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Nostalgic Songs For Twenty-Somethings Stuck At Their Parents’ House

by Zoey Hickman 2 years ago in playlist

We’re going back in time, baby.

All cover art is owned by their respective artists/producers.

In scary times like these, we naturally want to be near our loved ones. A lot of us twenty-somethings, out of fear for ourselves, situations, or family members, flocked to our childhood homes to stay (safely) close to them. Some of us are also college students, in which case there wasn’t much of a decision to be made on whether or not we’d be coming home.

So, now a lot of us are back at home, whether your room is exactly as you’d left it or has been turned into the designated crafting corner for your mom, you’re probably feeling the same thing I am. Nostalgic and a little bit sad.

Since being here for a little bit, surrounded by my family and the things I grew up with, I’ve been craving a connection to simpler times. Watching old favorite movies, playing seemingly ancient flash games, and trying to recreate the immaculate Tumblr page I once had.

Social media isn’t helping much, either. Specifically, I’ve been feeling very called out by the amount of “bop or flop” Tiktoks playing songs that take me back to a specific time, place, and emotion. But through hearing these songs again, I realized that maybe the best way to get in touch with those magical feelings of childhood or my recently ended adolescence might be through music.

So, I made a playlist.

This playlist has 100 of the most well-loved (at least by me) songs from the 2000’s and 2010’s. You definitely don’t have to listen to it in order, but I have organized it in the order that I remember discovering the music.

I’d like to think it has a little something for most people. It has the poppiest pop hits, pop-punk bops, and 2014 alt deep cuts for all of the realest people out there who definitely had an 8tracks account. I guess there’s not a ton of rap or country, but that’s just because I don’t feel like I know enough about those genres to accurately say what is nostalgia-inducing.

I started out the playlist with the classics. *NSYNC, Backstreet Boys, and Britney. Mixed in a little early 2000s alternative, like “The Middle” and even “Wonderwall”—if only for the culture. While these songs don’t feel exactly mine, they feel like the time that made me.

*NSYNC, from “Bye, Bye, Bye” Music Video

When I was in the fifth grade, my heroes were newcomers Lady Gaga and Ke$ha. My mom even let me bleach my hair to look like them before starting middle school which, looking back, was maybe the worst decision? But somehow, ten years later, these songs slap just as hard. I hope that you have had the chance to sing “Tik Tok” with your friends, loudly and out of tune at a party or during a road trip. It’s some of the purest fun you can have.

In middle school I definitely went through a bit of an emo phase. Well, honestly it was more of a scene phase, though I’m not sure how many people know what that is anymore. To remind us of those simpler yet just as depressing times, I did not forget to include the necessary hits of Panic! At The Disco, Fall Out Boy, Paramore, and My Chemical Romance. You’ll thank me later when you’re sobbing to these.

Panic! At The Disco, From “I Write Sins, Not Tragedies” Music Video

I started high school in 2012, which seems like yesterday and an eternity ago all at once. I assume this is the reason why pop music from the first couple of years into the the 2010s gives me such a warm, fuzzy feeling. Specifically the song “Party Rock Anthem” by LMFAO, for some odd reason. I really don’t have any clue why the sound of this song makes a massive smile spread across my face every time, but it does.

I think it might just remind me of how silly times were back then. It brings to mind images of neon colors, silly bandz, shutter shades, and that one Kia Soul commercial with the dancing hamsters. We were all just vibing back then, excited about everything “random” or odd. It was a good time to be a weird kid, I think.

Taken from 2011 Kia Soul Commerical

The last big focus I tried to make was on the sweet, angsty sounds of 2014 Tumblr songs. I was in the heat of my teen years in 2014 and very invested in the success of my Tumblr account–dedicated at the time to my obsession with the character Joe Caputo from Netflix’s Orange Is The New Black.

...look, we all have our cringy moments, okay?

But in this time, I fell in love with a lot of awesome indie/alternative music. Most notably, the entirety of Lorde’s debut album, Pure Heroine, along with tracks from Bleachers, Foster The People, and M83. This music felt like an uncanny journey through all the decades we wished we’d been a part of (until we realized that they were actually super problematic). Some of it, like songs by Lana Del Rey and the now infamous “Sweater Weather” by The Neighbourhood, was also really important for a lot of our blooming sexualities. If you didn’t experience it, I wouldn't ask.

From ‘The Fault In Our Stars’, distributed by Fox 2000.

These songs remind me of long nights editing the HTML of my Tumblr page to make it look just right. They make me think of all of those silly coming-of-age films that came out while I was in high school. They sound like what reading a John Green book felt like. My best friend and I getting coffee and driving around our small town streets until 4am. These songs, to me, are like youth in a bottle.

Especially “Tongue Tied” by Grouplove. We all know.

I tried my hardest to make this playlist as sickly-sweet as I could. Nostalgia is this beautiful combination of grief over the loss of time and joy about memories made. I hope that you can connect with these songs in the same way that I do or, in the very least, find some new good music that you know someone in the world is crying over right now.


Zoey Hickman

Freelance writer with big depression and little skills other than talking too much.

You can find some of my works in Adolescent, Daily Dead, Lithium Magazine, All Ages Of Geek, and Screen Queens.

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