Have you ever been listening to the radio and a song comes on that not only touches your heart, but drills right now to the bones of your soul? A song that not only makes you feel understood, but makes you feel connected to a collective of all the other souls in your generation?
There are so many songs that make us feel all these things and more when we hear them, so we thought what a better way to connect with our fellow Millennials than to share them all in one fun playlist?
This post is a collaborative effort by two of our authors and core team members of Gold Millennial: Stacy Mojica and Angela Russo. We plan for this to be an ongoing project, where we will announce new additions to the playlist as we add them.
1. Get What You Give
Artist: Felix Cartal
This song begins with a verse that reminds us of what it’s like to grow up. At age fourteen we are confused about so many things, so ready to grow up, but all the adult world seems to want to teach us is how to say please give us and thank you for giving us.
Then we start to get older, and we start to get jaded. If there is one common theme I believe runs through millennials more than any other, it’s getting jaded. When we were growing up grown ups loved to tell us to follow our hearts. But we all find out eventually that dreams don’t always come true.
“But when the night is falling
You cannot find the light
You feel your dreams are dying
The refrain reminds us again and again not to give up, even when that is what we really want to do.
2. Rich Love
Artist: One Republic, Seeb
This song takes us on a storytelling journey of one man who moved to the city and then realized he didn’t move there just to count his pennies “and worship the Hollywood sign.” Once again, the theme of becoming jaded shines through as he shares his realizations and feeling “broke as a bottle of wine.”
It’s easy to find escape and release in drugs and alcohol, but what we tend to gloss nonchalantly is that we can also lose ourselves escaping into our own unrealistic dreams. They made reservations at restaurants, but they would never go there.
My favorite line is, “I was saving up for something hoping life would finally start.” Isn’t that what we’re all doing? Wasting our lives away for the pursuit of happiness. I think what this song is really saying to us is that if we are constantly in pursuit, we will never be happy.
Artist: A Great Big World
I just love this song because it takes me back to growing up in the 90s.
“I remember third grade, shades, new rollerblades
4 foot 2, feeling 10 foot 8
Being a kid, being an awkward teenager, that first love. What older millennial couldn’t relate?
Artist: Lovely the Band
“We’ve all been to Hell and back one or five times.” As Angela said in “The Truth About Attracting Healthy Relationships.” We’re all broken. What makes this song especially Millennial to me is that I think Millennials feel more broken than any generation ever felt before. Burdened by crippling student loan debt and crushed under the weight of our impossible dreams, we are all just broken people walking around with broken hearts and broken smiles.
“I like that you’re broken
Broken like me
Maybe that makes me a fool
I like that you’re lonely
Lonely like me
I could be lonely with you”
Our only solace is in knowing that there are other broken souls out there too feeling lost and hopeless and alone. If we could only connect with some of them, at least maybe then we could feel less alone.
5. Stressed Out
Artist: Twenty One Pilots
It would be nice if we “could turn back time, to the good ol days, when our mama sang us to sleep, but now we’re stressed out.” Is it presumptuous of me to think that millennials feel the weight of adulting more strongly than any generation that came before us? I feel like we were set up for failure by the promise of a new age. An age of technology and opportunity and the plethora of options we had to choose from that were never available to our parents or grandparents.
The journey of life was going to be fun and exciting and wonderful. But suddenly the curtain dropped and we realized it was all a show and that we were really in Hell. Once again, the theme of becoming jaded haunts us.
We used to play pretend, give each other different names
We would build a rocket ship and then we’d fly it far away
Used to dream of outer space but now they’re laughing at our face
Saying, “Wake up, you need to make money”
“Wake up, you need to make money!” they sing. Wake up from your dreams! The dreams aren’t realistic; they aren’t real. The truth is painful but we love truth so much we love it even when it hurts.
6. All Star
Artist: Smash Mouth
Hey now, you’re an all-star, get your game on, go play
Hey now, you’re a rock star, get the show on, get paid
All that glitters is gold
Only shooting stars break the mold
We all remember this song fondly from 1999! It was silly and it was in the movie Shrek. It was fun to sing and dance to. It was about defying society and being awesome by being authentically you. But 20 years later I interpret a more sinister meaning.
Smash Mouth told us to reach for the stars, to dream impossible dreams. They told us the same thing everyone was telling us in our innocent years, before we were expected to adult. That if we worked hard, our dreams would come true. Of course now that we are adults we’re jaded because we’ve learned that this is complete bullshit. Working hard does not always mean that your dreams will come true, or that life will be good to you.
This song is millennial down to its very essence because it gets to the heart of how we all believed that all that glitters is gold, and explains perfectly why we’re all so fucked.
7. Blue (Da Ba Dee)
Artist: Eiffel 65
I just had to include this song because I remember singing it on the school bus in fifth grade. I remember all the adults thought it was ridiculous and just kept shaking their heads and saying, “I don’t get it.” Us kids just laughed. It made us grow in solidarity with our peers because only us kids got it – that you weren’t supposed to get it. It was just an awesome, fun, silly song.
8. Kings & Queens
Artist: Matt Kearney
Like “Rich Love,” this song aims to remind us that money isn’t what’s important in life. For that reason, I have a love-hate relationship with this song. I hate it when anyone says that money isn’t important. It absolutely is. But I do feel that this song is so millennial because so many millennials struggle with money. Most of us weren’t taught how to budget or spend wisely – we were just kind of thrown out into a world with a thousand more made-up expenses and scams than our parents ever had to deal with, and we got eaten alive by sharks.
All the feels tonight are real
All that’s real you can’t buy or steal
We don’t need no bankroll make us feel alive
We don’t need no benzo to feel like we can ride
Richer than Solomen with you by my side
We’ll be kings and queens in our own mind
“Feels” is such a millennial word.
Because the money situation for so many of us has simply become hopeless, as we drown in debt and bankruptcy, it’s easy to escape into the notion that we can still live a great life without money. “Kings & Queens” makes us feel better about the terrifying state of our own finances, by making us believe for a moment that it doesn’t matter.
9. Walk on Water
Artist: 30 Seconds to Mars
Politics is a sensitive topic for any generation, but for Millennials, social change is a matter of deep concern. This song is a call to Americans everywhere to shake off the blindfold and examine the hypocrisy that runs rampant in society today. Political parties have become parodies of themselves, neither delivering on anything they claim.
A thin line, the whole truth
The far right, the left view
Breaking all those promises made
Times are changingOh oh, oh oh
Do you believe that you can walk on water?
Oh oh, oh oh
Do you believe that you can win this fight tonight?
Beyond the political commentary, the world is in a general state of fluxx for us all. We were told so many things growing up about how life falls into place, the recipe for success, career, marriage, house, kids, white picket fence…for most Millennials achieving these milestone life-goals feels very much akin to walking on water.
10. Whatever it Takes
Artist: Imagine Dragons
The stereotypical representation of Millennials is that of a lazy entitled generation that likes to whine on social media. In truth, Millennials are a driven ambitious generation of dreamers believers and achievers. Our souls are on fire with the passion of our goals causes and values. So many of us stop at nothing – do whatever it takes – to break the chains of negativity and circumstance.
Don’t wanna be the parenthetical, hypothetical
Working onto something that I’m proud of, out of the box
An epoxy to the world and the vision we’ve lost
We strive to be positive agents of change, innovative creators, and ambassadors of empathy, authenticity and compassion. We care about jobs that serve others and benefit the world as a whole while providing us with true fulfillment, purpose, and passion. Whatever we do we don’t want to settle for a meaningless paycheck. We want to be proud of the lives we lead and leave a legacy of love to those who come after us.
11. Some Nights
That being said, living a life of purpose is no small task! After we graduated from college, we looked around and saw that the world wasn’t quite the way it had been advertised. Job descriptions expected a uniform personality of compartmentalized “work-life,” versus “personal life.” Leave your emotions and heart at home!
Torn between living in alignment with the core of our true selves and the very real necessity of supporting ourselves financially, we found ourselves thrust into a workforce that didn’t understand the value of empathy and caring in a professional environment.
We struggle to have authentic connection and friendship, be grounded in our identity, and stay true to what we believe in on every level in every area of life. Every day we wake up, we are faced with the question: What do I stand for?
What are we waiting for?
Why don’t we break the rules already?
I was never one to believe the hype
Save that for the black and white
Try twice as hard and I’m half as liked
But here they come again to jack my style
I see these lines as a call to action. We are the rising generation. Millennials are the non-conformists, a wave of emotional activists, a rebirth and revival of the ancient philosophers, asking, questioning, seeking, challenging the status quo.
12. Feel This Moment
Artist: Pitbull, Christina Aguilera
This particular song is an amusing addition to the playlist, but I couldn’t resist. I have literally experienced the following phenomenon on more than one occasion:
Ask for money, and get advice
Ask for advice, get money twice
Millennials really aren’t looking for a handout so much as a hand-up. This misunderstanding has resulted in a lot of opposite-action from those we turn to for help. I can honestly say it’s been a frustrating cycle of communication, but nonetheless, an invaluable opportunity to see what I’m made of.
One day when the light is glowing
I’ll be in my castle golden
But until the gates are open
I just wanna feel this moment
At the end of the day all we want is our own little kingdom comprised of affordable home-ownership, financial sustainability, vocational fulfillment, time to decompress, and loved ones to share every aspect of life with.
The quest for a purpose-driven life is ongoing for most Millennials. We want to change the world, live our passions, but that’s far easier said than done, and the working and waiting can be depressing. It’s tempting to fight through each day looking for the deeper meaning, seeking signs that we’re on the right path, but life is a journey without a clear roadmap. It’s no secret that the anxiety rate for Gen-Y is markedly higher than all previous generations.
Sometimes it’s hard to just keep going
But faith is moving without knowing
Can I trust what I can’t see
To reach my destiny
I want to take control but I know betterForget the fear it’s just a crutch
That tries to hold you back
And turn your dreams to dust
All you need to do is just trust
“Unbreakable” emphasizes pushing back against the negative messages that we encounter every day…words that speak lies of unworthiness and insecurity, words that keep us bound in the chains of existing rather than living a vibrant life. It’s a lesson we all are learning. We cannot control all of our circumstances, but we can choose how we respond to them. When we step out in faith and understand that our life’s path is designed for us, we release ourselves from a life of limitation.
14. Just Like Fire
If I can light the world up for just one day
Watch this madness, colorful charade
No one can be just like me any way
Just like magic, I’ll be flying free
I’mma disappear when they come for me
I kick that ceiling, what you gonna say?
No one can be just like me any way
15. The Resistance
I am a soldier, I won’t surrender
Faith is like a fire that never burns to embers
Who’s gonna stand up, who’s gonna fight?
The voice of the unheard
Who’s gonna break these chains and lies?
Love is the answer
I gotta speak it, believe it, that’s how I feel inside
I can’t sit here quiet!