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Songs to Celebrate The “Less Iconic” Birthdays  

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at SLU chapter.

When you turn 16-years-old, it is exciting because you can get your license. At 18-years-old, you are officially an adult. Once you hit 20-years-old, you are no longer a teenager and at 21-years-old you can legally drink. These are considered milestone birthdays. But, what about the 17th, 19th, 22nd and 23rd birthdays? How should you celebrate?  


You can celebrate turning 17 with the iconic ABBA song “Dancing Queen,” featured in the movie “Mamma Mia.” As the lyric goes, “Young and sweet, only seventeen.” You can also enjoy the movies “17 Again,” with Zac Efron, or “The Edge of Seventeen,” starring Hailee Steinfeld to celebrate.


Fittingly, Adele’s first album is titled “19.” You can listen to the whole album or if you’re only going to listen to one song, my two favorites are “Chasing Pavements” or “Make You Feel My Love.” You can also listen to all of Olivia Rodrigo’s music since she captures the late teenage experience so well. Her song “teenage dream” is perfect to listen to on your birthday because she sings, “I’ll blow out the candles, happy birthday to me / Got your whole life ahead of you, you’re only nineteen.” Most of the song is on the sad and slower side, but when looking at that line on its own, it can be hopeful looking towards a new age with fresh opportunities and memories. 


It’s your Taylor Swift year, which is a great excuse to sing along with friends to the chorus of “22” by Swift, which goes, “I don’t know about you / But I’m feeling twenty-two / Everything will be alright / If you keep me next to you.” Swift perfectly describes the age of 22 with the lyrics, “We’re happy, free, confused and lonely at the same time /  It’s miserable and magical.” A song you’re probably a little less likely to listen to at a party also by Swift that talks about being 22 is “Nothing New,” featuring Phoebe Bridgers. In this song there is a line which says, “How can a person know everything at 18 / But nothing at 22?” A similar sentiment is found in Lorde’s song, “The Man With the Axe” from her most recent album Solar Power, where she sings, “I thought I was a genius / But now I’m 22.” 


As Renee Rapp points out in her song “23,” it’s the Jordan year. She sings about the day before her birthday,  “So, how old do you have to be / To live so young and careless? / My wish is that I cared less / at twenty-three.” This song provides a slightly different perspective since it takes place before she is 23 and encourages listeners to think about their goals for the upcoming year. A fun country song by Sam Hunt called “23” goes, “I’ll never be 23, with anyone but you.” This song captures a moment in time. It acknowledges how it will probably change, but you both will always have the memories. 

These birthdays may feel a little underwhelming after bigger celebrations the year before. However, these songs and movies can make these birthdays feel a little more special. 

Senior at SLU constantly searching for small joys in all things!