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The Songs That Define
Our Teenage Years

May 2020

Whether you grew up in the ‘80s blasting synth pop on cassette tapes, or you’re a child of the noughties, curating playlists for future nights out, we’ve all got a soundtrack to our teenage years.

Music goes hand in hand with memories. When you hear a certain song, it can take you straight back.

That angsty song you played on repeat in your bedroom. The banging playlist you made for your mate’s house party. That artist you discovered at your first music festival. The first opening bars of a song are enough to transport you back.

Which songs define your teenage years? Did you go through a goth phase? Have a penchant for country? Or are you currently exploring your love of industrial techno? Whether you’ve yet to reach your twenties, or your teens are a distant memory, we’re all feeling a little nostalgic right now. So strap in for a curated playlist of our collective youth.

We’ve trawled our interviews and rounded up the best answers to: ‘Which song defines the teenage you?’ – adding them into one mega playlist.

“I shifted my musical taste as a teenager, between Hawkwind, Captain Beefheart, James Brown and everything else thrown in I could possibly find. I was oblivious to the fact that none of this would make sense, record collection wise, to most people. Well, f*ck them. That's what really interested me and made me happy.” John Lydon

“Probably some kind of teenage angsty, self-loathing material such as 'A Forest' by The Cure.” Goat Girl
Goat Girl

“My brother and his friend Stuart used to DJ at the local youth club disco in the Village Hall, before handing the reigns down to Stuart’s brother and I. We would get high on Panda Pops and fade in Wamdue Project 'King of My Castle' over DJ Jean 'Are You Ready For The Launch', on single CD’s from Woolworths.” John Holt

“Bad Guy by Billie Eilish. Only teens know how teens feel.” Aoi Yamada

“Bob Marley's 'Natty Dread' released in 1974. It landed when I was finally standing on my own two feet.” Don Letts

“'Hip Hop' by Dead Prez. It blew my tiny stupid mind.” Idles

“Most of The Undertones’ first album is like a scrapbook for anyone who was a teenager at the end of the ‘70s. But given that my teens were spent, mostly in a state of utter confusion, then ‘Ain’t Got A Clue’ by The Lurkers.” Steve Lamacq

Which song would you add?

Create your own playlist