10 Songs To Ease Gen Z’s Growing Pains

By: Danni Perez
07/12/2023
en
Thumbnail courtesy of Larasati

Growing up is not as easy as it is made out to be, but the memories you make along the way are priceless. Now that the generational group known as Gen Z ranges from 11 to 26 years of age, they are embracing pivotal changes. Some are experiencing the prime of their teen years, saying goodbye to their youth as they are coming of age or even adapting to adulthood. From accepting reality’s trials to trying to hold onto their youthful optimism, Gen Z may face many challenges as they continue to grow older. But don’t worry, EnVi is here to help ease those growing pains with 10 songs that cover the obstacles of transitioning into adulthood.

“EDEN” by Keris

Written by: Jess Lee and Keris Choi

Produced by: Keris Choi

Life is all about the experience you gain from it, and rising singer-songwriter Keris captured the importance of that lesson in this gentle ballad. Joined by her friend, Jess Lee, they sweetly harmonized about their naivety, regrets, and what they wished they could share with their younger selves. Accompanied by strings that swell with emotion, Keris confidently reassures listeners the tough moments will pass as she sings, “If we’re not growing, we’re just dying / …When I’m deep under the waters / I know I’m only getting stronger.”

“EDEN” is a sympathetic reminder that part of what makes life so uniquely beautiful are the smiles, tears, laughs, mistakes, failures, and achievements one experiences. When you find yourself dealing with the ups and downs of everyday life, try putting on this track to soothe your heart.

“Farewell, Neverland” by TOMORROW X TOGETHER

Written by: “Hitman” Bang, Carson Thatcher, Danke, EL CAPITXN, Ellen Berg, Jake Torrey, James Sullivan, Joseph Kurbanov, Jung Jin Woo, Moa “Cazzi Opeia” Carlebecker, Peter Thomas, Revin, Stella Jang, and Yeonjun

Produced by: Carson Thatcher

K-pop quintet TOMORROW X TOGETHER have been recognized for their playful and boyish concepts throughout their career, but they kissed their youthful charm goodbye with their latest EP, The Name Chapter: TEMPTATION. The final track, “Farewell, Neverland,” is a bittersweet realization about how adulthood and reality are unavoidable. Soobin, Yeonjun, Beomgyu, Taehyun, and Huening Kai are ready to depart their rose-colored world as they sing, “To the paradise of irresponsible dreams / I’ll give my last goodbye.”

Rather than being cynical, the members are sentimental, and understand that leaving their personal Neverland is simply part of life. Even though the future is uncertain, they passionately belt out, “Even if I’m afraid, I’m going further down / Farewell, Neverland, my love.” As we grow up and each bid farewell to our own forms of Neverland, this track proves you don’t have to forget the magical feeling that comes with your youth.

어른 아이 (Kidult)” by SEVENTEEN

Written by: BUMZU, Kitae Park of PRISMFILTER, S.Coups, Vernon, and Woozi

Produced by: Kitae Park of PRISMFILTER

So you aren’t really considered a kid anymore, but you feel like you have to be put together like an adult? Well, SEVENTEEN’s heartfelt track “Kidult” might be for you. The pop ballad tackles the adolescent struggle of being torn between feeling like a kid or an adult. Instead of being forced to choose between the two, the 13-member K-pop group encourages listeners to combine the ways of the past with the present. 

“Kidult” challenges the idea that adults should abandon healthy coping methods to appear less emotional. The chorus exudes comfort as the members sing, “After brushing it off with a laugh like an adult / And even when crying like a kid / We’re quite similar, let’s be together / Just the way you are / Like a grown up child.” 

“Your Age” by Rina Sawayama

Written by: Lauren Aquilina, Marcus Anderson, and Rina Sawayama

Produced by: Clarence Clarity, Lauren Aquilina, Marcus Anderson, and Rina Sawayama

Rina Sawayama’s “Your Age” is bold and unforgiving in the best way possible. This alternative, nu-metal-influenced track is for the renegades. Challenging the suffocating expectations placed on youth, Rina chants confidently, “Not a secret, not a problem, not a symptom or cure / Not a villain, not a mistake, not in the eyes of God / Not a weakness, not a failure, not a savior, oh no.”

This introspective reflection on the adults from her past battles the pressures of societal norms and mistreatment head-on. She pointedly spits out, “‘Cause now that I’m your age, I just can’t imagine / Why did you do it? What the hell were you thinking?,” directly attacking any adult that uses their power to make any child feel bad. If you are searching for a song to remind you of the power you hold as a young adult, “Your Age” might be the tune for you.

“fairy song” by beabadoobee

Written by: beabadoobee and Jacob Bugden

Produced by: beabadoobee, Iain Berryman, and Jacob Bugden

“fairy song” sounds just as delicate as the title appears. With watery guitar chords and a soft drumbeat, this song focuses on how life goes on. beabadoobee’s gentle vocals transform the lyrics into a self-care mantra as she sings, “You need to drink water, remember to pray / Eat so you’re stronger and live for the day.” If you are looking for a song that will motivate you to push through the day in the kindest way possible, “fairy song” might be right up your alley. 

“Childhood” by The Rose

Written by: The Rose

Produced by: The Rose

One of the most difficult lessons to accept while growing up is that time is, unfortunately, finite. What is even worse than realizing that time is limited is losing your passion and dreams. South Korean indie-rock band, The Rose, urges listeners to revive their inner child to battle the burnout that comes with adulthood with their profound acoustic ballad, “Childhood.” It can be easy to let the bitterness of life taint your mindset, but the band begs, “Don’t get more stained / Even if the world dirties you / Don’t let it get stolen / That once clean and pure childlike innocence.”

The chorus of “Childhood” carries a lesson worth a lifetime as The Rose heartbreakingly sing, “Don’t forget when you’re a child / …Let it stay in your mind / Don’t live your life like you have a thousand years / Ready for you to waste your time on regrets / Don’t you ever / You will never.” Rather than abandoning youthful optimism, The Rose encourages clinging to the hope and light it brings. Life is too short to be full of regret, and “Childhood” serves as a reminder to take every chance you get to live yours to the fullest.

“everythingoes” by RM

Written & Produced by: Kim Jong Wan and RM

Besides being the leader of the internationally-renowned K-pop group, BTS, RM is well known for his ability to manifest comfort through his lyricism. His second solo mixtape, mono., is about adjusting to the chaos that is adulthood and finding your way in the world. “everythingoes” is the fifth track off the mixtape and opens with the philosophical repeated mantra, “It passes / Someday / Definitely / Certainly.”

With the accompaniment of the South Korean alt-rock band NELL, “everythingoes” is comforting with its repetitive motifs yet dynamic as it climbs to a high with its twangy guitar riffs, spherical-sounding synths, and crashing drumbeats. One of the most profound parts of the song is when RM addresses that even pain is a natural part of life as he raps, “Just like how fruits ripen after flowers wilt / Everything must hurt.” But there is still a somewhat optimistic air to the track as he repeats the song’s intro, knowing that even painful moments in life shall pass. The next time life feels as if it’s too much, try listening to this song and remember that “everythingoes.”

“Better” by ATEEZ

Written by: BUDDY, EDEN, Hongjoong, LEEZ, Mingi, and Ollounder

Composed & Arranged by: BUDDY, EDEN, LEEZ, and Ollounder

It is easy to get discouraged when dealing with life’s trials and tribulations. But don’t worry, K-pop octet ATEEZ is here to reassure you that each day is a new opportunity with their consolation track, “Better.” Offering their support like a friend would, they sing, “Even if it hurts, we know each other / I know, I’m with you… / …To a brighter tomorrow.” 

With dynamic drums and twinkling synthesizer effects, ATEEZ harmoniously chant, “We know we’re getting better… / Don’t worry, nothing matter.” The group’s main vocalist and youngest member, Jongho, brings the song to a moving close with his strong vocals as he drives home the powerful message behind “Better.” Try listening to this comforting track when you need a reminder that life is not a linear journey, but one day things will begin to get better.

“Highteen” by Dvwn

Written by: Dvwn, m/n, and No2zcat

Produced by: m/n and No2zcat

South Korean indie artist, Dvwn, captures the sweetness of falling for someone in his latest single, “Highteen.” Young love is electric, reckless, and mesmerizing. Matching the same energy sonically, “Highteen” could fit into an early 00s romantic comedy with its upbeat nature and crisp guitar melody. 

Naturally, there will be ups and downs in relationships, but Dvwn is not worried about that in this track. As reassurance, he vows, “If it’s flat love / Our youth is a spare.” Life is what you make it, and relationships are only as strong as the effort you put in — an important lesson anyone can take away from “Highteen.”

“Time of Our Life” by DAY6

Written by: Young K

Composed & Arranged by: Hong Ji-sang, Jae, Sungjin, Wonpil, and Young K

Youth tends to be taken for granted, but the South Korean rock band, DAY6, are all for cherishing the fervor that comes with it. Too often, we are told to wait for the right moment or the perfect day, but the secret to life is that there is no correct moment that you have to wait for. “Time of Our Life” is about realizing that you have already waited more than enough, and it is time to seize the day. 

The band joyously sings, “One page of beautiful youth / Let’s write it together/ I’ll fill it up / With memories with you.” Though our bodies grow older, nothing can ever replace the memories we make during our youth, which is why this limited time is so precious. Try listening to this song the next time you need that extra confidence boost to take whatever chance comes your way.

Getting Older, Becoming Wiser

Whether you are cherishing your youth, saying goodbye to it, or trying to navigate adulthood, it is important to learn from each experience. As each day passes, you might find yourself dealing with the growing pains of life, but we hope the pain eases when you listen to these tracks. Hang in there, Gen Z; you’ve got this!

*Lyric translations by Karen Yi

Want more song recs from EnVi? Check out 14 must-listen to SEVENTEEN B-sides here!