We have times in our lives when we just have to look back at the past so that we can learn from our experiences. If you’re in that kind of mood, this list might just give you ideas for the perfect song to listen to!
Five for Fighting – 100 Years
This song is actually a great reminder for how precious life is and how we should appreciate each moment. It’s a retelling of the protagonist’s life, as if he’s living each milestone in his life again. He starts off as an idealistic teenager, and then he meets the love of his life. He has kids at 33, and then heads into a midlife crisis at 45. And in the blink of an eye, he’s old and grey and looking back at the life he has lived.
Lyrics about remembering the past: 15 there’s still time for you
Time to buy and time to choose
Hey 15, there’s never a wish better than this
When you only got a hundred years to live
Beatles – In My life
In My Life is an autobiographical song about the life of John Lennon. He mentions people in his life who have come and gone, from friends to relatives to lovers (like his ex-wife Cynthia). The song is equal parts nostalgic and sad, which is one way to describe the ups and downs of life.
Lyrics about remembering the past: There are places I’ll remember
All my life, though some have changed
Some forever, not for better
Some have gone and some remain
All these places have their moments
With lovers and friends I still can recall
Some are dead and some are living
In my life, I’ve loved them all
Taylor Swift – Fifteen
As one of Taylor Swift’s songs from when she was still a teen pop princess, Fifteen is plays like a precautionary tale. The song is about Taylor Swift’s best friend, Abigail, and how the two were content to be wallflowers. However, Abigail eventually starts dating a boy who eventually leaves her heartbroken. In the song, Taylor is telling the story from her point of view as she reminds Abigail it’s okay because no one really knows any better at 15.
Lyrics about remembering the past: ‘Cause when you’re fifteen,
Somebody tells you they love you
You’re gonna believe them
And when you’re fifteen
Don’t forget to look before you fall
Bryan Adams – Summer of 69
Contrary to what people say, Summer of 69 isn’t really about Bryan Adams’ summer back in 1969. That’ pretty obvious because this is a song about summertime and making love, and back in 1969 Adams was just 9 years old!
Lyrics about remembering the past: Standin’ on your mama’s porch
You told me that it’d last forever
Oh, and when you held my hand
I knew that it was now or never
Those were the best days of my life
Kenny Rogers – Through the Years
Bryan Adams’ song was about summertime love and eventual heartbreak, so let’s visit the other side of the fence. Kenny Rogers’ Through the Years is a song about looking back at the past you’ve shared with someone. It’s a song that reflects on the good times and bad times through all the years you’ve been together with someone, and how you’re glad you chose each other.
Lyrics about remembering the past: Through the years
You’ve never let me down
You turned my life around
The sweetest days I’ve found
I’ve found with you
Through the years
I’ve never been afraid
I’ve loved the life we’ve made
And I’m so glad I stayed
Right here with you
Through the years
Green Day – Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)
This song is a popular choice for a graduation song because it’s about the changes in life and moving on. While you can’t really escape your past or go back to it completely, all you can do as you move on in life is to keep all the memories – both the good and the bad. Billie Joe Armstrong wrote this when his girlfriend moved away to Ecuador. While he tried to be reasonable about it, he was really angry – and that shows in the song’s title.
Lyrics about remembering the past: So take the photographs, and still-frames in your mind
Hang it on the shelf of good health and good time
Tattoo’s of memories and dead skin on trial
For what it’s worth, it was worth all the while
It’s something unpredictable, but in the end it’s right
I hope you had the time of your life
Yellowcard – Ocean Avenue
Punk rock bands have a knack for making us feel nostalgic about the wild days of our youth. Yellowcard is no different with their song Ocean Avenue. The titular Ocean Avenue is the place where the protagonist used to meet up with this girl he fell in love with. They eventually have to part ways as they grow up, but it’s evident that he still wants to find her again and start over.
Lyrics about remembering the past: I remember the look in your eyes
When I told you that this was goodbye
You were begging me not tonight
Not here, not now
We’re looking up at the same night sky
We keep pretending the sun will not rise
We’ll be together for one more night
The Killers – When You Were Young
Brandon Flowers admits that this song was one of the easiest for him to write for the band, mainly because of the combined impact and simplicity of the chords. That plays a huge role because this is a song that’s meant to evoke both nostalgia and how our perceptions change as we grow older.
Lyrics about remembering the past: He doesn’t look a thing like Jesus
But he talks like a gentleman
Like you imagined when you were young
When you were young
Don McLean – American Pie
American Pie might just be one of the most culturally significant songs that’s also incredibly cryptic. He has gone on record to say that the song was inspired by the death of Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and The Big Bopper, which he described as the day the music died. He has teased fans that the song is also about America and politics, though he wants listeners to come up with their own interpretation for the song.
Lyrics about remembering the past: A long long time ago
I can still remember how
That music used to make me smile
And I knew if I had my chance
That I could make those people dance
And maybe they’d be happy for a while
Frank Sinatra – My Way
No other song epitomizes the idea of “no regrets” better than Frank Sinatra’s My Way. The song is about a man who fondly looks back on a life that he lived on his own terms. Ironically, one of Sinatra’s most memorable songs is the one that he absolutely loathed. He says it’s a self-indulgent pop song that he couldn’t stand. Having Sinatra sing a song he doesn’t like is the exact opposite of the song’s intended meaning!
Lyrics about remembering the past: And now, the end is near
And so I face the final curtain
My friend, I’ll say it clear
I’ll state my case, of which I’m certain
I’ve lived a life that’s full
I’ve traveled each and every highway
But more, much more than this
I did it my way
Whether the past was great, terrible, or a little bit of both, we’re sure this playlist will get you in that nostalgic mood!