Being seventeen can be tough. And how could it not be?! There is so much to deal with at this age. You have school, family, friendships, relationships, and upcoming life decisions to deal with. It can be incredibly overwhelming at times and even isolating. But it can also be one of the most fun, exciting, deep and life changing years of your life as well!
Teenage brains are incredibly resilient. “The teen brain has lots of plasticity, which means it can change, adapt, and respond to its environment.” From experiencing love at first sight to planning what comes next, here is a positive and diversified list of some songs about being 17 for you to vibe out to as.
1) Eastside by Benny Blanco, Halsey, and Khalid
“Seventeen and we got a dream to have a family, a house, and everything in between”
With Ed Sheeran as a cowriter, how could this song not be amazing?! A duet between Khalid and Halsey, this song tells the story of an adult couple in a less than fun time in their lives strolling down memory lane.
As adults with bills, unfulfilling jobs, and less friends, they both start reminiscing about the teenage start of their relationship: being seventeen, in a forbidden love, excited and hopeful for the future together.
Though their grown- up lives may not be what they expected, you can tell the two lovers are still meant for each other in the way that they both fondly remember how dedicated they have been to each other from the start. A teenage love song with a happy conclusion that conveys just how strong emotions can be at this age.
2) Edge of a Dream by Sarah Jarosz
“Almost eighteen, a real lady now. I’ll keep tryin’ to figure this life out, I wanna figure it out”
An acoustic little number, this song gives off, “Road trip to self-discovery” vibes (you have your license, right?) This simple guitar tune gives insight to a teen’s trail of thought as she makes her way through moments in her life and the pursuit of her passion.
The lyrics show her deciding to “play it safe” at times AND also choosing to “take a chance” at others. Will she make it? Will she fail? Either way, she chooses to keep going on her journey to find out. A new personal favorite, the song’s ability to capture the complex feeling of teenage hope in the face of uncertainty is inspiring.
3) Brand New by Ben Rector
“I feel like new sunglasses, like a brand-new pair of jeans. I feel like taking chances. I feel a lot like seventeen”
Do you have a certain person who just makes you happy to be around them? Is there someone in your life who makes you forget about all the stressful parts of life and reminds you to just be a teenager and have fun? If so, this song is for you (and them)!
With lyrics that could be about anyone, this song perfectly describes the way a special person can make you brave enough to just be your authentic self. If you are looking for an upbeat and fun dedication song for your favorite family member, best friend, or true love, then give this song a try!
4) Volver a los 17 by Violeta Parra
“Y mis años en diecisiete los convirtió el querubín”
“And my years at 17 were transformed by the cherubim” (English translation)
Even those not fluent “en Espanol” will have a tough time not falling for this indie sounding song! Proving some emotions of being a teen can feel the same across all cultures, the poetic melody describes the narrator going back to seventeen.
Dreamy images of intense emotions, encounters with love and things changing within an instant really paint a picture of just how beautiful yet fast life can be at that age. Violeta has a portfolio of many political songs, but here, her raspy, somewhat quiet voice and the personal lyrics make you feel as though you’re secretly listening to a teenage poet read her diary aloud.
5) Letter to Me by Brad Paisley
“And oh, you got so much going for ya, going right. But I know at 17 it’s hard to see past Friday night.”
Looking for a country song about being 17? Look no further!
Brad’s song about writing to himself is fun AND poignant. From hilariously calling his teenage self out on breaking the rules (mentioning hidden tobacco and adult magazines) to walking himself through a breakup and losing loved ones, adult Brad makes sure to cover the struggles he dealt with in the past.
This song will make any grown person look back and think about the advice they would give themselves (or not, as Brad retracts a piece of advice about a fun date in one lyric) and let any CURRENT teenager know that they are not alone. With reassurance from his future self, Mr. Paisley’s song drives it home that it is ok to be young and yes, things really do get better.
6) Seventeen by Alessia Cara
“Now I wish I could freeze time at seventeen.”
Our sixth song catches that “caught in- between” phase of the teen years in the lyrics. Describing the advice Alessia’s parents tried giving her about taking her time and yet her still wishing to turn seventeen, she admits to not understanding them when she was younger.
Now, as a teenager, she sees what they mean as she recalls how fast her childhood seemed to pass and she wants to “freeze” at 17. A song about love and understanding set against a beat that is easy to dance to, this song captures that teenage angst AND her newfound knowledge.
7) Something Like That by Tim McGraw
“It was Labor Day weekend, I was 17…”
Another country favorite, this throwback sets the scene of a teenage Tim falling for a beautiful girl at the fair. Teenage awkwardness did not skip him as he stains his white t-shirt eating barbecue …right before he meets her!
But it does not stop them from having an almost perfect date and ending with a kiss. The second verse finds him as an adult on a plane and them finding each other again. He ensures her that he remembers every detail of their day together because, how could he? You don’t forget “something like that.”
If you are a country loving teen, this song proves that some of your favorite memories can be made at this age. If you are an adult, this song is sure to take you back and make you feel seventeen all over again.
8) Dancing Queen by ABBA
“You are the dancing queen, young and sweet, only seventeen”
There is no dispute that this song is classic! It is also no wonder it has been a go-to for tons of teen movies for decades. A 70’s bop, this groovy song totally embodies that “disco is forever” vibe. Since bell bottoms and hippie hair have made a return, shouldn’t this timeless tune?
Lyrics about a teen that just wants to dance the night away with anyone make this a great retro party or pregame song before a night out. If this song does not make you want to put on some roller skates, get groovy and dance, I do not know what would!
9) 1980’s Horror Film by Wallows
“She was only seventeen. Oh, why are girls in songs always seventeen?”
Awkwardness. Uncertainty. Anticipation. The Wallows hooked every one of those emotions in this unique song. Singing about a teenage guy who gets a chance to hang out with his crush, the narrator tells us about every move made and unsaid thought he experienced. The curtains drawn, being alone in the room together. It all builds suspense.
Your hands may start to sweat too as you become just as nervous about what will happen next. But the song does not take itself too seriously as the plot twist turns an anxious moment into a slightly sad/ funny one (at least for the listeners). If you want a laugh at the expense of being a teenager, then this song will do the trick. If you want to keep laughing, watch the official music video as well!
10) Seventeen Ain’t So Sweet by The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus
“Seventeen is just a test. Yeah, and I would recommend that you live with no regrets.”
Ironically, this song IS sweet! The song tells us about a girl who was imperfect and dealing with pressure from the world. Our narrator becomes her hype man though and tells her about the inner strength he knows she has. Coming from a popular emo band, this song is extremely supportive and comes from a place of heart.
The singer lets her know that life may be complex at the moment, but she should do what she wants to do because she is unstoppable when she wants to be. Not necessarily a love song, the lyrics lend themselves to be from any supportive guy with a formidable girl in his life. Whether it be a friend, love or sister, this song would melt the heart of any special woman and could even become her anthem!
11) Seventeen by The Heathers Musical
“Can’t we be seventeen? That’s all I want to do.”
The famous musical includes a scene between character Veronica and her boyfriend, JD. Without spoiling too much of the storyline, Veronica is begging JD to just be seventeen with her. Eating chili dogs, watching bad movies, and going to prom are what they should be doing, not taking part in stressful life situations.
She describes how good they could be together if given the chance to just focus on being young. At the end of the song, you can hear JD replying to her and confessing he DOES want to be with her and be seventeen. If you are looking for a song that conveys the desire to just be your teenage self, and musical theater does not scare you, then “Seventeen” can be a new favorite on your playlist
12) Evening Sun by The Strokes
“I love you more than being seventeen”
Listeners may feel as though this song is about being away from a lost summer love. Lyrics such as “don’t wanna… break your heart in two halves” might make a listener feel as though the singer is telling his person that he will not make them choose between staying with him or leaving and finding their own way. He will hope they come back and until then, he will be dreaming of their summer together.
Either way, it is a chill and smooth melody and can be open to interpretation. It is a song of acceptance and recollecting happy times. The indisputable fact of this simple and lovely song is that he loves the person in the song more than anything, even more than being seventeen and wants them to do what makes them happy. Without strictly romantic lyrics limiting the song to only being romantic, this song could describe a couple in an unselfish love or even a supportive friend telling their pal they will see each other again.
13) Seventeen by The Midnight
“We were seventeen, seventeen. We had city dreams, city dreams.”
“When you’re 17 the thought of a spark can start a fire.”
If you’re a big synthwave music fan like me, then this song by The Midnight should absolutely be on your radar!
Tapping into that wild and free sense of being a youth wanting to explore, this electric beat comes with a robotic voice repeating the hook over a twinkling ambience. Add the exciting random guitar solo and this song has all the possibility of being the background music of a fantasy (think “stick your head out the taxi window on a windy night and watch the lights pass by” type vibes).
Another new pick, you may just have this song on repeat after giving it a chance!
14) 17 by Youth Lagoon
“Oh, when I was seventeen my mother said to me ‘Don’t stop imagining”
A dream-like sound and an honest voice, who needs more? Still, Youth Lagoon delivers even more with lyrics describing mental health, in her youth and in her current adulthood. She sings about her carefree days at seventeen as well as her days as a grown up with a complicated mindset.
Though things are not the same, she remembers her mother telling her to never stop imagining. And with the way this trancelike tune can make you lose yourself in a daydream, you can tell she has not stopped.
15) Tree By the River by Iron and Wine
“Maryanne, do you remember? The tree by the river when we were seventeen?”
If you were a hippie in a field with a gaggle of friends, this should be the song you dance to! The poetic lyrics meshed with the simple acoustic music paint the picture of the singer reminding a girl named Maryanne about their teen days.
He describes the paradise-like flashback (there is a tree by the river if that was not clear). He tells her that he is happy just to be with her. Teenage love can be pretty complicated, but this uncomplicated melody has a way of simplifying it beautiful.
16) Strawberry Wine by Deana Carter
“Seventeen, the hot July moon saw everything.”
Wine gets sweeter with age and so does Deana’s memory of being seventeen, at least part of it. She recalls being a naïve young girl falling for a farmhand on her grandfather’s farm. He introduces her to wine, love, and other emotions, including heartbreak. Realizing how “green” she was, she tries reconciling her past.
As an adult, she visits the old farm in order to relive those youthful moments and the “bittersweet” taste of young love. Although she misses something from her youth, the song can be seen as happy because she eventually moved on and learned more about herself from the experience.
17 ) 21 by Corey Smith
“When I was only seventeen, couldn’t wait for 21”
Smith is a great storyteller in his song “21,” and that is why it has made the list! Corey lets us in on his troublemaking ways as a teenager. He admits to doing things he is not supposed to do, getting numbers, sleeping in class and more.
Our guy does not just make his days being seventeen out to be risky and exciting, he also makes sure to describe the bad affects it had on him (like getting in trouble). Mr. Smith rides that perfect line of reminding the listener of how fun being a teenager can be while also not forgetting to mention that every decision has consequences. This song is a funny lesson within a song!
18) Seventeen by Avril Lavigne
“That’s the way it’s supposed to be, seventeen”
Our punk princess does not disappoint with this teenage anthem! Avril’s distinct angsty voice pronounces that love does not need much when you are seventeen. Parking lot kisses and a car swept her off of her feet as a teenager and she has no shame about it.
And why should she? Rules were made to be broken and Lavigne tells us of a few she had broken herself in her teenage rebellion.
19) I Love Rock N’ Roll by Joan Jett and the Blackhearts
“I saw him dancin’ there by the record machine. I knew he musta been about seventeen”
Is there anyone in the world who does not know this song?! Well, if there is, you need to listen to it ASAP!
Joan Jett’s song about being young, her love for loud music and outspoken guys is famous. Scratch that. It is ICONIC! Jett’s music and voice never hold back, and this song is a great example of that fact.
If you find yourself at the age of seventeen next to a record machine, play this song first. It was made for you!
20) 17 by MK
“Baby I got your back like we’re still seventeen”
Get ready to dance! If you have ever been through a breakup but still held feelings for the other person, then you will connect to this song. MK sings about still having the other person’s back, just as she always has since they were teenagers.
If you are just feeling like you need to dance, then you’re welcome to give this song a try as well! MK’s house beats will have even the saddest hearts losing control on the dance floor and feeling strong again.
You will feel the loud bass in your soul and the spirited lyrics and singing will get stuck in your head. Get ready! This is the ultimate teenage breakup song and who hasn’t ever needed one of those?
21) Seventeen Forever by Metro Station
“You won’t be seventeen forever”
Back in the days of super straight ironed hair and tight band tees, this song came out and took over the world! Metro Station’s tune epitomizes the emo sound of 2008, and the official music video could be in a museum exhibit about “scene kids” of the olden days.
Still, the song has survived even if the fashions have not. It makes sense! It is a hit that tells of a teen love that will eventually end. So, fighting time, the lovebirds are cherishing all the time they have until it does.
22) Edge of Seventeen by Stevie Nicks
“Eyes on him, all alone, on the edge of seventeen”
If there was ever a singer/ songwriter that could prove just how strong teenage emotions can be, its Steve Nicks. Another ICONIC song on our list, our Queen Stevie sings a song drenched in lovely metaphors.
But the message is clear: she was a teenager and full of feelings. And anyone can relate to that. Though she does not blatantly spell out the story of her uncle’s passing (in the same week that one of her heroes, John Lennon also died), her sad resilience is apparent in her singing.
It may not be the happiest of tunes on our list, but we would be remiss not to mention such an integral coming of age song in music history. A positive outlook is the realization that although there may be sad times in your life, you will get through them.
On a lighter note, the title “Edge of Seventeen” was created from a misheard phrase between Nicks and Tom Petty’s wife and the famous white winged dove lyric was inspired by an airplane menu!
23) Seventeen by RAC
“When I was seventeen, I knew just how I wanted life to be”
This song starts out in an unusual way musically, but the chorus will create fans. RAC sings about that old familiar feeling of self- doubt. Admitting that her dreams were handed to her “on a platter” at seventeen, she still let negativity bring her down. But she refuses to stay there and be bullied by her insecurities any longer.
Proclaiming that “it’s never too late” she decided to make another attempt. Looking back and confessing that she thought she knew everything at seventeen, she now knows there will still be moments of fear. But this time, she will not be stopped. A relatable song about fear of the future and failure, hopefully this song inspires the listener to never give up.
24) Seventeen by JET
“Seventeen, don’t change a thing”
No one is perfect at seventeen. There are plenty of people who can look back on uncomfortable moments, negative experiences and even times where they were viewed as…less than nice.
“Seventeen” by Jet describes the singer acknowledging that he was not flawless at that age. He had “burnt bridges” with people, even friends. Coming from what could be seen as a very driven person’s point of view, this song could be interpreted as the singer having no regrets for his previous life choices Why should he? His past made him who he is now. And he “wouldn’t change one thing”
25) Let’s Go by The Cars
“And she won’t give up ‘cause she’s seventeen”
Nostalgia? Yes, please!
Although released in 1979, this song is everything an 80’s teenage fan would want. Guitars and synthesizers galore accompany lyrics depicting a fearless seventeen-year-old girl who “loves the nightlife.”
The singer humors all of her antics while under the spell of infatuation and in ends up having fun with her! Any desires to live your teen years in the decade of leg warmers and fingerless gloves? You may want to start here!
Seventeen is a magical age. It can be an awkward time in life for anyone, but it also has all the possibility of being incredibly metamorphic! Whether you use this year to just make amazing memories and/or use it as a springboard for your adult dreams, the direction it takes you is completely your decision.
As you can see from this list of songs about being seventeen, it can be one of the most significant years in your life. Make it count! Hopefully, this list has proven that while seventeen can be wonderful, it will not be the end of your golden years but actually, the beginning!