The Teenage Years And The Music That Defined Us

Over the years, I’d often wondered why we are so attached to the music from our youth. We always question why our parents didn’t like our music growing up, but now that I’m older with kids of my own, I find I’m doing exactly the same thing. 

Growing up in a musical family, music was my foundation for everything I was. It became my very being, what I lived for, aside from girls I guess. While scrolling through the radio dial or the Sirius channels, I find myself searching for songs from my youth. Friends will say I’m just getting old, but I think there is a lot more to it than that.

Memories are brought back to life by things like emotions, colors, smells, love and drugs. Music, however, takes the trophy home in that department. When you are young, music is one of the biggest things that defines you. It’s your solace from the everyday life that digs deep to bring you down. Music has that way of making you feel like everything’s going to be ok, especially those songs that spur the memories of the times when there were really no cares in the world. Just music, love, friends, cars and what you were going to have for dinner that night.

In our teenage years, music and our social lives go hand in hand. As we are discovering music for the first time, on our own or through our friends, we listen to it as a way of belonging to a certain social group and inevitably it becomes a part of our identity. This forms the soundtrack to the craziest, wild and free times of our lives. Why is music from that time so vivid and close to our hearts? That time between 13 and 20 is when you become you, those happy memories become such an integral part of your growth that they remain that way for the rest of your life. The songs from your youth literally become a piece of your sense of self. Every time you hear them now, you feel young again and you feel the happiness just like you did when those songs embedded themselves inside of you for the first time.

It is strange how you can be time traveled back to the past, just by hearing the first few seconds of one of those momentous songs. Your first kiss, your Saturday nights cruising the strip, or your first big blowout with your parents when you thought your life was ruined. Amazing pieces to the soundtrack of your life. Music is the universal language, and for me, it keeps me going everyday. Every time I hear Bon Jovi’s Livin On A Prayer, I’m fist pumping the air like it’s 1987 and I’m driving in my first car with the first love of my life. From the back seat my kids look at me like I’m from another planet, but now from this new perspective, I may go easier on them and their choice of music. Maybe.