19 Of The Best Songs About Being 23

Written by Dan Farrant
Last updated

Being 23 is a special milestone because it’s that age when you’re neither too young nor too old. You might find yourself in the middle of youthhood when you thirst for adventure and adulthood when you navigate your place in the world.

It’s crazy but challenging to explore the world and work toward your dreams. And songs have perfectly captured the trials, triumphs, and self-discoveries that come with this age.

Without further ado, let us present to you 19 of the best songs about being 23. Have fun reading!

1. “Thinking Out Loud” By Ed Sheeran

The heartfelt ballad “Thinking Out Loud” by Ed Sheeran captures the enduring nature of love. He wrote the song about his then-girlfriend Athina Andrelos and was also inspired by the love between his grandparents.

In the lyrics, the narrator sings about how their love continues to thrive as the years pass. He envisions a love that remains strong even in old age, as shown by the lyric, “And darling I will be loving you ’til we’re 70.”

In the context of being 23, the narrator is saying that he’ll love her as hard as he did when he was 23. The lyrics say that the early twenties are years of self-discovery and significant emotional experiences. It’s at this time when individuals are passionate and fall in love hard.

2. “23” By Jimmy Eat World

Sometimes, the best thing to do, even when times are tough, is to tell yourself to move on. That’s the idea behind Jimmy Eat World‘s 2004 single, “23.”

This song, with “23” in the title,” explores themes of love, self-doubt, and the challenges of growing up. These issues are relevant to individuals in their early twenties. Aside from these, the song also shows the complexities of relationships and personal growth at this age.

In the lyrics, the narrator reflects on past relationships and experiences. The lines “Amazing still it seems, I’ll be twenty-three” show that he acknowledges change and the inevitability of maturing.

3. “Take My Number” By Melissa Etheridge

Our next song, Melissa Etheridge‘s “Take My Number,” is all about reconnection and the beginnings of a new love. The song was released in 2014 from her album This is M.E.

The narrative of the song revolves around the narrator having a chance reunion with an old classmate. The latter had made poor life decisions whose consequences batter him now.

The song references being 23, saying that at this age, we have limited knowledge and experience to know “about what we really want.” This is an age when we make mistakes, but at the same time, it’s when we are excited to explore relationships.

4. “Catching Up” By Allstar Weekend

Time is fleeting. And at 23, individuals often find themselves transitioning from one thing to another. At least, that’s what Allstar Weekend wants to tell us in “Catching Up.”

While the song does not focus on being 23, it does mention themes relatable to many people in their early twenties. This age marks a time of self-discovery and figuring out your goals.

For some people, like the narrator in the song, it’s a time of catching up with people their age. He may feel like other people achieve their goals faster than him. However, he reiterates that he does not want to look back on his 23rd year and realize he has a lot of catching up to do.

5. “Heart Attack At 23” By Tori Amos

In “Heart Attack at 23,” Y Kant Tori Read tells us about the struggles that individuals often experience at this age. The song also depicts a sense of restlessness and a desire for change.

The line “If I have a heart attack at 23” is likely metaphorical. It expresses the emotional rollercoaster and stress that people experience with all the issues they face at this age.

In addition, the line suggests a feeling of urgency and the struggle to find one’s identity. They face a lot of uncertainties in their youth and long for change.

6. “Wasted” By Cartel

The poignant song “Wasted” by Cartel delivers one unpleasant fact: we are all wasted. We are wasted in such a way that we take life for granted despite knowing life is short.

The song explores various scenarios where life is prematurely cut short or “wasted.” There’s the 32-year-old who has cancer and a 16-year-old who gets into a car accident. Then there’s a son who feels neglected, and it affects his future relationships.

In the context of being 23, the song makes a commentary about the uncertainties people experience in their early twenties. Despite reaching this age, some still have difficulties understanding their place in the world.

7. “Come Hell or High Water” By Everything But The Girl

The 1986 single “Come Hell or High Water” by Everything but the Girl is a lament about a person who thinks highly of himself but doesn’t see his own negative attributes.

In the lyrics, the narrator deals with her partner’s arrogance. He does as he pleases without a care for its consequences. It reduces the narrator into lamenting his behavior when, in truth, he does not have much to offer their relationship.

In the context of 23, the partner is only 23 years old but is already a heavy drinker. She is saying that he’ll never be anything beyond this.

8. “All You Gotta Be When You’re 23 Is Yourself” By Free Cake For Every Creature

From the album Talking Quietly of Anything With You comes the single “All You Gotta Be When You’re 23 is Yourself.” This 2016 song by Free Cake for Every Creature is all about making the best of what you have.

The lyrics encourage self-acceptance and authenticity even in the trying times of being in one’s early twenties. The title is an affirmation that one of the most important things in life is being true to yourself.

The song serves as a reminder that the little things are what really matter. In addition, it tells us that it’s okay not to have all the answers right away.

9. “Gangsta’s Paradise” By Coolio Ft. L.V.

The #1 biggest-selling song of 1995 on US Billboard is “Gangsta’s Paradise” by Coolio, featuring L.V. It won Coolio a Grammy for Best Rap Solo Performance, two MTV Video Music Awards, and a Billboard Music Award.

Thematically, the song reflects the struggles and realities of life in a “gangsta’s paradise.” This paradise represents a life riddled with violence, poverty, and hardships.

This song with “23” in the lyrics reminds us of the different life experiences people have at this age. For some people, being 23 might mean enjoying adult independence. For others, such as the narrator, it could mean dealing with harsher realities.

10. “Real” By Plumb

Self-discovery, authenticity, and facing life on your own terms are the message behind Plumb‘s “Real.” The song is about a 23-year-old woman who strives to be true to herself despite societal pressures.

The lyrics open with the lines, “Look at me I’m twenty-three. / Beautiful, a sight to see tonight.” These encapsulate the feeling of being young and full of potential.

On the other hand, the narrator struggles to maintain authenticity and find her true identity during this age. Many people embark on their adult lives, making decisions that will shape their future. This song can be an anthem for these people, encouraging them to be true to themselves and not succumb to pressures.

11. “Twentythree” By Yellowcard

Up next is the 2003 single “Twentythree” by the American rock band Yellowcard. It explores the emotional rollercoaster of young adulthood, particularly in the context of a breakup.

In relation to being 23, the song delves into the complexities of navigating relationships and life in general. At this age, a lot of people deal with heartbreak, learning from mistakes, and moving on.

It mirrors the broader experience of many youth who are trying to face adulthood, including the joys and challenges that come with it. In other words, the song reflects the ups and downs that define this particular stage in life.

12. “Furr” By Blitzen Trapper

In 2008, the experimental country, folk, and rock band Blitzen Trapper released “Furr” from the album of the same name. It talks about transformation and self-discovery, which we can attribute to the experiences people undergo at the age of 23.

The narrative of the song follows the narrator as a boy who spends carefree years with a pack of wolves. In the context of 23, the age represents the time when he explores his identity. He tries to break away from norms or expectations from the society.

The song also explores the change and transition between childhood and adulthood. Being 23 is a significant time as this is the stage when individuals transition into full-fledged adulthood.

13. “Pardon Me” By Incubus

Being 23 can be a trying time. And in “Pardon Me” by Incubus, the band talks about frustration, disillusionment, and transformation that occur at this age.

In the lyrics, we find the narrator feeling overwhelmed by the problems of the world and his own personal challenges. He is only 23, yet he feels “on the verge of spontaneous combustion.”

In the line “So pardon me while I burst into flames,” bursting into flames can be a metaphor for his desire for change or a break from societal pressures. “Pardon Me” captures the emotional challenges and self-discovery that many people in their early twenties experience.

14. “23” By God Lives Underwater

Another song that talks about self-discovery, along with one’s search for purpose, is “23” by God Lives Underwater. The track appears on the band’s 1995 album Empty.

The song’s opening lines reflect a sense of longing and desire for connection. The narrator claims he does not have a lot, but whatever he has, he’d like to have someone to share it with.

In the context of 23, the song captures the struggles and uncertainties that people this age experience. Many people still find their place in the world as they deal with challenges and yearn for meaningful relationships.

15. “Wishing I Was 23” By R5

In R5‘s “Wishing I Was 23,” the narrator is someone younger who longs and desires maturity and growth. The song captures the allure of this age from the perspective of someone who wants to be in a stage of life where he can pursue a romantic relationship.

The narrator wishes he was 23 because, presumably, the woman of his dreams is of this age. He believes that being 23 would give him the chance to hit it off with her.

In this case, the song associates being 23 with maturity, freedom, and opportunities for romance. It talks about an age filled with romanticized expectations.

16. “Gone Tomorrow” By The Staves

The indie folk trio The Staves knows a thing or two about the fleeting nature of time and the importance of living your life to the fullest in “Gone Tomorrow.”

The lines “Well, I’m only 23, / and I’m here, / waiting all year” reflect a sense of anticipation and the narrator’s desire to seize opportunities. In terms of being 23, the song captures the transition between youth and adulthood. This is a time often marked by a lot of waiting for growth, change, and life to start “happening.”

The narrator also realizes that good things do not always come to people who wait. Rather, the song tells us to take action now.

17. “Twenty-Three” By MC Lars Ft. Amie Miriello

Our next song, “Twenty-Three,” by MC Lars and Amie Miriello, assigns a special meaning to this number. It’s from the perspective of someone grieving the tragic loss of a friend at age 23.

This song mentions “23” as a specific moment in time, forever frozen due to the untimely passing of a friend. It captures a sense of nostalgia and grief as the narrator recalls their memories and experiences.

All in all, the song explores themes of regret and longing. The narrator struggles to come to terms with such a profound loss. Twenty-three is a young age, and the friend could have been enjoying his youth.

18. “I’m My Own Grandpa” By Lonzo & Oscar

The whimsical novelty song “I’m My Own Grandpa” By Lonzo & Oscar is a fun break from all the other songs on our list. The song recalls the narrator’s 23rd year when, through a complex sequence of marriages and relationships, he ends up being his own grandpa.

Everything happened when he was 23 and married a widow who had a grown-up daughter. The narrative unfolds from this point, leading to the complicated family ties that include his father, his son, and his father’s son.

All in all, “I’m My Own Grandpa” chronicles the humorous and complex result of the narrator’s decisions made at the age of 23.

19. “23” By Shakira

Finally, we have a deeply personal song, “23,” from the Colombian singer-songwriter Shakira. She wrote the song for her then-partner, the Spanish footballer Gerald Pique.

The title refers to Pique’s age when they first met while filming Shakira’s “Waka Waka (This Time for Africa).” The song is a tribute to their love story and how their paths crossed at a significant time in their lives.

The chorus goes, “Do you believe in destiny? / ‘Cause I do as I did then / when you were only 23.” Shakira reflects on her gratitude for meeting someone who made her whole. And despite their age gap (she was 33 then), the song is a testament that love does not care about age.

Summing Up Our List Of Being 23 Songs

From our list above, it’s clear that the age of 23 holds a significant meaning in music across genres. These songs often refer to this age as a time of transition, growth, and self-discovery.

Whether you’re 23 or looking back on this age, we hope that the songs reminded you of what it means to be 23. Just like any other age, this is a good time for introspection. May we appreciate the good times and learn from the bad times.

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Dan Farrant, the founder of Hello Music Theory, has been teaching music for over 15 years, helping hundreds of thousands of students unlock the joy of music. He graduated from The Royal Academy of Music in 2012 and then launched Hello Music Theory in 2014. He plays the guitar, piano, bass guitar and double bass and loves teaching music theory.