As the last of the teenage years, the age of 19 can be a very transitional phase in life. New relationships are formed, while old relationships are lost. Self-doubt can creep in, but a newfound confidence can also arise as you discover more about yourself and the world.
It’s no doubt a unique moment in time for someone, so in this article, I’m going to provide you with my absolute favorite songs about being 19.
19 You + Me by Dan + Shay (2013)
With a title that so aptly describes the song, Dan + Shay created the perfect love song for a budding summer romance at the age of 19. Blond hair swinging and waves crashing bring the scene of a hot summer’s day on the beach to life.
Lyrics like “playing all but cool” and “tangled up, so in love” show the intense feelings of young love. Lyrics about “the tears we cried the day we had to leave” emphasize the fleeting nature that the very same young love can have.
Within the song 19 You + Me, Dan + Shay artfully paint the picture of a teenage romance burning fast and sweet.
Dear John by Taylor Swift (2010)
Not every romance burns as sweet as what’s depicted by Dan + Shay, as Taylor Swift so eloquently expresses in this 2010 song about John Mayer.
Filled with metaphors of a bait-and-switch type of relationship, Swift recounts skies painted blue only to turn abruptly to rain–and games of chess without set rules. Swift alleges that she was warned about Mayer’s behavior by others in the second verse of the song with the lyrics, “and I look back in regret how I ignored when they say / run as fast as you can.”
A major line of the song, to be shrouded in rumor, is “don’t you think I was too young?” which reminds listeners of the 12-year age gap between the two musicians. The regretful nature of young romance is made clear in Taylor Swift’s Dear John.
Nineteen by Tegan and Sara (2007)
Released in 2007, this Tegan and Sara classic is a timeless song about the perils of being nineteen and in love. The wonderful set of verses and its simple chorus paint a picture of another budding romance burning fast but not ending quite as sweet.
Lyrics like, “I feel you in my heart and I don’t even know you” emphasize elements of love and the wonder that comes with teenage relationships. The lyrics in the bridge guide the song to a question that plagues many relationships born at 19: “you were all I had / love you / you were all mine / love me / I was yours right?”
Finishing with a goodbye, the song itself indicates a close to one chapter of life, as does the age 19.
Nineteen by Lil Peep (2016)
Part of his 2016 mashup, Lil Peep discusses other perils of being in a relationship at 19. Like Taylor Swift, Lil Peep references the age gap between the two parties in the relationship, although the age gap is not nearly as large.
Lil Peep emphasizes that, “Now she wants me even more ‘cause I’m f***** young” several times throughout the song. In his rendition of Nineteen, Lil Peep references struggling with feelings of depression and use of drugs, from which he eventually overdosed and lost his life.
Struggling with depression and drug abuse, Lil Peep expressed both actively in his music. He lost his life to an overdose just prior to his 21st birthday, delivering a sudden end to the struggles he references at just nineteen.
Perfect Places by Lorde (2017)
Lil Peep is not the only artist to incorporate struggles with life and substance use into the life of a 19-year-old. Sung in the first verse of Lorde’s Perfect Places, “I’m nineteen and I’m on fire” can strike a chord with many other 19-year-olds who may be caught up in the party life, trying to find an escape to “perfect places.”
Lyrics like “have another drink, get lost in us” and “all the things we’re taking” accompany listeners on the journey through an endless cycle of living and dying every night, not able to be alone.
Physical intimacy is present in the song, but the love is absent, singing, “meet somebody, take ‘em home,” and it being “just another graceless night.” This ode to being 19 winds to a close with a rhyme, “all these nights off our faces / trying to find these perfect places,” which leads to one final question: “what the f*** are perfect places anyway?”
Fast by Juice Wrld (2019)
At 19, life can pass you by in a slow, endless cycle of nights out trying to find the perfect place. Or it can pass you by at staggering speed, leaving behind unforeseen and unpredictable emotions that are difficult for any 19-year-old to deal with.
Juice Wrld fits into the latter category, rapping about how life is moving so fast “I ain’t seen it coming / but it still came.” Juice Wrld portrays life as moving and changing so fast that he has had more experiences than many others of the same age. Lyrics like, “I go through so much, I’m 19 years old” and “It’s been months since I felt at home” depict his successful life on the road as a performer.
However, Juice Wrld’s success isn’t enough to keep him from dealing with the depression expressed by other 19-year-olds. His sentiment about having money but still being sad, and the lyrics, “Now I’m on the ground / on the ground haven’t been myself” show that even the rich and famous 19-year-olds can struggle at the end of their teenage years.
Numb (feat. Killah Toni) by Victorious Zay (2021)
The most recent of our set of songs about being 19, Victorious Zay and Killah Toni, like Juice Wrld, discuss the struggles of adapting to the world around them upon reaching a certain status of fame and fortune. With lyrics including, “19 years old / in a city where they know me” and “Victorious the name / golden ticket in my letter,” the song portrays a sense of success, with the rappers making it big in the music industry.
As the last teenage year, age 19 brings with it the difficult transition to adulthood. Victorious Zay and Killah Toni grapple with the coldness of the world in the chorus, “Only 19 years old in a world so cold / numb to all the pain that remains up in my soul,” ending the song with the pain that can still come with fame and fortune.
Shook by Emancipator [Sigur Ros X Mobb Deep] (2011)
This remix by American-born producer and DJ, Emancipator, combines the almost hypnotic vocals and sustained synthesizer sounds with Mobb Deep’s much more aggressive style of rap. Emancipator takes the hostile and combative lyrics of Mobb Deep’s Shook Ones (Part II), and blends them with the peaceful, slow-building sound signature of his style.
Writing one of the most infamous lyrics in the rap world, Prodigy, of the hip-hop duo Mobb Deep, raps “I’m only 19 but my mind is old.” This line goes so far as to even get written into the hip-hop musical Hamilton, to be rapped by Alexander Hamilton himself.
This remix by Emancipator creates the perfect combination of the surrealism found in teenage years and the toughness of the world that comes at the end of this phase of life.
Goblin by Tyler, the Creator (2011)
As the opening track to an album with the same name, Goblin is a 4-verse track interspersed with dialogue between Tyler, the Creator and his therapist or alter-ego, Dr. TC. 19-year-old Tyler expresses his opposition to what the world expects him to be since he’s become successful, rapping, “I’m not a f***ing role model / I’m a 19-year-old fucking emotional coaster with pipe dreams.”
The concept of wrangling with fame at the age of 19 is echoed throughout the song with lyrics like, “Can’t they just be happy for me like, a kid with nothing, living out his dreams?” and “I’m just a teenager, who admits he’s suicide prone / my life is doing pretty good, so that date is postponed for now.”
The final verse packs a punch with Tyler rapping, “The devil doesn’t wear Prada, I’m clearly in a f*****g white tee” as the last line of the song, embracing the Goblin-like nature of both himself and his alter-ego.
Kids by Rich Brian (2019)
At just 19 years old, Rich Brian released his second full album titled The Sailor. As opposed to Tyler, the Creator’s opposition to being a role model and the struggles Tyler faces with success, Rich Brain raps about how, “I used to be the kid, now the kids wanna be me” and now, “I won’t lie, this shit is fun / tell these Asian kids they could do what they want.”
There is a deep connection between the Rich Brian we see on TV with James Corden to the kid he was before the fame and glory. Throughout the song, Rich Brian not only addresses the amount of success he’s achieved at the age of 19 (with lyrics like, “Did God know he created a legend in ’99”), but also radiates a type of pride in himself and his music in a way that provides inspiration to the kids who “wanna be me.”
The year of 19 brings an end to the years of being a teenager and ushers in a new phase of life: adulthood. The nonlinear nature of being a teenager makes for a wide range of possible experiences at 19.
Whether you’re as confident as Rich Brian, as in love as Dan+ Shay, or struggling to find your way as you transition to becoming an adult, these songs about being 19 will show you that there’s no single way to a teenager on the cusp of adulthood.
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