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My Favorite (Underrated) Coming-of-Age Songs

Everyone needs to have a coming-of-age playlist. It’s a must.

Here's a playlist of songs that make me feel a wave of emotions all at once, much like the ending of a coming-of-age movie. Personally, my coming-of-age playlist got me through the mundane days in quarantine, where I felt half-alive and just needed to feel something again.

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We've all probably had the classics on our coming-of-age playlists: “Ribs” by Lorde, “Electric Love” by BØRNS, “Tongue Tied” by Grouplove, a lot of Harry Styles, and the like. These are the essentials (if you haven’t listened to these already, what are you doing?). But I’m here to recommend a few others that I highly suggest listening to if you haven’t already. These are songs that are probably lesser-known, but still make me feel things even on the millionth listen. I found many of them through watching coming-of-age movies, so basically, they’ve already been handpicked by filmmakers to mess with our emotions.

So, without further ado, here are my recommendations.

“Hope” by Kid Wise

I mean...the title says it all. Granted, there’s a lot of songs with bold, lofty titles that don’t live up to what they claim, but this one does. It truly makes me feel like anything is possible, and that I’m the main character of my own film. 

My favorite part of this song is the slow build. The beginning up until the climax progressively feeds you more and more adrenaline, just like the ending of a coming-of-age movie. You quite literally feel like you’re in the last scene before the end credits when you listen to this masterpiece.

It’s no coincidence that I first heard this song in the ending of the Canadian coming-of-age movie "Giant Little Ones," and, for me, it was what made that ending so powerful and poignant.  

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“Floors” by Abhi the Nomad

Abhi the Nomad is such an underrated songwriter. I discovered him during the summer of my senior year of high school, and I could not stop playing his songs all summer long. Per my recommendation, my friends also became fans, and we all went to his concert in Cambridge last year. Needless to say, it was an amazing experience, and I can really see him getting big.

I first heard “Floors” while watching someone’s Instagram story, and I immediately dropped everything and looked it up. There are only a handful of songs that I’ve become immediately infatuated with, where I think, “this is why I love music,” and this song is definitely one of them. It just screams summer parties and driving with the windows down. It’s a work of art from start to finish, and I want it to play in the soundtrack in the movie about my life. 

“Weekends” by Katy McAllister

Katy McAllister is another criminally underrated artist. She has less than 100,000 monthly listeners on Spotify, but her song “Weekends” is easily one of my favorite feel-good songs of all time. It makes me so happy and reminds me of my childhood summers, and all things sunshine, fun, and carefree.

I first heard this song in a YouTube video, and this was yet another one of those instances where I had to drop everything and look it up. I’ve been listening to it constantly ever since it first came out in 2014, and remarkably, it never gets old.

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“Power Hungry Animals” by The Apache Relay

This song has been featured in a few coming-of-age movies and for good reason. The first couple of times I listened to it, it tore my heart out. To me, it depicts the trials and tribulations of growing pains during adolescence. Unlike the first few songs on my list, this song is definitely not all sunshine and rainbows, but it’s very cathartic and satisfying, great for when you need to let out some emotions. I can definitely imagine myself belting this in the car after a long day.

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“Hero” by Family of the Year

This one is probably more popular since it was in the film "Boyhood," but I still think it’s underrated. This song makes me feel so many emotions at once, despite all the times I’ve listened to it. To me, it’s the perfect song for a coming-of-age film since it reminds me of all the experiences of growing up, and it makes me super reflective and wistful. 

Unlike the other songs I’ve mentioned so far, this song is also less upbeat and more calming, so it’s great if you’re in a chill mood but still want to feel some heart-tugging emotions.

And there you have it! If you’re looking for some new songs to add to your coming-of-age playlist, give these a listen. They never fail to make me feel things, and they deserve to be more popular.

Carol Liu

U Mass Amherst '23

Carol is a junior at UMass Amherst majoring in Operations & Information Management. When she's not writing, you can find Carol watching documentaries, oil painting, playing flute, spending time outdoors, or organizing events with Smart Woman Securities and the UMass Taiwanese and Chinese Students' Association.
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