doesn‘t want to trade the seemingly unavoidable pain with the passion one feels, when you meet someone you find attractive.
062 Michael Jackson (32*) It‘s the Falling in Love Funk
063 Jimmy Eat World (25) The Middle Pop/Rock, Emo Pop
064 Judas Priest (34) Parental Guidance Glam Metal
063 Apparently, Jim Adkins wrote this song to comfort himself and the band for the lack of success they had had up until that point. But the whole lyric reads like a warm blanket for a teenager in the middle of puberty, overwhelmed by confusion, frustration, and responsibilities. «You‘re in the middle of the ride; Everything, everything will be just fine» is something more teenagers should hear, of that I am sure.
064 I assume this is meant to sound like a hip teenager talking to his parent, but instead, it sounds like a so-called adult writing from the perspective of what he thinks is a hip teenager talking to his parent. Despite the aftertaste of the out-of-touch-ness of our hero here, the message is clear: Being an adult is boring and being young is fun. Plus, you can almost see a watermark on the lyrics saying: «No parents allowed, (unless you want to rock‘n‘roll)!»
*not written by artist
065 Although this song is upbeat and happy it sounds like this band or the singer has his problems with growing up: «And I dare you to survive; Being grown for the rest of your life; From adulthood, no one survives». An unnecessarily dark way of painting the future, in my opinion, but this is what the transition period to adulthood feels like.
065 Jukebox the Ghost (?) Adulthood Indie Pop
066 The Killers (25) When You Were Young Alternative Rock, Pop Rock
067 Kendrick Lamar (24) The Art of Peer Pressure Conscious Hip Hop, West Coast Hip Hop
066 This song uses some religious and borderline cryptic imagery, but one could argue, that it is about life, your expectations of it as a child and how it never turns out as you dreamed. The singer appeals to not to be too fixated on your dreams because the best thing you will ever have may slip through your fingers and be forever gone.
067 & 069
Songs: Jukebox the Ghost - Lorde
067 Off all the tracks of good kid, m.A.A.d city, this one exemplifies the most relatable coming-of-age moments to me, i.e. peer pressure. Knowing what you‘re doing is wrong, but doing it anyway for cool-points and excitement or to be franker: to belong. Belonging to a group or a movement is an essential part of finding oneself. And the fear of being alone is most evident then. This can lead to some miscalculated, ill-informed decisions such as drug-consumption, violence, and theft. The little angel standing on your shoulder is there to tell you, that it‘s wrong, but it‘s yelling through bricks and layers feeling a necessity to be a friend to your homies.
068 Peer Pressure and this song share quite a lot of similarities in a way. Kendrick Lamar speaks about his relationship with alcohol and how he grew up in a household where he was constantly surrounded by it and by adults under the influence. He took on this path himself and in a way imitated the adult world he grew up with since this was normality for him. 069 If you look at good kid, m.A.A.d city as a whole, I‘m Real symbolises the point, where Kendrick matures and learns from all the past struggles, adventures and mistakes on the album. He has learned not only the importance but the necessity of loving oneself. This component is a way to live by and facilitates decisionmaking and the art of tackling problems or hurdles in life.
068 Kendrick Lamar (24) Swimming Pools Conscious Hip Hop, West Coast Hip Hop, Pop Rap
069 Kendrick Lamar (24) I‘m Real Conscious Hip Hop, West Coast Hip Hop
070 Lorde (19) White Teeth Teens Art Pop 068 071 Lorde (19) The Love Club Pop
070 On this song, Lorde criticises the shallowness of teenage cliques. Reputation is highly important in high school hallways and every move seems to be supervised. Again, we have the theme of wanting to belong to a group and the realisation of how one, in fact, doesn‘t really belong to said group. 071 Another song in Lorde‘s discography that deals with belonging to a clique and its many downsides. Since teenagers can be very judgemental some will be jealous of your popularity. Other existing relationships (namely with people who aren‘t in your new club) fade into obscurity because they are not properly dealt with. This is actually a principle that is very much kept up into adulthood as some never cease to feel the need to be accepted by society. People who are different are frowned upon and isolated bit by bit.
070 & 072
072 This song tackles the theme of close friendships or relationships (it seems to be up to the listener to decide): Enjoying each others company and driving around, wasting each others time (see: Green Day) and feeling free. They do a lot of fairly stupid things s.a. underage drinking and driving with their heads stuck out of the window, but the point of the song is really about being together and enjoying the connection one has.
072 Lorde (19) 400 Lux Electropop
073 Lorde (19) Perfect Places Synthpop, Electropop
074 Ludacris (23) Growing Pains Southern Hip Hop, Dirty South
073 The clever thing about this song is that it sounds euphoric an even the title speaks of perfect places. Actually, the song is about coping with the overwhelming reality and the intense feeling of vanity. Coping mechanisms are things such as sex, drugs, and alcohol – basically irrational behaviour.
075 Madness (21) Baggy Trousers 2 Tone, Ska, Pop
075 This song is about reminiscing about one‘s childhood. A change of perspective has been made since then, which enables one to look back at that carefree time. «Oh, what fun we had; But at the time it seemed so bad». It seems as though children‘s fears often turn out to be quite mundane in relation to the problems of the adult world, which is the direct comparison here. The little things were a highlight. Be it playing football in the park or squishing snails. 075
074 This track has Ludacris and Fate Wilson reminiscing about their childhood. Growing up in a ghetto-like experience, danger was a real possibility, but they were having too much fun to understand fully. They understood it to a certain extent, however, and had to grow up quicker than most, well summarised in the refrain: «We were tryin so hard, hard to survive; Cause even though we were young we had to stay strong»
Songs: Lorde - MGMT
076 The song was written by Tom Kelly and Billy Steinberg but sung by Madonna in her mid20‘s. Bluntly said, it touches upon the topic of feeling like having sex for the very first time. Not any old sex, however. The lyrics make it clear, that the lover is highly emotionally important to the protagonist, who seems to have gone through a period of feeling blue and incomplete. The sexual liberation this person experiences with her lover gives her a youthful sensation as if it were the first time she experiences it.
076 Madonna (33*) Like A Virgin Synthpop
077 Madonna (34) This Used To Be My Playground Pop, Adult Contemporary
078 MGMT (24) Kids Synthpop, Electropop, Indietronica
077 This song is a pretty brutal look back on one‘s childhood. It oozes a longing for a simpler time. «Don‘t look back; Keep your head held high; Don‘t ask them why; Because life is short; And before you know; You‘re feeling old; And your heart is breaking; Don‘t hold on to the past; Well that‘s too much to ask». Phew! And this is combined with a sense of loneliness because there is also a person missing. «The best things in life are always free; Wishing you were here with me». Growing old is not easy.
079 MGMT (21) Time To Pretend Synthpop, Indietronica, Indie Pop
078 A gradual evolution from innocence towards the loss of it is portrayed in this song. It starts out right at the very beginning before you‘ve taken your first steps. You‘re a baby. Then the chorus urges us to control ourselves. Don‘t lose that childhood innocence and stay curious. 079 Time To Pretend captures the teenage fantasy of a rockstar life. The lyrics are all about that lifestyle: Drugs, Sex, Freedom, and Fun. Nihilism. The title of the song brings us back to reality and is a kind of wake-up call, that this life is neither durable nor constructive. It‘s the naive imagination of a teenager.
*not written by artist
080 A perfect depiction of teenage rebellion is Townie, by Mitski. Here she shows us the desperate need to rebel against parental guidelines and principles, even just for the sake of rebelling. This leads to a string of bad decisions such as self-destructive behaviour as alcohol and drug consumption, drunk driving and careless sex. Still, even if this doesn‘t make her happy more likely making her feel empty and hollow, she is «not gonna be what her daddy wants her to be». Makes no sense? Teenagers…
080 Mitski (23) Townie Indie Rock
081 Mitski (23) First Love/ Late Spring Indie Rock, Indie Pop
082 Mitski (23) Drunk Walk Home LoFi Indie, Noise Pop
081 First Love/Late Spring is a song confronting the feelings in a (young) relationship that has become too serious. We have Mitski feeling suffocated in this relationship and two reasons for this happening come to mind. 1) Mitski‘s boyfriend is clingy and needy and his need for her is ultimately stealing her independence and/or 2) She feels like she has missed out on many opportunities for experiences and thus to grow up because she was trapped in this exclusive relationship.
083 Modern Baseball (21) Your Graduation Post Hardcore, Pop Punk
080 & 082
082 On this track, we have Mitski contemplating life at the end of a drunken night, while walking home. Her attempt to impress a boy she likes resulted in failure. Also, money troubles are stressing her out. She is deeply frustrated with her current situation and the delivery of her screams at the end pinpoint that.
Songs: Mitski - Mountain Goats
083 The best way to describe, what Your Graduation is, the transitional feeling one gets when school ends and everybody splits up and goes different ways. It feels like the safety net under you disappeared and you are on your own. Regrets become disastrous mistakes, hopes become frightening fears and the future becomes an uncertainty.
084 The hero of this song realises that even though his (girl)friend hates living in a little town, where everybody knows everybody, she may very well stay stuck there. This realisation puts him in a dilemma. Does he want to stay friends (or in a relationship) with this person despite this lifestyle choice, he doesnâ€˜t approve off? He comes to the conclusion, that itâ€˜s a too big of a price to pay and that he ultimately wants a person in his life like himself, who is willing to explore the world, open up the blinkers and explore. 085 On The Sunset Tree, vocalist John Darnielle basically digests his youth. This Year sets an optimistic tone but addresses much darker topics in the lyrics. John is described as a low-self-esteemed substance abuser as a teenager, who lived in a destructive household with an abusive stepfather. This song describes the light he sees at the end of a very dark tunnel (here in the form of a year). He found love in a girl and freedom on the highway. Despite his self-destructive behaviour he is determined: He is going to make it through this year, even if it kills him.
084 Modern Baseball (19) See Ya, Sucker Pop Punk
085 The Mountain Goats (37) This Year Indie Folk, Singer/Songwriter
086 The Mountain Goats (37) Dance Music Chamber Folk, Indie Folk, Singer/Songwriter
085 - 087
086 On this track, Darnielle jumps between his life during the ages of 5/6 and 17. As a 5/6-year-old the turbulent and violent household he lives in forces him to find cover, which he finds in dance music. Eleven years later he has now become the product of his destructive surroundings, already lost in drugs and fear of loneliness, having received too little love as a child. His consolation stays the same: Dance music.
087 All the pain Darnielle witnessed as a teenager has spurred some very dark and negative thoughts in him. In this one, he faces his demons and ghosts that seek revenge on his oppressor (namely his stepfather and his mother, who failed to protect him): «I‘m going to bribe the officials; I‘m going to kill all the judges; It‘s going to take you people years to recover from all of the damage». As the song progresses he calmly points out how things got better along the way and the possibility to become a functioning adult, despite one‘s past sufferings.
087 The Mountain Goats (37) Up The Wolves Indie Folk, Singer/Songwriter
088 Roisin Murphy (36) Momma‘s Place Dance-Pop, Electropop
089 Nas (20) Life‘s A Bitch Jazz Rap, East Coast Hip Hop, Conscious Hip Hop
088 This is basically a song criticising teenage arrogance. Young people often feel like they are the only ones who get it, being unable to explain what it actually means all at the same time. Old people are square, they‘ve lost their way. Young people know the way and enjoy life in a completely unique and new way. Little do they know, that it has all been done before and they are doing the same as every generation did before them.
Songs: Mountain Goats - Oddisee
089 This song is not only divided into two parts because of the two emcees but also because of the thematic approach of both rappers to the same topic. While AZ‘s verse handles the hedonistic influence hood-life can have on a young man, with all the crime, drugs and meaninglessness, Nas has a more optimistic outlook on the future which is pinpointed with this couplet: «I switched my motto; instead of sayin‘, ‚Fuck tomorrow!‘ That buck that bought a bottle could‘ve struck the lotto». There is a light at the end of the tunnel, even in the ghetto.
090 Kurt Cobain wrote this song about the child of a neglective father. Feeling misunderstood and unworthy in the eyes of the parent he reaches for alcohol to numb the pain. The repetitive nature of the delivery «Gimme back my alcohol», resembles that of a bratty child, who got something taken away from him. Alas, the negligence of the parent made the child into an irrational rebel, that just wants to feel love and respect from his father. 091 «What do you want to become one day?» – «An Astronaut!» When we were young, «fantasy was real» and we thought we could become anything we wanted. While it is more likely than people will have you believe, there is a lot of truth in the Noel Gallagher-penned line: «While we‘re living the dreams we have as children fade away». The pressures of society keep us down.
090 Nirvana (22) Scoff Grunge
091 Oasis (26) Fade Away Britpop, Alternative Rock
092 Frank Ocean (28) Ivy Neo Soul
093 Oddisee (32) You Grew Up East Coast Hip Hop, Conscious Hip Hop
092 On Ivy Frank Ocean thinks back on a young relationship and how it evolved from an innocent friendship into a tumultuous fiasco. He didn‘t know how to act upon his feelings and how he should react to the actions of his former lover. He is wiser now and, while thinking back, can‘t help but feel intense sadness about how things went wrong. 093 With hot-button topics such as racism, police brutality and terrorism ever prevalent in the mid-2010s, Oddisee encourages us to take a look at some of the roots and causes of these problems. He does this cleverly by looking back on his own childhood and thus creating a coming-of-age composition. He comes to the conclusion, that our worldviews are given to us like names and if we want to change society, we have to concentrate on our roots.
094 The famous lines in this song: «You are young and life is long and there is time to kill today and then one day you find ten years have got behind you; No one told you when to run, you missed the starting gun» underlines the essence of the message. Time flies by and the older you get, the more you have to manage on your own. All of the sudden ten years have gone and you haven‘t reached anything worthy of mentioning. Noone told you when to start, but it was actually you, who had to find out when to start running your own life. A common frustrating and confusing feeling of an adolescent entering adulthood.
094 Pink Floyd (29) Time Art Rock, Progressive Rock
095 The Pursuit of Happiness (28) I‘m An Adult Now Alternative Rock, Power Pop
096 The Pursuit of Happiness (28) She‘s So Young Alternative Rock
095 Although this song has a rebellious tone, the lyrics seem to portray a young adult getting to terms with reality and frankly accepting that the world has changed over the years. One could say, that this song almost celebrates independence and belonging to a new group of people defined by a stage in life.
096 This composition is written from the perspective of someone observing an arrogant young girl, who thinks she has it all figured out. This is a common phase of growing up and the observer knows this, having gone through it himself. He knows she doesn‘t have the experience to lead with her heart and the wisdom she‘s exhaling is nothing but naivety. To him, her downfall is inevitable and he won‘t enjoy witnessing it.
095 & 096
Songs: Pink Floyd - Replacements
097 24 deals with the topic of growing up in a remarkably self-critical way. In a way, there is evidence of some sort of loss of innocence with newly gained independence, but it‘s different than its competition, because Mark Kozolek, the lyricist here, feels he hasn‘t achieved enough at this point in life i.e. twenty-four. He dreads this truth so much, that he even flirts with self-destructive thoughts such as suicide. 098 The recognition of the level of disrespect he receives from his lover is the point of this song. She is always to busy to come to any of his gigs, lies about this and feels she is too cool for him in general. This is a simple practice of self-love. Recognising what you want in a partner is a small but serious step of growing up.
097 Red House Painters (24) 24 Slowcore, Dream Pop
098 Remo Drive (?) Art School Indie Rock, Emo Pop
099 Remo Drive (?) Eat Shit Indie Rock, Pop Punk
100 The Replacements (24) I Will Dare Alternative Rock
099 Eating shit, or falling on your face, is something that happens often to a young wild adolescent. The singer sees himself as an immature person because, when he compares himself to his peers, they seem to have their life together. «I‘m so stuck in the habits I formed when I was fifteen» and it frustrates him. But one could also say that he wants to separate himself from his friends: «All my friends are growing up; I‘m tearing up my jeans» 100 This song leaves a little up to the imagination, lyric-wise, but I‘d bet a lot of money to say it‘s about a run of the mill horny guy, who is borderline desperate for some sex. When he sings «I will dare», he flirts with the idea of sleeping with someone under the age-of-consent.
100 - 102
098 & 099
101 At the surface, this song seems primitive as it describes the raging testosterone-fueled mind of a horny little kid. But then again, that‘s how first time experiences of sexual sensation and lust can feel like to a boy mid-puberty. The hard aesthetic of the song underlines the raw uncensored fantasies depicted in the lyrics.
101 The Replacements (24) Gary‘s Got a Boner Alternative Rock, Hard Rock
102 The Replacements (24) Sixteen Blue Alternative Rock
103 The Rolling Stones (22) Think Blues Rock
102 Sixteen Blue is as coming-of-age as songs possibly come. Seldom have things been more obvious. And what truthful insight it is. All the sexual confusion, the longing for something to change, the inexplicable need to fit in and be like everyone else, the need to brag about stuff you don‘t even understand. This is growing up to a painfully real extent.
104 The Rolling Stones (23) Sittin‘ On A Fence Folk Rock, Baroque Pop
103 The lyrics here are not as inyour-face clear as can be, but it seems as though the protagonist is protesting against (from his point of view) senseless maturing of his (girl)friend. Some of the lyrics are a little contradicting, which gives the whole thing somewhat of a dialoguish flair: «We‘re not children anymore; We don‘t need to play with toys; Take a look and you will find; You‘re getting old before your time»
104 The lyric of Sittin‘ On A Fence reads like the ramblings of an immature boy totally unsure of his emotional pain threshold. The drag of getting old and regretting life is something that he fears and to him, marriage is a trap. But there is a hint of insecurity about what he wants, why else would he be «sittin‘ on a fence»?
Songs: Replacements - Seger
105 Jeff Rosenstock exposes his realisation that we never seize to grow old. And even though you‘re learning and having fun, your peers or even people younger than you are leading in the race to become a perfect citizen in our society. This song encourages not to compare yourself and to have fun while you can. Life goes on and doesn‘t care if you managed to fulfill your dreams. Someday it‘s over. 106 We Begged 2 Explode criticises the rush of growing up: «The workin‘, havin‘ babies and promotions?; The cheatin‘, cryin‘, leavin‘, and divorcin‘?» It seems as though, in order to fit into society (see: Lorde), one is prepared to do all the things it expects of you. But the other side of the coin is ugly as some people do it for all the wrong reasons. This song is like an appeal not to grow up too quickly and instead to do it at your own pace and enjoy the magical moments while finding yourself.
105 Jeff Rosenstock (32) Get Old Forever Pop Punk, Indie Rock
106 Jeff Rosenstock (34) We Begged 2 Explode Indie Rock, Power Pop
107 Todd Rundgren (23) Marlene Blue Eyed Soul, Pop Soul
108 Bob Seger (31) Night Moves Heartland Rock
107 Boy meets girl in a nutshell. This is a young love and there are many hints towards this. The way Rundgren describes how he concludes that this must be love is premature and childish: «I care for you and I just don‘t care who knows it and I guess that means that I love you». He doesn‘t need more than that. Well except for Marlene, that is. 108 This song is lyrically deliberately misinterpretable. Night moves – on the one hand, we have the innocent practice of dancing and getting your boogie on and on the other hand, we have the raunchy act of sexual pleasure. Not quite love, more like lust. Plus: freedom, innocence, and fun. One of the quintessential coming-of-age tales pressed on a 7-inch.
109 Leaves that are green now, will not be forever. This song is about vanity and haste with which time passes by us. A dark topic for a merely twenty-oneyear-old. Somehow there is an urgency in the tone, that is also mixed with a sigh of pointlessness. The autumn of your life may seem far away, but it‘s actually just around the corner.
109 Simon & Garfunkel (21) Leaves That Are Green Folk Pop, Singer/Songwriter
110 Simon & Garfunkel (26) Old Friends (+ Bookends Theme Reprise) Folk Pop, Chamber Folk
111 Simon & Garfunkel (26) Fakin‘ It Folk Pop, Folk Rock
112 Simon & Garfunkel (26) Hazy Shade Of Winter Folk Rock
110 A reflective outlook on a friendship. Apparently, there is a fear of growing old with the singer. Together with the Bookends Reprise that follows it, Old Friends seems like a melancholic glance back at one‘s youth. One day, the innocence and confidence of youth are gone, and all you have are the memories of what was. 111 Paul Simon wears his lack of confidence on his sleeves here. He exclaims that he‘s just faking it, and doesn‘t really know what he‘s doing, constantly feeling rather lost. But instead of making it, as the saying goes [«Fake it til you make it»], he doesn‘t seem to get any better at what he‘s doing. At least, that‘s what he thinks. 112 Hazy Shade of Winter is about the regret of not taking opportunities due to youthful naivety and difficulty to please. Looking back on childhood days, Simon has learned to hang on to hopes and dreams. These lyrics also read like an appeal to young people not to make the same mistakes the narrator feels he has made. «Don‘t waste time!», is an exclaim, that goes hand in hand with the rest of the vanity-inspired tunes on Simon & Garfunkel‘s Bookends album.
110 & 112
Songs: Simon & Garfunkel - Smashing Pumpkins
113 Paul Simon has expressed in the past that The Boxer is somewhat of an autobiographical song. The young naive boy who is promised the world, that embarks on a tour to conquer the world full of hopes and dreams is struck down by degrading jobs, winter in the big city and lies over lies [«Lie la lie»] by his peers and mentors. The world is a tough one, and you have to be careful who you trust. The boxer serves as an analogy but also as a symbol for someone, who takes in punches and still keeps standing. 114 Written by Ervin Drake in his 40‘s but fittingly sung by Sinatra in his 50‘s, this song reflects on a lifetime of good years. Frank reminisces about the great years of his life and how he enjoyed them. The instrumentation and the melody are urgent and rather melancholic, which hints at the autumn of his years, that he sings about in the last verse. But even then, he doesn‘t sing about it regretfully. No, he compares himself to vintage wine. If there is a happy song with a melancholic melody, this one‘s it.
113 Simon & Garfunkel (27) The Boxer Singer/Songwriter, Folk Pop, Folk Rock
114 Frank Sinatra (*42) It Was A Very Good Year Traditional Pop, Standards
115 Smashing Pumpkins (28) 1979 Alternative Rock
115 When you see the music video to 1979 the meaning of the lyrics gain a whole extra dimension in a sense that it really becomes an homage to teenaged youth. The lyrics are not clear to me, but little bits and pieces such as: «That we don‘t even care; As restless as we are» or «The street heats the urgency of now; As you can see there‘s no one around» convey some kind of adolescent logic. Somehow you get it. Perfect driving music as it really wears its youthful freedom on its sleeve.
*not written by artist
116 Morrissey sings about the sexual nature of losing one‘s innocence in this song. The tale he tells is about a person, who «made a child old» by having sex with him. Some have criticised this to have a paedophilic undertone, but the band has denied these claims. Instead, the words are to describe the loss of innocence, that happens immediately, when the so-called purity of a young human disappears after their first sexual experience. The so-called child in this song sings with a loving tone about his first sexual partner.
116 The Smiths (24) Reel Around The Fountain Indie Pop, Jangle Pop
117 The Smiths (24) Pretty Girls Make Graves Jangle Pop, Indie Pop
118 The Smiths (25) The Headmaster Ritual Jangle Pop, Indie Pop, Post Punk 116
117 The lustful ways of a girl that Morrissey sings about here has him confused. He feels attracted to her, but she wants him just for sex. Morrissey sings: «I‘m not the man you think I am», carefully keeping distance. His conflicting emotions toward this girl forced him to lose faith in womanhood and possibly contemplate homosexual tendencies. It‘s safe to say, that Morrissey‘s character is sexually confused and misunderstood. Despite his attraction towards and curiosity of the girl in question, he feels overwhelmed. 118 This coming-of-age story gives us insight into the life of a schoolboy. Morrissey opens up about his violent and abusive tutors, teachers and headmasters. These experiences have forced him to develop a hate-filled relationship to his school time. The way he sings these lyrics make him seem angry and bitter, with the occasional fear-filled, loss-of-control vocal interlude. «I want to go home, I don‘t want to stay».
117 & 118
Songs: Smiths - Springsteen
119 Some people grow up to fast according to the protagonist here: «You‘ve done too much, much too young; Now you‘re married with a kid when you could be having fun with me». The party days are over when you are expecting a child. This could also be a criticism to not get children when you yourself are still a child. Sex is alright but wear a condom.
119 The Specials (23) Too Much Too Young 2 Tone
120 Bruce Springsteen claims that most of the lyrics in this song are highly personal, including people he knew, met or grew up around. The entire text is like a story about a rebellious young boy on a journey of love, friendship and above all: freedom.
121 Bruce Springsteen (23) Growin‘ Up Heartland Rock
121 Similar to Blinded By The Light this song has the Boss‘ trademark storytelling lyrics. One could say that this song is about a young man finding an opportunity to escape in a car, that serves as a symbol of the key to the world or freedom to expand. Growing up – not only as a human being but also as a character.
120 Bruce Springsteen (23) Blinded By The Light Heartland Rock
122 Bruce Springsteen (25) Backstreets Heartland Rock
120 & 121 123 Bruce Springsteen (25) Jungleland Heartland Rock, Piano Rock
122 Basically a song about being on the run, metaphorically, with a close friend. The FREEDOM feel of the track is evident as ever so often on a Springsteen song, but the friendship aspect has to get a special attention. Terry and the protagonist were close as can be. Partners in crime, and here he is looking back in a longing manner. 123 Serving as the closing track on Bruce‘s album Born to Run it fittingly recounts the urge of restless youths to break free of hopelessness and despair and begin a quest to find freedom, independence, excitement and a because to their why. And if that doesn‘t put Born to Run in a nutshell, I don‘t know which song can. 122 & 123
124 Friendship and youth sometimes equal irrational behaviour and childhood wildness can result in violence and rebellion. Annie Clark sings about a friendship full of adventures and fun, acting crazy and basically living like a teenager. She glances back at those times with sobriety («That was before we had made any terrible mistakes») and a sense of melancholy, now that everything has changed («How do you see me now? Now that I‘m a little bit older, older»).
124 St. Vincent (32) Teenage Talk Art Pop, Indie Pop, Indietronica
125 Sufjan Stevens (29) The Predatory Wasp Chamber Folk, Indie Folk
126 Sufjan Stevens (29) Chicago Chamber Pop, Indie Pop
125 Sufjan Stevens has titled this song his own coming-of-age story. It tells a tale about a young boy learning about his sexuality in a Methodist summer camp. He fell in love with a boy, his best friend. As a Christian, Sufjan is at first conflicted with these attractions as they are considered a sin, hence the comparison to a wasp that could sting. But he recollects the experience to have been wonderful and (possibly) something in him still waits for it to come back «I can wait».
125 & 126
126 One could argue, that Chicago isn‘t a true coming-of-age track per se. But all the elements are there: Falling in love, making mistakes, moving away, finding yourself. That‘s growing up. Some may argue, that a young adult is already out of the coming-of-age phase. I strongly disagree. Growing up is a constant in life. 127
Songs: St. Vincent - Sweatshirt
127 An experimental lyrical journey for sure, but I‘ll be damned if it isn‘t a poignant and true depiction of looking back at what one has learned. The track is basically a recognition of one‘s own hard-fought wisdom. The line «And now that I‘m older, Someone else can see it for myself» juxtaposes the younger and older version of the same person, hinting at the fact, that he (Sufjan) is now a different person. A product of his experiences. 128 Even though the lyrics are designed to fit the emotional delivery, a message does become evident. To dumb it down, the song is about producing children. The protagonist seems to be lost in between two worlds, the protective father figure, that is also able to see the beauty of reproduction, but on the other hand, we have the overly critical bundle of frustration, that doesn‘t want to put life into a world as fucked up as ours. Apart from that he also criticises the pre-determined life, he thinks he is supposed to embark on: «Children and money and family and death and taxes and career and picket fences... just get out of my head».
127 Sufjan Stevens (34) Now That I‘m Older Neo Psychedelia, Art Pop
128 Strapping Young Lad (32) Possessions Progressive Metal, Industrial Metal
129 Earl Sweatshirt (16) Luper West Coast Hip Hop, Hardcore Hip Hop
129 Notably more childish and immature, Luper comes from the pen of a sixteen-year-old Earl Sweatshirt. Excessive use of cussing and violent visions of the future dominate the lyrics and reek of immaturity. All this shows how hurt and lost the young main character really is.
130 This song is quite a stark contrast to the three-year-old Earl in Luper. A more reflective approach to lyrics has been developed and some of the pain can now be explained. ‘Chumming’ means to add blood to a specific part of the ocean to attract sharks. One could interpret that the Earl‘s wounds (albeit psychological) attract negative people in his own life.
130 Earl Sweatshirt (19) Chum West Coast Hip Hop
131 Taylor Swift (22) 22 Dance Pop, Electropop, Teen Pop
132 Tegan and Sara (27) Nineteen Indie Rock
130 133 Frank Turner (26) Photosynthesis Acoustic Rock, Singer/Songwriter
131 «We‘re happy, free, confused, and lonely at the same time It‘s miserable and magical, oh yeah» – a pretty cool way to describe an age in my opinion. According to Swift, she was attempting to recreate this age, which she explains to be the best year of her life. She sees the opportunities of learning and this excites her. In an interview, she said this about that age: «You still know nothing, but you know that you know nothing.» 132 Tegan or Sara feel like being catapulted back into their adolescence when embarking on a new love adventure. All the drama, the fears, the hopes, the excitement are exactly the same as they were years before. It is like nothing has changed, even though years have passed. They feel stuck in the past.
Songs: Sweatshirt - Undertones
133 Frank Turner confesses that he feels out of touch with society and really can‘t be called young anymore. Plus, his friends are settling down, buying houses and shaping families. Still, he feels young at heart and REFUSES to grow up: «And I won‘t sit down, and I won‘t shut up; And most of all I will not grow up». To be frank (hehe) he sounds like a little rebelling child here, but I love one of the last lines: «And if all you ever do with your life is just photosynthesize, then you deserve every hour of your sleepless nights that you waste wondering when you‘re gonna die».
134 Bono has been quoted saying that he wrote this song on his 18th birthday. Out of Control is a protest song about being born. His cries as a child are a contrast to the happy cheers of his family greeting him on earth. He finds it interesting, how basically the biggest thing in life i.e. entering it is something we have no control over whatsoever. 135 Since this is Bono, the lyrics can be religiously interpreted, but yet again, it‘s up to the listener to decide. I think one can make a solid argument that he sings about the love for his mother. «A boy tries hard to be a man; His mother takes him by the hand; If he stops to think, he starts to cry». He is still learning to adapt to this world of ours and needs his mothers support to make it. If she walks away, he has to follow, because he can‘t yet make it on his own.
134 U2 (18) Out of Control Post Punk
135 U2 (20) I Will Follow Post Punk
136 U2 (20) Twilight Post Punk
137 The Undertones (20) Teenage Kicks Pop Punk, Punk Rock
134 - 136
136 Twilight is arguably also about Bono‘s mother. He has lost her and feels lost. The lyrics also describe the noticeable changes his body goes through, a symbol of growing up. «In the shadow, boy meets man». In his despair, he is forced to grow up more quickly, than his peers and same-aged friends. 137 Famously championed by legendary DJ John Peele, this song is about sexual fantasies and longing for intimacy. «A teenage dream‘s so hard to beat» suggests that you can try to get the fantasies out of a teenagers head, but you‘ll have a very hard time doing it. He is excited about calling her and longs for her touch, desperate for sex. And it isn‘t necessarily even about a certain girl, more about girls in general as the line «Another girl in the neighbourhood; Wish she was mine, she looks so good» is repeated in the third verse.
138 Violent Femmes (19) Kiss Off Folk Punk, Post Punk, Alternative Rock
139 Violent Femmes (19) Add It Up Folk Punk
140 Violent Femmes (19) Gimme The Car Folk Punk
138 Kiss Off – Fun package, dark content. Gordon Gano appeals to the audience that he needs someone to talk to and to love because the world is getting him down. There are literally too many problems in his life to count them all («I forget what 8 was for») and he is being mistreated and bullied by practically everyone to the point, where it has become almost normal to him. This song flirts with the idea of suicide in such a powerful way, that it‘s almost an understatement to call it flirting. He plans on taking his life with a pill overdose and takes one for every problem he has counting them up one-byone with a vocal climax at 10 for «everything». 139 Add It Up, much like Teenage Kicks is about the sexual urges of a young man. This one, however, is angrily frustrated, because his attempts to get some loving have proven unsuccessful. Many lines sound like begging and pleading: «Believe me, I‘d know what to do». Suddenly the narration jumps into the third person, somebody talking to the former protagonist‘s mother, giving us a little insight into the problems caused by their family situation. The boy/man/protagonist is gradually drifting into a messed up mental state and there are some hints at an existing Oedipus complex. 140 Gano processes his personal problems that he can‘t explain to himself let alone to his father. He is so overwhelmed by them, that he seeks consolation in a nihilistic lifestyle. He approaches his father in order to borrow the car because he has a girl he wants to meet and have sex with, in order to solve his problems. So, is this naivety or desperation? Where can you draw the line?
138 & 139
Songs: Violent Femmes - Weezer
141 This precious song is genius on many levels. On the one hand, it is an honest depiction of childhood shenanigans and friendship. The delivery is perfect because it has a childlike approach and that elevates the lyrics to a new level. The soothing, melancholic melody in that carries everything is like eyes glancing back with drops tears streaming out.
141 Tom Waits (28) Kentucky Avenue Singer/Songwriter, Piano Blues
142 The lyrics read like a rebellious child protesting, about growing up. He is not ready to pay the price to be an adult and to him, it seems as though nobody is really doing what they want to be doing with their life. Their sadness scares him and he refuses to adapt to that way of life. «I don‘t wanna get me a big old loan; Work them fingers to the bone; I don‘t wanna float a broom; Fall in love and get married then boom; How the hell did it get here so soon»
143 Weezer (22) No One Else Power Pop, Alternative Rock
142 Tom Waits (42) I Don‘t Wanna Grow Up Folk Rock, Singer/Songwriter
144 Weezer (22) In The Garage Power Pop, Alternative Rock
143 - 145
143 Again, this is probably not a typical coming-of-age song, but I‘d categorise it as one anyway. The lyrics depict an overly protective boyfriend, who wants his girlfriend to be for him and him only. To me, the insecurity, the lack of self-love, all things you learn by growing up, is obvious. This guy is someone who is right at the beginning of his lifetime-long career of relationships. He needs to figure out what works, and what does not. 144 The hero of this song describes his garage, his retreat so to speak, the only place where he feels truly safe from harm and judging eyes of others. This person is not yet ready for the real world and lacks self-consciousness.
145 Only In Dreams shows us the outcome of a person attempting to get the girl of his dreams and not being successful. He is a watcher and not an initiator and thus the outcome is not surprising at all. Their relationship exists only in his dreams. A geeky teenager in a nutshell: shy, lonely, lusting, insecure.
145 Weezer (22) Only In Dreams Power Pop, Alternative Rock, Emo
146 Weezer (24) The Good Life Power Pop, Alternative Rock
147 The White Stripes (25) We‘re Going to Be Friends Folk Pop
148 Whitney (?) No Matter Where We Go Indie Rock
146 Much can happen in two years as Rivers Cuomo is not longing for something to happen, instead longing for those things to happen again. «And I don‘t wanna be an old man anymore; It‘s been a year or two since I was out on the floor; Shaking booty, making sweet love all the night». This is his vision of the good life, he no longer has. He seems to have lost his independence which frustrates him. 147 This innocent song takes one back to the way one made friends as a child. The feeling it carries is real and a true time capsule. Subconsciously they are partners in crime, so to speak. School friends and each others support and comfort. 148 «We‘ll make a living darlin‘, down the road» – I get the impression that this song is something like a summerly Indie anthem, an homage to freedom, carelessness, and friendship. It‘s a little naive, as it has an everything will be alright-vibe, which makes it a perfect cut for this coming-of-age book.
Songs: Weezer - Wolf Alice
149 Townsend has been quoted saying, that My Generation is about finding your place in society. It is urgent and hard-hitting, conveying a youthful character. The heavy instruments carry a free and rebellious tone. The lyrics are quite nihilistic («I hope I die before I get old») portraying a live fast, die young philosophy. They don‘t seem to feel respected by older generations and assume this is due to jealousy. It‘s one of the earliest examples of teenage angst on this list being released in 1965 a period of intense change.
149 The Who (20) My Generation Mod, Proto Punk
150 Wolf Alice (22) Bros Dream Pop, Indie Pop
150 Ellie Rowsell: «It’s an ode to childhood imagination and friendship and all the charm that comes with that» – There are few things that are as intense as relationships with your best friends. You tell each other everything and you feel like nobody knows you better than that person. It is an intimate and special connection.
Conscious Hip Hop
West Coast Hip Hop
East Coast Hip Hop
Analysis: Genres - Age
Median = 24 To clarify how I categorised and picked the genres: There is a lovely website called rateyourmusic.com, on which you can do exactly that: rate your music. All the artists in this book and their respective releases can be found there. The great thing about the site is, that many music lovers vote on the quality of their passion. They also vote on genres and I consider it the best source around to accurately classify a song. The genres of the various releases are currently ranked in primary genres and secondary genres. I only considered the primary genres for this book.
I split the genre stats up into general genres and specific genres. General genres serve as the houses of the more specific genres, it‘s as simple as that. For example: Indie Pop is found under Pop. Pop Punk on the other hand is found under Pop and Rock and is therefore counted twice. Same goes for Electropop which is found under Electronic and Pop.
The most common general genre is Pop, closely followed by Rock. The heavy hitters in the more specific genres are Indie Rock, Indie Pop, Singer/Songwriter, Pop Punk, Alternative Rock and Pop/Rock.
10 11 13 24 12
13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38
Kate Bush (13)
Average = 24,89
39 40 41 42
The age stats would have to be the most interesting for me. Two things should be noted: 1. I didn‘t find information on the ages of eight artists, so I left them out of the statistics. 2. As I‘m trying to define the age, in which the artist wrote the song, I had to do a lot of guessing when it came to dates. I mostly oriented my guesses to the time period of recording the song in question. On some occasions, I found out in interviews, comments or in the lyrics themselves when they actually wrote the song. While it‘s interesting that the most representative age by far seems to be 24, I am even more amazed by the youngest entry (Kate Bush) and oldest entry (Tom Waits) on this list.
Tom Waits (42)
Range = 29 years 61
The most notable surprise on this list is the lack of songs that talked about drugs and alcohol, as it seemed to be a much bigger category while listening to the songs. Loss of Innocence, Confusion, and Frustration take the top spots, no surprises here.
Loss of Innocence (91) Confusion (50) Frustration (47) Freedom (42) Love (41) Irrationality/Violence (37) Longing (29) Independence (28) Friendship (27) Sex/Lust (27) Misunderstood (24) Rebellion (22) Excitement (21) Drugs/Alcohol (13) Loneliness (13) Naivety (12) Fun (11) Curiosity (6)
Analysis: Themes - Lyrics
The top lyrics are all pretty generic. The first word, that I found interesting, is was, because it deals with vanity and time.
I listed the top 15 words, just for your interest, but then just decided to mention words that dealt with time, past tense, vanity or just seemed interesting to me on a personal level. For example: ÂŤYeahÂť was mentioned 76 times, which I found surprising.
Looking back on the tracks and their respective information two things need to be said: 1. The song list consists of choices and suggestions by me and 52 other people. 2. This list is still highly personal, as it was me who chose the themes (which there probably could be more of), who edited the list and who wrote the reviews. This project is an incomplete insight into the world of coming-of-age through my eyes. But it‘s an overview of the topic and a solid representation of the thematics. While working on this book my concept of the term coming of age changed a little. Having read all the lyrics, analyzing and writing a review for each song respectively, I couldn‘t help but vividly imagine the fears and struggles of each artist. Especially examples such as Tom Waits and Frank Sinatra showed me how long this phase actually lasts. Trying to define the topic, I opted for a more classical approach, focussing on the adolescent thematics, but is that really correct? I‘d like to mention a filmmaker I respect very much: John Hughes. Hughes was an American director, who came to fame during the 80‘s with classics such as Pretty in Pink, The Breakfast Club and Ferris Bueller‘s Day Off. Depicting the world through the eyes of a teenager, or in short – depicting comingof-age – he became one of the most prominent directors within this genre. Looking at his filmography I noticed a slight pattern, being that he let his actresses and actors age. Molly Ringwald appeared in three coming of age films directed and/or written by John Hughes. John‘s first film in this genre was Sixteen Candles (a film depicting the reality of a soon to be 16-year old teenager) and I‘d say – apart from a few exceptions – he stayed in this genre until She‘s Having a Baby (a film showing us what may come after college: 66
Conclusion - Thanks
marriage, settling down and kids), even if some may disagree with the latter. But would it really be wrong to argue that She‘s Having a Baby is a coming-ofage film? I think the struggles of finding your purpose in life, independence and reproduction are very dramatic points in your life. How can these turning points not belong in that genre? And does it stop there? Who tells you when you are finally grown up? When have you completely arrived in the city of adulthood? Are experiences such as divorce, burying your parents, raising your child, retiring, playing with your grandchildren not important and very much life-changing moments? Is that not the definition of a coming-of-age experience? Sure, the changes one experiences throughout life become fewer and further apart as one grows older, because, one understands the world better with age. But the experiences are still very powerful. And if not comingof-age, what classification do these get? All these thoughts lead me to question our definition of coming-of-age, a term that may need re-evaluation.
Thank you for the recommendations: rateyourmusic users: sweetemotion1975 canyougettothat albumrate Weifs Maustro12 SnorriSnorrison MrMungbean velocifish bfparrish1 [Bill Parrish] Alka Neodop wrdlbrmpf bit_sean agrimorfee
Facebook forums: Corey Bramblett Josh Will Eden Sarah Palmer Cameron Francisco Cameron Jed Deloney Noah Schwalger Oliver Lane Maria Carrasco Matthew Gervais Harrison Kitts II Sam Beneitone Cameron Jed Deloney Sarah Vasile Tom Luebke William Johnson Erik Cooper Taameen Mohammad Clay Man Kirk Patrick Dunlap Peyton Alie Spencer Paul Heuring Joe Curtis Xander Dake Francesco Ganci Ryan Potts Dave Longan Pedro Bernal Ruston Roy Dominic Firmager Henry Lewis Mansfield Holly F. Garbis Jackson Colpitts Stephanie Mided Zoe Anastasia Hardee Zoe Anastasia Hardee Finley Prentis Vivie Aravidis Sam Browne
Published on Feb 14, 2018
Published on Feb 14, 2018
My bachelors project. This is a book on songs dealing with growing up, adolesence and entering the adult world. I created the typeface, the...