A song for each year: 21 tracks for 21 years

The 28th of May marks my 21st birthday. A scary thought for anyone growing up is the moment they realise they are becoming a fully fledged adult. You might feel a sense of maturity at 18, but 21 is when it really kicks off. I’ve decided to pick 21 songs from each year of my life and explain what they really mean to me:

1996: Baddiel & Skinner & Lightning Seeds – Three Lions (Football’s Coming Home): This song was number one the day I was born. My love of the beautiful game and supporting an embarrassing footballing nation are highlighted in this tournament tune. It was released for Euro ’96 and was hosted in my nation of England. Another embarrassing exit on penalties against Germany and the birth of a tiny red-head, not exactly the best summer but my goodness when this song comes on, it honestly resonates with me to the point that I think I’m back in the terraces of the County Ground.

1997: Teletubbies – Eh-oh!: Oh god I am so embarrassed for putting this on my list. why I hear you ask? Because this was my earliest childhood obsession. I still remember all the words and I bet you do too. The Teletubbies were the biggest fad of 1997 and even made it to number for two bloomin’ weeks! My parents like every other parent of the day queued up to get me the complete set for christmas. Despite damage to Po’s left eye, the Teletubbies sit proudly in my attic at home and although its twenty years since they bought them, I’ll always be grateful for my parents for putting so much effort into getting them for me. A cringe worthy truth.

1998: Robbie Williams – Strong: God I love this song. I grew up when Robbie’s solo career was at its height. This is definitely my favourite Robbie song and it has a quite a powerful message behind it too. It is probably my karaoke song. The “My bed’s full of takeaways and fantasies, Of easy lays” Sadly is relatable to me at times.

1999: Toploader – Dancing in the Moonlight: This song is the greatest example of a one hit wonder band and the one of the best cheesy tunes you could ever dream of. This was a two-horse race between this song and Allstar by Toploader but honestly, this song was so overplayed you could hear it come on in your dreams at night. The catchy chorus and shoulder shimmying tune is a precision shot right in the childhood.

2000: Blink-182 – All the Small Things: Although it is heavily contested when this song was released, for the purposes of this list, I’m going to say 2000. One of the best songs to end your party with. The soundtrack to the start of the millennium. Blink-182 were like the Beatles of the day. They controlled the airwaves and I remember this song constantly being played. I never knew the words, I just simply used to sing “nah, nah, nah, nah, nah, nah.” Although, after a few pints that’s all I still sing.

2001: Smash Mouth – All Star: If every human being did this list, this song would be on it. Fact. I know it was released in 1999, but I remember it most of all from Shrek, released in 2001. Everyone knows the lyrics to this classic. Nearly twenty years on, it still lives on as the soundtrack to memes. This song is the cheesiest head-banger you’ll ever have stuck in your head. Come on even read this without pressing the video, you’re singing along. All that glitters is gold…

2002: Eminem – Without Me: Every young boy’s naughty delight A song that talked about everything a young boy around 5 or 6 really shouldn’t be listening to. I wasn’t allowed to listen to music like this but growing up a little later and really appreciating the lyrical god that was Eminem. Hearing the clean version just defeats the objects of this song and it needs to be enjoyed in its fullest, rudest form. I don’t look like your typical Eminem fan but his talk of rebelling and doing unthinkable things really excites the mind, especially when you are only 5 or 6.

2003: Busted – Year 3000: If Blink-182 were the Beatles of the start of the Millennium, then Busted were the Rolling Stones. They released songs so frequently it was unheard of. I was such a non-conformist back then and never admitted to liking Busted. I always used to steal my brother’s Busted albums and it would cause such fights. I do like Busted. There you go, nearly 10 years on I’ve finally admitted it. Oh god that was tough. The head banging guitar rifts of this classic really takes me back to my early school days where everyone sang this every second during break times. You just don’t get songs like this anymore, but we’ll always have Busted.

2004: Eric Prydz – Call On Me: Oh my goodness! Back in 2004 you could not escape this song. It was like a musical super virus. It’s minimal lyrics, stupidly raunchy video and addictive beat really was amazing at the time due to its simplicity. I love this song. I still work out to this song most days, although with a bit more clothes on that those in the video. I have to admit, to this day I still don’t know how to pronounce the artist’s surname…

2005: Nizopli – JCB Song: I remember my dad buying the single for this song for my younger brother and he played this non-stop. This song was on repeat so much it was one of the first songs that I knew all the words to. I never admitted to liking this song at the time. I was quite the non-conformist back in the day, never admitting to likening anything but this song really takes me back to enjoying my childhood with this being the soundtrack to any journey we went on. It’s such a cute little song that you honestly wouldn’t hear in today’s charts. You’d more likely hear it from a really good busker in Bristol high street. That’s what makes this song so memorable, never again will a song this cute be number one.

2006: Scissor Sisters – I don’t feel like dancing: My family always seemed to like the scissor sisters. I honestly cannot explain why they just seemed fun to listen to. I was ten when this banger was released and honestly its like the soundtrack to a modern ho-down. It was the party tune of the naughties and it was ok to like the band despite their quirky style. Singing along to this in the back of your mum’s knackered Toyota Corolla at the top of your squeaky voice because you can’t reach the high notes was a daily occurrence on any day out and I don’t regret a single minute of it. Honest. Although, I am quite glad camera phones weren’t a thing back then otherwise I would have ended up on my mum’s Facebook Timeline and gone viral.

2007: Mika – Grace Kelly:  A year on from trying to sing stupidly high in my mum’s car we’ve got the next song to attempt and it was probably more difficult than the previous year’s. Mika’s Grace Kelly was one of the biggest songs of 2007. It was released around the time when everyone started to have mobile phones and nearly everyone had this as their ringtone. You couldn’t escape Mika and astonishing high singing voice. I didn’t even know who Grace Kelly but apparently I sang about trying to be like her all the time. The song describes a part of being a teenager. We’re all so concerned about who likes us and who doesn’t.

2008: Coldplay – Viva la Vida: This won’t be the first Coldplay song on this list but they were a big part of my musical interests growing up. This song is from the album with the same name and was one of the first albums I bought. I remember hearing this on Radio 2 for the first time in this year and it took my breath away. My dad is just as obsessed with Coldplay as I am and I like to think that’s a good thing. It’s a powerful song that has ghostly vibes and is a an uplifting delight. I had just started playing the violin a few years previously, and hearing the amazing string sets in the backing track it really blew me away. I even sang this in the first round of the school talent show (which I went on to win somehow) so good things aye?

2009: Muse – MK Ultra: A little harsher than some of my other choices. I’ve always been a fan of Muse. I remember when this album, the resistance, came out and everybody in school had it. I loved this song mostly. I used to always listen to it on the way to Hockey training and it acted as a ‘pump-up’ song. I was an aggressive player. I used to say passionate which is true but sometimes my love for getting the best result for my team often ended up in rather questionable decisions and I’d like to think it was because I was too pumped up from listening to this song on repeat on the way to games. The actual message of the song is truly frightening and the guitar rift is really powerful. It was one of the later tracks on the album and quite underrated which is probably why I appreciated it more.

2010: K’NAAN – Wavin’ Flag: It wasn’t the official song of the 2010 World Cup, but it was my song of the tournament. From first hearing this song to this very day, I still get shivers whenever I hear this song. This song was at a time in my life when football was everywhere. It’s a feel good song that puts a smile on my usually miserable face anytime I hear the drum beat start-up. Watching football for a whole summer. Enjoying some memorable times with friends who all has this as their ring tones. It brings back so many happy memories of one long, free summer. Six years on, this song is never heard on the airways and its so sad not to hear the dynamic drum beats of a beautiful few months of bliss.

2011: Coldplay – Every teardrop is a waterfall: This song was the first on my list. This is officially my favourite song. I have made this very clear that I want to be buried to this song. A bit morbid. But this song was at the centre of a very important time in my life. I started to suffer with a few mental health issues and I remember hearing the uplifting melody of this song. I would listen to it everyday on the way to school on repeat to keep my spirits up and in a similar way to Wavin’ Flag, always gives me a chill just hearing it. The lyrics talk of not wanting to be a full stop, soaring high and overcoming the worst of times.  Deep lyrics with a hard-hitting melody this song will be with me for the rest of my life and despite endless skipping when listening on shuffle, I can never skip this song. The video was an artistic delight as well. There is so much i want to say about this song that makes me love it so much.

2012: Sam and the Womp – Bom Bom: One of the shorter songs on this list. Bom Bom is a silly song that has repetitive lyrics and a hypnotic beat that really jerks the knee. It is definitely one of the best songs to drunkenly dance to and that’s probably why I enjoy it so much. This song is effectively a Jazz band on drugs but it’s so addictive to listen to that you can’t help but play it twice or thrice more. It is quite funny that the two songs I was considering for this year were both quite stupid in context. Bom Bom just edges out One Pound Fish because it I felt somewhat embarrassed to admit my favourite song of 2012 was a Pakistani market seller singing about his cheap products.

2013: Lorde – Royals: For those of you who have already read my professed love for the artist Lorde, what are you doing? Go read it! This song is a lyrical masterpiece. I remember hearing this for the first time when someone’s phone went off on the train and it was their ring tone. Those brief lines I heard made me instantly fall in love with this rebellious rouser. Lorde is one of my favourite singers and 2013 was the year I fell in love with her voice. Her music is like melted butter being poured down my ears, by that I mean it’s smooth. Weird analogy I know. But this song just emphasises my hatred of modern consumer culture and the materialistic society we find ourselves in.

2014: Calvin Harris – Summer (Diplo & Grandtheft Remix): An odd choice on this list but one that has good meaning behind it. 2014 was one of the more important years of my life. I became one of the first members of my family to go to University. I went abroad without my parents for the first time. 2014 was the year of rebellion and upon leaving school for the second time, the summer of 2014 was one of freedom. I spent my summer playing football, drinking stupidly and partying on a Greek island. Sounds like a movie. I remember first hearing this blasting out when dancing the night away in Kavos and didn’t think much of it. Then upon moving to University, my room mates played this non-stop. The lyrics and reminders of my amazing summer brought back many memories and I now have so many memories of this song from my early University days. My flat mates might have been excruciatingly irritating at times, but this song will never leave me because of them. And boy, is that a good thing.

2015: Coldplay – Army of One: Another Coldplay addition to this list. The last one I promise. I love this song. Another hidden gem on a brilliant album,so good my family bought it twice as my dad wouldn’t relinquish his copy for my mum to have in her car. This song is another meaning heavy lyric fest that talks of not giving up and never saying die. Despite the lacklustre second part of this song, the first part is an intense hit right in the feels. It is simply a beautiful song. End of.

2016: Galantis – No Money: Every student is poor. Yes, even me. University has taught me how to be a better writer and creating news. Not money management. This song talks of having no money but enjoying life with its uplifting beat and enjoyable lyrics. A real belter of a dance tune. Galantis are my recent obsession and I must admit this is a really great song. This was the year of Pokemon Go and I spent a lot of my money refuelling from a long day of catching Pokemon with a McDonald’s or a Nandos and this song reminds me why I have no money.

So what about my 21st year? We’re only two months into 2017 and nothing has caught my ear like these 20 other songs. So what am I going to put for my final 21st song?

Well it wasn’t released in 2017, but I will never forget listening to a cover band belt this out at my Dad’s summer party many years ago. I sat atop his shoulders and fell in love with this band just as much as he does. The Rolling Stones didn’t release (I can’t get no) Satisfaction in 2017, but in this year I’ll never forget dancing with my dad to it. I’m hoping that this year will see the next song to add to my list.


What would be on your list? Do you like my choices? Tweet me @bwodecki96 or leave me a comment and tell me yours!



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